Tag Archives: Horror

Deadman Wonderland, Anime tv series (2011)

I’m beginning to have a small luxury problem. And I’m sure I’m definitely not the only one that has this particular problem. Ever since I started my blog, now more than a year ago, my love for anime has resurfaced. Shock of all shocks, it might even surprise you that before that, I had not been watching anime for a period of more than five or six years. I know right? How on Earth did I even survive that? Now though I have so much anime to watch, that I don’t even know where to start anymore. Besides my own rather formidable dvd collection, I now also have Crunchyroll and more recently Netflix, that have such a great variety of anime series on offer. So what to do about this problem? I’m just going with the flow I guess. I now try to watch a series from my own dvd collection, and then one from either Netflix or Crunchyroll. Just to keep some kind of balance. Erm, yes I guess I can be weird like that at times. Anyway, it was Netflix that was next in line, and after browsing through their considerably large animelist, my eyes were drawn to Deadman Wonderland.

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This brings a whole new meaning to the term papercut. 

In Deadman Wonderland the life of the seemingly ordinary highschool student Ganta Igarashi is about to take a turn for the worse. When his class is preparing to take a school field trip to the privately owned prison Deadman Wonderland, that at the same time serves as an amusement park, a mysterious being suddenly appears. The being that is known as The Red Man, slaughters the entire class, with the exception of Ganta. Being the only survivor, Igarashi soon gets charged with mass murder. Things get even worse when overwhelming evidence is presented that can’t be explained and soon young Ganta is sentenced to death and sent to the Deadman Wonderland prison. Once there he meets a mysterious white haired girl called Shinto, that saves him from a bunch of bullies that were about to kill him. All of a sudden a large explosion rocks the prison and brings down a large object right on top of Ganta and Shinto. Just when it is about to crush them, a mysterious power awakens in Ganta that allows him to take control of his own blood. In this way he manages to keep the object from falling on their heads. With the awakening of this power it is beginning to become apparent that Deadman Wonderland holds many secrets, and not all of them very friendly…..

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Hey, I told you Shinto could get a little crazy at times

Well, let me start this review by saying that this series is not, I repeat not, for the faint of heart. To call this series rather gory is quite the understatement. The blood flows freely in this anime, and I am not talking about a few small drops either. No we have buckets full of blood that are spilled, including several mutilations, and a rather nasty removal of an eyeball, that makes this a really brutal show. But before you all turn the other way, let me tell you that this show also kicks ass (pardon my French). I have never seen an animeseries that featured such a unique power. Ganta, and a rather large cast of other colourful characters, can use their own blood to form  weapons like swords, whips or even projectiles. And this makes for a couple of incredibly cool fightscenes between the inmates, that while at times rather bloody, really are highly entertaining to watch. It’s almost as if you are back in Rome during the days of gladiator fighting.

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Don’t worry these are all special effects, he is fine. 

As mentioned the cast is rather large, and more and more are added with each episode. This eventually results in quite a few them being rather bland, and not ones that you can form an attachment to. But one character I guarantee you will in love with is Shinto. This free spirited girl that has a special, and really protective bond with Ganta is a truly fun character. Sometimes a little crazy, at other times seemingly innocent, but more than capable of taking care of herself she is the absolute highlight of this anime. Ganta, the hero of the series is your typical innocent young boy character, that you have seen in quite a number of other shows. That is not to say that you don’t feel sympathy for him though. Not only is he wrongfully accused, he also gets confronted with a mysterious power and is placed in the most awful place one can imagine. It is enough to drive most men or women insane, but Ganta keeps fighting the good fight, and you have to admire that.

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In case you were wondering, no she is not naked, she is wearing a suit. 

For those of you that are observant, you might have already taken a glance at the final score I have given this anime. Made you look didn’t I? So why the low score for a show that I haven’t been really negative for yet? Well, it’s unfortunately one of those anime series that wraps things up in a really bad way. Or maybe it’s even better to say it doesn’t wrap up anything. After 12 episodes you are left with so many unanswered questions, and no real resolution that you end up feeling rather frustrated. I absolutely hate it when something like this happens. I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun watching this, up until the final few episodes. And this is really such a shame. The storyline for this was very good, the animation more than decent, there were cool fightscenes and some very interesting  characters. And then it all went to hell in a handbasket. Whether or not you want to give this a try depends on the fact if you don’t mind shows that end with with no real resolution. I do have to admit that the fightsequences alone are worth seeing at least once, so there is that. All in all, despite a pretty big list of positives I can’t really bring myself to fully recommend this one. So watch at your own discretion.

I give Deadman Wonderland a 6 out of 10 score.

 

 

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Christine, American movie (1983)

If you have never heard of the name Stephen King then you really should be pretty ashamed of yourself. Erm, no offense of course. Seriously though, he is awesome. One of the best known writers of our time, he has written so many classic horror novels that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. I do have one though, and my choice is not one of the obvious ones like for instance The Shining or The Stand. As much as I love those, for me it has so far always been the novel Christine that is my alltime number one King book. There is a very good reason behind my choice, but I will get to that later. However, as you might have noticed above, I’m not going to talk about the novel, but I will instead talk about the movie. Made by director John Carpenter (yes the same man who is behind Halloween), this is one of the better Stephen King adaptations and a film that I have seen more times than I can count. So what is it about this film that makes it such a compelling watch? Let’s hit the road and find out.

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Some people take losing weight to the extreme. 

Arnie Cunnigham is a highschool student who just isn’t one of the most popular guys around. In fact that is quite the understatement. Arnie is a bit of a nerd, a fact that is exploited by the school bully Buddy Repperton. There is one bright spot though and that his friendship with the football jock Dennis. His friend always stands up for him and protects Arnie whenever possible. After a particularly nasty confrontation with Buddy, Arnie is driven home by Dennis. But while driving along Arnie all of a sudden screams out at Dennis begging him to stop. Having no idea what’s going on, Dennis stops, and looks on in bewilderment when his friend rushes out of the car towards an old beat up vehicle that has a for sale sign on it. It becomes even crazier when Arnie tells him he’s going to buy it. The old wreck is a Plymouth Fury from 1957 that goes by the name Christine. Dennis just can’t believe what has gotten into Arnie, buying a car that looks like it won’t live past tomorrow. However after a few weeks Christine looks as if she just rolled off the assembly line. A fact that is almost impossible to believe. The scary thing is though, that the car seems to have a life of it’s own. Arnie’s personality also changes overnight, and when people start dying under suspicious circumstances, it soon becomes clear that Christine is no ordinary car….

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Seriously, how could you not fall in love with this car? 

Everyone who has ever been bullied at school must have once had thoughts of taking revenge on the people that mistreated them. I know I sure have. And that’s one of the things that I enjoyed about this story, and why it’s still my favorite King novel. Bullying has an impact on your life, it certainly did on mine, and it’s extremely satisfying to see the revenge Arnie (or more accurately Christine) takes on his nemesis Buddy Repperton and his lackeys. That’s not to say that this doesn’t take things to the extreme though. There is also an underlying tone of deep sadness to this film. Dennis asks his friend in the beginning what Arnie sees in that beat up old car. He answers by saying that he has finally found something that is more ugly than he is. That line gets me every time. It’s so powerful, and extremely sad. All this goes to show how people change after being bullied and start believing in things that aren’t there.

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One advice: don’t say this car is a piece of junk. Trust me on this.

But before this turns into a straight up sobfest, let us not forget that this movie is also a horror movie. And a very good one at that. One of the most fascinating things about this story is Arnie’s change in personality. While this is explored much better in the book, we still see it in the movie as well. In the beginning of the film he is a shy and nerdy young man, who is afraid to stand up for himself. But then, after buying Christine Arnie changes into a cocky, selfcentered and quite frankly obnoxious person, who even gets to date the most beautiful girl in the school. Of course with Christine’s influence becoming more and powerful, everything goes down hill faster and faster. It’s a scary journey to behold, but also one of the best things of the film.  The other being Christine of course. No matter what happens to her, getting smashed, burned, it all matters very little. Christine always comes back. Something that is brought to life in a wonderful way by the special effects.

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I’m going to be in Baywatch? Oh God….please tell me it isn’t so. 

Carpenter manages to create a tense atmosphere throughout the entire movie. The score for the film was made by him as well, and only adds to the experience. All the actors in the film, no matter how small their parts, played their roles to perfection. Strangely enough most of the cast never really made big progress in their careers after the release of this movie. A fun note is that Alexandra Paul, who would later appear in quite a few seasons of Baywatch, played Arnie’s girlfriend. She is almost unrecognisable here. So if it hasn’t already become clear, I love this film. For me it’s always been one of Carpenter’s best movies and even after all these years it’s lost none of it’s strength, nor is it in any way dated. Important to note is that the film is not gory at all, but more a very tense thriller. I highly recommend this movie and it can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone. So go and watch it, and don’t forget to put on your seatbelt. Always watch responsibly.

I give Christine a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Coming up next……

Earlier this week I realised something that actually shocked me a bit. In a little bit less than two months we will be saying goodbye to the year 2017. I don’t know if this is just me, but seriously this year has rushed by so fast! But maybe the reason might simply be it’s because I’m getting older or something like that, but I do wonder where this year has gone off to in such a hurry. As the year 2018 is already slowly beginning to appear on the horizon, I thought it would be nice to let you all know what will be coming up next in these last two months of the year on my blog. I will try to release some diverse content so that hopefully everyone is going to have something to look forward to. So let’s take a look into the crystal ball of the future shall we?

Anime

imageYes anime is definitely still a part of my blog. It has been lacking a bit in the past few weeks, I have to admit, but let me just ease your minds: there is plenty of that still going to be heading your way. Ergo Proxy is a series that I know a lot of you have been waiting to hear my thoughts on. Rest assured the post for that one is coming this month. Girls und Panzer is an unexpected delight. I had skipped over this series quite a number of times in the Crunchyroll line up. But because of a recent post from The Otaku Judge on the Girls und Panzer film, I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did. Other anime you can expect reviews for are Deadman WonderlandThe Skycrawlers and Bakemonogatari.

Tv series

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I am really playing catch up to a lot of things at the moment, and as such have fallen  behind on some of my favorite television shows. But that does not mean I don’t occasionally start with something new. Television series based on movies are usually a very bad idea and have an awful track record. Ofcourse there are exceptions to this rule, and the Lethal Weapon tv series certainly is one. Prison Break returned this year to our small screens with a one time 9 episode event series. It used to be one of my alltime favorites, and that’s why I am really looking forward to watching this. Star Trek Discovery is the newest Star Trek tv series, and while I am still debating on whether or not I actually think it’s a good show, it’s certainly not bad either. Besides reviews for these three series, you can also expect posts for Homeland season 6, The Walking Dead season 7, and Fear the Walking Dead season 1.

Korean Dramas

imageKorean dramas are so much fun, but unfortunately as with almost everything I have really started to run behind on these (sorry Kay). The first one is Pinocchio a somewhat older series, but one that I have so far been enjoying for quite a bit. The second is one that has been on my to watch list for ages and that’s Missing 9. The main reason for watching this one is that it includes one of my favorite Korean actors Jung Kyung-ho. The second reason is that it reminds me a lot of Lost, an alltime favorite series of mine, as it tells the story of a group of people that survive a plane crash and get stranded on an island. Both of these are up for reviews in the coming months.

Movies

imageNo big suprise that of course movies will also remain a big part of this blog (at least I hope it won’t be a surprise that is lol). Yesterday I saw the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok. It was a fun filled film, and that one will be up first when it comes to movie reviews. With the releasedate of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, coming ever closer, I am planning on doing a series of posts similar to the Countdown to Halloween feature. And it will be given the name Countdown to The Last Jedi (duhhhhh). I’m not yet going to reveal which movies will be included, but of course they are all going to be science fiction. Other movies you can expect reviews for are John Carpenter’s classic Christine and Justice League. But with movies I expect a few others to be added to this list along the way.

Books

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Ughh, my Good Reads to read list is growing daily, and I probably won’t be able to complete it until I am close to entering a retirement home. I do want to finish a couple of books by the end of the year though, so I still have hope of including at least a few reviews for those as well. I am currently right in the middle of the Sisters of Battle Omnibus written by James Swallow. Part of the Warhammer 40000 universe, it has so far been a very entertaining read. For those who want a bit of nostalgia, I’m also planning a review for the Mini-comic collection of He-man and the Masters of the Universe. The last two books on my list for this year are The official making of Big Trouble in little China and the Star Wars novel Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. This last one especially is one I am really looking forward to as it marks the return of my favorite villain from the Expanded Universe that became canon again (erm, yes I am going to explain that one when I write the review for it).

Boardgames

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Yes, I still play boardgames, even though the last review for one of those dates back to May this year. I hope to publish at least one more review for a boardgame and that is for the incredible Xenoshyft Dreadmire. This is a really fun but incredibly tough deckbuilding game, in which you have to defend your base from a horde of bloodthirsty alien creatures. The artwork for this game is off the scales, and it will be a delight to show it you in all it’s creepy glory.

In closing….

So, that’s pretty much what I have planned for the final two months of this year. In between these posts I also hope to catch up on some tags and awards that I haven’t yet made posts for. As with all things, these are all plans that can be subject to change, as you never know when real life decides to throw a wrench into everything again. But hopefully that won’t happen. In closing I want to thank each and everyone of you who continue to support my blog. I really could not do this without you! So: Thank you all 😀 Let me know in the comments section below if there are any things that you are looking forward to in particular (or if there is nothing on this list that grabs your attention, which is fine as well of course, but I definitely hope that’s not the case lol). Thank you all for reading, see you on the next post!

Jigsaw, American movie (2017)

Well, Halloween is over, and we all need to wait another year to go out as a creature that bumps into the night. Erm, yeah that actually does sound pretty disturbing: moving on. Even though everyone’s favorite fright night is over, that doesn’t mean we have to stop watching horrormovies. In fact I am certainly not planning on stopping with them anytime soon. It’s now been seven years since the last Saw movie sawed itself into our brains (oh, come on, you had to know I would at least include one pun like this). Marked as the final chapter, this movie was really an alltime low for the franchise, and ended the series in a truly bad way. The original Saw was a great thriller, but the series as a whole quickly degenerated into torture porn and became for many a sort of guilty pleasure. But it turns out that in horror adding the “final chapter” to your title, just means: until it’s time to make some money again. And that’s why this year the franchise returns to the big screen with the 8th installment, Jigsaw. The big question is: are we going back to it’s thriller roots, or are bodyparts, intestines, brains and everything else that’s supposed to be inside a human body going to come flying out again…..?

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Some people just take lasergaming way too far. 

The movie starts in the middle of a highspeed police chase that ends with the criminal crashing his car. He manages to survive the crash though, and escapes to a nearby rooftop, with the police in hot pursuit. With nowhere left to run, the man who is known as Edgar Munsen, turns around holding a trigger device in his hand. He calls out to the police to quickly bring out detective Halloran, or else people will start to die. With Halloran arriving on the scene the police eventually have no choice but to shoot Edgar, but not before he manages to activate the trigger. With this act, over the course of several days, bodies are beginning to turn up throughout the city. All people who seem to have come to a violent end. An expert forensic pathologist called Logan is called in to do an autopsy on the first victim. As it turns out, the murder bears an uncanny resemblance to a string of homicides that were committed more than ten years ago by a man known as John Kramer. Most people know him as the serial killer Jigsaw. The truly disturbing fact though, is that Jigsaw has been dead for ten years……..

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Can’t you read? It says no exit, pretty sure a shovel won’t help. 

I think there are probably two questions burning in everyone’s mind right now. The first: is this movie better than the atrocious part VII?  The second: are we back to torture porn, or is this actually more along the lines of the first one? Well, let’s start with question number one as it’s the easiest to answer. Jigsaw is definitely much better than the final chapter. Of course the last part was so horribly bad that it was almost impossible to deliver a movie that was even worse. But in all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Jigsaw explored the roots of the original movie, and was therefore less gruesome than all the previous sequels. So I guess I already answered the second question as well now. The movie certainly contained gore, it is a horrormovie after all, but except for a small scene at the end it never went completely overboard. And this was actually quite refreshing.

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Yep, playing in the sand can be nice. 

And then there are two things this franchise is also known for, and those are the clever traps and the twist at the end. Both of these were of course present in this movie as well. The traps however, were slightly disappointing. As sick as this sounds, those were the things that made the sequels so much fun to watch and on that department the movie doesn’t deliver as strongly. I did quite enjoy the twist at the end though. Several other reviews for the movie pointed out that the movie failed on that front too, but I have to say I disagree. The end of the movie was one of the better parts of the film, and actually quite clever. The characters of the film, are pretty much forgettable. Detective Halloran played by Callum Keith Rennie is simply not a person you get a lot of sympathy for. The main heroine of the movie, who is trying her best to survive the horrible game she is in, is portrayed by Laura Vandervoort. Most people might know her from the tv series Bitten. She is the only one in the film that you can at least grow a bit of an attachment to, and she plays quite a good and strong female role.

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I guess this points out what might happen if you fall asleep on your job. 

After seven years the Saw franchise is back with a pretty decent installment. It certainly doesn’t reinvent the genre, and doesn’t come close to being as good as the original movie. If you are fan though, you are going to be entertained, and I think in a pretty good way. It will be interesting to see, if this movie is now going to be a restart of the franchise. I certainly would not be opposed to seeing more films if they are on the same level as this eight film. In all likelyhood I would not be very surprised to see it quickly fall back to over the top gore and torture. In other words, there will be blood….oh yes….

I give Jigsaw a 7 out of 10 score.

 

 

 

 

 

Stranger Things Season 2, American tv series (2017)

It is saturday morning, the 28th of October. I’m going through my checklist. Have I locked the door? Have I turned off my phone? Did I stock up on foodsupplies? Did I make sure that I have cancelled all my appointments for the day? I feel the fear swiftly take a hold of me. I did do all these things right? Calmly I exhale…yes, I have checked everything multiple times now. A grim smile crosses my face: I am ready. Quietly I walk towards the remote of my television set. With my heart pounding like thunder, I press the play button and see the Netflix logo appearing. I sit back, grab my cup of hot coffee and whoop with joy. Yes people season 2 of Stranger Things is finally here. I imagine the scene I just described has been playing across multiple homes across the globe this weekend. Albeit probably a bit less dramatic. So, in case you have yet to discover this tv series, I’ve got you covered. Last year I did a review for the first season, which you can find right here.

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Who are you gonna call? (Oh come on, what else did you expect me to say about a picture like this?)

What’s that? Can’t I just give a quick description? Sure. Stranger Things is pretty much a loveletter to everything that made the 80’s so awesome. The series is set in the 80’s and focusses on a group of friends that end up in the middle of a mystery that is out of this world. You will find references to all your favorite movies from that era, like the Goonies, E.T., Aliens, the Thing and a whole bunch more. To say that I am in love with this series is an understatement. So you are warned that this review for the second season is going to be me gushing pretty much over how awesome this show really is. But I will be doing that spoilerfree, and sure I will try and be as objective as I can. With a series that had such a strong opening season, there is always a lot of pressure. Will it be as good? Aren’t they going to ruin everything what you loved so much about the series in the first place? Well….they didn’t. In fact, at some points it was even better. Now of course I will get to that soon, but let’s first get to the story of the second season.

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Yes, that really is quite a disturbing sight.

Season 2 takes place a year after the events of the first season. Will Byers is safely back, and tries to pick up his life as best he can after the trauma he suffered. Supported by his group of friends, they get back into the things they love doing. However, soon Will is beginning to experience terrifying visions of the Upside Down. It seems that the supernatural forces are still out there, and are trying to get back into the world, with the intent of destroying it and humanity. But is Will just having after effects of his earlier experiences or is there something more sinister going on? In the meantime Sheriff Hopper is having problems of his own. He is trying to keep something a secret in order to protect the ones he loves the most. But in doing so, he might just be making things even worse. It is not long before all hell is going to break  loose and a terrifying presence from beyond is going to make itself known. Once again it will be up to Mike and the rest of his band of misfits to save the world. But this time, the stakes are much, much higher, and the question becomes if they are going to be up to this task…..

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Who says girls can’t play videogames is just very stupid.

The first thing you will notice when you are starting with the second season is that the pace has been changed. Events are moving at a much slower rate, and we are spending more time getting into the minds of the characters, instead of going into all out action mode. I did not think this was a bad thing though, but I can understand how some viewers might also consider some of it a bit too slow for their tastes. The strength of this show however is the characters. Whoever did the casting for this series should definitely get a raise. I am in awe of the acting abilities of some of these kids. We have to consider the fact that these are relatively young children, but from the way they are acting you would say they had been doing it for years. But next to the regulars we also get a bunch of new additions to the cast. This is always risky, as with a cast as awesome as this, you really wonder if any new ones don’t throw a wrench into the well oiled machine.

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There is going to be a season 3? Really?

But here there are also no problems, as they all work out incredibly well. My favorite had got to be tomboy Max who adds some much needed girlpower to the group. She is a feisty and spirited girl that you will fall in love with right from the start. Her stephbrother though is a whole other matter. A truly loathsome guy, who thinks he is God’s greatest gift to women, he is a seriously annoying presence, but in a very good way. It’s always terrific when you get a character that you truly hate, but also want to see more of because he is played so well. We also get a new love interest for Winona Ryder’s character namely the good guy Bob Newby. Played by Sean Astin, who once played in the Goonies, this is just one of those characters that basically can’t do anything wrong. Finally Paul Reiser portrays a new scientist called dr. Owens that works at the lab that started the whole mess. At the beginning it is pretty unclear just  what his motives are, and whether or not his intentions are evil or not. I always enjoy shady characters like that, and it’s nice to figure stuff like that out.

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Why did you not tell me there would be a third season sooner?

As you might have noticed I have kept things about the plot relatively in the dark. That’s because I really don’t want to spoil things for anyone that still has to see this. Don’t worry about the fact that things start off slow though. The pace will pick up soon enough, and there is still plenty of action. As mentioned above I thought this season at some points was even better. I loved finding out more about all the characters, and the special effects for all of these episodes were also a step up from the ones seen in Season 1. Clearly they just had a much bigger budget, and could therefore spent a lot more money. Overall though, one has to be honest and say that everything in this season was simply playing it very safe. There were no real surprises and they just made sure that the viewers got everything they loved about the first season and then some. Not that this was a bad thing though, but one has to wonder what they are going to be doing for season 3.

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Let’s have a little light in the darkness. 

Season 3 you say? Yes. Stranger Things will reportedly get at least three more seasons , with the next one already heading into the production phase. And I love it! Yes, the series has to be careful to not play it too safe, and hopefully will also try and bring a bit more surprises into the existing storyline next season. That being said, the mythology of this show along with the wonderful cast of characters, is something that I don’t mind spending more time with. This series is awesome, and simply the best series on Netflix at this moment. It’s one those shows that makes you sad when the credits start to roll on the final episode. Stranger Things season 2 is a terrific watch, and if you were already a fan, you will even be more of a fan after this one. The lack of surprises made me not give this season a 10/10 score like last year, but it was another amazing ride and one that I did not regret for even a single second. Well…time to unlock the door and plug in the phone again. Let’s get back to the real world.

I give season 2 of Stranger Things a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

Halloween, American movie (1978)

They say there exists a form of evil in each and every one of us. Some people just have more darkness in them than others. Yes, I know how very ominous this sounds. But let’s face it, I think that when you look at it we all might have had a point in our lives, where we have done something in anger. And that clashes with your normal personality. Luckily these usually are very brief moments (at least I hope they are), and after your anger has subsided you try to make it up to the person or persons you might have hurt in the process. But what if you lack that capacity? What if you are a person that is completely devoid of human emotion? There is a certain moment in the classic 1978 film Halloween, in which doctor Loomis describes the villain from the movie, Michael Myers. And it almost mirrors exactly what I have just said. It is a chilling scene, one that creeps up your spine, when you begin to realise what kind of being Michael truly is. And how evil can sometimes take on human form….

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Not everyone can afford an expensive Halloween costume.

On a dark and stormy night a young girl brushes her hair in front of a mirror. She has just had sex with her boyfriend and she seems very content and happy. Her happiness soon turns to horror however, when her kid brother Michael Myers enters the scene with a big and very sharp knife. Without any emotion whatsoever he stabs her to death. What makes it all the more horrifying is that he is only six years old. Fifteen years later Michael escapes from the mental institute that he has been taken to, after committing the brutal murder. Doctor Loomis the psychiatrist, that has been treating him for the past few years is the only one that knows what he is capable of. And he also knows where he is going: Haddonfield the town where Myers grew up in. Wandering around his hometown, Michael soon stumbles upon the teenage girl Laurie Strode and her friends. At Halloween night his thirst for murder begins anew.  And young Laurie will soon discover that some Halloweens are much scarier than others. In the meantime doctor Loomis is desperately trying to find the escaped killer. But it may already be too late, for Michael has come home…..

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Sometimes you just have to admire your work. I can respect that. 

John Carpenter is a legend. He has certainly made a few of my alltime favorite horrormovies, and this certainly is one of them. When I rewatched this film I was actually amazed at how old this movie already is. But is it dated? Absolutely not. The opening scene of the film is still every bit as shocking as when I first saw it. And what surprised me even more is that there is little to no gore in this movie. It is technically a horrorfilm, but one that acts more as a thriller. And a very, very good one at that. The suspense and threat in this film is build up slowly, but in a extremely effective way. Subtle camera shots with Michael only standing in front of a house just ooze atmosphere and build up the tension to the extreme. It goes to show that you sometimes just need very little means to make a great film. Halloween went on to become one of the first real slasher movies, and of course created another legendary horror icon in the form of the relentless and unstoppable Michael Myers.

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Sigh….they never learn: hiding in a closet, how dumb is that.

This movie was the debut film of Jamie Lee Curtis, and also earned her the nickname Screamqueen. Because wow, when she opens up her mouth and fills her lungs to start screaming it’s almost enough to make every window in her vicinity shatter. Seriously though, as young as she was here, it already showed her acting potential. Another great role is performed by the late Donald Pleasence. He portrays the almost obsessed doctor Loomis, the man that will stop at nothing to put an end to Michael’s reign of terror. But there is a third character in this film, and one that is not performed by an actor. It is however equally important to making Halloween become so effective: the music. The score, made by John Carpenter himself is classic, especially the theme of the film. It is nervewracking and manages to get your bloodpressure up every time it appears during tense scenes.

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Don’t you just hate copycats? What, Michael has a knife, so you have one too? Lame.

The Franchise

Halloween would eventually be followed by seven sequels, and two remakes. Halloween 2 starts straight after the ending scene of the first film, and is a pretty good second act. While not as enjoyable as the original, it is still well worth the watch. With the exception of part 3, Michael would continue to wreak havoc in the rest of the follow up movies. Jamie Lee Curtis returned to reprise her role three more times, and of those Halloween H20 is certainly the best one. Made exactly 20 years after the first part, here we see a mature Laurie that pretty much thought the demon from her past was dead. Luckily for us of course he wasn’t and it resulted in a very decent installment in this franchise. The less that is said about the remake movies, the better it is. Directed by Rob Zombie the remakes are filled with gore and swearing and just result in movies that just simply don’t have any respect for it’s origins. Quite recently Jamie Lee Curtis announced that she would face her nemesis one final time next year, to mark the movie’s 40th anniversary. It will be interesting to see how that movie is going to turn out, and if she still has the same lung capacity she had all those years ago. Down below you can revisit the trailer for the original film.

The Verdict

Halloween is still a very effective horrorthriller that is every bit as good now as it was back in 1978. If you have never seen this film before, it’s best to watch this on Halloween night. Just lock the doors, grab some popcorn and make sure to have a blanket to hide behind. It will help you….a bit. And even if you have seen the movie, it’s still great to give it a rewatch on the night of terror. This review concludes my series of Countdown to Halloween posts. I hope you all enjoyed this feature. I had a blast rewatching all these classics and writing the posts for them. So, over to you now. Have you seen this film? Any favorite moments, or did you perhaps even hate it for some reason? Let me know in the comments section. Oh yeah, and before I forget: Happy Halloween! 🎃

I give Halloween a 9 out 10 score.

Final Destination, American Movie (2000)

Death comes in many forms. One thing is for sure: at one point your number will come up. I’m just glad I don’t know when that moment will arrive, nor would I ever want to know. There are people who believe that time is pretty much set, and you don’t have any influence on it whatsoever. I for one believe that’s partly true. I could go and try to jump out of a plane without using a parachute, but I guess than it’s pretty much a given that I would not survive the attempt. But that would mean I would have to get over my fear of flying, in order to enter a plane in the first place. So yeah, no chance of that ever happening. Okay, that’s enough of these morbid thoughts let’s get on to something more cheerful, shall we? How about a review for a horrormovie about death? Erm…wait….

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You did see that big fireball up in the air right?

What’s better than learning French in class? Well how about a schooltrip to Paris? And that’s exactly what highschool student Alex is about to do, together with the rest of his class. Arriving at the airport he boards the plane that will take him and his fellow classmates to the city of romance, flight 180. But then when he has just taken his seat, he experiences a terrifying vision. In this vision he sees the plane explode right after take off leaving no survivors. The experience was so real that he tries to leave the plane in horror. This ofcourse causes quite the commotion and eventually six other students together with a teacher exit the plane together with Alex. They are forced to stay behind by the airline, and flight 180 leaves for Paris. It doesn’t come very far however as the horrifying vision Alex had, becomes a reality and the plane explodes in mid air. Both relieved but also in total shock that they survived and basically cheated death, the survivors try to pick up their lives as best they can. But it seems death doesn’t take kindly to being cheated, as one by one they begin to die…….

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Erm, you do know that lipstick is supposed to on your lips, not on the rest of your face right?

I had a blast watching this movie again. Although it is not as big a classic as the other movies that I have so far been featuring in my Countdown to Halloween series, it’s still a highly enjoyable movie that will entertain most lovers of teen slasher films. I thought the concept of the film was pretty original. You sometimes hear about certain miracles that happen in real life with people surviving disasters or walking away from accidents, that under normal circumstances should have left them dead. Final Destination is of course taking things into the extreme zone, but that’s why we call this a movie in the first place. One of the things we watch films like these for, and please don’t deny that, is seeing these teens die in horrifying and inventive ways. And yes I do know how that sounds. Luckily Final Destination serves that up, and then some, but it is also pretty refreshing that it never gets really gory. The death scenes are certainly gruesome, but the red stuff doesn’t explode in fountains across your television screen.

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And erm, I’m also pretty sure that knives are not supposed to go in there either.

The cast of the movie is made up of your stereotype bunch of teens, or in other words actors and actresses that were much older at the time but still looked young enough to pass as teenagers. That said, the acting certainly isn’t bad, and a cut above the normal level for these kind of movies. Ali Larter is probably the best known actress from the film, as she has since gone on to play in several other horrormovies including the Resident Evil series. In Final Destination she plays Clear Rivers, the love interest for Alex, and she would also return for the second installment. She was the character in this film that I had the most sympathy for. The rest of the survivors were all pretty self centered but she at least had a bit of depth and some back story to her. Also worthy of note is a small, but highly entertaining role for veteran actor Tony “Candyman” Todd. His sinister voice and natural creepyness are always a joy to watch, and in this film that was no exception.

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Cleaning a bathtub can be a dangerous job.

The Franchise

From all the franchises that are featured in this special Halloween series of blog posts, this is the one with the least amount of parts. Final Destination went on to produce four more sequels until death finally called it quits. There have been rumors for a sixth installment for a while now, but nothing really concrete has so far emerged for that. The sequels all featured variations on the first film, with a big disaster occuring at the beginning of the movie, and a couple of teens escaping from that at the last second. I honestly have to say that the sequels were not bad. The fourth part for me was the overall weakest of the bunch, but the rest of them were actually quite entertaining. I especially liked the ending of part five, that featured a really cool twist. As usual though, the gorelevel rises a bit in the sequels, but it never reaches Saw-like levels thankfully. A trademark of the series is of course making you think twice about doing certain things, or exploiting a fear you might have had already. I am not a big fan of roller coasters for instance, but after seeing the opening scene of part three, I think most people will give them a pass. I have included the scene below for your viewing pleasure 😀

The Verdict

So there we have it. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and we have almost reached it for my Halloween series. But there is still one more movie to come, namely the John Carpenter classic Halloween. That one will be coming up next week. Let’s not forget the verdict for Final Destination though. As mentioned this movie may not be such a timeless classic, but it is actually quite a good horrormovie. With a fun storyline, pretty decent acting, and a couple of awesome deathscenes you could definitely find worse movies out there. If you like films such as Scream or I know what you did Last Summer, this one can be added blindly to that list. So over to you! Have you seen the movies from this franchise? Do you have any favorites? Or perhaps even a favorite deathscene? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, thank you for reading and see you at the next post!

I give Final Destination a 8 out of 10 score.

Demon City Shinjuku, Japanese (animated) movie (1988)

When anime was first introduced in my country, it was done in a way that was completely wrong. Even though that has been a long time ago, when I was in my early teens, I remember watching a news item that mentioned kids were being introduced to a new Japanese artform that focussed on strong violence and sex. As usual the media saw this as an opportunity to sensationalise this, and parents were in an uproar. The anime videotapes that you could buy back in those days, only seemed to bring out movies that were either hentai or contained incredibly graphic violence. And of course the tapes sold like crazy. Not a good way to start my introduction to the wonderful world of Japanese animation. A movie that was featured a lot in the news item I spoke of earlier was Wicked City. In it’s opening scene a man is making love to a gorgeous looking woman, that eventually turns into a spiderlike demonic creature. I swear that every man who saw this scene must have given up on sex pretty much right away….well maybe.

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It might not look like it, but this is one of the most touching scenes in the entire movie.

 

Wicked City was a horrormovie, but a truly disgusting one, with over the top violence and sexscenes that could almost be considered porn. It certainly showed the darker side of anime and is a film that while very infamous, is one you should pretty much avoid seeing. This rather long introduction serves as a stepping stone to the film I am about to review. Demon City Shinjuku is strangely enough directed by the same man that was responsible for the aforementioned movie. But it is a much better film, and could almost be considered as a mild version of the atrocious Wicked City. So there is really no need for concern, or to think that my blog has suddenly turned into a platform for promoting movies that push all the wrong buttons. Are your minds set at ease? Right, let’s get on with the review then.

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This is the prototype version of what we call Starbucks these days. 

High atop the roof of a building in Tokyo two men are locked in mortal combat. With supernatural energy dancing around them, swords clash back and forth, until eventually one of the men is defeated and dies. With a triumphant roar the victor, a man named Rebi Ra, sees the entire city going doing down in a powerful earthquake. He has been possessed by very strong demonic forces and promises that soon the entire world will be enslaved by demons from another realm. Ten years later the moment Rebi Ra spoke of is almost at hand. The World President, that is on a mission of peace to bring together the human race, suddenly gets captured by Ra. This is all part of his plan to stop the only person that might put an end to him, a young man called Kyoya Izayo, the son of the man he killed on the rooftops all those years ago. Meanwhile the president’s daughter, the beautiful Sayaka Rama, tries to enlist the help of Kyoya. At first he wants nothing to do with her, but when she enters the ruins of Tokyo alone, he decides to follow her in. The city is but a former shadow of itself though, and the horrors they find inside might be enough to stop them from preventing Rebi Ra’s plans to enter the entire world in eternal darkness…..

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I wonder what is going through their minds…..

One of the things I love the most about this movie is the incredible atmosphere it breathes out. The ruins of the destroyed city of Tokyo are brought to life in a truly breathtaking way. With subtle touches like still working traffic lights, skyscrapers that have fallen against each other, and other things like that, the city has become an almost living entity. You feel a constant sense of fear and dread, that is just perfect for a horrormovie. The story of the film is one of it’s weaker points. It simply serves to bring our heroes from point a to b, and encounter a new and potentially horrifying creature. And that is another thing this movie does well, the plethora of monsters it serves up. It’s not called Demon City for nothing, as our young hero Kyoya certainly has his hands full at fighting a number of horrifying abominations , while at the same trying to protect the girl.

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No way in hell would I ever enter a place like this. 

The two main characters of the film, Kyoya and Sayaka, are not exactly what you would call well developped. Kyoya is your basic cocky and kind of macho type male, that at first is rather annoying. In fact you kind of wonder how a guy like that can save the world. This all changes of course when he meets Sayaka. She brings an innocence with her, that tempers his bravado, and turns him into a different person. While Sayaka is, for lack of a better term, rather dull, she is certainly brave although also rather stupid. For her to be entering a demon infested city alone without any kind of weapon borders on suicide. All in all though, even though the pair won’t be winning the award for best anime characters ever created, they work just well enough to grow on you. In fact a certain scene with Sayaka near the end of the film is quite beautiful and rather touching.

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That really is a bad way to go out. 

Demon City Shinjuku is a pretty good horror anime film. While the animation is now almost thirty years old, it still looks good enough to draw in people who usually don’t like oldschool anime. With a great atmosphere, some cool fight scenes and horror that never turns gory, what we have here is a film that can be enjoyed by most people that like horrormovies. The only thing worth mentioning on the negative side of things, is that the end of the movie feels a bit anti-climactic. Still though, it doesn’t ruin the movie itself, and I highly recommend the film all the same. If you have trouble tracking down this movie, you can find it on YouTube for free in both a subbed and dubbed version.

I give Demon City Shinjuku a 8 out of 10 score.

A Nightmare on Elmstreet, American movie (1984)

Sleep is overrated. I mean, seriously, with already way too little hours in a day to do stuff , why do we also have to spent some of our precious time unconscious? But there really is no escaping it, not if you want to continue being awake and not walk around as a zombie all day. But there also some positive notes to it. Sometimes you get a nice dream, which is almost as a good as seeing a movie in a big theatre. And I don’t mean an X-rated dream for all you perverted minds out there, but just a pleasant one that makes you happy. Unfortunately for every nice dream, there is also a dark one that lurks around the corner. Nightmares, in which you find yourself being surrounded by a swarm of killer wasps (sorry, those little bugs scare the crap out of me), or other dark places that you really don’t want to be spending time in. In 1984 a movie came out that created a character that became the very stuff of nightmares: one Freddy Krueger…….

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Jaws part VIII: terror in the bathtub.

The teenage girls Tina and Nancy are best friends and have been enjoying their lives the best way they can. That means hanging out together, spending time with their boyfriends, fooling around, in short everything teenagers should be doing. However Tina has lately been having a couple of terrifying nightmares. In them she is being chased by a horribly disfigured man, wearing a dirty sweater and that has knives for fingers. She is so incredibly upset by it, that she asks Nancy to stay with her during the night. But it appears that Nancy has been having the same dreams. Eventually though they both shrug it off, and Tina spents the night with her boyfriend. But when she finally goes to sleep after a night of passion, the nightmare returns. And in a terrible twist she gets killed in a brutal way, with the blame going to her boyfriend. With Tina out of the picture, Nancy has now become the next target. It turns out that some nightmares can become reality. Nancy is in for the fight of her life, as she has to face a brutal serial killer that supposedly died a couple of years ago. But how in the world do you fight against something out of a dream? Freddy is coming for her……

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Yep, that really is Johny Depp. 

A Nightmare on Elmstreet breathed life back into a genre that had become pretty stale at the time. Created by Wes Craven, the same guy that brought us the horrorclassic Scream, this film is a terrific movie for everyone that loves a good scare. One of the best things about the film is of course the iconic character of Freddy Krueger. Played by Robert Englund, Krueger is both terrifying and at the same time pretty funny as well, although that last quality would become more  apparent in the sequels. Freddy is a truly horrifying opponent in this first part though, and there are some seriously chilling scenes featuring him, that will have you screaming your lungs out. Where Friday the 13th looks pretty dated at this time, here we have a film that is still giving you plenty of scares and has managed to withstand the test of time very well. It is almost hard to imagine that this movie is almost 35 years old now.

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Who needs Wolverine? 

Another fun fact that some people might not even be aware of, is that this movie introduced the world to actor Johny Depp. He played the part of Nancy’s boyfriend, and even though this was his very first role, it hardly showed at all, as he pulled of the part with flying colours. The acting as a whole in this film, while not great, is certainly a lot better than for instance Friday the 13th. Nancy, who is played by actress Heather Langenkamp, is a very charming and innocent character, that most people will be rooting for. She is brave and manages to hold her own against everything Freddy throws at her. And believe me when I say that most people would find themselves turning completely nuts if they would be in that kind of situation. But it is Robert Englund who simply deserves the most credit as he is definitely the driving force in this film.

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Don’t you just hate prank calls? 

The Nightmare on Elmstreet franchise

As is usually the case with any movie that is succesful, we get the inevitable sequels. A Nightmare on Elmstreet eventually ended up with six movies that continued the terrors after the first part (eight if you count the remake and the spinoff Freddy vs. Jason). In these sequels Freddy continued to play his sick little games, while at the same time also providing a lot of (dark) comedy. Even though there were still plenty of scares and gruesome deaths, I always found them to be of a lighter tone than the original movie. The seventh part of the series is especially worth mentioning because the storyline for that one is pretty cool. Entitled New Nightmare, actress Heather Langenkamp returns to play herself, together with Robert Englund and director Wes Craven. They look back on their roles in the first part in a talkshow, but then the evil that is Krueger tries to enter the real world. It was a nice twist and a highly enjoyable movie. The other sequels, while entertaining, never reached the same level as the first film though. Still, there were plenty of memorable scenes, like for instance the “Soul pizza” that Freddy eats in part 4. I have included it below for your viewing pleasure, although I don’t know if that is the correct word for it.

The Verdict

And that is about it for this third part in my Countdown to Halloween series. A Nightmare on Elmstreet is a true classic that every fan of horror should see at least once. It created an equally terrifying as well as entertaining icon in the form of Freddy Krueger. The storyline is great, the deaths are gruesome, but never going into a truly gory territory, and it is a film that is still quite scary despite it’s age. There are talks of a reboot for the series, but those are so far only rumors. The remake that was released in 2010, was received very poorly, and deservedly so. It just did not have the same fun factor as the original film, and was just a very pale shadow. So honestly I am not really looking forward to another attempt. There are some classics that should simply not be remade. The next movie that will be coming up in this feature will be Final Destination, so I hope to see you all back again for that one. In the meantime thank you for reading, and let me know your thoughts on Krueger in the comments section below. Pleasant dreams……..

I give A Nightmare on Elmstreet a 8 out of 10 score.

Friday the 13th, American movie (1980)

Welcome…….to the second part of my Countdown to Halloween series. Let me start with asking you a question: how superstitious are you? Do you avoid walking under a ladder? Do you freak out when a black cat crosses your path? When it becomes the most dreadful friday ever invented, friday the 13th, do you lock all the doors and hide all day beneath the covers of your bed? Well, you may laugh at all these questions, but let me tell you that there are a lot of people out there who are actually more than afraid by things such as these. As for me? I’m sorry to disappoint, but I have never fallen prone to a superstitious moment in my life. That’s not to say that I have never experienced a bad friday the 13th, but do I blame that particular day for that? Of course not. But friday the 13th has also become infamous because of an entirely different reason. It is the title of a horror film franchise that went on to produce one of the most iconic horrormovie characters ever created: Jason Voorhees.

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Heeeeereeeee’s Mommy! 

It is a dark night, and the waters of the idyllic Crystal Lake seem peaceful. At the nearby summercamp two camp councellors sneak off to make love. Just when they are about to take off their clothes, they are interrupted by an unknown person and are brutally murdered. Yes, don’t you just hate it when that happens? Years later the camp, that has been nicknamed Camp Blood, is about to be reopened. A group of teenagers has been hired to help with the preparations for getting the camp ready again, and to eventually work there as the new councellors. But soon history will repeat itself. And that has everything to do with a young boy named Jason who drowned at Crystal Like while the people who were supposed to watch him were having sex. The teenagers at camp Crystal Lake are about to find out just how strong a mother’s love for her son can be. With a storm hitting the camp, and with more people disappearing by the second, survival is the keyword on everyone’s mind. But that might be very, very hard to achieve……

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Don’t you just hate it when you have an itch in your eye and you can’t scratch it? 

Friday the 13th is a cult classic. It is pretty much the type of film that is so bad, that it actually becomes fun to watch, and that statement is even more true for the enormous amount of sequels that were made. But more on that later. This movie falls into the slasher category, and can easily be described in one sentence: a bunch of horny teenagers head to summercamp in order to get killed. That’s pretty much all there is to it. It contains so many well known horrorcliches that it almost wrote the book on all of them. Stupid and idiotic decisions are chief amongst them. One of the most hilarious scenes is the one where our main heroine takes about two minutes to barricade the wooden door of the cabin where she is hiding from the killer. She conveniently forgets that there are three large and very breakable glass windows as well. And sure enough she finds that out a few seconds later when a body gets thrown through one of them. Great stuff.

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What do you mean I only show up in the sequel?!

But fair is fair, this movie does manage to create some great tension and jumpscares, and we should also not forget this film is now nearly 40 years old. For those of you that have seen the opening sequence of the horrorclassic Scream, (and I am heading into spoiler territory now), you might remember that the killer in this film is not Jason himself, but his mother. Played by actress Betsy Palmer, mother Voorhees is actually a very chilling and downright creepy person. It is one of those roles that has gone down in horror history as an absolute classic. The rest of the cast is mostly forgettable, but it is fun to note that a very young Kevin Bacon also has a role in this movie. Some of the kill scenes in the film are very inventive and together with the make up effects created by Tom Savini, these are pretty much the main reason to watch the movie.

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Classic Jason….such a sweet boy. 

The Friday the 13th franchise

After the success of the first movie a whopping nine sequels were made (11 if you count the Freddy vs Jason movie and the 2009 remake). With cheesy titles such as  The  Final Chapter, Jason takes Manhattan and Jason goes to Hell, we have a horror franchise that could not be taken very seriously anymore. Jason Voorhees takes over the role of the killer from his mother in part 2. After donning his iconic hockey mask in part 3, he would become the stuff of legend and one of the most well known horror villains in movie history. He has been drowned, electrocuted, shot, turned into jelly, and even turned up in the future in the tenth installment Jason X. Every time though, he returned to claim more victims in increasingly creative ways. With bad acting, a lot of nudity, and a bunch of teenagers that got more stupid with every film, these things have all become a trademark of this series. Still though, most of these movies are so incredibly bad, that they really have become an absolute joy to watch. They might be considered bad taste by a lot of people, but if you don’t take all of this very seriously, you will truly get a kick out of this series. Down below you can find a trailer for part VIII, Jason takes Manhattan, that gives you a great impression of what I am talking about.

 

The verdict

Having rewatched this first part, I can honestly say that this film is fun to watch purely for nostalgic reasons. It really hasn’t aged very well, and some of the wooden acting, and bad dialogue might certainly have some people switch off the movie way before the credits start to roll. Still, the terrific part of Betsy Palmer as the psychotic mother from hell, and some great jumpscares do make this a worthwhile watch for those who persevere. And it is without a doubt a classic in the horror genre, that for no other reason you should at least have seen once in your life. Next up in the Countdown to Halloween series is Nightmare on Elmstreet, that created an even more iconic horror idol, Freddy Krueger. As always, now it’s over to you! Did you see Friday the 13th? Or any of it’s many sequels? Do you have a favorite one, or maybe even a favorite kill? Let me know in the comments section down below. Thank you for reading, and see you next time!

I give Friday the 13th a 7 out of 10 score.