Slasher Studios Horror Webcast: Best Horror Movie Moms

In honor of Mother’s Day, our hosts of Slasher Studios Webcast, Kevin Sommerfield and Steve Goltz, will be talking about their favorite horror movie moms. Mother moms who knew how to slice and dice with lots of style and knew how to keep it in the family. Show starts Sunday May 13th at 10PM central. Click on the link below to listen in live or to check out an archive of a previous epsiode.

Slasher Studios Horror Webcast

Meet the Face Behind Slasher Studios: Ten Random Horror Facts About Yours Truly

I spend a lot of time on Slasher Studios updating the site, promoting upcoming horror movies, and writing reviews for slasher films that hope other horror fans will eventually have the time to enjoy. One thing that I normally do not do is talk about myself. Well, today that is about to change. I figured it would be interesting for those of you out there to get to know the face behind Slasher Studios. The following are ten very random horror facts about me in no particular order. Read them and hopefully enjoy…maybe we are more alike than you may think.

1) My favorite horror movie is the original Black Christmas. Don’t quote me on this however because it tends to change on an almost monthly basis. This, however, is the one that I recommend to everyone whether they like horror or not. It’s a great starter horror film as well as a good first date movie. If your date doesn’t like it, make sure there is no second date.

2) My favorite scream queen is Heather Langenkamp. I adored Heather as Nancy in the three Nightmare on Elm Street films that she appeared in. She brought strength and humanity to the role. She was one of the first Final GIrls to actually put up a fight and destroy evil…at least for the time being. It’s a shame she never broke out because she is one fine actress.

3) I don’t understand the love for Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. I know this is many fans favorite of the Friday the 13th series but I always found this installment to be mean spirited (this film seems to hate women—almost every woman in this movie is either a slut or needs the assistance of a man) and I hated Corey Feldman’s performance as young Tommy. Just annoying and the deaths aren’t even all that great.

4) On the flip side, I don’t understand why more horror fans don’t love Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. A smart, cutting edge horror film that was ahead of its time, this movie is seriously scary and asks the burning question that most horror movies are afraid of—What impact does a horror movie have on those watching it? Scream toyed with this idea a few years later but I think New Nightmare is even better.

5) I don’t understand the love of supernatural horror movies. Don’t get me wrong, these can be done and done well (see Poltergeist and House of the Devil) but normally these types of films just leave me cold. You know you are going to get some doors that slam on their own as well as some creepy music but little else. I don’t mend tension but these films have just become an open invitation to make a bad, cheap horror movie.

6) If I’m not a fan of supernatural horror movies then I really hate found footage horror. I love Blair Witch, I think the first Paranormal Activity features some decent shocks, but…that’s about it. These are cheap, insulting movies that pander to a horror audience that want to see “the real thing”. They are also incredibly lazy and an excuse to feature poor acting (These are real people!). Case in point watch “The Devil Inside” or, better yet, don’t.

7) My first horror movie experience was when I was 6. I watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre with my parents. I stayed up all night because I was so scared out of my mind. As soon as I got over my initial shock, I went back for more. Twenty+ years later and I’m still looking to recapture that wonderful experience.

8. I obnoxiously quote horror movies that I’ve seen a million times to friends who haven’t seen them and don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. The biggest offenders: Scream (all four movies), Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Poltergeist III, Slaughter High, and Black Christmas.

9) I have never seen The Exorcist. There is no excuse for this one.

10) If I could meet one horror movie director, it would be Wes Craven. He created at least a dozen of my favorite horror movies and I’d ask him for both advice and tips of the trade. I’d also ask him to see the original cut of Cursed with Mandy Moore.

That is all. Hope that was informative. What are some random horror facts about you?

Slasher Studios: The Best and the Worst of the Friday the 13th Final Girls

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On tonight’s episode of Slasher Studios, Kevin Sommerfield and special guest Joshua Schuh went over their favorite and least favorite final girls from the “Friday the 13th” series. Click on the link below to listen to an archive of the show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/slasherstudios/2012/01/30/slasher-studios-horror-webcast

Without further ado, here is the official Slasher Studios list of the best and worst Friday the 13th final girls:

THE BEST:

1) Ginny-“Friday the 13th Part II” (1981)
Ginny truly is the best of the best when it comes to final girls. A smart girl with a good head on her shoulder, she uses her knowledge of psychology in her battle with the childlike Jason. She isn’t afraid to get dirty and fight and is a true triumph when it comes to final girls. Laurie Strode would be proud.

2) Tina-“Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
While it is true that Tina has an unfair advantage when it comes to being a final girl in that she is telekinetic but even if she wasn’t she would be sure to put up one hell of a good fight. Possibly the most independent of the Friday girls, Tina is trying to get over a nightmare of a childhood (a childhood in which she sadly killed her father) and she isn’t going to let anyone stop her. Jason vs. Tina is a damn good match.

3) Megan-“Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Probably the most likable final girl in the series, Megan is just a tough little cookie who is fun with a bit of an edge. While it can be argued that Tommy is technically the “Final Girl” in this piece as he does have more screen time and more of a back story than our dear Megan, we must remember that a hero is only as good as its heroine. Tommy has definitely found a worthy heroine in Megan.

THE WORST:

1) Chris-“Friday the 13th Part 3”
One of the most annoying final girls in the history of final girls. Chris is the kind of annoying, spoiled little princess that you can’t wait to die. The fact that she doesn’t is just an insult in one of the lamer Friday the 13th sequels. It really is too bad because this film was the Friday where Jason received his mask and had a great barn finale. Sadly these are the only two things memorable about this dismal sequel.

2) Pam-“Friday the 13th: A New Beginning”
Umm..how can I put this nicely…Pam is just a little too…old to be a final girl. She seems like she would make a great mom type character but she doesn’t seem believable as a love interest to Tommy and a fighter to Jason. The fact that she spends a good third of her running time running around and falling down in the mud and rain doesn’t help matters much. She seems like a nice girl but bad casting here.

3) Trish-“Friday the 13th: A New Beginning”
“NO TOMMY NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
I know that I’m in the minority here but I always found Trish to be useless. She walks around for half of the movie looking confused as to what is going on around here and when she does figure it out and people start dying, she needs her brother to save her. Ugh. I don’t like kids in horror movies and I don’t think a child should have to save a young woman entering into adulthood.

To order the ultimate collection: Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Collection (Parts I – VIII + Jason Mask)

A New Beginning for Jason?

Wait a second…you mean Corey Feldman’s Tommy didn’t actually kill Jason with his own machete in “The Final Chapter”? I guess not. Well, for those of you keeping track, “A New Beginning” begins 10 years after killing the goalie hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhees. Tommy Jarvis has grown up in various mental hospitals unable to get over the nightmares about Jason’s return. When Tommy is sent to a rural halfway house in California for mentally disturbed teenagers, a series of grisly murders begin anew as another hockey-masked killer begins killing off all people at and around the residence. Has Jason returned from the dead to re-start his killing spree? Has Tommy decided to take over the reign of Jason, or has someone else?

Not a whole lot really works in “A New Beginning”. This one is played with a murder-mystery element. Guess what? SPOILER ALERT! Jason isn’t the killer in this installment. It’s some crazy ambulance driver who’s son was attacked at the halfway house that Tommy is now staying. I’m sorry fillmmakers but a whodunit doesn’t work when the character that is playing your killer only appears on screen for less than one minute. It is all pretty kinda dumb but I do give props to the filmmakers for at least TRYING to do something different. It’s all kind of silly but more fun than Part 3 or 4.

Nonetheless, 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….

Jason’s Dead? Think Again. “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” Review

Let me start this review by saying that 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.

Anyway, back to “The Final Chapter”. Like Part 3, this film begins mere moments after its predecessor ended. After the confrontation with Chris, Jason presumed dead, is taken to the Wessex County Morgue. There he escapes killing an attendant and a nurse, making his way back to Crystal Lake Camp. Six teenagers rent a cabin next to the Jarvis’ in Crystal Lake. Soon Jason finds his way to eliminate all who trespasses his way, but not for long. There are two survivors left, a girl and her little brother, Tommy Jarvis.

Blah, blah, blah…Haven’t we been through this all before? And 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.

Buy It Here: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Deluxe Edition)

Jason Takes on a New Dimension: “Friday the 13th Part 3” Review

Something about 1982 just pisses me off. I don’t know what it is about the year but I do know that not a lot of great or even good horror movies were produced. Of course, by saying this, I know that I will get a message or a comment from someone reminding me of a hidden gem that I overlooked. To which I would say, you’re right, there probably are one or two. But one or two? In an entire year? At the peak of the slasher craze? Well that’s just unacceptable in my book. But, I seriously doubt that anyone would include “Friday the 13th Part 3” in this list of the great horror movies of 1982. It’s bad…really bad. Let me count the ways.

“Part 3” opens just moments after its predecessor ended. Potato sack Jason is died. Well, if you believe that, I have a Part 4, 5, 6, 7…to sell you. Well it turns out that Jason, having barely survived a blow to his shoulder from his own machete, is back to continue his revenge on all those that visit “his” woods. A new group of friends come over to party at an area close to the campsite. This time, Jason will be stronger than ever, and getting a hockey mask from the most annoying member of the bunch.

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.

Buy It Here: Friday the 13th, Part 3, 3-D (Deluxe Edition)

Jason Returns (for the First Time) in Friday the 13th Part 2

How do you follow a groundbreaking horror film like “Friday the 13th”? Follow the same formula? Make it another whodunit? Have Jason’s mother come back from the dead to avenge her death? The answer with “Friday the 13th Part 2” is none of the above. “Part 2” takes everything that worked about the original (creative deaths, camp setting, horny teenagers, etc) and amps it up a notch plus it has something that the original doesn’t have….Jason.

“Part 2” begins with our sole survivor, Alice, taking a break from Camp Crystal Lake. Emotionally troubled by what has happened, she is plagued with bad dreams. She believes that she is finally safe and ready to move on with her life. But there is just one problem. It turns out Jason never drowned in Crystal Lake and lived in the nearby woods as a hermit all this time. The day that Alice beheaded his mother, Jason saw everything and he is pissed. Two months later, Jason hunts Alice down and stabs her with an ice pick in the temple. Five years later, a new Camp Crystal Lake is built and the new counselors are soon picked off one by one. It is up to our new hero Ginny to stop Jason once and for all.

“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.

Buy It Here: Friday the 13th, Part 2 [Blu-ray]

In Defense of “Friday the 13th”

Looking at Friday the 13th, it’s easy to see why the film was so controversial. Many feminist groups were so angered by these types of movies in the 1980’s. After all, aren’t these films merely an excuse to show a topless girl running through the woods waiting to get impaled on a killer’s “long blade”? The references to death and sex aren’t exactly subtle. As Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film states, many feminists were downright disgusted by Friday the 13th finding it repulsive and borderline offensive that every female in the film, with the exception of the “final girl” (which I will go into detail on later), is killed because of her sexual experience and independence. What kind of message does this send to the female youth of America? Stay subservient to your male partner and everything will end up being okay for you?

Does Friday the 13th add to the “media’s representation of women as passive, dependent on men, or objects of desire” as many feminist film critics have stated? Well, that is left up to debate. For example, a select group of feminists actually applauded this film and other slasher films like it. In fact, while most feminists theorists label the horror film as a “male-driven/male-centered genre”, feminist critics like Carol Clover pointed out that in most horror films, especially in horror films like the Friday the 13th series, the audience, male and female, is structurally ‘forced’ to identify with the “innovative and resourceful young female” (“the final girl” as described earlier) who survives the killer’s attack and usually ends the threat. She argues that “while the killer’s subjective point of view may be male within the narrative, even the male viewer is still rooting for the “final girl” to overcome the killer.”

Nonetheless, many key film critics disagreed with the argument that horror films like Friday the 13th are “pro-feminist.” In 1981, Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, launched a “famous diatribe against the subjective point-of-view killing mechanism” of the slasher film which, as he argued, “placed viewers in the position of ‘seeing as’ and, therefore, ‘identifying with’ the maniacal killers.” Nevertheless, many filmmakers and other critics disagreed with the “simplistic association of subjective point of view shooting with audience identification by believing in point-of-view cutting as a stronger way of achieving audience identification with a character.” If anything, it could be argued that this point-of-view shooting makes horror films forces the audience to identify with the female protagonist that much more. Or, as feminist critic Clover calls it, “masochistic rather than sadistic.”

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.

The feminist critics that attack these films don’t seem to see the power these films contain. Here, in Friday the 13th, is a young woman who must put all the pieces of the mystery everything together and save her friends in order to survive the night. And survive she does, something that not a single other male does in the course of the film. In fact, looking at the series as a whole, it takes the franchise until Part 4 before it even allows a male to survive in the end. It should come as no surprise that this male is survived with a female who, once again, was forced to save the day on her own. Whereas in other film genres, such as romantic comedies and dramas, where females are pushed aside to “girlfriend support” roles, Friday the 13th tries to do something different with gender roles by making the males the “supportive partner” and forcing the young female teenager to go take charge and same the day. In essence, the female in this film, as in many other horror films, is the hero.

Top 10 Worst Horror Sequels/Remakes

10. Jaws 4: The Revenge
9. Urban Legends: Bloody Mary
8. Pet Semetary 2
7. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
6. Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers
5. When A Stranger Calls (2006)
4. The Stepfather (2009)
3. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
2. I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
1. April Fools Day (2008)