Urban Legend Preview

“Hey Poe, what’s wrong? Looks like you saw a ghost.” Rich’s mouth has run dry at the sight of none other than Helmut Gruber. He leaps to his feet and tackles him to the ground, handcuffing him to the desk. “What the hell are you doing Poe?” the captain asks incredulously. “Let DETECTIVE Heinerich Gruber up and get to work.” Detective? Heinrich? Rich needs to get out of here and fast, but before he can leave the chief grabs his arm and stops him. “I know this is hard, but do this for Rich. The fact is that we no longer think his death was a freak dressage accident. We think it’s… murder.” Everyone gasps. Murder? But why? “For this,” the chief says and turns on a projector. On the screen is the Obsidian Dongle. Gasps ring out again. “That’s right,” the chief says, “Rich had gotten close to a seller of the Dongle. You think you can keep it cool and get this done?” Rich stops rubbing his chest and nods his head. In the car he and Gruber discuss the plan. A quick karate chop to the neck should do it. When they enter the abandoned cement factory where the deal is supposed to take place they are greeted with a gruesome scene. “Is that… the seller?” Rich asks. Gruber nods and gulps, taking in a man pinned to the wall by an arrow, his blood smeared on the wall, “Sincerely, The Sparrow.” Rich ponders for a moment. Sparrow… arrow… he turns to Gruber and asks again how Rich was killed. Gruber sighs, “Like you heard, a freak dressage accident. He got tangled in the reigns of his horse and literally rode until he couldn’t anymore.” My god, Rich thinks, we’ve got a serial killer on the loose. That’s right, we’re doubling up and crushing the Urban Legend(s) franchise. While the first is totally bereft of twins (mistake), the sequel is twin centric. Hopefully the twins are used for good instead of evil. But there’s only one way to find out. Let’s go!

Poe looks at the twin dragons circling the smoking mountain. If that’s the way back to help Rich then that’s where he will go. “How?” he asks his twin protectors. They look at each other and nod, “To defeat the twin dragons you must have strength.” Poe thinks for a moment, “So like a killer workout routine?” But the twins laugh. “No,” they say, still shaking their heads, “food… it’s munchies time.” That’s right! We’re pairing up our horror cycle with the Gremlins super-knockoff Munchies where they literally hired the editor of Gremlins and told her to make another one. Let’s go!

Urban Legend (1998) – BMeTric: 45.7; Notability: 34 

(While it is rising, this has a much lower rating that I would expect. Considering how 90s nostalgia works I would have expected people to eventually get over the comparisons to Scream and embrace it as a silly send up of Horror tropes as well. It might eventually reach mediocrity, but it still seems like the consensus is the film just isn’t that good.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “Urban Legend” is not art. But for its teenage audience, it serves the same purpose, which is to speed the meeting of like minds. Everybody knows how it works: The guy puts his arm casually around his date’s shoulders. Onscreen, Natalie/Brenda, etc., goes poking around in the abandoned campus building where the massacre took place years ago. The Creep Chord blasts out of the Dolby speakers, everyone jumps, and if in the confusion his hand slips south, well, who says cable will ever replace the theatrical experience?

(Oh Roger, you rascal. Much like a lot of critics it feels like Ebert might have mixed feelings on the slasher as the genre. But this review truly sounds like Ebert is at the very least game to learn the tropes of the modern slasher. And it sounds like he mostly understands the purpose of something like Urban Legend, and also how it is an inferior version of the truly fun / interesting slashers of the time.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4d1_D90BwU/

(Really good concept for a slasher film. It is actually a little bit amazing it hadn’t been done in the slasher heyday of the 70s and 80s. I have to say, playing up the Englund appearance was solid, I would have easily been sold for this film just from that, as silly as it looks.)

Directors – Jamie Blanks – (Future BMT: Valentine; Long Weekend; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Pitched for I Know What You Did Last Summer, but the directing jobs had already been filled. Producer Moritz then tagged him for the next slasher in Urban Legend. Is now a composer for film in Australia.)

Writers – Silvio Horta (written by) – (Future BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy as a writer for Ugly Betty. Was a consultant for P-Valley this year, although he sadly passed away last January.)

Actors – Jared Leto – (Known For: Fight Club; Blade Runner 2049; Requiem for a Dream; American Psycho; The Thin Red Line; Dallas Buyers Club; Girl, Interrupted; Panic Room; Mr. Nobody; Lord of War; How to Make an American Quilt; Lonely Hearts; Prefontaine; Future BMT: Alexander; Black and White; Suicide Squad; Chapter 27; The Outsider; Switchback; Basil; BMT: Urban Legend; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Suicide Squad in 2017; Notes: Was mostly a star in the late 90s despite winning an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club in 2014, and playing the Joker in 2016. The lead singer and songwriter for the band Thirty Seconds to Mars, which amazingly had a number two album in 2018 and several number one singles on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart.)

Alicia Witt – (Known For: Dune; Mr. Holland’s Opus; Two Weeks Notice; Citizen Ruth; Last Holiday; The Upside of Anger; Cecil B. Demented; Liebestraum; Bodies, Rest & Motion; Fun; Playing Mona Lisa; Future BMT: Bongwater; Peep World; Four Rooms; I Do; BMT: Urban Legend; A Madea Christmas; 88 Minutes; Vanilla Sky; Notes: Did a bunch of Hallmark Christmas movies in the mid-2010s. She’s also a musician, although there is little information about whether she’s charted in any meaningful way.)

Rebecca Gayheart – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Scream 2; G.B.F.; Pipe Dream; Future BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Jawbreaker; Harvard Man; Nothing to Lose; Shadow Hours; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Was a model and at one point engaged to Brett Ratner. Is married to Eric Dane, although they filed for divorce in 2018. Convicted of vehicular manslaughter in 2001 and sentenced to probation in the accidental death of a boy in Los Angeles.)

Budget/Gross – $14,000,000 / Domestic: $38,072,438 (Worldwide: $72,527,595)

(Not exactly a Scream performance, but it still shows why pretty bad slasher schlock can be such a draw for production companies. $14 million in young actors and fake blood and you can make money hand over fist.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (12/56): Elements of Scream reappear in a vastly inferior vehicle.

(Ah interesting. Perhaps this is a little hindsight creeping in, but I guess it is understandable to view this as merely a copycat of Scream as that had temporarily resurrected the teen slasher genre. Both I Know What You Did Last Summer and this seem to have a pretty distinct premise though. Reviewer Highlight: It’s just a weary sigh over how Scream’s juicy archness has already turned into boilerplate. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Keith Urban Legend

(There is just a lot going on here. I appreciate the effort and the artistry on this one, but it’s very busy. Some nice color and spacing. Needs a distinctive font. FInally, is this somehow a play on breaking a mirror gives you bad luck? Anyway, interesting but not necessarily in a good way. C+.)

Tagline(s) – What You Don’t Believe Can Kill You. (C)

(I was trying to figure out whether this was a play on a phrase and apparently yes. “What you don’t know can’t hurt/kill you,” which is probably more commonly heard in reference to like “What Mom doesn’t know won’t kill her.”. A phrase so entrenched that cultural touchstone Murder She Wrote played on it for Episode 22 of Season 12 What You Don’t Know Can Kill You… what I’m saying is that this is taking mediocre to an entirely different level.)

Keyword – slasher flick

Top 10: Truth or Dare (2018), Unfriended: Dark Web (2018), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Candyman (1992), Halloween (2018), Scream 4 (2011), Hostel (2005), Scream 2 (1997), Happy Death Day (2017), Child’s Play (2019)

Future BMT: 82.8 Prom Night (2008), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 72.6 Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.4 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 65.9 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 61.7 My Soul to Take (2010);

BMT: Truth or Dare (2018), Urban Legend (1998), Friday the 13th (2009), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

(The genre has certainly been relegated to things like Shudder in recent years, although Blumhouse has busted out a few (which would also mean low notability as they operate on a shoestring budget). The big bump around 2004 I think might be things like Hostel where there was a flurry of torture porn all of a sudden. You can also see how it died in the mid-90s before Scream.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 7) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Alicia Witt is No. 1 billed in Urban Legend and No. 2 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 = 7. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – When Paul and Natalie walk into the hidden room in Professor William Wexler’s office, a puppet of Freddy Krueger can be seen just before they see the axe. Robert Englund, who played Professor William Wexler, played Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films.

The killer’s outfit is based on the fact that the film was originally planned to be set in the middle of winter. When the weather was too warm, it was decided to drop the winter aspect of the storyline, rather than fake snow in all the outdoor scenes, and dress all of the extras in winter outfits, but they kept the killer’s costume. (Well it certainly was initially supposed to be winter because one of the characters goes on a ski trip to Vermont, but yeah, the date is supposed to be around April 27th during filming. Weird they didn’t change the ski trip at least)

The SUV driven in the beginning, was originally supposed to be a Land Rover. It was changed to the Ford Expedition (the largest 4×4 available at the time), because the filmmakers discovered they couldn’t swing an axe inside of a Land Rover. (I don’t believe it, this had to be product placement, that is ludicrous)

Brenda is seen wearing a blue ribbon around her neck at the end of the film, as this is a minor reference to another urban legend about a girl whose head falls off if she removes the ribbon around her neck.

Joshua Jackson (Damon Brooks) cranks his car before he takes Natalie to “that” spot in the woods. When it cranks, the radio plays Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” from Dawson’s Creek (1998) also starring Jackson. (Booooooooooooooooooooooooo)

The book sitting on the desk in Professor William Wexler’s desk in his class, is “The Vanishing Hitchhiker”, which is one of the seminal texts on urban legends. (He is an urban legend professor after all)

Danielle Harris (Tosh) was a smoker at the time and thrilled to be allowed to smoke while working. She quickly realized that shooting scenes while smoking meant that she was going to have to smoke cigarettes for hours all day while they shot. She eventually got sick of it and quit smoking.

Rebecca Gayheart got sick after eating Pop Rocks all day for the classroom scene.

Julian Richings who plays the “Weird Janitor” later had a recurring role as “Death” on “Supernatural” (2005), the first season of which was mostly based on urban legends.(Huh … I might have to check that out actually)

At the end when students are recounting the events and one comments “Yeah and Brenda was the girl from the Noxema commercial ” – Rebecca Gayheart (Brenda) WAS the Noxema girl in the commercials at that time. (This is all very Scream which is pretty dumb)

Filmed at the same university as “Killer Party” (1986), another campus-set slasher. Incidentally, both films feature a costume party at a fraternity, characters being targeted by a masked killer, and an urban legend about murder at an abandoned dormitory. (Huh, now I REALLY have to watch that one)

The film was inspired by the huge success of “Scream” (1996), and whereas that film was a self-aware satire of horror film tropes, this one is a self-aware satire on urban legends. The film’s negative reception was a result of many critics finding the film to have been an imitation of “Scream”.

The film’s fictional location is Melbourne, New Hampshire. Director Jamie Blanks home city is Melbourne, Australia.This film co-starred two of Hollywood’s most iconic mass murderers. Brad Dourif, who portrays Chucky in the “Child’s Play/Chucky” films, and Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films.

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