Movie Review – The Evil Dead II

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hello out there internet people, it’s me Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review the next in the Evil Dead series, The Evil Dead II.

Just a warning before we get too deep into this review, if you have not seen the movie yet, I may lay some spoilers out below. You’ve been warned.

In some ways this is not a sequel. A lot of the beginning of the film is very similar to the first but Sam Raimi actually fixes a lot of what I saw as problems with the first movie. We still have a couple driving to a remote cabin in the woods. This time though, it’s just a couple, not five people together and they are sneaking into the cabin rather than going there because one of their friends knows about the place. A car crosses a bridge to get there, just like in the first movie but this time the bridge seems sturdy. The cabin itself doesn’t seem all that menacing from the outside. In general the actions of the characters seem a bit more logical here, although logic only extends so far in any horror film.

As Ash, the main character (played by Bruce Campbell) is poking around he discovers the cellar. It’s really only at that point things get creepy. He finds an ancient book and a recording of a professor who is trying to decode the language in the book. You can probably guess a lot of what happens from here. Evil spirits are summoned, Ash tries to escape to the bridge but only after he has had to murder his girlfriend, and finds out the bridge is now mangled and bent and there is no way across.

At the same time, the daughter of the professor who owns the cabin is on her way there to give more pages of the ancient book, the “Book of the Dead” to him. In those pages are the means to defeat the evil that is pursuing Ash and everyone in the forest.

Lots of gore and action happen and we even get to see Ash with his famous chainsaw hand and shotgun holstered on his back.

I know it probably shouldn’t have but the ending surprised me a bit and I think that, in addition to some of the fixes of the problems in the first film, is what makes me like this one a lot more.

Sam Raimi definitely put Bruce Campbell through the wringer on this one. He gets dumped in mud, soaked in blood, lashed at with tree branches and just generally has the worst night ever. I can’t imagine all of the filming was fun for him but it worked out to be a pretty solid film.

I’m looking forward to the next movie to see where exactly they take it from here. I know some people have more love for the first film than the second but my vote is for the second in this franchise.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Movie Review – The Evil Dead

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey horror fanatics, it’s me Slick Dungeon. Happy October and I hope you are having lots of fun frights this month. Today I decided to give a watch to a movie I have never seen but had heard a lot about.

The Evil Dead is an independent horror film that kicked off the careers of both Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. There are a few reasons I had never watched this before. First, a lot of people have told me how great it was and I was afraid it might be a bit overhyped. Second, because it has an NC-17 rating it used to be harder to find. With streaming services abounding, the second issue is not such a problem but I do think the movie gets a bit more credit than it deserves. It’s still a good watch, it’s just not as legendarily frightening as some people may lead you to believe.

If you haven’t seen this and want to give it a try before any spoilers, stop reading here and watch first, then come back and read away. In other words, there will be spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

A group of five friends head out to a cabin in the woods for a little rest and relaxation. When they get there they discover the place is rundown, there are chains everywhere, and they promptly discover an old book and some recordings that claim demons can be summoned from Hell and the only way to stop them is, “bodily dismemberment.”

As you might imagine, they have a terrible night and are definitely not going to recommend this Air BnB to anyone else. People get possessed, friends have to kill friends, ancient books are tossed into the fire to stop the whole thing and the end leaves you guessing as to whether or not there will be a sequel. Spoiler: there will be.

For the time, I think the makeup and special effects might have been pretty good. When compared to what we can do today, a lot of it seems a little silly. Even so, I can’t hold that against the film. I think it’s a solid first film to set up a franchise on, however there are some things that didn’t make sense and I have a few questions here.

  1. The characters start out driving along a lonely highway and have to cross a rickety bridge to get where they are going. The car breaks through a part of the bridge but they are able to get over it in the end. At this point, I think it would be reasonable to say, hey how about we go back and spend the night in town instead? Why didn’t they do that?
  2. Scott, the guy who apparently rented the place, or knows about it or whatever, says he had never been there and that it might be run down. They arrive and everyone but Scott just stands there looking at the cabin as Scott unlocks it. Why didn’t anyone either help to unload bags at that point or go into the cabin with Scott? Also, they are staring at the place like they are afraid of it. Why didn’t they leave?
  3. Once they are inside the cabin it seems the motif is animal heads, animal skulls, and rusty chains. Umm… who decorates like that? This interior designer should really be fired.
  4. Fine, they cross the bridge, they make it to the cabin, they go inside the cabin and they plan on staying. Not long after that, one of the characters goes down into the cellar and they discover a shotgun, an old burnt up book that seems to have depictions of demons and a recording of a professor who basically says he summoned these demons into the woods. Hello? Time to leave! Anyone? Anyone?
  5. Next a woman goes out into the woods because she hears voices calling to her. I don’t want to reveal too many spoilers but once she is in the woods, unspeakable things happen to her, and it’s by far the most uncomfortable part of the film. She arrives back to the cabin bloody and scratched up, clearly injured and understandably upset. She demands to go home but everyone seems to think she is the unreasonable one. What the heck people? Even if you don’t believe the trees came alive and attacked her, she’s clearly injured. Can these people really not take a hint? At the very least deliver some first aid!
  6. Of course when they do decide to try to leave they are unable to as we all expected would happen. I think this would have made sense a lot earlier in the movie. The whole thing would seem more sensible if once they first crossed the bridge they tried to go back and the way was blocked at that point. Why didn’t Sam Raimi have that happen instead of these ridiculous choices first??

As much as those things mentioned above bugged me, I still overall liked the movie and I’ll check out the sequels, especially since I believe they become more comedic as time goes by.

For now I will just leave you with this. If your friends ask you to go to a cabin in the woods for the weekend, ask to see pictures of the place before you go. If the pictures include rusty chains, skeletons of any kind, broken bridges or anything demon related, tell them to have a nice weekend on their own because you need to spend that time re-reading through the terms and conditions of every app you have on your phone.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

We Summon the Darkness – #MovieReview

What’s up everyone? Slick Dungeon here back to review the Netflix horror flick We Summon the Darkness. I promise not to give too much away but if you continue reading from here on out there could be mild spoilers. You have been warned.

If you were alive in the 1980’s and knew about the hair metal bands of the time, this movie will bring you right back to that period. The opening has all the iconic things from the 80’s you remember. Leather jackets, teased hair, the old Twinkie boxes and even Jolt cola. The movie follows three women who go to a heavy metal concert. While there they see signs that things are not exactly great in the area. Apparently there has been a slue of murders attributed to a satanic cult. When the women get to the concert they meet three men out for one last night of fun before they say goodbye to one of their group for good. The two groups start to hang out and the evening suddenly becomes very deadly.

This movie is described as horror and while there certainly are horror elements to it, I would classify this as more of a thriller than anything. The plot is very grounded in reality and although we have seen this sort of thing before this movie does have a fresh take on it.

The movie makes great use of limited locations and most of the night takes place in a single house. In some ways this reminded me of The Purge but I think the movie I would say this is closest to mirroring is the excellent Kevin Smith film Red State.

If you like the 80’s, if you are a fan of horror or thriller films, and if you enjoy seeing some of those conventions upended, this movie is for you.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Babysitter: Killer Queen – #MovieReview

Hey out there comedy horror fans, what’s going on? McG is back with another crazy horror comedy film on Netflix. Allow me, Slick Dungeon, to give you a little review of it. There will be some mild spoilers below so you have been warned.

The first film in the franchise (wait is 2 films a franchise?) followed Cole, a kid who was just a little too old to have a babysitter. Turns out his babysitter was part of a demon blood cult and they spent a night trying to kill him. It didn’t end well for them. If you want to know more about it, see my review of the first one here.

It’s two years later and while Cole is no longer under lethal threat, he is still the picked on kid at high school. But what about the girl he met from the first movie, doesn’t she like him? They kissed at the end of the last one, she must like him right? Well, she does seem to be the only one that does still think he is okay. She even invites him to go to a lake house for the weekend when….

HUGE SPOILER COMING

She tries to kill him because she is part of that same blood cult from the first movie.

The rest of the movie for the most part, plays out as you would expect. Old cast members return, new ones try to kill Cole, all of them die in gruesome and hilarious ways. There is another twist at the end that I won’t give away.

This movie is a little bigger than the first and there are a few more stunts but basically, if you watched and enjoyed the first one, this one is not a bad follow up. I definitely chuckled through most of it although some of the jokes felt less than fresh.

The only thing I never really bought was the beginning of the movie where they say that there was no evidence of anyone else being at Cole’s house the night of the first movie. I mean, what? There was like ten gallons of blood spilled and major damage to multiple parts of the neighborhood but whatever, I will let it go, this is not Hamlet.

I will say that I hope they leave it here because I think any movie after this one is going to lose the point. Does this movie have a point? Well, not really but it’s still fun, dumb, entertainment which is exactly what I look for in a horror comedy.

If you like comedy and have a strong stomach, this is totally worth ninety minutes of dumb fun.

Comedically yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Babysitter (2017) – #MovieReview

The Babysitter

What’s going on you young hooligans out there? It’s me, Slick Dungeon, back again to tell you about a wacky horror comedy that’s now showing at your local Netflix. I’m not sure this is the kind of movie that needs this type of disclaimer but there will be spoilers for The Babysitter in this review.

I’m a sucker for comedy horror films, especially the ones of the several characters die implausibly horrible yet also hilariously funny deaths in completely unlikely circumstances due to the actions of a child variety. It’s a very specific genre, but I like it okay?

This is also in the category of a ton of critics hate it but somehow people keep watching it anyway. Let me tell you, I’m on the side of the people watching it anyway. No, it’s not high quality cinema, there is no meaningful revelation you will make because of watching it, but it’s fun okay? It’s still okay to have fun sometimes. For real.

The Babysitter stars Samara Weaving as Bee, the eponymous babysitter, and Judah Lewis as Cole, the babysittee. Cole is twelve years old and still has a babysitter. It’s pretty embarrassing because he is already picked on. However, Bee is cool, pretty and gets along well with Cole. Even his bullies think Bee is cool.

One night when Bee is babysitting Cole, he stays up past his bed time to see what she really gets up to after dark. Turns out it’s a whole lot of murdering and satanic ritual stuff. Needless to say, Cole is freaked out and has to get out of the situation without, you know, ending up dead. One by one Cole goes up against the cultists and one by one ends up obliterating them, usually through accidental means. I don’t want to give up the whole ballgame here by telling you how those deaths go, but some of them are downright hilarious. None of them are really believable, but reality isn’t what this movie is about.

This movie is basically Home Alone if Kevin McCallister was up against murderers instead of robbers and Kevin had unleashed full kill mode instead of less deadly methods. Oh, and also if Kevin did all of that nearly completely by accident. Cole and Kevin do both use fireworks though, so there’s that.

Like I said I don’t want to spoil how the deaths happen so I am just going to share with you my favorite part of the whole movie. If you can get behind this part, then you should watch it. If you think this part is stupid, well, there are a bunch of other things to stream. One of the cultists is a high school quarterback named Max, played by Robbie Amell. He has Cole right where he wants him, he’s about to just end Cole forever when he hears the sound of an egg being thrown at Cole’s house. This is one of the kids who bullies Cole egging his house yet again. Max lets Cole go, drags him over and insists that Cole go and confront his bully. He even gives him a pep talk before he goes over there. It’s hilarious how fast Max goes from deadly killer to older friend who is just looking out for his neighbor and back again. Cole does confront the bully and Max is right back to trying to kill Cole. Less than five minutes later Max is dead. I loved how Max was totally cool with killing a kid but thought that egging was just over the top. To me the scene was really funny.

While this is not the funniest, or scariest horror comedy I have ever seen by a long shot, it’s got enough in it that if you are a fan of those types of movies, it’s worth a try. I mean really, you’re probably reaching the end of your Netflix queue anyway so have a little bit of a bloody laugh.

Comedically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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

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 (2009) – #MovieReview

File This under Did We Have To?

Just when you thought my reviews of Friday the 13th movies were over, I’m back with another one. Slick Dungeon here, wondering why I just watched this. Maybe my review will answer my own question?

Okay so, I know I missed some of the originals but there are some films that can’t even be found in my own dungeon so I was left to watch this one. Just go with it and pretend those other films didn’t really happen. Kind of like this movie does.

I’m going to give you a summary of the… plot? And then I have a few thoughts about this thing. There are spoilers for this that will flow as free as the blood from a machete wound so you have been warned. If you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t want spoilers, watch it now and come back.

The movie starts with the decapitation of Mrs. Voorhees to dispel us of the notion that she could be the killer or that this is at all a straight remake of the first one. Then we get a group of teenage campers who are out in Crystal Lake, looking for weed, having sex and the whole bit. Of course they camp right near Jason, tell a story about Jason, then get killed by Jason. Finally, the credits roll like twenty minutes in to the movie. It’s a few months later and Clay (played by Jared Padalecki) is out looking for his sister who we know is one of the campers from earlier. We also know that she looks exactly like Jason’s mother. We don’t see her die on camera so there’s no guarantee she’s dead.

A different group of people are going up to Crystal Lake to spend the weekend and run into Clay. This one dude Trent is a total jerkwad and from the first second he is on screen we are all waiting to see Jason finish that dude off. Anyway, the story goes like you would expect, Jason stalks the people, kills them in horrific ways and in the end he is stopped at last. It’s a story we have seen on screen at least eleven times before and there isn’t really much new here, other than the fact that after eleven films, this doesn’t work so well when you try to start over.

Still, I had a few thoughts about this movie.

  1. I wondered why I didn’t like this but then I figured it out. I hate virtually everything Michael Bay does. This was only produced by him but I still see his fingerprints all over it. There is modern (for 2009) music in it and it just feels wrong. Everyone is sweaty in practically every shot. The camera doesn’t hold still long enough to actually build tension. The characters are one dimensional for the most part, with the notable exception of Clay, his sister and the character of Jenna (played by Danielle Panabaker). It feels like a big Hollywood set even in the parts that are clearly just people walking in the woods due to the way it’s shot. In the end this is like trying to do horror with a glossy color poster with attractive people from 2009 instead of an old black and white Victorian portrait that actually looks creepy. Putting a modern spin on the film making style does not help this.
  2. It seems like they wanted to feed into every stereotype from these movies to give the audience what they wanted. The thing is, that what the audience actually wants is to be surprised and scared by these movies. So if you see people doing drugs or having sex or whatever, and then they get killed, it’s not scary and it’s no longer a surprise. Also, I never related to these characters much (not that I do in the other ones either really) so when they die, it’s not real impactful.
  3. There was a disturbing lack of car trouble in this movie. How can this be a Friday the 13th movie if the only reason that a car doesn’t start is that there are no keys? Did someone open that Crystal Lake auto repair shop? Cause that was my idea!
  4. Also, the guy who tells the campfire story of Jason does a terrible job. It’s not suspenseful and there is no one to jump out at the end. Come on man, learn to tell a story, otherwise this is just lazy.
  5. This stars Jared Padalecki and there is no Jensen Ackles in the movie. Come on Sam Winchester, you can’t win this without your bro.
  6. I didn’t find the kills in this one particularly inventive. I know after all those movies that came before it’s hard to come up with something new but try a little harder guys. I saw a circular saw and you know how many people got killed with one? Absolutely none.
  7. Jason doesn’t kill Whitney (the missing sister) because she looks like his mother. But he basically keeps her prisoner in his house. Sorry but this makes no sense. Why would Jason take his own mother prisoner. Also, Whitney finds out right in the beginning that she looks like his mother but doesn’t really pull the whole impersonating his mother until the end of the film. What? Why not? I mean she could have done that in the first fifteen minutes and then the movie is over.
  8. Trent is a jerk. They make Trent such an obvious jerk in this movie that you can tell the film makers were like, here’s the guy you can cheer for when he gets killed. Look how jerky his jerkiness is. Let’s make him more of a jerk. Wait he’s not jerky enough so let’s have him cheat on his girlfriend so the audience understands how jerky he is! So yes, there are not one but two attractive women who just want to be all over Trent even though… he is a jerk. Okay…
  9. I did not see an old man warns those kids away from that place scene. This movie fails. The closest we get is an old woman telling Clay that “he just wants to be left alone” with no other explanation. I need an old guy warns people away scene. If you make a sequel to this movie, hire me for that scene, I am available. Also, I work cheap.
  10. While Derek Mears does a great job playing Jason, he’s on camera too much. These movies are always better when you are not sure when he’s going to pop up or from where. As soon as we see Jason, it gets a little less scary and in this one we see him almost right from the beginning. The early ones hid Jason a lot more and that worked to their advantage.
  11. The jump scare at the end of this was so predictable. Again, if we have seen it a bunch of times, even though you are doing a reboot, we are going to see it coming. How about just try something new? Oh wait, you can’t. That’s why you did a reboot. Okay fine.
  12. For a reboot though, this is actually not that bad. I have definitely seen worse reboots. It just never felt… necessary to me though.
  13. This film make the 12th movie about the Voorhees in the series. Can we please, please get one more? Let’s get everyone who survived these to team up and hunt down Jason. And let’s make sure that I am there warning those kids away from that place!

I hope you have enjoyed my reviews of this series. It was fun to take a look at these movies again. Until next time, I’ll be hanging out at a local hardware store near a lake and telling people not to go to that place.

Superstitiously yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS Want to see Sam Winchester without his brother and Killer Frost without the Flash face off against the Voorhees family? Check it out below.

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!

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th – #MovieReview

Happy Friday out there to all of you! Is it Friday? I mean, maybe? Anyway, I spent six hours and forty minutes watching a mega documentary about the Friday the 13th series and I am here to give you my take on it.

Let me start by saying that I am a horror fan and one of the series I have fond memories of is this series, so I am somewhat predisposed to enjoy this documentary. That being said, I think that anyone who has an interest in film making at all, would get a lot of value out of this film too.

Perhaps it’s a little twisted but I loved as a kid, to watch something that just scared me so bad that I couldn’t sleep and Jason was one of those movie monsters that often haunted my dreams. I think there is a deep human need in all of us to allow ourselves to be frightened. I think we need these movie monsters and we need to see our fears on screen and then see them defeated. And I think we still have a deep need to think that at any time, that fear we thought was gone, could come back. It’s cathartic to watch these movies if you ask me, and I don’t apologize for being a fan of horror. But still I recognize that not everyone would want to watch these or to watch a documentary about them. But if you are interested in horror, I am not sure I have seen a more extensive and well done documentary than this one.

The series goes into the extensive history of all the films, including the originals, Freddy VS Jason and the Friday the 13th (2009) reboot. But it also includes some talk about the comic books, novels, toys and even goes into the often forgotten Friday the 13th television series. And as if that wasn’t enough, it is hosted by none other than the original Tommy Jarvis himself, Corey Feldman. It’s got interviews with nearly everyone you would want to hear from that had something to do with the movies. It is quite the time commitment though, so you’ll probably want to break it up by chapters unless you happen to have nearly seven hours to sit there at once. Okay, yeah so one sitting might be fine in this day and age…

I really found this documentary fascinating and informative. Everything from how the shoestring budget original film came together, to how Freddy and Jason finally got pitted against one another. It pulled back the curtain on a lot of the effects, and a ton of the choices that went into making each movie. It also showed how the struggle with the MPAA was a running theme through everything they did. It’s got Kane Hodder giving his take on the films he was in and how he (in my opinion) totally got ripped off when it came time for Freddy VS Jason. It delves into the controversies surrounding some of the films and it surprised me just how aware the film makers were of the parts that fans did not react well to. Whether you love or hate these movies, it’s apparent everyone was trying to make the best films they could, and it’s a gripping look at how it was done.

I don’t want to spoil too much in this so I just want to give you my favorite moment from the whole thing. Ted White who played Jason in one of the films was doing a stunt where he was near the final fight of the movie. The actress was supposed to bring Jason’s iconic machete down onto a pick-axe he is holding. The head of the pick-axe was supposed to meet the blade of the machete. That’s the shot you see in the film. But, when they did the stunt the first time, the actress was a little too fast and Ted White hadn’t yet rotated the pick axe up. As a result the machete cut his finger and he needed to go to the hospital for stitches. Well, being that this was a movie and near the end of Jason’s final battle, Ted had a prop machete sticking out of his shoulder with all this fake blood on him. He goes to the emergency room and walks up the nurse there and everyone is freaking out over it. As soon as he gets to the nurse he calmly says, “Do you have anything for headaches?”. To me, that moment just summarizes the horror, the humor and the the perfect reaction to the best of Friday the 13th. And honestly, that’s just one in a ton of great stories in this documentary.

I know it’s a long time commitment but I can’t recommend this movie enough. If you haven’t yet gotten Shudder you can sign up for it on Amazon Prime for a free trial. To me Shudder is worth it for their Friday the 13th collection alone, but they have a bunch of other good stuff on there too. I believe that you can still get a free trial of it for 30 days if you use the code SHUTIN too, so you don’t have much to lose other than time. (Not trying to give the hard sell here, just saying that I really like Shudder)

I’ve watched the entire Friday the 13th collection on Shudder and while they don’t have every movie in the series, they definitely have the best one (the first four). But out of all the movies in that collection, I enjoyed this one the most. I hope you’ll take some time and check it out.

Documentingly 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!

Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini – #MovieReview

How’s everyone out there doing? Still shut in like the rest of us? Need a movie to watch? Well, there is a documentary I can recommend to anyone who is a bit of a horror fan. Usually I do a review in which I tell you the plot of a movie, then give my irreverent thoughts and questions about said movie. In this case, it’s a documentary and much harder to do that. What I can tell you is that you should watch Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini.

If you have watched a movie in the last 40 years or so where there was a violent death involving blood and you for even one second thought it looked realistic, you can thank Tom Savini. His story is fascinating from when he was a young kid obsessed with monster movies to his adult days fighting in Vietnam and on through his legendary film career. He’s an actor, stuntman, director and special effects artist all rolled into one. If you happen to watch Locke & Key on Netflix, you will see a cameo by him and I recommend you watch the documentary first in case you don’t know who he is. If you have watched Friday the 13th recently you probably have seen his name in those credits too.

His filmography is long and impressive and his approach to his special effects is refreshingly straight forward. Sometimes when I watch modern horror films and it’s nothing but CGI, I find the scares much less frightening and the film much less enjoyable. I used to wonder why that was but now that I have seen this documentary I know it’s because of Tom Savini. He went through the Vietnam war and saw some gruesome stuff so he knew what looks real and what did not. It also helps that unlike some CGI, his effects are three dimensional and can be touched. One really simple example is in Friday the 13th. In one scene, an ax is about to buried into someone’s head. Right before the ax connects with the face, it hits a light overhead and the camera lingers on the light swinging for just a moment. This makes the hit with ax feel much more real. Why? It feels like it has actual weight to the thing.

Tom was full of ideas like that (and still is really) but I found this film fascinating and you should go watch it.

Praisingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS Want to see Tom do his thing? Click below.

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!