Wolves of Wall Street

Wolves of Wall Street

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Today’s feature is David DeCoteau’s Wolves of Wall Street, about literal werewolf stock brokers.

Wolves of Wall Street was written by Barry L. Levy, who also provided screenplays for the films Vantage Point, Paranoia, and a short film called How The Pimp Saved Christmas.

Wolves of Wall Street was directed by David DeCoteau, an infamous b-movie director who has been behind such films as Puppet Master III, Dr. Alien, Prehysteria 3, The Killer Eye, Retro Puppet Master, and A Talking Cat?!?

The cinematographer for the film was Horacio Marquinez, who shot movies like World’s Greatest Dad, Vacancy 2, StarStruck, and Dummy.

The team of effects workers for Wolves of Wall Street included Luke DiTomasso (A Most Violent Year, Nurse Jackie), Tobi Britton (The Flamingo Kid), Brian Abbott (Captivity, Party Monster), Ildiko Juhasz (Return To Sleepaway Camp), and Leza Ann Rawlins (The Motel, Going Under).

The team of producers for Wolves of Wall Street was made up of Paul Colichman (Murder Dot Com, Gods and Monsters), Roberta Friedman (A Good Night To Die, Alphabet City), Andreas Hess (Ice Spiders), Sylvia Hess (Nuclear Hurricane, An Accidental Christmas), Michael Mahoney (Castle Freak, Trancers 5), and Jeffrey Schenck (Malibu Shark Attack, Big Monster On Campus).

wolveswallstreet2The musical score for the film was provided by Harry Manfredini, who has provided music for such memorable horror films as Friday the 13th, Swamp Thing, House, Deepstar Six, Wishmaster, Jason X, and The Omega Code.

The cast for the film included Eric Roberts (Miss Castaway, Inherent Vice, Doctor Who), Elisa Donovan (Clueless), Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles), John-Paul Lavoisier (One Life To Live), Jason-Shane Scott (Starship Troopers 2), Michael Bergin (Baywatch), William Gregory Lee (Justified), and Jeff Branson (The Young and The Restless).

The story of Wolves of Wall Street follows a young, aspiring stock broker as he moves to New York and breaks into the world of Wall Street. In order to make his way, he joins up with a ruthless firm of brokers, who demand his life in exchange for success. Also, they are apparently werewolves.

wolveswallstreet3Wolves of Wall Street, as the title suggests, is (very) loosely based on the story of Jordan Belfourt, which would be made famous in Martin Scorsese’s lauded film The Wolf of Wall Street. Belfourt, on top of his notorious career on Wall Street, produced a number of b-movies (including Santa With Muscles) over the years, and became a friend of David DeCoteau’s from acting as a producer on his films Skeletons and Prey of the Jaguar.

Wolves of Wall Street, shockingly, is not a very subtle movie. The parallels between wolves and stock brokers are made constantly and explicitly, to the point that is is exhausting to sit through. Stock brokers are shown urinating on objects to claim them, obsessing over red meat, showing off superhuman senses of smell, and pack hunting, and the full moon might just have more screen time than Eric Roberts by the end of the movie. Before I even got halfway through the movie, I was muttering to myself “yeah, I get it.” At the same time, the movie does everything it can to not show that the stock brokers are actual werewolves, which I have to assume was a budget decision. After all, special effects makeup is expensive, and I think this movie was made for less than the wardrobe costs of The Wolf of Wall Street.

One of my biggest issues with Wolves of Wall Street is that the supposedly relatable and pure protagonist is a bit of an asshat from the beginning of the film. The central romance of the movie is the direct result of him essentially cornering a woman and refusing to accept that she didn’t want to date him, which eventually gets him what he wants. As the plot goes on, he becomes increasingly possessive and aggressively jealous. Basically, he is exactly the sort of jackass that the rest of the stock brokers are, but the audience is supposed to be on his side because he is theoretically good-hearted deep down. It doesn’t help that the actor playing him is absolutely terrible, but the writing of the character would have ruined him regardless.

Worse than the bad characters, abysmal acting, and heavy-handed writing is the hard fact that this movie is just plain boring. In spite of all of those other problems, this might have made for a fun and cheesy film with the right spin on it. Unfortunately, this movie as it stands is the rough equivalent of watching paint dry, and I know what I’m talking about there. The only reason I might recommend watching this movie is for the interesting tangential connection to Jordan Belfourt and the much superior Scorcese movie, and because of how hilarious this movie would have been if it starred Leonardo DiCaprio as the Belfourt surrogate and Matthew McConaughey in Eric Roberts’s role. If only.

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Dracula 2000

Dracula 2000

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Today’s feature is Dracula 2000, a Wes Craven produced re-imagining of the classic vampire mythos for the new millennium.

Dracula 2000 was written and produced by Joel Soisson, who also wrote the screenplays for Hollow Man 2, Mimic 2, and Trick or Treat.

Dracula 2000 was directed and edited by Patrick Lussier, who also directed the films Drive Angry, The Prophecy 3, White Noise 2, and the remake of My Bloody Valentine, and cut such films as Scream, Mimic, New Nightmare, and Vampire in Brooklyn.

The cinematographer for the film was Peter Pau, who also shot Shoot Em Up, Double Team, Bride of Chucky, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The musical score for Dracula 2000 was provided by Marco Beltrami, who also did the music for the movies Scream, Snowpiercer, Hellboy, and The Faculty.

The team of producers on Dracula 2000  included the famed Miramax duo of brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, acclaimed horror master Wes Craven, W.K. Border (The Prophecy, Maniac Cop 3), Marianne Maddalena (Scream, Shocker, The People Under The Stairs), Andrew Rona (The Brothers Grimm, Mimic), and Ron Schmidt (Foxcatcher, Black Snake Moan).

dracula20004The makeup effects for the film were provided by Wendi Lynn Allison (24), Carla Brenholtz (Sabotage), Snowy Highfield (Pulse, Burying the Ex), Paul Jones (Wishmaster) Steven Lawrence (I Know Who Killed Me), Sean Sansom (Jason X), Gary J. Tunnicliffe (Blade), and Mark Wotton (Hannibal, Jason X).

The Dracula 2000 special effects crew included Taku Dazai (Death to Smoochy, Slither), James Gawley (Jacob’s Ladder), Daniel Gibson (X-Men), Walter Klassen (Death to Smoochy, Tommy Boy), Ted Ross (In The Mouth of Madness, The Fly).

The cast for the film included Johnny Lee Miller (Hackers), Gerard Butler (Reign of Fire, 300), Christopher Plummer (Wolf, The Sound of Music), Justine Waddell (The Fall), Jenifer Esposito (Crash), Omar Epps (House M.D.), Sean Patrick Thomas (The Fountain), Danny Masterson (That 70s Show), and Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle).

dracula20003The plot of Dracula 2000 follows the traditional Bram Stoker vampire mythos into present-day New Orleans, with a few religious twists on the lore. Dracula is revived after a botched robbery at Van Helsing’s estate, leading to a series of vampiric shenanigans.

Dracula 2000 interestingly has no relation to the infamously terrible Dracula 3000, but did have two direct-to-video sequels: 2003’s Dracula II: Ascension and 2005’s Dracula III: Legacy.

Dracula 2000 was made on an estimated budget of $54 million, on which it grossed $33 million domestically and a total of $47 million worldwide, making it a financial failure on the whole.

The reception for Dracula 2000 was generally negative. It currently holds a 4.9 rating on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 17% from critics and 40% from general audiences.

The long life of Van Helsing, which is critical to the plot of Dracula 2000, isn’t explained particularly well in the story. He is revealed to have lived multiple generations (he poses as his own grandson), which is related to his injections of what is shown to be vampire blood harvested through leeches. While this treatment does give him an unnaturally long life, he doesn’t appear to become an actual vampire as a result of it. It is never really clear how these rules work: do the leeches filter out the vampiric impurities of the blood? If so, why does it still make Van Helsing vital? While it does provide an interesting aesthetic and justification for Van Helsing’s presence, the gimmick ultimately doesn’t make a lot of sense.

It is explicitly stated in the first act of Dracula 2000 that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a fictional work that exists in the universe of the movie. However, people are shown to be inconsistent in their knowledge of vampire lore. For instance, the outside notion of a vampire actually being real doesn’t occur to any of the thieves in the movie, despite the fact that they discover a locked coffin in the catacombs beneath a building owned by a man named Van Helsing. With the amount of prep work that they had to have done for the job (including the creation of elaborate fake optics and voice replication of Van Helsing), there’s just no way that at least a passing reference to Dracula wouldn’t have been made by somebody on the crew.

Another minor detail that bothered me in this movie is that Dracula is shown to be invisible to video recording. Clearly, this was a way to update the concept of vampires not appearing in mirrors, but it just didn’t work very well for me. It felt like an excuse to have shots of people being choked by an invisible entity, which didn’t come out quite as chilling or interesting as the filmmakers had hoped.

One of the most loathed modifications to the Dracula lore in Dracula 2000 is the revelation that Dracula is the biblical traitor Judas Iscariot. This ties into a bit of a larger problem with the movie: it has an extreme amount of religious rhetoric, even for a vampire tale. By the end of the movie, the story makes the director’s cut of The Exorcist look subtle.

The stunts and effects used in Dracula 2000 are unfortunately underwhelming, with a lot of cheap wire work and shoddy-looking visual effects. The action sequences aren’t particularly action-packed, making the generally brooding tone and slow pace all the more painful to sit through.

dracula20002If there is anything really positive to say about Dracula 2000, it is that Gerard Butler is pretty solid as the eponymous blood-sucker (despite limited time in the movie), and it is pretty interesting to see him in a film that was a good few years before his rise to prominence. It is also pretty great to see Nathan Fillion, regardless of how fleeting his role is in the movie. Unfortunately, there isn’t nearly so much positive to say about the rest of the cast, which range anywhere from mediocre to abysmal with their performances.

Overall, Dracula 2000 is a pretty weak movie that was clearly patched together to capitalize on the concept alone. The amount of product placement is almost as nauseating as the soundtrack, and the highlights that do pop up here and there are scarce. Personally, I don’t think there is quite enough entertaining going on here to recommend it as a bad movie watch, and there are many more entertaining and fun vampire movies out there to spend time watching. Unless you are determined to see every film incarnation of Dracula, there isn’t much of a reason to sit through this one.

Monster High

Monster High

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Today’s feature is the 1989 horror comedy, Monster High.

Monster High has two credited writers: John Platt and Roy Langsdon. The two also wrote the screenplays for 1990’s The Forbidden Dance and Out of Sight, Out of Mind. They  later became producers on a variety of reality television shows, including Big Brother, Brat Camp, The Surreal Life, Kid Nation, and Flipping Vegas.

Monster High was directed by Rudy Poe, whose only other directorial works have been a couple of documentaries. However, he did produce a number of Playboy videos in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The cinematographer for the movie was Eric Goldstein, who was a camera operator on such movies as The Island of Doctor Moreau, New Nightmare, Hard Ticket To Hawaii, Kingpin, and American Pie 2.

The editor for Monster High was Warren Chadwick, who cut the films Jungle Warriors, Hollywood High Part II, Scared to Death, and Walking the Edge.

The producers for the film were Annette Cirillo (Return of Swamp Thing), Andrew Deane (The Black Cat, Pick Me Up), Richard Gitelson (Rugrats), Arne Holland (The Lemon Sisters), and Tom Kuhn (Playboy’s Really Naked Truth).

The music on Monster High was provided by Richard Lyons, who also scored the notorious Clint Howard horror film Ice Cream Man.

The effects work on Monster High was provided by the team of David Domeyer (Mulholland Drive, The Running Man), Richard Miranda (American Ninja 4, The Mangler Reborn), Matthew W. Mungle (The Midnight Meat Train, Deep Blue Sea), and Howard St. James (Hobgoblins, Death Street USA).

monsterhigh3The reception to Monster High was generally negative: it currently holds a 35% audience aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes, along with a 3.3 rating on IMDb.

This movie is far more comedy than it is horror, and fails in that endeavor in just about every way.  For example, most of the movie is accompanied by a narrator, who is sure to explain any and all of the cheesy jokes and exposition, despite the fact that everything is clearly laid out to start with. This isn’t just grating, but it drags most of the sequences out longer than they need to be.

The humor in the movie, for the most part, is what you would expect from a modern day Scary Movie sequel: vapid sex comedy and gross-out humor. There is also a bit of self-awareness of the genre’s tropes, but it is mostly buried underneath a mountain of boob, condom, and weed jokes.

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Example: asphyxiation via giant condom

The creative deaths that pop up throughout the film are about the only value it has, courtesy of its extensive class of monsters. This film offers just about every kind of monster you could imagine: aliens with ray guns, mummies, killer plants, an evil computer, zombies, etc, and the variety of deaths go along with them. It seems to me that the effects workers had an absolute ball coming up with the gimmicks and squibs, and they mostly look pretty impressive considering how cheaply the movie was made.

The thing that stood out the most to me about Monster High was the plot, which essentially turns into Space Jam in the last act. An evil alien creates an army of monsters to end the world, and the students at the ground zero high school challenge him to a basketball match to save the planet from destruction. Unfortunately, neither Michael Jordan nor Bugs Bunny make an appearance.

Overall, this movie isn’t good for much more than some vapid, mindless fun. Personally, it isn’t my cup of tea, but I can see how some people would get a kick out of it. The effects are generally impressive, as I mentioned before, but the writing and acting are just atrocious, enough so that I would generally advise avoiding it. That said, if you are into horror comedies that rely on boobs for viewership, this one might be up your alley.

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The Exorcist II: The Heretic

The Exorcist II: The Heretic

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Today’s film is 1977’s notoriously terrible Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Exorcist II was written by William Goodhart, who only had two other film credits in his career: 1980’s Cloud Dancer and 1969’s Generation.

The film was directed and produced by John Boorman, who is known for such films as Zardoz, Deliverance, and Point Blank.

The cinematographer for Exorcist II was William Fraker, who also shot The Island of Doctor Moreau, Street Fighter, Tombstone, 1941, and Rosemary’s Baby, among many others.

Exorcist II had two credited editors: Tom Priestley, who cut Nineteen Eighty-Four, Deliverance, Voyage of the Damned, and The Return of the Pink Panther, and John Merritt, who worked on the Boorman films Zardoz and Excalibur.

The musical score for Exorcist II was provided by Ennio Morricone, who is known for scoring such films as A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Once Upon A Time In The West, The Thing, White Dog, and Wolf.

The effects work on Exorcist II was provided by the team of Ron Berkeley (JFK, The Alamo), Wayne Edgar (The Rookie, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure), Gary Liddiard (Tango & Cash, TRON, Sneakers), Dick Smith (Scanners, Marathon Man, Taxi Driver), Albert Whitlock (Clue, The Thing, The Blues Brothers), Jim Blount (Time After Time), Chuck Gaspar (SpaceCamp, Mitchell, Anaconda), Jeff Jarvis (RoboCop 3, Howard the Duck), Richard Ratliff (Speed, Howard the Duck, Communion, Gremlins), and Bill Hansard (Hudson Hawk, Gremlins).

The cast for the film included Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Ned Beatty (Captain America, Network), James Earl Jones (The Ambulance, Field of Dreams, Conan The Barbarian), Paul Henreid (Casablanca), Kitty Winn (The Exorcist), Max von Sydow (Minority Report, Judge Dredd), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), and Richard Burton (Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?).

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The plot of Exorcist II follows Reagan, who was possessed in the first movie, as she has entered young adulthood. While she doesn’t recall the events of the first film, she is put through experimental hypnosis in order for doctors and priests to learn more about what happened, and hopefully save future possession victims.

Reportedly, the original cast and crew of The Exorcist were almost unilaterally against the idea of the film having a sequel. Linda Blair eventually agreed to be involved, but later hated the eventual product.

Before John Boorman was brought on board to direct the film, an offer was made to have the legendary director Stanley Kubrick helm the project, which he unsurprisingly declined. Boorman was approached because he was initially considered for the original film, but chose to make Zardoz instead, which proved to be a colossal failure.

Reportedly, the rough cut of the movie was 3 hours long, and had to be dramatically cut and simplified for the theatrical release. After the initial poor reception, it was re-cut again in hopes of improving the response, which was ultimately futile.

Exorcist II: The Heretic was followed by three more sequels in the franchise: 1990’s The Exorcist III, 2004’s Exorcist: The Beginning, and 2005’s Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist.

A number of actors were considered for the lead role in Exorcist II: The Heretic, including Jack Nicholson, David Carradine, and Jon Voight.

The screenplay written by William Goodhart was mostly ignored throughout the filming of the movie, and was rewritten nearly day-to-day throughout the production.

At the time, Exorcist II was the most expensive film ever produced by the Warner Brothers studio, with an estimated budget of $14 million. It was ultimately profitable, raking in over $30 million domestically, but far under-performed on its lofty expectations.

The reception to Exorcist II was legendarily negative. The original writer of The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty, claimed that he openly laughed when he fist saw the movie, and that people threw objects at the screen during the screening he attended. The Exorcist director William Friedkin is quoted as saying that the film “was as bad as seeing a traffic accident in the street. It was horrible.” Currently, it holds Rotten Tomatoes aggregated scores of 22% from critics and 13% from audiences, along with an IMDb rating of 3.7.

One of the most perplexing aspects of Exorcist II is the music, which couldn’t be more of a departure from the menacing, minimal, and iconic theme of the first movie. It almost defies description: the theme is something between rock and pop, but somehow sounds not quite like either. Other parts of the score sound like they were pulled straight out of a spaghetti western. Ultimately, none of it quite fits with what the movie should have been.

Exorcist II contains a number of surreal dream sequences, which are meant to explain the origins of the possession in the first movie. While they are visually striking and interestingly shot, they never come close to being honestly coherent, which almost certainly turned off most casual audiences.

The screenplay is almost certainly the weakest link with Exorcist II: both the story and the dialogue are severely lacking, and the reported constant rewriting almost certainly didn’t help anything. It is hard to say how much of the fault is with the initial screenplay and how much is due to the rewriting, but I think it is fair to say that neither were done particularly well.

Overall, I found Exorcist II a bit too boring to justify sitting through as a good-bad watch. There are certainly highlights, but the only reason I would recommend watching it is because of how publicly the movie failed, and how much it has seeped into the public consciousness over the years. It comes off not unlike Zardoz: a bad art movie with high aspirations and barely a shred of coherence. But, for what it is worth, I think Zardoz is a far more enjoyable bad movie watch.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Friday the 13th Part VII

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Today’s feature is Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, in which Jason Vorhees faces off against a telekinetic heroine.

Friday the 13th Part VII was directed by special effects guru John Carl Buechler, who also directed the movies Troll and Ghoulies Go To College. His special effects credits included movies like From Beyond, Dolls, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Carnosaur, The Gingerdead Man, and Robot Jox, among many others.

The cinematographer for the film was Paul Elliott, who also shot Fat Albert, My Girl, and 976-EVIL, and provided camera work on Legion, No Country For Old Men, True Grit, Trick or Treat, Saturday the 14th, and Humanoids From The Deep.

Friday the 13th Part VII had three credited editors: Maureen O’Connell (The Hidden, Doogie Howser, M.D.), Martin Jay Sadoff (Graduation Day), and Barry Zetlin (Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, Ghoulies II, Children of the Corn II).

The music for the movie is credited to two people: prolific horror score composer Harry Manfredini (Jason X, Wolves of Wall Street, DeepStar Six, House, Friday the 13th, The Omega Code, Slaughter High, Wishmaster, Swamp Thing) and Fred Mollin, who would return to do the music for Friday the 13th Part VIII.

The team of producers for Friday the 13th Part VII included Barbara Sachs (Friday the 13th Part VIII), Iain Paterson (House of Cards, The Riches, Are You Afraid Of The Dark?), and Frank Mancuso Jr. (Species, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning).

The special effects team on Friday the 13th Part VII included, apart from director John Carl Buechler, Lynn Buechler (Carnosaur, Ghoulies), Lou Carlucci (In the Mix, Killer Klowns From Outer Space), John Criswell (From Beyond, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie), Robin L. D’Arcy (North, House II), Jim Doyle (The Stuff, Showgirls), John Foster (Robot Jox, Carnosaur), Greg Johnson (From Beyond, Critters), David Kindlon (Leprechaun, Wolf, DeepStar Six), Joe Podnar (The Midnight Meat Train), Timothy Ralston (Evolver), Patrick Simmons (Arena), Richard Snell (Hudson Hawk, The Running Man), and Heidi Snyder (Ghoulies II, Gremlins 2).

The cast of the movie is made up of Kane Hodder (Jason X, Friday the 13th Part VIII), Susan Blu (Jem, The Transformers), Lar Park Lincoln (House II), Terry Kiser (Weekend At Bernie’s, Weekend At Bernie’s II), Kevin Spirtas (The Hills Have Eyes Part II), Heidi Kozak (Slumber Part Massacre II), and William Butler (Ghoulies II, Arena).

Friday the 13th Part VII was the first Friday the 13th movie to feature Kane Hodder as Jason, who is now the most popularly associated actor with the role. He was already an experienced stunt coordinator, and provided his own stunts in the film.

Most of the music used in the film is recycled from the previous movies in the franchise, which is why Harry Manfredini is given a music credit. The few original compositions that were used were provided by Fred Mollin, who shares the music credit.

The original vision for the movie was to pit Jason Vorhees against Freddy Kruger, but New Line Cinema and Paramount Pictures weren’t able to figure out the logistics behind the scenes. However, the ending of Friday the 13th Part IX officially combines the universes, and sets up their eventual confrontation in 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason. Due to the lack of Freddy Kruger, the screenplay for Friday the 13th Part VII was eventually written for a Carrie-like telekinetic adversary instead.

Jason X, the tenth film in the franchise, re-creates an infamous death sequence from Friday the 13th Part VII, in which Jason traps a teenager in their sleeping bag and slams them repeatedly against a tree.

Reportedly, it took nine re-submissions with new cuts in order for Friday the 13th Part VII to get an R rating from the MPAA ratings board, which was dead set on giving the film an X. Because of this, a number of death sequences were left on the cutting room floor.

The writing work done for Friday the 13th Part VII is a bit of a mystery. The initial writer of the screenplay, Daryl Haney, was dismissed early in the production, and all of the rewrites are credited to an apparent pseudonym, Manuel Fidello.

The budget for Friday the 13th Part VII was under $3 million, on which it grossed over $19 million domestically in its theatrical run.

The reception to Friday the 13th Part VII was generally negative, though it has a bit of a cult following among horror fans now. It currently holds a 5.2 rating on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes aggregate scores of 26% from critics and 38% from audiences.

Personally, I think that Friday the 13th Part VII deserves some credit for doing something a little different with the franchise. In all of the previous entries, Jason had never had a real challenger before with any kind of otherworldly or paranormal powers. While Tommy Jarvis was able to get the better of him twice, he is definitely just a human, and wasn’t a toe to toe match for Jason. Tina, on the other hand, has the destructive powers of her telekinesis, which she uses to physically challenge Jason.

The effects team for The New Blood clearly had a blast thinking of ways to use Tina’s telekinesis to fight Jason, and the powers certainly opened up a lot of new doors and possibilities for deaths and effects. Personally, I am a big fan of the entire sequence where Tina essentially collapses a house in on top of Jason with her powers.

It is pretty evident that the MPAA ratings cuts hurt the movie significantly. A lot of the draw for the Friday the 13th franchise films are the creative deaths and effects work, which is primarily what got cut and minimized in order to get an R rating. I doubt that the uncut version would have fared tremendously better with audiences, but it would almost certainly have worked better for die hard fans of the franchise.

The appearance of Jason under the mask in The New Blood is really strange and demonic, more so than he is in the other movies. While Jason’s appearance varies somewhat from movie to movie, he is usually more zombie-like and decayed than demonic. Whether you dig his look here or not, it certainly stands out as one of the most memorable faces of Jason in the franchise.

fridaypartseven1Overall, Friday the 13th Part VII is one of the most memorable entries into the franchise, if not anywhere near being one of the best. I generally recommend giving it a watch just based on the ludicrous premise alone. Personally, I think it is more enjoyable than the other “bad” entries into the franchise, and would recommend it over Jason X, Part V, or Part VIII.

Leprechaun In The Hood

Leprechaun In The Hood

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Today’s film is one of the most notorious horror sequels of all time: Leprechaun In The Hood, the fifth entry into the franchise.

Leprechaun In The Hood was directed, produced, and co-written by Rob Spera, who has worked extensively on the television shows Criminal Minds and Army Wives, as well as the films Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp and Sexual Predator.

The cinematographer for the film was Mike Mickens, who was a camera operator on such films as Bats and The Apostate before shooting Leprechaun In The Hood.

The editor for Leprechaun In The Hood was JJ Jackson, who cut a number of episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County, along with an assortment of low-budget movies.

leprechaunhood2The team of producers for Leprechaun In The Hood included Bruce David Eisen (The Dentist 2, Trucks, Evolver, The Dentist), Ralph Cooper (Hugo Pool), Michael P. Flanagan (Pitch Perfect, 88 Minutes, The Black Dahlia), Darn Spillman (Blood Surf, Van Wilder: Freshman Year), and Mike Upton (John Wick, Black Christmas).

The effects work for the movie was provided by a team that included Gabe Bartalos (From Beyond, Dolls, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun), Terri Lynn (Saturday the 14th Strikes Back), Christian Boudman (Double Team, Men In Black 3), Tim Jacobsen (Mad Men, Lie To Me, Terriers), and Craig Kuehne (Fringe, Grimm).

The cast for Leprechaun In The Hood was made up of Ice-T (Tank Girl, Johnny Mnemonic), Warwick Davis (Leprechaun, Willow), Lobo Sebastian (Columbus Day, The Longest Yard), Dan Martin (Heat), Anthony Montgomery (Star Trek: Enterprise), and Rashaan Nall (Cuts, One on One).

Leprechaun In The Hood was the fifth film in the Leprechaun franchise, following Leprechaun 4: In Space. It was followed up by a direct sequel: Leprechaun: Back 2 The Hood, though it was a sequel in title only.

The Leprechaun series was recently rebooted in 2014 with the film Leprechaun: Origins, which was produced by WWE studios with the wrestler Dylan ‘Hornswoggle’ Postl taking over the titular role.

Though Leprechaun In The Hood has a definite ironic cult following now, it was certainly not well received at the time. It currently holds an abysmal 3.6 rating on IMDb, along with comparably low Rotten Tomatoes scores of 33% from critics and 31% from audiences.

Leprechaun In The Hood is packed full of poor attempts at humor throughout its run time, which mostly just come off as being offensive to a variety of people, and not necessarily even the ones you would expect. For example, this movie is graced with offensive portrayals of Asians and trans women, which is not something I expected from a movie about an Irish mythic figure invading Los Angeles.

leprechaunhood5The constant rhyming from the Warwick Davis’s Leprechaun is as grating as ever in Leprechaun In The Hood, but has the added dimension of being integrated into music in the movie. The infamous rap number that concludes the film is about as close the movie comes to having a real highlight.

Speaking of the rap number, the way the film is edited actually pulls the sequence out of the chronology of the story. The Leprechaun’s rap at the end of the film is shown to be how he possesses a number of women, who were used as his servants throughout most of the movie. Clearly, the rap number was intended for earlier in the film to establish his power of possession and the characters of his minions, but the film was re-cut at some point to move the sequence.

leprechaunhood3Overall, Leprechaun In The Hood is only about as entertaining as the premise can carry it. The writing tries a little too hard to be funny, and comes off as shitty and offensive instead. Personally, I think Leprechaun 3 is the most entertaining entry into the franchise, but there are plenty out there who swear by this one. For bad movie fans, it is essential watching regardless, but I think that it generally fails to live up to its potential.

Shredder

Shredder

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Today’s feature is the 2003 snowboarding-themed slasher movie, Shredder.

Shredder was directed and co-written by Greg Huson, whose only other notable credits are for editing a variety of Playboy documentaries. His co-writer for the film was Craig Donald Carlson, who apparently served as an electrician on the killer puppet movie Pinnochio’s Revenge.

The cinematographer for the film was Charles Schner, who was a camera operator on Carnosaur 3 and Captain America: Civil War, and worked on a variety of television shows including The Mentalist, My Name Is Earl, and American Horror Story.

The editor for Shredder was Andi Armaganian, who has done extensive cutting work on the television shows Arrow and Smallville.

The musical score for Shredder was provided by Alan Derian, who was composed music for a variety of low budget features, including Red Line, Beatdown, Beneath the Blue, and Eye of the Dolphin.

The team of producers for Shredder were Jerry P. Jacobs (Disaster Movie, Cyber Tracker), Geof Miller (DeepStar Six, House IV), and Rory Veal (Lovers Lane),

The effects work for the film was provided by the team of Jerry L. Buxbaum (The Kill Hole, Bullet), Mark Villalobos (Army of Darkness, The Mangler, The Prophecy), Minky Billups (Baby Geniuses, Mission Impossible: II), and Scott Billups (Barb Wire).

The cast for Shredder included Scott Eric Weinger (Aladdin), Lindsey McKeon (Saved By The Bell: The New Class), Billy O’Sullivan (The Van Dyke Show), Brad Hawkins (Boyhood), and Candace Moon (Lions For Lambs, Speed Demon).

Shredder was briefly released to theaters in parts of the northwestern United States, where snowboarding is a big hobby.

In Japan, there was apparently an attempt to market the film as a Friday the 13th sequel, going by the title of Jason Z, which was an aping of the 2001 hit Jason X.

shredder3The reception to Shredder was very negative: it currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes aggregated audience score of 24%, alongside an IMDb rating of 4.5.

Shredder is plagued with awful characters and dialogue from start to finish. There is a constant barrage of lines like “You are so killer!” and “Somebody kill me!,” and more utterances of the word “dude” than I have ever heard outside of The Big Lebowski. The characters are by and large immature brats of high class birth who aren’t identifiable in the slightest, and basically only exist to be “shredded.” By the end of the film, I hated snowboarders as much as the killer, and couldn’t help but pull for the masked skiier to finish off the bunch.

shredder2Shredder tries to ride the line between horror and comedy, presenting an assortment of red herrings and ludicrous character deaths. Personally, I got a slight chuckle out of the sheer silliness of the frozen corpse inside of a snowman and the snow angels made with killed snowboarders. However, most of the attempts at humor just don’t work in the slightest, and come off as either in poor taste or just extremely lazy. In a lot of ways, it bears similarities to Scream in how the characters are written with an awareness of slasher movie tropes, but without any sense of subtlety.

Overall, Shredder is a fairly generic slasher movie that clearly had aspirations of being more. As it is, though, there isn’t a whole lot to recommend here. Horror fans might enjoy it for the generic slasher that it is, but it certainly isn’t anything unique to go out of the way for.