25 October 2015

October 25th

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) directed by Rachel Talalay
Robert Englund as Freddy
13 Sep 1991
Freddy vs. Jason XIV: Freddy's Temporarily Inconvenienced by His Daughter
The worst of the Freddy films. The filmmakers have completely given up on making Freddy scary. Freddy is a full-on stand-up comedian in this one. He only speaks in one-liners. He only kills with cute little gags (knives on chalkboard, death by video game, a Wile E. Coyote-style fall from a parachute onto spikes). Robert Englund mugs to the camera with increasingly goofy faces. It's tiresome and incredibly disappointing.

If that weren't bad enough, everything else in the movie is silly as well. Because the finale was shot in 3-D, Maggie has to put on 3-D glasses in the actual film at one point. This looks ridiculous. Freddy has killed every single child in Springwood (without the rest of the world noticing?) and this has driven every single adult in town nuts in the wackiest possible manner. Old men ride bumper cars by themselves, teachers teach "Freddy 101" to empty classrooms, and adoption agency ladies speak to invisible orphans. Perhaps worst of all, Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold have grating cameos as crazy Springwood parents. This is not remotely a horror movie.

Filling in the gaps between jokes is some Freddy background story. This is nothing that improves the character or reveals anything interesting. Freddy was a crazy kid who killed a classroom pet. Freddy was a crazy teen who got off on his stepfather's beatings. Freddy was a crazy husband who killed his wife when she found his kill room. I get it. Freddy was a crazy and evil person his whole life. Maybe, possibly, the ret-con of Freddy being a family man with a dark secret -- versus a loner who hung out in a boiler room, as he was before this -- could've been taken somewhere interesting. But it was not.

What a waste of a great opportunity.

Favorite Character
Doc (Yaphet Kotto): mostly because Kotto's performance vacillates between taking the role very seriously and "why am I here?"

Favorite Sin
Getting so baked in Nancy/Freddy's house that you see Johnny Depp get hit in the face with a frying pan by Freddy.

Favorite Kill
John (Shon Greenblatt), who is dropped onto a bed of spikes from 20,000 feet.

Freddy's Mood
As if Robin Williams and Bugs Bunny had a baby together.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) directed by Adam Marcus
Kane Hodder as Jason
13 Aug 1993
Freddy vs. Jason XV: Jason's Temporarily Inconvenienced by His Niece
The worst of the Jason films. What the hell were they thinking? I honestly cannot fathom the though process here. Why did they think anyone wanted to watch a Jason movie without Jason in it? I get it: the Jason formula was wearing a little thin at this point (in the last two entries, he fought Carrie and then went on a boat trip). So what? Think of something else to do with big guy... but use the big guy. No one on planet Earth wanted to see Jason's big finale involve him turning into a black heart/slug/demon baby-thing that jumps between bodies. What the ever-loving hell?

I hate just about everything about this movie. Why does everything always have to be about the killer's relatives? Halloween has Michael chasing his sister and niece and nephew. Freddy's Dead conjures up a daughter for Freddy. Now this film gives Jason a sister and a niece and a grand-niece to chase. Why? Because "In a Voorhees was he born. Through a Voorhees may he be reborn. And only by the hands of a Voorhees will he die." Why is that? I don't know. How does Creighton Duke know this? I don't know. Do these new relatives seem to live in the shadow of their killer uncle/brother, perhaps shunned by the town of Crystal Lake? Nope. They have no connection to the guy and don't really speak of him. They're just people for him to chase, no different from anyone else.

The film breaks its own rules. For most of the movie, a body possessed by Jason cannot speak and it looks like Jason can barely control it. At the end, Officer Randy acts completely normal and speaks perfectly fine with Jason in him, just to serve the "which one is the bad guy" plot cliche.

When Jason returns to his true form at the end (wait, he got a new body, but looks like a rotted zombie still?), he is pathetic. Completely unlike himself, he is content to throw Steven around (and not very far, this isn't the Jason who threw a guy through a window) and sometimes grab his leg (without breaking it, this isn't the Jason who can crush skulls with his hands). Then he is easily poked in the chest by his niece, which is apparently a signal to Hell that they should grab him? I don't know.

There were a few bits I enjoyed. The beginning of the film is awesome. The FBI has finally caught on to the supernatural mass-murderer who hangs out in Crystal Lake and sets up a trap to finally stop him. This is a great idea: Jason is clearly not stoppable by regular people, but what happens if the full force of the US government is applied to him? Jason being dragged to Hell by demon hands isn't a bad way to "really" kill him. It was a kick to see Freddy's glove grab Jason's mask at the end. That's about it.

Here's my idea for the real death of Jason. Keep the beginning if you want and have the FBI blow him up. In the real movie, Kane Hodder plays a security guard guarding Jason's morgue. Have him get taken over by Jason's spirit (not eat his heart!). Maybe have Kane goofing around and trying on Jason's mask... suddenly, the mask fuses to his face and he is now Jason reborn. Bam. Now we've gone back to living Jason, looking not too unlike the guy who played him in Part 2. Plus, there's your post-modern winky-winky: the man behind the mask really does become the man behind the mask!

Have this new Jason go on a killing spree in Crystal Lake once again. Finally, the town has had enough. Like the end of Frankenstein, they gather everyone in town together to hunt Jason down. In a fit of fury for the 13 years of hell this monster has put their town through, the entire population descends on Jason and tears him to pieces. The final shots, Halloween-like, are of the interiors of the Crystal Lake townspeople's homes, each having a glass belljar on their mantle with a piece of Jason in it (with the final shot being the jar with his mask in it). There. He's really, really dead this time, but there's a chance for a sequel, too.

What a waste of a great opportunity.

Favorite Character
Creighton Duke (Steven Williams): the only interesting character in the film and one who seems to has as much contempt for everything in the movie as I do.

Favorite Sin
Getting off on breaking peoples's fingers.

Favorite Kill
Deborah (Michelle Clunie), the camper who is punctured and then ripped open from belly button to shoulder by a metal stake.

Jason's Mood
Huggy and smoochy.

1 comment:

  1. I saw Freddy's Dead in the theater and remember mildly enjoying it for what it was (i.e. I wasn't as into horror at the time). I don't know if I'd consider it the worst Nightmare movie, but it's certainly a contender.

    There are a couple of things I really love in Jason Goes to Hell, and you hit on both. First is the opening, which is awesome and quite memorable. Second is Creighton Duke. True, he makes no sense, but I love stuff like this:

    Reporter: I'm going to say a couple of words to you and I want you to say the first thing that comes into your mind.
    Creighton Duke: Okay.
    Reporter: Jason Voorhees.
    Creighton Duke: That makes me think of a little girl in a pink dress sticking a hot dog through a doughnut.

    That's brilliant.

    I don't think the body hopping idea is that terrible, but it's not executed well at all, and it makes no sense in context of the rest of the series. But then, the continuity of the series is, er, loose at best. I don't have a problem with them trying to go in a different direction, but then, I'd much rather have seen your idea as a movie, so there's that...