Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Recap

Jamie

Nearing the end of our Friday the 13th journey. Officially past the halfway point and quickly approaching Freddy vs. Jason. We’ll have to confront the philosophical question of why we watched through all of Friday the 13th before that entry, but have made no indication that we will do the same for the Nightmare films. Truly a conundrum. Until then let’s just get into some details.

What?! Jason’s back, Jack! After spending some more time chilling at the bottom of Crystal Lake, Jason is inadvertently resurrected… again. He then promptly boards a cruise ship filled with teenagers headed to the Big Apple. Can they take down Jason before he brings a new problem to New York City? Find out in… Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan!

How?! We open on an eerie night on Crystal Lake where a couple teens are looking to get it on. They drop anchor, hit an underwater electric cable, and Jason is electrocuted back to life (as always… or at least per the last few movies). He kills the teens and commandeers the boat. Inexplicably, He is then able to take this boat out of the lake to the Atlantic Ocean where he boards a NYC cruise populated by the recent graduates of a local high school. Most of the characters in the film are teens looking to party, but our protagonists aren’t really into that scene. Rennie is a girl with a troubled past. She had an encounter with Jason as a kid and has been left traumatized. Sean is the son of the captain of the ship. He’s expected to take over the family business of sea captaining, but he’s just not sure he’s up to it/wants to do it. Oh, and they’re also kinda in love or something. Anyway, everything goes to shit. Everyone dies except Rennie, Sean, and other less important people. They escape via rowboat and make it to NYC only to find that Jason has followed them. Uh oh! A chase ensues, ending in the sewers of NYC where Jason is dissolved in a wave of toxic waste… can’t wait to see how he lived through that!

Why?! We keep having to go over this. Jason kills! It’s his job. He punches in, kills some sex-crazed teens, and punches out. Despite the monotony, he loves it. Perfectly satisfied in his workaday position and not looking for a promotion to upper management. While he would appreciate the raise, he doesn’t want to get too far from the day-to-day killing, you know? For the most part this film is without much motivation for the teens, other than to celebrate their graduation in style. Eventually their motivation is to not be killed. Pretty standard for F13.

Who?! The actor who played Sean has made a bit of a career in country music, but he’s more of an actor-turned-musician than the other way around. I’ll instead highlight our animal friend in this film. Rennie’s dog Toby was portrayed by a dog actor named Ace. Ace doesn’t have a huge number of credits, but he was the dog actor in a Canadian TV Show called The Odyssey which featured Ryan Reynolds (Canadian child actor extraordinaire). Show looks weird. Someday we’ll have an animal actor cycle. The credits are fun.

Where?! A+ setting alert! Obviously a good chunk of this film takes place in Manhattan. Most of it takes place off the coast of New Jersey in the Atlantic Ocean. Either way we are pretty clear on where we are the entire time. A+.

When?! Well at least this time we have an idea of when this takes place. I’ve stated a number of times that the timeline for the series is fucked. There are numerous websites claiming that the year Part VIII takes place is anywhere from 1994 to 2004. Since this deals with a high school graduation we can at least be pretty certain this film takes place at the end of May/beginning of June. C+.

There really isn’t anything like the Friday series. We’ve truly gone through a journey with these films. I daresay 2017 will be remembered in BMT lore as The Year of Jason. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan? More like Friday the 13th Part VIII: Barely In Manhattan, amirite?! A director had a vision: take Jason from quaint Crystal Lake and drop him in the most exciting city in the world! And the producers said “great, but we already built this boat set sooooooooo ….” Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – A short rundown of the good in the film. Taking Jason out of his element was a solid idea on paper. Kane Hodder continued to impress as by far the most lively and interesting Jason in the franchise. Decent practical effects here and there. Felt a little bit more like a classic Friday the 13th than the fifth, sixth, or seventh (although that is not necessarily a good thing). As usual I would just kind of remake it as a part of remaking the whole series. I would keep the boat and do all the killing on that instead of ever getting to Manhattan. The close quarters, trapped at sea, nowhere to run. Could very well lead to some tense moments. In the end, a crippled heap of a boat floats into New York harbor, a ghost ship without a trace of Jason to be found. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Cruise Control.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – What didn’t work: The last bit in Manhattan didn’t work at all. There was a whole storyline about a girl being haunted by Jason due to an interaction she had with him as a child that was mainly stupid. Most of the characters are forgettable, so much so that at one point a teacher remarks “hey shouldn’t we go get the others from the restaurant?” to which another character says “there is no restaurant left” … okay, not sure how he knew that, but that is how the unceremoniously dumped a handful of ripe-for-the-killing teens out of this movie. Anywho, the real issue two-fold: the director/writer overreaching and the studio unwilling to yield on costs. The director has a solid idea on paper, but either didn’t have the resources or the ability to translate it to screen. What resulted was what I would consider the second worst Friday film in the first 8 released, which is pretty bad. I think the main culprit here was sloth. The produced-on-a-dime horror film would fall into a slumber, waiting to be awoken years later by Jason Blum.

The BMT Legacy – I think the legacy of this film, again, is mainly tied to us having watched the entire franchise in a year. I thought it was slightly better than the Rotten Tomatoes score would suggest, so it probably won’t have the legs, but then again, if we were holding, say, a Friday the 13th Bad Movie marathon, it would be pretty easy to pick out 3, 5 and 8 as the worst three of the franchise. Nice distribution there actually, basically get one or two good ones between all of the flops. So it’s got that going for it.

Time for a StreetCreditReport.com! My new favorite game, so fun I think it might actually end up as a permanent member of my recaps. People love to rank the Friday the 13ths (including us!), and this is typically second to last (this guy has #5 as fifth best though so …), or worst, or worst again, and finally number 9. This random blog ranks movies from specific years, and Manhattan gets number 3 for 1989! Two interesting things. One, it is quite common not to rank Freddy vs. Jason because it is apparently much more of a Nightmare on Elm Street film. We just had this debate ourselves and will likely watch Freddy vs. Jason as a part of this mini-challenge. Two, people really really don’t like number seven (The New Blood)! Which is interesting, because we both dug it and have it quite high in our own personal rankings. We’ll probably go through the Friday the 13th rankings again at the end of the run, but until then …

Cheerios, 

the Sklogs

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood Recap

Jamie

What?! Jason is back, Jack! We last saw Undead Jason trapped underwater in Crystal Lake. Lucky for us (not so much for his victims) he is freed from his watery grave by a telekinetic teenager, Tina. Can our Carrie ripoff stop Jason’s reign of terror before it’s too late? Find out in… Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood!

How?! As always we open on a young teen making her way to Crystal lake. This time, though, Tina’s not there to experiment with drugs and risky sexual liaisons. She’s there to confront her darkest secret: as a child she killed her father by inadvertently using her hidden telekinetic powers. These powers only come out in fits of rage and as a result she’s been cloistered up in a psychiatric ward. Now back at the lake, her nerves are frayed and she accidentally raises Jason from the depths of the lake. Oh no! Meanwhile, a bunch of teenagers are partying it up at a cabin celebrating the birthday of one of their friends. Long story short, loads of teens get laid, loads of teens get high, loads of teens drink refreshing ice cold Pepsi, and loads of teens get killed. Classic. Once pretty much everyone is dead, Tina ends up going mano a mano with Jason. She hangs him, blows him up, and ultimately raises her father from the dead (?!) to pull him to the depths of Crystal Lake once more. Phew. It’s probably over and Jason has definitely died for sure and we won’t ever see him again. The end.

Why?! How many times do I have to tell you? Jason kills! It what he does. He escaped death for the sole purpose of taking out a cabin full of teenagers and I love him for it. As for our Carrie doppelganger, she’s gone to Crystal Lake to confront her feelings of guilt over her father’s death. Many years before, he was killed by Tina in a fit of telekinetic rage over his alcohol-fueled abuse. Tina’s psychiatrist pretends to believe this confrontation will help her, but really he wants to get her telekinetic abilities caught on camera. He seems to think being near the lake will enhance them. Everyone else is just there to die… oh, and to get paid and laid, obviously.

Who?! No comic relief or Planchet (which is odd for a Friday the 13th film). Instead I’ll highlight an interesting cameo by Walt Gorney, who voiced the narrator at the beginning of the film. He’s actually the actor who played the “You’re all gonna die!” old man in the first two films (he was killed in Part II). Strange uncredited cameo. Skipped four films.

Where?! Oh you know where. That’s right! Back in Crystal Lake. Glad that starting with Part VI they seem to realize that sticking with what works (Crystal Lake, Jason kills people in weird and wild ways, breasts, etc.) might be the way to go. New Jersey straight up. B.

When?! The movie starts with a flashback to when Tina killed her father and we are treated to a wonderful close-up of a calendar telling us it’s October 13th. Unfortunately the main thrust of the film has no such luck. I couldn’t find a date and no one online seems to know either. Interestingly, most people seem to agree, given evidence from previous entries and the director’s statements, that this film likely takes place somewhere between 1999-2002… which is hilarious. D+.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood?! More like Friday the 13th Part VII: Hey You Blow! Ayyyyyoooooooooo. Jason has gone from a child, to a man in a bag, to an unstoppable maniac, to a zombie. Stick with unstoppable maniac zombie? Maniac zombie it is! Let’s go!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The good in this film was that once they made the transition to full blown supernatural (provided the audience is game) they finally allow for a hero to match up with Jason by virtue of her psychic powers. The quality also progressed enough that I was genuinely digging some of the kills and what they did with Jason. If I had my druthers we’d someday see a good v. bad supernatural 80s mega-franchise movie be made. Freddy, Jason, and Michael for sure on the bad team. And I think Tina Shepard is the first Friday the 13th protagonist able to stand against Jason for reals. Do I personally like supernatural slasher films? Not really, but it is hard to stand against Jason who, unlike Freddy or Michael Myers, is built like a tank. Giving a little supernatural edge to the protagonist ended up being kind of fun once they painted themselves in a corner in making Jason a hulking man-beast.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Hmm. Let me walk through what I thought was bad here. The main supernatural conceit is cheap and the movie kind of has to hop-skip into it with a weird voiceover (and it still doesn’t really make sense … like, did Jason float over to this lady’s childhood cabin over time or what?). Most of the kills are just kind of dumb, reminiscent of the second and third in the franchise. They still have too many characters, at one point I counted up eleven living characters and realized at least nine more people had to die. It is too much. Not very funny, almost bizarrely sincere in its supernatural turn. Modest complaints honestly. … Maybe envy of the success other horror franchises had had with the supernatural up to that point? This came on the heels of Halloween’s own supernatural turn in 1988 and Nightmare on Elm Street had always been rooted in that. Otherwise maybe just gluttony, more kills, more boobs, more drugs, more sex, more 80’s, more bonkers, to the point where it is hard to even figure out why half of the stuff is in the film in the first place! Yeah, I think it is more gluttony there.

The BMT: Legacy – As we roll through this horror franchise I can only think the legacy of this film is merely that it represents a turn in horror that lead it down to sad path to things like Leprechaun (no offense, I just mean self-awareness to the detriment of the spooky tense slashers of the late-70s and early-80s). But Halloween 4, 5 and 6 will eventually provide BMT with that as well (and in a far worse manner, spoiler alert). This represents something for BMT in general in that this endeavor to watch the entire franchise in a year will definitely lead to more such “mini-challenges” as we’ve dubbed them. And that will eventually control the cycles we choose within a year a lot more closely and will affect at least some of the analyses we do concerning our bad films in general. It is exciting, but the actual legacy of the film I think will be minor.

Huh, I think once I wrote everything down I’ve come to the conclusion this film is better than the critics give it credit for, even if I do think it is a let down from the sixth installment which is surprisingly solid. At least I personally think so. The StreetCreditReport.com is pretty minor. I’ve only ever heard of this installment as the more supernatural one (which could be good or bad). Looking online it gets a mention as having one of the best and one of the worst (the sleeping bag kill, which is also rather famous) kills of the franchise. Otherwise the only major thing I could find was about how they changed the ending to please queasy audience members. For the record I too think the father should have been a rotting corpse at the end.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Redline Recap

Jamie

I realized recently that I was touching on a lot of our obsessions with the 6W’s (MacGuffins, plot twists, settings, cameos, and Planchets), but I had missed one: product placement. Should probably have ended up as the What?! but instead I think I’ll just sprinkle the product placements throughout the email wherever appropriate. Seems like the right thing to do.

What?! Natasha and Carlo find themselves inadvertently embroiled in the dangerous world of underground street racing. When Carlo’s brother is killed and Natasha captured by one of these racing hot shots, Carlo is out for revenge. Can he take the syndicate down, quench his thirst with some sweet Dasani Water, and rescue Natasha before it’s too late? Find out in… Redline!

Why?! Natasha just wants to further her music career. Carlo is just there to watch out for his little brother. However, all this goes out the window when Carlo’s brother succumbs to the overwhelming pressure to win and is killed attempting a risky racing maneuver. The story immediately turns to vengeance as Carlo goes after those responsible. Unlike the other racing bosses (who are fueled only by crippling gambling addictions), our main antagonist is fueled by a combination of lust for Natasha, fear that he’ll be killed over his gambling debts, and his own psychotic tendencies.

How?! Carlo has a simple backstory as he has just returned from the army as a war hero to find his younger brother is racing for an evil gangster. The backstory for Natasha, however, is much denser. She is the daughter of a famous racecar driver killed in a tragic accident. While she herself possesses great talent in the sport, she can’t race as a result of the trauma of that loss. Instead she aspires to be a singer. When an underground racing fat cat sees her talent he tricks and bribes her into racing for him, only to turn around and bet her as stakes in the race against his evil rival. The stories converge when Carlo’s brother and Natasha race each other, Carlo’s brother is killed, and Natasha is taken captive. Carlo wants to kill the evil gangster, but ends up rescuing Natasha instead. When Natasha is subsequently blackmailed into racing they put together a dastardly plan to throw the race and get the gangster killed. Everyone lives happily ever after with huge record contracts, dope sportscars, and all the Dasani they can drink. Hooray!

Who?! Claims abound online that Wyclef Jean scored the film and appeared in a cameo. I don’t remember him showing up but it is credited (or more accurately uncredited) on IMDb. No music credit, though, just a “Thanks.” I did notice that the scumbag of a producer cameoed as a poker player who immediately loses all his money. A little foreshadowing.

Where?! Right off the bat we are treated to a rad street race from LA to Las Vegas, highlighting the two major settings for this film. I would give the main setting title to LA, but Vegas is not far behind. B

When?! I scoured the film twice over trying to find an exact date. There were two potential leads (a close-up of a loan contract and an issue of variety) but the quality of the video and focus of the shot wasn’t good enough to make it out. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out… maybe someday [Jamie says wistfully. A tear trickles down his cheek and tumbles playfully to his well-oiled six-pack abs]. F

Woooooo. Getting those details is like a rad racecar race at 200mph. Exhilarating. My overall impression of the film is that it’s similar to what Patrick and I might end up creating if we were ever tasked with creating a bad film. Everything is horrible, only entertaining from the viewpoint of its horribleness, and a product of extreme hubris. Most people would think it’s just boring and bad… exactly how we meant it to be. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Redline? More like Bad Sign! Amirite? So a predatory lender loves fast cars. But like … in a I-like-to-show-off-my-fast-cars-I-bought-with-my-gross-predatory-lending-profits kind of way. He also likes to show off his girlfriend, a former soap opera star trying to make it big in the industry. Presto! Making a movie is like saying your ABC’s: Action, Boobs, and Cars. What could go wrong!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Cars (maybe, I’m not exactly sure what people who like cars like exactly since I don’t really like cars), but that is about it. I’ll leave all of the things that did go wrong for the next section, but an interesting aspect of this film was how much of a history they managed to give everyone. Right at the end a random guy who we had not seen before pops up and the main character is like “he’s the man who killed my father” WHAT?! So obviously we are doing a prequel called Redline: Warzone. The film finds Carlo and Jason working with their father running a successful race team in NSCRA alongside and against Natasha’s father. Ultimately the movie tells the story of Michael, who is running an illegal gambling syndicate surrounding the sport, fixing the race in which Natasha’s father dies. When Jason’s father threatens to expose Michael, Michael has him killed, but staged to look like a suicide. This is all set alongside the run up to the Iraq war, and Carlo leaves for Baghdad, but not before telling Michael to stay away from Jason. Oh … if only Michael would have listened. We finally get the backstory we were all dying for!

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Well this is easy: Pride. On the part of the producer who was clearly a lunatic. Now that that is out of the way: The acting in this film is an atrocity, it is so bad you can only kind of notice that the crazy producer put himself in the movie and gave himself like seven lines (I only noticed it because he doesn’t at all look like an actor). The writing is ridiculous. At one point the rap producer Infamous lands his plane on a highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas … the FAA would like to have a word with you, and the phrase “prison time” was mentioned emphatically. This is the first film in a while where I can call the direction bonkers. A lot of weird transition choices, weird CGI, the cars all look like they are travelling half speed in most shots. So yeah … Basically this is borderline barely-a-movie and it is ridiculous that it exists.

The BMT: Legacy – The legacy of this film is it is somehow quintessentially The Golden Age of Bad Movies. The Golden Age s roughly the Noughties (2000-2010), and I now think this has to do with two factors. First, CGI had made the transition to being very cheap and easy to get. Productions which might have been too expensive to make previously could now safely be greenlit with a manageable special effects budget, meaning more options (in more genres) available to producers. And second, there was a ton of money floating around due to the artificially inflated economy. This isn’t even mentioning the writer’s strike in 2007/2008! Anyways, this movie perfectly encapsulates this era: a producer with a ton of fake money to throw at terrible CGI ultimately making a vanity project that is just trash. Great stuff. That is it’s BMT legacy.

Now as for its StreetCreditReport.com? It … is borderline. It makes its way onto MTV’s worst of list of 2007 (barely), but other than that it typically get nary a whisper from things like the AV Club list I linked to for Epic Movie. From there it just kind of ends up as either first or second on blogs concerning car movies in particular. No Razzie cred … it is kind of a forgotten film. But I think a big part of its cred is in that car racing genre in particular. On occasion a film like 200 M.P.H. which was Direct-to-Video and made by the Asylum sneaks in above it, but this is basically a unanimous worst car racing film ever. That counts for something!

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Epic Movie Recap

Jamie

What?! Four down-on-their-luck orphans are taken in by a horrifying Willy Wonka-like monster and escape into the magical world of Gnarnia. There they find a world ruled by the evil White Bitch. Can they take her down and restore freedom to Gnarnia? Find out in… Epic Movie.

Why?! In the beginning the motivation is to escape the evil Willy who wants to maim and disfigure them for the benefit of his delicious candy (true story). Once they escape to Gnarnia through a wardrobe it becomes a direct parody of the Narnia story. So the motivations are pretty much the same as in that film: take down the White Bitch because of destiny or whatever. The White Bitch is just a power-hungry… well… bitch, I guess. Their words, not mine.

How?! I entered this film presuming that we would have a disjointed mess. Instead once the orphans enter Gnarnia the plot just marches through the plot of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe with nary a laugh. Just as in that film, Edward is the only orphan to waiver in the quest to destroy the White Bitch. Instead he mostly wants to bone her and drink the sweet, sweet malt liquor that she can make appear by magic. He ends up imprisoned by her, while the rest of the orphans set off with Harry Beaver (actual name of a character) to the camp of Aslo, a half-man/half-lion warrior. He helps them free Edward, only to be killed in the process, leaving the orphans in charge to do battle with the White Bitch. They then decide to throw a big pre-battle rager where Susan pukes all over everyone for like five minutes. This disgusts their fellow warriors to the point where no one shows up the next day to fight the White Bitch. Obviously on the verge of a major defeat Peter fortunately finds a magic remote control (a la Click) and pauses time, allowing the orphans to kill everyone. They rule over Gnarnia for years, only to stumble on the wardrobe in their old age. Returning to Willy’s house of terror they seem quite happy to be young again, only to be randomly crushed by a giant wheel. The end. Yeesh.

Who?! No Planchet and all the cameos are fake. Kevin Hart has a significant role as an albino monk but decided to go uncredited. Obviously this was so he didn’t sully his good name with this garbage. The only other note is that the band that plays at the pre-battle rager is The Eagles of Death Metal.

Where?! Gnarnia for the most part. Weirdly during the MTV Cribs spoof the location of Mr. Tumnus’s house is given as Gnarnia Hills, California… taking this at face value we can say this is set primarily in California. It doesn’t make me feel good though. C+

When?! Time is irrelevant in this film. In fact all things are irrelevant. Nothing matters. God is dead. F

I found this film to both be better and worse than I expected. As I told Patrick it’s like aliens came to Earth and created a film. They showed it to us and asked, “Good? Laugh?” We were both amazed that they made something that felt like an actual movie at times, but also found the movie terribly sad in how awful it was. How did the poor aliens think this was what we wanted? Where did humanity go so wrong to give them that perception?… sigh… Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Epic Movie? More like Epically Bad! Amirite. That’s a New York Post headline! There was once a time where we indicated we would never watch Friedberg and Seltzer garbage. But when their movies are just about 3 of the top 5 worst movies by BMeTric it starts to become unavoidable. And what an opportunity to earn some well deserved street cred! Let’s go!

The Good (Prequel, Sequel, Remake) – The only bright spot in the film was the cast. There are cameos from some serious comedy heavy hitters (Crispin Glover, Darrell Hammond, Fred Willard to name a few). On top of that the sets and effects are, on occasion, rather impressive. And that’s the rub. I would say Sequel is the guy, Epic Movie 2 could pretty much just play as a spoof of the Marvel/DC cinematic universes, but … the budget just wouldn’t be there. Something like Fifty Shades of Black made $10 million … that ain’t cutting it.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sins) – This is a zero laugh movie. It might as well have been called Curse-words-and-reaction-shots, because half of the jokes are people cursing and other people looking shocked. On occasion the effects are pretty good … mostly the effects are bad. And the acting is horrible, but what did I expect? The sin isn’t Sloth, a lot of effort was put into this film even if the soundtrack is just a best of the early 2000s track and they default to musical montage at the drop of a hat. Perhaps Envy? Looking wistfully back to the heyday of spoofs lead our intrepid filmmakers to ruin I think. Maybe a bit of that, but ultimately it is their misguided belief that they had the ability to continue a genre that can only be very very good or very very bad. Pride.

The BMT: Legacy – This is the number one BMeTric film of all time. It is dire to watch. It becomes almost confusing as to how such a movie was ever popular. We haven’t seen Date Movie or Disaster Movie but I think Epic movie will ultimately be the one I would be most likely to kick off a BMT Movie Marathon with because the cast is by far the most impressive in this one. There is a legacy, but a legacy with regard to the BMeTric. This movie is #46 as far as IMDb rating is concerned. It isn’t even on the 0% on Rotten Tomatoes list because it is at 2%. But combining popularity and poorly rated creates a mixture that suggests this is the worst film ever (in some hazy way), and ultimately that is what it represents, the BMT formula.

Quick check in from StreetCreditReport.com where we ponder the larger bad movie landscape … and yeah this is a doozy. Friedberg and Seltzer went from being involved with an incredibly popular spoof franchise of the 2000s and beyond (Scary Movie) to overnight being described in such glowing terms as: “Friedberg and Seltzer…are not filmmakers. They are evildoers, charlatans, symbols of Western civilization’s decline…” from Josh Levine of Slate. It was number 2 (behind BMT HoF Norbit) worst film of the year according to the A.V. Club. It is too bad it can’t really claim Worst of the Year honors, Norbit pretty much swept that wherever I looked. But it has the cred.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning Recap

Jamie

Back to a two film week, but we ain’t slowing down. Let’s get to the details!

What?! Jason is back, Jack! No… wait, not this time. Tommy Jarvis, left mentally unstable after killing Jason, is sent to a halfway house to try to reintegrate into society. No sooner is he there that a slew of new murders land on his doorstep. Will they be able to unmask the latest serial killer and stop the spree before it’s too late? Find out in… Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.

Why?! This is truly a new beginning for the series as we no longer are dealing with Jason as the killer. The motivation is largely the same, though: revenge for the loss of someone close to him at the hands of a bunch of sex-crazed, drug-influenced teens. This time it is revealed that the murderer is [SPOILER ALERT] a local EMT who happened to also be the absentee father of a kid killed at the halfway house. Driven to madness by his loss, he goes ahead and kills everyone he sees. As for Tommy, he’s just trying to put his life back together… and this probably isn’t helping.

How?! The first kill of the film is out of a ordinary as it is very clearly not committed by the murderer. We see the kid killed and the perpetrator arrested. But following his arrest the kills keep piling up, both at the halfway house and extending to the greater halfway house area. We are led to believe that perhaps Tommy is behind the killings (he has a knife, has anger issues, and disappears for half the film), but that is disproven at the end when Tommy rejoins the two surviving denizens of the halfway house to fight off the killer and throw him from the top of a barn to his death. In the end the killer’s identity is revealed, but it is strongly hinted that Tommy is giving into his darkest desires and donning the mask to kill anew… which doesn’t actually happen for Part VI because it’s a terrible idea and they should just bring Jason back to life because this film was lame.

Who?! This film has one of the worst comic relief characters we’ve had in a long time. Junior Hubbard is a redneck caricature that is both offensive and offputting. He’s super dumb, covered in dirt, and can barely function beyond eating and driving around on a motorbike. It is gross. He’s played by Ron Sloan who didn’t appear in much else and now deals art in Hawaii. His character is a good representation of how I felt about this film: it’s really, really, really bad.

Where?! Most everything points to this being set in New Jersey still (although a few places online suggest it’s set in California where it was filmed). The Unger Institute is mentioned, as is Forest Hills, which both seemingly have relevance later in the series. Also the main psychiatrist has degrees from Rutgers and The University of New York. The license plates look generic but could be New Jersey. That’s all we got to go on. It’s like they don’t even care that I try so hard. D.

When?! If we were ever given details I think this could be pieced together. All we know is that we have likely skipped about 5 years into the future. I don’t remember if it’s said for sure that Tommy Jarvis was 12 in Part IV and then 17 in Part V, but that seems to be what fans have settled on, putting this film in 1989. It’s like they’re purposefully trying to make it harder to figure out. D.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th: A New Beginning? Wish they had just stuck with one beginning amirite? Also … wait, hath my favorite horror mega-franchise betrayed me? What’s that smell? It’s all over my face, oh no, dog poo in my face!! Prior to the fifth installment of the series Friday the 13th had been impressing me by wavering between below-average-but-self-aware to shockingly-entertaining. But this … this isn’t the Friday the 13th I know and love. This is a sham! Dog poo in my face, let’s get into it!

  • The Good – Nearly nothing. The quality of the filmmaking has improved (to an extent). They finally rid themselves of the, what was certainly going to soon become ludicrous, conceit that each film began where the prior left off. That is it. Seriously.
  • The Bad – Let’s go top to bottom. The acting is worse, the make-up (kill) artistry is terrible, the characters have fully morphed into caricatures, the idea that [SPOILER] you can just have a not-Jason running around killing people and people will like the movie is ridiculous, the movie isn’t scary or funny or anything else of interest or importance. This is the Halloween 3 of the franchise I think, it sticks out like a sore thumb because they clearly felt the need to do something different and completely botched the job. I genuinely hated this film and I’m angry it exists. Dog poo in my face.
  • The BMT – I would gladly give this a 50 I suppose. Watching with a crowd and just ripping this piece of garbage apart would be pretty fun I bet. The BMT legacy? It is I imagine the turning point in what seems to be a quintessential bad horror franchise. They tried the old copy-cat killer, it didn’t work so … let’s bring Jason back from the dead. And voila, Jason Take Manhattan and Jason X are almost etched into the stars. But like Halloween III: Season of the Witch, it’ll never be more than a guidepost along the Friday the 13th bad movie trail. It can never transcend the limitations brought by being the fifth in a series. A tragedy to be sure.

Let’s Remake this. Why? Well they are thinking of rebooting the franchise again. So let’s imagine a world where they follow the same path and get to this point. They’ve killed Jason. They have a young boy who killed him. What do you do? Personally, roughly the same thing but with a twist. Jump forward ten years. Jason is long dead, and Tommy is a distraught young man haunted by dreams. But the wizened psychologist Dr. Hayes thinks he knows the ticket: an exorcism of Tommy’s demons with a trip to Crystal Lake itself. When they get there, with scientists and other patients in tow, little does Dr. Hayes know that the murders will start again … or does he? Ultimately it is revealed that Hayes is the father of one of the counselors killed in the summer of ‘58 and he is convinced Jason’s power still lurks within Crystal Lake itself. A battle with the possessed Tommy begins with Hayes’ true purpose revealed: eliminate the evil that destroyed his family and the small Lake town once and for all. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Getting a little dicey with that lore, but at least it isn’t this am I right?

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Recap

Jamie

What?! Hansel and Gretel are all grows up and ready to take out some witches. Called to action in the town of Augsburg, it soon becomes clear that this isn’t just a case of missing children; a witch gathering is afoot and spells doom if it comes to fruition. Can Hansel and Gretel stop the witches’ dastardly plan before it’s too late? Find out in… Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters!

Why?! Cue The Flintstone’s garbage disposal pterodactyl looking into the camera and declaring, “it’s a living.” Cause that’s what this is to Hansel & Gretel. They are employed as witch hunters and that is what they will goddamn do whether or not the local sheriff approves. This motivation doesn’t change much even when the witches’ scheme grows grander and scarier. They are simply looking to rescue some kids and take out some witches. As for the antagonists of the story (witches, if you hadn’t pick up on that yet), they’re motivations are more complex. They hope to perform a ritual known as the Blood Moon Sabbath where they sacrifice 12 children, take the heart of a white witch, and create powerful magic to make witches immune to fire (and thus immune to Hansel & Gretel’s skillz). In order to do this they must lure Hansel & Gretel to town and capture Gretel, as they are aware that [SPOILER ALERT] Gretel is actually a white witch herself! Oh my GAAAWWWWD:

How?! The first half of the film plays out pretty linearly. Hansel & Gretel are there to save the day and they run around killing witches and unveiling the secrets of the Blood Moon Sabbath. Just as they realize the role they play in the plan (after they find out that their mother was a uber white witch herself and so Gretel is as well), Gretel is kidnapped and Hansel must save her. Using their mother’s extra strong white magic power he creates super weapons that make it all but futile for any witch to oppose him… which is exactly what happens. Seriously, the climax is him just systematically mowing down a hundred witches who stand no chance. In the end Hansel & Gretel both survive and walk the Earth evermore hunting witches in numerous sequels to come… wait, they didn’t make like eight sequels to this a la Fast and the Furious? Oh well.

Who?! Planchet alert! This is one of the best Planchets we’ve had in awhile. He is so Planchet that if we had watched this film before The Three Musketeers the trope would be called a Walser. Ben Walser is a Hansel & Gretel superfan who is basically just dismissed and made fun by his heroes for the entire movie. Only at the end, when Hansel needs anyone he can find to help save Gretel, does he finally allow this lame weirdo to join in the fun. He is a Planchet. A Planchet is he.

Where?! It is very clearly set in Augsburg, which I can assume is in Germany since that’s the name of one of the oldest cities in the country. If I can’t assume that then we don’t know where it is since it’s never mentioned. Pretty typical “meh” setting you sometimes get with a fantasy film. C

When?! This is a solid F. There is no indication of time other than an implication that it is probably somewhere in the 1350-1650 range (when witch hunts were the rage)… belied by the fact that Hansel & Gretel carry advanced weaponry and even play a record on a record player at one point. But that’s steampunk for you… and steampunk is an F temporal setting type of genre.

Wow, I breezed through that. Now let’s get an idea of how BMT the film was. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters? More like Hansel & Gretel: Niche Blunders! You’ll get it in a second. Hansel and Gretel are a steampunk set of buddy cops in the wild west of Grimm’s Germany … it was probably a better idea than that gives it credit for. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – There are bits and pieces throughout which are arguably the best the steampunk genre has to offer. Three Musketeers and Wild Wild West are two of the notorious examples of steampunk. Snow White and the Huntsman and Red Riding Hood are the same kind of dreary fairy tale film. This is better than all four of those. It is at times fun, Renner is very funny, the makeup and effects are great (even if the accompanying soundtrack isn’t my cup of tea), especially Edward the Troll, who I insist looks like a hulking Aaron Eckhart:Edward_by_the_springEven if you don’t quite see it I was so convinced when I was watching the film that I had to look it up on IMDb. Like “wait … maybe Aaron Eckhart did play Edward the Troll” … he didn’t. Great stuff.
  • The Bad – The storyline is a mess. More of a mess than you could ever really describe. The film is a comedy … and yet there is literally heads exploding left and right. There is a sex scene which is literally just there for the sake of a sex scene. There is a full blown rape scene. And if all of that doesn’t turn you off, then the third act should be enough to turn you off. It is weak.
  • The BMT – Huge BMT film. Easily in the 75th percentile and only because this film is so fun to watch in a perplexed fashion, and has enough to like that you’d probably grow to like it a bit more than you feel comfortable with (like a Underworld or Resident Evil, a real cult film). It has steampunk, it has the second best Planchet in BMT history, it rocks random sex scenes, ultra violence, and a heavy metal soundtrack. It has a ton to love and is real dumb to boot. This is what I meant by niche blunders, it goes wrong in all of the best BMT ways. It makes me proud to say this albatross of a film followed through so well. I’m looking at you now 10,000 BC, it is time to deliver.

And naturally I think this is a prime Sequel territory. The problem with doing a prequel is it would be pre-combinatorial gang explosion (by the end of the first film their witch hunting posse was up to four people, I guarantee with me at the helm I’ll have that number up to twenty hilarious characters hanging around) so it is Hansel, Gretel, Planchet, and Edward the Troll globetrotting and witch hunting. I think what the series needed was a sense of the world, so let’s take them to China (dat sweet Chinese box office bucks too, oooo that is nice). I’m thinking Jackie Chan maybe as a Chinese witch hunter, and the investigation concerns a pair of ninja witches attempting to steal a McGuffin from the Forbidden City. Turns out the Imperial Guard has been systematically infiltrated by a coven and Hansel and Gretel have only mere days to stop the ninja-witches before they get the treasure and take control of the Chinese Kingdom. Hansel & Gretel 2: The Forbidden Coven. Honestly I could just dump Hansel and Gretel and go with Jackie Chan, sounds rad (natch).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Car 54, Where Are You? Recap

Jamie

You may ask why we would even care to delve deep into what is essentially just dog poo in our faces… why? Because it’s what we do. Here are the details!

What?! Officer Toody is a fun-loving Brooklyn cop just looking to have a good time. When he and his new uptight partner are tasked to protect a mob witness targeted for a hit, it’s made clear that he needs to shape up or lose his badge. Uh oh! Can they keep the party going while keeping the witness safe? Find out in… Car 54, Where Are You?!

Why?! Talk about a loaded question. Why, indeed? Officer Toody is our main character and the action almost exclusively follows him. His motivation for 95% of the film is to remove the stick up the ass of his new partner by getting him paid and laid. Doesn’t sound like much of a plot, right? It isn’t. Concurrently the station that he works in has struck up a deal to protect a state’s witness against a mob boss. After several nearly successful assassination attempts on the witness’ life the captain decides to hide him with Toody (who would ever suspect?!). Even then Toody doesn’t seem to care much about the witness until he loses him and has to hunt him down or get stripped of his badge. So that’s kind of a secondary motivation… first off, get his partner laid, second save the witness. Even writing this all down is making me sad.

How?! You have the general idea of most of the film from the motivations. There are two other aspects of the plot that play almost no role until the climax. The first is that the police station Toody works in has upgraded to a new computer system called Madd Cop (a play on police brutality? Hard to say), which is a futuristic crime-tracking system… this is strictly a plot device. The second is that Toody is obsessed with a Cops-like show and hopes to be on it one day. This luckily happens a week later when he begins to be followed by a camera crew… this is also strictly a plot device. After Toody has lost the witness, he ingratiates himself with the mob, impersonates a hitman, and goes after the witness. At the same time his partner uses Madd Cop and the tracking devices to locate the witness and goes after Toody. The real mob hitmen see a promo for the cops-like show and figure out that Toody is an imposter and go after both Toody and the witness. They all converge at Coney Island and after a brief chase the mobster is snagged by the police and everyone lives happily ever after. Confusing? No kidding.

Who?! There are a number of interesting musical cameos in the film, which include The Ramones, Tone Loc, and Coati Mundi. But by far the most interesting thing is the Ghostbusters-like rap theme song to the film called “Car 54 Rap.” It is terrible and yet mesmerizing. Unfortunately it’s not available online so you just have to take my word for it. But even that’s not as interesting as the artist that created the masterpiece: legitimate band MMM&S. They seem to be a funk band full of the whitest kids in the world according to the videos I can find:

That’s a banger! Seems like the same story as the Beasties Boys. White kids who started in funk/punk and moved to rap… except they never made it. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! As MMM&S say in their rap, “Brooklyn! Busting out on a hot tip. Two of New York’s finest you can’t diss.” Brooklyn indeed. This is basically as close as you can get to an A without it being part of the title. Drips with Brooklyn and culminates on Coney Island. Perfection. B+.

When?! Secret holiday film alert! There is very little overt indication of the time at which this film takes place. That is until the mob boss laments the fact that his witness isn’t dead yet by opening a newspaper detailing who was killed by mistake. On the opposite page of that headline? A disastrous July 4th fireworks accident! This may in fact be my favorite ever. So fucking random. B+!

I just gave you so much unnecessary detail, let’s find out if it’s BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Car 54, Where are You? More like Bizarre Shitty Chore, It’s Dog Poo! (In my face … it’s dog poo in my face). Orion Pictures, on the brink of bankruptcy, decides to IP dump a Car 54 movie as a musical starring David Johansen, shelves it for 3 years, and then releases it without the musical numbers and cut to shit. What could go wrong? Sigh. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – A few of the side actors, O’Donnell and Fran Drescher were solid for sure. The relationship between Rosie and Johansen feels real somehow, and even Johansen for all his over-the-top stage mannerisms (which Jamie pointed out to me was probably the reason he was cast and hardly a knock against him as an actor, the guy already has a starring role in Scrooged, they knew what they were getting) comes across as a genuine guy. There are a few jokes here and there as well including maybe the best spit take I’ve ever seen.
  • The Bad – Parts of the movie look like something I could shoot. The quality is dire. If this movie were to be released today it would have been dumped on VOD and forgotten about. There are basically no good jokes in the film, and the acting throughout from the main players is terrible. I will say that I didn’t necessarily feel bored during the film, but there is a level of wackiness that just doesn’t really work (or maybe it is that it isn’t consistent?). I’m usually not one to harp on things like this but … this movie is like 95% sex jokes strung together by basically no coherent story. Take from that what you will.
  • The BMT – Not since Dino De Laurentiis dumped King Kong Lives and Raw Deal have we seen such a blatant barely-movie widely released to theaters from a dying production company. If there is any legacy to this film it is the opening: if the movie got even close to “okay” for the rest of the film it may have gone down as the one true movie that is ruined by the opening scene (similar to how The Call was ruined by literally the last five seconds, a much more common trope). The opening is legendary, including terrible singing in a dream sequence complete with a cartoon bird dressed as a rapper. Bomb. Thinking about it I would actually give this is a pretty good BMeTric too, because I would definitely watch this again with a crowd. It is just so weird that I’m betting there are a million layers to unpeel.

I mean there is really only one thing to do: Prequel! It might not be pretty but we need to see Car 54, Where Are You? When Toody Met Leo … my god, the title even sounds like When Harry Met Lloyd. Anyways, in the first film we were given what is an oh so tantalizing glimpse of the hilarious (and heartfelt!) relationship between Toody and his partner Leo before they are torn asunder by Leo’s retirement in the beginning of the film. “We want more Leo!” was what I assume the Car 54-heads were screaming in their packed opening day theaters. Bonus, the film will feature a cameo by none other than a person who could pass as a young Rosie O’Donnell to show the early stages of Gunther’s courtship of Lucille. The screenwriter for this film (me) says, “the courtship is much like the Cyclone of Coney Island: A Rollercoaster!”.

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs