It’s getting down to the wire, slasher supporters! We have just 10 days left to make the latest slasher feature from Slasher Studios, Irrational Fear. possible. We are currently at 50% of our final goal. Remember that if we don’t make our final goal, no one is charged and the movie will not be made. Please share the campaign with your friends and spread the indie horror love.
As a special bonus, if we reach our goal at the end of the campaign (just 10 days away), we will be giving out FIVE Dismembering Christmas prize packs to five backers chosen at random. Each pack will include a Dismembering Christmas t-shirt, a limited edition poster, & a copy of Dismembering Christmas on either DVD or limited edition VHS.
We have a lot of brand new backer rewards recently added that we think will make for a killer good time for any horror fan. Thanks again for the support! We couldn’t and can’t do it without you.
A group of friends find themselves being tormented by a figure known as the Bye Bye Man after speaking his name from a text written in the house they now reside. Soon they find themselves unable to tell what’s real anymore as the Bye Bye Man moves to closer to take over his victims minds completely.
The concept of The Bye Bye Man is actually very interesting and pretty creepy. We have a villain who really doesn’t do anything threatening himself, but he makes his victims essentially do his bidding for him. Despite that, the presence and overall look of the Bye Bye Man is pretty terrifying and provides a lot of creepy imagery. Unlike films such as Sinister where the similar figure in that has the same motivations, but the villain in that I always looked laughable and was always shown way too much. Here they show the titular character just enough and save his most frightening moments for the last few minutes. Sadly, these last few minutes were the only remotely thrilling and good moment. The final act itself isn’t bad either, but when the Bye Bye Man finally appears instead of just brief images, it’s a nice reward for everything that’s happened before. And what happens before is a whole bunch of nothing. There’s no real sense of terror or frightening aspects. It’s just our characters hallucinating random stuff the whole time that isn’t remotely scary or disturbing. Granted it is pretty creepy seeing how far a person will go once the Bye Bye Man finally has you, but all of this isn’t ever really shown. This is obviously in thanks to the fact that they cut this from an R rating to PG13. I don’t think the R rating would necessarily have made it better story-wise, but it at least would have given us some good horrific images to go off of. As interesting as the concept is, it doesn’t exactly do as much with it as it can, besides the aforementioned boring hallucinations. In some ways though I am hoping for a sequel so that more background on the Bye Bye Man can be given, cause there’s no background given here whatsoever. Along with the weak execution, we are given severely boring and uninteresting characters. The only character that I did find interesting was the psychic girl named Kim. And that’s only because she was psychic I guess. Unfortunately, she’s the only one who has anything interesting happen to her, and it happens off-screen. And even more unfortunate, she gets the least amount of screen time of the teens, probably like 10 minutes worth. Everyone else was boring or so damn annoying, so quite frankly I wanted them to die. Hell, it’s the supporting characters that have the most likability. How is that possible?
Like the characters, the acting basically sucks. Normally I don’t mind Douglas Smith as an actor, but here I don’t even know what he was doing, and he was very unlikable for the main lead, and his performance seemed like he was either overacting or having way too much fun trying to be crazy. Lucien Laviscount is the token black friend who basically does what the token black friend is supposed to do, so Laviscount doesn’t exactly screw that up, but it’s still pretty lackluster. But the worst of them all is Cressida Bonas as Smith’s girlfriend in the movie, Sasha. This girl can’t act to save her life and she acts as if she’s trying super hard to remember her lines and stammering over them, and she has zero emotional depth. Jenna Kanell who plays Kim, does fine with her role, some hit or miss moments, but when the time comes for her to give it her all she does it.
As far as supporting characters go, Carrie-Anne Moss provides one of the only good performances as the cop who appears halfway through the movie to investigate what’s going on. Kuddos to her for actually trying and not treating this like a paycheck film (which I’m sure it was), her character kept me invested enough to say I would love to have her come back for a sequel (should one be made). Also worth noting are Michael Trucco and Erica Tremblay (yes, Jacob Tremblay’s little sister) as Smith’s character’s brother and niece. Trucco, for a supporting character does bring a lot of likability and more emotion to the role than he really needed to as the caring older brother concerned for his younger brother. Tremblay doesn’t really get to do much other than be cute, but she does fine with that and doesn’t make it extremely annoying to have her around. And then of course we have Doug Jones as the Bye Bye Man, no dialogue from Jones, but his physical performance as the horrific figure is perfectly creepy and chilling.
So The Bye Bye Man is basically a great idea with some creepy imagery from the titular character, and a satisfying enough last 15/20 minutes, but falls victim to basically a very poor script and execution, with bad characters (save for the supporting characters), poor acting (again save for the supporting characters). In some ways I do hope for a sequel so it can improved upon over this one and give more info about the Bye Bye Man, but I won’t be upset if they don’t make one either.
For a limited time only, purchase DON’T GO TO THE REUNION & DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS on DVD and save $5. Normally these two dvds sell for $15 each but we are currently offering a combo pack featuring both movies for just $25. Purchase before January 30th and receive a FREE poster with your order, while supplies last.
Don’t Go to the Reunion DVD Special Features Include:
* Audio Commentary with the filmmakers
* Teaser Trailer
* Blooper Reel
* “Class of 2004” Yearbook
* Audition Reels
* Three Slasher Studios short films (Teddy, Popularity Killer, Blood Brothers)
Dismembering Christmas DVD Special Features Include:
* Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
* Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
* Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
* Theatrical Trailer
* Teaser Trailer
We now have just 26 days left to make it happen for the latest horror feature from Slasher Studios! Our IRRATIONAL FEAR Kickstarter is up and running and we have some killer rewards for you slasher fans. Many of these awesome rewards, including screen credits & limited edition props, will ONLY be available through this campaign. We can’t make this movie without your help and we know this is going to be our best film yet!
What’s Irrational Fear?
Slasher Studios is teaming up with LA Horror to bring you a slasher style feature that is unlike anything Slasher Studios has ever done before. Titled IRRATIONAL FEAR, the film centers around six therapy patients are brought together at a secluded cabin to confront their strangest fears. Little do they know, these fears will certainly be the death for some of them. Who will make it out alive?
IRRATIONAL FEAR will feature anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to see in a supernatural style slasher film. Brutal, gruesome deaths that will blow you away, fun characters, and a killer setting will help make this a true fear come true.
If you dug our previous films DONT GO TO THE REUNION, DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS & 2 JENNIFER, you are sure to have a bloody good time with IRRATIONAL FEAR. We can ONLY make this film with your help so become a backer today and make sure to share the word.
On this week’s episode of Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, Kevin Sommerfield and Steve Goltz will be discussing the very worst horror movies of the last decade. Show starts at Thursday at 10PM central. Don’t miss the gory fun.
We’ve been up and running here at Slasher Studios for over two years and in that time I’ve realized we’ve never shared our favorite slashers. Below are our top 10 favorite slashers. These aren’t the best slashers out there, that can be debated until the end of time. Nonetheless, these are our favorites. Feel free to chime in with your favorite slashers. Now in alphabetical order, the bloodbath begins.
Black Christmas (1974)
“Black Christmas” is that rare horror movie that gets everything right. This is a movie that just oozes atmosphere. Every frame is dripping with dread and setting the film on the Christmas just adds to the excitement of it all. Not only this but the film is also scary as hell with some excellent performances and an ending that is sure to give every horror fan chills. What is the most incredible aspect of this groundbreaking slasher film? Throughout the entire film, we see various sorority girls getting hacked to death and receiving strange telephone calls. What we don’t see is our psycho, Billy. No motive, no reason, no face, no man..Billy could be anyone of us. If that doesn’t make a true psycho, I really don’t know what does.
The Burning (1981)
This 1981 work of near perfection really does fire on all cylinders and keeps the audience enthralled throughout the duration of the 91 minute runtime. The kills are spectacular, the locations are to die for, the cast has the perfect 80 vibe. The blood and gore within The Burning is top notch as Tom Savini works his magic and gives us some of the most memorable deaths ever to grace the silver screen. The raft scene is produced with out a flaw and everything from the blood, to the shot selection, to the editing pace was well meshed to create something very special. Location, location, location. We have all heard this phrase before and so did the locations scouts for The Burning. We are set in a summer camp near and lake and forest. Very classic 80′s. I have always loved the camp feel for a slasher/horror location and is one doesn’t disappoint.the water adds such a boost the the production value and gives great backdrops for the beautiful cinematography.
“Curtains” is a whopper of a slasher film that does nearly everything right. Creepy costume? Check. Intriguing backstory? Check. Likable, if slightly over-the-top, characters? Check. Great death scenes? Double check. I know this movie went though hell in post production. Rumor has it that the film was shelved for a year, during which there were re-writes, re-shoots, and one major re-casting done. Eventually numerous crew members had to be re-hired to shoot the footage to complete the film.
This movie should be a mess. The fact that it isn’t is a miracle in and of itself but the fact that the movie is a damn near masterpiece? Well, let’s just say that the slasher gods must have been looking down on this movie because it is simply incredible. Love the twist at the end, love the figure skater who gets killed by the masked man in the old hag mask, and love the final chase. Sure it isn’t entirely believable and there is a bit of logic that must be stretched thin but that doesn’t stop this movie from being one of the best of its kind. Definitely worth checking out for slasher fans everywhere.
Friday the 13th (1980)
There are some 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.
Halloween is a style-driven movie. It has about enough plot to fill a thimble, but it doesn’t need any more than it has. Director John Carpenter and cinematographer Dean Cundey compensate for this with a very polished, but moody, style. Long, wide tracking shots and eerie blue lighting fill the film. The score is as simple as the script, but simplicity seems to be this film’s strong suit, and the score is no exception. It’s minimal and repetitive, but is amazingly effective. What’s interesting with Halloween is that, for the most part, it is rooted in reality. This is a story of real girls being stalked by a real killer. Only in the film’s final moments does it suggest the possibility of the supernatural. Everything happens as it would in a real-life scenario. The killer does not know his victims, and they do not know him. He happens to fixate on the first girl he sees, the unfortunate Laurie, who inadvertently introduces him to more prey. It’s obvious, though, that Laurie is the one he wants. Despite some extensive toying with Annie, and a fair bit with Lynda, the cat-and-mouse game between Laurie and Michael is apparent from the first act of the film. He fixates on her from the very beginning, and saves his most horrifying tricks for her.
Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
“Happy Birthday to Me” is preposterous, over-the-top, and silly. A blend of all of the 80′s excesses rolled into one far too long film (outside of the Scream franchise NO horror movie should run upwards of two hours). Nonetheless, “Birthday” works. Maybe it is the silly deaths (gotta love the shish-ka-bob to the mouth or the weights to the crotch) or maybe its the outlandish ending that doesn’t even try to make any sense whatsoever. Whatever it is, this movie put a blood red smile across my face for the majority of its running time. Great atmosphere, steady cinematography, and a capable cast also help matters considerably. I can’t say this is a great movie by any stretch of the imagination but if you are looking for a fine, fun 80′s slasher, this is definitely one of the better ones.
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
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. The film goes for suspense, drama, and gore and delivers for the most part. Heather Langenkamp gives a very solid performance as Nancy Thompson, the young woman is the “leader” among her friends and the only one who may get out alive. Langenkamp is the real deal and she kicks ass. A great horror film that still delivers today. Look for a young Johnny Depp who, arguably, has the best death scene in the flick.
Night School (1981)
This is the kind of movie where half of the fun is trying to figure out where the detectives are going to find the missing heads. The twist ending is pretty predictable and the acting is a bit wooden (Rachel Ward, in her film debut, is all sorts of terrible here) but the film is never boring and has been directed with style. Boston looks positively wretched on film here and it gives the slasher a bit of a grungy “Departed” vibe, I mean that in the best way possible. Overall, it’s definitely worth checking out, just keep your head at the door.
Scream made horror movies scary again with a brilliantly constructed plot. One year after the death of Sidney Prescott’s (Neve 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.
Terror Train (1980)
This is a personal favorite slasher film of mine, and one of the best college slasher films. There are many things I love about this film. One, Jamie Lee Curtis who started her career in the horror genre and this genre is some of her best work in my opinion. I don’t think anyone will forget her in John Carpenter’s Halloween either. Second, I love the creepy atmosphere and the killer. What I think makes this killer so creepy is that he or she always dresses in many costumes through out the film and some of those costumes are pretty creepy. I love that the killer uses their eyes to show some type of personalty which is very creepy. Also, I love that you try to guess who the killer might be and when you find out who the killer is at the end it is pretty shocking the first time you see the movie. Third, I love that they put these college students on a train and when in danger it’s hard to runaway from the killer. The kills aren’t too special in this film,but their many other things that make up for this film that I mentioned. If you haven’t seen this 80′s gem then I highly recommend it especially since it is getting a new DVD/Blu-ray release coming soon from Shout Factory. Perfect film to watch around the Halloween season. So get some popcorn with a good drink, and watch this fun slasher film.
Big thank you to Joshua Dean and Justin Rhine whose original reviews of Halloween and Terror Train were used in the write ups included here. Thanks guys!
Day 4: A great horror doctor
Day 5: Favorite horror director
Day 6: Your fav movie by your fav director
Day 7: A great hero
Day 8: Best comedy-horror
Day 9: A boring horror
Day 10: Favorite classic horror
In October, Slasher Studios will be featuring a horror movie each day. Play along at the Slasher Studios Horror Film Club. We will be discussing one week at a time on Slasher Studios Podcast. Show starts at 10PM central. To listen in live: Slasher Studios Podcast: Horror Movie Challenge.
Day 1: A memorable animal in horror
Day 2: Childhood horror
Day 3: A favorite saw scene
Day 4: A great horror doctor
Day 5: Favorite horror director
Day 6: Your fav movie by your fav director
Day 7: A great hero
Day 8: Best comedy-horror
Day 9: A boring horror
Day 10: Favorite classic horror
Day 11: Most psychotic killer
Day 12: The goriest movie
Day 13: Favorite foreign horror
Day 14: The cheesiest horror
Day 15: Great 80’s horror
Day 16: Great indie horror
Day 17: Fav horror franchise
Day 18: A movie people hate that you love
Day 19: A movie that disappointed you
Day 20: A great twist
Day 21: A lame twist
Day 22: Best movie based on a book
Day 23: Scariest old person
Day 24: A movie you expected to be bad, but enjoyed
In a Slasher Studios first, reviewer Joshua Dean reviews the brand new Blu-Ray of Halloween in its 35th Anniversary Edition. Thanks Joshua Dean for the review!
It’s 2013… a year ending in “3,” so, like years ending in “8,” it’s time for yet another edition of John Carpenter’s classic suspense thriller, “Halloween.” Ever since Anchor Bay came along, Halloween has been released no less than 13 times (more if you count alternate covers, seasonal slipcovers, etc) between VHS, DVD, UMD, and Blu-ray. Three of these releases have been anniversary editions. First, the widescreen 20th Anniversary Edition VHS. Second, the 25th Anniversary Edition DVD (which featured a host of great extras, but badly compromised presentation of the film itself)… and third… the pointless (though admittedly attractive) 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set, which was nothing more than a compilation of the three (at the time) best releases of the film, paired with a few already-available bonus discs. Bear in mind, this is not including the countless VHS/Beta releases by Media, a VHS release by Blockbuster, and a Criterion Laserdisc, before Anchor Bay existed. Now, the time has come again for an anniversary release. The difference here, though, is that this time, they got it right. For the most part, that is.
For this 35th Anniversary release (exclusive to Blu-ray), Anchor Bay has hit a home run. They’ve packaged the disc in an absolutely gorgeous digibook package with newly commissioned artwork (and yes, actual artwork, not photo-manipulation studio crap) and included a few new extras focusing primarily on the one person who has generally eluded the bonuses over the years: the film’s star, Jamie Lee Curtis. But we’ll get to that later… right now, let’s focus on what matters: The guts of the Blu-ray, so to speak.
THE PICTURE: Anchor Bay’s original 2007 Blu-ray release of “Halloween” was generally considered a good release, but was never considered to be without faults. Some of those faults were attributed to the low-budget nature of the film itself, such as somewhat soft, waxy shots scattered throughout the film. Also, the master used was never meant to be seen in HD, as it was created for the 2003 DVD of the film (which had stripped the strong, spooky blue hues from the final act of the film). The 2007 disc did feature a tweaked version of said master, with several notable improvements… however, the colors were oversaturated for most of the film… and ironically, scenes that were meant to be heavily saturated… looked nearly colorless. Anchor Bay has set out to rectify this issue with this new edition of the film. Bringing in original cinematographer Dean Cundey to personally supervise and approve the new transfer (from the original film materials), and getting Carpenter’s approval for the new master, they’ve created a presentation of the film truly worthy of its deluxe packaging and label. To put it bluntly, this release makes the 2007 edition look flat-out BAD. The film no longer looks waxy and oversaturated, but wonderfully filmic and beautiful. The image is crisp and clear, featuring a natural-but-unintrusive film grain, and the daylight scenes feature a more subdued, gloomy and overcast look that, while not quite *looking* like Fall in the midwest, manages to feel *exactly* like Fall in Illinois. And for all those who missed the creepy blue in the film’s final act, take pleasure in knowing it has been restored, and looks better than ever. In a word, the film looks perfect. I truly cannot imagine “Halloween” looking better than it does here.
THE SOUND: Now… here’s where things get a little messy. The disc features a new 7.1 Dolby TrueHD sound mix. Personally, I think the mix sounds amazing. Every note of music, every line of dialogue (including background lines that were previously crushed and rendered unintelligible by music and sound effects), and every sound is crisp, clear, and immersive. The thunder in the film’s second scene literally made me jump. This is a very well-constructed soundtrack that complements the gorgeous transfer nicely. Now… purists beware, the packaging lists an “original mono” track, and while the disc does include a mono track (but does not make any “original” claim on the menu itself), it is *not* the original theatrical track. Instead, it’s a downmix from either the 7.1 track or the previous 5.1 track from the 1999 and up DVDs and the 2007 Blu-ray (all of which included the original track, adding insult to injury). While this is definitely a good track, it is not what the packaging claims it to be. Why include a mono mix if it is not to preserve the original sound, and what’s more… why claim it is the original track when it is plainly not?
THE PACKAGING: Now, here’s the fun stuff. Anchor Bay has created an absolutely stunning package. A digibook with gorgeous artwork by Jay Shaw (www.kingdomofnonsense.com) finished with orange foil text and embossing, several rare production photographs by Kim Gottlieb-Walker (www.lenswoman.com) featuring stars Curtis, Donald Pleasence, and P.J. Soles as well as director Carpenter and producer Debra Hill, an intriguing essay on the film’s history and power by Stef Hutchinson, and as a nice little treat, a title page that appears to be practically made for autographs. The packaging alone is enough of an extra for me.
THE EXTRAS: Concerning he supplements on the disc however, it should be noted that over the years (and countless releases of the film), everything that is to be said about Halloween… has been said. Several documentaries and a Criterion commentary by Carpenter, Hill, and Curtis have accompanied the various DVDs and previous Blu-ray… this edition of the film is more a “celebratory” edition rather than an “informative” edition. If you are looking at this disc for information on the making of the film, forget it. The extras that are offered, however, are great fun, and are meant to entertain rather than inform.
– Audio Commentary by John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis
This new commentary track reunites the two most prominent and famous figures behind the legendary film. While there are a few interesting bits of information about the production, this track is purely for the fun entertainment value. Hearing Carpenter and Curtis reminesce, compliment each other, and more often than not, bicker over Curtis’ strong reverence for the film and her and Carpenter’s memories not quite agreeing with each other, is fascinating. Curtis is apparently still frightened by several scenes of the film, and Carpenter cannot help but laugh at her (as well as call her out on being a minor control freak, which she fully owns up to on another included supplement). The sibling-like love between them is strong, and makes the listening experience an enjoyable one.
– The Night She Came Home!!
This hour-long documentary by Kelly Curtis and her husband John Marsh, follows Jamie Lee Curtis and Sean Clark for the 2012 Jamie Lee Curtis HorrorHound Weekend charity event in Indianapolis, IN. Narrated by a very candid, but loving Curtis, the film features various staff and volunteers from the event, as well as attendees who went to meet Curtis, as well as Halloween legends Tom Atkins, Tommy Lee Wallace, Nick Castle, Nancy Stephens, and more. It’s a fun look at Ms. Curtis first (and only) appearance at a fan convention and her dedication to making as many fans happy as she can.
As for *new* extras, that is all. However, also included is a short “On Location” featurette featuring co-star P.J. Soles and writer/producer Debra Hill, the film’s original theatrical trailer, several TV and radio ads, and the NBC network scenes shot for the film’s TV debut in 1980. Now, while these additional scenes are encoded in HD, they are simply a rip from the 1999 DVD and are in standard definition quality.
Overall, this is an absolutely stellar release of the classic film, and fans of the film will love the stunning, reference quality presentation of the film. Despite not including the more informative extras from prior releases, I am proud to say Anchor Bay has finally delivered a true deluxe collector’s edition of the night HE came home!
Video – 4/4
Audio – 3.5/4 (would be 5 had they included the original mono track)
Extras – 3/4
Overall – 4/4