A few years ago, I did a week themed around sequels to slasher movies. Much fun was had. Alas, there really aren’t a ton of sequels to slasher movies once you get past the big three franchises (i.e. Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street) and the ones that do exist tend to be difficult to find. We’re in a weird period where DVDs are mostly out of print, BDs have never even particularly aspired to be comprehensive (and rarely go after long tail movies like 30 year old sequels to already obscure movies), and streaming is totally unreliable. That said, I managed to cobble together two second installments to slashers that aren’t from the big three, which seems good enough for a mid-week checkin.
- Thursday the 12th (Robot Chicken)
- Friday the 13th Part 2 (trailer)
- Scream 2 (trailer)
- Slumber Party Massacre II – Courtney, the sister of the final girl from the first Slumber Party Massacre (a movie I thought was fine and really wanted to like, but never entirely connected with), takes off with her rock band to visit a condo for the weekend, jam and write music, mess around with boyfriends, play with a blow-up doll, usual teen stuff. Oh, and a “rockabilly” driller killer sporting a ludicrous guitar that incorporates the infamous drillbit from the first film who comes out of nowhere and starts picking people off. Like, literally, I have no idea where he came from.
Look at that 80s cheese. LOOK. I can’t decide if he’s actually that much better than the killer from the original, what with that guy’s fearsome denim outfit, but he’s certainly not boring. Anyway, this guy makes no sense whatsoever. It is, perhaps, part of that 80s obsession with imparting a dreamlike quality to horror films, making you wonder if it’s happening at all. I suppose this skirts close to being something of a musical, as there are a number of sequences that are just performances (even the rockabilly dude gets one), but it doesn’t particularly work. As far as these things go, it’s a fine, if unremarkable experience. It’s definitely energetic and features lots of fun little bits here and there that students of the genre would appreciate. Released in 1987, it seems self-aware enough to know it’s not particularly good, which perhaps lends a bit of charm to the proceedings. But then, it’s still not particularly good. Much has been made about this series’ feminist origins, which feels a bit overplayed, but hey, there aren’t many movies made with female directors and writers, and this series has three of them, so there is that. I’ll give it points for originality, but it’s still utter nonsense. Ultimately, it’s got some campy appeal, but I think I like the original better. **
- Halloween II (trailer)
- Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (trailer)
- It’s the Gifts That I Hate (Robot Chicken)
- Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II – In 1957, rebellious prom queen and quintessential bad-girl Mary Lou Mahony is accidentally burned alive by an errant stink bomb thrown by her jilted boyfriend. Cut to thirty years later, and goody two shoes Vicki Carpenter stumbles on Mary Lou’s tiara, sash, and cape in an old storage trunk, accidentally unleashing her spirit for some prom-themed mayhem and vengeance. This is basically a sequel-in-name-only affair, not connected with the original in any way other than taking place around a high school prom (supposedly the script was not written as a sequel at all, and the Prom Night moniker was slapped on after t he fact), and it is a whole lot better than that would imply. Even in the crappy pan and scan transfer that’s on Amazon Prime*, it’s clear that the film is visually well composed and effective at setting mood.
The kills are creative, with solid setups and payoffs (in particular, a sequence starting in the gym shower and culminating in the locker room is well conceived and executed, combining taboo elements with horror in ways that elevate this above most of its contemporaries). The characters are actually somewhat involving, for a slasher movie (i.e. you’re generally not rooting for the killer), and the supernatural components of Mary Lou work well. This is another movie that is in love with imparting some dreamlike qualities, but it is done far better here than it was in the aforementioned Slumber Party Massacre II (a standout is a rocking horse in Vicki’s bedroom, whose eyes start glowing demonically and then it grows a lolling tongue). The filmmakers were clearly fans of horror, namechecking many famous horror directors in character names (i.e. Carpenter, Henenlotter, Craven, etc…), evoking the likes of The Exorcist and Carrie, and so on. As someone who is inexplicably in love with the slasher sub-genre, this is a hidden gem, perhaps due to it’s 1987 release (well outside the bounds of the golden age of the genre). More mainstream audiences might not be as in love with this, and to be sure, this isn’t exactly fine cinema, but it works well enough that it could have been one of the crossover hits, appealing to horror hounds and more mainstream audiences alike. I, for one, really enjoyed it… ***
If all goes well, we might even get to a Slasher Part Threes post at some point. Fingers crossed.
* I found a screenshot elsewhere and used that instead of giving you a cropped screenshot from the crappy transfer. You’re welcome.