Friday, October 29, 2010

Something Rank (#36-33)

When it comes to slasher films, it's all a matter of taste. Arguably a lack thereof. Some are tightly wound suspense vehicles, others mere money making ventures with a body count. With this series I'll be counting down (rather counting up) the franchise fare of the four major celluloid boogeymen: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and everyone's favorite transvestite country bumpkin, Leatherface. From worst to best, a grand total of 36 films -- there's so much pleasure to be found in absolute disgust! Brace yourselves, it gets BAD before it gets sublime.

(See also: Glenn's delightful countdown over at Stale Popcorn.)

(#36) Texas Chainsaw Massacre:
The Next Generation

Kim Henkel, co-creator of the TCM franchise, finds himself wielding a really blunt, heavy object as director of this sad attempt at a remake and series reinvention. Apparently, much like people, you can cannibalize your own movie.

Hot, robo-legged Matthew McConaughey and dowdy buzzkill Renee Zellweger (she's smart because she wears glasses!) tried to sweep this title under the cheaply made rug upon their rise to superstardom. It's completely understandable given just how nonsensical, noisy and annoying this film is. If you thought wheelchair-bound Franklin was grating, try an entire film populated by his more obnoxious, asshole friends he met through regional theatre. The original's infamous meat hook, moonlit chase and dinner scenes are re-imagined without an ounce of imagination, trading in momentum for more of the same (now with cursing). While it's charming to see the millisecond cameos of Paul Partain and Marilyn Burns from the 1974 classic (wisely credited as Anonymous), it requires you to suffer through all that shoddy screeching and parading white trash. Part remake, all regrettable.

Killer Looks:

1) Vintage Casual

2) "Mama's Family"

3) The Delta Burke (?)

My Thoughts Exactly...

(#35) Friday the 13th (2009)

"Jason! Say bye to Mommy... (long pause) In hell!"

I worry that the writers of these Platinum Dunes remakes really are as stoned and insipid as the cardboard characters they write. This movie is the equivalent of a douchebag wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, shotgunning a beer and mistreating his (admittedly dumb) girlfriend. The entire affair leaves me as blank and expressionless as Jared Padalecki. I know the intent is to have the annoyance build to cheer upon these characters explicit, inevitable ends, but everything here is so run-of-the-mill and passionless. Marcus Nispel gave his earlier revamp of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a bit of bite, but this remake is as disposable as its cast. The deaths are brutal, Jason's a menacing bodybuilder, but all in a "blink-and-you-won't-care-if-you-missed-it" sort of way. It's such a humdrum outing that the entire notion of a remake is tossed off as Mrs. Voorhees is beheaded with a shrug mid-credits, and Jason's iconic, series-making mask is donned when he... finds it on a floor somewhere. Even a movie monster legend like Jason Voorhees - the sole reason for this existing - bores this movie.

Killer Looks:

1) Backwoods Sensible

2) "Hey, free mask!"

My Thoughts Exactly...

(#34) Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

"Trick or treat, Motherfucker!" -- Busta Rhymes

Laurie Strode returns (under contractual obligation)! A survivor of her brother's holiday-hate wraith of 25 years, a character we've come to know and love -- her wit and maturity traded for a heinous wig and a psych ward. The lowest blow? Jamie Lee Curtis's iconic Final Girl is killed off in the very opening -- a slack finale decades in the making. Laurie's stabbed, she kisses Michael (they're siblings, but seriously?), then says, "I'll see you in hell!" Then she... falls into a tree?

It's all so disrespectful to fans and none of it makes much sense, especially not the poor excuse for Michael even existing after Halloween H20's powerhouse beheading. About as careless a sequel as there ever has been, this eighth entry dares to answer what would happen when Michael Myers meets the technological age. Too bad nobody asked the question.

"Michael Myers is not a sound byte, a spin-off,
a tie-in, some kind of celebrity scandal.

Michael Myers is a killer shark in baggy ass overalls..."

--Busta Rhymes

I certainly didn't ask to see Tyra Banks, smiling with her eyes before packing her bags and being sent home... forever. And NO ONE begged to see Busta Rhymes battling Michael Myers with Kung Fu. Maybe on YouTube but not in a sequel to a horror classic. Director Rick Rosenthal's responsible for one franchise high (Halloween II) and one serious franchise LOW. Good rule of thumb: If a film wants to be meta, it has to be self-aware first.

Killer Looks:

1) Bad Times
2) Bad Rhymes

My Thoughts Exactly...

(#33) A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Thanks again, Platinum Dunes. No one's having trouble sleeping after this one. Samuel Bayer's remake is a bit like overdosing on NyQuil. Things are happening around you, but you're constantly fighting off the urge to sleep or purge. Time for a micro-nap, which is basically one of the only inventions this film has to offer. Otherwise it cycles through familiar setups, doses them with CGI, and stumbles toward perfunctory. While the film further accentuates Freddy's pedophile past, it's as unnecessary as everything else here. A film about a killer desecrating us at the very source of our inspiration should require some... inspiration. A new legacy isn't going to be born from subpar references to an existing one. Freddy Kruger's dark and dastardly once again, but way too often in the light. No longer a bedtime boogeyman, he's just a razor-knuckled nuisance. Freddy, you talk too much.

Killer Likes:

1) Gardening

2) Molestation

My Thoughts Exactly...

Up Next: #32-29.

Jason's caught between the moon and New York City...


Cinema Du Meep said...

Great list so far. Hate 'em all.

Anonymous said...

You are meting out the harsh criticisms that these POS movies deserve. Bravo! It'll be great to keep watching as you get to the good stuff!