Lisa, Lisa

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

mostly accurate

Lisa, Lisa
aka Axe
aka The Virgin Slaughter
aka California Axe Massacre
Director: Frederick R. Friedel
Released: 1977 (filmed 1974)
Starring: Leslie Lee, Jack Canon, Frederick R. Friedel, Ray Green, Douglas Powers
Running time: 65 min
Genre: exploitation, horror, rape & revenge

Get me a glass of water, then drink it yourself, it’ll give you something to do. Dusk. A slim girl in the distance (It’s totally Lisa!) walks swiftly across a lawn and enters a creepy-looking, rural farmhouse with a big scary tree in front of it.

Later that evening, in the big bad city, three graduates (or possibly drop-outs) of the Tarantino Academy of Criminality are powerwalking through the lobby of an apartment building in their best business/crime suits. Feet. Feet. Feet. Chandelier. Chandelier. Chandelier. Elevator. One, two, three, four, ninth floor. Steele (Canon) and his large, dim-witted associate, Lomax (Green), looking so much like wannabe Jules and Vincents, step out of the elevator followed by their sloppy, Bob Ross-lookin’, ‘fro-master understudy, Nice Guy Billy (Friedel). Seems another associate of theirs, a gentleman named Aubrey, has messed up, crossed them in some way. Perhaps he missed a payment or slighted someone he shouldn’t have? (No1curr!) They break into Aubrey’s apartment and wait for him to return, Billy watching from the window as Lomax, who seems oddly fascinated and possibly aroused by all sorts of different fabrics, plays with one of  Aubrey’s blouses. They catch him slippin’ and get the drop on him as he comes in with his lover Harold. Nice Guy Billy stays at the window, keeping a lookout for any happy little policemen as Lomax and Steele torture, humiliate and beat Aubrey. Harold covers his eyes and I think he cries a little. Not satisfied with the thorough thrashing he’s just handed out, Steele whips out his straight razor to Mr. Blonde Aubrey’s nose off, but Billy intervenes. Aubrey is already dead. With the window clear and seeing what happened to his man and expecting the same, Harold, not really being the stoic sort, saves himself the torture by jumping out the window to the pavement twelve nine floors below. With two deaths worth of heat on them now, the trio head out to the country to find a nice place to lay low, have some fresh fruit, and wait for all of this to blow over.


cue “little green bag”


marvin, vincent, and jules


only the first unspeakable shirt

Back at the creepy farmhouse, a pretty, if sad and tired-looking young Lisa rolls her paralyzed granddad through the house and checks the fridge for breakfast fixings.

On the road, the Criminals Three stop off at a small, rural, roadside gas and grocery. Not having much  of an appetite after an evening of murder and whining about not knowing there was going to be murder, Billy stays in the car and asks for just some nuts. There’s nuts alright. Steele, completely missing the point of going out to the country to lay low, flips shit when his fruit isn’t fresh enough and chucks it at the poor, timid cashier. She tries to avoid trouble by offering to give him some of the fruit. Sensing her fear and being a Grade A psychopath, he pounces. With help from Lomax, he terrorizes the poor checkout girl with the really ugly shirt. They toss some fruit and shoot the place up. Apple. Bang. Apple. Bang. Apple. Bang. Melon. Clumsy double entendre about melons. They force her to remove her unfathomably ugly blouse. Humiliation. Abuse. Catsup and cola bukkake. Billy gets his nuts (which he doesn’t even eat after all of that trouble) and they’re back on the road.

Lisa, meanwhile, is gathering up the day’s food. Eggs for breakfast. A freshly beheaded chicken bleeding all over the sink for later. She takes gramps up a raw egg for breakfast. Washes him. Prepares to shave him, but never quite gets around to it, due to the Reservoir Dunces pulling up outside. They snoop around a bit and force their way inside. A secluded farmhouse, defended only by one small girl and a quadriplegic old man makes for a perfect place to hide out for a few days. Not given much of a choice, Lisa accommodates them the best that she can, cooking for them, making up rooms. Nice Guy Billy, sickened by the brutality of his companions, wants to help their new hostages, keep them safe, but a late night fabric groping session cranks Lomax’ perv dial to eleven and he sneaks into Lisa’s room for a sickening sexual assault. There’s more to Lisa than they know, however, and she will only tolerate so much before she decides to take action … WITH AN AXE! Well no, actually with a straight razor. BUT THERE WILL BE AN AXE. Eventually.

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a little casual humiliation

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel jack canon california axe massacre video nasty carol miller

cashier wept

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel jack canon california axe massacre video nasty

say “what” one more time

The sharp edge of suspense slams hard into fear. Written as well as directed (and starred in) by Friedel and distributed by trashy exploitation peddler Harry Novak, Lisa, Lisa is a short (barely feature length), and decidedly un-exploitative exploitation film, with advertising far more lurid than the actual movie. Filmed in just eleven days on a shoestring budget, supposedly without the option of retakes, it overcomes its limitations to be an interesting and somber little flick that hints at more than it shows, but somehow still found itself lumped in with the real Video Nasties on the British Board of Film Censorship’s list of banned movies.

Fisty: I must confess: I have a particular fondness for little regional exploitation or horror flicks like this. And that makes me pretty un-objective, but then again, all of these reviews are pretty fucking subjective anyway. But yeah, this went way better than expected. I was actually a bit disinterested in it based on the title and it being a Video Nasty. Yawn, I though, another one. But the reality of Lisa, Lisa  was entirely unexpected.

Bill: It really isn’t what you expect it to be. It has one of those awesome trailers that make you think you’re about to see the most violent and perverse movie ever filmed, but that’s really all misleading hype. I don’t think it was ever meant to be the sleazy slaughterfest they sold it as. It’s more reserved than you’d think it would be, based on re-titles like California Axe Massacre as well as its Video Nasty status. There’s really no extended, uncomfortable assault scenes, like in Night Train Murders or Last House on the Left.

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medium cool

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

things can only get worse from here

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

premonition, memory, fantasy?

Fisty: Yet more evidence for the Video Nasty craze being so much hype! That isn’t to say, however, that there isn’t some genuinely weird and perverse stuff going on here. It’s just that much of it is–dare I say it?–understated.

Bill: … or we’re just jaded and desensitized. They do show the sawing of razor on flesh after a simulated rape, or at least attempted rape. It doesn’t look to me like Lomax was all that successful. I’m not sure if you were meant to believe he was and it actually happened or if  it only almost happened. Regardless, there was that razor/flesh moment. The grocery store scene was pretty rough. I mean, they didn’t make her pee her pants, stab her to death, or play with her guts, but they did still terrorize and humiliate the girl. And the murder of Aubrey was pretty violent, with lit cigars stuffed in dude’s mouth and all, and his nose almost coming off. I’ve been thinking about it and I’m wondering if maybe the movie has a sharper edge than it initially seemed to me. It may not be I Spit on Your Grave or Maniac, but maybe it is a little rougher than I was initially giving it credit for. Maybe it’s only understated when compared to other movies of the type? I mean, there was definitely more blood in this than you ever see in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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the big bads

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee jack canon ray green california axe massacre video nasty

the many faces of lisa

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

see any happy little trees up there?

Fisty: Slow down there, turbo! I never said it WASN’T rough. I was genuinely on edge during a lot of the movie, because it was so understated in many ways, yet the vicious perversity of the opening scene informs us right off the bat that these dudes are capable of anything. During the market scene I was convinced that there was no way the poor clerk was getting out alive, and that all the indignities heaped upon her were merely a precursor to an ignominious death. (Is that a spoiler? Is Bill going to yell at me now?) And once the Original Tripso Trio arrived at The Farm (Tangent: I’m going to go ahead and proper just about all the nouns in this here joint because Lisa, Lisa is some metaphorical-allegorical shit, yo.), I removed myself from the couch to my tenter and settled in on the hooks because SOMETHING WAS SURE TO HAPPEN.

And eventually, it did. But first I had to wait –on tenterhooks!–while Lisa drifted about in her ivory dress, tending chickens, collecting eggs, killing them, preparing meals, shaving her grandfather, staring at eggs, watching chicken blood drip (still more exciting that watching paint dry!), and so on. Do not get me wrong–all of this builds tension (and confusion) admirably. And it also serves to make us all a little uneasy. Who is Lisa, really? And her grandfather? Where are her parents? What happened to Gramps? Is he afraid of her? What happened to Lisa? Did anything happen to her, or is she just … that way? None of those questions are ever answered, but Friedel gives us just enough–a mere taste, really–to speculate.

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

fore-something or other

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

small pleasures

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only the lonely

Bill: Okay. That’s good. I was just worried that we were underselling the brutality of the movie and making it sound like a particularly boring Lifetime drama.  Also, stop spoiling things.

I love that so much is left unexplained. I feel like most movies, especially modern movies, have a tendency to over-explain things, spoon-feeding you a bunch of unnecessary background info. What did Aubrey do to deserve his beating? Where are Lisa’s parents? Where did that clerk get such an ugly blouse? What is the ideal tomato soup/blood ratio to keep someone from realizing they’re eating blood? Who cares? This is the story of  Lisa and the Three Thugs and you get only what you need to understand what happens when they meet. All the other details are left to you to ponder and that vagueness and ambiguity is good. They keep you thinking and wondering long after you’ve finished watching.

I’ve gone back and forth wondering if gramps was trying stuff with Lisa and that’s how he ended up in that chair to begin with. She does tend to go for the neck (at least she did with Lomax and the chicken) and that would support the idea of her injuring him in a way that could cause his paralysis. And this would also provide some insight into why Lisa seems so emotionally stunted. But it also could’ve been a disease or accident that left him like he is and Lisa might just be … that way. Concerning the scene in which grandpa sees Lisa in action and gets a faceful of blood spatter: I saw him shaking and thought that meant he was terrified, terrified of Lisa and what she was capable of, but you had a different interpretation, that that was an excited glee in gramps. This was maybe the most excitement he’s seen since he’s been in that chair and he’s loving the carnage. It’s just like the war! The great thing about Lisa, Lisa is that both views are valid. It could be either and you can easily make a case for both.

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee ray green california axe massacre video nasty


lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee ray green california axe massacre video nasty

i’m just not okay

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee ray green california axe massacre video nasty

being flippant right now

But I really do think he was scared. Lisa is just a scary person. She doesn’t seem to realize that people aren’t eggs. She breaks an egg … oh well! She kicks some dirt over it to cover up her accident and goes on her way. She kills a man … oh well! She hacks him up and sticks his pieces in a trunk to hide her crime.  No difference. Actually, even adding the “oh well” is wrong, because she never has so much as an “oops” look on her face. No matter what she is doing, being attacked, struggling, cooking dinner, eating a cookie or killing someone, her expression never changes. She’s empty. Michael Myers emotes more than this girl. And it’s more than just the way she deals with the crimes with no emotion, it’s also how she cares for her grandpa. She doesn’t seem to recognize him as a human being either. She never speaks a single word to the man. She never reassures him or defends him or tells him what she’s about to do or why. There’s no, “Good morning, grandpa,” or, “I’m going to go get started on breakfast now.” He is completely helpless as scary strangers are loose in his house and she never even acknowledges that this could be traumatic for him. He’s not a person she cares for, he’s just a list of things she needs to do each day. The only time you get a hint at any kind of inner feelings is in a brief moment where she contemplates suicide and you see how lonely she might be feeling. But even then, her face is blank. Ending herself would just be another chore. It’s sad, sure, but even more so, it’s chilling

Fisty: Even when she’s disposing of the first body, it seems to be a vague sort of nod to the etiquette of dealing with houseguests (Never leave a corpse where a guest will find it!) rather than an impulse born of of fear. I’m not sure whether I’d consider self-preservation to even be one of her motives in disposing of the first corpse, as her suicidal gestures and cavalier chicken & egg consumption seem to indicate someone with a decidedly laissez-faire attitude toward life and its preservation.

Whatever the reason is for Lisa’s (apparent) impassivity and quiescence, we’ll never know it. That she waits until Lomax’s rape attempt to strike may hint at a history of sexual abuse. Perhaps it was Gramps, and that is the reason she cares for him with her casual cruelty. Perhaps it was before that, with one of her missing parents–could that be why they’re AWOL? It may have not been familial at all, but a My Sweet Audrina moment under a golden raintree. Or perhaps she’s simply schizophrenic, or even brain damaged somehow, whether via birth defect or neglect. Maybe it’s solipsism syndrome, which would explain how Lisa treats everyone else in the film as though they were things without meaning. I CAN DO THIS ALL NIGHT, FOLKS! Maddening as it is, we can only speculate.

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee ray green california axe massacre video nasty


lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee ray green california axe massacre video nasty

lomax could be a real drag

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee ray green california axe massacre video nasty

here’s lisa

However, Lisa only APPEARS to be entirely passive until the attempted rape. Though her protests at the presence of the Not-Quite-Ready-for-Tarantino Gang appear to have no force behind them, and though she meekly acquiesces to their home invasion, the lady doth in fact protest. She subsides again into her apparent apathy, perhaps feeling like it’s best to ride the storm out and have them on their way–but not before contemplating suicide as an out, that is how much she dislikes or fears their presence. But it is at that moment there before us in the mirror that she suffers an existential crisis, undergoing a seachange into something rich and strange–and not a little violent. Blink, and you might miss it, but the violation of her person by Lomax is a moment Lisa prepares for, and her actions then are not at all impulsive. It is the invasion, not the attack, that is the wellspring for all her further actions. Or… I’m full of shit and she was always that solipsistic monster.

Bill: I’m not sure her suicide contemplation was really as transformative a moment as you think it was. I think she probably has the same moment in the mirror everyday.  She has nothing to live for. She feels no love, has no wants, no desire for or prospects at romance, no goals. If gramps is just a chore, she is just a chore-doing machine. She has nothing that gives her any kind of joy, except maybe, MAYBE, she gets a little from her cookies, if she is even capable of feeling joy. She does seem lonely and, I guess, trapped in her non-life, but when Bob Ross showed interest in her, I never got the sense that she ever even considered him as a way out. But she did seem to let him think he might be her savior, maybe just to protect herself or–I think more likely–as a way of biding time and waiting for her moment. Maybe Lomax’s attack triggered her violent turn, but she was a bit empty even before that. I think she probably already was that “solipsistic monster” and Lomax’s rape play just forced her to move up the timetable on what was possibly already something she was considering. I’m not so sure these are her first victims. I have no concrete reason for thinking it, but I think she has killed other people that came to the house before. Maybe just some dumb kids traveling the country or, more likely, a traveling salesman or drifter farmhand that sought to take advantage of her situation.

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who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty

axe-ing for it

And I’m sure that I’d know all of this for sure if I could only figure out what all the broken eggs mean. They have to mean something! There has to be some symbolism to the fucking eggs! It’s maddening. I can’t stop thinking about the eggs and what they could mean. There’s some secret code that I’m just not figuring out. Lisa is actually easier to find some message in. Lisa could represent, especially through her murder of the guys and how it equates with her casual killing of the chicken, rural folks’ more realistic views of life and nature. City people don’t kill their own chickens. They don’t deal with death daily. So we city peeps can see the country people as being harsh or unfeeling, like Lisa. And that freaks us out. But those damn eggs…

Fisty: I’m convinced the eggs and chickens are just symbolic of how indifferent Lisa is to all other people, or the world, really. They’re irrelevant to her, just things as carelessly dropped or killed and eaten as cared for. Which maybe tells us all we need to know about her background and upbringing.

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out, damn spot

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee douglas powers california axe massacre video nasty

hell is murky . and also lisa.

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee california axe massacre video nasty


What you mentioned about the gang’s perception of Lisa (and ours as well) as city dwellers looking askance at country folk plays into my Big Theory about the film, namely that it’s a riff on “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.” You remember that one, right? The fable where the city mouse visits the country mouse and scoffs at his simple pleasure, then the country mouse visits the city mouse where they dine like kings but end up chased off by some dogs? That’s Lisa, Lisa! But like, there’s murder instead! The big, bad city gents come rolling into the bleak countryside looking for a cozy little mousehole, and maybe a little humiliation of the weak to boot. While they think the country is a gentle, quiet place populated by rube and bumpkins, to be used and abused as they please, they find instead that it is a place far more savage than they can handle. They are not, however, the bumbling but civilized middle class victims of films like The Hills Have Eyes or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Steele’s gang are thugs, violent and murderous, but they’re also fish out of water in the country, and when in Lisa’s milieu, they find that her mute and dispassionate brutality easily triumphs over their machinations; they’re as fragile as the eggs she casually and ruthlessly crushes. Aesop concludes his fable with the moral that it is better to live in peace than in continual fear, and Steele’s gang undoubtedly wish they’d never fled the city they understand for the inexplicable terrors of the empty countryside.

In most horror hixploitation films the rural inhabitants are depicted as grim or manic bogeymen, inbred or even mutated, and with all manner of undesirable behaviors and perverse desires. Lisa, Lisa is then a contradiction, for Lisa and her grandfather are eerily silent and seemingly placid. Here it is the city dwellers who swagger and boast; when they transgress they do it knowingly, purposefully. In punishing them for their misdeeds, Lisa recalls John and Estelle Collingwood in Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left. It’s impossible to not draw parallels, for both films feature criminals on the run taking refuge in the country and a sexually assaulted young girl, with revenge taken for the crime. Obviously, Lisa survives the (attempted?) rape and exacts her own revenge, and neither does her revenge feature the same torment as that of the Collingwoods’ descent into savagery, but like LHotL, Lisa, Lisa too is a deeply sad film.

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meat’s meat, and a man’s gotta eat

lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee douglas powers california axe massacre video nasty


lisa lisa axe frederick r friedel leslie lee jack canon california axe massacre video nasty


Stay away from Lisa! In Lisa, Lisa we have perhaps one of the finest examples of what a bizarre and convoluted mess the whole Video Nasties uproar really was, as well as a stellar example of a once thriving regional movie scene. While brutally violent and often deeply uncomfortable, Lisa, Lisa is hardly the immoral or obscene bogey of the Video Nasties craze. Lisa herself is amoral as an animal, and both she and Friedel come down hard on the depravities of the gang…with Lisa’s own depravities. Yet for all the violence and startling grotesquerie, Lisa, Lisa is an often quiet, suspenseful (dig that jarring, atonal score!), even thoughtful meditation on mental illness and family, in the form of a horror/exploitation film. A wonderful remnant of a cheap, fly by night & the seat of the pants era of regional filmmaking, don’t miss this slice of Americana.

Note: A recent interview of Frederick R. Friedel by Shock Til You Drop dropped a bomb about a remake of Lisa, Lisa being in the works, perhaps within the next year! Let’s hope whomever helms this one doesn’t take the Zombie approach of cramming in exposition… 

Friday the 13th: Great Moments in Product Placement

debbie friday the 13th iii 3 fangoria steve miner

i am so getting one of these don post gorilla suits

Though product placement is no new addition to the annals of the Friday the 13th franchise, the blatant advertising–and for ill-suited luxury brands, at that–of the 2009 reboot elevates it to a level of avid consumerism foretold by John Carpenter’s They Live. The fervency with which horny college kids name-drop brands like Aquafina while under the influence of Maker’s Mark and Heineken–would warm the cockles of whatever it is that Carpenter’s fascist fiends from outer space have for hearts.

Advertising through product placement is by now a time-honored tradition in film and television. Not only does it grant opportunities for advertisers to exploit people young and old by encouraging them to equate consumption with identity, but it also allows for some quick and lazy storytelling and character development via brand identity, as it does in Marcus Nispel’s Friday the 13th, where a fondness for Moët et Chandon speaks volumes about a character’s proclivities. That isn’t to say that product placement doesn’t have its, er, place in the mise en scene of a film, which is how it was most often used in earlier franchise installments. Without further ado, let’s explore the greatest (and sometimes not so great) moments of product placement in the history of the Friday the 13th movies!

Friday the 13th

friday the 13th monopoly sean cunningham

community chest? not a chance, ’cause she’s a final girl

Ah, Friday the 13th (1980). A film from a simpler time, with flashback to an even simpler time. The counselors-to-be of Camp Crystal Lake circa 1980ish work and play under the auspices of The New Joy of Sex‘s Steve and his manly short shorts. When off duty, they kick back with Budweiser stubbies and grass (not weed, nor pot, not in that day and age), and a little premarital sex. It’s good for what ails ya. The other star of the placement show in this first installment is good ol’ Monopoly. The venerable Parker Bros game was–and still is–a familiar familial mainstay; in 1980 it demonstrates how ordinary and just like the audience these teens are, albeit a little bit sexy with the strip conversion. Looking back from 2015, land of Cards Against Humanity, it’s a signifier of the nostalgic innocence of the era.

Friday the 13th Part II

friday the 13th 2 ii steve miner paul bar kiss pinball

can you believe she seriously thought the lyric was “… and part of every day?”

Like its predecessor, Friday the 13th Part II is all beer and skittles. Well, beer and pinball. And handheld videogames, but those are seriously lacking in the glamour, the mystique, and the primal sexual dynamism of pinball–particularly pinball as manifested bymotherfuckin’ KISS. In 1981, pinball was no longer king, but arcades were. The 1978 Bally game featured in Part II is relegated to the background, a reminder of what youth was like in the halcyon days of the Seventies. Though the counselors of Part II are cleaner cut (not quite preppy, but close) than their predecessors, they grew up on pinball and KISS, and when they go home after a night of drinking, those pelvic thrusts immortalized in the likes of TILT and Pinball Summer will be replicated in the dark. Plus, beer. Being 1981, imports and premium beers are favored: Heineken and Löwenbräu. Plebeian domestics like Bud and Busch are on tap or not being consumed. But as a harbinger of things to come, it’s a Miller Light sign, the first and greatest of the light beers, that gazes benignly down like a cool, blue moon.

Friday the 13th Part III

friday the 13th 3 iii steve miner nick savage ali

made you flinch

3D. 3D. 3D. It’s 1982, and Hollywood is smack in the middle of another (all too brief) 3-D boom. Parasite would be the first horror release in twenty years, but hard on its heels was Friday the 13th Part III (sadly, not stylized Part 3-D as in 1983’s Jaws 3-D and Amityville 3-D). The eye-popping (haHA!) exuberance of 3-D augurs the juggernaut of Reagan’s Great Expansion just getting underway, leading to not only the end of stagflation and recession but an unprecedented bull market. It’s not a great installment, but the kids are dying alright, and everything’s gonna come up roses and yoyos in your face. It’s fitting then, that the product placement in Part III should be as unsubtle as a truck. And well, that’s exactly what you get. Sure, Ali comes out of the market cracking open an Oly tallboy (a sight to cherish in my PNW-transplant’s heart), but that fleeting glimpse is immediately eclipsed by an entire fucking Olympia truck front and center in the frame. Brb, getting some beer. Part III‘s second moment to shine comes with the death of Debbie, the horror fan’s victim, a regular girl who likes to get down and happens to read Fango–featuring an article on the franchise’s own effects whiz, Tom Savini. At the risk of being simplistic, it is here that the franchise develops a Proteus IV-like self-awareness. The tongue is planted firmly in the cheek on this one, and we’re not brownnosin.’

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

camilla carey more doublemint twins friday the 13th 4 the final chapter joseph zito

dibs on the hot one

In a world where daycare workers are accused of ritual Satanic abuse and a crazy new virus called AIDS makes its debut, windows are about to get broken. A child hero will rise, and an undead manifestation of a murderous mongoloid wild child will fall–forever? That’s right, into the fray of the anti-slasher backlash leapt The Final Chapter, bustin through like, five fucking windows (glass! it sucks!). Slammin’ Joe “Fuck Windows” Zito defenestrates everyone and everything, helming an “immoral and reprehensible piece of trash”  fans would love. It’s a film that’s “literally about stabbing”–and throwing shit through windows. Only the most exquisitely subtle product placement could grace such an delicately crafted confection of pastels and pleated pants, and Joe “Flagrante De” Zito takes it home with Camilla and Carey More, the fucking Doublemint Twins. I dare you to not pound gum into your face, hand over fist, while watching this film. The only thing harder would be not defenestrating oneself.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

friday the 13th 5 a new beginning candybar

wtf even is this munchies crap? vic’s actions … totally justified

What the fuck, A New Beginning? You had one fucking job, and that was to have Jason dispatch Fine Young Things with style and verve. And a product is only placed if it’s actually a legitimate fucking product that exists within this world, and what is this Munchies Bar shit? And what’s with the Greatest Hits-style replay of moments from previous installments? I don’t hate you, A New Beginning, because despite it all, you have a lot of charm, but damn did you fuck up. Oh, and coke makes its debut. No longer are we chill post-hippies; the party season is upon us.

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI

friday the 13th 6 vi jason lives amex american express

just don’t leave home

Let’s face it: when you think product placement in a Friday the 13th movie, you think Jason Lives. And if there’s anything less relevant to Jason, or to the lives of the teenagers both within the film and without, it’s a fucking American Express card. But that’s okay, because it’s the Eighties, Jason’s down with the ladies, and greed is better than good, it’s great! Don’t leave home without it… unless you want to survive the decade/movie, in which case you’re better off sporting Sartre’s No Exit. It’s a little more apt, ain’t it?

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

friday the 13th vii 7 new blood pepsi

ain’t no party like a pepsico party

1988’s The New Blood takes the Pepsi Challenge with its New Generation… of suck. Jettisoning quality (such as it may be) for novelty, the seventh (!) installment of Friday the 13th brings us Jason versus Carrie, the first truly unlikable cast, and Kane Hodder in his first appearance as the unsinkable Jason V. Hearkening back to the structure of The Final ChapterThe New Blood features two intertwining storylines: Final Girl et familias and Party Kids. About Tina, we needn’t say much, and about the Party Jerks Kids, well… they’re jerks. They’re real Clean Teens who’ve got a lot of coke, pot, and generic beer, and I’d rather die than spend twenty minutes with them. But hey, their fingerlicking good party is sponsored by PepsiCo! No longer a grotty little franchise that could, Friday the 13th had sold out, and no amount of blood would wash and cleanse it free from stain–a fitting cynicism in light of the Iran-Contra Affair, the CIA drug trafficking scandal, and the peaking of both the crack epidemic and high crime trends of the Eighties. We don’t need a Coke and a smile; now it’s time for a Slice and a dice.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

friday the 13th 8 jason takes manhattan viii times square

bright knives, big city

After an hour on a boat outside Vancouver, BC, Jason prances through a curiously empty “Gotham” for thirty minutes, and we’re treated to a few shots of Times Square in this paean to The Big Apple. If the only marquee we glimpse is for Black and Blue instead of New York Ripper or See You Next Wednesday, it’s okay because “New York” is still a pretty shitty ass place full of drug addict rapist muggers (all in one due to budgetary constraints) run amok. And they have syringes full of the Ooze. For something selling us on Old New Amsterdam, Jason Takes Manhattan is strangely lacking in that Melting Pot flava. At least Jason eventually punches a dude’s head off, which is kind of not shitty, in a mildly amusing sort of way. I Heart New York.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and Jason X

friday the 13th jason goes to hell

del monte sued to get that tape added digitally in post-production

There’s really nothing to say about Jason Goes to Hell, a movie so shitty that no one and nothing wanted to be associated with it.

Jason X, which ended up coming out before the Jason versus Freddy movie that we were promised at the end of JG2H, is understandably nearly devoid of recognizable products, since it takes place over 400 years in the future. In space. With Space Marines. But it does still have plenty of teens and a shady teacher and they go on a field trip, just like JTM. The movie includes a shout out to series creator Sean S. Cunningham using a space billboard advertising for Cunningham Realty’s Lunar Estates, but the only real world reference in the film comes as a brief mention of a historical Microsoft Conflict.

Freddy vs. Jason

friday the 13th freddy vs jason misfits

from kiss pinball to this?!

In a series notorious for being artistically-lacking money-grabs, Freddy vs. Jason is probably the worst money-grab of all. It’s apropos then, that the sadly abused Misfits logo makes an appearance, as a lazy form of character development. A Misfits air freshener hanging in a party van is nothing if not pathetic and shamelessly mercenary. Thanks, Jerry Only! Aside from that we’ve got Coke (machine and cans) Sprite and Cannabis Culture Magazine, Everclear, Chloraseptic Throat Spray and Pepto-Bismol, horrible CGI, and well, horrible everything. It’s all offensive: the racism and homophobia, the poor quality, and what the fuck is this hydrophobia bullshit? Jason’s new fear of water, contrived specifically for this film, is just one of the things in FvJ that seems made up on the spot and then explained poorly with ridiculous exposition. It is without a doubt the worst writing of every movie to feature Jason (or Pam or Roy) and that’s really saying something.  Ugh, fuck this movie and the corporate synergy it rode in on.

So are we going to eventually see Jason stalking the grounds of Progressive Insurance Lake? Will he massacre Chiquita Banana Fatties wearing Jansport backpacks while hitchhiking their way to counselors jobs at Apple’s iCamp for Lumpy-headed Kids That Don’t Swim Too Well? Where do you think product placement within the Friday the 13th series will go in the future?

The Screaming Minis: Exists

the blair sasquatch project

the blair sasquatch project

Director: Eduardo Sánchez
Starring: Samuel Davis, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards
Running time: 86 minutes
Genre: Horror

I got a chance this past weekend to see a sneak pre-release showing of the new found footage Bigfoot flick by Eduardo ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ Sánchez. It was another one of those mystery showings, like last year, when I caught The Bay as part of a local event, but oh my god, was it so much more satisfying. Sánchez has a pretty good handle on this found footage stuff, unsurprisingly, him being a big part of why the sub-genre(?!–if that’s even what you’d call it) is as big as it is now. He uses a lot of GoPro footage in Exists, very similar to the way he used GoPros in the “A Ride in the Park” segment of V/H/S2 and while that’s probably my least favorite part of V/H/S2 that has more to do with it being a rehash of a zombie-outbreak type story, and zombie stories, as much as I love ’em, are currently in a state of heavy over-saturation. But Sasquatch … ! That’s a whole ‘nother story. And I love ‘squatches! That isn’t in my About Me, but it really should be. I’ve been a crypto-fiend since I was a tyke watching In Search Of… way back when. And I’ve already talked on here about being a big fan of found footage, so  I was all in with this flick.

Simple set-up: a group of five adventure seekers head out into the woods to visit the old cabin their uncle owns and has mysteriously decided he never wants to use again. On the way up there, driving late at night on a road in the middle of nowhere, they hit something with their car. They didn’t get a good look at what it was, but assumed it was some animal based on a little fur stuck on the car and went on their way. Spoiler: it was not a deer or a raccoon they hit and now something in the woods is feeling really, really pissy.

Now,  to get out of the way my one–well, not complaint, but I guess the one thing I can’t praise the film for–the protagonists in this movie, while not entirely unbelievable (except for a few really stupid decisions) or unlikeable, are mostly meh. They’re a couple of mostly generic pretty girls with little to do other than be pretty and be afraid, a pair of extreme dudes that wouldn’t be out of place in a Mountain Dew commercial, and one stoner than insists on filming everything for Youtube views. You may not passionately hate these people, but I doubt anyone is going to love them either.

That antagonist though! Look, in a Bigfoot flick, the character that really matters most is the critter himself and that’s where Exists really delivers.

I once saw a gorilla at the zoo get angry at and jealous of another gorilla being given Kool-Aid sips on the other side of the habitat. He launched himself from his sitting spot so fast that he kicked up a giant cloud of dirt behind him Roadrunner-style, traveled the whole length of the enclosure–maybe 60 to100 feet or more (I’m terrible at judging distances)–in a split second, and two-hand fist-smashed the other gorilla on the back so hard that you could feel the vibrations from the impact in the ground. That hit rocked the whole area. The Bigfoot in Exists reminds me of that gorilla. This is not the Bigfoot of Harry and the Hendersons. Boggy Creek, this ain’t. It isn’t even Night of the Demon. This thing is terrifying. It is not a slow, lumbering, idiot beast. It is fast, powerful, smart, and scary enough to make Jane Goodall pull a Cartman. “Screw you guys, I’m going home.” This monster makes you think of early man interacting with other apes and wonder how he ever managed to survive long enough for there to be an us now. Exists is like Orca in the woods with a Bigfoot (now that would be a bitchin’ game of Clue,) because killer whales are useless in forests. Even if you hate the kids in the movie, you will still feel for them when this angry creature comes running out of the woods at them, whooping and hollering, because you can’t see that thing charging toward the camera and not be aware of how you would just involuntarily flood the Earth with poo if it was coming after you.

Exists, as I’m posting this, has just been made available On Demand and in select theaters. You should be able to find info about screenings and where to find it On Demand over on the Exists Facebook page. If you’re only going to watch one Bigfoot movie this Halloween, this is the one that will make you plotz. Also, you’re a slacker. Really? Just one Bigfoot movie? I am scorning you so hard right now.

Oh, and there’s a very objectionable scene with a Burning of the Beard. It is not even cool. Not. Even. Cool. I’d have killed everyone before the ‘squatch ever could. Beard-o-philes, you will cringe. They need a trigger warning on the poster.

stevie wayne ain’t got nothin’ on fisty

The good folks over at The Six and a Half Feet Under Podcast invited Fisty and I (Bill) to join them (X and James Branscome) in a discussion of all things giallo in their latest episode, Giallo 201. So if you want to hear X rhapsodize eloquently about the massive wooden dildo murders of  The Sister of Ursula… If you’re dying to hear the sweet sound of Fisty’s auditory gushing for Femi Benussi… If you’re intrigued by the mystery of James’ mid-show disappearance and our Bewitched-like ability to just go on and pretend like it didn’t happen… Or if you want to hear me embarrass myself completely by crediting (or dissing, as the case may be) the wrong special effects guy… THEN HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!

We also manage to namecheck The Sweet Body of Deborah, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Trauma, Death in Venice, What Have You Done to Solange?, All the Colors of the Dark, Who Saw Her Die?, A Blade in the Dark, One on Top of the Other, Orgasmo/Paranoia, A Quiet Place to Kill/Orgasmo, So Sweet So Dead, Hatchet for the Honeymoon,
The Killer Must Kill Again, Tenebrae, Short Night of Glass Dolls, and maybe even a couple more!.

And be sure to swing on over to the 6.5 Feet Under page on podomatic HERE and give them a like and subscribe and take a listen to their other episodes. Even the ones without PB&G are good!

Comment and let us know if you liked the show and if this is something you’d enjoy more of.

And, lastly, WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOU! We have a few new reviews in the works and we promise not to make you wait months for them. Ciao!