The Haunting of Alice D (2014) Review

aliced1The Haunting of Alice D (2014)

Director: Jessica Sonneborn

Starring: Juan Reidinger, Aaron Massey, Megan Hensley, Kristina Page, Jessica Sonneborn, Kane Hodder

On VOD now!!

“Not here, I want a nicer room.”

Joe Davenport (Reidinger) gathers his high school friends for a party at the old family manor, a restored brothel that’s been in the family since the days of Sir Davenport ( played in flashbacks by Kane Hodder), a ruthless pimp who drove one of his girls to suicide. The prostitute Alice D. now haunts the old brothel where she took her life. Party boy Joe hires a trio of prostitutes for the evening’s entertainment in his old family den of iniquity. As the party heats up so too does the ghostly happenings.

The Haunting of Alice D is a mixed bag. The acting is rough. Watching awkward conversations poorly acted is about seventy percent of the film. The sexism and misogyny is laid on pretty thick as well, making some scenes almost unbearable when coupled with the poor delivery. There is a decent thirty percent of pretty tolerable acting rounding it out.

aliced2But the haunting part is actually pretty cool. I’ll admit the movie even made me jump three times. Yes that’s an exact number. All three were jump scares, but very good ones and not cheesy fake-outs. So, if you can somehow settle in, and NOT turn Alice off in the first twenty minutes it turns into a pretty good haunted house movie with a nice array practical effects. Director Sonneborn uses some nice shadow work, moving objects, and an increasing sense of dread and violence. If only better actors had been cast this would have been a great ghost story. Unfortunately some of the acting drags it down.

A few other problems were the sound, and setting. The back ground noise and music drowns out the dialogue a lot of the time, which with this calibre of acting is a mixed blessing. And the setting, well, there were hypothetically two. The movie opens in a strip club that looked like the set of a Rococo period piece complete with fancy wallpaper, full daylight, and a couch. Then the film detours for one scene with unimportant characters in their crummy one room apartment before shifting to the Davenport Manor. Which, kudos, was pretty damn fine. I don’t know where this house was but it was impressive. As many of the characters themselves comment upon before giving info-dumps about the history of the Davenport brothel and the sad tale of Alice D. Also included are several flashbacks to the 1890s which do a creditable job of building character and don’t look half bad.

aliced3Now, the lighting… The lighting was bright. Really bright in a lot of the film, as if a floodlight were the lighting rig of choice. It’s certainly not the usual horror movie murk. And Sonneborn never met a lens flare she didn’t like. But somehow it works MOST of the time. That’s a pretty hefty most, because when the lighting isn’t working it sticks out painfully.

The ending is confused and two characters the audience has forgotten about by then show up to confuse things further. But there is a hint of an alternate ending, at least that’s what I got out of it. Sadly my theory can’t be discussed without spoilers.

Alice D somehow manages what most poorly acted ghost stories don’t, and that’s to be just the tiniest bit scary and relatively enjoyable. Though take that with a grain of salt. This movie won’t be for everyone, but haunted house aficionados might want to give it a try. If nothing else you can make fun of the acting.

aliced4Kudos for: Worst strip club ever

Lesson Learned: NOTHING good ever came from under the bed

Rating: 6/10

A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #5 – A Death House Special

A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #5 – A Death House Special

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gendh5Shock and sadness ran threw the horror community in November 2015 when Gunnar Hansen died of pancreatic cancer. Horror fans all over the world mourned the passing of Leatherface, but Hansen was able to leave loyal fans with a parting gift: Death House.

What is Death House? It is an incredibly ambitious horror film written by Gunnar Hansen and director Harrison Smith. This film has been called “The Expendables of Horror” due to it’s spectacular casting choices: Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace, Tom Savini, Bill Oberst Jr and more. Directed by Harrison Smith.

gendh1I am truly honored to have a cameo among such a talented cast and crew. It was great to spend some time on set with horror icon Kane Hodder. We have both been guests at the same cons a few times, but Death House is our first film together. While on set, Hodder said, “It is truly an honor to be in Death House. This is an amazing film.”

Michael Berryman and I previously worked together on a Sci-Fi thriller called Apocalypse Kiss and it was great to be in a film with him again.

“I was very proud to be a part of this film. Gunner was a good friend and the story is solid with a cast that includes many friends and the best actors in our genre. Harrison is a keen director with an editor’s eye as the scenes are composed. I know that this film will be well received.” -Michael Berryman

gendh3“Harrison Smith is an actor’s director with affection for our genre’s past and a real vision for its future. Gunnar Hansen would be very, very proud of what Harrison has done with DEATH HOUSE, and speaking as a life-long fan of classic horror, so am I.”
-Bill Oberst Jr.

A big thank you to “Scary” Sheri Fairchild and her husband Frank Nicosia. I have worked with both actors on a few film projects in the Buffalo area and Sheri reached out to tell me Death House was looking for more actors.

gendh4I was going through my own spiritual upheaval at the time. I had found my poor mother passed away of a sudden heart attack on Easter Sunday. That huge loss had left me shaken, but not beaten. My mother always said, “My daughter is tough” and lately I have been challenged to continue to prove her words right no matter the obstacle; even losing her so tragically. But God only gives us what he knows we can bear.

So I got in touch with the casting director of Death House and ended up on set in Philadelphia at the beautifully grotesque and haunting Holmesburg Prison. I had the good fortune of being in a scene with screen legends Barbara Crampton and Dee Wallace.

gendh2While on the set of Death House I was able to sit down and talk with producer Rick Finkelstein. He explained, “This film was started by Gunnar Hansen. It has really come together better than we ever imagined. We have the best locations, best cast, horror icons, and an amazing script.”

Even the location was perfect, Holmesburg Prison, which is part of the Philadelphia prison system. It’s history already sounds like a horror movie. For thirty years chemical companies tested on inmates with sometimes horrific results. Also the prison warden and assistant were murdered mere steps from where we conducted our interview.

gendh6Watch for Death House for it’s amazing cast, horrific special effects, and to see Gunnar Hansen’s last blood splattering performance. This film was Leatherface’s baby, it was Gunnar’s dying wish that Death House be finished, and made into a huge success in the genre. Horror fans are sure to enjoy this truly epic film. Finkelstein promises, “When you leave this film you will be questioning your own thought processes and concepts of good and evil.”

gendh7This article is dedicated to the memory of Gunnar Hansen and my mother.

Death Call aka Old 37 (2015) Review

old371Death Call aka Old 37 (2015)

Director: Alan Smithee

Stars: Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Jake Robinson, Brandi Cyrus

UK DVD Release TBC from High Fliers Films

Old 37 a.k.a Call 37 a.k.a Death Call is the story of two brothers who intercept 911 emergency calls, then arrive on the scene posing as paramedics in a beaten up old ambulance – the titular ‘Old 37’.

Of course, these brothers are not good Samaritans out to help innocent survivors or to lift the burden off of America’s failing healthcare system, no, they are depraved lunatics who take pleasure in torturing and killing the defenceless victims. The two brothers are played by horror icons Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley, a dream team that could cause even the most stone faced horror fan to go weak at the knees.

old374The casting of Hodder and Moseley, along with the intriguing synopsis, had me licking my lips at the prospect of this film, but sadly it did not deliver the goods… Instead of focusing on the story of the psychopathic brothers and their exploits, it mostly follows a group of errant teenagers – All played by actors in their mid to late twenties, all vapid, insidious, soulless, cookie cutter characters that could have been plucked from any horror movie this side of Scream. These “teenagers” literally bring all of the trouble onto themselves – They are picked off one by one, thanks in no small part to their dangerous driving and foolhardy antics on the highways of backwater nowhere.

Throughout the film we are shown flashbacks and glimpses into the past of the two brothers which offer a brief insight into why they are so deranged. They are following in the footsteps of their father, a nasty piece of work who psychically and mentally abused his sons to breaking point – creating the monsters they are today. Hodder and Moseley both turn in excellent performances and do their best with what they are given.

old373The film seems to suffer from an identity crisis – is it trying to be a slasher movie? Not really. Is it going for the ‘torture porn’ angle? There isn’t enough blood and gore or interesting kills for that. Is it trying to be a ‘Jaws on the highway’ type movie? Maybe. It really struggles to find a balance between all of the plot threads. The brothers’ story is far, far more interesting than that of the teens and it could have been excellent in the hands of someone like Rob Zombie. In the end it is let down by the dumb teenagers that we are supposed to be rooting for and the ridiculous way the writers try to tie everything together.

3.5/10

Love in the Time of Monsters (2014)

littom1Love in the Time of Monsters (2014)

Director: Matt Jackson

Starring: Gena Shaw, Marissa Skell, Hugo Armstrong, Doug Jones, Michael McShane, Kane Hodder, Danny Vasquez

Out now on VOD – http://www.tbcfilms.com/watch/

So this is where the American dream died.”

Sisters Carla (Skell) and Marla (Shaw) head up to Slavko’s All American Family Lodge, a cheesy tourist trap where Carla’s fiancée Johnny (Jade Carter), has a job playing Bigfoot. Carla and Marla don’t exactly see eye-to-eye when it comes to romance, love and relationships, and Johnny is the object of a lot of bickering in the first third of the film. Meanwhile, in Slavko’s swamp Johnny and his fellow Sasquatches get into a fight, fall into a swamp of toxic waste and turn into diseased, flesh eating mutants who go on an all-you-can-eat rampage of Slavko customers. Carla and Marla set aside their differences, fight for each other, fight for love, and fight toxic sludge monsters. Central to the theme of the film is love, familial and romantic. But fear NOT!

Love in the Time of Monsters is a fast and funny horror comedy. Full of zingy one-liners and a cast of eccentric characters. But that doesn’t mean it’s sloppy. It’s actually pretty tightly crafted and later plot points and personal relationships are subtly established in the first ten minutes and pay off much later, demanding the viewer pay close attention to “get” some things toward the end of the film.

littom2The special effects are, for the most part, big on cheese and light on seriousness. There are fake killer squirrels, a moose puppet, and zombie ducks on a string. There is some nice gore as well, including cannibalism, ropes of intestines, and one beheading, all of which are practical effects. The gore might be a bit too much too much for some as the movie gets progressively gorier (and progressively hokier) as it goes on. But gore hounds who like their comedies, and comedy lovers with a strong stomach will both appreciate LitToM.

All the actors do a pretty terrific job and it seems like everyone is having fun with the movie. There is a lot of personality to go around. In a small but memorable role Paula Rhodes plays Agatha the fierce red-headed manager of Slavko’s who runs a tight ship and takes no prisoners. She also has the best introduction in the entire movie.

Another small part with a big actor is Dr. Lincoln played by Doug Jones, seemingly an unemployed chemist (maybe?) who is the Lodge’s resident President Lincoln, fake beard included. Danny Vasquez plays suave bartender Armando who turns on his accent on like tap water and seduces lonely patrons. Gena Shaw does a great job as the prickly and cynical Marla and she’s nicely balanced by Skell’s portrayal as the optimistic romantic Carla. All the actors, even the minor players and the monsters get their chance to shine.

littom3There’s really nothing to complain about. Which is why this is a short review. I could on and on about the plot and characters for a few more paragraphs, but I don’t want to spoil the fun. You’re better off getting your own copy and watching it. A good party movie, and even fun to watch alone. Love in the Time of Monsters is definitely one to own and one to share with friends.

Kudos for: The last ten minutes.

Lesson learned: Paul Bunyan is an asshole.

7/10

Charlie’s Farm (2014) DVD Review

Charlies Farm DVD 2D - FINALCharlie’s Farm (2014)

Writer & Director – Chris Sun

Starring – Nathan Jones, Tara Reid, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley

UK DVD & Blu-Ray release June 22nd from Monster Pictures UK

Four friends from the suburbs of Australia’s Gold Coast (including honorary Yank, Tara Reid) decide to ditch the beach for the weekend in favour of camping at an allegedly haunted farm. An absurd decision to us Pommies currently suffering an indecisive British summer, but par for the course for any self respecting slasher movie protagonists. The farm in question is the titular Charlie’s Farm; the location of a series of horrific murders in the 1980s.

The cannibalistic Wilson family who lived there (led by father John Wilson, played by horror icon Bill Moseley) would routinely murder and consume any unlucky backpackers and tourists that were passing through. The local townsfolk, having decided that enough was enough, rolled up at the farm mob deep with pitchforks and shotguns at the ready and the vile Wilsons were slain one by one. Legend has it that the tormented ghost of their ‘retarded’ son, Charlie, now haunts the area.

charliesfarm3In a time when slasher movies are few a far between, us faithful fans of the sub-genre are often left disappointed. Not due to their infrequency but due to their (mostly) poor quality. Thankfully, Charlie’s Farm does not disappoint. Writer-director Chris Sun is clearly a huge fan of slashers himself and knows that to make a good one is not to re-invent the wheel but to do the basics, and do them well.

As far as the plot goes, it is very much by the numbers – You will know who is going to die and you will probably even guess what order they will die in, but the fun part is seeing how they die. Nathan Jones portrays Charlie, the hulking killer who systematically wipes out any and all visitors to his farm in brutal fashion. The make-up effects are excellent and the performances of the actors are brilliant across the board, with a special mention to Trudi Ross who puts in a mesmerising turn as Mrs Wilson, Charlie’s protective mother.

charliesfarm2My only real criticism of the film, if you can call it a criticism, is of Kane Hodder’s strange cameo role. His character adds nothing to the actual story and almost felt as if it had been written in at the last minute merely to capitalise on Hodder’s name value. Other than that I have nothing but love for Charlie’s Farm and very much hope that we get a sequel. Chris Sun’s next film, Boar, not only stars Nathan Jones again but also Wolf Creek’s John Jarratt. Maybe I am dreaming, but I would definitely pay good money to see a Mick Taylor vs Charlie Wilson cross over movie!

8/10

Indie Director Jason Hull announces fourth feature film, “Krampus: The Devil Returns.”

krampus_snowflake_posterIndie Director Jason Hull announces fourth feature film, “Krampus: The Devil Returns.”

Erie, PA (March 30, 2015) Director Jason Hull and Snowdog Studio announce their sequel to 2014’s “Krampus: The Christmas Devil,” in “Krampus: The Devil Returns.” Jason states that production on this rendition will be further elevated, promising to include more of “what the fans requested,” in more blood, more Krampus, more Santa, and a spectacular cast.

Attached to the film are Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Devil’s Rejects), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th VII, VIII, and X, Frozen), Robert Mukes (House of 1,000 Corpses), Tiffani Fest (Circus of the Dead), and scream queen darling Melantha Blackthorne (Sinners and Saints, A Grim Becoming) will be joining various returning members from the prior cast, including Rich Goteri, Mike Mili, A.J. Leslie, Darin Foltz, and Paul Ferm returning as Santa. Krampus is based on actual mythology dating back to 17th century Alpine/Eastern European lore.

Krampus is Saint Nick’s evil brother. However, unlike St. Nick, Krampus brings wrath on children who misbehave. This story takes place shortly after the demise of Jeremy’s (A.J. Leslie) family. Krampus has returned to this small community and is seemingly out of control on his quest to punish bad children. Jeremy is brought back to help end the reign of terror that Krampus has brought upon so many towns.

Filming is slated to begin in the winter of 2015, with a November 2016 release date. “Krampus: The Christmas Devil,” their first film, will be released worldwide via ITN Distribution this fall.

Fundraising has begun through fanbacked.com. Fans wanting to be a part of the production should go to www.krampusreturns.com.

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/krampusreturns
Instagram: krampusreturns
Twitter: @krampusreturns @snowdogstudio
Periscope: @snowdogstudio

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday 13th (2013) DVD Review

 

CRYSTAL 001CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF FRIDAY 13th (2013) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Corey Feldman, Kane Hodder, Sean S. Cunningham, John Buechler

Written by: Peter Bracke (book), Daniel Farrands

UK Certification: 18

UK RRP: £14.99

UK DVD Region: 0

Runtime: 400 minutes

Directed by: Daniel Farrands

UK Release Date: 9th June 2014

Distributor: Stax Entertainment

Daniel Farrands began his career in the film industry by scripting the much derided sixth entry in the Halloween series – The Curse of Michael Myers (though admittedly I’m quite fond of it), before then adapting the horrific Jack Ketchum novel The Girl Next Door. Since then however he’s gone on to build quite a reputation for detailed horror themed documentaries. He directed the excellent Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, while the prior year found him shooting His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday 13th. With that in mind it’s worth asking the question of why another Jason themed documentary? The simple answer is there is A LOT to tell, and with a 400 (!) minute running time this project manages to cover everything without once feeling padded out.

I guess if you spent your formative years in the 90s, the Friday 13th movies have always just existed to the degree that you often take them for granted. Even though I own each one, when you sit back and think that there’s TWELVE feature films and a three season TV show under the Friday 13th banner you realise that to tell the story from beginning to (potential) end is quite some achievement. Farrands has somehow managed to interview somewhere in the region of ONE HUNDRED cast members, directors, stuntmen, writers and producers in order to give a faithful retrospective of the horror franchise.

CRYSTAL 002We open with the comforting face of Corey Feldman who will be our narrator through the documentary, and as expected we initially learn about creator Sean S. Cunningham and his early years of directing the occasional softcore film before going on to get his big break as a producer of Last House on the Left. A solid 40 minutes is given over to the background of the first movie as we learn that the modus operandi was simply “rip off Halloween” before it moves on to detail the casting of a largely unknown cast, the hiring of make-up wizard Tom Savini, and the role Harry Manfredini played in creating the iconic score.

Each segment on the various movie chapters never outstays its welcome despite a solid half hour and more being given to each sequel. With Part Two the departures of director and cast is discussed as well as the prominent role of Frank Mancuso Jr, while Part Three sees in the 3D phenomenon and the return of Steve Miner. Part Four we have what many regard to be their favourite sequel with the addition of Joseph Zito as director not to mention the hiring of Corey Feldman to play Tommy Jarvis and the return of Tom Savini. Part Five however is a largely negative affair, and here is where the documentary gains great credibility. It doesn’t airbrush history and actors’ problems with director Danny Steinmann are openly discussed, such as his somewhat sleazy nature when directing the sex scenes and his generally unapproachable demeanour.

Part Six levels the accusation that it’s poor box office was largely due to the disappointment of the previous sequel, while Part Seven examines John Carl Buechler’s many issues with the MPAA due his penchant for gore as well as the welcome sight of Kane Hodder stepping into Jason shoes for the first time. Part Eight mocks the amount of time that was actually spent filming in Manhattan while with Part Nine we see the jump to New Line as well as the frustration of not being able to secure the rights of the Friday 13th name. In Jason X we see the series go in a brand new direction and one that ultimately failed, while Freddy vs Jason analyses the coming together of two of modern horrors most infamous icons. The remake is also discussed to a broad extent, but that’s something I personally can’t really dwell on!

CRYSTAL 003It’s impossible to quantify 400 minutes of endlessly fascinating information as well as to put across the unbridled pleasure of listening to people that you barely know telling engaging stories and reminiscing on the time they spent shooting these movies. What I can say is that despite my initial reservations on the running time, by the end I just sat despondently on my sofa pining for more. Granted, you can point out the few frustrations of this piece such as the absence of people like Kevin Bacon and Crispin Glover – but it’s a minor gripe that I’m presuming little could be done about. What’s more important is the fact that this documentary made me realise just how passionately I love these little slasher flicks, and as Corey sat around the campfire narrating the story, he made me feel like I was sat on the log next to him toasting marshmallows and waiting for Jason to emerge from the shadows.

8.5 out of 10

 

Hatchet 3 (2013) DVD Review

HATCHET 001HATCHET III (2013) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, Caroline Williams, Parry Shen

Written by: Adam Green

UK Certification: 18

UK RRP: £12.99

UK DVD Region: 2

Runtime: 78 minutes

Directed by: BJ McDonnell

UK Release Date: 31st March 2014

Distributor: Metrodome

A lot has been said about the demise of the slasher film these last few years, coupled with regular face palm orientated head shaking at the amount of CGI gore that has crept into the horror industry. While this is true to an extent, with all darkness you’ll often find some light and here that light is Adam Green. The 38 year old writer / director wowed horror fans with the creation of Victor Crowley for the first Hatchet film in 2006, and despite relinquishing the director’s chair for this chapter it’s his pen that wrote the script.

Taking over behind the camera duties is BJ McDonnell, himself a veteran of the franchise as the camera operator whilst returning onscreen is genre favourite Danielle Harris, legendary stuntman Kane Hodder (Friday 13th) and Zach Galligan (Gremlins). Following a brief recap of the end of Hatchet II which saw Marybeth (Harris) dispose of Victor in the most goretastic way possible, she finds herself in the local police department holding the prized scalp of Victor Crowley. Sheriff Fowler (Galligan) attempts to get to the bottom of Marybeth’s story but finds it hard to get past how unbelievable it sounds – that is until an on-site report from his colleagues uncover the scale of the carnage.

HATCHET 002As the Sheriff heads to the scene to begin his investigation, a nosey local reporter Amanda Pullman (‘Stretch’ from TCM2 no less) is keen to do a piece on this fast breaking story. After being rebuffed by the Sheriff, she decides the only way to get on board the case is to post bail for Marybeth. Meanwhile, back in the swamp the body (or bits of) of Victor Crowley has been recovered and body-bagged and placed on board the boat that carried the police to the scene of crime. Thankfully though, as Marybeth had dismembered him to such an extreme degree, he surely couldn’t possibly post any further threat now… could he? Damn right he could – he’s back, and only one woman can end this.

For reasons of full disclosure I have to admit I’m a fully-fledged member of the Hatchet fan club, and even if this second sequel was the horror equivalent of Plan 9 from Outer Space I have a nagging suspicion that somehow I’d manage to find something glowing to say about it. However, that is most certainly not the case as Adam Green has delivered a film that takes the rule of diminishing sequels, rips it up and fires a 12 gauge right into its heart. Most heartening is the fact that this sequel feels like a natural progression, as opposed to a cynically created vacuous bit of filler. As always it’s great to see your much loved character return such as Marybeth, and here Danielle Harris proves that she’s an undoubted horror icon. Kane Hodder too embodies the prosthetics of Victor Crowley, and we even get a Jason vs Jason face-off as Hodder does battle with Derek Mears who played the Friday 13th icon in the remake. Also, special credit to Parry Shen as well (playing his third different character in this franchise!) who brings some welcome humour to the movie.

HATCHET 003The Hatchet films are horror movies made by horror people for horror fans. It’s that simple. Victor Crowley is an excellent creation, and the way the series uses practical effects so prominently surely demands a level of respect towards it. The transition from Adam Green to BJ McDonnell as director is seamless no doubt due his role on the previous two films, and the fact that the series creator is still writing the sequels is a badge of quality all in itself. If you say you’re a horror-fiend, and you DON’T have any of the Hatchet films in your collection, then use the release of Hatchet III to remedy that. It’s a blood soaked love letter to the slasher genre.

7.5 out of 10

Friday 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) Review

F13-001

FRIDAY 13th Part VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989)
Dir. Rob Hedden                 96 mins
Paramount Home Entertainment

As part of July’s SLASHER month on UKHS, us toiling writers were given the exciting challenge of three slasher themed reviews. I did my first last week with Humongous featuring as a slasher that I’d always wanted to see but never got round to. This is part two – a favourite slasher. The word to emphasise here is undoubtedly ‘a’. Friday 13th Part: VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (or F13:VIII for the sake of my word limit) is far from my favourite slasher – but it is ‘a’ favourite simply because it took my slasher cherry.

You always remember your first time, and with it being with Jason it makes it even more vivid. Imagine it, a 13 year old teenager home alone with the big box Paramount release of F13: VIII on VHS. It’s undoubtedly the film that takes sole credit for me wasting… sorry, having my life enhanced for the last 23 years by daily interactions with horror films of every sub-genre, but predominantly slasher movies.

With an opening credit sequence that firmly shouts “this is the 80s”, we join high school students Jim and Suzie aboard a boat cruising Camp Crystal Lake where Jim handily provides us / his girlfriend with a brief yet informative back-story of Jason Vorhees. At this point we are about to embark on the greatest re-animation sequence in movie history. As the boat drifts along, it happens to snag an electricity cable lying on the bed of the lake causing it to rupture, sparks fly everywhere including onto the rotting corpse of Jason Vorhees who is jolted into life. It is indeed a miracle.

F13-002

Jason however appears to be without his mask. Fear not though, Jim up on the boat there happens to have a spare hockey mask with him that he’s left lying about after trying to scare Suzie with his fabled Vorhees impression, and it’s not long before the legendary killer had seized possession of it and is masked and ready for murder. Needless to say poor Jim and Suzie are victims #1 and #2, and we progress on to the crux of the story and the voyage of the SS Lazarus and its passengers who are graduating students from Lakeview High School. There’s some great characters amongst them too, including a crazy rock chick with a penchant for on deck guitar solos, and a nerdy guy who’s insistent on recording a video diary. It is 1989 though, so the video camera he carries around is about three times the size of his head.

The voyage progresses but not before some cautious words from a Crazy Ralph imitating naysayer who announces “this voyage is DOOMED”. Thankfully no-one listens and we engage in 90 minutes of  slasher gold as the trip, as expected, grinds to a halt mid-point due to several casualties. The few survivors manage to row ashore which happens to be New York City, to engage in a very memorable finale.

This isn’t a good film. It has some of the most convenient exposition you could imagine, terrible acting, and has also dated immeasurably. That said, even all these years later it’s a really fun watch. Kane Hodder is awesome as Jason Vorhees, as he always was with that intimidating frame, an aspect often missing from contemporary horror. The ingenuity of the kills is great as well which is some achievement considering we’re on the eighth film in the series.

F13-003

Overall though, even after so many years I’m still very happy to call this a favourite horror of mine. It’s an ideal starting point for the newbie horror fan too, although admittedly that may also be from the point of view “if you can get through this, you can get through anything”. 1989 was not a vintage year for horror, and this exemplifies why, in saying that though that’s also what makes F13: VIII a cheese-fest worth watching.

Actual Rating – 4 out of 10
Dave’s Biased Rating – 9 out of 10