The Friday Four – Horror Movies That I Like That No One Else Does

The Friday Four - Final

 

Welcome back to the Friday Four.

 

Horror is a genre unlike any other.  As I’ve said on the podcast before, you can make a horror film with fifty bucks and a cellphone.  You aren’t making romantic comedies like that. Therefore, horror fans are inundated with more material than any other genre. Massive amounts of source materials leads to massive amounts of differences in opinion on what a good horror film is.  There is no single horror film that is universally praised (I know people who don’t like The Exorcist or Halloween) and there is no single horror film that is universally hated (Troll 2 and Manos: Hands of Fate have their fans).

 

In my opinion, the saturation of the horror market has led to an acceptance of mediocrity as good and good as great, but that’s a different topic for a different column. For now, we are focusing on different horror likes and dislikes.  Everyone has things they like in horror. For example, some might look at this Killjoy franchise and see B-Movie terribleness, but others see the humor and ridiculousness of the situations and find joy in it. If we all universally loved the same thing, there would be no use for podcasts!

 

I am no different.  There’s a lot (a lot) of stuff that other people like that I do not and believe it or not, there are things that I like that other people don’t.  That’s the topic of this column…

 

FOUR HORROR MOVIES THAT I LIKE THAT NO ONE ELSE DOES

 

1. Cursed

Cursed_posterThis may be a no-brainer in that it’s from the same team that brought you the Scream franchise (Wes Craven/Kevin Williamson) and very much follows the same formula.  Cast of up and coming actors mixed with some established stars – Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Portia De Rossi, Shannon Elizabeth, Joshua Jackson, Judy Greer, Mya – check. Aging celebrity making a comeback – Scott Baio – check.  Mystery – check. Homage to horror past – check.  Cool opening sequence – check.  It’s Scream with werewolves.

 

There were a lot of production issues involved with this making of this movie that caused a lot of the original cast (including Scream alumnus and Craven favorites like Skeet Ulrich, Heather Langenkamp, Omar Epps. Mandy Moore, Scott Foley and Corey Feldman) to have to bail because they had other projects there were tied to. The production issues also caused all effects by guru Rick Baker to be replaced. All these issues are thanks to professional fucktard Bob Weinstein who has a habit of making things worse when he takes an interest in them. It’s because of him the ending is weird and 90% of the script was changed — even after filming had started.

 

The movie if often criticized for cheesy effects and a predictable plot. Welcome to werewolf films, people.  Has there ever been a werewolf movie where the plot wasn’t predictable?

 

I am a fan of almost everyone involved with this film. I thought it was a fun take on the werewolf drama and had that “glamour” appeal to it that the Scream movies had.  I understand the criticisms and perhaps with another viewing, I would pull back my opinion a bit, but for the times I have watched it, I have enjoyed it.

 

2. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

 

HalloweenCurseBefore you finish tying that noose, let me explain some things. Fans of the Halloween franchise hate this movie because it pretty much cuckolds Michael Myers into being a pawn of a cult. That and well, it’s just not a good movie.

 

Looking at this movie from the standpoint of not being a Halloween fanboy, I appreciate it’s attempts to tie the entire story together.  To say I “like” it might be a bit of an overstatement, but I certainly like it more than most everyone else that’s not related to Paul Rudd.

 

I enjoyed them tying up the loose ends with Jamie Lloyd (even if her existence were to be ignored completely in the next film). I appreciate the Cult of Thorn storyline because it explains the Michael Myers character and even hints at passing off the reigns of psycho killer to Danny, which I am sure that the Halloween fandom would have shat on, but I appreciate the hints. I also like the fact that this movie brings back Tommy Doyle from the first film all grown up and obsessed with Michael Myers like he probably should be. This film even recognizes the effects of Michael Myers on Haddonfield and their inability to celebrate Halloween because of it.

 

The Cult of Thorn storyline also explains why bullets, knives and most weapons fail at stopping Michael Myers.  He is supernatural.  Does this all work?  Probably not.  But as an outsider looking in, I appreciate the effort.

 

3. Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning

 

Friday5I feel like Friday 5 is going to show up in the Friday Four a few times. There’s one reason and one reason only that people hate this film:  it’s not Jason Voorhees doing the killing.

For me, I completely understand the idea behind it. You can only ride Jason so far. He is borderline supernaturally tough but at this point in the franchise he is human and humans die. The thought process would be that as long as there is a big dude in a hockey mask killing teenagers, everything should be alright.  In my personal case, it is alright.  I am way okay with it.  Friday fans, however, lost their collective shit!

 

If you are a regular podcast listener, you already know this so bear with me. Here is what I am looking for in a Friday the 13th movies:  cool death scenes from a big guy in a hockey mask, gore and tits.  Friday the 13th Part 5 delivers on all of these.  Hedge clippers to the eyes, a decapitation while riding a motorcycle, someone even dies in the port-o-john – these are quality death scenes. Toss in a gratuitous sex scene with Debi Sue Voorhees and I’m pretty happy with the movie.

 

The storyline was supposed to be Tommy eventually becoming the hockey masked killer of Crystal Lake (which again, I would have been okay with) but horror fans decided that that’s not what they wanted and Paramount listened. Because of this, this filmed is overlooked and hated by the fans of the franchise but not by me.

 

4. Strippers vs. Werewolves

stripperWe covered this movie on the very last episode of The Zombie Reckoning podcast (up against Strippers vs. Zombies). I didn’t know that this movie was disliked until I saw it on a list of poorly rated horror movies on imdb. I wholeheartedly disagree.

 

The plotline of this movie is thus – werewolf dies in a strip club.  At the next full moon, the werewolve’s buddies are coming to the club to get revenge, thus strippers vs. werewolves. There is copious nudity.  It’s clever.  It’s fun and it delivers on the carnage that it promises which is better than 90% of big budget Hollywood films.

 

I don’t remember what I rated this film on The Zombie Reckoning podcast but I do remember it beat out Strippers vs. Zombies and I often recommend it when people are asking me for a hidden horror gem.

 

I understand why people don’t like it. The acting is up and down. The humor isn’t for everyone.  There is a stylized comic book style approach in between some scenes.  For me, it was harmless fun, clever writing, some T&A and even an appearance from Robert Englund.

 

I’m good.

 

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Episode 247: Killjoy 3 – Killjoy’s Revenge

Killjoy_3Do you ever find yourself stuck in a house with a college age virgin who won’t put out while an evil demon clown and his minions try to lure you to their world through a mirror so they can baste you and eat you alive?  Yep, this old story again!  Join Ron, Little Miss Horror Nerd and special guest host Hammer as they fight the urge to go into the mirror while they walk everyone through Killjoy 3!  Killjoy is a bit different in this film than the previous two, Killjoy has minions and the story seems to be more comical than horror related, but that’s a good thing!  How many times would Punchy punch is Punchy could punch wood?  Find out the answer to that and many more things but not why Jessica hates clowns — on this episode!

HORROR NEWS: Halloween Horror Nights adds The Shining, Scooby Doo/Supernatural crossover, Lovecraft Stories, First Annual Salem Horrorfest

Check out the schedule for Salem Horror Fest here!

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The Friday Four – Worst Horror Heroes

 

The Friday Four - Final

 

Welcome back to The Friday Four.

 

Today I’d like to take a look at something that could make or break a film.  Not the horror icon or killer.  Not the suspense factor or creativity of the death scenes, but the horror hero. Believe me when I tell you that a horrible horror hero doesn’t necessarily make a horror movie bad, but it can contribute to terribleness.

 

I’ve only listed four here but it was tough to pare down the list.

 

The only reason Jay (and the entire cast) of It Follows isn’t on this list is because I dogged that movie a few weeks ago.  It would just be too easy to dip back into that well. I think I made my feelings clear about her in that review.

 

Just missing the list also is Nancy Thompson of A Nightmare on Elm Street fame. There’s something about Heather Langenkamp’s acting that I just don’t like. Call me biased if you want, but I’ve always preferred Alice as my heroine in that franchise. Nancy isn’t on the list proper, however, because she actually does stuff.  A lot of heroines skim by showing a lot of cleavage but never really do anything.  Nancy actually figures out how to kill Freddy and does it in the first film and leads the Dream Warriors into battle in the third film. For that, she doesn’t make the list.

 

I also briefly considered Laurie Strode (I know — horror blasphemy) only because she doesn’t do anything in the first two movies except get saved by Dr. Loomis.  But given the fact that she is badass in Halloween H2O and the three movies she is in are the three best in the franchise, I quickly eliminated her from contention.

 

If this were a list of five, you bet your ass that Julie James from the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise would be #5.  A guy can crush on Jennifer Love Hewitt all he wants but that doesn’t make this character any less annoying. What are you waiting for?!!  What does that even mean?

 

With that out of the way let’s get to, in no particular order…

 

FOUR WORST HORROR HEROES

 

1. Lori Campbell, Freddy vs. Jason

 

lori

To be fair, Freddy vs. Jason was never about the teenagers in the movie. This was the two biggest 80s slasher icons finally going toe to toe.  If the movie had no other characters involved, we would have been okay with that.  However, there were a lot of teenagers involved as cannon fodder for Freddy and Jason — and the movie is better for it.

 

Lori is the lead character and she is the least interesting.  She wasn’t a pothead. She wasn’t locked up for knowing too much, she wasn’t in a musical group with Beyonce. On top of that, Lori is really just a dim witted blonde bimbo type, which would be fine if you’re trying to turn the genre on it’s ear a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but for the ultimate slasher, I’m calling bullshit.  She is basically a walking talking blowup doll who we don’t even get a body double’s tits shown for (I’m onto you, Katharine Isabella).

 

If I were in the movie, I might throw my hat in the ring with Freddy and Jason and be a third person making attempts to kill her. That she survives is just dumb luck and poor directing.

 

2. Dewey Riley, Scream franchise

 

deweyReaders of this column know that Scream is my favorite horror franchise so this may be a shock to you that Dewey made this list.  If you listen to episodes 1-3 of this podcast, this would not be much of a shock.  I am no fan of Dewey.

 

He has this reputation of bumbling hero who saves the day but he is the least effective cop ever.  I understand his role in the first two Scream movies if only to be a red herring. However, the dude was so ineffective that after people quit buying into him as the possible killer, he got his own clown music every time he came on the screen.

 

Let’s review.  In Scream, Dewey does nothing but get stabbed and provide the gun that Gale kills Billy with. He was supposed to have been dead but thanks to test audiences, he wasn’t.  I have something to say to those test audiences.  In Scream 2, he does nothing except get stabbed a lot again.  In Scream 3, he does manage to kill the killer after shooting him five times and having his hand held by Sidney on how to do it.  In Scream 4, he is now the sheriff of Woodsboro and manages to do nothing but let his wife get brutally wounded.

 

I guess people like Dewey because he’s a bit goofy.  I can see it, but outside of the first film (which again, he should never have survived) I just don’t see a use for him.  Unless completely surviving every film with everyone else who survives every film when they shouldn’t is a thing. Is that a thing?

 

3. Micah, Paranormal Activity

 

micahAlright, let’s put everything on the table to begin with.  Micah doesn’t survive the film — does that make him a horror hero?  Considering there are only two people in the movie on screen for more than five minutes, I’m counting it.

 

Micah plays the role of skeptic.  Every movie needs one and it’s a fine role to play.  When the shit starts going down, Micah gets hella-annoying. The fact that he is recording everything all the time makes no sense and is shoe-horned in by the writer.  Then when shit goes down and it makes sense for Micah to be recording everything, the character starts to not make sense.

 

If you have a Ouija board on camera explode into flames while you are sleeping, perhaps it’s time to stop being so skeptical about everything.  By the time Micah comes around to what is going on, it’s too late — the audience isn’t coming around on him.

 

There’s a lot wrong with Paranormal Activity, but Micah is the most offensive.  I’ve never watched another Paranormal Activity after the first one, because if I didn’t like the first one, why would I continue to give the franchise my money — unless, of course, I have a podcast that covers franchises so eventually I’ll have to watch them all. Shit!

 

4. Dana Polk and Marty Mikalski, Cabin in the Woods

 

cabinCabin in the Woods is a good movie.  If you haven’t listened to our 3 1/2 hour epic Cabin in the Woods episode, you should.  You’ll get like an hour of Hammer and myself arguing about the force field around the playing area of the cabin.  It was a neat take on the horror genre provided in a Joss Whedon sort of way.

 

Until the end.

 

Let me take you back to the ending of this movie.  The Ancient Ones need the blood (or something like that) of Marty in order to be satiated and not rise and destroy all of humanity.  Literally the choices are kill Marty or kill the world.  Dana, instead decides to light up a blunt because — get this — humanity is not worth saving.  All those newborn babies, puppies and cat memes are not worth saving.

 

The kicker here is Marty is going to die anyways. Once the Ancient Ones rise, everyone is going to die. Dana not only selfishly doomed the world like she was some sort of modern day Jesus Christ, but she didn’t alter the fate of Marty at all. In fact, he probably died a worst death than if she had quickly shot him in the head. Instead, she chose to doom the world into anguish and despair until it was completely obliterated.

 

Worst. Horror. Hero. Ever.

 

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Episode 246: Killjoy 2 – Deliverance from Evil

killjoy2Have you ever wondered if 200 miles due south of Los Angeles is Alabama?  Wonder no more as Killjoy 2 answers that question for you!  Join Ron and Little Miss Horror Nerd as they go where no one actually wanted to go before — the much anticipated sequel to Killjoy, Killjoy 2: Deliverance from Evil — emphasis on deliverance. Find out just how redneck California can get in this juvenile delinquent ridden film where the inmates run the asylum — or minivan as the case may be.  Also on the docket, find out what happens when you give Jessica hallucinogenic mushrooms, weak kill scenes, an inferior Killjoy, Jessica’s one person Shakespeare show, Debbie Rochon’s nipples and a fear of outhouses! It’s one of those episodes.

HORROR NEWS: Philadelphia horror convention, Kate Beckinsale’s first horror convention, The Exorcist documentary,

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The Friday Four – Four King Books That Should Be Made Into Films

The Friday Four - Final

 

To say that Stephen King is the “King of Horror” is both the easy way out and the understatement of the century.  Though King has proved his worth in drama (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption), coming of age (The Body), mystery (Joyland) and even detective fiction (The Mr. Mercedes trilogy), he will always be known as the horror guy.  Is that such a bad thing?

 

For maniacs like myself (and I’m guessing you, dear reader) King wrote the background of my life, spoiling me to the point where it became difficult to read other authors for awhile.  For my money, King is the greatest American writer (sorry Poe, Hawthorne and Twain).

 

King also represents money to Hollywood.  These days, studios are in bidding wars for his work before it’s even published. His work has been represented in everything from movies to TV movies to TV series to movie anthologies to TV series that are anthologies of his short work!  King has done it all.

 

With The Dark Tower and IT hitting theaters this summer combined with Gerald’s Game coming to a streaming service near you, there aren’t a whole lot of King works left in the bag that haven’t seen the big screen. Admitted, King works have a (unfair) reputation of not turning out so well on the big screen, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from adapting everything from his opus to his grocery list.

 

For you, I combed through the King bibliography to find you four novels that as of this writing have yet to be turned into movies, TV shows or services streamed directly into your head.  I know there have been discussions on a couple of these selections, but if they are not either here or coming soon, I counted them eligible for the list.  What’s not eligible for the list? Short Stories, novellas and the like. I only counted novels (trust me, you can count the number of non-adapted King novels with your fingers only).  It should also be mentioned that I haven’t caught up to King yet with my reading — many of his late works I have not read, so they don’t appear on the list.

 

Without further adieu, I give to you…

 

FOUR STEPHEN KING NOVELS THAT SHOULD BE ADAPTED AS MOVIES

 

1. The Talisman (1984)

talisman

In all fairness, King wrote this with his good buddy Peter Straub. Maybe Straub is holding him back?

 

The book is very Dark Tower-ish even before it’s sequel, Black House, firmly puts it The Dark Tower storyline.  Jack Sawyer crosses the country in search of a talisman that can save his mom.  While on his journey he jumps between reality and another world very similar but not quite his reality.  Not exactly a gunslinger looking for a tower, but you can see the similarities.

 

Why this has never been made into a feature film is beyond me.  I know there has been lots of interest.  Universal and Stephen Spielberg were attached the moment the book came out.  At one point, the story was written into a miniseries by Mick Garris, but nothing has ever come of these attempts to bring the book to the screen, be it little or big. You would think a collaborative story from two of the best horror writers of their time would be of more importance than to get stuck in Production Hell, but Hollywood never ceases to amaze.

 

Perhaps it’s the book’s ties to The Dark Tower that scares Hollywood. Focusing on just the first book, one could easily ignore those tie-ins. Then again, they manage to royally fuck The Dark Tower up, so maybe it’s better is this book just remains on this list.

 

2. Eyes of the Dragon (1987)

eyesAgain, we get a book that ties into The Dark Tower. I’m beginning to see a pattern.

 

Written for his daughter Naomi, who didn’t like his horror writing, this is a tale of pure fantasy.  In this story Flagg (recognize that name?) is a court magician for King Roland who tries to overtake the kingdom by controlling Roland’s youngest son after having caused the deaths of Roland and his wife and imprisoning the oldest son. It’s an old time fairy tale of a story, but one that fits right in with the tales woven into The Dark Tower saga.  So much, in fact, that they not only share an antagonist, but characters from Eyes of the Dragon are mentioned in passing in The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three.

 

Like The Talisman before it, Eyes of the Dragon hasn’t entirely escaped the attention of Hollywood.  In the early 2000s, The Eyes of the Dragon was set to become an animated film.  That never happened.  Then the SYFY Channel went so far as to announce that they were developing the book for a film back in 2012.  That never happened.

 

Call it The Dark Tower curse, if you will — but like The Talisman, this could easily be adapted without mention of The Dark Tower.  Aren’t we overdue for an epic PG fantasy movie along the lines of Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal or Legend?  Disney, where you at on this one?

 

3. Insomnia (1994)

insomniaWe can officially start a conspiracy theory now. Not only does Insomnia tie into The Dark Tower, but the book is actually given to Roland in the seventh book (eighth if you’re counting Wind Through the Keyhole).

 

Insomnia takes place in Derry (and yes, there are hints of weird things going on in the sewer — Mike Hanlon even makes a cameo) and is the story of Ralph Roberts, an old man who can’t sleep. This gives him the power to see versions of the Fates and delve deep into a political assassination attempt that would have also killed a young boy who is of utmost importance to Roland in his quest for the Dark Tower.  Now, when this young boy shows up in book seven, does it feel forced and like King had to find a way to use him because of the events of Insomnia?  Sure, but that shouldn’t hurt an Insomnia movie.

 

Like the others, this one has been in Developmental Hell for a long time, probably never to see the light of day. It’s least likely of the ones mentioned on this list if only because no one cares about old peoples’ sleeping patterns. It can be self contained, though some of the references to The Dark Tower would probably need to be wiped out and we’d have to find another reason this boy was so important to the world. That is assuming they don’t start a Stephen King cinematic universe (an idea I had long before this comic book thing hit big).

 

4. The Regulators (1996)

TheRegulatorsFirst off, I realize this was a Richard Bachman title, but come on, it’s still Stephen King.  We all watched The Running Man and Thinner like they were King books.  I will admit Bachman is a bit more brutal and not so fond of the happy ending as King is.

 

This is the sister book to Desperation which received a made for TV movie treatment in 2006 on ABC that wasn’t terrible. So why not Regulators?  Regulators is a little more brutal than Desperation, but would look find on the screen.  The entirety of the story takes place in Suburban Ohio where figments of an autistic boy’s imagination hold an entire neighborhood hostage.  Most of them won’t get out alive. Like any King story, there are some things that would need to be edited, but overall, it would make a fine addition to the King movie library. For all the wolves attacking King’s works, this one has remained untouched.  It’s not even in Developmental Hell.

 

If you want to add to the conspiracy, there are a few hints here and there that both Desperation and The Regulators tie in to The Dark Tower some how.  They aren’t as blatant as the other three on this list, but you could make a case for them if you really wanted to. This story should probably be purchased for movie rights (if it hasn’t been done already) before they take another King short story and stretch it so much that it hardly resembles the story it started out as.

 

 

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