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Hatchet Trilogy

Or Quadrilogy, I should say.

HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH, FRIENDS  A F13 in October?  What a gift we have been bestowed in this crazy year they call ‘2017.’

My usual F13 plans involve, well, watching a Jason Voorhees flick, because, of course.  But that’s not why you’re here.  You’re here because you’ve seen all the popular slashers and it’s the middle of October, and you want MORE. Don’t worry, I’m here.

So while I would usually be watching a Voorhees flick, I am actually currently attending the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.  Tonight is slasher night and while there is no Voorhees, we will get to see Kane Hodder  (who’s often adorned that iconic hockey mask as Jason) on the big screen as Victor Crowley in the fourth installment of the series.  Hatchet is often skimmed over by slasher fans, so I am here to share it with you, dear readers.

The entire trilogy reads like one long movie as each picks up exactly where the last left off.  After the mysterious and tragic death of a boy in a swamp in Louisiana, legends spring up about a father accidentally killing his son, a deformed cursed boy, and a fire set by mean spirited boys.  Victor Crowley, the cursed deformed boy, terrorizes anyone who comes to the swamp after dark.  After her family falls victim to Crowley, Mary Beth sets off on a mission to rescue her father and brothers and rid the swamp of the curse of Victor Crowley.

This series is great junk food when you’re looking for a new slasher, and, who isn’t.  I won’t lie to you, the third installment is by a landslide, my favourite, so I recommend committing to this trilogy.  It’s absolutely obscene and has no excuse for some of its missteps, but you will certainly be entertained.  Settle into this while I screen part 4 for you tonight at #tadff.  I’ll let you know how it is.

Great if you liked: A Nightmare on Elm Street, NOES, Friday the 13th, Jason Goes to Hell, Jason Lives, The Final Friday, Scream, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, I Know what you did Last Summer, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, My Bloody Valentine, Maniac

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Predestination

It’s Tuesday.  Perfect time for some thinking Sci-Fi in Predestination.

Ethan Hawke stars as a Temporal agent on the hunt for a criminal, the Fizzle Bomber, who has eluded him through time.  A Temporal agent’s duties involve intricate travels through time to ensure their law enforcement exists “through eternity.” On his final mission, he is to take out his elusive white whale.

Dripping with unseen hints, a story is told to the agent by a bar patron (who oddly looks a lot like Leonardo DiCaprio) of  Jane, of a shattered career, lost love, and the amazing feats of human kind.

You could see two different trailers for this film and think they’re completely unrelated.  But they’re not.  Watch closely.

Predestination is great for, among other reasons, the fact that it plays with our linear sense of time.  Typically, we see time as a straight line from past, present to future.  For our Temporal Agent, his past, present and future transcends our timeline and exists in a line linear to his age, but not through that of our universe. (Whoooaaaa).

This is one of the highest quality, in both production value and story, sci fi films that I have seen come out of the festival circuit.  Based on a short story by the legendary Robert A. Heinlein, and adapted for film by the makers of Daybreakers, this is not one to go missed.

Amazing if you liked: Daybreakers, Looper, Source Code, In Time, Snowpiercer, Minority Report

The Guest

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I have been on quite a classic horror binge as of late, which is a great way to remind myself of all of the amazing tropes parodied by my favourite genre: modern camp horror.

Few have done camp horror quite as well as Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, the writer director duo behind The Guest.

Coming off the success of their sleeper hit, You’re Next, the duo took their new found big budget and turned it into the camp horror dreams were made of (and then sprinkled in a bunch of action).

Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) stars as “David,” a soldier returning from active duty and visiting the family of his fallen platoon member.  The Peterson family invites David to stay with them for a few days, where slowly his strange behaviour begins to show its face, mostly to the daughter, a teenage waitress forced to have David tag-a-long in her day to day life as a social high schooler.

This flick dives so far into awesome camp that it is mashing of two of my all time favourite films, Terminator 2 and Halloween, which is somehow also funny, and goes next level into some Jason Bourne, and German Sci Fi places.

Every detail makes this film fun, from the classic 80’s style euro synth music, to the long shots of solo characters.  You won’t know whether to love or hate David, but you’ll definitely want to recycle some of his lines to sound cool (re: ‘cash is easy to get’ and ‘awesome’).  It’s also a great spot for Maika Monroe who is quickly making her name as the Scream Queen of the Y generation.

Great if you liked: You’re Next, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, It Follows, The Final Girls, V/H/S, Rec, The Strangers, Terminator, Terminator 2

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

One of the most terrifying horror films of the 70’s (a right unreal time for horror) was the film inspired by true events that occurred in Texarkana, Arkansas, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976). (Bonus round, another great film if you haven’t seen it).  The ’76 film focuses on a Texas ranger hunting down the hooded serial killer terrorizing a small town in 1946.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) is, wait for it, a meta-sequel.  It’s 65 years later, and we’re back in Texarkana, a town that has now had a film made about the hooded killer who once terrorized them, and now celebrates the film once a year, a practice often criticized by the townspeople.

People start getting murdered, in manners similar to those depicted in the film, and “Jami” takes to investigating the sinister truth behind what appears to be copy cat murders.

It’s directed by Alfonzo Gomez-Rejon, better known for directing your favourite episodes of American Horror Story (and Glee, but don’t judge him on only that alone). You’ll recognize a lot of the style, and it works so well in this setting.

Aside from being terrifying, with classic nods to 70’s style horror, this film manages to be cohesive in an expanded universe, and makes excellent references to the original film.  (If you’ve seen the original, or even if you haven’t, a trombone is your worst nightmare).

It’s scary, it’s cool, it has a fun story, and quirky characters and homages.  It manages to pay homage and be film-y enough to call itself a “meta-sequel” and also just be totally excellent to watch.

Great if you liked: Insidious, Scream, The Hills Have Eyes, Hostel, Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, The Collector, House of Wax, The Strangers, You’re Next, American Horror Story (mostly that insane slasher episode from Season 1)

Shut In

Sci-Fi and Horror tend to be the genres with some of the best flicks that go unseen. Shut In (sometimes known as “Intruders”) is no exception.
This horror centers around Anna, a tormented girl lamenting the loss of her father and her struggles with agoraphobia. On the day of the funeral, Anna ends up being unable to overcome her agoraphobia and attend, and meets 3 intruders attempting to rob her house.
What starts as a scared damsel hiding from three big bad wolves, turns into a torture horror you won’t see coming (even after reading this).
It’s a great standard stuck in a house with some murders classic horror that really delivers.

Great one if you liked The Strangers, Funny Games, Last House on the Left, Vacancy, You’re Next (to be featured here soon).

**Alert** I’ve included the trailer below, somewhat against my better judgment.  It’s a bit spoiler-y, be forewarned…