Despite everything destructive about 2021, living in this time right about now has its perks. Mortal Kombat fever is running just as rampant as it did back when it hit in 1992 and maintaining a steady stream of enthusiasm throughout its twenty-year course in the gaming and entertainment business, with the very anticipated R-rated film to hit theaters and streaming here shortly. The first Mortal Kombat was really something, however, I like to think it was the release of the second game, introducing some new and secret characters that really got the fandom to grow to exponential levels. And well, with that kick-ass third installment AND the 1995 movie to boot later, well it was a certain flawless victory for gaming developer Ed Boon to say the very least and things couldn’t get much better.
Or could it? Enter the glorious country tour of Mortal Kombat the goddamn stage show! And hey, according to some kid, it’s way better than the Power Rangers live show. Take that Toasty uppercut Alpha-Five!
The 200 city US tour begat at the infamous New York Radio City Music Hall on September 14th, 1995 and mesmerized kids across the county with choregraphed fights by none other than Shang Tsung himself, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. At a cost that ranged from $14 to $25 a ticket, the 90-minute spectacle of marital artists dressed as our favorite playable characters kicking the crap out of each other to techno music, was the most 90s’ thing ever.
The stage surrounded by giant screens serving as a closer look for those of us with nosebleed seats in the back, was pretty helpful for those bigger venues. However, those green amulets that were sold at concession stands and served as part of the show for those who suckered their parents into buying them, could be seen from planet fucking Pluto with the amount of neon green lights that illuminated from that damn thing. Among the blinding lights, other souvenirs from the tour included collectable tour books complete with cheat game codes and even a space for autographs from the stage cast if you got lucky. But, the gold mine of those concession money grabbers, were of course the KOMBAT KAPS! Or just simply, the beloved and forgotten POGS of our generation.
While no full footage of the actual stage show exists on the internet at this time, (I know weird right?) the closest thing we can to relive this 90s’ mash of laser lights and karate chops, is this video uploaded by NeoGamer that flashes some highlights from the actual show and a promo with the cast on a local news station showcasing some of the moves that got us detention by trying to mimic them on the playground and accidently busting a kid in the lip with a Liu Kang high kick. Featuring a very special PSA from Shang Tsung about the differences between real martial arts and violence and the one and only REAL Sonya Blade Kerri Hoskins doing her Sonya thing, enjoy and relive what a wild and wonderful time we once lived in where this was an actual thing.
Five years after Uber Jason and just two after he was inexplicably and shamefully denied his (and we apologize for the term) dream match-up with Robert Englund in FREDDY VS. JASON (2003), Kane Hodder was cast as another woods-roaming killer with parental issues.
In the wake of four turns as the Camp Crystal Lake marauder, Hodder didn’t sit back and feel sorry for himself, nor did he quit, he simply got back to work and redefined himself. As one dream came to a close Kane helped make another come to life, and Victor Crowley was born.
Adam Green first conjured the idea of the Bayou Butcher at the age of eight when (ironically enough) summer camp counselors warned the children to stay away from a particular cabin or “Hatchet-face” would get them. Though they never elaborated further, the idea lived in Green’s mind for the next 23 years until he and his crew took a trip to New Orleans, embarked on a swamp tour and shot a teaser trailer. The rest, as they say, is history.
With Jason so ingrained in the consciousness of the culture, some may have thought it a risk to portray a character that could be considered a ripoff of Jason Voorhees, but those concerns were quickly put to rest because Hodder doesn’t do anything half-assed, and it wasn’t long before Victor Crowley was a beloved symbol of horror greatness.
Not only did Kane claim domain over Jason after the character had been played by six other actors prior, he took the opportunity to establish a character from the ground up and transformed it into a fixture of the genre. For a man who has the word “kill” tattooed inside his bottom lip, it’s only fitting that we celebrate what Hodder does best — lay waste.
Rather than a top ten, we choose to shine light on the most memorable murder from each of Kane’s four turns as Voorhees and Victor, respectively. Eight films, eight finishes. But we’re not going to focus on machetes or hatchets or even gas-powered belt sanders. Nay, because as Hodder told YellMagazine in 2013, his hands are his favorite instrument of death.
“Just anything barehanded because anybody can kill with a weapon,” Hodder said. “I think it’s much more personal.”
So, let’s get to know Kane Hodder a little better, shall we?
8. “I’M KICKIN’ MY ASS! DO YA MIND?” — JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY (1993)
Though it was tempting to go with Creighton Duke here because we feel that Steven Williams’ character was the Darth Maul of the series–one that deserved far more than it got–in the end, it was merely a bear hug and felt a bit too unceremonious. Come to think of it, the same could be said for the entire picture: a fantastic idea poorly executed.
That said, we decided to go with the film’s lasting image. True, Hodder was denied his chance to square off with Krueger, but he did get the chance to slip into the sweater and knived-glove and yank his own mask to Hades.
It’s not a kill, really, but Jason Jason was only around for about 10 minutes and Kane’s security guard was dispatched off-screen earlier in the flick, so the slam dunk of Hodder offing himself was effectively Mutombo’d. New Line took FREDDY VS. JASON off the table, we’re putting it back on.
7. THE CURB STOMP — HATCHET II (2010)
Alright, this one isn’t so much bare hands as pure boot, but it’s Kane eradicating one of Reverend Zombie’s (Tony Todd) makeshift militiamen who just happened to be Leatherface from LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III (1990) in the most brutally badass manner, so top that.
Sorry, R.A. Mihailoff, but as Kane exasperated at the conclusion of the “Raising Kane” behind the scenes featurette for HATCHET III (2013), “quit comin’ in the fuckin’ swamp!”
6. LITTLE MAC FOR REAL — FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKE MANHATTAN (1989)
Look, you’re reading this on a site called Nightmare Nostalgia, which probably means you love the warm fuzzies of yesteryear as much as we do, so it stands to reason more than a handful of you will pick up what we’re about to put down.
Long before Gun Media unleashed Friday the 13th: The Game, there was the Nintendo abomination that left Friday freaks frustrated as hell because they couldn’t play as Jason. We mean, seriously, there’s dropping the ball and then there’s that. In any event, you could hurl all the knives and rocks you wanted (see what we mean about abomination?) but it hardly put a dent into old Jason. But when he wielded that machete/ax/toothbrush it didn’t take long before you were a faceless corpse.
Which brings us to another NES classic, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!. The upstart boxer who had a dream of becoming the champ, only he was undersized so despite all the jump-jabs, it only took one good shot from Tyson for sleepy time. Sound familiar?
Yeah, two years after Punch-Out!! was all the rage, MANHATTAN gifted us with a round of live-action with Julius (Vincent Craig Dupree, as V.C. Dupree) as Little Mac and the man of the hour, Hodder playing Tyson.
Grab a Soda Popinski and have a seat ringside!
5. “IN THE END, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE” — HATCHET III (2013)
Admittedly, I’m in the distinct minority here as someone who prefers Hodder as Victor as opposed to Voorhees, but then I’m also of the opinion that Derek Mears is the best Jason of all-time. So, when team leader Hawes (Mears) showed with his elite unit to hunt down Crowley, audiences knew his bluster and bravado would inevitably boil down to a knock-down, drag-out heavyweight tilt for the ages.
Those who knew the FRIDAY franchise, however, surely picked up on Mears’ character’s name being a JASON LIVES (1986) reference, so when the buildup of an epic showdown between two Jasons finally came to fruition, Green made it pretty clear whom he felt was the superior slasher. Bit of a twist on the end result, but she was foreshadowed to be sure. But hey, we’ve all been there. The anticipation mounts and mounts till you’re ready to erupt and when you finally crawl into bed and get that chance, erupt is exactly what you do. Quickly. Embarrassingly.
…or, maybe that’s just me. Moving on!
4. THE ULTIMATE FISTING — VICTOR CROWLEY (2017)
“Putting an arm into a vagina, out of the throat? Tricky. Tricky.”
No one could put it quite as eloquently as Hodder did with his Week 10 guest appearance on THE LAST DRIVE-IN this past August, so we’re not even going to try.
Scenes involving genitalia are old hat for Felissa Rose, but her role as Andrew Yong’s (Parry Shen) publicist Kathleen may finally be the one that rivals SLEEPAWAY CAMP’s (1983) final reveal. Look, she’s Joe Bob Briggs’ designated “Mangled Dick Expert” for a reason.
Kills don’t always have to be gory, sometimes they just need to be creative. And when Kane and Green get together, you can safely place money that you’ll lay eyes on something you’ve never seen before. The bonus? Vaginal Verizon never drops a call.
3. THE SLEEPING BAG — FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: THE NEW BLOOD (1988)
The perception of the character was forever altered the moment Voorhees emerged from the icy depths of Crystal Lake on May 13, 1988. From the giddiness of that initial glimpse at a hulking figure with a partially exposed spinal cord to the heaving breaths and absolute brutality that followed, it was clear that director John Carl Buechler’s push for Hodder to don the hock had changed the game, because Kane’s Jason was in all ways a Rubicon.
After six previous films that had turned Voorhees into a pop culture icon, Hodder came along and set the standard by which the character would be judged thenceforth. Anyone who needs further evidence need look no further than the fact that no other actor had (or has) fulfilled the role more than once, yet Kane would return for three more films following Part VII. While Hodder’s first turn in the franchise’s seventh chapter provided several memorable kills, nothing could top Judy (Debora Kessler) thinking that pulling the sleeping bag over her head would ward off the masked maniac like a bad dream. Kane plucked her from the tent and dragged it to the nearest tree with an enthusiastic aggression never before seen, and ensured that the Hodder era had only just begun.
While it’s true that Todd Farmer paid hilarious homage to this kill in JASON X (2001), nothing tops the OG
2. LIQUID NITROGEN FACIAL — JASON X (2001)
This movie has its detractors, but if one simply wants to turn their brain off, grab some popcorn and have a good time, you can do a lot worse than JASON X.
More proof, John Klein? In his final turn as Voorhees, Kane gifted us with his greatest Jason kill. And to bring it kinda-sorta full circle, his victim was named Adrienne (Kristi Angus), which we’re sure is a detail not lost on FRIDAY aficionados.
1, HEAVY IS THE HEAD — HATCHET (2006)
Our introduction to Victor Crowley allowed us some peeks at the bibs-wearing beast, but nothing could prepare us for the big unveiling As the group wandered about Honey Island Swamp looking for a way out, the elder couple decided to go it alone because they were done with the whole scene. Only thing was, they didn’t know just how done they actually were.
Oh, and that whole curiosity about would the character just be a rip off of Jason? That was put to bed in seconds. Hodder emerged from his shed with a roar and ran–yes, ran–toward his prey. He filleted Mr. Permatteo (Richard Riehle) in short order, then set his sights on Lumpkins.
Shannon (Patrika Darbo) tried to flee, but Victor hustled over, grabbed her by the hair and…well, we all know the not-so unfortunate end to that story: the finest Kane Kill of all-time.
So, yeah, it took mere moments for Hodder to prove that we weren’t in Crystal Lake anymore…Toto.
Eight kills in eight films that turned one actor into a two-time icon.
Such matters are always up for debate, so if your favorite kill didn’t make the cut or you take umbrage with the rankings, please weigh in using the comments section below.
Oh, and in honor of Kane’s 66th birthday on April 8, like and share this piece on Facebook and / or Twitter using the hashtag #HodderHavoc to be entered into a drawing to win this 11 x 17 VICTOR CROWLEY movie poster signed by Hodder at HorrorHound Indianapolis in 2018. The winner will be announced on Nightmare Nostalgia’s Facebook and Twitter on April 9.
I don’t write new-release reviews very often. But then again, not so often a modern movie comes along leaving me compelled to spread the love and also embodies everything this website is about- NOSTALGIA. So of course, on the heels of a recent viewing of FLINCH, or “The Girl Who Didn’t Flinch”, most appropriately on a shiny and beautiful VHS cassette available from the official film’s website, how could I resist?
Flinch first released on VOD platforms in January 2021, and has since made a splash in the film community scene harboring quite a following. Written and directed by Cameron Van Hoy (Tragedy Girls), the film stars Daniel Zovatto, Tilda Cobham- Hervey, Tom Segura, Cathy Moriarty, and Buddy Dures in an American Crime-Thriller that reeks of sweet retro vibes of the Vice era of the 80s.
Right up my alley!
The movie’s premise is simple enough to flow along with and not overly-complicated to leave you astray. Flinch follows overly successful hitman Joe Doyle (Zovatto) into his next target and the plot-point for the movie- the hit of a city-councilman. His supposed ninja skills are all but shattered when his stalking is noticed by the political figure’s assistant Mia (Hervey), of whom Doyle has developed some obsessive feelings for- overcomplicating his mission and well, existence by him having to choose by him honoring his hitman career and covering his tracks accordingly, or allowing her to live. Because Mia didn’t flinch at witnessing Joe’s murderous crime, Joe takes this as sign from above and holds her hostage for her own “protection”. Pretty wild however, without spoilers, the film does explain the importance of the “flinching” aspect-given the movie its of course, important title.
The film provides plenty of gore, action, and suspense paving the way for all genres of cinema to enjoy. Character development isn’t overly saturated and leaves you with just enough to be satisfied and not annoyed that it’s cutting into the main plot points. There’s a few sexy moments that hover over into cringe territory, but hey if you’re into that sort of thing, then this is something that won’t even phase you.
However, what I really thought to be stand-out was the beautiful visualizing aspect of Flinch. The movie is just so damn pretty to look at. Paired with a stylish synth soundtrack, Flinch is definitely something that should be on your watchlist in 2021. Or hell, how about now?! Here’s the amazon link to check out!