Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Freddy Vs Jason (2003)

I started a new job today (that I already dislike) and also had to go to my second job so the review is pristine condition. See I just used the word pristine. Anyways I apologize ahead of time for the deficient writing and pallid word use but I also figure that since it's Freddy Vs Jason there's no real need for a professional tone, to mimic the nature of the film of course.

Four years of peace have reigned on Elm Street after Freddy's daughter killed him for good. But Freddy's not ready to sleep just yet and begins to haunt the nightmares of Jason Voorhees, a serial killer who resides at Camp Crystal Lake, killing horny adolescent camp counselors, no less. Freddy convinces Jason to travel to Elm Street and murder the teens there to awaken the fear of Freddy, resurrecting him officially. But Jason starts to get knife happy early on in the film, switching the battle from horror-movie-rule-breaking-teenagers, to a fight between the two notorious slashers. There's this commercial where a dad is sticking his son's feet in plaster and the mom walks in and asks what they're doing. He says that they're making socks that fit to their feet because no other socks will. The mom replies simply "That's really stupid." That's how I feel about Freddy Vs Jason, but in a good way.

I'm potentially going to abuse the word 'camp' in this review as it sums up the majority of the film, also because this is part of the Never Sleep Again reviews I'm going to address mostly Freddy's side of the film, as I don't know too much about Jason and can't speak for his series as a whole. It's rather amusing that out of all eight films the most recent one is the campiest of them all. Ronny Yu as a director is always intriguing but as he mentions he intends not to take the horror too seriously, which could translate in to absolute lack of sobriety, as this film reeks of drunken fun. Freddy Vs Jason is so fatuous that it reserves rights with The Evil Dead and Dead Alive horror archive (alright, maybe not THAT funny). In laughter and in gore; excessively bloody, especially in the end, the final scene between our two slashers is drenched in it. A lot of it is hidden in the dark lighting of the film (presuming to get away with an R rating) which tones the violence down some. There's a fresh variety in the kills as Jason takes his machete to them at different angles, and Freddy uses his claws on the few victims he's allotted.

The acting is so bad its campy bad and Brendan Fletcher isn't helping. But as the ostentatious use of blood it's fitting for the film and the overall lack of purpose. All the teens are not good and play it way over the top, the only one I'd account for because she had a good performance or at the least tried to make it more was Katherine Isabelle. Freddy as a character is a bit lost in the script, they did away with most of his clever one-liners and he's not as prominent as the side story of Lori and Will (gag), but Robert England plays him as smoothly as ever, no bumps or scratches from age or shift in intent (this film isn't as imaginative as the previous Elm Street films). The writers don't take away from Freddy, however, by throwing him straight into a slasher film, in all respects, but they continue to add a cunning nature to him, especially when him and Jason are fighting and he continuously finds objects to impale Jason with.

Freddy Vs Jason delivers what the subtext of its title promises, two slashers in an epic battle, with a dozen or so teenagers getting slashed along the way. Freddy's makeup is as it was in the 80's but done on a more professional budget, but there's still that pizza face prosthetic under the gleams of lighting. The film is partially consistent with the Elm Street stories but has to sacrifice its style some to let the Friday the 13th tone through. The film is not an adept horror film, don't take it as one.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fake Five

The title is kind of crappy (get it The Fab Five...haha...not really) but I don't know what else to entitle it. I'm a bit out of snarky wit this week so you'll have to excuse my writing. Alright I'm aware that we got another five weeks before it's October and the real top five lists will start again, presumably on Mondays, but I feel bad that I only do about a post a week and the past seven(ish) have been all Freddy Krueger films. I have other weekly posts I'd like to have in addition to the reviews but I don't want to start them until I have more followers and maybe a steady flow of comments. By the way...thank you second follower <3 I'm forever grateful to you.

About a year ago when I was wasting my life away on the internet, as I always do, I came across an article about the Ten Best Re-cut Trailers. They introduced me to a whole other world, one in which I'd spend hours at a time watching youtube videos of faux trailers only to discover a whole site dedicated to them! . There's the great and the horrible, and all sorts in between. But I thought I'd help filter through the bad and post my Top Five Favorite Re-cuts Trailers.

#5 Stephen King's IT as a Family Film

Few things I ask from in these trailer re-cuts, the most prominent is the song change. In a normal trailer we usually only get between one a two songs and I stay firm on that, in order to make these believable the creators should stick to two songs, preferably one score and then a popular lyric song. I only bring this up because it ruins good trailers like the Shawshank Redemption re-cut. Thankful this trailer keeps the song consistent through out and knows what clips to use for that big instrumental bang that always manages to uplift. The trailer makes sense as you get a general consensus as to what the film's about and there's no clip that seems misplaced. The only downside I'd say to the trailer is the font (it could have more creative and fitting for a family film) and that Pennywise the Clown could be curing cancer and people would still think he's scary a shit. But that's not the creator fault, that's our societies hate for clowns fault, justifiable, but prevents them for ever coming into their true purpose; to make us laugh.

#4 The Terminator as a Romantic Drama

I know I just went off in a rant in the previous paragraph about song change, only to post this re-cut next which breaks the rules by using three songs, two lyrical. However; they transfer nicely and really add to the tone of the supposed complicated relationship between Sarah, Kyle, and the Terminator. The re-cut paints a very convincing love triangle that shockingly doesn't look too reminiscent of a bad romance, and even better while you can figure out what the film is about I found myself wondering who she end ends up with. Spare for an awkward moment at 1:05 and the re-cut is convincing.

#3 The Ring as a Tearjerker

The Ring is already part drama as it is but nothing so full on where it rings as an Academy Award winning film. This trailer creator though saw through that little girls creepy dark hair and saw what really is a tear wrenching indie film that sends a message about life and death (hence the scenes between the dad and his son). I love the art shot scene of the tree and the captions that entrust that it's a good film, in addition to the Focus Features background for the narration. I prefer text to voice over as most people aren't Mr. Moviefone but ultimately its how it works in the trailer, and the text works well here.

#2 Mary Poppins as a Horror Film

Few of these are actually convincing, and while I like the previous three they don't break the barrier of their movies where I'm convinced that its another film with all the same actors and sets but with a entirely different plot. Scary Mary is the exception, I believe it's a horror film and the creator Chris Rule managed to change the tone, making the film look dark and haunting. I have yet to see one as effectively scary as this. I wanted to see the film as soon as it was over but was rather disappointed knowning it doesn't exist. Altering Mary Poppins charming song to an daunting tune which poses as a warning for when she comes is brilliant and ultimately makes for a good trailer.

#1 The Shining as a Romantic Comedy

All it takes is a little Peter Gabriel and the Shining looks like a romantic comedy. This is where I genuinely wish they'd make trailers to divert the audience from their true nature. Could you imagine going into the Shining with the intent of seeing a uplifting romantic comedy, only to see Kubrick's violent display of madness? It'd be so funny. Or at least I'd laugh. Anyways this is my favorite because like the Scary Mary it seems legit, the transitions from clip to clip add that little touch of trailer realness. This re-cut has always made me laugh the most and I watch it when I'm in a bad mood. This is the first, I believe so, of the re-cut trailers and the most convincing, perfect in cut, perfect in song choice, and perfect in story altercation. AKA it's the perfect re-cut.

Honorable Mentions: Sleepless in Seattle, a fatal attraction thriller in which a woman becomes obsessed with a single father over the static of an all night radio show (, Mrs. Doubtfire a man's sick obsession takes him to an unthinkable level in order to be close to children (, The Shawshank Repedmtion two prision bound men find an unlikely romance in the confinements of their cells (

If your reading post your own.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

This is Wes Craven's way of saying 'There, I fixed it. Don't touch, just leave it alone.' New Nightmare is a very different departure from the rest of the series, it's set in Hollywood where the tenth anniversary of the original Nightmare on Elm Street movie is approaching. Wes Craven is far from escaping the fame of the first film though as now after six films a demon in the form of Freddy is haunting him, coercing him to write a new script. Craven approaches Heather Langenkamp to revise her role as Nancy, now a wife and mother Heather is apprehensive as she prefers her TV career to her horror legacy, especially in the case of her son. However when Heather's husband dies and she realizes that someone is targeting her son Dylan, Heather has to revert into the dream-scape yet again to stop Freddy.

The seventh installment has, as do they all, the goods and the bad. Goods are this one has some actual thought behind it, as Wes Craven has tried to do with several of his films, but not just make it horror but connect it to real life. This is the predecessor to Scream, the characters within the movie recognize the Elm Street movies as films and Robert England as Freddy. There's parallels to Hansel and Gredel as well as a study of the connection between children and the horror industry today, or rather to how it was in the 90's. In this Craven produces a new look for Freddy that does not quite go with his original story, but it makes sense seeing how Freddy is more of an entity in this than an actual character. It does make for a more horrifying face though, which in addition to a number of other things revamps Freddy as scary. Particularly there's a horror reminescent of the fear caused in the first film, not being killed in your dreams but rather being pulled in to your own bed. Is that...yes...Freddy is actually using his claws! Oh my God what a concept. As my past reviews have hopefully let on that I have found a particular annoyance with that, but this time no he signs his signature on everything.

Craven does the duo role of writing and directing, he plays around with the fact to fiction in the screenplay, especially with the characters. Heather Langenkamp, who suffered a terrifying stalker incident in real life is reliving the fear as Freddy calls her house phone, harassing her and her son. Langenkamp is really quite good at playing herself, which along with other types of acting, such as playing dumb, gets underestimated and overlooked as easy. Robert England's spin is that he's a bit of a whore for the attention of the pop culture fandom, and he paints! England has fun with the depiction of the character and of course teases the viewer by having creepy moments, where you question if he's behind the murders. John Saxon comes back in a larger role (yay!) and Fran Bennett has a very memorable moment in her small scene. Other Nightmare characters like Lyn Shaye come in for cameos as well as Craven himself and Boy Shaye, the man behind all the films.

The downside is it's not a film for the hardcore fans. The ones who love Freddy as the pop culture icon he is and not so much of his terror or Craven's ability to write might not like the film as its not like the first six. The film isn't great, and it has had no where near the impact Scream had, but its not bad and unique. Don't go out of your way to watch it but if it happens to be on TV, click on it and check it out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

WARNING: May contain some spoilers

After The Dream Child didn't live up to its two predecessors they went ahead and decided that introducing new characters would be the best route for the series. In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Freddy is aspiring to get out of Elm Street as a decade and a half (this film is set in 1999) of killing in Springfield has become tiresome, that and he's killed just about everyone under the age of eighteen. Chasing after the last teen proves to be a fail as John Doe escapes and ends up at a shelter for troubled youth. Dr. Maggie Burroughs is overseeing his case and in attempts to cure his amnesia wants to take him back to the town where he barely got away with his life. Meanwhile three other teens from the shelter escape only to end up in Springfield where they meet up with Dr. Burroughs and John Doe. The child absent town has left adults wandering, looking for meaning, leaving John Doe and Maggie free to uncover the identity of the former and find out who this mysterious Freddy Krueger is. The point of this film is to tie up lose ends, satisfy demanding fans, and make a profit off the now iconic Freddy.

In the documentary they mentioned that because this was the last one they just went ahead and self destructed, and that's a fair summary of the film. The back story of Freddy's child came out of nowhere, like literally nowhere. Not that it's impossible for a child killer to have a child but in context to Freddy's reasoning for existence it makes little sense as to why he loved his daughter but was more intent on killing the Elm Street teens than finding her, especially since she's thirty years old. The film tries far too hard to be comedic, having Roseanne Bar and Tom Arnold in it for cameos. The one liners...I'm sorry but just because you throw 'bitch' at the end of every small phrase (i.e. Kung Fu, bitch), does not make it funny. "Welcome to Prime Time, Bitch" was a classic line from the third film and they've managed to abuse its power in every film since. The deaths in this one are like the others they relate to the individual victim but are not scary, the only one I found upsetting was the kid with the hearing aid. The ending is pretty dismal, the 3D add on not really bringing too much to the series.

Lisa Zane plays the doctor and daughter to Freddy, she was alright having the adult role in the film so her acting shines above the teens. Breckin Mayer is in the film, he's a known face but not a household name (he was an 90's teen actor who never got that big). Robert England flows with the Freddy change, he's not formidable but he's as gleeful and witty as ever. I was excited to see Alice Cooper as Freddy's step-father but it was a brief 10 seconds and I noticed that they also managed to rip off Stephen King's The Shinning by using the phrase "Take Your Medicine", while crushing my dreams. There's more plot in this one than the previous film, which was completely absent of one. Despite that though the film was a lot worse than warranted, especially since Rachel Talalay was the director. She started out as the Assistant Production Manager on the first film and worked her way up to director. She has a fairly lengthy list of films to her directorial career but this is her first film so its really not bad. In all honesty the biggest fault in the film is the writing, it's too silly to be commended as a horror script, it's clearly a comedy. However, unlike nightmare five Rachel went in with intent to be ridiculous, so it's not quite the same fault as in the fifth when it falls on its face.

I'd like to point out that the tagline inaccurately presaged the film, on both accounts. This is not the last nor is it the best. Freddy's makeup has been loosing its quality for a few films now, looking less like a burn victim and more like a makeup school's first prosthetic project. I'm not sure what else to say other than that it seems like little effort was put into this, almost like The Blair Witch Project the publicity was more interesting than the film (Freddy had a funeral). This was the only film out of the franchise that I wanted to turn off. It's not like it was horrendously bad, of course not. Despite an excess of one liners, bad acting, and a ridiculous plot this is not the worst film I've seen, far from actually. My verdict is that if your not out to watch all the nightmare films than this one is an easy miss.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Before I start this week's Nightmare review I like to point out that I've made my first clickable side image thing! I'm quite proud at my half ass photoshop skills as it's now more easier than ever (as if the 7 different tags I have isn't) to locate the reviews. I've also decided that it really wouldn't be complete if I didn't fully do the whole eight films so Freddy Vs. Jason will happen. I may even throw in a review of the documentary, who knows. The other news that basically made me fall off my chair...I have my first follower! I'm beyond appreciative to you that I'm literally at a loss for words, but thank you. And finally I've been tampering with the blog to make it look good. I'm not doing to great so any feedback (if anyone is there) would be helpful.

What is there to say about A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child? Not much I suppose as the film was a bit of a let down. The opening scene is Alice and Dan, from the fourth film, having sex before their graduation. Generally all seems well for our two survivors, new friends, new life, and a promising relationship, until Dan dies that is and Alice finds out briefly afterwards that she is pregnant. Freddy is back again and as a side project to his mundane teen killings he's contriving a more permanent body as he enters through the mind of Alice's sleeping unborn baby. Dealing with the stress of Freddy coming back, her friend's dying all over the place again, and being pregnant Alice is struggling to fight off whats to come. Not all is at fault though, Alice has help from an unlikely entity, Amanda Krueger, Freddy's mother.

If you haven't guessed by my inconsistent posting record that I watched these films awhile ago. Most I wrote down thoughts after seeing so my reviews have been based on those brief commentaries but this is one where I forgot to write a few sentences of the review down as an outline, so I'm purely going off from memory and tidbits of info on IMDB. As blury as some may be I do remember a distinct feeling of having my time being wasted while watching the film. I was not pulled in because there was no plot. Really, it's aimless wandering for the most part, and typically I don't mind shallow almost absent plots but having one with watery characters was just to much of a miss to be a good film. The deaths continue to be creatively concieved but non are so much scary as just weird (Greta's death anyone?). The horror in this I'd say is in the scene where they show the attack on Amanda Krueger, its not graphic as it doesn't show the rape but watching Freddy's future maniac father (England without makeup) stalk through the crowd is pretty effective in capturing that random horror to the whole scenario. Also, the film plays with that hopeless Rosemary Baby element, what's growing inside of you is killing you, and it works out proactively towards the film.

This is where I regret watching the documentary before the films as I remember the actors mentioning that that director was never in one place as he had to address other issues on set, leaving the actors to direct themselves. It shows, on both accounts, in acting Laurie Wilcox returns as Alice and she's comfortable enough in her part where she's convincing, but it still carries an peculiar note to it as it did in the last film. Alice has a new black friend and as the actress mentions in the documentary, she lives! That's The Dream Child for ya, breaking stereotypes since 1989. Let's give it up to Super Freddy actor Michael Bailey Smith for not only tacking the role of Freddy but being brave enough to show his ass on film (yes that is not Dan's ass in the opening scene, I hate to disappoint you).

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 is one of those films where no one stopped to notice how bad things were. It may have helped if they nixed the the Elm Street teen killings and drove the story more towards the rebirth of Freddy and expanded more on his roots. I don't hate the film but I'd say a low dislike is fair enough. I didn't dislike Dream Master but maybe the slasher plot line that follows in the next two films drowns my neutral viewing experience a bit. Freddy's one liners become glaringly annoying at this point and his makeup is in all it's pizza face glory. I feel like my review would have a lot more positive notes if I had written after watching the film cause all I can recall is the negative, so in truth maybe it's not best to take my advice on the review this week. Maybe the only honest statement I can tell you is that I did feel like I wasted a good movie experience after watching it, all missing plots and bad directing aside.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

I am the wizard master! Oh wait wrong Nightmare. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master starts with our previous heroine Kristen having nightmares again, although Freddy is DEAD and Kincaid and Joey try to convince her otherwise she is bothered by the thought that he might be back. By a hellish chain of events Freddy is resurrected and kills Kristen, but not before Kristen pulls Alice, a friend of her's from school, into the dream and gives her power over to her. From there it becomes the contrived plot line of Alice and her friends trying to stay awake and live through Freddy's nightmares. Nightmare on Elm Street 4 proves to not be as good as its predecessor but not awful all around.

The film is quite visually pretty, my favorite being the water bed scene that illuminates green's in blues in a darkly lit room. The death's in this one don't register as anything special in my eyes, and maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine but what's the point of Freddy's claws if he isn't going to kill anybody with them? In truth the best, more creative I should rather say, is Freddy's death, which I loved! In the reviews for the Nightmare remake I noticed that a lot of individuals were criticizing the fact that Freddy didn't toy with his victims before killing them, which I have to agree would annoy me too since it's one of my favorite things about Freddy. But this film seemed to fall victim to the same fault, he toyed with two teens, Alice and Kristen but offed the others without second thought. Am I being picky? Maybe.

Its saddening that Patricia Arquette did not come back for this one, her replacement is deficient, to say the least. Her scream sounds more like her having an orgasm rather than her burning in a pit of fire, every line out her mouth is forced, and she just didn't really get the Kristen character. I liked Alice's transformation, a nice layer to the movie that worked out subtly enough. As for the others well Alice has a lot of friends, who die of course, all of which are played by eager young adults wanting to be in a movie, but their names aren't memorable enough nor is their performances. Is it appropriate for me to gush over the same actor in 7 reviews straight? Probably not so I'll just say that it's Robert England playing Freddy Krueger.

I didn't hate the film, that's a bit drastic to say, but in a lot of ways it wasn't for me. I've observed that in the past three Nightmare's that Freddy's makeup is pretty weak, not really looking like burns. Maybe I'm just nit picking because the first one of is one of my favorites but who knows. This is also the film where the one liners become a small annoyance, nothing too excessive but you notice. As I was saying I don't hate the film, but the lack of blood and the shift in separating some of the mythology from the first film is enough to surpass good direction and a visually satisfying film.