Hollywood is gearing up to resurrect an ongoing film franchise that is undeniably one of the best cult classics in horror.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be getting a new installment. Bloody Disgusting reports that Frede Álvarez will be producing the film. Alvarez has handled films such as Don’t Breathe and the 2013 remake of The Evil Dead. This will be the 9th film in the series.
Texas Chainsaw 3D came out back in 2013. The film was ripped apart by critics chastising it for straying from the original concept of the Hewitt family. A 2017 installment Leatherface didn’t serve the series any justice either, leaving long time lovers of the franchise vastly empty and disappointed.
Bloody Disgusting further reports that Legendary Entertainment will also be producing a TV series and more films for the franchise. They said that LE could go into a deal with Warner Bros. Studio, the parent company of New Line Films. NLF produced much of the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise, said the horror blog.
It will be interesting to see what ways they will approach the franchise. It has gotten different ones of the years. The last two seemed more comical while the ones prior showed a more surreal look into the life of Leatherface. A series could very much bring this franchise upfront in center in a media world that is giving horror a chance on daytime TV.
For now, hold on to your skin and stay away from decrepit looking mansions in the countryside of Texas.
Oh sweet sweet nights of sitting down with dad in the living room watching stupid movies. Most importantly, in the crispness of fall on a rainy night, let’s cozy up with a blanket and some popcorn to watch the best but worst horror movies we can think of. I still long for these days. Now I mostly partake in this chaos on my own. Netflix and other streaming services have made it practically 2nd nature to stream the most redundant material known to man. I’m okay with that as long as we keep the scantily clad female villains gone super-psycho horror killers out of it. I mean, some of these movies are border line soft-porn.
My mother scorns my father for repeatedly watching these awful movies. I’ve bowed my head in shame afraid to admit this guilty pleasure out loud in her presence. But I love B-horror movies. I could watch them all day, everyday. Friends will say it has lowered my standards in movies. I get around to watching blockbusters every now and again. But nothing compares to the worst acting and horrifically funny deaths that these characters endure.
B-horror movies are screenwriting simplified to “What I learned in boating school is…” It is a very simple pattern to follow. That may seem dull, but what keeps it alive are the different scenarios and monsters that its backwards and twisted writers come out with. And to be perfectly honest, whether they are right to TV or a streaming service, they’re being produced in the masses and coming at you sooner than the next Hellraiser (please no more). There’s no doubt that these guys are making money here and there. It’s better than your side hustle.
I’ll defend my hidden passion until the day that I die. If anything, it’s the certain aspects of these movies that have made them more enjoyable to watch while throwing in the dice to see how it all plays out.
There’s always the one kid who makes it (or at least until the end)
They’re quiet or just too smart for their own good. Usually, they’re also just lucky. But if it is anything that sets them apart the most, it’s that they have good morals compared to their peers. They may come across as prudent or homely looking compared to their fully, albeit, way sexually developed best friend. They’re sitting inside on a Friday night studying for a test instead of drinking on the beach and having lots of teenage premarital sex. It’s common for them to be strong until the end.
2. The couple that needs to get a room already
Speaking of premarital teenage sex, usually the kind that Jason Voorhees hates, there’s always that one couple that makes you gag. There’s not much to really criticize, but this is used most commonly as a way to indicate low-morals in a character. This was a particularly huge theme pre-2000’s horror movies . Often times, this works against them heavily.
3. The antagonist has been wronged somehow
Whether they were thrown in a lake or bullied in high school, something usually contributed to the antagonists downfall into…well… the antagonist. This isn’t true in every horror movie nowadays which actually makes them all the more interesting. If a B-horror film can work with the later, I’m usually pretty sucked in.
A movie that does that very well in my opinion? Sleepaway Camp. It’s by far the most ridiculous movie I have ever seen. Yet, the characters that come from it are just as iconic as the situation.
Sleepaway Camp is a film series that first debuted in 1983. It centered around a girl named Angela Baker who lost her father and twin in a boating accident. After that tragic ordeal, Angela was taken in by her aunt Martha, a doctor, and raised along side her cousin Ricky. Aunt Martha decides to send the kids away to Camp Arawak for the summer. Ricky adjusts quite well but Angela is relentlessly bullied by the other kids.
While away at camp, people begin to die in very gruesome fashions at the hands of an unknown killer. No one knows what’s going on until one day, Angela snaps and shows her true identity. It is revealed that Angela had been committing the murders. If that was too obvious, it turns out that Angela is actually a boy. In the boating accident, her (his…?) twin sister, Angela, was the one that died. So this “Angela” is actually Peter Baker, Angela’s brother. Are you confused yet? When Aunt Martha adopted Peter after the accident, she decided to raise Peter as his dead twin sister in order to fill her void of never having had a daughter of her own. This explains very much why she’s described as a “disturbed divorcee” on her Fandom page.
The movie ends with Angela…well Peter standing with a knife, naked as he looks around with his genitals showing. Mouth wide open might I add. And I for one will admit, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be shocked. For a B-horror film, this was a good twist that not even I saw coming. That image of Angela launched the film franchise into cult classic status.
Pamela Springsteen reprised the role of Angela in the 1988 sequel Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers. She came back as a secretly vengeful camp counselor that picked off the kiddies one by one. To her bosses dismay, she had just “sent them home”. But she actually gave them a Friday the 13thsend off, which the movie alluded to frequently. The film ends with Angela running mowing down her last helpless victim on a dark country road.
In the third installment, Angela is back as a camper. The police are on to her after she had already killed the chief’s son in the previous film. With even more Friday the 13th tributes, this film felt more like a parody than anything else. However, this was also the last time we were to ever see Springsteen as Angela again.
She did a remarkable job, even for a B-movie. The movies that preceded afterwards didn’t have the same campy vibe. More sex, even more bad acting that didn’t even make the film entertaining. Instead it was a cheap soft-porno that kinda just makes you wanna flip off the TV and wonder why you even bothered flipping to whatever deep dark channel you landed on.
And whether it was an earlier form of a horror spoof much like Scary Movie, it doesn’t fail to appeal to the B-horror movie genre. It was gruesome, had a story line that was half way decent and it stuck to what it knew. And what it knew was Angela Baker and campers.
Late last month, Ma made its debut in theaters. Octavia Spencer starred in her first leading role in a horror movie. Spencer premiered in Rob Zombie’s 2009 film, Halloween II as a night nurse turned scream queen prior to taking on more serious roles in horror films. But most of us remember her in other movies such as The Help and The Shape of Water. How can we forget the infamous shit pie? But despite that, her characters are gentle in nature and often nurturing mother figures that offer wise advise to the troubled leads around her. Now Spencer is stepping into a darker form of her art. Yet, we’re keeping her within her element…somewhat.
Spencer plays the role of Sue Ann Ellington, a delusional vet tech who spends most of her days daydreaming or doing what sociopaths do best when they’re not at work. Some local teenagers come up to her at a liquor store and ask her to buy them some booze for the evening. After some convincing, She buys these kids booze and off they go to some old construction site to do what teenagers do best in horror movies: sex, weed and booze. Later on , they dub her as the cool middle aged woman that basically lets them do all the shit there parents won’t. She opens up her secluded home to them so they have a place to party. It’s all fun and games until the deception comes out and she pulls some Gypsy Rose Blanchard shit with her daughter.
It’s not hard to piece together that every bad thing that happens to these kids is because of Ma. After she gets the booze, she anonymously calls the police on the teens, getting them busted the first time around. She uses that incident to lure them into her home.
Behind every predictable plot, there needs to be a secret weapon. The producers did a good job of making you feel sympathy for Sue. Her circumstances are evil, sad, and yeah you want to avenge her yourself. I wouldn’t even say she was the victim of a practical joke. That’s a damn understatement. But I’m also not here to get political. Basically, you kind of get the idea that this is a big revenge story. It’s an incredibly vile turn of events when you learn why.
There were a lot of ‘usual’s’ in this movie, a lot of predictability. A movie that is foreseeable isn’t bad. It depends on how well the writers pull it off. They did in that respect. So anyway SPOILER:
You can figure out right away that the kids are the children of Sue’s classmates from high school.
The one kid’s dad who a the cop did something unforgivable to her. She also is in love with him.
She’s gonna try and kill all of them.
This isn’t the way you’d think a grown woman would get back at her former classmate’s kids. Sue is in some ways a living Freddy Kruger. Overall, the approach was unique and creative. The execution was powerful up until the very end and then I rolled my eyes. The reveal of her daughter and playing off of that Munchausen by proxy, I’m really hoping that device was used to emphasize just how unstable she was. Although, this is something we already knew. Otherwise, it fizzled out quick. This was such an unnecessary element. It helped no one.
At the very beginning of the movie, one of the kids assists a girl in a wheelchair. The disabled individual is later revealed to be Ma’s daughter, which I’ll admit, wasn’t predictable. Not to me folks. So because at least one of the girls showed her kindness, I kind of expected this to work in her favor somehow once it was revealed. But It didn’t save her anymore than she saved herself at the end of the film.
At the end of the film, Ma is seen laying down in bed with the man she loved in high school, also her bully. The house becomes engulfed in flames. It can be assumed that she burned alive sleeping on the chest of a corpse. We see her looking out of the window towards the end. While a lot of us can assume she’s gone for good, they still leave us on edge a bit. It’s not safe to say she’s completely gone, but I’m okay without a sequel.
But collectively, this was a tiny tale of some devastating abuse on everyone’s end. So regardless if it all intertwined or not, it was disturbing nonetheless. Writing techniques were good. Backstory really cleared up any questions someone might have had. This might be a common device, but it worked. This movie was a bit mindless in the respect that viewers don’t have to spend time thinking about all the information they’re getting. No deep inference needed.
The amount of murders in this film was underwhelming. Otherwise, it was a well executed cliche of a movie. One the Creep Meter, 6/10
I’m always down for horror movies, new or old. That’s why this blog exists. As much as I like some of last year’s debuts and the occasional classic, I’d still very much like to see the film reel keep turning. I’ve been upset as of late because right now, it just seems like everything is being remade. The Stephen King remakes I’ll give an exception to, mainly because he’s got the storyline thing going for him (as mentioned in the Pet Sematary review). Enough with the Stephen King bashing. He’s still an award-winning writer, and I’m not.
So what do we have to look forward to this year? Well so far, the list looks promising. A quick google search pulled up some of the titles we can expect in 2019. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Ma (release date May 30th)
I’m excited for this one quite frankly. Octavia Spencer stars as “Ma”, a woman who parties with the local high school kids in her basement. She’s definitely letting them get away with more than their parent would. Soon enough however, things get…weird and people start dying. It’ll be exciting to see Spencer in a different role for a change, this being her first leading role in a horror movie and all. Get it Octavia!
2. Child’s Play (June 21st)
Child’s Play, Dread Central
Chucky has had his fair share of remakes already. I know I said earlier that I’m kinda salty about all the remakes we’ve been having. It’d be nice if directors, writers, and whoever would try to be original again. But, I’ll let this one pass along with King. If you’ve seen the original Child’s Play, then you know the premise of the film. It’s up to us to find out what’s gonna be different, and if the changes are for the better.
The new Chucky looks more like a Chad if I do say so myself.
3. Annabelle Comes Home (June 26th)
This is the third installment in the Annabelle film series. We are reunited with our favorite paranormal investigators, Lorraine and Ed Warren. This time Annabelle once again relinquishes herself from her glass box that was meant to contain her after being kept isolated for good. It’s another sequel with torment, bloodshed, and well…a creepy ass doll..look at that face. I can’t.
4. Midsommar (July 3rd)
Cryptic? Disturbing? Probably. When I read the main plot for Midsommar, I immediately thought of Hereditary. When I watched the trailer, the style also reminded me of that movie. Then I realized it’s the same director, Ari Aster. Hereditary already took us to the realm of fact splashed with fiction. It took something so innocent and contorted it into a major demonic plot. I’m excited to see how Aster dives into Scandinavian culture only to warp it into a portrait of his brilliant yet somewhat sick mind. It is another film involving a cult, but if you can make that work, I say stick with it.
5. Crawl (July 12th)
Ah just in time for summer. A hurricane is about to pummel Florida when a young girl decides to ignore the evacuation orders to find her missing father. She finds something a lot more dangerous in the rising flood waters. Why this might be scary? Cause storms are getting stronger thanks to global warming. While a massive and unstoppable alligator might not sell this film, the very real dangers of strong hurricanes and the devastation of flooding is now something a lot of us must face.
6. Brahms: The Boy II (July 26th)
This film is a predecessor to the 2016 flick, The Boy. So far, there isn’t much to say here unless you’ve seen the first one. Two parents lost their son whose soul was trapped in, you guest it, a doll. They took care of the doll and even hired a caretaker, Greta (played by Lauren Cohen). The doll began to torment Greta. Now he’s back to do it again, except Katie Holmes will be playing the new scream queen.
While there isn’t a trailer currently released, YouTuber FrozenParticle offers some insight into what we possibly can expect.
7. Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark (August 9th)
You might have grown up with the children’s book written by Alvin Schwartz. Well now, director Guillermo Del Toro, who gave us movies such as The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth, is bringing it to the big screen. I trust this man with such delicate belongings of my childhood. After all, his book The Strain which was adapted into an FX series was fantastic. Here’s to hoping he can still scare the ever living crap out of us like this book did.
8. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (August 16th)
You might remember being asked if you saw 47 Meters Down on Netflix by almost everyone you knew. They may have even said “Dude it was so F***ed up.” Well it was. Two people with no scuba diving experience get stranded underwater with a killer shark. Well now take that and put a couple more people underwater to see an ancient artifact, add shark and you’ve got yourself more F***ed up adventures.
9. IT Chapter Two (September 6th)
Now it’s time for the second chapter. Much like the 1990’s for-TV miniseries, the Losers Club kids are now adults. With the first part, they gave us more to chew on while still staying true to the story. Unlike the Pet Sematary remake, which quite frankly could do without a sequel just like the original could have, it provided such a colorful look into the lives of these kids. I can’t say if King himself was proud, but it was still satisfying.
May I perhaps predict that they may change the origins of Pennywise the clown?
10. ZombieLand: Double Tap (October 11th)
Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock are back for more zombie ass kicking. I think the best part about this one is that I don’t have to use so many question marks! It’s actually happening, a Zombieland sequel! This one is still fresh and we have until October before it comes out. No trailer just yet, but no doubt, everyone is excited for this terrifyingly funny flick to finally come to theaters.
11. Dr. Sleep (November 8th)
Another film adaptation of a King book. This one, however, is a sequel to the 1980 film series, The Shinning which famously stared Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson. Director Mike Flanagan is no stranger to King films. He directed another King book adaptation, Gerald’s Game. This time around, we have Ewan McGregor staring as the lead role who shares the special ability, ‘the shinning’, with a young girl. Still too early for a trailer, but this is one we definitely wanna keep our eyes peeled for.
Some of these movies have big shoes to fill, but without a doubt, these directors are up to the task. Let’s hope for a horrifying horror movie season this year!
First, I just wanna emphasize, it is in no way shape or form fair to say that I’m a Stephen King fan. Although, his plots are absolutely fantastic. What really gets to me is probably the fact that he puts too much fluff in his narrative. If it wasn’t going to take me 3 hours to get through one chapter of Duma Key, I would have finished it already. It came out 11 years ago. I put it down after 3 weeks. But, I’ll give him credit for his film adaptations. Visually, they are spectacular, they’re undeniably disturbing, and in some cases, just dumb sad.
Being the horror fan that I am though, naturally I was pretty psyched about the Pet Sematary remake. King had already revamped IT in 2017, which gave us more of a storyline with “The Losers Club”. I liked it. It was good. It wasn’t as good as the original, but how many remakes are?
The original Pet Sematary came out in 1989. It was pretty somber. I mean, you had Gage, a bright-eyed little kid who had to be no older than 2 years-old, get hit by a damn truck on the highway, at full speed. We sort of saw that coming. They drove past like bats out of hell.
King has 3 children of his own, two sons and a daughter. He’s never lost them, but he sure captured what it was like to lose them. I don’t have any kinds of my own, but I could feel the pain of losing a kid like Gage. He was a baby more appropriately. His little “uh-oh,” and “I love you daddy,” moments were so precious. For a character that said so few words, he punched you in the heart pretty hard.
So the remake still has Gage and all, but now you have Ellie and she’s more of a driving force in the film. It’s not to say that Ellie wasn’t a person in the original Pet Sematary, but it was pretty obvious that King wanted us to focus on Gage. She is a predictable, mature for her age, a unique child. But, the directors didn’t go about this in a unique way. Of course she is outgoing and bonds with Jud. Maybe I’m speaking from a deep seeded experience, but I see highly intellectual kid characters always befriending adults. She’s smart, everyone loves her, and she’s so peculiar to her parents. Her loss would have to be a tragedy right (spoiler alert)? It’s built up to make it sad, a loss to the world. Sorry Ellie, but you’re a pretty common archetype. Her innocence was stripped long before death took it.
Stephen King has always been good for going where he shouldn’t go. He killed Gage, Georgie, that kid from Stand by Me, and let’s not forget Salem’s Lot with poor old Danny Glickand his kid brother Ralphie. You just can’t mess with Kurt Bartlow. Anyway, King doesn’t care if you’re a cute little pumpkin patch kid. This movie sure cared though, and quite honestly, don’t bother showing us Ellie’s corpse if you’re gonna imprecisely portray what someone looks like after getting hit by a truck at full speed. They didn’t show Gage. We saw him after he came back as a little demon monster. But at that point, the mortician fixed him up for sure. No, I didn’t want to see that. But don’t paint an unreal picture and glamourize death. You know damn well she probably wouldn’t even have a recognizable face. Her death came off as super theatrical, not really giving us enough time to say “wow that’s just horrible. My goodness that poor girl…guess it’ll be a closed casket funeral.”
It’s harder when you have a more grown up character. Gage didn’t have to work hard to win the hearts of viewers. Ellie was already approaching adolescents. The original Ellie was way younger in more than one way. Her mentality screamed childhood, even while dealing with night terrors from the death of her brother. I suppose the idea of killing a young child doesn’t fit the bill in 2019 like it did in 1989. Ellie was at best, a young adult in a child’s body.
Jud Crandall served his original purpose. He showed Louis Creed (played by Jason Clarke) the Indian burial ground that’s far beyond the pet sematary. Fred Gwynne played the original Jud who offered a father voice to the film, even to Dr. Creed. Though his insights into burying things in the sour ground was a bad judgement call, he cared for this family,and he did so selflessly.
But something irked me intensely this time. Jud just didn’t seem very… mysteriou, and for the love of God, he was missing his prolific North Eastern accent. We knew very little of the original Jud. He only told us that he buried a long lost pup in the burial grounds, only for it to come back and attack his mother. Other than that, he was an old timer that lived in the house he was born. But he wasn’t dry. He was awesome. You knew this man to be wise, tough, but he seemed almost too caring to me. Usually, anyone who comes off wise and, fatherly, yet somewhat distant deserves a papa in front of their name. Not this Jud.
Crandall is played by John Lithgow (you might remember him from the 90’s sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun) in the remake. And no offense to Lithgow, but there was no cool accent. “Sometimes, dead is BETTUH.” But it’ll suffice. To what little we know, Jud had a wife who died of an unnamed illness. She eventually comes back as an apparition that’s really gage, and kills him. She blames Jud for her death which is left unexplained. The approach at extending Jud’s story was very shallow, and they should have just stuck to the basics. Don’t write a story if it’s going to be half assed. Keep it mysterious or make it known.
Even with that unintentionally minute detail to the character, we still knew more than we needed to ,and because of that, Jud became vulnerable far too soon in the film, even falling victim to a sedative slipped to him by Dr. Creed. With death as an underlying (though very strongly represented) theme in the film, Jud’s death is supposed to show that even he, a strong wise old man, is not safe from death.
The original Crandstall knew who was in his house, not possessing a visible amount of fear on his face. He walked through his wooden house calling out Gage’s name, while branding a weapon. New Jud showed less resilience, giving into his ghost wife’s (or gage’s rather) gimmicks.
I figured the directors, producers, and whoever were trying to win everyone over with a spin on an original. But the attempts to stab at it’s viewers emotions fell flat. It’s always sad when a young child dies in a movie, but why should we care? Her character too felt incredibly underdeveloped.
That was the major plot change, to kill Ellie instead of Gage, and it was incredibly ineffective. The rest of the movie attempted to stay true to the original film with more twists and turns. Even the song at the end was a cover of the Ramones Pet Sematary played at the end of the 1989 film.
Gage was actually the last to survive and whether his dead wendigo family ever put him in their ranks will forever be left untold, unless they make a sequel. Instead of a broken and defeated Dr. Creed at the end, it was a happy dead family, including Church who was euthanized in the first film, slowly approaching poor Gage who was locked in the family sedan.
I’m expecting more Stephen King remakes, but hopefully, they’ll take better care if they’re going to remake the best of his collection. It’s a shame that this one fell flat. They took an already disturbing, morbid, sad story, and turned it into a skeleton. I needed more from the characters, the ambience, everything. 5/10. Prove me wrong. Most of the time, the original is better.