Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

 

You remember those songs from ’80s? Most of the are alike. Well, you might also remember that if you play any two songs from the same album (or most of the hits from that era) at the same time, you’ll see they have the exact same structure, with the chorus kicking in at precisely the same time and clock in at just about the exact same length. I thought about that while watching Final Exam, because I am pretty sure one could superimpose the film over Halloween and come away with a similar result.

We get one of slashers clichés at the very beginning. Young couple is making out on the backseat of the car somewhere in the dark campus parking lot. Or at least guy tries to make out while girl is claiming she is too classy to do it in the car. After a bit more convincing she accepts to do it there (of course she would). But no luck for the guy. Some jerk cuts through the roof on his car with knife, pulls him out and slashes him. Then the moment spoiling dude comes back to finish his job on screaming girl. You had your chance, slut!

Death to libido

The next scene takes us to Lanier College. We see young Courtney (played by Cecile Bagdadi) talking to her classmate Mark (played by John Fallon) about chemistry tests. Now, during the “character development” phase of the film, we are treated to at least 12 slams on chemistry’s purpose in real life, to the point where it’s almost mean-spirited. My guess? Screenwriter/director Jimmy Huston failed chemistry in college or high school, and wrote a slasher film around it. Anyway, that’s when they are approached by unfortunately named nerdy guy Radish (played by Joel S. Rice), who very much resembles Screech character from “Saved by the bell” series. Radish informs them about murdered couple on other college. Then suddenly there is a terrorist’s attack on campus. They are shooting students randomly and take corpses into the van, before they drove away. It turns out to be a prank by Gama fraternity. Everyone noticed that but Radish and some dumb girl. Radish, still under the influence of recent murders, calls out the sheriff. Of course, he made a complete ass out of himself in front of sheriff (played by Sam Kilman) and entire school. On the other side, fraternity is celebrating successful prank. We get here real overdose of peasant faces. First among them is a school jock Wildman (played by Ralph Brown). Wildman talked frat pledge Gary (played by Terry W. Farren) into stealing chemistry tests. He says he doesn’t want to study (well surprise, surprise). Poor Gary actually managed to sneak that night and steal tests. On his way out he gets intercepted by the rest of the fraternity. They take him out (notice here it is a broad daylight; it was past 9pm and pretty much dark when they intercepted him), strip him almost naked and tie to the tree in front of the college. As it wasn’t enough already they sprayed confused and terrified Gary with cream, poured bourbon into his underpants and left him tied to the tree. And all of that as a part of initiation to the fraternity. I wish them death.

Another backdoor initiation

I’ll have you notice that we are at almost one hour of the movie length and yet no murders are to be seen. I really don’t see the point of such vast character development when it is clear they are going to die anyway. Also, nerdy and slutty girls conversations are pointless as well. Anyway, all of that is going to change soon. The killer has decided to show himself. And who would be better practice target than sitting duck Gary? Naive Gary stayed tied to the tree until the night (or is it the same night). There killer finds him, cuts him loose and butchers him. I guess he didn’t want to damage tree bark. Meanwhile, Wildman went to the school gym to get some pills for the fraternity. He meets the same fate as Gary (and that also include Gary’s girlfriend Janet (played by Sherry Willis – Burch) who went after him). Hm I can’t decide if this is poetical justice or just the old rule which states that everyone are treated equally in the brotherhood.

 

Mark decides to check out what took Wildman so long. He finds only death in the utility room. The next one Radish. It seems that everyone who comes at school gym dies instantly. Radish finds bodies and manages to escape. Then he calls a police again but this time they wouldn’t believe him (remember a boy who cried “wolf”?). So the only thing left to him was to get killed by through the doors. Courtney finds him but she is too dumb to realize Radish is dead (yeah, all that blood, broken doors and cracked skull are sending mixed signals).

You failed exam!

With death of slutty Lisa (played by Deanna Robbins), who slept with teachers for a good grade, the only one remained alive is Courtney. Killer (played by Timothy Raynor) chases her through the entire school, in more or less slasher cliché chase fashion, until the top floor. There some random hunter shows up at the bottom of the stairs and shoots an arrow in killer’s direction. Killer, whose face can be clearly seen now but we still don’t have any idea who is he actually, catches flying arrow with his hand and then use it to kill hunter. Courtney takes the opportunity to stab the killer, push him down from the stairs and finish him with more stabbing. Then she goes out to cry. The End

 

Conclusion: The most hilarious thing about the movie is that the killer makes Michael Myers look like the most complex killer in slasher history. While his motives were unclear, he at least had a name and a mask. This guy doesn’t even have that. He’s just some guy with an Anton Chigurh haircut. No mask, no name, and certainly no motive. In a way it’s kind of admirable that at the time the film came out , when everyone was trying to make its own memorable slasher, the Final Exam team couldn’t even be bothered to give the guy a paper bag. Remember what I wrote earlier about chemistry bashing? Well it seems that the director was so focused on chemistry bashing that he forgot to provide his killer with any sort of… well, anything. Besides that, i don’t have anything more to say about this slasher attempt. It is so dull with brief moments of lucidity. And it doesn’t even have nudity!

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As we all know every holiday deserves a Horror franchise or two- and most actually have them- from Halloween to the April 1. Now, finally there’s a proper one for Easter too and by the looks of it it’s going to be the best rabbit- based Horror since Night of the Lepus (ok, that one didn’t set the standard very high). It’ called The Beaster Bunny and you can read the synopsis and see the trailer too!

“A 50-foot man-eating Easter bunny is on the loose and the townsfolk don’t stand a hop in hell. As the bloodthirsty, floppy-eared killer leaves a trail of dismembered corpses, the town’s only chance of survival rests with a wannabe actress and a crazy dog-catcher. God help them!”

 

 

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After the surprise success of John Carpenter’s Halloween ( made with a meager budget of $300,000) in 1978 many people tried to copy the same formula with the same desired effect. Some actually succeeded even spawning their own franchises (ala Friday The 13th ) but for every successful Slasher you’d have a dozen of stinkers. and Offerings (1989)– well, Offerings has the distinct pleasure of being the bottom of the barrel even among these. Yes, it’s just that bad.

Now, being honest the original concept showed some promise. Johnny is a kid that lives with his horrible and abusive mother (I’m guessing the dad ran away as fast and far as he could a long time ago).

streamtheofferings1Not only is she a horrible person, but her sense for interior decoration leaves a lot to be desired too.

 

He is shy and not really popular among the other kids (quite the contrary) but at least he gets to hang out with a cute blonde girl from his neighborhood called Gretchen. Unfortunately she couldn’t save him from the horrible prank that involved kids forcing him to walk down the age of the well- and ultimately falling down. Now, these kids are A- grade assholes and it’s a miracle he didn’t die right then and there. He only ended up brain damaged and  later comatosed for a prolonged period of time.

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The story picks up  full 10 years later and you’d guess it- Johhny is back from the coma (and a nervous breakdown we’re lead to believe) and he’s ready for revenge. A special kind of revenge that consists of killing teenagers that wronged him and then sending their body parts to the Grechen, the blond kid he had a crush on before the prank (or lets call it what it really is- the murder attempt). Now, that kind of animalistic behavior in leaving trophies like a cat does to his owner might have actually worked and made this movie into something special but the director decides to “play it safe” and just keep copying  Halloween to a T.

I just don’t think Gretchen appreciated all of his hard work…

 

As you guessed it, that doesn’t really work out for the best. The characters are either clunky or unintentionally hilarious (master of overacting, the Sheriff’s  deputy who deserved way more time) and kills lack both the atmosphere and the goriness, and if there’s one thing you don’t want from a Slasher film that’s for it to be tame. The only truly disgusting thing is the fact that Johnny managed to serve the gang (including his loved one Gretchen) a Pizza with let’s say a sausage of human origin!!!  Sheriff suspected something but even after confirming it with a DNA analysis he just didn’t mention it to anyone and we never got to see the reactions to the accidental cannibalism.

offerings-movie-image“Somebody’s here to kill us…”

The fat, incompetent Sheriff did manage to do one thing and that’s he eventually managed to find all the missing aka dead people crammed into the well but on the other hand- while he was exhuming the bodies Johnny was busy hunting the girls (yeah and killing the goofy deputy sheriff who’s the only cool character in the whole movie). After dispatching the annoying girlfriend he chases down Gretchen (I guess to present her some other body part) who menages to get ahold of the deputie’s gun and empties the whole clip on Johnny.

Now in true slasher style Johhny just gets up and starts walking slowly towards her but the fat Sheriff finally appears and defeats Johnny with- a BIGGER gun! Yes, they had absolutely zero ideas at this point. Johnny lifts up his head one more time, uttering the word “Loooove” and then finally drops dead. I’ve never seen a movie villain do something so pathetic in my whole life.

This is so stupid it almost makes it all worthwhile

Verdict: So, this movie is basically just like Halloween but without any of the creepy atmosphere, innovative kills and with it’s Michael Myers being replaced by a fat, retarded emo kid. I would say without the same legendary music but that wouldn’t necessarily be true because they changed one tone and used a freakin’ Halloween theme by Carpenter in the whole damn movie!

Goofs: There’s also a little thing of crazy inconsistency when we find out that Johnny wasn’t in the coma this whole time but after being brain damaged he crawled out of the well (The Ring’s Sadako style) and killed his mother even thou he is just a kid, and that’s when the white coats finally got him.

Now, the acting on the other hand is a sight to behold. Teenagers  sound like a bizarre mix of California Stoners, Valley Girls and Southern Hillbillies which I didn’t even think it was possible till’ I saw this movie. And truth be told Offerings ended up being so goddamn terrible movie that I find this ridiculous Eastern European dance video way superior Halloween rip- off than this movie!

 

Trivia: Tobby Sexton, who played Jake in the movie went on to play a teenage version of Freddy Krueger (you know the scene where Alice Cooper plays his father) in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and unfortunately not much else.

This movie is basically Halloween meets Rosemary’s Baby meets The Exorcist produced cheaply in Hong Kong in the 80’s- so you know you’re in for a treat right away. And I know what you’re thinking- a Chinese movie without Kung Fu!? I mean even their regular horror movies from Ronny Yu‘s Bride with White Hair to Painted Skin (one of my personal favorites) have at least some sweet punching and kicking action sequences. But don’t worry: creepy atmosphere, dated synth score and some brutal slasher action pretty much make up for it. Add to that an Asian exorcism (see Ninja 3: Domination) and you’ll sure to have some fun with it.

Devil-Returns-1982                                                                                                  There’s something very wrong with that lady in the corner!

After some spacey and a cheese keyboard effects movie stars in full swing. A young girl Mei-hsun Fang catches a cab rushing to a date. She even looses an umbrella in the process. If she knew what’s awaiting her she would have just stayed in bed that day. It turns out the driver was none other than brought to an abandoned building is a notorious Killer and a Rapist!

She tries her best to run away but he catches her and in one of the rare truly disturbing scenes of the films pounds her head to the pavement until she looses consciousness. Then I guess he proceeds to rape her?

Despite everything Mei- hsun somehow menages to survive. And although she is shell- shocked to the core she succeeds in identifying the criminal that assaulted her. Notice the detective Don Wong, famously a newcomer from Chuck Norris‘s Slaughter in San Francisco is present. Chinese being Chinese dispose off the assassin/ rapist in the most brutal way possible via firing squad! Unfortunately Mei’s nightmares don’t end just yet, she is plagued by nightmares of his death and soon enough she starts suspecting she is pregnant.

Now, my  favorite scene in the club where Mei’s fiance takes her to cheer her up.Despite his best efforts the establishment ends up being less than respectable–  coupled with the super-skinny and superslutty female singer that screams “I’m a dragon, you’re a worm…”  Seemingly unrelated scene is perhaps foreshadowing something yet to come? Nope, it turns out it’s there just for the hell of it!

devilreturns4She really has a way with words, does she?

Soon enough she is in the doctor’s office and she get a conformation of her pregnancy. She asks about a possibility of terminating the pregnancy but something (or someone) doesn’t want this to happen! Nurse looses her mind, seemingly possessed by evil spirits and the craziness erupts with the doctor flying out of the office window pushed by some invisible force! 

Crushed by the massacre in the hospital she then tries desperately to abort by falling down the stairs. That could have proved fatal in more ways than one but they both manage to survive. The only thing she succeeds in is having a baby a month prematurely! So yeah, she fails completely. Also, the doctors accept the fact that she slipped and fell way to easily but I guess they don’t have time for suicidal looneys like her in a busy Hong Kong.

Mei-hsun’s husband,  the nanny and her slutty friend (everybody’s got one) all believe that the little boy is cute as it gets but the baby is in fact supernatural…  and when no one is around it uses opportunities to troll and torture his mother (PS you can even hear straight lift of The Exorcist music at this point).  After a while despite the best efforts by the director Richard Chen her paralyzing fear of her own child becomes increasingly amusing to the audience.

I mean when she ignores the child she ends up looking like a bitch and when she tries to bite the bullet and take care of him, he completely destroys her mentally. Poor lady can’t catch a break!

Devil Returns.VCD2.avi_000215131She’s having a fight with her newborn child… and she’s loosing.

Now, the time has come, she finally has to face her demonic baby. Her nanny overhears her and informs her of a temple where she can exorcise her child, if she believes in that sort of stuff. There’s a temple specialized for child exorcism? Man, those Chinese leave nothing to chance– and who knows, maybe we’re not exorcising kids often enough here in Europe. In the meantime her much more carefree friend decided to dump her old reliant boyfriend and get engaged with a musician. As we know those things never really work out.

I love the way Abbot exorcises the demon with a sword in his hand!

Now free from the child the evil spirit of the Slasher returns to his original form (I don’t know how that works but it does), and of course sets out to complete his revenge. He starts from the poor nanny, the only death I kinda feel sorry about. Also Mei-hsun’s slutty friend drops by in the worst possible time, and to top it off she starts taking her clothes off– literally signing her death sentence. Slasher heeds her call and cuts one of her arteries, but instead of letting her bleed out he strangles her and crushes her head! Man, that’s brutal! Bodycount keeps rising as a friend’s boring suitor gets there too, just to be brutally impaled on the knife.

Devil Returns.VCD2.avi_001911659It’s too late to take your top now-  you’re already dead!

 The Slasher than gets to Mei-hsun, but she somehow manages to grab the child and escape. He keeps chasing her but she succeeds in staying alive long enough for her husband and the police officer Don Wong to arrive and they finally destroy the monster with the combination of holly wine and lots of bullets too (better safe than sorry).

Verdict: This movie actually has some super- interesting themes for horror like fear of the pregnancy and post- natal depression and I can help by to wonder how it would look if  those themes were actually seriously explored. Instead, we get a lot of cheaply recycled scenes from the more established Horror franchises, sometimes even pretty badly stitched together but it still doesn’t fail to entertain so you have to at least give ’em that.

Children, run for your lives!!! Your worst nightmare is coming true!!! The Boogeyman is here. He comes to you in yet another half-original slasher.  Heavy influence of John Carpenter’s 1978 “Halloween” can be noted from the very start of this movie. Also, obvious rip off of  “The Amityville Horror”  and “The Exorcist” must be mentioned.  Ulli Lommel (director of this….hm…well, half-decent B-movie slasher) didn’t even bother to hide so many similarities with above mentioned movies. But let’s start from the beginning.

The year is 1960. Peaceful, summer night. Everyone are at their homes, spending time with their families. Probably, we don’t know that for sure. But we do see light in one of the houses.  In it’s living-room to be more precise. Someone is outside. Actually, two little shadows are trying to peer in. Brother (Willy) and sister (Lacey).  They are watching their drunken mother having a foreplay with some huge, bad ass dude.  Eventually, they notice little brats. They chase them away into their bedrooms. The little boy ends up tied to his bed by huge dude. That’s what you get when you stand in your mother’s lover way. Their mother didn’t seem to be bothered by idea of some stranger tiding up her children so she continued her sex games in her bedroom. Foreplay ended up and now they plow each other like in some low-budget hardcore movie.

Meanwhile, daughter somewhere found large carving knife and used it to free her brother.  Then brother sneaked into his mother’s bedroom and used the same carving knife to massacre horny boyfriend, just in the moment when he was onto cloud nine with just as much as horny woman. Now, sister stayed in her bedroom, right? RIGHT? Which makes almost impossible for her to see this event, right? WRONG!!! She actually sees everything what happens!!! How, you may ask? Simple. It’s like she suddenly had teleported to entrance of  large bedroom.  And sees everything on the mirror which hangs of the wall opposite to bed. But that isn’t everything. A moment before he dies, large dude glimpses into the mirror and that’s it….His soul has been trapped forever by the most evil product in human’s history!!!

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This is what happens when you fuck someone’s mother!

Twenty years later, Lacey played by Suzanna Love, who is wife of  Ulli Lommel (just to mention) and Willy played by Nicholas Love receive a letter from their dying mother. Interesting thing is that they are brother and sister in real life too. Nothing like family business, don’t you think? Willy is a mute and Lacey is married. But they are still together. Anyway, the moment they receive the letter from their mother, strange things start to happen. For example, both of them are haunted by terrible nightmares in which murdered mother’s boyfriend is coming back for revenge. Also, mirrors are reflecting images from the very same night. And, things, like a knives and other tool,  start flying around like they are being captured by tornado. Everyone is suspecting Willy for those strange things, especially when you keep in mind that he hasn’t  spoken since that night, he keeps snakes and tarantulas as pets, and he has his own personal knife collection.  Is this true? Well, possibly but only in movie that make sense. This one doesn’t.

Lacey’s psychiatrist (John Carradine) suggests her visit her childhood home as a way of freeing herself from her personal demons.  Meanwhile,  back in the barn, some country girl is hitting on Willy. Muscular man who never says a word? No girl can resist that!!! Unluckily for her, all ends up by mute grabbing her by the neck, lifting her several feet in air and tossing her away like some slut. Hm, maybe he did a right thing?

Is this a proper way to treat a girl?

Following  psychiatrist’s advice, Lacey and Willy went to visit their childhood home. But that only makes the things even worse. Lacey sees some weird reflection in the mirror (which happens to be on the very same spot, even after 20 years), freaks out and bashes mirror with a chair. That’s the worst possible thing she could do. Why? I mean besides regular 7 years of misfortune… Because, evil spirit trapped in it got free, and anyone caught in reflection any of it’s pieces (?!) will die in the most ridiculous way. Like, when some kid sticks his head in a open bathroom window only to then be squished to death by the windowsill. Priceless!!!  Anyway, he would probably die if he has seen what’s in the bathroom. The first victim of Boogeyman! Lacey’s friend got herself  killed by scissors.

Bah, i just cleaned that tub!!!

Lacey’s husband for some reason takes a shards back to their home and manages to put it back together perfectly in a matter of minutes (Dafaq?). I guess he was great at puzzles back in school. But, couple of shards are still missing. One ended up in Lacey’s eye, possessing her that way.  Other one gets stuck to the bottom of Lacey’s son shoe, causing later a death of couple of innocent passers by who had absolutely nothing with anything here!!!

Gotcha!!!

Willy got his share of dark past too. But he played smarter than his sister. Instead of breaking mirror, he painted black every mirror in house. Poor guy fights with his demons quite well. But at least as scary as evil spirit are their uncle and aunt  (who took them in when they were younger). I was expecting those two to start killing rampage too. Or to die in pain!!!  Unfortunately, none of this had happened.

It seems like director had finally decided on half of a movie in which way story will go, since until then nothing interesting happened. To make long story short (I don’t want to reveal all to you; See by yourselves), other half of movie is filled with bizarre, yet ridiculous and entertaining deaths (Two teenagers died in a car while making out, Lacey’s being possessed and melting her husband’s face with just a look…), Willy’s “first word”, totally random priest  who came up from nowhere and many, many other ripped off unexplained things….

She is gonna melt you!!!

Till death do us part!!!

Conclusion: Even this movie rips off the most important horror movies of ’70s, it still didn’t help it’s performance. This movie is a cheap, unlogical, unoriginal, on a brief moments entertaining piece of crap. And that’s not everything. The very same ending left a space for sequels, which, unfortunately, had been made. The Boogeyman 2 (1983) and The Return of Boogeyman (1994) are also nothing else than a cheap, unlogical, unoriginal piece of crap, consisted mostly of footage from their previous parts and even from several completely different movies. Ulli Lommel, shame on you!!!