Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Happy Friday the 13th, folks.  Even though this occurs a couple times every year, this one is kinda special.  It isn't just Friday the 13th, but it's a Friday the 13th in October, the undisputed scariest month on the calendar.  It's like a double Friday the 13th!  If only it was also a full moon then everyone everywhere would just get murdered by guys in hockey masks, werewolves, Michael Myers, or Irish toy makers.

This is the perfect chance for me to talk about my favorite Jason Voorhees movie - Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

This is beloved by fans, but also a turning point for the series itself.  For one, this shifted the movies from being a series of movies trying to be serious and either scary or gore-filled to a series of films that started to have fun with itself.  The movie also acted as a final piece of a trilogy of movies that focused on hero Tommy Jarvis.

Back in the fourth film, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Tommy, then played by Corey Feldman, was introduced as a child who ultimately killed our machete-wielding antagonist by impersonating the child version of Jason and hacking his fucking head to shit with his own weapon.  In Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, people were being killed by an impersonator wearing a hockey mask.  People thought it was an older Tommy who seemed to be pretty messed up after killing Jason as a child.  At the end of that movie, it appeared Tommy did break and now going to take up Jason's legacy.

In Part VI, writer and director Tom McLoughlin decided, thankfully, to throw away the ominous ending of Part V, and went in a new direction.  McLoughlin decided to treat Jason like one of the classic Universal monsters, most notably Frankenstein's Monster.  He also made it self-referential and had characters react as the audience would or give us a moment to laugh at the happenings of the movie or at the characters themselves.

I really don't want to wait much longer to jump into the movie.  This is my motherfucking jam.  This is the movie in the series I have seen more than any others.  If I'm hanging out with friends and one of them suggests we all watch a Jason movie and ask which one we should watch, I vote VI every time.  So let's pop this fucker in and enjoy!

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most beloved horror movies of the modern era.  It's full of intensity, actual terrifying moments, and visceral violence that stays with you for years after you watch it.  It came out in 1974 during the golden age of exploitation horror before the genre was essentially taken over by the slasher genre that Halloween gave birth to in the late 70s.

The film also boasts that it has connections to real life events.  Well...  Sort of.  Leatherface was inspired by Ed Gein who was a real life serial killer who did indeed take skin from his victims and started making a skin suit.  There are some minor plot details that also came from the Gein case, but that was all in Wisconsin, not Texas.

Tobe Hooper, the director of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, started making more mainstream movies, most notably, Poltergeist.  By the mid-80s, he was riding pretty high.  He signed a three picture deal with our good friends at Cannon Films.  What he delivered for them was not what they expected.  His first film in the deal, Lifeforce, was a pretty large scale sci-fi monster movie that stretched the usual budget of a Cannon Film.  They also didn't expect Hooper to deliver a remake of a 1950s sci-fi film with Invaders from Mars.  They DEFINITELY did not expect The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 to be a dark comedy causing Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus to lose their freaking minds with Hooper.

Frankly, I kinda wonder if Hooper was trolling Cannon a bit so he could make movies he wanted to make and they were there to give him the deal.

So, there you have it.  Hooper wanted this second Chainsaw to be more of a send up of the horror genre of the time he basically helped create.  While it did make almost twice its budget, the film under-performed.  Hardcore fans of slasher films pretty much hated it.  Critics didn't care for it either.  It probably was not helped by being released as "Unrated" when it couldn't get less than an X from the motion picture ratings dudes.  Even though most didn't like it then, it's one of the few 80s horror movies that actually holds up very well in the present.  It even grew on some of its original detractors and became a pretty massive cult classic.

The synopsis from Amazon Prime is: "A radio host (Caroline Williams) is victimized by a cannibal family as a former Texas Marshall (Dennis Hopper) hunts them."  That's all it gives, but don't worry, it's much much more than that.  Let's get this thing started and officially kick off my October theme of modern monsters to celebrate Halloween!