Sunday, June 5, 2011

Retro Review: Basket Case (1982)

For a long time Frank Henelotter's 1982 film Basket Case sat in the instant queue on Netflix. The plot of the movie was so ridiculous that it seemed like it was worth a shot. While at work, I (Chuck) heard from a coworker that had recently watched the film. He said it was a silly movie with some blood, and he thought that Mike and I would enjoy it. That same night, I picked up the latest edition of Fangoria, and there was a special mention of the movie in an article about Herschell Gordon Lewis. After deciding to take a break on our run through of the Hellraiser and A Nightmare On Elm Street series, we decided to finally watch this movie. And boy are we glad we did.  

Quick Spoiler Free Summary
Basket Case is about a man named Duane Bradley who arrives in Times Square carrying a mysterious wicker basket. It is soon found out that inside the basket is his deformed ex-Siamese twin, Belial. Duane and Belial go on a murderous rampage to seek revenge on the doctors that forcibly separated them at the age of 12. We follow Belial and Duane on their blood-soaked path pf destruction on their quest for ultimate vengeance. 


Plot- 4.5/5
The plot of this movie was so fantastically absurd. The main reason the two of us watched this film is because the idea of a man and his ex-Siamese twin going on a killing rampage is too ludicrous to pass up. Not only is the plot ridiculous, but it is brilliantly executed. This movie was not the "so-bad-its-good" horror movie that we thought it was going to be.

Acting- 3.5/5
The acting in this film was standard fare for the early 80's horror movie. It seemed as though every character in the film belonged to an insane asylum. It seemed like every actor was referencing Aunt Martha from Sleepaway Camp with their abnormal speech patterns. This, however, was not enough to make us turn it off, but it actually added to the atmosphere of the movie.

Special Effects/Gore- 4/5
One of the best parts of the movie was when stop motion animation to portray a scene with Belial trashing a hotel room. If there were any parts of this film that were "so-bad-its-good," it would be this scene. I thought that the Belial puppet was well done with what it was, but Mike thought that it was terrible, and he loved it because of that. There were also lots of natural effects in terms of gore. One scene in particular where a flayed piece of flesh hung realistically off of a man's face was impressive. The rest of the gore for the kills were top notch, eventually giving inspiration to Sean Cunningham's iconic film Friday the 13th. 

Fear- 2/5
To us, this film just wasn't scary. We're sure that there are loads of people in the world that would get a little creeped out by this movie, but it just did nothing special for us. This is not a negative however, because although we weren't scared, we were most definitely entertained. 

In Conclusion- 4/5
Wow. It has been far too long since we sat down and watched a movie that neither us have seen and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed. From beginning to end, Basket Case was an entertaining romp through 1980's B-movie horror. The over the top plot and superb gore led to an unforgettable experience that led us to watch the rest of the series in one day. Watch it, you won't regret it. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What we've been working on...

This is basically an update post to get you guys informed on what we've been working on. Over the last 6 months or so we have been working on developing a screenplay. It has been hard to really get going because we spend most of the year in separate states, but we've been working on it bit by bit. This summer the screenplay should be finished.

The movie, titled The Legend of Wooley Swamp, is a story based off of the Charlie Daniels Band song of the same name. It will basically be a slasher with paranormal elements to it. The story will follow a fresh out of college film crew that is going around the east coast documenting paranormal activity. After what seems like endless bad luck, they stumble upon the haunted cabin in Booger Woods. The crew thinks they have hit the jackpot, but the ghost at Wooley Swamp has something else in store for them...

We are also currently developing stories for other films, including an original love letter to the 80's slasher, a haunted house movie, and a piece centered around the infamous Jersey Devil. These are things that we've talked about doing for years and our now finally getting it done. All further updates will be done through this blog. Thanks!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Horrorscope: April 2011


Theatrical Releases
April 1:
 - Insidious (FilmDistrict)
 - Rubber (Magnet Releasing)
April 15:
 - Scream 4 (Dimension Films)
April 22:
 - Stake Land (IFC Films)
April 29:
 - Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (Omni/FSR)

DVD Releases 
April 19:
 - Hyenas
April 26:
 - Chawz**
 - Deep Red (Uncensored English Version)**

**= DVD and Blu-Ray releases

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Horrorscope: March 2011


Theatrical Releases
March 4:
 - I Saw the Devil (Magnolia Pictures)
March 11:
 - Black Death (Magnolia Pictures) 
 - Red Riding Hood (Warner Bros. Pictures)

DVD Releases
March 1:
 - The Bleeding
 - Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (35th Anniversary Edition)
March 8:
 - The Walking Dead Season One**
 - The Zombie Farm
March 15:
 - Blood**
 - Sharktopus**
March 22:
 - Alien 2: On Earth (Midnight Legacy Collection)**
 - Dark Fields 
 - Siren
March 29:
 - Inferno (Special Edition) 

** = Blu-Ray and DVD release

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A New Perspective on Friday the 13th: A New Beginning


Over the last couple years, people have often asked me about my least favorite films in the Friday the 13th franchise (this includes the movies after part 8, which don't directly have the words Friday the 13th in the title). I have always said that Jason Goes To Hell is my least favorite in the series. I then followed it up with A New Beginning, based on the fact that its just not the same when Jason isn't doing the slaying. After a midnight viewing of the film last night, and some thought on it throughout the day, my opinions may have changed.

Prior to popping in the movie last night, I do not remember the last time I sat down to seriously watch Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. I basically watched it just because my roommate and I are making our way through the series this year. Before hitting the play button, I recounted the story for him (it had been a while since we've watched the last one, and this is his first trip through the whole series). While going through the story of the first 4 films again, I began to try a different approach to thinking about the fifth installment. I began to think about the movie in context.

I began to try and think like the people who went to see the movie in the theater in 1985. To recap, at the end of The Final Chapter, Jason is hacked up by a young Tommy Jarvis. That's it, Jason is dead, he will never be back. That has to be what was running through the mind of the viewer in 1985, since the movie was called the FINAL Chapter, and there was supposed to be the end of the series. There is a scene at the end of the Final Chapter that leads us to assume that Tommy Jarvis will pick up the machete and become the new killer.

It seems that until this point, I have felt almost deceived by Jason not being the killer in this movie. This most definitely led me to treat it not so favorably. Looking back to the way that the viewer in 1985 would have viewed it changed my view completely. The moviegoer  knew that Jason was dead, and did not enter the theater expecting to see Jason Voorhees don the mask one more time. They were in the theater expecting Tommy Jarvis to be the new killer. No deception whatsoever.

I have always let my uneducated feelings of being deceived negatively affect how I viewed the movie. I always felt cheated. I'm half embarrassed that it didn't make sense to me until last night. Last night I watched the movie, in context, and I quite enjoyed it. Its still not my favorite in the series, but it has gotten some extra points in my book.

Today, I thought a lot about how Part 5 became a reboot for the series. Movies 1-4 are a complete story in and of themselves. While looking at it in context, part 5 is seen as the beginning of a totally different story. This got me thinking about part 5 in comparison with the original Friday the 13th.

There are numerous parallels that can be drawn from both movies. This also helps explain why the movie was made the way it was. There are similarities in story, as well as characters. The first film became an archetype for a new beginning in the franchise. The basic story worked in the first movie, so why not use it again in the reboot. Below is a sloppy chart I made to compare the two movies. It may be hard to read at points, but its the best I could do with no talent and a program that sucks.

So now I have a new perspective on Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. This may be something that is already well known among Friday enthusiasts, but it just hit me last night. I now have a brand new appreciation for the movie that kicks the franchise back into gear. I no longer think of it as a little bit of deception in between Jason's death and rebirth. I can appreciate it for what it is.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Burning

Late nights at college usually consist of some sort of horror movie with my roommate Alex and I. Since most of the movies we watch come from the Netflix instant queue, it is not often that I come across a movie that I really like. This changed the other night when we decided to watch an 80's slasher flick called The Burning.

The Burning was written by Tony Maylam and was directed by Maylam and Harvey Weinstein. The movie was released in December of 1980. The film follows a classic slasher storyline:

Cropsy, the creepy old caretaker of a summer camp, was severely burned in a prank gone wrong. After escaping from the hospital, Cropsy lurks around a summer camp killing off the teenagers with a pair of garden shears.

This movie had all the elements of the classic slasher. The gore effects, done by legend Tom Savini, were pretty great and the kills were brutal. I have no real complaints about the movie, and found it to be above average. I find it hard to believe that the film isn't more well known. This is everything an 80's slasher should be, lacking pretty much nothing. This movie is on the same level as the original My Bloody Valentine and Sleepaway Camp in my opinion. I would definitely suggest this movie to any fan of the classic 80's slasher movie.

Plus, it has the acting debut of Jason Alexander. Yeah, that Jason Alexander.

I'd give it a 4 out of 5.

-- Chuck

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mini Review: Drive-Thru


Extreme boredom, plus a desire for a cheesy slasher flick led my friends and I (Chuck) to watch this zaney slasher called Drive-Thru. The 2007 film directed by Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn stars Leighton Meester (who as my friend Nate pointed out stars in Gossip Girls) and Larry Joe Campbell ("Andy" from According to Jim). The story follows the axe wielding mascot of the fast food chain Hella-Burger. This killer, named Horny the Clown, is hunting down and killing local teens. As the mystery unravels, the people of the town begin to figure out that the victims all have something in common.

This movie was a lot of fun to watch with the dudes in my dorm. There was plenty of hilarious dialogue to go with some pretty decent kills. You can tell when watching the movie that you aren't supposed to compare it with classic slashers like Friday the 13th or Halloween. The purpose isn't too scare the pants off of you, just to show you a bloody good time. The acting was good and the special effects were above average. If you go into this movie expecting an ultra-serious slasher, you will most likely be disappointed, however if you watch this with an open mind and a desire to be entertained, you might find this flick will suit your needs. Not a horror masterpiece by any means, but now a piece of garbage either.

-- Chuck