The Empire Strikes Back Turns 40 today!

And I Explain Why I can’t Review Star Wars Films

Hi out there internet people. This blog post is going to be a little different than most of mine. This is not a review but rather a few thoughts I want to share on my favorite franchise and favorite film of all time. I have a duty as a Star Wars fan to notify anyone reading this that there are HUGE spoilers in this essay for several Star Wars films. I know, it’s a forty year old film and perhaps the timeline on that warning has expired but for anyone who hasn’t seen these films, missing out on the twists in this movie is an experience I do not want to burden anyone with.

The Empire Strikes Back has turned 40 today. It’s probably the most highly regarded Star Wars film of all time and it’s absolutely my favorite film. If you were a kid back when this premiered and got to see it in the theaters like I did, before there was Return of the Jedi, or any of the prequels, sequels and spinoffs, this movie likely takes up real estate in your imagination.

After I saw the film, my friends and I were absolutely blown away. Darth Vader is Luke’s father?! Wait, is Lando a good guy or a bad guy? I mean he seemed friends with Han but then let the stormtroopers take him and then tried to help but still, what if he is in league with the Empire? Did you see those bounty hunters? Man, I want to see a whole movie about those guys! And the one with the jet pack who captured Han Solo, what’s his story? Will Luke be able to save Han? Is Luke in love with Leia? Leia is definitely in love with Han and vice versa though! And of course, my favorite question of all time when it comes to Star Wars, who is Yoda? Where did he come from and what is his story?

I used to want answers to all of those things so badly it drove me wild. I spent hours playing with my friends, pretending to be these characters. As I grew older, I would have hotly contested debates about the franchise and most often about this movie. We all loved this one the most, even after Return of the Jedi answered a lot of the questions we had. The fact remained though, that we never got all the answers. We still wanted to know more about Darth Vader’s origins and where Leia had been before she met Luke and company. We were given novels, comics, and other speculation as to those answers for years. And again, when the prequel films came out, we got some answers but not all.

The truth is, I don’t want all the answers provided in Star Wars. I know that now we have a fierce drive and desire to see every plot hole filled, all characters have an arc, and a satisfying conclusion to a saga once it is time to be wrapped up. This is why I can totally understand how much people love the MCU. That franchise is exceptionally good at tying up almost everything in a neat package with a neat little bow on top. Of course there are some things in those movies that are still open ended but many times these things are explained away in an interview or with a tweet or a timeline flow chart. Once the answer is officially given, it’s cannon and we don’t have to wonder so much anymore.

Yet in Star Wars, what is left unanswered fuels the imagination of tons of creators. Not only are there gaps in plots, there are gaping holes. Those holes can be filled with more stories but those tend to bring up even more questions. I love that. It makes the universe of Star Wars feel so much more alive. Here on earth, in our current time, our lives have plot holes. We don’t have a character arc. Sure we can learn and grow as people but for the most part we are, “just a simple man (or woman or person or pick your pronoun), trying to make my way in the universe.” That means that we don’t get all of our questions answered. And you know what? That, to me, is what makes Star Wars seem real and full. It’s a fully realized universe because it is so lived in that you can’t find all of the answers.

When Rise of Skywalker came out, I was in line to see it on opening day. Most of my friends were too. I know, that there is a lot of criticism of this film and I completely understand that. We don’t know a lot of the answers to the questions this movie brings up. And while I am hesitant to give any spoilers of this movie because it is more recent, I do see how at least one major plot point doesn’t make a ton of sense. You know what though? I don’t care. I still loved it. Why? Because it left me with questions that I want answers to, just like The Empire Strikes Back did.

Now, that’s not to say that I think all Star Wars films are perfect. Far from it. From the early movies which hardly featured a single female character (Leia excepted of course) and virtually no people of color, to the still currently lacking LGBTQ representation, there are quite valid criticisms of these movies. What I don’t think they should be criticized for is for leaving your imagination open to wonder what more there is to the story.

There are character arcs in the sequel films that were changed mid stream. There are characters who unjustly got far less screen time than they deserved. And there are huge unexplained plot holes. I understand how someone can find all of that frustrating. But, with Empire at least, those things fueled my imagination and the imagination of countless people world wide. I suspect Rise of Skywalker will actually do the same.

While that one is not my favorite Star Wars film, it has a place in my heart, just as anything Star Wars does. That’s why I can’t bring myself to ever review a Star Wars movie. I know that I genuinely cannot be objective about it. I’ve loved it for too long and that’s never going to stop. I personally think we could use more films like Empire, that force our imaginations to ask questions. Be honest with yourself for a minute, is it really that bad to come out of a film wondering about something that happened in it? Is it so awful to wish that there was more of an answer? I don’t think so. And the reason I don’t think that is because those questions propel the story forward like the Falcon entering hyperspace.

Don’t you want more out of film? Don’t you want to be asking questions because of a movie you saw? With Empire Strikes Back, my deep love of film was truly born. And not because of the fact that every twist, turn and event was spoon fed to me with nothing left to know. No, it’s precisely because it made me ask questions that this is and always will be my favorite film.

I can’t wait to see what the next forty years of questions brings me from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

May the force be with you.

Always,

Slick Dungeon

The Fog (1980) – #MovieReview

“Eleven fifty-five. Almost midnight. Enough time for one more story. One more story before twelve. Just to keep us warm.” That’s how John Carpenter chose to start his masterful follow up to Halloween and prove that he is one of the all time horror greats. He showed us he could take a shoestring budget, a simple ghost story, a menacing tone and a crap ton of dry ice and fuel nightmares for decades.

What’s going on everyone? Slick Dungeon here and I just re-watched this classic from 1980 and wanted to give my thoughts on it and a little bit about horror in general. It has been a long time since I saw this movie so although, I certainly remember thinking it was a decent film, I had forgotten how good it actually is. Needless to say, I will be giving some mild spoilers here so be forewarned.

The beginning of the film is a story around a campfire. At this point in cinema history, that’s probably over done and most of the time would not work. But here, in this film, the whole movie is what amounts to a campfire story so it makes a lot of sense. Also, by framing it this way at the beginning, Carpenter is able to set up the atmosphere, give us most of the information that we need to understand the story, and introduce us to the town the story is set in. He takes the time do one very important thing that I think a lot of modern horror films lack. He sets the tone. If you think about one of the best horror films to come out in recent decades, Get Out, does the exact same thing. I know that gore splatter and body horror films are popular but they never scare me as much as a film willing to be patient enough to make the scares matter.

We’re told the legend of the founding of Antonio Bay, involving a tragic shipwreck and it’s obvious from the start that even if every word of this legend is not going to turn out to be true, it will still be deadly. Even more so because the teller of the tale is able to time the tale so that it is finished at the very second that it is 100 years to the date that the shipwreck happened. We know there are ghosts coming for someone from the depths of the bay, through the fog.

Around the same time, a priest in town discovers an old journal belonging to his grandfather, full of murder and secrets buried for a century.

It turns out that the campfire story was only partly true. The shipwreck was deliberate and six men met their deaths because of it. Now, one hundred years after, these six men are coming back through the fog to take revenge on six victims.

Simultaneously, a ship out to sea is enveloped with fog, and a radio station operator starts seeing the impossible. The fog moves against the wind.

The rest of the movie is basically what amounts to guessing who will get killed and who will survive. And to be honest, the effects don’t all hold up that well. But it still works for a few reasons. First, Carpenter waits long enough to truly show us the monsters that they don’t have to look that good. Second, the performances by everyone in this are outstanding. To top that off, the film stars high quality actors including the ever entertaining Hal Holbrook, scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis and of course, the most famous Hitchcock blond of them all, Janet Leigh. Finally, Carpenter makes the stakes high immediately by murdering everyone on the ship at sea.

It’s a fascinating psychological portrait and while there are things that jump out at you and startle you, it never has to rely on that to be frightening. I wish more films could learn these lessons. Jump cuts are fun and entertaining but they simply don’t make for the greatest tone, and personally, I usually notice the edit and think, “yeah okay that was a jump cut, let’s move on.”

I can see how a lot of horror fans may have missed this film as it was never as popular as Halloween and it’s sequels and while it doesn’t quite grip you as well as The Thing, it is still masterful cinema. If you love a good ghost tale and have about ninety minutes, you should definitely check this movie out. And if, like me you haven’t seen it in years, it’s a great and fun look back on when horror took it’s time to creep up behind you before striking out.

Foggily yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Christmas Evil – #MovieReview

Hi everyone out there, it’s me Slick Dungeon. Today is the 75th of whatever, so I decided it would be the perfect time to watch a horror film about Christmas. Yep, you’ve seen Halloween, you’ve marveled at Friday the 13th but you know what? There are a whole lot more holidays out there so, why not Christmas? It’s as bad as it sounds so buckle up because I have an exclusive Slick Dungeon treat for you here.

First let me say, that there will be spoilers for Christmas Evil, or as it was originally titled, You Better Watch Out, or also as it was once titled, Terror in Toyland as well as for… Santa Claus. No not the movie, the person. Also, at the end of this I am going to tell you how you can watch this movie for free. That’s right, a no cost blood letting of a movie set during Christmas time. Just think of me as your local dungeon Santa Claus.

I saw the title of this movie and I knew I had to review it. I watched it and it’s not as easy to summarize as you would think. Believe it or not, it is somewhat difficult to give a fresh take on a movie where a guy watches his father, dressed up as Santa Claus, rub his mother’s stocking, gets a bizarre Oedipal complex because of it, becomes obsessed with Santa, creepily peeps into windows to watch children, steals from his place of employment to donate to a children’s hospital, commits some homicide, goes to an office party, sneaks into homes to give presents, commits some more homicide, drives around town in a van painted like a sleigh, runs into some neighborhood children and then gets in a switch blade knife fight with their parents, finally goes over to his brother’s house and is almost choked to death by him and then drives off of an overpass. Okay, actually, maybe a fresh take on this is not needed but… I have discovered something here in my dungeon and you are not going to believe it. I found Harry Stadling’s diary. Who’s Harry Stadling? Why, the homicidal Santa Claus of course!

Without further ado, here are his entries.

———————————

Christmas Eve 1947

Dear Diary,

Oh boy am I excited! I just saw Santa Claus putting out presents. My brother Phil saw him too but he’s convinced that it wasn’t Santa. He thinks it was Dad. Phil is going to be so messed up when we grow up, I just know it.

Later the same night

Oh man, oh man, I just saw Santa gettin’ frisky with mom. It was weird and I am sure Dad is going to be so upset. I’m not going to let it bother me though, I’m sure thirty years from now I’m not going to become obsessed with Christmas, make my own Santa suit and commit triple homicide or anything.

Also, I must have been good this year because I got a lot of toys and I write surprisingly well for a four year old. Too bad I smashed a snow globe and cut my hand with the pieces just to see my own blood.

Anyway, I gotta get to bed now. I’ll write more here soon.

Love,

Harry

Thanksgiving Eve 1980

Dear Diary,

I know it’s been a while since I wrote, sorry about that. Next year I am making writing in my diary my New Years resolution. I’m sure I will live past Christmas, why wouldn’t I?

I’ve been watching some neighborhood children with binoculars that I got last Christmas. My brother Phil is a real jerk cause of that thing he said about Santa when he was six but these binoculars are nice. Most of the kids in the neighborhood are great but there’s this one who looks at dirty magazines. Not sure if I will strangle him but I am definitely going to get a closer look at the bushes by his house later.

I work in a more depressing than can be expressed toy factory now. I have insanely decorated my house with all kinds of Christmas stuff but hey it makes me happy. It was a rough day at work yesterday. See, I used to work “on the line” at the factory making toys. But they promoted me to be a manager so now I just mostly get aggravated at ad campaigns for false charity that the factory puts out and tell people how much the toys they are making suck. Strangely, I still plan to give out several of these toys to good boys and girls.

Anyway, work was a real downer again. See there was this one guy, Frank, who still works the line and I mentioned to him how I missed it. For unknown reasons he then straight up grabbed my sandwich out of my hands and ate it right in front of me. He’s a nice guy though. Well, I thought so anyway. See he wanted to get out of town early with his wife. He asked me to cover his shift so I did. Then I went to the bar to get a drink. Guess who was there? Diary you are never going to believe this! It was Frank and he called me a schmuck! I wish I could put him on the naughty list! He wasn’t leaving tonight, he was leaving in the morning. What a jerk!

I got so mad I decapitated one of my dolls. With my bare hands! While humming Christmas tunes!

After that I wanted to unwind so I peeped into my brother’s window and saw him making out with his wife. The way you know it was my brother’s house is that there is a random sign in the middle of the lawn that says Stadling for no apparent reason. I stood next to it for a while and gawked awkwardly. I was pretty tired so I left without saying hi or anything.

Love,

Harry

Thanksgiving 1980

Dear Diary,

My brother Phil, who has two sweet kids, wanted me to come over for dinner but I flaked on him. Why? Well, see I watched the Thanksgiving Day parade at Macy’s and I saw Santa in the parade. I decided to ditch dinner and make a home made Santa suit of my very own instead. Yeah, I know that there are still more than twenty days until Christmas and that I put the suit together in a single afternoon but it’s important to be really prepared. Phil will get over it I’m sure. Anyway my flaking on him can’t possibly be as bad as him at six years old saying Santa was not real. That’s just evil.

The fur in the suit was real soft so I hugged it and smelled it like a maniac. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with me.

Later that night

Thought the old van could use a spruce up so I painted Santa’s sleigh on it. I made good use of my time though by also reciting my nutso Christmas list while I did it. I think it looks really nifty and no way it will stand out to say, people who see me murder someone later when I do it in front of a crowded church. The cops will never catch Santa Claus! Err… I mean, paint job looks great!

Love,

Harry

The next day

I came across some kids from the neighborhood today. They told me about what they had been wishing for. One of them wished for a lifetime subscription to Penthouse magazine. It’s that same little punk from before. I’m really going to telegraph in this diary that I might kill him but never do it in this movie. I have a better idea.

Later that night

Hid by the bushes at that kid’s house. I rubbed dirt on my face then kissed the side of his house because… well I don’t know why I did that. I don’t think the audience will know why I did that either. Then I nearly grabbed him but he got in the car with his mom who never saw me even though I am a grown man who hides in bushes and am really obvious in every shot where the kid shows up. And by almost grabbed him I mean my closed fist was about a foot away from him the whole time even though I could have grabbed him. Also the kid’s mom totally slapped him and it seems like that might be a regular thing but I guess that’s fine because any kid who points out a man hiding in the bushes deserves a good slap from his mother?

With that done, I went back and made some toys in a make shift toy shop that I have in my house because, well, it’s there.

Love,

Harry

Christmas Eve Eve 1980

Dear Diary,

Went to the office Christmas party. Guess what? Everyone here is a jerk! They made this ad campaign about donating toys to a kids hospital but they didn’t even know how many kids were in the hospital or how many toys were actually needed. Oh and in a bonus jerk move, they expect the workers to donate some of their own money to contribute to this so called charity drive they are having. It makes me want to murder someone!

Then again I might have freaked some people out by talking about how I know the tune now. Some of them don’t know the tune and some know it but use it for ill gotten success. They need to get with my tune!

Had to bail on the party, I’m not much of an office guy.

Later that night

Went back to the factory and stole a few bags of toys. I know I said they sucked and weren’t good enough for kids but I’m going to take them right over tomorrow to that kids hospital and giving these sucky toys right to them, dressed as Santa!

Love,

Harry

Christmas Eve 1980

Dear Diary,

I glued a beard on my face. I am now Santa Claus. First on the agenda, laugh like a maniac in the mirror. Next I invaded some houses and tossed some packages under the tree for them, even though they already had a bunch of presents. For unknown reasons I brought the big kitchen knife with me and cut into some packages while leaving others. No one will notice my painted van, I am sure.

Also I left a huge bag of dirt for that one kid, so there. I did leave it outside his house though, so it’s not under the tree and I’m not sure the kid will understand it was from Santa. Still, sweet justice!

Went over to that hospital and gave those toys. They totally accepted them even though there was no arrangement and the staff had no clue who I was. Well, I mean they knew I am Santa Claus obviously but they still were a little suspicious. Maybe they’ll remember me by my van next time. It’s the one with a sleigh painted on both sides.

After that I drove over to the church. I waited for everyone to start coming out while I waited at the bottom of the steps. These three people were real jerks to me. So I stabbed one of them in the eye with a toy soldier. Note to self, that’s maybe too sharp for the kids. Then I murdered two other people with an ax because they were also jerks. Good thing no one looked at my license plates or followed me at all. Also good that no one called an ambulance or even attempted to give first aid to those people I killed. I feel great though!

My next stop was leering in at a different Christmas party. They saw that I’m Santa and made me come in and dance. I gave some gifts away and then intimidated the children as much as I could. It was great!

I heard while I was at the party the cops couldn’t find me because I was dressed as Santa. Thank goodness they didn’t think to ask about the hugely obvious van I drive around or anything.

My next stop was Frank’s house. I first tried to suffocate him with my sack of presents but then I decided to just slit his throat with a Christmas decoration. Man those stars on top of trees are sharp! Also, his wife is a real sound sleeper cause she didn’t even wake up until Frank was bleeding out on top of her. I did leave some gifts for the kiddies though, cause they were good all year. I’m pretty tired but Santa’s work is never done.

Love,

Harry (I mean Santa Claus)

Christmas Day 1980

Dear Diary,

Been driving around for a while now. Decided to go back to the factory. I turned on all the assembly lines and just let all the toys fall and break. What’s that? Are they some of the same toys that I delivered to the kids hospital? Yes, why do you ask? I hate those toys but those kids deserved some really bad toys because… they were good?

Once that was done I started to drive over to my brother’s place but the thing is… Christmas lights. I saw them and got my van stuck in a snow drift. Then these kids showed up and they were like, yay, Santa! They came around and started to hug me and I gave them gifts. But then this one guy who was at the church saw me and he pulled out a switchblade. I was pretty worried there but his daughter easily disarmed him and gave me the knife. There was a bit of a scuffle but I got away okay in the end. In my van. That no one has identified to the police in any way whatsoever yet.

Finally got over to my brothers house to celebrate Christmas with him, and the fact that I had snuck into his house to give his kids inferior presents. Oh, and that I had murdered four people. But you know what? Phil, my brother, he tried to choke me to death! We got in this big argument about how I am homicidal and how he told me Santa wasn’t real when he was six. Some people just can’t take a little Christmas cheer I guess. His kids stuck up for me though and were sent upstairs. For a minute I was really out of it. I seemed like I was dead and everything so my brother did the logical thing and dragged my body to my van and put me in it. Jokes on him though because I woke up and slowly punched him right in the face.

Then this angry mob carrying make shift torches showed up. It was crazy! They were marching down the street, switch blade guy right in the front. I knew just what to do. I jumped in my sleigh and drove off the overpass. That’ll teach them.

My van may or may not have flown up into the air but you know I ended the movie with, “A merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

Maybe I’ll land on Tim Allen’s rooftop and I can get a new job.

Love,

Harry (Santa Claus)

———————————–

Wow, so there you have it folks, straight from Harry’s mouth! What a weird story. And it only took ninety or so minutes to watch. I know you are dying to see this so I did promise to tell you how to do it for free.

It’s easy. Sign up for Shudder for a free thirty day trial with the code SHUTIN. You can get the channel on Amazon prime video here. If you don’t have Amazon prime you can sign up for that for a free trial too and then look for the channel Shudder. Put in the code above and you are all set to watch some amazing Christmas mayhem. Enjoy! Tell ’em Harry sent you.

Merrily yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – #MovieReview

Slick Dungeon back to review another film in the Friday the 13th series. Strap in, to your life boats, put on your life jacket and brace for stormy seas because there be spoilers ahead for all the Jason movies up to this point. You have been warned.

Well, we need a new idea for the ever popular Jason movies. We’ve seen Mrs. Voorhees kill camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. We’ve seen Jason kill camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. We’ve seen Jason kill people at houses near Camp Crystal Lake. We’ve seen Jason kill other people at a different house near camp Crystal Lake. We’ve seen someone who is not Jason kill people at a halfway house near Camp Crystal Lake. We’ve seen Jason go back to he neighborhood of Crystal Lake after being resurrected from the dead. And we have seen Jason go toe to toe with a psychic at a house near Camp Crystal Lake. You know what we should do? Send Jason to Manhattan! He’s never been in a city before so let’s do that! Great. Only, you know location costs are high when filming in New York City right? You have to stop traffic and all that stuff. Okay, here’s the plan. We call it Jason Takes Manhattan but we have it mostly take place… on a boat! Err… on a boat? Yeah on a boat, it’s gonna be great. Didn’t Jason drown and wouldn’t be be afraid of being out on the water? Yeah, but boat. But how do we get him to New York City? Isn’t Camp Crystal Lake, you know, a lake? Meaning it doesn’t connect to the ocean? It’s Jason on a boat! No one will notice. I think they will. We’ll have Jason knock someone’s head off with a single punch though. Oh, okay if Jason is going to do that, we’re all in, no need to explain plot holes at all here.

Oddly, there are some things that are done really well in this movie despite the whole Jason on a boat thing. There are decently developed characters and there is even some character change by the end. This starts off a little weird with some shots of grungy city life in New York but with a radio station talking about kids from a high school in Crystal Lake coming to visit. Then we shift over to a boat on Camp Crystal Lake where a couple of teenagers are hanging out uh… doing what teenagers do. The boy tells the girl the legend of Jason. It’s not the whole old crazy man warns kids away scene that I love, but it is the let’s tell a spooky story and then have that story come to life scene. Moments later these teenagers are dead after Jason has been resurrected with the unlikely combination of an anchor hitting a power line under water just right, sparking electricity that flows directly to where Jason has been chained.

Next we see high school students loading onto a cruise ship that, again is going to the ocean, from wherever Camp Crystal Lake is, (I think somewhere in upstate New York that does not have a lake that connects to an ocean). The next third of the film is the same thing as all the other movies. Jason stalks and kills people, only this time, this time, it’s… yes… on a boat. The boat goes through some major damage caused not only by Jason but also by those trying to stop him. Finally, the boat sinks and a few people make it out on a row boat and do in fact make it to New York City. Guess who tagged along? You got it, Jason climbs out of the water soon after they dock. There’s a bit of a run around through the city, on the subway and in the sewers until Jason is finally killed by… toxic waste. Yep, all it takes to get Jason to go away for good is some good ol’ New York City toxic waste.

I had a few questions and comments here.

  1. We didn’t get the old man warns people away from Crystal Lake scene but you know what we did get? That’s right, we got the ship’s crewman telling everyone this voyage is doomed scene! I love it. Also, if anyone out there needs me to stand on a ship and warn people that their voyage is doomed, give me a call.
  2. In the beginning when we get the narration of why Jason kills people, they say he haunts the lake, killing teens to get revenge. You know what that does not explain at all? All the adults who are not teens that he kills. Sorry, I want my ghost stories to be consistent.
  3. Again, I don’t think that’s how electricity works but apparently if you want Jason to live, pump him full of electricity. But also, if you want to slow Jason down, you can, hit him with electricity. So uh.. yeah, there’s that.
  4. There was no car trouble whatsoever in this. You know why? It was on a boat! People finally figured out that their cars wouldn’t save them from Jason so they thought to give the boat a try.
  5. Speaking of boats, the harbor where people load on at Crystal Lake is way larger than one would expect considering this is always talked about as a small town.
  6. That boat that those teenagers from the beginning were on floats into the harbor and it’s covered in blood but no one seems to notice or care at all. Come on people, when a ghost ship rolls into town there is trouble on the way. Have none of you read Dracula?
  7. Most things won’t kill Jason but a few stop them. At one point in this movie, Rennie, one of the few who will survive, is given a fountain pen that supposedly belonged to Stephen King. Later in the movie, Rennie stabs Jason in the eye with it and he totally slows down. Stephen, can we get some more of those pens?!
  8. In this Jason also picks up a brand new hockey mask but in some shots his mask still has the ax mark from like the third film. Did no one think to make sure the mask damage was consistent here?
  9. Jason lumbers all around New York City, in Times Square, on the subway, in a diner, on the sewers and when people first see him, they have no reaction to him at all. Checks notes: yep, this checks out perfectly.
  10. Years before this the Muppets took Manhattan. In that movie, I learned that to take Manhattan, you had to make friends with rats at a diner, bring all your pals along, have a fight with them and send them away then be sad for a while, then have a memory of all of you as adorable babies before successfully putting on a Broadway show. Guess who didn’t do any of that? That’s right, Jason. So let me be clear here: Jason never took Manhattan at all!!
  11. Jason is killed by toxic waste in the New York Sewers. Uh, seriously? Why would that be a weakness of Jason’s?
  12. Also, why is there so much toxic waste around here?
  13. Well, it’s been a fun eight movies but Jason is finally at rest where he belongs. In the sewers of New York City, swimming around in toxic waste. We can all rest easy now, there won’t be any more Jason movies or deaths. What? What is that you just said? Jason Goes to Hell? Okay yeah that seems about right but isn’t that pretty much where we would expect to find him? Oh, Jason X? I mean what, Jason X marks the spot? This is getting silly. Freddy Vs. Jason? Yeah, okay I guess that could be fun. A reboot?! A reboot?! Can you actually do that? Friday the 13th? And we are just going to pretend the rest never happened? Oh man, there are a lot of these. Can anything kill Jason? I mean besides toxic sludge in New York City, or the pen of America’s favorite horror author of course.

Will I be reviewing all of those other Jason movies? Eh.. maybe? Depends on if I can get them on a subscription service I already have or not. I am sure eventually I will get to all of them but for now I am only doing the ones on Shudder.

I am going to watch and review the two documentaries about the series on there and I will report back on those for sure. I hope you have gotten a kick out of some of these reviews and let me know in the comments or @DungeonSlick on twitter if there is another movie series you would like me to obsessively watch and then rip apart in reviews full of nonsense and questions.

Stay safe out there and remember. Take a buddy with you when you go camping!

Slashingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS: Want to watch Jason get turned back into an eight year old boy by New York City’s finest toxic waste? Check it out below by clicking on the image.

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Friday the 13th Part 3 – #MovieReview

Jason Found a Hockey Mask

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! Wait, what’s that you say? It’s not Friday the 13th? This month doesn’t even have a Friday the 13th? Well, who can tell anymore. I’ve been in my dungeon so long I have no idea what the day is anymore let alone the date, so I’m just going to go with it’s Friday the 13th okay?

The movie series Friday the 13th is an absolute juggernaut of horror. Jason has been picking off camp counselors since 1980 and it might surprise you to know that he doesn’t even get his iconic hockey mask until the third film. It didn’t surprise me because I have seen all these movies before but that fact surprises a lot of people who are not horror fans.

Fair warning before I go into the review. There will be spoilers so if you haven’t watched this yet, go do it and then come back for the review. Spoiler: Jason kills people. Did you really watch it? Ah, who cares, just read my review. I put a lot of effort into these because… I have nothing else to do…

Anyway, the third film finds another group of people dumb enough to go up near Camp Crystal Lake to spend some time running away from a deranged killer. The film opens a lot like part two did, with a bit of a recap from the previous film. I guess in case anyone forgot what happened the last time. And so that you know that Jason is the killer in this one. In case you weren’t sure. Next he goes on to kill a couple of people who must live sort of near Jason but it’s not really explained who they are or why Jason offs them.

In fact, most of the killing Jason does in this one seems to be more for sport than to follow any plot development from the last two films. This time, the people going up there seem to just be spending a weekend or something up near the camp. They don’t even say they are camp counselors. Still, Jason offs them anyway cause I guess he want to? He then seems to live there or near there until these new people show up to camp for the weekend.

There is actually a little bit of character development in this film. We get the character of Chris Higgins who is a woman who survived an encounter with Jason a couple of years ago. She wasn’t in the previous films or anything, just a random encounter with Jason. Turns out that the actress who survives at the end of the second film didn’t want to come back for the third film so we get what kind of feels like a tacked on extra attack scene. But still, Chris surviving the attack and then coming back and having a second round with Jason is kind of the point. Well, the horror, gore and jumping out of nowhere to try to scare us is the point but you know what I mean.

The plot runs mostly as you would expect. People camp, they walk off without a buddy (take a buddy with you!) then they get killed by Jason. Later other people find those bodies, turn around and get killed by Jason. Then later other people find those bodies, run away from Jason, almost get killed by Jason, don’t get killed by Jason, kill Jason, Jason doesn’t seem to stay dead, he kills some more people, then they kill Jason again and maybe he’s dead?

I had a few thoughts while watching this.

  1. Why is Jason killing these people? They’re not camp counselors. They don’t even say they are. I know this is silly but I want Jason to have a reason to kill these people, since at least in the first two there was one.
  2. Who in their right mind decides to go anywhere near this place anymore? There have been at least five nights of tragic death and terror at this lake. I would think that’s bad enough press that you wouldn’t go camping there any more.
  3. The character who starts off with the hockey mask is a huge jerk. They make this big deal over and over about “what happened to Chris up there” in the years past. Yet this dude fakes his own death to get a laugh and scares everyone as if he was a killer as a prank. Considering the history of this place that is beyond bad taste. Jason, why are you trying to be like this guy?!
  4. That dude is not the only jerky guy in this. As a laugh, Chris’ sort of boyfriend jumps out of nowhere, grabs her by the throat then starts kissing her. Then he has the nerve to ask her what is wrong. Really dude? Really? Wow, out of touch much?
  5. Oh good Jason got rid of the jerks.
  6. There are these motorcycle gang characters in this. All of them end up killed by Jason of course but man oh man, it’s hilarious to see what eighties movies thought tough guys looked like.
  7. The cops in this area are so, so bad. They don’t warn people away, they don’t seem to notice that there is a killer up by this lake, and in three films, we have had three different local cops up there but only after everything happens.
  8. This still has the dude warns everyone away scene but this time, the guy is holding an eyeball. Okay, if I am ever warned away from a place by a guy holding an eyeball, I am not going to dismiss that. In that situation you need to report this to the police and hope they can find out who used to own that eyeball. But nope, these character just keep driving cause, weekend plans. And also the cops suck anyway so why bother?
  9. Note to self: get a job as a guy who warns people away in horror films. Bring eyeball.
  10. I gotta say that Jason really improved his look in this one. The hockey mask is working for him. He should go with that for sure. It’s been a while since I saw the other ones so now I am wondering if he wears the same mask in all the others or does he like need to pick up fresh ones?
  11. Jason took an ax to the face but he’s still walking? Really? Okay, I guess it’s time to totally suspend disbelief now. I can do that. But if there isn’t an ax whole in that hockey mask in the next movie, Jason definitely got a new one.
  12. In three out of three films there is car trouble at a crucial moment. This time it’s because the motorcycle gang stole gas out of the van instead of just battery trouble. Still, these people are terrible at car maintenance. And like, checking if you have gas before driving away.
  13. Note to self: Open auto repair shop near Crystal Lake.

I think I am gonna stop there with 13. See what I did there? Can you blame me? It’s Friday after all. Isn’t it?

Anyway, the next one is called Friday the 14th Part IV: The Final Chapter. That means it’s the last one right? Right?!

Datedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS: Want to see Jason pick up his iconic mask? Click below and enjoy!

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Friday the 13th – #MovieReview

When Kevin Bacon Can’t Make it Through His Fourth Film We Are All In Trouble

It’s half way to Halloween and I’m not sure if the idea of taking candy from strangers, or getting breathed on by a stranger is more dangerous. What I do know is that on Shudder right now, all the Friday the 13th movies are available. I thought now might be as good a time as any to see if they are worth a re-watch.

I remember liking this series a lot as a kid. I used to go over to my friends houses and have sleep overs where we would watch whatever the latest one was and then shiver under the blankets for the rest of the night. Now that I am a grown Slick Dungeon, I thought it would be fun to see if it has the same sense of fun that it used to. I am guessing not, or not entirely but there are a lot of these so I just started with the first one.

This is a film that has been made, re-made, rebooted, sequel-ed, re-imagined, and outright stolen from and copycatted more times than maybe anything else in horror. When you think about how often this has been done and re-done, you start to think that maybe there is a good reason for that. I’m here to argue that there is.

While I suspect this one is the best of the series, that doesn’t mean it’s the best ever movie, I just think it did what it set out to do. For those of you who have never sat through a Friday the 13th film, and know nothing about the horror genre and have somehow been divorced from pop culture since 1980, fair warning: spoilers follow.

This starts out in Camp Crystal Lake, an idyllic yet remote campground in 1958. A couple of camp counselors go off to ahem.. get to know each other better. While they are in the middle of that, the camera shifts to a first person point of view shot and seconds later one of the camp counselors is drenched in blood, knife sticking out of him, without us knowing why this is happening. The next shot is basically the whole point of the film and eventually the series. The female counselor screams into the camera and it freezes on her frame. I know that everyone says the hockey mask is the icon of this film series, but in this movie at least, I say it’s that shot. The whole point of the film is to have the audience screaming and reacting just like her. I also think the film makers played it smart by not giving us a clue in the beginning as to why there is a killer. The use of the first person camera angle is smart because it’s a really easy way to hide the monster. This is not the first movie to use those ideas but it did put those elements together well in this case.

We next get the warning scene that you see in nearly one hundred percent of horror films. A new camp counselor is just outside of Crystal Lake Campground basically at the town where it’s the point of no return. If you go up to Crystal Lake, you are likely not coming back. In the little diner there, the counselor asks for directions and the old, “crazy guy” in town tells everyone they should stay away from that place. Note to self: when I retire, make sure to find jobs in horror films being the old crazy guy who warns everyone they should stay away from that place.

The reaction of the townsfolk to the warning is what you would expect. This dude is kinda nuts. But on the other hand, bad stuff has happened at this camp over the years so maybe you should stay away. No one ever seems to ask for more information in these cases which would save a lot of lives. Note to self: if you are ever warned away from someplace, just collect my stuff and leave.

We spend virtually no time getting to know any characters and there is absolutely zero character growth or change in this film so it doesn’t matter too much to us who gets picked off and killed or why. But there are enough moments of surprise and shock to keep you interested to find out what happens. The night progresses and everyone is essentially picked off one by one, with the exception of Alice who finds out who the killer is, why the killer does what they do, survives the surprise end and will be the only one who really knows what actually happened that night.

There were a few things that I wondered throughout this though.

  1. In the beginning, the killer is smart and just picks off the counselors one by one and hides the bodies in ways that you might not find them. Why does that change two thirds into the film?
  2. This film is the first in the series so it’s nice to see that they can be stopped with normal human methods, not like supernatural powers or whatever.
  3. I swear if all small towns were like the ones in horror movies, no local police should ever be allowed to be police because they never do their jobs.
  4. How has this killer roamed free since 1958 up to 1980? I mean the police never even say like, that person was never caught or anything here so what are the cops doing?
  5. Don’t hitch hike but if you do, when the guy says you should quit and leave, quit and leave.
  6. Fair warning I am going to give the killer away in the next bullet so if you don’t want to know don’t read further.
  7. I mean it, I am going to say who it is.
  8. Seriously, you have been warned.
  9. Mrs. Voorhees comes out of nowhere to go after Alice but she goes on this long speech about how her kid died in the lake and that she is killing everyone because of that. Why does she only share with Alice? Or better question, why wouldn’t she just keep her mouth shut and off Alice the way she did everyone else, as a surprise that they probably couldn’t get away from?
  10. Also, if you are in a Scream movie you better know that it was Pamela Voorhees not Jason Voorhees killing everyone. Jason only gets to be a voice in the distance and in her head and then some kind of zombie-ish thing to scare Alice at the end.
  11. Kevin Bacon is in this? Checks notes. Yes, that’s Kevin Bacon.
  12. Isn’t Kevin Bacon the great hero who got the sticks out of everyone’s butts according to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2?
  13. Isn’t Kevin Bacon the guy who warned us about Six Degrees of Separation way before a pandemic happened?
  14. Okay to be fair that was Will Smith, but about Kevin Bacon.
  15. Isn’t Kevin Bacon the guy who was in Flatliners, Tremors, Footloose and Apollo 13?
  16. Kevin Bacon can survive anything right? Including, giant worms, dancing, being adrift in space and being talked about by Will Smith.
  17. Come on Kevin Bacon, make it through this movie.
  18. Is that Kevin Bacon with an arrow through his throat?
  19. Oh man, Kevin Bacon, say it ain’t so!
  20. Yeah Kevin Bacon died in this.
  21. I am calling it now, after this one, this series is dead because they killed Kevin Bacon!
  22. Don’t mess with the Kevin Bacon okay?
  23. Sorry did I just go off on a Kevin Bacon tangent?
  24. Can you blame me though?
  25. Anyway this ends up with the obligatory no one believes the survivor scene. If there was one type of scene I would get rid of in all Hollywood films, it’s this one. Why wouldn’t people believe Alice? She is the only one to survive a huge massacre so like, maybe she knows what she is talking about?

For this one, I definitely think this is worth a re-watch. I will let you know what I think of the others as I continue with the series. I know they can’t be as good because it won’t have Kevin Bacon. But then again maybe they will be better because they can’t kill Kevin Bacon?

Frighteningly Yours,

Slick Dungeon





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Top 10 Signs a Movie is So Bad it’s Good

So bad yet so good

How do you know something is not just bad, not just awful, not just terrible, but so bad it’s good? I mean something where the film stands out in it’s awfulness so much that it is destined to become a cult classic? I’ve spent a lot of time around bad films so I came up with this list to help you identify that something has gone so bad that it will last forever. Here’s how we separate The Emoji Movie, destined to be forgotten and hated forever, from the stand outs of trash cinema like The Room and Pink Flamingos. Hope you enjoy!

  1. The plot is utterly outlandish. While this isn’t the most essential part, usually having a strangely concocted plot helps. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is about a couple that get stranded on a rainy night in a castle run by murderous transvestites (I know that word may not be PC anymore but it’s what is used in the film). Tremors is all about giant earth worms being mistaken for earthquakes. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is about, well, the title sums it up doesn’t it? If you are watching Sharknado and it’s got a tornado full of sharks, it’s destined to be so bad it’s kind of awesome.
  2. Production value is low. Again, this is not the most essential ingredient but it sure helps. There are films that counter this point and have a great production value but are still cult classics. But you know something is awful when everything looks like it’s duct taped together and held in by rusty screws. One of the reasons Ed Wood films stand out in cinema is that you can see how little money was put into them. In Plan 9 From Outer Space you can actually see foam gravestones get kicked over as if they were made of… foam. Upon repetitious viewing, it’s still hilarious.
  3. The Budget has exploded. This is counter to point 3. Watterworld had a huge budget. So did Battlefield Earth. Yet they failed on essentially every level. People still watch them today because of how bad they were. It’s incredible to see big name actors like Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper prance around these huge sets and just kill the whole thing with the absurdity of it all. It combines to make a truly unique, so bad it is good kind of experience.
  4. The Acting is Awful This one is vital. You can have a low budget, or an overblown budget and an absurd plot but if you have even one stellar stand out acting performance, there is no way this will become a cult classic. Tim Curry does nearly invalidates this point in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But if you have seen The Room, you know without question how bad acting can take an otherwise so so plot, fairly decent production costs and a typical love triangle and make into a sort of car wreck you can’t take your eyes off of. It’s so bad it’s good. You can watch it over and over again, and it’s even more fun if you watch it with a live crowd.
  5. There’s a shocking amount of Something. For this one, it can be gore, it can be foul language, it can be a creature of some type but most essentially it has to be excessive. The Toxic Avenger has a stunning amount of gore, practically pouring through the screen in every other scene. The film doesn’t shy away from it. It revels in it. While this point does not always have to be in a film for it to be so bad it’s good. a majority have this. Another good example would be Showgirls. It has a seriously alarming amount of unnecessary nudity. There are other things about that film that make it so bad it’s good but this aspect contributes heavily.
  6. The dialogue isn’t just bad, it’s memorably bad. Good films need stand out lines like, “I’ll be back.” Cult classic films need lines like “You’re tearing me apart!” (The Room) and “Alright everybody, drop your tacos or I’ll blow your brains out.” (The Toxic Avenger). It might not be Casablanca but I guarantee you will find yourself quoting these lines to your friends.
  7. The special effects don’t work. Can you see that the body thrown off a cliff is just a mannequin with a wig on it? Do the ray guns used in the film just emit a slightly grainy light? Is the makeup so bad that you can’t even tell what the character is supposed to be? Then you just might have a cult classic on your hands. This is usually more reserved for the cult classics that are science fiction related than set in every day life. But, if you have seen Space Zombie Bingo!!! then you know how bad poorly designed effects can be. So bad that you have to watch again just to convince yourself you really saw what you think you saw.
  8. There are problematically unusual directing choices. It’s one thing to get experimental on purpose and try something out in film. It’s another to have jagged and pointless cuts, splice in stock footage, switch from day to night in the same scene or make someone look ten feet tall in one shot and like they are vertically challenged in the next. Normally, one or two of these in a film would just be considered a mistake. A cult classic takes this to the next level. There are so many errors in there, you get to thinking they must have been planned. Actors flub their lines, drop things and get tangled up in the scenery constantly in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. It’s like the original Easter egg just watching that movie to see all the times something went horribly wrong.
  9. The film either takes itself too seriously or not seriously enough. Waterworld thinks it is staging Hamlet. It’s not. Showgirls wants to be a serious exploration of the working conditions dancers (not strippers!) have to deal with every day. It doesn’t. Plan 9 From Outer Space didn’t take itself seriously enough to take the time to develop into a decent story. When you get either side of this spectrum you can end up with an amazingly bad movie that is just fun to watch.
  10. People know the film is bad but they watch it repeatedly. This is the ultimate sign of a film being elevated from bad to so bad it’s good. I think The Meg was trying for this but it missed the mark. However, The Room, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Toxic Avenger, and Plan 9 From Outer Space have all taken on a life of their own outside of the regular box office. Showgirls has web pages and forums dedicated to it. People don’t view these things to appreciate them on the surface, They go because it’s a chance to laugh a little. They go to interact with other weirdos and oddballs that can also see the mangled attempt at art these movies represent. There’s nothing wrong with being bad. Heck, at least these film makers tried. That’s a whole lot more than 99% of people can say.

So the next time you are watching something and you are sure it is bad but not sure if it’s so bad it’s good, remember this list. It can separate out the cult classic from the classicly awful.

I hope you enjoyed my take on this. Did I miss anything? If so, leave a reply.

Badly yours,

Slick Dungeon