Archive for July, 2010

Spirit Camp

by on Jul.25, 2010, under Daily Review

Beautiful glossy sweet movie of cheerleaders, blood and gore. This film is everything that you can expect and more. It’s cool, sleek, witty, neat and enjoyable to watch in a teen slasher kinda way.

Basic plot involves a group of teens heading off for summer camp. Once arrived, they soon discover that a crazy madman has escaped from a local secure (or un-secure) prison and the body-count begins to mount up. Yes, this is the original obvious plot, but its produced as a pure homage to all that has come before, looks great and really is a fun film to watch.

When I say obvious, I really mean it. Basically, every time someone steps out of one of the chalets or into the woods, into a shower, they are sliced up. ‘So, if it’s so obvious, why is it good?’ I hear you cry. This film is produced with such love an attention, fine detail and witty perfect script, it’s impossible not to watch. I’m presuming it was filmed on HD Camera, but it’s gloriously lit and colourful to the eye. The cast are all great too. Great to see Julin again (after another fav of this project, the Final) real screen presence and great comic timing. Roxy Vandiver is good, kinda in the lead here, but totally overshadowed by Julin. Brandon Smith and Amy Morris both offer sterling performances. Credence to Kerry Beyer, as writer, director, DP and actor for getting a great performance out of such a young cast whilst shooting a great lookin’ film.

One of the best of this project so far.

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Week 39

by on Jul.24, 2010, under 365 Schedule

The Summer Slasher Spree continues.

  • Spirit Camp
  • Camp Utopia
  • Island of Death
  • The Perfect Getaway
  • Summer Camp Nightmare
  • Bay of Blood
  • Harpoon (Replaces scheduled :- The Little Girl That Lives Down the Lane)

I’m not sure what happened with LGTLDTL. Watched half of it and it really ain’t a horror and has nothing to do with Vacations! Sorry for the confussion. Harpoon looks much more fun.

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Sleepaway Camp 4: The Survivor

by on Jul.24, 2010, under Daily Review

No Pamela Springsteen this time around, filling here shoes is Carrie Chambers. This film is basically the remains of a film that never was. The only footage runs at just over 30 mins; it’s actually difficult to imagine how this could have looked good to be honest. There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot. Angela hitting it off with a Cop in the woods, then sunbathing  and a confused moment with a hunter. Carrie looks great in the role and this could have been a good film, although it seems funding was pulled due to bankruptcy leaving this film wide open. I’m not sure if this would have been the right direction for the franchise though, as Carrie is much more glamorous than Pamela Springsteen and you can’t imaging Carrie with any of the physical issues which Angela from the first few films has.

It’s an interesting little piece of film though, rough and unedited. A trailer tagged on the end tries to hype he film with edited scenes from the rest of the series.

The franchise is still going strong though, with a 2008 part 5 and a part 6 planned for 2011. But this is as far as 365 takes the Sleepaway series.

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Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland

by on Jul.23, 2010, under Daily Review

This is more of the same. Angela (Pamela Springsteen) is back, this time intercepting a place on a youth development project which takes people from different ends of the social spectrum and engages a weekend of camping to develop life skills. So we get rich kids and tramps, drug addicts etc, all packed off for a weekend of woodland frolicking. It’s not long before Angela starts on the body count again, people she doesn’t like, naughty people, disobedient people, anyone really that so much as looks sideways at her.

The film is ok. It’s not great, not as good as the last and has far less gore, although some good inventive moments and a pretty good script. The story introduces more character to the role of Angela, trying to expose an insight to the tortured mind of the killer with all the ups n downs, highs n lows. This doesn’t really work and just brings the light hearted film down a notch or two, actually taking away some of the films light. What disappoints me though, is we are getting further and further away from the initial movie. The emotion and physical trauma which caused these events in the first place have kinda been forgotten as Angela has now become a pale imitation of her self.

Part 4 tomorrow.

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Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers

by on Jul.22, 2010, under Daily Review

Unhappy Campers is a crazy sub title. I think you’d be more than unhappy if you burned someone alive, or slashed up with a huge knife.

The pace picks up on this sequel and guides us through a more standard slasher flick with a high body count. Angela is back, several years after the first. She’s now a young assistant at Summer camp and anyone who gets on her bad side ends up slashed to pieces.

This is the usual affair really. It’s fun to watch and much better than the first by way of enjoyment. It’s obvious though, which some may see as a problem, but for me it kind of works well. What makes this film a tad different is the female lead, non other than Bruce Springsteen’s sister, Pamela, who happily slashes up any bad folk. The film bursts to life and doesn’t stop really, with Angela starting her rampage within the first few moments. It’s a strange concept to have a female slasher villain and also, no masks so we are all aware of whose doing what and also, no comeuppance. She just kills and kills and kills. Wild really.

A nice point to raise, is one scene with some of the kids dressing up as Jason and Freddy. Cute. Also, a crazy gasoline scene, Reservoir Dogs Style. Nasty stuff.

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Sleepaway Camp

by on Jul.21, 2010, under Daily Review

Friday 13th style camp slaughter flick, but slightly different with it’s very own thing going on, and enough of it’s own independence to spawn a whole series, still in production to this day.

Kids at a summer camp get bumped off, along with staff and helpers. Various different methods of death are applied. But who’s the killer and what’s their motive? I’m sure I’ve heard this plot before somewhere, but what I wasn’t expecting was the finale! Shocker! Well worth the viewing for the last scene.

It’s all a bit of a drama really. The pacing is a bit slow too and it’s not exactly exciting to watch. The difference here though is that the average age of the kids at the camp is much younger than your usual outing which in my opinion makes it a bit more dicey. It’s always dodgy ground to be slaughtering 12 year olds. The choice of villain is great here though, very unique which really makes this film stand out. Director Robert Hiltzik only knocked this film out in his career, but has been recruited for a few recent sequels, one which he’s working on right now.

The gore is pretty good, but it feels overlooked by the drama which views like a teen TV movie. The boiling water on the cook is a shocker though with a good effect. Apart from this, the most shocking things are the clothes and the hair cuts. I can’t believe it was fashionable for blokes to wear belly tops!

Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten  and Kathrine Kamhi star.

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The Hills Have Eyes 2

by on Jul.20, 2010, under Daily Review

Did Craven Direct this? Did Craven actually write this? I’m struggling with this concept. How can this be made by the same guy who offered us ground breaking horror, on numerous occasions, re-imagining his work over and over, bringing us fresh terror from various sources. This can’t be made by the same guy. Hills Have Eyes, Elm Street, Scream, Last House, Summer of Fear. No way. Somethings wrong.

The film starts with some flash back scenes from the first film. Bobby (Robert Houston), who survived the first outing is with a Psychiatrist, chatting about the past events. The Doc’s advice is to get back out in the Desert, take his super fuel for motor bikes that he’s been working on and test in out in the dunes. Crazy! So he gathers a bunch of friends, then at the last minute, he decides he can’t cope, but they go on ahead. They also take a blind girl and one of the cannibal girls from the first film, who’s now friends with Bobby and Beast the dog.  (It sounds like I’m making this up!) OK, so they break down in the desert, Pluto is back and he’s got a new cannibal mate, The Reaper.

This is a farce. I didn’t pay my ten bucks for this crap, what happened to Craven? I really don’t know what happened. The film is so bad, it’s dire. It’s slow, badly written, crappy actors and a super poor plot. The flash back scenes are dreadful, and did I see a flashback from the dogs mind too? (or maybe I’m making that up.) I am so shocked by this. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest, but I really was eager for more from the master of the genre.

So far, on my quest for the 365, Craven has really surprised me. I’d seen a few of his movies, 18 ish years ago, but didn’t realise how amazing he is. I suspect, here we have some contractual nonsense with a production company. It was probably written by some other bloke, paid off by Craven, who might have offered a stupid idea for the plot. Direction was, I’m guessing, performed by an eager young camera man, whilst Craven headed for the early dart. Can anyone point me to any truths around this?

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The Hills Have Eyes

by on Jul.19, 2010, under Daily Review

Wes Craven offers us his summer vacation tale, of a family taking the wrong road through the desert. This is back in ’77 and the idea of crazy folk living out in the countryside, preying on travellers was something not really captured on film. We’d had Chainsaw, but this is a slightly different approach. What Craven creates is a family drama turned upside down and inside out, with all the gore and terror on view.

The story follows a family on a road trip. They are warned early on during a petrol break, ‘don’t take the back roads’ but Big Bob Carter knows different. They run into some trouble when running off the road due to a rabbit, of all things’ jumps out into the road. With a broken axel, the family look for help, only to find a crazy family living in the desert mountains, out for blood and hungry.

This is quite a vicious film. The family are all quite likeable in a very familiar way. They all seem like people you know and can relate to; griping and bitching but accepting and offer allowance. This makes the film more difficult due to a closeness with the audience. The bad guys too have a solid background which again is understandable, a reasoning for being who and why they are, which is not the case with most films of this type, or maybe sometimes a little too far fetched. Here, we have solid reasons for actions. This is Craven’s strength. He’s shown prior, with Last House just how natural he can portray human emotion, loss, desire and love for family and friends. He’s the master of this and digs in deep into the emotion. When his characters take the life of a loved one, you can truly feel the pain. When a baby is stolen, talk of eating it for supper is mentioned, it’s a truly shocking thought.

Again, Craven gives us the main star, who grows in strength to save the day. As always, a girl next door takes the lead; as with Elm Street, Scream, Last House etc, his females are the stronger characters, empowered to defeat the evil males. This is his forte, his signature and once again, here it’s executed perfectly.

The film has some tremendous casting roles. Michael Berryman is amazing here as Pluto, probably his most memorable role. Dee Wallace, Robert Huston and James Whitworth all offer a solid performance, but it’s Susan Lanier who steal the show. Her performance is outstanding and it’s a damn shame she barely made a career, although I’m sure the trauma of this role could have had something to do with that.

This is a brutal, shocking, vicious piece, yet heart warming and enduring on the eye. Beautifully filmed, capturing human emotion.

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Cheerleader Camp (Bloody Pom Poms)

by on Jul.18, 2010, under Daily Review

So bad it’s good? Well, this certainly captures the American teen years at summer camp. Full of comedy characters straight out of pigeon hole stereotype land. Saying that, it’s damn good in a easy popcorn kinda way with enough pace and gore to keep me occupied.

The story is a simple one. Cheerleaders at summer camp get slaughtered by an unknown killer. Meanwhile, the guys at the camp try hard as they can to catch a glimpse of the chicks in the changing room, pure Porky’s style. One by one the girls are picked off and before we know it, the camp is deserted apart from a few. Who is the killer? What is their motive? You’ll get to find out in the final scene.

This is real reminiscent showing the80’s to be cool and chic, now obviously we watch and laugh at the big hair and shocking clothes, but the film isn’t bad. It’s actually a well made movie with good structure and an interesting reasoning behind the murders. We have conflict of characters and social groups. Fat kids, cleaver kids, popular and bitches and beautiful people all out to gain some kind of respect and a bit of life skill from their time at camp and for me, this is the films strength. The murders are all a bit obvious but put that aside and you’ll enjoy this little nostalgia trip.

Betsey Russell (Now queen of the SAW films), Lucinda Dickey, Lorie Griffin and the talented Teri Weigel all star here, with some other good performances from Travis McKenner and Leif Garret. Don’t expect any Oscar performances and you won’t be disappointed.

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