Unpopular Opinion: Take a Slash at “Prom Night” (2008)

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This remake of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher is considered one of the most hated horror film amongst the horror community. Hearing the various reasons, it is understandable. However, I am stepping up the plate and admitting that I personally really enjoy this film, much more so than the original. I can only imagine how much outrage this will cause, but this is my unpopular opinion piece.

So the basic story here is a teacher becomes obsessed with a female students and ends up murdering her family in order to get to her. He gets arrested and years later he breaks out and comes back for her on her prom night, killing anyone who gets in his way. It definitely sounds like a Lifetime movie, but technically when you take the basic plot of Halloween, you could say the same thing. The original involves the death of a young girl accidentally caused by the child classmates of hers. Years later, someone is out for revenge against the kids…on their prom night! Let me start by saying that I still enjoy the original Prom Night, it has its fun moments, and of course there’s Jamie Lee Curtis, but bare in mind I’m not trying to bash it.

My first defense of the Prom Night remake is that the overall plot and situation is much more frightening. Even though a man in an all black outfit chasing after you with an ax is pretty scary, there’s just something more terrifying about someone who is so crazed that he doesn’t even disguise himself to come after you. Not to mention a stalker who murdered your family to take you away. The way Johnathan Schaech carries the character makes it extra creepy. While we’re on the topic of the killer, I just gotta say that between the two, I would much rather have seen an unmasked known killer going around killing people, than a killer that is predictable from the get-go in the original. Unlike most revenge slashers of the 80s, there was at least a sense of mystery, this most certainly wasn’t the case here.

Next there are the main group of teenagers. The original had teens that were pretty unlikable with the exception of Jamie’s character and her love interest. In the remake, the friends may not be astounding, but they come off as likable, with the character of Michael being the only real douchebag. I enjoyed the chemistry amongst the actors and they came off as real friends, so it was almost sad to see them killed off. Sure they had traits that made them unlikable at times, but that’s teenagers for you. Included in these characters are the main leads. Brittany Snow stars as the main character Donna who is the prime target of the killer. I will say there’s no defense of Donna as a final girl, she is very weak, and very whiney. This may not be a defense but bare with me here. Jamie Lee Curtis in the original only came off as the lead because she was the big name of the cast, but in all reality, she might as well have not been in the film. Her character is never in any real danger and has no real purpose other than to take down the killer at the end. It’s Jamie’s love interest and the other teens who are actually the main characters. So while Donna is a shitty final girl, she at least has a purpose and is actually a target.

Finally, and probably the biggest thing that makes horror fans hate the film, is the fact that it’s a PG-13 slasher. When I think about it, the original film could easily just have been PG-13, the kills are hardly that bloody or massively graphic. In the remake, while there is an absent of blood, there isn’t that much of a difference in terms of the blood/gore factor between the two.

Yes, the best part about slashers are the excellent kills, but when I think about it, as long as we get a body count and the kills are on-screen, it’s hardly the end of the world. There are several horror films where the kills are completely off-screen that are rated R even (Chernobyl Diaries and even the original Friday the 13th had off-screen deaths with no blood shown). There is minimal blood shown in the remake, but point being we’re still seeing these characters getting stabbed and slashed right on screen. Am I asking for more PG-13 slashers? Hell no, but if they will actually show on-screen deaths with not much blood, it’s semi-forgivable, even if it’s not preferable. On a final note, the original had the amazing chase scene with Wendy, but no real pay off when she dies. In the remake we get a small chase scene, with a pay off seeing Lisa (my personal favorite of the characters) getting her throat slashed and blood splattered at the screen. So it’s fairly even ground there.

So while the original Prom Night has its moments where it’s enjoyable, there are more reasons in which I found the remake more enjoyable and tolerable, even if it’s still at the bottom of the totem pole of slasher films. Bring on the backlash!

–Cody Landman

Two Ways to Win — Score A FREE Slasher Giveaway Prize Pack!

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We are holding the ultimate Dismembering Christmas Facebook contest and EVERYONE has a chance to win! We have some killer prizes we are giving away but we can’t do it without your help. What do you need to do? Well, that’s the easy part! Just head over to the Dismembering Christmas Facebook page like it, share it, and invite your friends to like the page. If we can get to 2500 likes by May 15th, we will give our TWO prize packs (including movie posters, a limited edition shirt, dvds, and much more). One prize pack will be awarded to the slasher fan who places the largest order at Slasher Studios (slasher goodies available below as well as on the Slasher Studios Store page). The other prize pack will be awarded to the slasher fan that shared and invited the most friends to like our official Dismembering Christmas FB page. It’s that easy!

Dismembering Christmas Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/dismemberingchristmas


Also don’t forget to pick up your limited edition Dismembering Christmas t-shirt today:

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Artwork by the awesome Garreth Gibson Illustrations.


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Dismembering Christmas VHS Options




Playing Favorites: The Best of the Best Horror Movie Documentaries

Here’s my new and improved “official” list of my all time favorite horror documentaries. These are all documentaries that makes me want to go to the horror VHS section of my mom & pop video store all over again. If there is a horror doc that you feel I am missing, feel free to comment below. Otherwise, keep slashing everyone!

Runners Up:

“American Nightmare”
Horror films have often been more than simple scares. At their best, they reflect society’s anxieties and concerns. In this film, major horror film makers such as George Romero and Tobe Hooper discuss the creation of their films in the 1960s and ’70s and how they related to contemporary events while interviewed intellectuals give their own opinions. Very specific genre piece that works in fits and starts. I enjoyed listening to the social commentary of the groundbreaking 60’s and 70’s films (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Last House on the Left” are especially informative) but the film itself is a bit dry.

To order: The American Nightmare – A Celebration of Films from Hollywood’s Golden Age of Fright

“Boogeymen: The Killer Complication”
“Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation” is a horror compilation video released in 2001 by FlixMix. Marketed as “The Killer Compilation,” the film consists of seventeen scenes from notable, revolutionary horror titles, along with short screens describing the movie’s villain of choice. Ho-hum to say the least. The deaths chosen for each film are actually fairly lame (out of all of the cool “Friday the 13th” deaths, they chose “Jason Goes to Hell”) and some of the “best” killers are pretty mediocre (I would never put “The Guardian” on my top list for ANYTHING). Also, many of the deaths are in full screen. It’s a nice effort with a good commentary by Robert Englund but overall it’s not as good as it could have been.

To order: Boogeymen – The Killer Compilation

“Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film”
An exploration of the appeal of horror films, with interviews of many legendary directors in the genre. This doc covers the horror genre from the very beginning (20’s and silent films) to today’s horror marketplace (remakes and torture films). This doc is interesting at times but like “American Nightmare” is can be a little dry and there is a bit too much talking head commentary. It’s a well made documentary but doesn’t really get interesting until the subjects talk about the slasher flicks.

To order: Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film

“His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th”
“His Name Was Jason” details the series, cat, crew, concept and cinematic villain up until its re-imagining and trigger of success. It features also fan reflections from other directors inspired by the franchise or actors heavily influenced by the stereotypical transfusion. It features interviews with image gallery backgrounds from Sean S. Cunningham, Adam Markus, John Carl Buechler, Jason Isaac, Joseph Zito, Seth Green, Todd Farmer, Tom Savini as host guiding you through a tribute montage before directing you to its features with all the actors who portrayed the homicidal hockey masked Jason Voorhees.
This doc piece has a LOT of problems. The first one being that 90 minutes simply isn’t enough time to cover 11 movies. Everytime the doc seems to be getting interesting, it cuts to the next movie. Also, I could care less what other horrormakers have to say about this series. I want to hear from the cast and the crew of THESE films. A missed opportunity.

To order: His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th (2-Disc Splatter Edition)

“Scream: The Inside Story”
In 1996, the horror master Wes Craven (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”) unleashed “Scream”, a slasher movie aimed at a whole new generation of teenage movie-goers. Though premiering at a time when horror movies were in decline and plagued with an array of start up problems, Scream went on to shatter box-office records for horror films, earning well over $100 million in domestic box office receipts, revived Craven’s career and turned first-time screenwriter Kevin Williamson and a group of hot young television actors (among them Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich and Rose McGowan) into overnight stars. The film became a huge success, spawned three sequels and single-handedly revived the horror genre. “Scream: The Inside Story” features all-new interviews with Wes Craven, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Rose McGowan and Matthew Lillard along with the many other cast and crew. A pure fun doc piece that really sets the tone for how an entertaining doc can be done on one specific movie. Only downside is that if you aren’t a fan of “Scream”, there is nothing here for you whatsoever. Also where’s Courteney Cox and Drew Barrymore?

THE TOP FIVE:

5. “Halloween: 25 Years of Terror”
Narrated by P. J. Soles and featuring interviews from many of the cast members as well as filmmakers of the Halloween films and a lot of footage from the series as well. It has panel discussions with members from the casts and crews of most of the “Halloween” films, plus other celebrities and filmmakers such as Rob Zombie and Clive Barker as well as film critics. All of the panel discussions took place at a 25-year Anniversary convention in Pasadena, California (one of the filming locations of the original Halloween) in October 2003. It also has extended versions of interviews featured in the documentary.
A very fun documentary that tells many stories that fans of the series may not have known about. I had no idea the production problems on “Curse of Michael Myers” or the fact that Danielle Harris had a stalker come to her house after filming “Revenge of Michael Myers.” This works thanks in part to the fact that it ignores the mistakes of “His Name Was Jason” to concentrate fully on the series itself. I also love it when the filmmakers themselves admit they may have been wrong at times (killing off Rachel at the beginning of “Revenge”).

To order: Halloween: 25 Years of Terror

4. “Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film”
The film is a historical and critical look at slasher films, which includes dozens of clips, beginning with “Halloween”, “Friday the 13th”, and “Prom Night”. The films’ directors, writers, producers, and special effects creators comment on the films’ making and success. During the Reagen years, the films get gorier, budgets get smaller, and their appeal diminishes. Then, “A Nightmare on Elm Street “revives the genre. Jumping to the late 90s, when Scream brings humor and TV stars into the mix. Although some criticize the genre as misogynistic, most of the talking heads celebrate the films: as long as there are teenagers, there will be slasher films.

“Going to Pieces” might just be the best documentary I’ve ever seen about the history of the slasher film. From beginning to end, this documentary is full of facts with comments from filmmakers such as Wes Craven and John Carpenter. I wish they would have included more in the film on the 70’s slasher films. It really pisses me off when people say that “Halloween” is the granddaddy of slasher films without giving “Black Christmas” ANY credit. Still this is a well made doc with some interesting tidbits sprinkled throughout.

To order: Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film

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3. “Best Worst Movie”
In 1989, unwitting Utah actors starred in the undisputed Worst Movie in History: “TROLL 2”. Two decades later, the legendarily inept film’s child star unravels the improbable, heartfelt story of an Alabama dentist-turned-cult movie icon and an Italian filmmaker who come to terms with this genuine, internationally revered cinematic failure.

Probably the most heartfelt doc on this list, this movie examines the perspective of a “bad” movie from all angles. From the fans to the filmmakers to the cast, everyone talks about their experience. It’s a really sweet doc that I wasn’t expecting to find much weight behind but it’s one of the best experiences watching a movie that I’ve ever had in my life. Just because something is “bad” doesn’t mean it can’t be loved.

To order: Best Worst Movie

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2. “Crystal Lake Memories”

We actually reviewed this documentary in depth on our podcast. Click on the link below to check it out. **Spoiler alert: We loved it.**
Slasher Studios Visits Crystal Lake Memories


1. “Never Sleep Again”

“Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy” is a 2010 American four-hour direct-to-DVD documentary film that chronicles the entire Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and the rise of New Line Cinema. Written by Thommy Hutson, produced by Daniel Farrands and Thommy Hutson, and co-directed by Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch. Heather Langenkamp, who portrayed Nancy Thompson in three of the Nightmare films, served as the project’s executive producer and narrator.

The best when it comes to horror documentaries. This movie gets every single detail right. The first thing that you will notice is that the doc is four hours long. Well, let me tell you it doesn’t drag…not for one second. All eight movies are examined in great detail (each given at LEAST thirty minutes of screen time) and just about every single person imagined is interviewed for the piece. They talk about the production problems, script problems, distribution problems….you name it, and it’s here. Not a puff piece by any measure, just good filmmaking from a group that always wanted to make the best movie possible. Something sorely missing today.

To order: Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2-Disc Collector’s Edition)

Indie Horror Spotlight: “The Vixen of Vengeance” (2016)

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I have a love-hate relationship with the exploitation genre. I love the gritty, homegrown look and feel of these microbudget indies. However, too often, they appear to confuse shock for plot and nudity for character development. While my favorite exploitation films from the 70’s and early 80’s did indeed feature all of the above, it was the characters that defined these films. A rooting interest in a lead is the make-it or break-it point for just about any genre film. It is especially true for exploitation films.

This leads me to our review of the day, which is indeed an exploitation throwback film to the drive-in era. Patrick Pena’s The Vixen of Vengeance tells the story of a young woman named Diane Young (nicely played by newcomer Michelle Mullins) as she tries to unravel the clues behind her boyfriend’s disappearance. When the puzzle pieces fall into place, she decides to take matters into her own hands by getting revenge on the group responsible.

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It’s a pretty straight forward and to-the-point exploitation film. It barely runs an hour long but not a single minute of the film is wasted. It has the feel of a B-movie that would be the second part of a drive-in double feature. What works best about this film is that it never feels overly misogynistic, a definite downfall of the drive-in films from yesteryear. Diane is a strong, capable woman who is able to do what she needs to do in order to survive and finally get some closure on her past. Some of the best moments of the film are mere closeups of Mullins’ expressive face. You can feel the backstory and the pain, this works better than any kind of nudity or “shock value” ever would.

While Vengeance isn’t a perfect film, the audio is weak at times and the supporting cast is a mixed bag of performances, it is a film with it’s heart in the right place. I’d love to see more from Pena because what is on display here shows the mark of a talented filmmaker. With a larger budget and more experience, I have no doubt in my mind that his next film will be even better.

The Vixen of Vengeance is now available for preorder here. Support indie films and pick up a DVD.

–Kevin Sommerfield

FREE Signed Poster With All DON’T GO TO THE REUNION & DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS DVD Purchases

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This week marks three years since we began principal photography on our very first slasher feature, DON’T GO TO THE REUNION. For our bloody anniversary present, we want to share the gory love with you. All week long, purchase DON’T GO TO THE REUNION or DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS on DVD and you’ll receive a FREE signed DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS poster with your order. Remember, these are region free dvds with exclusive extras you won’t find anywhere else and you must purchase through the link below to receive your free poster.

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Killer Extras:
* Audio Commentary with the filmmakers
* Trailer
* Blooper Reel
* “Class of 2004” Yearbook
* Slasher Studios short films (Teddy, Popularity Killer, Blood Brothers)


Don’t Go to the Reunion




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Killer Extras:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Bloopers
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer


Dismembering Christmas DVD




Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: I Know What You Did Last Summer vs. Urban Legend

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On a special episode of Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield and Andrew Beirl chat with Bloody Disgusting’s Trace Thurman about late 90’s slashers. It’s Urban Legend vs. I Know What You Did Last Summer…it’s going to be a bloody fight to the finish! Click on the link below to listen to an archive.

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: I Know What You Did Last Summer vs. Urban Legend

Just a Few Hours Left to Own This Killer Prop: Dismembering Christmas – Razor Blade Wreath

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Just a few short hours left to make a bid on the killer Dismembering Christmas razor wreath used during a fan favorite death scene. This thing is huge and would make for an excellent. Tony is in the lead right now with $200. Highest bidder tonight at 10pm central time gets it! Click on the link below to make it yours.
Dismembering Christmas – Razor Blade Wreath

DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS Sold Out on Bluray. Available on DVD, VHS, and Digital Download

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Our second feature film, Dismembering Christmas, is now sold out on Bluray! Thank you to everyone who picked up a copy. It was a tremendous success and we hope you enjoy the film as much as we enjoyed making it. If you missed out on a bluray, no need to fear! Dismembering Christmas is now available in full HD, exclusively through Gumroad. Check out the link below & if you want a physical copy, we do still have DVDs & limited edition VHS tapes for sale. Slashers forever!!

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Dismembering Christmas VHS Options




DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS “Buy A Tee, Get a DVD Free” Sale

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You slasher fans have been awesome to us and we want to share the love back to you! From now until March 15th, purchase a Dismembering Christmas t-shirt and you’ll receive a FREE Dismembering Christmas DVD with your purchase (regularly $15). This special will only last until April 15th so make sure to get yours soon. Once these shirts are gone, so is the sale!

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DVD Extras include:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Cast/Crew Bloopers
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer


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Own a Piece of Slasher History – Dismembering Christmas Razor Blade Wreath

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You asked for it, here it is! We’ve had a lot of people messaging about the Christmas razor wreath used in Dismembering Christmas. It deserves a good slasher home and we want YOU to own a piece of slasher film history! If you are interested, simply send a message to our Dismembering Christmas Facebook page or send an email to [email protected] On April 15th, we will announce the highest bid winner! Please include shipping and handling fees in your “bid” as this is full sized and heavy. All money raised will go directly towards film festival submissions. Thanks!!

Want some more slasher goodies? Make sure to check out our killer store online for all your slasher needs: http://www.slasherstudios.com/slasher-studios-super-store/

A Bloody Good Bash: “The Invitation” (2016) Review

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A man and his girlfriend are invited to a dinner party by his ex-wife and her new husband after she disappeared following the death of their son. Also invited are mutual friends from the exes past. As the night goes on, things start out innocent enough, but the man starts to suspect that something is not right about his ex-wife and the new man in her life. It isn’t long before he feels himself start to unravel and question what’s going on around him.

This slow-burn horror/thriller is the latest indie film to really keep my attention. Following the ranks of The Witch, The Invitation takes on a different disguise in making you feel uneasy about what you are seeing. While it certainly isn’t as disturbing, it definitely makes you question yourself as much as the lead is. The group of characters is quite large, when this happened, I found myself thinking that some of the characters may end up being underdeveloped. I was definitely wrong. Each character is very well-developed enough to where you get a strong sense of who they are. And besides the obvious ones, all of the invited guests are likable, which I was also surprised about. I will say that there were certain characters I did want more of, but that’s only because I liked them that much.

For a moment this hardly feels like a horror/thriller, it seems like an innocent get together amongst old friends, but then the rug is just pulled out from underneath you and things suddenly change. I’m not saying it’s super suspenseful, but it is very much on the edge of your seat where you are so engaged and you have no idea how this will all escalate. As I said above, you are also questioning your own sanity as to what you think is real. This is because the film is shown through the point of view of our lead and it perfectly captures how he’s viewing things and we can see why he’s viewing it at that, but we get thrown curveballs that can leave us out in the dark. It’s very rare that I see a film that keeps me as engrossed or questioning what’s going on, and this is definitely one of those films.

As for the cast, each cast members does very well with their parts, but most especially our lead male Logan Marshall-Green as Will. For the reasons stated above, he does a tremendous job as a man questioning not only everyone at the party, but also himself. There are moments of amazing subtlety in his performance and moments where he freaks out and comes off as very realistic, and it’s really easy to feel for him and put yourself in his shoes and just get on his level. Also worth noting is Tammy Blanchard as Will’s ex-wife Enid. She’s another one who does a great job of using subtlety in her performance. There’s just so much in her performance and how she carries herself throughout the movie that makes you question whether she’s trustworthy, or if she is as innocent as she appears. And of course there is John Carroll Lynch who does a great job in his role as the creepy man who appears at the party to where you don’t keep your eyes off him because he comes off as that sketchy.

The Invitation is a solid horror/thriller that keeps you engrossed all the way through with the likable set of characters, a story that keeps you guessing, the escalation of suspense, and just the self-questioning throughout until the intense climax.

–Cody Landman

3.5

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Blank From Hell Horror

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Brand new podcast tonight at 10pm central as our Slasher Studios hosts Kevin Sommerfield and Andrew Beirl discuss their favorite blank from hell thrillers.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Slasher Studios Horror Podcast on itunes and never miss a single episode!

DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS Limited VHS Release Almost Sold Out

Dismembering Christmas VHS

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We currently have just THREE of our limited edition Dismembering Christmas VHS tapes left! Each one comes hand numbered with lots of exclusive gory goodies including a FREE poster as well as some exclusive Dismembering Christmas mini posters and photos. Pick up your VHS below before they are gone forever. Also available in combo packs featuring a DVD of the film or a DVD & soundtrack. Pick up yours today!

Note: If you would like to request a custom number on your VHS (each one is hand printed), leave a note with your paypal payment. We cannot guarantee any numbers but we will do our best!


Dismembering Christmas VHS Options




Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Favorite Serial Killer Films

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Ready for a brand new Slasher Studios Horror Podcast?! Our hosts, Kevin Sommerfield & Andrew Beirl, discuss their favorite serial killer movies as well as discuss the keys to making the perfect serial killer movie. Check out an archive of the show below and happy slashing!
Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Favorite Serial Killer Films