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
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, horror fans are clamoring to their collections to find the perfect movie to put in and watch with their Valentine. Horror and romance go hand-in-hand and I’ve found that if your significant other can sit through the right slasher film, then it’s the horror equivalent to Cupid’s arrow. It seems only fitting that during this holiday of love and paper hearts that the Canadian slasher classic “My Bloody Valentine” should be top of everyone’s list as it’s one of the few Holiday slashers to take on this specific day.
“My Bloody Valentine” is a strange film, not in the sense of story or concept, but more in the sense that it hasn’t caught on over the years as being one of the seminal slashers. It has a strong cult presence, but it’s not in the same breath as films like “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th”. In my personal opinion, it’s one of the best examples of an ’80s slasher that I can think of and deserves a lot more credit.
“My Bloody Valentine” is the story about a small mining town called Valentine’s Bluff and their dark past. 20 years ago there was an accident where a group of miners got trapped inside the mine while others were decorating for the annual Valentine’s Day party. The sole survivor, a man by the name of Harry Warden, killed the other miners and warned the town never to celebrate Valentine’s Day again… or else. Then, a group of young people in town decide to defy this omen only to unleash the wrath of a killer in mining gear. MBV takes it subject matter seriously and doesn’t go too over-the-top or too goofy. Sure, some of the characters may be a little silly, but they feel genuine and not forced. It’s one of the most atmospheric slasher films ever produced and uses it’s dreary locations to it’s advantage. From the catacomb-esque interiors of the “Hanniger Mines” to the sleepy, Nova Scotia town used as “Valentine’s Bluff”, nothing felt out of place or inappropriate. To this day as I watch MBV I believe in these characters, their town and the bloody omen left by Harry Warden.
Each time I watch this film I’m left with a heartbroken feeling by the end that I’ll never see these characters or this town again. You grow to really feel for the characters and feel strongly invested in the love triangle between T.S., Axel and the women they love, Sarah (played by the really gorgeous Lori Hallier). In 2009, a 3D re-make was made of MBV, but even though I enjoyed it for what it was, it felt watered down and didn’t have the small-town atmosphere of the original. None of the actors in the remake felt like they were really from Valentine’s Bluff, while the actors in the original felt as if they were cast at the local watering hole.
I also have to say that Harry Warden is one of the most iconic killers of all-time but has never really caught on. Many have used a gas mask to great effect (the first to come to mind is the film “Blood Junkie” made by fellow Wisconsin filmmakers Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer), but few have stood with me the way that Harry Warden has.
I believe part of the reason MBV never caught on was because of all the censorship by the MPAA. The film was considered far too graphic and the filmmakers had to go in and make cuts to every single death in the film! Some say that Paramount was still feeling the backlash from the lack of edits in “Friday the 13th” and happily agreed to the new edits. It wasn’t until 2009 that a version of the film was released with the cut footage re-added. I believe, as do other horror fans, that if the film had been released sans the edits, it would have been much more well received by genre fans and would hold a place in the annals of Slasher History. Two and a half minutes may not seem like much time to cut from a film, but in the context of blood and gore that was removed, it adds up significantly. Any film editor can attest that two and a half minutes is much longer than most people expect.
And, in closing, let’s not forget the chilling theme song written by Paul Zaza that still lingers in my mind today. When it starts over the end credits with a demented laugh, the hairs on your arm stand up! In my personal opinion, it’s the best use of an end credits theme with “Sleepaway Camp” come in a very close second.
It’s hard to forget lyrics as chilling as these:
Once upon a time, on a sad Valentine,
in a place known as Henniger Mine.
A legend began, every woman and man,
would always remember the time.
And those who remain, were never the same,
you could see, the fear in their eyes.
Once every year, as the fourteenth draws near,
there’s a hush all over the town.
About the Author
Michael Viers is an award winning filmmaker from Milwaukee, WI. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s with a Bachelor’s Degree in film and has made two successful short films during his stay at the university: From the Darkness Theatre which screened at the Short Film Corner at the 66th Festival de Cannes and Love You Still which debuted at the 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival. He’s currently trying to get more work writing articles about film and allocating resources to make his first feature film.
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.
To help celebrate Thanksgiving, we are at Slasher Studios have decided to share with you our top five favorite turkeys. Movies that were awful in every sense of the word and yet…we couldn’t stop watching. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
5. Troll 2
A young child is terrified to discover that a planned family trip is to be haunted by vile plant-eating monsters out of his worst nightmare. His attempt to save his beloved family is assisted by the specter of his deceased grandfather. Also, there are NO trolls in this movie, only goblins. Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards! This movie is retched from beginning to end but damn is it fun to quote.
4. Jack Frost
Serial killer is genetically mutated in car wreck on the way to his execution. After which, he becomes a murdering snowman hell-bent on revenge for the sheriff who caught him. Shannon Elizabeth’s “carrot” scene is the highlight for this film which doesn’t say much. Terrible Fx as well (was the snowman’s costume made out of Styrofoam?).
While playing with a puzzle, a teenager is repressed by his mother, and he kills her and severs her body with an ax. Forty years later, in an university campus in Boston, a serial killer kills young women and severs their bodies in parts, stealing body pieces from each student. Lt. Bracken makes a deal with the dean of the campus, and infiltrates the agent Mary Riggs as if she were a tennis teacher and together with the student Kendall, they try to find the identity of the killer. BASTARD! BAAAAAAAAAASSSTTARD!
2. Slaughter High
A group of popular students play a cruel prank on a shy nerd resulting in a terrible accident. Years later a reunion is held where each of the students face a stalker killer who may be the same nerd out for revenge. Hilariously over-the-top with some of the worst acting you’ve ever seen. Also, what is up with the ending? No clue what they were thinking there.
1. The Last Slumber Party
From United Entertainment/VCI, the VERY small 1988 distributor in Oklahoma, who gave us the legendary home video, no budget hit BLOOD LAKE, which IMDb doesn’t even have in its database and that doesn’t surprise me. That one had the same no-budget atmosphere and completely unknown teen actors that, like in this film, only starred in one film. Sample dialogue: `I’m loaded and I feel like throwing up, could you please pass the Jack Daniels?’ `There’s a party tonight at my house, would you mind if I invite myself?’ `I THINK he’s schizophrenic, why don’t we give him a partial lobotomy?’ And the science teacher that looked exactly like one of the science teachers that I had in high school. And he started talking about how he got laid at the prom. Oh my God.
(Info from horror7777 from imdb for Last Slumber Party, I personally could find NOTHING on this film)
Kevin: “Fatal Games” has quite possibly the most accurately hilarious description on IMDB that I have ever seen. “A mad javelin thrower kills teenagers in the school. All promising athletes are executed in the most brutal way. Especially naked girls in dressing-rooms or saunas.” In three sentences you immediately know if this is the kind of slasher for you. Luckily enough for me, it was.
Steve: Most of us who love the thrill of 80’s slashers, will also love the agony of defeat these poor olympic hopefuls face. Chalk full of sex crazed guys and nude girls, Fatal Games delivers some fun deaths, a couple chase scenes and even likable characters. The olympic aspect helps set it apart from other films in its genre. A nice change of pace as the young characters find themselves together at the training facility, rather than a cabin.
Kevin: With one of the strangest and actually quite creepy endings of a slasher that I have seen in a while, “Fatal Games” adds a twist that is so implausible that it really must be seen to be believed. Tonally, the film is all over the place. The opening theme song of “Take it to the Limit” feels right out of a “Rocky” sequel, then the film turns to some hi-jinks with the Olympic hopeful “teenagers” who are at least a decade too old to be playing seniors. Starting with the second act, the murders take form and the killer wannabe Olympian is out for revenge. It’s a very, very strange movie. Not exactly good but compulsively watchable.
Steve: Yes, very watchable for a number of reasons. The “national lampoon-like” comedy at the beginning gives us some cheesy laughs, but that does not last long as the film takes an abrupt turn in the tone and feel. The motivation for the killings is a big surprise at the end and definitely pieces a few odd parts together from earlier in the film. With a great score found throughout and classic 80’s cheese from beginning to end, Fatal Games is a fun little film. Just make sure you are ready to have the opening song stuck in your head for days to come.
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!