Slashers Worth Revisiting: My Bloody Valentine (1981)

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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.

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“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.

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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.

–Michael Viers

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.

Horror Movie Posters: “Girlfriend from Hell” (1989)

Girlfriend From Hell is a horror comedy filled with some great cheesy one-liners. It’s fun to watch from beginning to end and this first poster helps sell the goods! It’s bright, full of color and we are treated to some cool custom text for the title graphic. This poster gives you a decent preview of what is to come once you pop in your vintage VHS.

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This second, revamped poster is…a disaster. Just an awful piece of crap that gives no insight into the film at all. A rose on fire? Thats the best they could come up with? Yikes!

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Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “Girlfriend from Hell” (1989)

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Steve: This little she-devil sure packs a punch in, Girlfriend From Hell. With great one liners from the entire cast and an over the top, yet fun story to follow, this movie delivers the cheesy goods. Setting itself apart from the mundane films that we have grown far too accustom to, Girlfriend From Hell lets loose and allows it’s audience to escape into a dimension (or two) that we just can’t find in today’s film world.

Kevin: Well, what do you know? Turns out the Devil wears red dress and attends high school birthday parties. At least that’s what SHE doesn’t in the 1989 horror-comedy “Girlfriend from Hell” which is easily one of the silliest movies I’ve seen in quite some time. In this case, silly really isn’t all that bad and this movies turns out to be way more fun than I would have ever expected it to be. So…back to the “plot”…

Steve: I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we began the film with laser guns and some odd CGI, but I soon embraced this gem more and more with every outrageous scene. The acting is spot on for a film of this caliber and the characters scream likability. I was actually sad to see most of the characters leave us and wish they could have stayed around longer. Rocco and his girl are a comedic duo made in heaven. The devil chaser himself was a pleasant surprise with his mind on sex 99% of the time. His line delivery was out of this world as he had me rolling with laughter on multiple occasions.

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Kevin: What Steve, I thought you were going to talk about the plot? Anyway, The devil is on the run and being pursued by God’s assistant, a devil chaser named Chaser (played with pitch-perfect comic timing by an underrated Dana Ashbrook). When the devil makes a wrong turn to a high school birthday party, the devil takes over the body of innocent and painfully shy Maggie (wonderfully played by Liane Curtis who displays the perfect amount of tart sweetness to the role). Maggie is on the blind date from..err…hell. The bodies pile up and the fun begins as we have assault rifle nuns, soul stolen during sex, a journey throughout time, and a religious woman holding onto her dead life by a floating cheeto. Seriously. “Girlfriend from Hell” never takes itself too seriously and is never boring. It is actually a lot of fun with a clever script and a breezy pace.

Steve: This is by far the most surprisingly fun films I have seen I a while. Is it a perfect script with top of the line effects and A-list actors? Hell no. But it sure beats out the majority of the crap out there today. So, for the true experience, dust off the old VCR and don’t be afraid of making a date with Girlfriend From Hell.

Kevin: Fun fact: In early 2011, playwright/composer Sean Matthew Whiteford adapted the film into a stage musical. The pop-rock musical features 20 original songs, a revamped story line, while still using several of the original film’s characters, and using the film’s release date year, 1989, as the year the show is set in. The show opened for a test run at The Gene Frankel Theatre in NYC on July 21, 2011. The original Off-Off Broadway cast included Melissa Matthews as Maggie (the role originated by Liane Curtis in the film), Dana Gough, Gregory Krupp, Frank McGinnis, Foster Miller, Cassiopeia Ottulich, Matthew Patane, Juda Leah, Michael Siktberg, Sean Matthew Whiteford, and Margie Zarcone. The show is currently preparing for a new, revised production in June 2013 at the Center For Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, NY.

Tim’s Slasher Tweet Reviews: “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” (1994)

I’ve never quite understood the hatred towards “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.” It’s wonderfully dark, featuring early turns by both Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, and features a nice amount of bloody goodness. Nonetheless, it has turned into the black sheep of Chainsaw family among most horror fans. Does it deserve another look? Tim Schilling is back with a brand new tweet by tweet review to find out.

Thoughts before the film:
The last time I saw this movie, I got screamed at by my dad to turn it off. I never got to finish it. But remember liking it for some reason…

Thoughts while watching:

0:06 Lol @ Renee Zellweger.
0:09 You get into TWO accidents like 5 minutes from each other and you care about getting a little scar?
0:12 The girl who was driving the car is possible one of the worst actresses I have ever seen.
0:15 Damn rednecks.
0:19 I wonder how many times this flashlight is gonna go out?
0:28 They’re trying to recreate scenes from the original movie… It’s not working.
0:34 Matthew Mcidontknowhowtospellit is actually kinda good in this movie. I never thought I would say that about him.
0:40 Why would you jump on a power line!?
0:46 I wanna go to a drive through pizza place.
0:57 This movie is hardly about Leatherface. He’s just crying in the background 99% of the time.
1:08 Every time I watch a TCM movie I think grandpa is dead and they keep the body. But then he gets up & walks around.
1:14 … random spinoffs to cash in if this movie worked.
1:19 Leatherface is just a screeching transvestite in this movie. It’s kinda hilarious.

Final Verdict:
(I know for a fact that I’m alone on this, but) I’m really not sure why I like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation. The movie was a good throwback I think to the horror comedies made in the 80’s. It also had decent acting from some of the people. If it wasn’t part of the TCM series I think people would have liked it more.

To follow Tim on twitter: https://twitter.com/schillingt
To follow Slasher Studios on twitter: https://twitter.com/slasherstudios

Death of the Day: Uberbitch Taylor Fisher Cut from the Class in “Detention”

Today’s Death of the Day comes from the new movie “Detention” the wonderfully manic new slasher film that is now out on home video (main review for the film here). In the opening sequence (which could stand as a wonderful short film of its own) we meet the beautiful uberbitch Taylor Fisher. Taylor is the most popular girl in Grizzly Lake, waking up and telling the audience how to be cool while yelling at her family. As she is about to leave for school, she is brutally murdered by someone dressed as Cinderhella, a horror film serial killer. Sadly there is no video of this death online so I leave you with the stills below. Check out this movie ASAP, it is well worth the watch and might just be the first horror movie of the year that is actually worth owning.

To order “Detention”: Detention (DVD)

When the Devil Won’t Take You: “The Devil’s Rejects” Review

On May 18, 1978, Texas Sheriff John Quincey Wydell (William Forsythe), and a large posse of State Troopers issue an S and D mission on the Firefly family for over seventy-five homicides and disappearances over the past several years. They begin a full-scale attack when the Firefly family fires on them. During the firefight, the family kills four troopers and Tiny (Matthew McGrory) goes missing, Rufus (Tyler Mane) is killed, and Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook, in a thankless role replacing the wonderful Karen Black) is taken into custody while Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie, once again the star of the show) escape. Once out of their property, Baby pretends to be hurt in the middle of the road. When a nurse in travel stops to see what is the matter, Otis comes from behind and kills her with a knife. The two escape in her car and drive towards their specified meeting spot if all hell broke loose with the law at their home.

They head to Kahiki Palms motel, a run down desert beaten place to seek refuge from the law and huge media coverage. While at the motel Baby seduces Roy, part of the Banjo and Sullivan singing group. While he is off guard due to Baby’s sexual innuendos, Otis sneaks up behind him, holds him at gun-point and demands he take them back to his room where the rest of the band is resting minus their roadie, who is at the gas station getting beef jerky. Otis and Baby takes the band hostage in the hotel room and Otis shoots Jimmy the roadie when he returns.

Meanwhile, Baby’s father Captain Spaulding, after being alerted by Baby about the raid, hits the road to come to the hotel to meet Baby and Otis. His car runs out of gas and Spaulding assaults a woman and scares her son taking their car in the process. Back at the hotel, Otis sexually assaults Roy’s wife Gloria and Otis demands Adam and Roy to come with him on an errand.

Otis drives his two prisoners to a place where he buried some guns. While walking to the location, the two prisoners put up a struggle and hit Otis in the head with a large tree branch. This knocks him down, but Otis soon regains control of the situation, shooting one of them and killing Roy while he is on the ground praying to God. Back at the motel, Adam’s wife Wendy tries to escape by going to the bathroom. Gloria attempts to rebel only to be killed by Baby. Wendy runs out of the motel only to be caught by Captain Spaulding who knocks her out. Otis returns, and all three leave the motel together in the band’s van. All hell is literally about to break loose.

Going into the horror sequel “The Devil’s Rejects” I had no idea what to expect. Not really being a fan of Rob Zombie’s first film “House of a 1000 Corpses” I really wasn’t expecting much besides some cool deaths and a lot of gore. Well….I got that and a lot more. “The Devil’s Rejects” is repellent, evil, disgusting, disturbing, and, most shockingly, one of the best movies so far this year. Taking place mere days after the first flick, this movie has the Firefly family stalking another group of victims in a seedy hotel.

Things don’t go as planned however when one of their original victim’s brother decides to get revenge. Words alone cannot describe what all happens on screen. Let’s see: A knife to the heart, bullets grazing flesh, a face peeling, a gutted, fully naked young woman, a bashed in head, pieces of a young girl strung along a highway. This is S & M for horror fans. This isn’t for all tastes but if you miss the old school horror days of “Last House on the Left” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, you won’t be disappointed.