HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

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Five years after the events of Friday the 13th, a new group of camp counselors line up for the slaughter!

40 years ago this weekend, 4/30/81 to be exact, Friday the 13th Part 2 was released in theaters and a classic horror icon was born! Jason arrived to avenge his mother, in this installment, and thus his iconic character first came to life! HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

MZNJ PERSONAL NOTE: Saw F13P2 opening night at the Hackensack Drive-In Little Ferry, N.J.

Screen-Shot-2016-04-26-at-8.55.19-PMJason arrives to avenge his mom and horror history is made!

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Life lessons to be learned in F13P2! Fun-loving Ted (Stuart Charno) survives the movie by staying at the bar and continuing to get drunk!

-MonsterZero NJ

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: WARLOCK (1989)

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WARLOCK (1989)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Flick opens in 1691 New England with a captured Warlock (Julian Sands) awaiting his execution. Dark forces arise to free him and the evil conjurer is cast some 300 years into the future. He lands unconscious in the home of waitress Kassandra (Lori Singer) and her roommate Chas (Kevin O’Brien), who mistake him for a wayward drunk and give him shelter (Really? Who does that?). This questionable decision proves fatal for Chad and thrusts the ditzy Kassandra in the middle of an ages-old battle, as The Warlock is tasked by Satan himself to reassemble the pieces of the Grand Grimoire and witch hunter Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant) travels across time to stop him.

While not a comedy, film is directed with a bit of a humorous touch by Steve Miner (Friday The 13th Part 2 and Part 3) from a script by David Twohy (The Arrival, Pitch Black). There certainly are a lot horror elements present, like torn out eyeballs, potions made from a human child’s body fat and cut out tongues, but it is far more similar in tone to Miner’s House than his Friday the 13th films. There is entertainment to be had, but the film probably would have been more effective if the tone remained a bit more consistent one way or the other. The more humorous elements sort of fade in and out and thus it makes it a bit uneven tonally. Most of the humor centers around Singer’s Kassandra, Her lighter, oddball character doesn’t seem quite right as The Warlock and Redferne are played very seriously. The FX haven’t aged well, though were probably not considered top notch back in it’s day, either. The make-up FX look a bit rubbery and the visual FX, such as The Warlock’s flight abilities and animated spells, are quite cheesy. There is some unintentional silliness, too and as a whole, the film hasn’t aged all that well, either, though there is enough nostalgia to make it fun, even if it’s not quite the classic one remembers it to be.

The film has a good cast though the character tones are as uneven as moments in the film. Julian Sands smartly plays The Warlock very straight and sinister and it gives the film a lot of it’s effectiveness. He oozes malice and will drink a potion made from the body fat of a murdered child with relish. He makes a strong villain. Grant also plays his witch hunter seriously and this also helps make the character effective as the “Loomis” to Sands’ magical Michael Myers. The two play off each other well. Lori Singer plays “Kassandra with a K” with a more light touch and a lot of the film’s humorous elements center around her. The character doesn’t to quite fit in with the more serious take that her co-stars’ characters have and it almost feels like her waitress is from another movie, a romantic comedy perhaps. Script and director are probably more to blame than the actress. Despite being portrayed as a bit flighty, Kassandra is not a woman without her cleverness or resolve. She is very likable. The film also features an appearance by cult movie legend Mary Woronov as a medium.

A bit of a cult classic in some circles and it can be fun, if not a bit tonally uneven. It’s not a comedy, but doesn’t feel like a straight-up horror either. It is nostalgic, though also a bit dated and it might have been more of a treat had it been played a touch more seriously. The cast perform well, though Singer’s Kassandra seems a bit out of place in the proceedings, as she is played with a bit of a humorous touch, while the male leads play it completely straight. Worth a revisit for those who saw it back in the day and worth a watch for those discovering the horror flicks of the 80s.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) time traveling warlocks.

 

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: LAKE PLACID (1999)

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LAKE PLACID (1999)

Horror/comedy takes place at a remote lake in Maine where a diver has been chewed up by something living beneath the waters. NYC Paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) is sent up to investigate and she teams up with Fish and Game officer Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) and local sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson) to find out what hungry critter has now made Black Lake it’s hunting ground. To their horror, a massive 30 ft. crocodile has taken up residence there and now they need to find a way to stop the monster reptile.

Fun nature run amok flick is directed by Steve (Friday the 13th part 2 & 3) Miner, from a script by David E. Kelley, that mixes the horror and humor elements very well. There is some solid suspense, some really well done action sequences and enough humor mixed in, for it to be a really entertaining 82 minutes. The story is very familiar and basic and the explanation for the creature’s presence there is a bit thin. On the plus side, it’s fast paced and there is enough carnage to secure an R rating, but not too much as to scare away mainstream audiences. The healthy budget is up on screen and there are a bunch of very likable characters to frolic with Stan Winston’s animatronic crocodile…with some reasonably well-done CGI critter scenes mixed in. One with an ill-fated grizzly bear stands out as very effective and amusing. It’s a good-time popcorn thriller that never tries to be more than the big budget B-movie it is and even if it’s nothing new story-wise, Miner milks the familiar scenario for the most he can get out of it.

The cast are all solid in their roles and seem to all have a good chemistry on film. Pullman is a charming, yet gruff hero who matches up perfectly with Fonda’s cute but nerdy scientist. Gleeson is fun as the bumpkin local sheriff and Oliver Platt is equally entertaining as a very enthusiastic professor, who joins the hunt. Betty White is a delight as a local who lives on the lake and Meredith Salenger is sexy and sweet as local deputy Sharon Gare. A really good cast that all get the tone of the material and play it just straight enough, but yet with a bit of a wink at the audience, as it is all in fun.

This is a very amusing nature run amok flick that can be played along with Alligator, Grizzly and just about any other B-movie of this kind you can think of. It’s fast moving, suspenseful, has just enough carnage and just enough humor to make it an all around entertaining night on the couch. A good cast and solid direction give this familiar tale some nice bite! A moderate box office hit that has gained quite an affectionate cult following in the years since it’s initial release. It became a franchise on the SYFY channel with a number of DTV sequels.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) crocodiles!

 

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 (1981)

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FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 (1981)

The original Friday The 13th is a bonafide horror classic and it spawned a much beloved series with Jason being a cool and iconic horror character. I saw the first sequel at the Hackensack Drive-In in Little Ferry, N.J. in 1981 and despite not being all that thrilled with it at the time, I still followed the series in a theater till giving up after F13 VII. Recently I have decided to return to the series and revisit the sequels and this is obviously the first I re-watched this after decades of not having seen it.

So how does it fare now? Part 2 was initially a big disappointment after the first movie, but has grown on me since then. It doesn’t quite match it’s predecessor, but is competently made and has it’s share of scares, suspense and fun. It follows the formula faithfully, with a new batch of counselors in peril. The second film opens with the first film’s final girl Alice (Adrienne King) about two months after she survived the massacre of her fellow camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake and let’s just say finding Mrs. Voorhees decapitated head in her fridge is only the beginning of her problems. We then jump five years later where Alice’s fate is now a campfire story for a new camp opening on Crystal Lake, not far from where the original massacres took place. The urban legend of Jason Voorhees still lurking in the woods, provides spooky tall tales for a new group of nubile and attractive camp counselors, until it becomes a horrifying reality when an unknown assailant wearing a sack over his head starts brutally killing off the young camp employees one by bloody one. Could it really be Jason returned to avenge his mother and will anyone survive?

Series producer Steve Miner took over from Sean S. Cunningham for the next two installments and his directing style is polished, a bit by-the-numbers, but gives the film some of the atmosphere and suspense the series initially had until it ran out of gas later on. The kills are a bit less inspired and far less graphic and a few of them even happen off camera. What little make-up FX we see, are well done, but there is less of one of the things that made the first F13 stand out…the gore.

The cast are fine with lead Amy Steel being a very likable heroine as counselor Ginny. She outsmarts Jason quite cleverly despite being scared out of her wits. John Furey is adequate but forgettable as Paul, her boyfriend and head counselor. The rest of the young cast are very attractive, but basically stereotypes, who are just there to be lambs for the slaughter and as such, they are fine. Lauren-Marie Taylor as sweet Vickie stands out, as does Kirsten Baker as the sexy, saucy Terry and amusing Stu Charno as Ted, who smartly stays at the bar while the others at camp meet their dooms.

There are a few nice touches and nods to the original that I won’t spoiler here and the flick does have the distinction of being the first film where Jason (Steve Daskewisz in costume and a mask-less Warrington Gillette in make-up) is the killer, though here he not only wears overalls and a sack over his head, but is average size and gets smacked around pretty good by Ginny in the last act. It wasn’t till Part 3 that he got his hockey mask and appeared as more of the hulking giant that he would remain till this day.

The film does now have some nice added 80s nostalgia added to it and is one of the better sequels despite not quite having the gritty style and gory killings of Part 1Harry Manfredini’s iconic score is there to give it the Friday The 13th movie feel and it has a very attractive cast. As with the original, it comes complete with shock ending, though it seems a little forced here. Also stars Walt Gorney as crazy old Ralph, who should have taken his own advice.

3 hockey masks.

friday 13 original rating

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