From Worst to Best, Slasher Studios Revisits SCREAM

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It’s been five years since the release of Scream 4 so I figured I’d take a look at my ranking of the series and see if anything has changed. Truth be told, it has. This ranking isn’t going to be a popular opinion for sure and I want to get it right out in the open that I at least “like” each installment of the slasher series. It’s just that I happen to love two of the installments while merely “liking” the other two” Here it is…feel free to let me know what you think! Happy slashing everyone.

4. Scream 4 (2011)
Scream 4…what a five years it has been. When this sequel was originally released, I went back again and again and again to support what might end up being the last film in the horror franchise. I loved it and I wanted more. Watching it now, a half decade later, I find it to be a bit of a missed opportunity. The old characters, our “Woodsboro trio”, aren’t given nearly enough to do. The new cast, well, they are okay but they also aren’t given much to do. This is the kind of sequel that seems to hedge its bets right when it should be breaking all the rules. Side note: Allison Brie is fantastic as Sidney’s publicist Rebecca BUT….think of how great this could have been if she’s been Gale’s publicist trying to rebrand her for the social media public of 2011? Once again, it’s fine, but still a missed opportunity.

3. Scream 3 (2000)
Scream 3 is the kind of movie that has a lot of great ideas mixed in with a few mediocre ideas. The film spends far too much time with Sidney away from the group, alone in the cabin. The supernatural “visions” of her dead mother are also silly and out-of-place in the world of this slasher series. That being said, Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers has never been better. Given a bitter rival to play against, played by a deliciously witty Parker Posey, she shines in every single scene that she is given. Overall, I think Scream 3 is a fun film that’s actually a bit underrated. It isn’t perfect but the stuff that works, pretty much any scene with Posey, makes it a lot better than it has any right to be.

2. Scream (1996)
Scream made horror movies scary again with a brilliantly constructed plot. One year after the death of Sidney Prescott’s (Campbell) mother, two students turn up gutted. When a serial killer appears, Sidney begins to suspect whether her mother’s death and the two new deaths are related. No one is safe, as the killer begins to pick everyone off one by one. Finally, something the horror genre was missing: a good old fashioned murder mystery. The performances all around are first rate from Neve Campbell as the vulnerable to Courteney Cox as the bitchy journalist willing to do whatever it takes to get a story Gale Weathers to David Arquette as the sweet, slightly dimwitted Deputy Dewey to Drew Barrymore’s doomed Casey Becker.

1. Scream 2 (1997)
Although at times I feel as though I am in the minority, I truly believe that “Scream 2” is the best film in the Scream franchise. This is that rare sequel that takes everything that works about its predecessor and manages to take it to another level. The deaths are suspenseful, the characters are charming and likable, and the twist ending works better than it has any right to. I also truly believe that this is some of Craven’s finest directing and the “cop car” scene is a hide-your-eyes-behind-your-fingers chiller of a scene. More than that, this film is just a hell of a lot of fun from beginning to end.

Playing Favorites: The Best of the Best Horror Movie Documentaries

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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

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“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

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“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)

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“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:

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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

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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)

Picking Favorites: The Friday the 13th Final Girls (Best to Worst)

Last year we slashed up our own list of some of our favorite, and least favorite, Friday the 13th final girls. Today, we have a second opinion as Andrew Beirl attacks the original Friday 8. Agree? Disagree? Post your comments below and we hope you had a bloody good Friday the 13th!!

Ginny

1. Ginny (Part II)- Hands down, the best final girl in a Friday the 13th movie. She is smart, resourceful and likable. Ginny using her Child Psychology background to trick Jason was a interesting idea, if only she had knocked the head off the table. Her final chase scene is one of my favorites of the series.

Trish
2. Trish (The Final Chapter)- A lot of people only seem to remember Tommy killing Jason in The Final Chapter, but Trish does her fair share of damage to Jason. She will protect her little brother at the expense of her own life. She goes down as the most realistic final girl, her fear is so believable.

Megan

3. Megan (Jason Lives)- Megan is a wild card when it comes to Friday final girls. Some love her to death, others think she is too “free-spirited” to be a final girl. I see a lot of “Paula should have been the final girl!” For me, Paula was too meek. Sissy, however, would have made an equally fun final girl. Now, I loved that Megan wasn’t the usual final girl. She was sassy, sexy and just along for the ride until everything goes down. Then she’s not afraid to take a boat motor to Jason.

Tina

4. Tina (The New Blood)- If I had made this list 5 years ago, Tina would have been further down. I have been coming around on Tina. I always felt the psychic powers were unfair, but then I realized almost every final girl had help in one form or another. She does deliver a good performance and the telekinetic showdown is fun.

Alice

5. Alice (Original)- I love Adrienne King. She is so sweet and energetic. If you ever have the chance to meet her at a con, do it. She’s a ball. As far as Alice, she’s a serviceable final girl. My only real issue is the amount of times she knocks down Mrs. Voorhees and runs away. It gets repetitive.

Chris

6. Chris (Part 3)- I’ve always seen Chris as shrill and kind of annoying. Her final chase scene is great, but the rest of the movie she just comes off kind of spoiled. I wish we could have had the original dream ending where Jason beheads her, I think part of the reason I am ambivelant towards Chris is that lame dream scare ending.

Pam

7. Pam (A New Beginning)- Dull as toast. She has nothing that really makes an impression except a wet white shirt. Her character doesn’t really have much of a personality and it’s a little creepy how touchy-feely she is with Reggie.

Rennie

8. Rennie (Jason Takes Manhattan)- Jensen Daggett seems like a fine actress and she is a lot of fun on the documentaries about the Friday series. Unfortunately, she is saddled with an extremely dull character with a confusing psychic connection to ghost child Jason. She really does nothing except throw a bucket of toxic waste at Jason. Plus, she is the cause of Mrs. Van Deusen’s death, driving the police car into a vision of Jason as a child.

Picking Favorites: The “Final Destination” Series

Ranking a horror film series is usually just asking for trouble. For every one person that agrees with you, there will be at least a dozen that feel cheated by your list. “How DARE you rank X above X? What were you thinking?!?!” Today at Slasher Studios we have decided to take my ranking skills to the test and take on the Final Destination franchise. Agree with the list? Disagree? I want your feedback! Which Final Destination film do you feel is the most successful? The following is my list from best to worst. Let the games begin!

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“Final Destination 2”
“Final Destination 2″ is wittier, smarter, and bloodier than its original. It is clever in the way that it ties our characters from this film with characters from the previous installments. The deaths are incredibly inventive and stand as the best deaths of the entire series. The ending in particular is a black comedy miracle that shouldn’t work but does. Granted some of the acting can be a bit over-the-top and melodramatic and some of the effects don’t hold up as well as others. Nonetheless, this is still the rare sequel that takes everything that works about the original film and adds to it. A definite must see for fans of the original.

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“Final Destination 5”
Original concept? No. Great acting? No. Wonderful story? No. But..let’s be honest…who cares? “Final Destination 5″ is the most fun I’ve had at the theater thanks to an ingeniously clever ending. This movie works from beginning to end thanks to some incredible death scenes and some solid performances. This is actually the first “FD” movie that I’ve seen since part 2 in which I actually CARED about the characters. This isn’t a perfect movie. The middle drags a bit and I did feel a bit cheated by at least one death. Nonetheless, this is by far and away my favorite of the series. Just don’t let ANYONE give away the twist ending. That’s the best part of all.

“Final Destination”
“Final Destination” found mixed reviews as it was released. Some complained about the acting and felt the film was dramatically flat. Many critics found it be be crude and a waste of time and money. But, with all the negativity coming from these old-stuffy and out-of-touch “film critics,” the film found itself a worthy fan base and took in 10 million on its opening weekend. The film peaked at number three and lasted in theaters for 22 weeks in the United States and took home an impressive 112 million internationally. With the financial success from Final Destination, this movie was able to spawn multiple sequels with extremely high success overseas, a rarity for a slasher series. Overall, it’s a fun start to a fun series. The characters are fairly likable here and the death scenes are fairly ingenious. But, I still enjoy Part 2 more.

“Final Destination 3”
The cons: The acting is bad, the story borderline, but it doesn’t really matter. The pros: The deaths (nail gun, tanning bed, cherry picker) are ingenious in their design and that ending is one of the better ones of the series. Nonetheless, in all honesty, this is probably my least rewatchable of the franchise (four is worse but at least it is twenty minutes shorter). The characters are pretty annoying and movie feels strangely padded. After the wonderful “Final Destination 2”, this feels a bit like a let down. That being sad, there is enough carnage candy to go around for those who love their bodies extra bloody. This isn’t high art by any means but it gets the job done.

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“The Final Destination”
At barely 82 minutes, its hardly even a movie. The film plays out like a collection of “best of” deaths that you might find in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. It’s a collection of been there, done that situations in which the actors don’t have names, they have death orders. I can just see the production team now, “Body #18, you are needed on set now!” It’s all just really, really stupid. But, and this is a huge but for a lot of slasher fans, it somehow all works. It’s less serious than the disappointing “Final Destination 3″ and the actors seem to be having a good time with their meager parts. I know a lot of slasher fans hate this sequel but I had a good time. Go in with low expections and maybe you’ll have a bloody blast as well.

Picking Favorites: Ranking the “Nightmare on Elm Street” Films

My love for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series holds no bounds. It is a series that I grew up on and that I regularly watch. I can’t remember the last month that went by without me popping in a movie from the series as comfort food. Well, today I have decided to “rank” my favorite slasher series. Starting with the best and ending with the worst, the following are my selections. Please note that I will NOT be including either the remake or “Freddy Vs. Jason” into this list. Let’s say hello to Freddy! Pleasant dreams…

1) Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Convoluted? Pretentious? Overly meta? Shockingly, no. “New Nightmare” is that rare horror film in which everything works. The performances are pitch perfect, lead by a tour-de-force performance by the amazing Langenkamp. The script is full of twists and turns and the movie is quite possibly the best looking of the entire series. What starts out as a maze of mirrors becomes something much more than your typical nightmare. The film examines the role film plays on those who watch it. Something that Wes Craven’s “Scream” would play out to great effect two years later. I really can’t say enough about this film and homages to the original are expertly placed. It is my favorite horror film of all time and a modern classic.

2) Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven’s definitive classic. Bet you can’t guess what it is. A Nightmare on Elm Street is an unbelievably original, terrifingly realistic, and overall terrifying that, despite a weak ending, is one of the best horror flicks of the quarter of a century. The film deals with a deceased child molester who now lives only through the dreams of the children of those who burned him alive. Robert Englund is truly frightening as Freddy Krueger. Wes Craven delivers a surprising amount of tension that still holds up today.

3) A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
If ever there was a horror sequel that screamed the 1980’s, it would be “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”. Crazy punk chick? Check. Wheelchair Dungeons and Dragons obsessed geek? Check. Zsa Zsa Gabor? Check. Dokken theme song? You better believe it, check! Dream Warriors is both a faithful to sequel to original masterpiece as well the rare sequel that actually advances the story without just being a carbon copy reboot of everything that made the first film great.

4) A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Truth be told, “Dream Master” is probably the most fun a viewer can have with the series. The deaths are completely imaginative, the special effects top notch, and the acting is solid on all accounts. It is also probably the most quotable entry of the series. It is entertaining as hell. Nonetheless, part of me wants Freddy scary again. As cool as the deaths are (Debbie’s cockroach death being the highlight death of the entire series for me), something here is missing that made the third installment so special.

5) A Nightmare on Elm Street Part II: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
For those of you who haven’t seen this film, I don’t really know what to say besides the fact that it is very, very homoerotic. From the gym coach that Jesse finds at a gay bar (???) while sleepwalking to the gym coaches’ bondage death to the love scene between Jesse and Lisa in which Jesse can’t “perform”. Everything about this movie screams gay…and I haven’t seen talked about the dancing bedroom cleaning scene. It’s all funny, campy, over-the-top and “oh so 80’s.” haha

But the problem with Nightmare 2 isn’t the film’s gay themes, it’s the fact that it breaks too many of the rules laid out by the original. Why would Freddy want to be in the real world when the real world is the only thing that can kill him? How does Freddy make the parakeet explode if no one is dreaming? It doesn’t make scene. I will give this film some credit. The imagery is imaginative, the acting solid, and Freddy is pretty damn scary. It just doesn’t feel like a Nightmare movie. This is both it’s greatest weakness and it’s greatest fault.

6) A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
The biggest problem with “Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child” is the same problem that exists in “Freddy’s Revenge”: it breaks the rules of the series. Why would Freddy want to live on in the real world when the real world is the only thing that can kill him? Add in some hokey mother moments and an “in the womb” Krueger and you get a pretty dreadful sequel. The cinematography is top notch and the actors do what they can but, by this point in the series, who really cares? This isn’t a terrible entry but just a middle-of-the-road one. By this point the series was starting to show its age.

7) “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” (1991)
If “New Nightmare” was the rare horror sequel in which everything worked than “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” is that rare horror movie in which nothing works. It sure as hell isn’t scary and the cameos by Johnny Depp and Roseanne come across as more desperate than funny. The deaths are awful as well. Killed by a robot hearing aid, killed by Freddy’s “power glove”, fallen from a parachute onto spikes placed by Freddy? Is this a Nightmare movie or a Looney Toons cartoon. Not only this, but Freddy himself doesn’t even get a cool or original death. They take the ending of the original and cheapen it and we are all worse for it. This film is a grim insult to Freddy fans everywhere.

To buy the box set from Amazon for under $30: Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

Playing Favorites: Ranking the “Friday the 13th” Films

In honor of Jason’s special birthday tomorrow, the crew here at Slasher Studios have decided to put together a little treat for you slasher fans. The following are the original eight “Friday the 13th” films (if you ask us, Jason was killed in Manhattan..none of that body swapping or space shit). I know this ranking is going to piss off a LOT of people, especially with how low I ranked one of the “favorite” sequels. So, which “Friday the 13th” movie is your favorite? What is your official ranking? The following ranking is from best to worst…

“Friday the 13th Part 2”
“Friday the 13th Part 2” is the kind of sequel that takes a lot of chances and most of them work. The film is well paced, well acted (big props to Amy Steel who does an incredible job as Ginny), and the deaths are effectively gruesome. Also, for what its worth, I’ll take potato head Jason over hockey mask Jason any day. This is a fun sequel that doesn’t exactly advance the series (the godawful Part 3 actually does more to define Jason than this one does) but doesn’t destroy its legacy either. The characters aren’t particularly memorable but they aren’t particularly annoying either. This is really the last point in the series were you actually still feel some affection for the characters. They aren’t quite stereotypes…yet. Furthermore, it contains the two best “jump scares” of the series and the ending is pretty damn scary. Sure the middle act drags a bit but don’t let that stop you, “Part 2” is a fine slasher film that does the series proud.

“Friday the 13th”
Looking at Friday the 13th, it is not hard not to see why the criticisms were made. The film is poorly acted, poorly directed on a minimal budget with a core story that, at best, rips off the Halloween franchise frame by frame. However, this would be avoiding the very essence of why these horror films are so popular. People don’t go to Friday the 13th expecting a great, cinematic movie going experience; they are going to Friday the 13th to have fun. It can be argued that films like Friday the 13th are escapist entertainment at their very best. There is nothing fundamentally great about these films but that’s really the point. They are fun, they are scary (if, by today’s standards, cheesy and tame), and they are very entertaining.

“Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood”
“The New Blood” is everything that a “Friday the 13th” sequel should be. It has some creative deaths (gotta love that sleeping bag death) and a meaner than ever Jason played by the great Kane Hodder. The reason why it really works though? It’s fucking Jason meets Carrie with a tour-de-force performance by Lar Park Lincoln as Tina. This movie just works from beginning (a six movie montage narrated by Crazy Ralph, yes please!) to end (the final showdown between Tina and Jason is the most suspenseful the series has been since Part 2). It’s just a damn fun movie. I still wish it hadn’t been raped by the MPAA (all of the death scenes are cut) and if the final reveal (Tina’s dad) wasn’t as lame. Still a damn good sequel.

“Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives”
“Jason Lives” is a very strange entry into the “Friday the 13th” saga. There is hardly any blood, no nudity “Friday the 13th” first?) and the film plays the deaths more for laughs than it does for scares. The film works because it realizes that Jason is no longer scary, so why not just make fun of the whole situation? It is the first Friday movie to even get a little “meta”. Example, before the caretaker is about to die he has a heart to heart with his liquor bottle, “Darling, you’re going to be the death of me. But what a lovely way to go, huh?” Of course, he tosses the bottle behind him and Jason catches it and stabs him with it. The humor doesn’t always work (the paintball scene is painful to watch) but effort is appreciated. As it stands, it’s definitely one of the better entries in the series.

“Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning”
Pseudo Jason isn’t usually one of the favorites among fans but I actually kind of like this installment. In fact there are two characters that save “A New Beginning” from being utter trash. Those two characters are the punk pop princess Violet who does a killer robot dance to “His Eyes” by Pseudo Echo that is pretty damn amazing. The other is a white trash princess named Ethel that spews out more profanity than any other character in Friday the 13th history. This film is almost worth watching for these two alone. As it stands, the film isn’t bad but not particularly good. It’s like the cheeseburger you eat after a long night of drinking. It fills your stomach and gets the job done but you might regret it in the morning….

“Friday the 13th Part VII: Jason Takes Manhattan”
Very little about “Jason Takes Manhattan” works. First of all, for a movie called “Jason Takes Manhattan”, very little of it actually takes place in New York. Three quarters of this damn movie takes place on a cruise ship. Cruise ships just are not that scary and they definitely aren’t scary here. Even Jason himself seems to be going through the motions. What’s equally depressing is how much this movie takes pains to rip off the more popular “Elm Street” series. Do we really need the supernatural Jason appearing in visions to Rennie? Or the “little boy” that Jason becomes at the end? It’s all rather silly. Also, at over 100 minutes, it’s grossly overlong. This is just a bland effort all around with little to recommend it. This used to be one of my favorite entries as a child but time has not served it well. Jason is finally killed by toxic waste. Yawn.

“Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”
I know that there is a lot of love out there for “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”. I have talked to many a horror fan that feel as though this sequel is the best sequel of the Friday series. They love the effects, the love the “killing” of Jason, and they love Crispin Glover. Well, I must be honest and say that this love is not at all shared by me. Marginally better than the 3rd film in the series, I just don’t understand the passion for this film. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me? I’d LOVE to know. Honestly.

let me just say that filmmakers, when in doubt, NEVER have a child to be your lead character/hero. It almost never works and the child in doubt is usually obnoxious and painfully annoying (case in point here). Adding insult to injury, there isn’t even a strong final girl here. Jason is killed by a little boy?!!? C’mon…this is just lame. If anything saves this film, it is the competent direction and stylish killings. Everything else is ho hum.

“Friday the 13th 3D”
I really can’t say how much I dislike this movie. The 3D effects are lame, the characters are painfully bland, and the movie drags on and on and on. After the opening kill it is seriously at least a half an hour until the next death. You have the annoying fat kid, a group of bikers?!?!, and one of the most annoying final girls in Friday history. Yet somehow I still find some charm with this film. Maybe it is the fact that this is the only Friday shot in 2.35:1 widescreen (effects aside, the film looks great) or maybe its just all the cheesy goodness. I cannot in good faith recommend this film but it still isn’t the worst of the series.

Picking Favorites: Ranking the “Scream” Films

Ranking a horror film series is usually just asking for trouble. For every one person that agrees with you, there will be at least a dozen that feel cheated by your list. “How DARE you rank X above X? What were you thinking?!?!” Well, in honor of this week’s Slasher Studios Horror Film Club, I decided to take my ranking list to the test and take on the Scream franchise. Agree with the list? Disagree? I want your feedback! Which Scream film do you feel is the most successful? The following is my list from best to worst. Let the games begin!

1. Scream 2 (1997)
Although at times I feel as though I am in the minority, I truly believe that “Scream 2” is the best film in the Scream franchise. This is that rare sequel that takes everything that works about its predecessor and manages to take it to another level. The deaths are suspenseful, the characters are charming and likable, and the twist ending works better than it has any right to. I also truly believe that this is some of Craven’s finest directing and the “cop car” scene is a hide-your-eyes-behind-your-fingers chiller of a scene. More than that, this film is just a hell of a lot of fun from beginning to end.

2. Scream (1996)
Scream made horror movies scary again with a brilliantly constructed plot. One year after the death of Sidney Prescott’s (Campbell) mother, two students turn up gutted. When a serial killer appears, Sidney begins to suspect whether her mother’s death and the two new deaths are related. No one is safe, as the killer begins to pick everyone off one by one. Finally, something the horror genre was missing: a good old fashioned murder mystery. The performances all around are first rate from Neve Campbell as the vulnerable to Courteney Cox as the bitchy journalist willing to do whatever it takes to get a story Gale Weathers to David Arquette as the sweet, slightly dimwitted Deputy Dewey to Drew Barrymore’s doomed Casey Becker.

3. Scream 4 (2011)
“Scream 4″ is executed with an artistic flair of wit and style that long time fans and film buffs alike will love. While I sometimes wished there could have been a little more genuine tension and suspense, the final twenty minutes are just so off-the-wall that it makes up for any slow patches. All in all, this is bloody, fun, and very entertaining. The cast is clearly having a ton of fun, and most of them really put on a good show. This may be cinematic junk food but it sure is tasty.

4. Scream 3 (2000)
“Scream 3″ is the kind of movie that has a lot of great ideas mixed in with a few mediocre ideas. The film spends far too much time with Sidney away from the group, alone in the cabin. We want to see Sidney take on evil and put on a good fight. Something that doesn’t happen here until the final act. That being said, Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers has never been better. Given a bitter rival to play against, played by a deliciously witty Parker Posey, she shines in every single scene that she is given. Overall, I think “Scream 3″ is a fun film. It may be the worst installment of the franchise but it is still a hell of a lot better than 90% of the horror that is released today.