The Screaming Minis: V/H/S

The Screaming Minis is an experiment in short (well, shorter) individual reviews, as way for us to talk a little more about the other movies of note we’re watching but without the involved, in-depth discussion delivered as a duo. The name comes from The Screaming Mimi, the 1949 pulp novel by Frederic Brown that inspired Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.

do not adjust the tracking

V/H/S
Directors: Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Chad Villella & Justin Martinez)
Released:
2012
Starring: Lane Hughes, Adam Wingard, Hannah Fierman, Joe Swanberg, Kate Lyn Sheil, Jason Yachanin, John Walcutt, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Chad Villella
Running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Horror

As a fan of found footage, anthologies, and Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) and Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead) I’d been looking forward to this movie. With its recent release to VOD and a few other outlets, I had to check it out.

A group of hipster thugs that spend most of their time doing crimes, being dicks, and making a buck with sharking videos are hired to steal a VHS tape. They burgle their way into the home of the man in possession of the tape, only to find him dead in front of a mass of screens and a mountain of cassettes. As they split up to search the rest of the house, one member of the group begins reviewing the tapes. In the first, some brosephs try to pick up some drunk girls and secretly record their own personal porn. They’re moderately successful, but probably wish they hadn’t been. The second tape is a travelogue of a young couple second-honeymooning in the American Southwest who picked precisely the wrong motel to stay in. In the third segment, a girl takes a group of new friends on a camping trip. Always a bad idea. Tape number four contains the webcam conversations of a man and his troubled friend who believes her house is haunted. And the final tape shows a group of guys heading out to a Halloween party. They may’ve gotten the address wrong.

I wasn’t sure whether I liked V/H/S or not after first watching it. I knew there were scenes I enjoyed and I liked the overall concept, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about its execution as a whole. It’s flawed: Some of the tapes work better than others. The third segment, “Tuesday the 17th,”  isn’t quite as good as the rest, though it does have its moments. Some of the characters (especially the dudes in the framing sequence and the first tape, “Succubus”) are EXTREMELY annoying. I think “10/31/98” went a little too crazy toward the end. It features a haunted house and with hauntings, subtle is usually better. Think The Haunting (1963) versus The Haunting (1999).  And the second and fourth tapes don’t provide much of explanation and can be a little disorienting.

The day after seeing it, I tried to describe the movie to, shockingly, someone who wasn’t Fisty. (I still feel guilty.) I found that there was a lot that I wanted to mention. There are plenty of freaky little details as well as big payoffs from each segment. That’s when I started to feel that there was more about the movie that affected me than I was immediately aware. Just hearing about the stories from the movie secondhand had that someone interested. She wasn’t just listening to the scenes I was describing, she was reacting.

Fulci said his film The Beyond was “[An] absolute film, with all the horrors of our world. It’s a plotless film: a house, people, and dead men coming from The Beyond. There’s no logic to it, just a succession of images.” I think V/H/S works in the same way. (Not as well as The Beyond. Don’t think I’m praising it THAT highly.) It’s a collection of nightmare clips not designed to flesh out every detail, make perfect sense, or just go from story point A to story point B, but rather to tap into our fears and freakouts. It’s a handful of video equivalencies of the urban legend about the mad man under the bed, pretending to be the family dog, licking the little girl’s hand. This is why just hearing my spoken account of the movie could affect someone. That’s the level V/H/S works on, that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark level. It does it well and that’s why I’m still thinking about the movie days after watching it. It affected me. It was freaky. It was scary. Bravo.

Also, there was A LOT of nudity … male and female!

V/H/S, while not being great, is still a good found footage anthology whose successes outnumber my nitpicks. Shockingly violent, disturbing, scary, and bizarre, it revels in its own freakiness and the disreputable nature of the genre.

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Don’t Answer the Phone!

we could not complete your call

Don’t Answer the Phone!
aka The Hollywood Strangler
Director: Robert Hammer
Released: 1980
Starring: James Westmoreland, Ben Frank, Nicolas Worth, Flo Lawrence, and Pamela Jean Bryant
Running time: 94 minutes
Genre: horror, thriller

Smooth operator: A tubby Buffalo Bill-wannabe (think The Silence of the Lambs, not cowboys) stands shirtless in the dark, staring at himself in the mirror. He ties some panty hose around his neck and makes stupid faces while breathing heavy and sweating like, a lot.  An equally shirtless Jesus (think The Bible, not The Big Lebowski) observes from his vantage point on the cross hanging in the center of the mirror. Get used to seeing this kind of crap, because Don’t Answer the Phone! is full of it.

A pretty young nurse pulls into her driveway and the title comes up warning her what NOT to do.  We see her from the killer’s POV as she takes off her hat and shoes and … panties?! Why did she …? Is that standard disrobing behavior after a day of work, to take off your panties before you take off any actual clothes? The phone rings! She completely ignores the giant red letters that appeared over her car (with an exclamation point!!!) and answers it. It’s her mother or possibly some gentleman that she engages in very strange role play with, as it sounds an awful lot like a man. They talk about “Aunt Sophie” and being lonely and “Mom” wants to come over, but the nurse isn’t in the mood. As she talks, The Strangler creeps up behind her. She hangs up and spins around right into his hands, right round, like a record, baby. Now wearing the hosiery over his head, he grabs her throat and smacks her, carries her into the bedroom and strangles her with another stocking. After she’s lost consciousness, he tears open her shirt, exposing her breasts, and giggles as he sets to work on her.

you were warned about answering the phone

The next morning The Strangler, Kirk Smith, is cruising LA and looking for other women to attack or possibly take pictures of, as he’s a pornographic photographer. KVLA’s radio news informs us that last night’s nurse was his fifth victim. In the KVLA station, psychologist Dr. Lindsay Gale is about to begin her call-in talk radio program. Kirk calls in and pretends to be a headache-plagued Messican named Ramone. He’s a regular caller and obsessed with Dr. Gale, always calling to leave clues about his murders and targeting her patients, though she seems to be totally unaware of it. Back at the scene of the nurse’s murder Lt. McCabe and Sgt. Hatcher chitchat with the dickly forensics man and a crime scene photographer as they search for clues to the killer’s identity. These two head up The Strangler Task Force and they will do everything in their power to look like utter tools as they attempt to stop Kirk’s rape and murder spree before he kills his way up to his ultimate victim, Dr. Lindsay Gale herself!

Please hang up and try your call again: Originally called The Hollywood Strangler, but misleadingly renamed to cash in on the Don’t-title craze, Don’t Answer the Phone! is a perverted, mean, sleazy ’80s thriller from a one-time director/writer whose only other writing credits are a handful of episodes of Hawkins, Mannix and Renegade. Yes, THAT Renegade, the Lorenzo Lamas show.

Fisty: When I was in second grade, I was eating dinner (spaghetti and meatballs), and simultaneously teasing my dog Jesse (a golden cocker spaniel, named for Jesse the Body Ventura), never a good combination. I took it a wee bit too far, and he lunged and bit me on the face, took my jaw in his mouth and just chomped down. I screamed, he devoured my dinner, and I got a trip to the ER. No scarring, just a fat bloody lip (which was the subject of a Show & Tell in homeroom), a lesson learned about teasing dogs, and a feeling of mingled guilt and betrayal that lingers to this very day. Not unlike the aftermath of viewing Don’t Answer the Phone!.

I wanted to like Don’t Answer the Phone!, I really did. I thought I would love it. I should have loved it–I mean, it was chock full o’ elements dear to my heart: titties, terrible acting, imbecilic dialog, naked ladies, ludicrous situations, non-existent plot, titties, sleaze, rad Seventies ambiance, boobs, you know, all the good stuff. But I fucking hated it. WHY?

because it's ugly

Bill: One word: Presentation. Imagine you’re standing on your porch one morning and I walk up to you with a angry expression, grab your hand and shove a bloody bird carcass into it, then grunt and walk away. You’re going to be disgusted and you’re likely not going to call me back and offer me a glass of milk. However, if, while standing on your porch, an adorable fluffy kitty runs up with a bloody bird in its mouth and drops it on your foot before twining around your legs, rubbing on you and purring, you’re going to love him and be flattered by his gift and think he’s the cutest little savage ever and snuggle him and feed him and make silly cooing sounds as you do. We both offered the exact same gift, just presented to you differently. … and Don’t Answer the Phone! is no cute fluffy kitty.

Since you mentioned it, let’s look at the nudity in the film. Now, normally, that would be a joke (Haha, he wants to look at the nudity, big surprise!) and my segue into talking about all the sexy boobs ‘n’ butts (a very popular search phrase,) but I don’t really want to look at the boobs and butts in DAtP!. They aren’t sexy. Now, I don’t mean the actresses aren’t attractive, because they are, but their nudity wasn’t filmed sexily. It’s blunt. They felt they needed to show some tits, so they ripped open some shirts on camera. There’s no sense of innocent flashing like you’d get in a Friday the 13th movie or the relishing of a woman’s body you’d get from something like Strip Nude for Your Killer. Even in a movie like The Toolbox Murders, which is every bit as sleazy as DAtP!, or Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key, which is possibly just as misogynistic as DAtP!, they present the nudity … lovingly. The camera slides and dips and lingers like your eyes would on the form of a lover. It’s filmed as a visual caress, even if the scene itself is violent or humiliating (or on its way to being either.) It revels in the sexuality, the voyeurism. However, in DAtP!, it’s just filling a quota. No fun, no love, no innocence, no voyeurism. There’s nothing to enjoy about it.

nothing to enjoy here

But it’s more than the unlovely presentation of the nudity, it’s also the overall tone of the movie: How it shows the women as troubled and sad before brutalizing them, the flippant attitude of the cops, and the juxtaposition of the no-nonsense attacks with the goofiness of the police procedural aspects. The movie, as much as The Strangler, treats the women like something less than human. It makes you pity them more than desire them.I mean, why, after showing one soon to be victim crying and upset over the abuse she suffered as a child would you THEN show her rubbing her breasts? I don’t want to see that NOW! I want to see someone giving the woman a fucking hug!

Fisty: The whole bit with Carol, from her interaction with Dr Gale to her death, was a travesty. She’s just the most pitiful little thing, completely ashamed and bewildered. Watching her die is virtually like watching The Strangler rape and murder a child, as she regresses into the trauma of her father’s abuse. I’m not often disturbed by a murder scene in a movie, but that did it for me.

Dr Gale’s treatment of Carol is another moment where DAtP!‘s appalling treatment of women transcends simple misogyny and enters the realm of the truly absurd. As Carol confesses how her father came in at night, and forced her to undress before him , then fondled her, Dr Gale responds with, “And you let him? Did you always let your father have his way even though you knew it was wrong?.” Really? Insinuating that a child not only allowed herself to be abused, but that she should have “known better?” That she ought to have stopped her father, and is therefore not a good person because she couldn’t–excuse me, chose not to? Dear sweet baby Jesus.

this woman needs a hug!

Probably one of the worst failings of the movie is that the characters–with the exception of the victims–are so contemptible. Nicholas Worth munches scenery like it’s going out of style, turning in an over the top performance that almost saves the only convincing main character. But his motives and behaviors are so muddled that you just can’t care about him enough to even root for him–especially in light of the pathetic victims. The cops, particularly our ostensible “hero” McCabe, are thoroughly vile, too busy being dicks to care that women are being raped and murdered. But Dr Lindsay Gale is the worst, a real piece of work, depicted as the most wishy-washy weak liberal type, despised by the (somewhat) hardnosed and conservative cops, completely ineffectual and likely a menace to the safety and well-being of her patients. (Witness the above exchange with Carol.) Even when it comes time to talk a suicidal patient off a rooftop, McCabe has to step in and do it for her. Though director Hammer implies The Strangler is somehow stalking Dr. Gale, and he does target at least one of her patients, other victims are chosen apparently at random. She seems to exist in large part to hang the Don’t Answer the Phone! title on and to function as the simian-faced female half of the unconvincing love story with cocky jerkoff McCabe. Talk about self-defeating relationships. Bah.

Bill: I thought she was pretty. Awful, but pretty. The love match of her and McCabe totally didn’t work, maybe because they were both so completely unlikeable that I just couldn’t imagine either of them finding the other worth talking to.

living0dead0punk: I change my mind. Dr. Gale (goddamn it, why did that come out in offensive stereotype bad mexican accent?!) is not pretty.

I think you actually give DAtP! more credit than it deserves. Carol’s death didn’t disturb me so much as it generated contempt for the movie. “Disturbing” can be a compliment, but this flick doesn’t deserve any of those. And I wasn’t impressed with Worth either. Kirk ‘The Strangler’ Smith was the single most uncharismatic cine-maniac that I can remember. Ugh.  Kirk Smith? Really? That’s the best name they could come up with? They tried to make him into a sort of rape happy Travis Bickle with the stupid scenes of him lifting weights and talking in the mirror, but Worth lacks the looks, ability or intensity to pull it off. The Strangler is a flabby, fat, charmless, misogynistic nut with a receding hairline, an extensive porn collection, a dubious workout routine and delusions of superhuman strength. If I wanted to watch a movie about me killing people, I’d make one myself.

Stranglers are a pretty shitty killer for a horror movie anyway. No grue to revel in, no creativity to the kills. DAtP! could’ve been saved by some really great, gore gags, but the most you get is some blood on The Strangler at the end. At least Maniac offered some really great scalpings and exploding heads to go with the wimmin-hating and sleaze. For a movie so devoid of class with a slashery title like Don’t Answer the Phone! the lack of insides on the outside is unforgivable. They should’ve stayed with the original, less misleading Hollywood Strangler title.

this ain't no red dragon

Fisty: I don’t feel I’m giving it any credit; you know why that scene would particularly disturb me, Bill. (Readers, I won’t go into it and be a Debbie Downer, but use your imagination and think about statistics on those crimes in America. There you go.) I know it’s exploitation, but DAMN, that was ugly and cheap.

What I found most problematic about DAtP!, and what ultimately sinks it, it that Hammer can’t figure out what kind of movie he’s making. He vacillates wildly between a poor man’s Taxi Driver cum serial killer thriller and a schizo police procedural that can’t figure out whether it’s hardboiled or comedic. Mixing genres requires a certain aptitude that Hammer totally lacks (notice how he never directed again?), and the comedy is so inept that it’s not only disconcerting when contrasted with scenes of brutality, but totally unfunny to boot. (With the exception of the coke blowout in the brothel, and that’s funny for like, two seconds.) It’s also often boring, with pointless scenes of police procedure (like the superdull Strangler Task Force montage) occasionally interspersed with more forced humor. Lab Guy is a repeat offender, appearing at the police station only to argue with some police woman or social worker over just how inept the cops ought to be, in a TOTALLY UNINTERESTING scene that’s meant to be ironical and ends up just irritating. Worse yet is Lab Guy’s first appearance, at the nurse’s murder scene, where we’re treated to this cold exchange:

Did you get a shot of that breast?
Which one? She’s got two, you know.
The one that was nearly bitten off, goddamnit! Get me a mold of that breast, ’cause I wanna take some tooth impressions.
Hey! I already have … [leers] Very healthy lady …
You’re a very funny man, but the last thing I need in my life right now is a comedian, okay? Now, was she sexually assualted?
[whistles] … Every orifice she’s got.

dick doesn't just mean detective

This is right over the nurse’s corpse, too. These guys are too busy jabbing at each other and mocking the deceased to afford any semblance of dignity to the citizens they work for. It’s also interesting how The Strangler’s murder scenes are, as Bill mentioned, pretty colorless. Other than a little humiliation and psychological torment, the actual kills are accomplished pretty quickly and with minimal effect, murdering half the fun these movies are watched for. Lines like the above exchange, and McCabe’s “[T]he girl’s response is probably simulated sexual excitement. So he just twists the stocking, on and off, back and forth, like a water faucet. He must have kept her squirming for several minutes” serve to add color to otherwise indifferent murders. Are Hammer and Castle trying to convince us that we’ve seen that depravity? Had Hammer gone for it, and shown us instead of telling us, and had the final act not been so lackluster, DAtP! might have been saved.

And what is up with the psychic?

that's called a montage!

Bill: The psychic! Everything he said was spot on accurate, yet McCabe and Hatcher completely dismissed him and laughed about it, just like they initially did with Gale whe n she came to them with The Strangler’s phone calls. And what was with the overly long scene of them breaking into the wrong apartment and harassing a toy salesman?! Riggs and Murtaugh these guys are not. You’re right about the montage, too. Dullest montage ever. It was just officer extras sitting at their desks on the phone. Some of that should have at least been kooky enough to be comically WTF-worthy (and would’ve been in a less contemptible film,) but here it’s not. It’s just, like everything else in DAtP! … boring. The best thing about this movie, the only thing that I enjoyed about watching it, is that I can now check another flick off the list of  Don’t! titles.

Fisty: Other than the aforementioned dumbass coke blow up in the brothel, which provided one laugh, and some nicely seedy footage of a Hollywood Boulevard that only exists in my dreams, Don’t Answer the Phone! is so bad it’s bad: Boring and hateful, and really with nary a redeeming quality. The performances are lackluster, direction maladroit, and the story banal and painfully contrived. Any one of its bad qualities could have been salvaged, had director Hammer any panache, but alas. I would choose The New York Ripper, The Toolbox Murders, or even Maniac over this dreck anytime. Only for absolute completists of sleaze and exploitation. Or Don’t movies.

adios, crap

living0dead0punk: [the] screen caps make the movie seem better than it was.  haha

Friday the 13th Part 3

IT'S IN 3-D

Friday the 13th, Part III
Director: Steve Miner
Released: 1982
Starring: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Richard Brooker
Running time: 95 minutes
Genre: horror, slasher

Massacre a trois: After an anticlimactic showdown at the hands of Ginny and Paul, Jason wanders around Crystal Lake till he happens across a small market, run by Harold and charming Edna, who also live on the premises. Despite the adorable rabbit Harold likes to carry around, Jason murders the pair and steals some clothing off their clothesline, and then goes to ground in the barn of a nearby lakeside cabin. The cabin belongs to the Higgins family, and daughter Chris is bringing some friends of hers for the weekend. By a not-so-strange coincidence, while staying at the cabin two years prior, Chris was attacked by a hideous stranger; it is her first time returning there, and she has hopes of laying her fears to rest. Sucks to be disappointed, doesn’t it?

On their way to the cabin, Final Girl Chris and her friends Debbie, Andy, Shelly, Vera, and hippies Chuck and Chili, encounter a bizarre old man who brandishes an eyeball at them and warns them of certain death if they don’t turn back. Though disgusting, this is hardly discouraging, and when Chris’ boyfriend Rick arrives, the group prepares for a restful weekend. Insecure because of his schlubbiness, Shelly plays a series of pranks on his companions that do not prove endearing, though they do lay down the expectation for the Boy Who Cried Prank’s early demise. Shelly does regain a little respect when he and Vera go to a local market (not Harold and Edna’s, though; I wonder how many such marts the Crystal Lake economy can actually support) and encounter some surly bikers. Said bikers track the pair down to Higgins Haven intent on revenge, but are murdered in the barn before they do more than siphon the gas out of Chris’ shaggin’ wagon.

While Chris and Rick take a long walk and discuss what happened to her there before and what it all MEANS, shit starts to get real. Woebegone at the loss of his beloved potato sack, Jason murders Shelly, then steals his hockey mask and goes to town on the weekenders. Soon Chris is the last one standing, and she goes mano a machete with the first Jason Who Wouldn’t Die.

Fisty: In this installment we learn that even though fish food tastes good the mayfly eggs are not good for you, a surefire cure for the backdoor trots is swilling Jack Daniels on the toilet, motorcyle punks fuckin’ HATE hay and other barnyard accouterments, and everything is better in 3D: laundry poles, baseball bats…

Bill: …eyeballs, popcorn, yo-yos…

*pop*

Fisty: …snakes, joints, etc. Oh, and Harry Manfredini started doing coke in 1982.

Before we get to the bitchin’ awesome disco theme and 3D credits, we have to sit through a 2D recap. The first six minutes of F13P3D are just the Ginny/Paul (WHERE IS HE?)/Jason showdown from F13, except this time, Jason just crawls away and there is no Return of Muffin. So where does that leave F13P2’s finale? Was it all a dream? Did Jason never leap through the window? And did Muffin never return? WHAT ABOUT PAUL? We are forced to fill in the blanks for ourselves. Perhaps Jason crawled into the woods, recovered himself enough to butcher Paul whilst he Secured the Perimeter or some other such macho nonsense, and then ran away because of the Coming of the Authorities who took the raving Ginny away, dropping one of Paul’s eyeballs in the process. No one will ever know. Ever.

Bill: You’d think, if they were going to retcon the ending, they’d do so in a way that clarified what happened, but it’s even more confusing now.  Also confusing is Chris saying she was attacked in the woods two years ago and hasn’t been back to Crystal Lake since, even though Rick, who seems to be a local, talks about how she’s changed since last summer.  Did he go and visit her somewhere else?  They never make that clear.  And her story is never really explained either.  She says Jason attacked her and she passed out and woke up in her own bed and no one ever talked about what happened.  So, um…  WHAT HAPPENED?!  Are her parents in on some big conspiracy about Jason?  Maybe, if everyone is just ignoring his presence in the forest; someone should’ve filled in the cop from F13P2 about it before he went and got himself killed in Jason’s swinging bachelor shack.

in lieu of titties, here is edna scolding harold & bunbun

Fisty: OH CHRIST ON A PONY, I KNOW. Chris’ backstory confused the hell out of me. Rick seems like a townie, so I figured they had some kind of summer romance going on (though how many people of that age can stick with something like that longer than two weeks?), but it did seem like he must’ve gone elsewhere to be with her at some point, according to her statements. And yeah, did her parents just interrupt Jason having his baghead way with her in the woods and simply pick her up and tuck her in as though nothing happened? Was that whole interlude a dream? Who fucking knows!

Now, aside from the baffling backstory, I don’t have any major problems with this installment. Well, other than the bunny murder. I like the gimmick of it continuing right after F13P2. It’s largely silly, with some enjoyable deaths. The characters didn’t do much for me, however; they weren’t overtly offensive, but they weren’t all that developed or um, interesting. Chris’ insane history aside, of course. Chuck n’ Chili were pretty amusing, and who doesn’t enjoy a good hippie death or two? (And just how did they scarf so much weed and not freak out?) Vera apparently has some drama as evidenced by her mother’s ‘tude in the beginning, but we never learn anything about it. Debbie and Andy are pretty much my favorite deaths, but the super fascinating tidbit shared about them–that smokin’ hot Debbie is preggo–is never again touched on at any point. How could Miner fail to harp on that later?  And then there’s sex-crazed Rick, who acts like a sixteen-year old boy, though he looks to be twice that age.

Bill: I don’t even know of any teen boys that would act like him.  I think he might be a sociopath.  Chris returns for the first time (after how long?  A year, at least) to the place where she was stalked through the woods and practically raped by a 6’5″ mongoloid town legend and Rick startles her by grabbing her from behind and expecting sex on the spot.  When she’s upset, he asks, “Did I do something wrong?”  Then, when she still doesn’t spread for him right then, he remarks, “I can only take so many cold showers.”  She’s only been there for two minutes!  Then he tries to make her feel guilty by telling her about the girl he’s not fucking right at that exact moment because he chose to spend time with her.  Then he all but says outright, “Gee, Chris, I’m really sorry Sloth from The Goonies touched your no-no spot and your parents covered it up and you’re super creeped out and keep seeing scary shit everywhere, but you’re not fucking me right now, so I’m going to go home and leave you all by yourself.”  This is the guy that’s supposed to be the male hero of the flick?

Fisty: You have obviously never been in an LDR. When reunioning in one–no matter how much time has passed–it is imperative to bang away on one another ASAP. Chris has some seriously fucked up priorities.

Speaking of main men, this installment also features some off the least menacing non-villains (you know, those antagonists who end up as fellow victims of the real killer) in the form of the punk biker gang. Fox, Ali, and Loco are monumentally lame, dressing like extras from Slamdance! and getting their jollies loitering in countryside convenience marts and beating up innocent haybales. Why is it that so many movies portray punks so very lamely? My god, Fox dresses like my mom’s 1982 punk bunny costume. And I mean, it was a great costume for my mom in 1981, but it does nothing for either Fox or the movie. Of course, we must remember that mainstream cinema has a long history of fumbling badly when it comes to depicting punks–they can’t all be TR Kids.

not menacing

Bill: The crazy old foreshadowing guy was also a bit of a let down in this sequel.  They never should’ve killed Crazy Ralph in Part 2, because Paul’s Eyeball is a Sign from God Guy is a very poor substitute.

Fisty: Let’s talk Jason. This movie throws yet more mystery on the ending of F13P2–like it needed it. In P2, Jason is very much a feral mutant hillbilly momma’s boy, lurking in the woods and gutting small mammals and the occasional stray hiker or camper, and experimenting in potato sack haberdashery. Somehow, between the final act of P2 and the start of P3D, Jason metamorphoses into a silent but deadly killing machine, having at anyone who crosses his path. This is a major turning point for the franchise, yet it is never explained or explored in the slightest. What happened to Jason, what did this? Did lightning strike him during that final battle with Paul and Muffin? Did they roll into toxic ooze? Did he quit his anger management group? We’ll never know–unless P2 gets its own reboot.

jason mongs out

Bill: Whoa now!  Don’t get ahead of yourself.  I really think he only seems to have changed because we’re finally seeing him take some punishment.  We never really got the chance to see how tough he was in Part 2.  Also, his more proactive kill ’em all ‘tude could just be his territoriality, since they reopened the camp.  Or maybe Ginny screwed him up by defiling mom’s sweater.  Who knows?  He did finally find his face in this one, when he picked up the hockey mask.  He still seems mostly like himself to me, however.  Same MO…  Stalk, sneak, stealth kill, hide bodies to pop up later.  Maybe he’s just a little more bold.

His kills were certainly bolder!  I’m so glad Part 3 wasn’t completely neutered, like Part 2 was.  Still not completely balls out, but you don’t feel cheated either.  I rather enjoyed the speargun to the eye.  The gimmicky 3-D is fun, as well.  I love having phallic objects poked into my face in three dimensions.

Fisty: You certainly do. P3 doesn’t seem any less neutered than P2 to me, though. They cut the kill scenes like crazy to avoid an X rating (suck it, MPAA!), and it shows. All I can think about is what I’m missing! Of course, I was that way about P2, too. But they’re still some good kills, some of my series faves.

Bill: Really?  While, yes, it’s still far from being the abattoir of a film it should’ve been, it seems to me like they waited just a fraction of a beat longer before cutting away from the kills in this one, as opposed to the second movie in the franchise.  Plus, there were  some great eyeball gags (in 3-D!) to up the gore factor.  There really was a lot of eye damage in Part 3.  Sadly, there was far less eye candy.  The dearth of boobies in Part 2 carries over into this film, as well.  What gives?  Why do they think I watch these things anyway?

Fisty: Let’s be real, Bill. F13 has always been light on the boobage. It’s even brought up in His Name was Jason. But the total lack of tits in P3 is well nigh unforgivable.

Bill: Even more annoying to me than the lack of T&A is the stupid stinger at the end.  *SPOILER WARNING, KIDS*  Who the fuck was that jumping out of the lake?  Couldn’t be Mrs. Voorhees, since she had her head off and Ginny took her sweater, but it couldn’t have been Ginny in the sweater, since she isn’t all dessicated and shit.  It was just in Chris’s head, right?  But she seems to have no knowledge of Jason’s legend or his mother, so why did she imagine that?!  Ugh.  And, as if being totally nonsensical wasn’t enough, it’s a very poorly executed jump scare.  The stinger from the end of the first Friday the 13th still gets me.  Something about it always stops me from figuring the timing right to expect it, so it never fails to make me jump, but the imitation here, in Part 3, disappoints miserably.

Fisty: Fuck the stinger. Maybe it’s Jason’s dream–I don’t know and I don’t care. I really hate that whole sequence in F13, and would prefer to just forget it. Otherwise, I’m gonna get pissed.

Part 3 is a largely forgettable installment in the series, only worth watching as part of the whole. Or if you’re stoned out of your gourd. The characters are largely shallow and interchangeable, the lines aren’t especially memorable, the story’s lost some of its logical elements, and there are no boobies. None! The 3-D is fun, the girls are wholesomely hot, and there are some nice kills, but that’s pretty much it.

debbie: cute AND cool

Bill: But, man, does that disco theme rock!

IN 3-D. IT’S IN 3-D. DID WE MENTION THE 3-D?