Slashers We Love: “Scream 2” Review

As part of the Slasher Studios Horror Film Club, we have two great reviews from you today from the always wonderful Brian C Tyler. This is the first of the two reviews, this one being for the second chapter in the Scream series. It is my personal favorite. Let’s see if Brian feels the same way…

SCREAM 2 is everything we could have hoped for in a sequel. All the characters we know and love have returned along with lots of new, fresh faces to fall in love with, suspect and watch die. It also helped that Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson returned to write and direct.

This sequel will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first horror film I’ve ever seen in theaters. However, this film has much more than nostalgia going for it. The opening scene, while a bit over-the-top and not as scary as that in the original, is a brilliant comment on us, the fans. Maureen, bloodied and near death, letting out a loud cry for help as the crowd cheers, is a very powerful moment and the greatness of the film is just beginning. We’re immediately re-introduced to Sidney and Randy, now attending college with a new circle of friends, and then Gale and Dewey. They’ve all dealt with the tragedy in their own ways, and are now trying to move on. However, just because we saw them survive before does not mean they are safe or beyond suspicion. The performances are still dead on, sometimes even better than in the original. The new characters are also very lovable and we have many more amazing references and homages to horror film, particularly sequels.

The best thing about this sequel, though, is the suspense. There’s so many great stalk/chase sequences that have you on the edge of your seat no matter how many times you’ve seen the film. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s sorority house death is a great old-school stalk, chase and kill scene. And both Gale’s chase and Sidney and Hallie in the cop car are two scenes that make my heart race every time I watch the movie. It’s all topped with an epic climax, with lots of twists, suspense and great dialog that makes me smile every time I watch it. This is definitely the best sequel and one of the most intense and clever slasher films of the last twenty years.

Slashers We Love: “Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”

Arguably considered the best of the entire series (excluding one), Dream Warriors takes the series into a more fantasy oriented extravaganza. It’s loaded with bigger budget, more characters, more of everything actually. The Nightmare series was on the brink of its multi-million dollar fame and before Freddy got watered down and basically shifted into his comedian phase we had this movie.

The movie has no seemingly apparent interest in part 2 and could easily be the 2 of the series since it expands from 1’s origins and never once mentions the events in 2. So this could actually be the REAL sequel to 1, I think 2 was too ahead of the mythology of the series and should have been made after Dream Child (5 in the series).

The plot focuses on the remaining “Elm Street” children all rounded up in the local mental hospital, where the skeptical staff tends to them. It seems Freddy is alive and kicking and is still terrorizing dreams. The movie opens with one of the children Kristen (Patricia Arquette) trying desperately to stay awake (by spooning down coffee grinds) and making models of the house she’s been dreaming of. Well efforts aside, she has a dream and we are basically thrown into a much different approach then the proceeded. The movie is bombarded with SFX, the Elm street house is pimped up to one spooky setting, and the first stalk sequence is a good example of what’s instore for the audience. Anyway, after barely getting killed by the Fredster, Kristen joins her fellow survivors in the asylum where quite conveniently joined up by part one’s heroine Nancy. She is now a dream doctor (or something) and once realizing what the kids are up against she embarks them on a mission to fight back. It is discovered that Kristen also has a gift of pulling in people to her …consciousness…in order for everyone to dream the same dream. Alas, when doing this Nancy is able to have every dreamer obtain a certain power, which they use to battle Freddy. That is basically the premise as the last half of the movie is a series of events showing some warriors do battle and fail, and the remaining warriors team up to use their efforts while the only kind doctor tries to bury the bones of Freddy in order to stop his reign of terror.

I admit I saw this movie at a young age, and doing so I easily invested a lot into the well rounded group of troubled teens. We have the easily likable Kristen, the uber cool tough Chick Taryn (Jennifer Rubin), the endearing mute guy Joey, the sympathetic chubby girl Jennifer in hopes of seeking fame, the nerdy (but cool) War craft reject/fantasy obsessed Will(who looks like Waldo from Where’s Waldo), and the so-called bad ass Kincaid (who more or less spends most of the movie yelling), I’m missing some of the others but you get the idea. Roger Ebert said in his review that he felt the movie gave him no sympathy for the characters and that was its biggest flaw, well I take that in stride. I had no trouble and it actually hurt when some of the kids died. Having that investment surly made the movie a much more personnel viewing. I cared.

The movie also runs rampant with SFX, imagination, cool visuals, slick audio and some whacked out death scenes (with a bitter cruel streak). So many of the movies scenes stick out for me, the Freddy snake, the Freddy puppet, the Freddy TV, the Freddy needle scene, the hallway of mirrors, Freddy’s basement and boiler room scenes, the Freddy demise. Any video game fanatic would appreciate the action that goes down (dreamers using skills to combat Freddy), and the mythology laid down in this entry certainly is very video game like. The mythology of Freddy is also more sketched out this time as we learn more of his origins and also discover what happens to the souls of the kids he kills (they are trapped in his chest and appear as a tormented screaming face). It seems the more souls Freddy obtains, the stronger he gets.

Angelo Badalmenti (Mullholland Drive, Twin Peaks) is the composer this time around brings one of the most unique scores of the entire series. It’s quirky and quite pleasing to the ears. I want it (this is years later, I have it). It brings a touch of class to the movie and compliments the imagery quite nicely.

The directing is quite inspiring (considering it’s his first movie) and he succeeds in balancing the cheesy jokes with the movies menacing sense of hopelessness almost effortlessly. You can tell the makers must have had a blast with this. I know I would have. The movie has a hopeless and nihilistic vibe that makes the jokes more passable.

Some flaws that I have to mention is that the warriors aren’t never fully able to use their skills towards the end, whether this was time restraints, money, or intentional it’s never clear, but it seems they could have had a bigger fight with Freddy, also after Freddy’s eventual demise the movie basically ends way too quickly, since I was 98% invested with the characters, I wanted to know the outcomes of all the survivors. It didn’t happen, making the last frame somewhat tedious.

All in all though, I consider this movie to be quite bad ass, and can proudly hold it’s head up as not only a worthy sequel, but a highly entertainment movie in general. This is the sequel I show to unfamiliar Elm Street fans, and on that note dare I say we have a “80s classic” on our hands?

–Vince Fontaine

Slashers We Love: “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” and “Last House on the Left”

The favorite slasher contest is over and thank you everyone for your great submissions. Congratulations to Ryan Howe and Brian C Tyler for winning autographed copies of Teddy. This week on the Slasher Studios Facebook Page we are asking you to submit your favorite slasher movie death scenes and why they love them so much. Should be interesting. After all, a slasher lives or dies on it’s death scenes…literally. What follows are two extra reviews that Brian and Ryan wrote for favorite slasher question.

Brian C Tyler-“Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”

Another favorite of mine is this 1994 love letter to both the fans and the people behind the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven returns to the series along with Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, John Saxon and Bob Shaye to tell a chilling story that draws from both the original film and real life. The evil that Craven trapped in the Nightmare series is now set free after the previous film killed Freddy for good, and he’s after Heather and her son. There’s lots of great homages to the original film along with brand new, original and very unique fright sequences but the best things about this film… Craven puts Heather/Nancy back in the spotlight and makes Freddy scary again.

Ryan Howe-“The Last House on the Left”

Ok… a very brief breakdown of “Last House on the Left”. First off this movie proves that Wes Craven is still a genius at helping guys get laid. My friend Sam invited me and a couple of young Russian girls over to watch this movie. The girls had never heard of the movie.
20 minutes in… a rape and a murder… the girls are huddling together on the couch.
40 minutes in… gruesome rape being performed by the dad from “Raising Hope”…. the girls are practically crying.
1 hour in…. brutal, gruesome rape, twisted sordid kind of stuff… I have a beautiful Russian girl in my lap… physically in my lap.
1 hour, 20 mins in… I was wishing that I was straight or horror movies had the same effect on hot guys.

Slashers We Love: “Black Christmas” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

Two more mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Cory and Wesley for your awesome selections! Only a few hours left to enter the contest so make sure to write your reviews soon! All you have to do is go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Wesley James Skelly- “Black Christmas”

Black Christmas (1974) may not actually hold the crown for starting the slasher genre but it pioneered so many of the elements we love in the genre, such as the killers POV (yes as did Peeping Tom). What’s more it used them more effectively then a number of copycats that would follow. Utilizing the warm atmosphere of Christmas time but turning it into one of dread. Mixing shocks, tension, character moments and black humor to make a more rounded film overall.

It also perfectly sets most of the story in a generally creepy on its own merits sorority house while offering audiences insights into the mind of a truly frightening serial killer the film manages to create a sense of dread as the story progresses. It eloquently paints it killer bit by bit blending back story with the multi-layered personality at the end of the phone. The audience hanging on every eerie word spoken, unlike most phone horror’s the film’s calls stand head and shoulders above all others.

The cast do a fine job of behaving believably in the situations, including final girl Jess going back upstairs for her friends despite the news she has been given by the less then tactful police officer Nash. The girls are drawn as humans with thoughts feeling and emotions and not types, Margot Kidder standing out whist drowning her sorrows at the bottom of a bottle while providing some subtle comic relief.

The perfectly staged ending that plays on the audiences suspicious of who this killer may be and the wry promise of a reveal to ‘whodunit’ leads to a pitch perfect epilogue that manages to leave you as chilled as the snowy surrounds of the sorority house and is a truly perfect end to in my opinion the quintessential slasher film.

Cory Allen-“A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

Another favorite slasher film of mine is A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. As a child walking down the horror aisle in my local video store so many VHS covers caught my attention but none like Nightmare 4. Freddy was at his greatest in this sequel. I love everything about this film. From Freddy’s sweater to his one-liners to the soundtrack and then the creative kills. This is my favorite Nightmare on Elm Street and I seriously doubt that opinion will ever change 😛 plus if John Hughes made a horror film this would be the outcome. Also the cast is pretty great as well!

Slashers We Love: “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” and “American Gothic”

Two more mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Jayme and Ryan for your awesome selections! Today is the last day of the contest so make sure to write your reviews soon! All you have to do is go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Jayme Karales-“A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”

How can you not love this installment of the NOES franchise? Easily my favorite slasher flick. You have Englund at his peak – producing a Freddy that delivers the perfect combination of being menacing and humorous, in addition to a cast of original and relatable characters. “Welcome to prime time, bitch,” remains a classic line in horror history to this day. Also, you have Roland Kincaid (the first victim of NOES #4) calling Freddy a “burnt face pussy.” You just can’t get any better than that.

Ryan Howe-“American Gothic”

Another favorite slasher film is “American Gothic”. It’s your classic 80’s campers in the woods scenario with a down home twist. They encounter a freaky family with ma, pa and their three adult babies (always fun). Ma is played beautifully by horror legend Yvonne De Carlo (“The Munsters”) and the “baby” of the family is played by super creep Michael J Pollard (House of 1000 Corpses, Sleepaway Camp 3). The standout character is definitely Fanny… a 50 year old overweight little girl pageant princess who swings a character to death on her swingset. Convinced to watch yet?

Slashers We Love: “The Fog” and “High Tension”

Once again, you guys have yet to let us down! Two more mini reviews from another great fan of the slasher genre. Thank you Brian C. Tyler for two more of your awesome selections! Want to submit your own mini review? Just go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie, do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

“High Tension”
And another one. Probably my favorite slasher film made in the last ten years this actually manages to be dark and scary. High Tension returns to the feel of the most twisted 1970’s horror/exploitation films with a terrifying villain known only as “The Killer” who doesn’t discriminate, brutally killing men, women and children for no apparent reason. We also have a great heroine and we’re in her shoes every step of the way, I felt so much suspense especially in that public bathroom scene and early on in the house when she’s trying to erase all the proof of her being there. And that twist I definitely did not see coming and I thought it was awesome!

“The Fog”
Not really considered a slasher film, but it does have people getting stabbed with hooks and machetes and getting their eyes poked out. I find John Carpenter’s The Fog to be a very underrated horror film. It has it all: a great setting, spooky atmosphere, a perfect cast for a horror film (Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins etc.), a good story, creepy death scenes, lots of suspense and in my opinion a score almost as good as Halloween. And what a great ending!

Slashers We Love: “Sleepaway Camp 2” and “Friday the 13th”

Wow, you guys really are amazing. You know that? Two more mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Jeffrey and Ryan for your awesome selections! Once again just go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Ryan Howe-“Sleepaway Camp 2”

My favorite slasher of all time is “Sleepaway Camp 2” because of the Happy Camper Song, the Shit Sisters and our favorite post-op camp counselor Angela Johnson. The outhouse killing if by far my favorite scene from any slasher movie!

Jeffrey Lee-“Friday the 13th”

I was debating if i should post “one of my favorites”, like Happy Birthday to Me and The House on Sorority Row, since a lot of people’s favorite slasher happens to be one of the Friday the 13th movies. But at the risk of sounding redundant, I’m going to go ahead and say that Friday the 13th (1980) is my #1 favorite slasher of all-time. Black Christmas and Halloween did it first, but Friday the 13th defined what a slasher movie is all about and fine-tuned the rules and style for all the slashers to come. I think the first Friday the 13th has the best gore effects of the entire series (you can’t argue that anyone did it better than Tom Savini), and it has an excellent atmosphere of dread and impending doom. Sean S. Cunningham really doesn’t give himself enough credit with this one. He’s said over and over in interviews that his main intent was to rip off Halloween, but I think he created a unique and terrifying slasher movie that will go down in history as the first of its kind and will never be forgotten.

Slashers We Love: “Curtains”, “Alone in the Dark”, and “Clownhouse”

Three more mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Reece, Todd, and Panos for your awesome selections! Once again just go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Reece Glen Donnell-“Curtains”

Curtains has to be my favourite slasher film. I remember I used to watch it at least once a week, if not more, when I was younger. I love the isolated atmosphere of the film and the amazing cast and performances. To me it’s the perfect slasher film, very well made and it’s a shame it’s never been given the attention it deserves. Curtains = a real hidden gem.

Tödd Halliwell-“Alone in the Dark”

Alone in the Dark (1982) is my personal favourite slasher for many reasons. It was just so original for an early 80’s slasher and broke so many of the typical slasher ‘rules’. I also loved that there were four killers, all of whom are known from the start of the film. Realistic and truly deep characters. And it’s the reason that all I want to see these days are the ‘home invasion’ style horror films. Brilliant casting too: Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau, Jack Palance, Erland Van Lidth De Jeude (Dynamo from Running Man) and, erm, that bleeding guy. Amazing performances by everybody involved. I could go on but i’m quivering in delight right now and am having difficulty typing…

Panos Tsiros-“Clownhouse”

Well, it’s difficult to pick one slasher film as my favorite, but undoubtedly one of my favorite flick of the late 80’s is the “Clownhouse”. Is a film that interferes with our deepest fears from our childhood. The fear that every child feels for people with make up 🙂 But as soon as those people starts stalking you inside your own house, then the fear reach another level and the instict for survive is more intense. I Love the atmosphere of this film, the Psycho clown is very frightening and the music gives me the creeps. If you haven’t seen it yet please do so !!! …Who’s for the Circus tonight ???

Slasher We Love: “Friday the 13th Part II”, “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”, and “A Nightmare on Elm Street”

Today we are three more mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Ricky, Corey, and Brian for your selections! Remember just go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Rickey Russell-“Friday the 13th Part II”

This is my all time favorite slasher flick because it introduces Jason as the ultimate killing machine. It increased my fears of the woods (coming from northwest GA) and gave me a sound effect to torture my little sister with (che-che-che cha-cha-cha). It set the stage for every slasher flick to follow.

Cory Allen-“Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”

My favorite slasher film is Friday the 13th:The Final Chapter for various reasons. It was the 1st Friday the 13th I ever watched. Ted White portrayed Jason the best. The kills were creative. In my opinion, Final Chapter was Tom Savini’s last good film that he did special effects for. Ever since I was a kid I have loved that film.

Brian C Tyler-“A Nightmare on Elm Street”

A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite for several reasons. First of all it has a great concept where if you go to sleep you’re dead. Wes Craven did a great job bringing this story to life, I love how you’re never really sure if what you’re seeing is a dream or reality. Nancy is probably my favorite of the horror heroines because she looks like your typical girl next door but she manages to be really strong and face Freddy and her own personal demons instead of just hiding in a closet and crying. It also helps to have a very unique and terrifying villain, this is before Freddy was in the spotlight and he’s very creepy and menacing here, and the fact that he gets you in your nightmares and can pretty much do whatever he wants to you is horrifying.

Slashers We Love: “Prom Night” & “My Super Psycho Sweet 16”

Today we are featuring two mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Kevin and Sean for sharing your slasher favs! Go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Kevin T. Smith-“Prom Night”

I have a huge list of slashers I LOVE, but one personal slasher favorite would be PROM NIGHT. Cuz, I love the use of the rules it shoved forth such as Red Herrings, Great chase scenes (Wendy’s chase scene,to me, is still one of the best slasher chase scenes PERIOD!), a AWESOME killer who can run like hell & swing a axe like a champion, plus all the small campus “stalker” bits involving cutting yearbook photos out & putting them in their lockers w/ shards thru them. It just rules 🙂

Sean Wells-“My Super Psycho Sweet 16”

I don’t know how to start this, to be honest. I truly adore the salsher-genre of horror films, so it’s actuall hard for me to pick just one film. In all honesty, my favorite slasher changes with the seasons, but, my heart will ALWAYS have room for the made-for-tv film My Super Psycho Sweet 16.
I remember seeing a TV spot for it on MTV back in the begining of October 2009, about a month before it’s release. I had low expectations for the film because of the act that it was attatched to MTV, but, when I saw it, I fell in love.

My Super Psycho Sweet 16 stays true to the 80’s slashers with it’s cliche characters, catchy, quotable dialouge, and fun deaths, which makes the film really enjoyable. The acting was actually really good, too, considering most of the actors weren’t really ‘experienced,’ if you will. Especially the minor characters, they definitely deserve to be in more films, and I’m sure they will be.

As for the special effects, they’re probably the best you’ll see in a made-for-tv film, and they’re not even that bad. While using a perfect amount of CGI, the kills were put together really good.

All-in-all, this film was truly an amazing film, with every cliche a horror film can have, this film is probably one of the best slashers this generation will get. Spawning 2 sequels, this film seems to have a cult following in the future.