Tag Archives: slasher

It’s All About Family – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Every horror fan seems to stumble upon this little flick, and, out of the vast array of slaughterhouse horror films, is left with an irreplaceable mark that none other can match. The movie’s not backed by a huge budget, its soundtrack is minimal at best, and it doesn’t feature any big names among its cast.

Something entirely against the grain for Hollywood standards. And yet the bloody film captivates, cuts deep, and then cauterizes the mind. It haunts the viewer long after the end credits roll. In short, the movie just works!

When you watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre you are pulled in – whether you want to be or not – and made to endure the menace and the horror awaiting the character therein. It doesn’t feel like you’re watching actors but more like you’re in the thick of it with real-to-life people who are about to meet with an unfortunate end.

That’s just part of what makes this film such an ongoing success. For one thing, it’s not what people expect it to be. And that being some mindless little splatterfest.

Sure there is a lumbering chainsaw swinging murderer-butcher called Leatherface. But it’s not just about him. It’s the maniacal family of fellow ghouls who naturally adds to the macabre that made this movie legendary.

The Hitchhiker (Nubbins Sawyer)

Choosing to open your movie with a lingering shot focused on a nice oozing corpse is one helluva way to slap your audience to attention. Before the viewer even gets a chance to settle the film goes full-on grotesque, a slight sucker punch to the senses informing the viewer as to what kind of movie they’re in for. There’s no turning back now, folks. We’re in for a nasty bit of cinema and all we can do is sit back and enjoy as best we can.

I know you love it.

Turns out a string of grave robberies have been transpiring all over the county. We’re introduced to our heroes who stop by the local graveyard to see if their grandpa’s grave was among those desecrated or not. His was fine.

But the jelly-faced ugly we saw at the film’s opening was one of the unfortunate dead dudes dug up and propped up like some maniac Halloween decoration.

It doesn’t take long before we’re introduced to the ghoul responsible for the midnight graveyard monster mashing. He gets picked up on the side of the road by our cast of heroes and we all just know the shit’s about to hit the fan.

The Hitchhiker’s (Edwin Neal) scenes alone could be considered the scariest of the whole film. He’s weird, he has something all over his face, and he has all the manners of an unmedicated schizophrenic. His jittery behavior immediately sets an unsettling mood. This fucker is unstable as all Hell and now our heroes are trapped in the van with this lunatic.

It doesn’t take long before he cuts himself (to everyone’s shock), performs some kind of black magic ritual, then cuts poor Franklin’s (Paul A. Partain) arm. That’s exactly the kind of behavior that’ll get you kicked out of the car, buster! He leaves the vehicle after scaring the bejeezus out of everyone inside, but not before leaving a bloody smear on the side of the van. Why? Just to fuck with them. And it works perfectly.

Fucking fuck’ sake and Hell what was that all about? It’s just the kind of craziness we can expect out of this movie.

The Cook (Drayton Sawyer)

I love this guy! I always thought he was the dad to both Leatherface and the Hitchhiker. It just seemed obvious to me and still does if we’re being honest. But due to the dinner-time scene where the looney bin candidate (Hitchhiker) says, “he’s just the cook!” and getting a violent “QUIET” in rebuttal that causes people to think he’s just that: the cook. But in my defense, the Cook could be dad and cooking is just his thing. He doesn’t enjoy the killin’ part of things and leaves that up to both of his sons.

Makes sense to me.

There’s also the hilarious scene when Cook comes home and sees the mayhem Leatherface has done to the front door. Infuriated he hops out of the truck and indignantly yells, “Look what yur brother’s done to the door!” That sounds just like something a dad would shout. It’s also insight into the character’s psyche. Kind of a practical kind of guy. It’s hilarious how pissed he gets over property damage. It’s subtle but also a glimpse into his unhinged behavior.

Upon introduction, you wouldn’t suspect much from Cook considering he’s presented as the nice gas station owner who calmly advises the heroes not to go poking their noses into places they shouldn’t be. Later, and after one of the most hair-raising chase scenes in any movie ever, Sally (Marilyn Burns) seeks refuge back at the gas station where the kindly owner offers her shelter.

That’s where we’re shown the double-sidedness hiding behind Drayton’s crooked smile. Lo and behold he’s part of the clan and the audience is presented an alarming fact: this atrocity is county-wide. So who can you trust? Poor Sally learns there’s no one out there on her side.

Drayton smacks her around with a broom and ties her head-first into a potato sack. He traps her in his truck but then runs back into the gas station to turn off the lights first before taking off. “The cost of electricity is enough to drive a man outta business,” he reasons with his sobbing captive. Quite practical. He takes off down the road and can’t help himself and starts poking Sally a little bit with a stick. Sadism making him giggle with childish glee drooling off his face.

The role was brought to life by the one and only Jim Siedow who would return to the role in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and plays pretty much the same guy. I love him. The man chews up every scene he’s in.

Grandpa Sawyer

Creepy, creepy, and fucking creepy. This old corpse of a character shouldn’t be alive and defies mortality. He looks like a dry husk. I wasn’t even really sure he was alive – and come on, it’s entirely feasible that this family of lunatics would carry down a corpse to have dinner with them – until he helps himself to some of Sally’s warm blood.

In Conclusion

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is legendary among horror fans. It’s often repeated and, in many cases, remade but there’s something special about the original, something that cannot be repeated or done over. I personally think it has to do with the impression made by the Sawyer family. It’s one of those things that came about by the correct alignment of astral bodies and a little black magic. It’s a dark miracle that the thing exists and made its way to drive-ins and living rooms for generations.

The TCM remake isn’t exactly bad. And they tried to give us a rotten family to put Leatherface in the midst of. But the Hewitts (2003) just don’t live up to the macabre nature of the Sawyers (1974). Albeit the Hewitt family is most certainly sinister but they lack the true unhinged quality the Sawyers have. Seriously the instability of the Sawyers is almost otherworldly. Their victims never know what to expect. They may invite you to a home-cooked meal made out of your best friends or they’ll gut you alive. You never know and that alone keeps you on your toes around them. They are pure psychopaths and take obscene delight in that.

Each of the characters mentioned here – in one way or another – reflects the very ghoul who inspired the lot of them, Ed Gein. Grave robbery, slaughtering pretty people, wearing stitched-together human skins, boiling skulls, and eating human flesh. They’re all ghoulish and reflect the heinous nature of Eddy boy.

I think he’d be damn proud of the lot of them!

That’s something lacking in each movie that followed the original. The family was not all that scary and only served to, well, shit just be there. The focus became more and more reliant upon Leatherface in each proceeding film. And none of them match the claustrophobic terror inspired by Tobe Hooper’s exploitation masterpiece.

I know there’s the upcoming Netflix TCM coming out soon. Looks like there is no family to back Leatherface this time around and so we’ll see how well the creepy and the grotesque work. I might not be impressed by the trailer of Leatherface pooping in the field but I’m still going to watch it. Hope it does well. I want a new good scare from TCM.

Whatever the outcome no one can take away the original film that’s proved the test of time.

Manic Out!

‘Friday the 13th’ The Shocks and Scares That Make This Saga Legendary!

Oh, Hells yeah! Here we are, my Nasties! Time to risk our skins and venture deeply into the fog of Camp Blood as we explore some of the best scares, screams, and shocking moments (not to mention some of those good ol’ fashion what the fuck times) that are littered across the franchise’s blood-soaked legacy. 

It’s no secret that the slasher genre is my absolute favorite subgenre in the pantheon of horror. And my absolute favorite slasher series is Friday the 13th! It’s the series I’m always turning back to and can watch a hundred more times without it getting dull. 

Fans of the franchise know what we want too. Blood, guts, (tiddies), and lots of gore. So today we want to dance on the graves of those buried in the soggy depths of Crystal Lake as we celebrate those moments that made us shit our bloomers and left an impression on us all. 

Today we’re looking at not only the movies but also taking the game(s) into consideration. So sleep with one eye open, my Nasties, as we camp out at Jason’s lake. 

WARNING: there will be spoilers. 

Encountering Jason for the first time in the game – NES game

Just for shits and giggles, I’m not going to talk about the video game experience without mentioning the cult-classic NES game. What may seem silly and (probably rightly so) ridiculous today, but back then, back when we were far more innocent as a society, the NES Friday the 13th game did actually scare some kids. 

Back in the 8-bit era and with nothing else to compare to it, that first encounter with Jason was truly shocking. If not possibly the very first jump scare many of us ‘80s brats got to experience, I’d say this stands out as the all-time best NES scare moment. You play as a dumbass camp counselor desperately trying to save both your idiot friends – who can’t defend themselves – and a bunch of stupid kids all lined up and waiting to be slaughtered.

All the while Jason is out there and ready to charge in out of the blue making you jump to the moon and stain your undies.  

There’s no worse feeling like the absolute helplessness of trying to fight Jason and having no clue how to defeat him. Good luck out there, gamers.

Encountering Jason again all these years later. 

Now we’re adults and our games grew up with us. Gun Media and Illfonic brought fans and gamers an extraordinary chance to explore the movies (and the horror) like never before as locations, characters, and kills from the franchise were all poured into this passion project. Tom Savini came up with new ways to kill us. Harry Manfredini brought his terrorizing score to the game giving it a genuine feel akin to the movies. And Kane fucking Hodder put the mask back on and proved why he’s our favorite Jason as he brought the video game killer to thrilling life. 

There’s nothing like encountering Jason for the first time. He can just appear anywhere! As a camper, you can find yourself in a cabin and he’ll be outside the window watching you. Or he’ll catch you wandering the dark woods and stalk you until you run out of stamina. You can try to fight but you have very little chance of surviving him. Especially your first time around. 

I’m sad the game is now stalled and all future DLC is dead on the water thanks to the ongoing lawsuit, but there’s still enough here to keep me coming back to it. So, yes, I strongly recommend playing it.  

Ari Lehman in Part I

The first WTF moment that really, really got us. This scene still scares unsuspecting audiences. That’s how goddamn effective it is. Far as we knew the movie was over. The villain was slain and our lead heroine (Adrianne King) was safely sleeping in a canoe out on the lake. No one could reach her and as she awakens Manfredini’s calming score lets us know all is well and she’s safe. Roll the credits. 

Well fuck you straight to Hell, asshole! The music suddenly kicks us in the nards and flips the world upside down! Out of nowhere the boy who drowned, Jason himself, rises out of the lake, no, that sounds graceful. Jason breaks through the mirrored tranquility of the lake like the wrath of God, without pity and void of all mercy, grabs hold of Alice and pulls her down to his murky Hell. More people screamed over this scene alone than any other. 

And it turned a small time horror flick into a timeless legend. Horror fans clamored for more and would not be satisfied until they got just that- more Jason!

The Window Scene of Part II

Mirroring the jump scare of Part I, Part II makes it seem like everything was fine. Our Final Girl (Amy Steel) is safe, she’s escaped Tater-Sack Jason and all is well. 

Now bear in mind this movie has given us a whole lot of Jason to love. We’re first given a glimpse into his world, into the rickety shack he lives in out in the woods, but, more importantly, we are shown his insatiable taste for carnage! 

Jason is really mean natured too. Think being in a wheel chair gives you a free pass? Like Hell it does. Jason can’t wait to slam a machete in your stupid face and send you rolling down a flight a stairs. Bon voyage!

And the guy was just about to get laid too. Jason also kills poor ol’ Crazy Ralph this time around. And if you thought Alice (from the first movie) was safe, well think again. Jason kills the girl in the safety of her own home.

And at last, my nasties, this cinematic roller coaster of carnage begins clicking to an end. Unclench your knuckles, take a deep breath, and relax. But that’s when they get us! Jason crashes through the darkened window and snatches our Final Girl right before our eyes proving no one is safe at Camp Blood. 

Not a single soul!

Part II doesn’t get a lot of love but it did establish a lot of the lore and laws by which the franchise would follow and further secure its place as a legendary horror icon. It introduces the indestructibility of Jason and how fucked anyone is once Jason locks eyes on them. 

That ending in Part III

These endings were on steroids and had a boner for punishing their audiences just as much as their heroes. Well piss and shit, this one went all the way, and frankly it had to, if it wanted to not be overshadowed by its previous film endeavors. 

 Once again mirroring the first film our Final Girl (Dana Kimmel) is safely in a canoe out on the lake. Night has passed, she wakes up to a fresh new day. The terror has passed and good proves triumphant over evil, but we all know better. You ain’t getting us this time, Jason. Someone is going to pop up behind her and scare us to death …. oh holy shit what the Hell?

While we’re all looking behind her the real threat is right in front of her. In the upper room’s window!

She takes one look up at the house and there on the top floor is an unmasked Jason staring at her with murderous glee. There’s almost a childlike joy in his eyes when he realizes there’s still some fresh meat left over for him to cut up into meaty red kibbles and bits.

Actually we don’t know if he’s been there the whole time just waiting for her to look up and see him. If he has, well, jeez that’s eerie. Or was he there just by coincidence? Whatever the case this scene creeps me out.

I have a thing about windows any way…or maybe this is what started it all. But I’m really paranoid about looking out the window (at night time) and seeing some gruesome face staring back at me. So here it is, the one scene that scared a little boy Manic out of his skin. Bravo!

Part V Vic kills candy boy

Part V deserves way more respect than it gets. I love this movie and mainly because of two characters, Ethel Hubbard (Carol Locatell) and her dimwitted son Junior (Ron Sloan). They don’t have a single thing to do with this scene but I gotta sing their praises. I love those two and still waiting on NECA to make me a figure of them both.

Anyhow the scene I’m talking about is the one murder that kick starts the rest of the movie’s killing spree. And Jason isn’t the even the killer here. Vic (Mark Venturini), a muscled up and mentally disturbed young man, is out chopping wood (because it’s healthy to let a mental patient work with a hatchet) when poor dopey Joey (Dominick Brascia) walks over with chocolate smeared around his mouth like sloppy lipstick around a hooker’s lips. Joey offers Vic a candy bar, overstays his welcome, and only leaves once he’s pushed every single button Vic can stand. 

Vic puts that hatchet to use and severs the better part of Joey’s spine with it. It shocked people because it’s totally unexpected and so mean. But, let’s face it, Joey had it coming.

I’m Mrs. Voorhees – discovering who the killer’s been this whole time

Breaking all the rules right from the start by the time Betsy Palmer’s kindly character of Pamela Voorhees shows up for the final act (Friday the 13th Part I) the unknowing audience makes the assumption that all is going to be ok. Like the fairy godmother archetype of childhood folklore, Mrs. Voorhees carries a warm-hearted motherly presence with her and who can’t be enchanted by that lovely smile of hers? She shines, but, as we’re about to learn, for all the wrong reasons. 

This is a woman who met with tragedy when her only child drowned in the lake. “They were out making love while that poor boy drowned’ she recounts emotionally, condemning the carelessness of the camp counselors. And Mrs. Voorhees deals with her grief by slaughtering all who arrogantly dare to desecrate the last breathing grounds of her dearly departed Jason. 

That smile becomes a sneer as our Final Girl realizes this kindly woman is the one leaving bodies around camp. The final show down begins in fury as Mrs. Voorhees lunges at Alice and it had audiences shrieking with delight. 

“Kill her, mommy” Jason urges from beyond his watery grave. And Mommy is all too happy to oblige. 

Her role was so shocking and out of character that Sieskel and Ebert gave out the woman’s home address and implored their viewers to call and write her their many grievances. I don’t care how much you might hate a movie that’s just not cool, guys.

Freddy vs Jason tease in JGTH

Undeniably most fans would rather tickle their dicks with a porcupine quill than sit through this torture again. And according to Crystal Lake Memories, most of the actors aren’t that thrilled with this, well I guess you can call it a movie. In a failed attempt to look clever, JGTH introduces Jason’s never-before mentioned sister, has Jason talk in one scene, misspells the Voorhees name, and turns Jason into a demon worm that slides up a pussy. Or maybe it was her ass? Oh, who cares? It’s clearly an immature work made by college kids. 

Today it’s hip to like this movie and act like it’s some misunderstood masterpiece, but that can’t erase how terribly New Line treated their first Jason film after acquiring the rights from Paramount. As a ‘90s era slasher movie, ok I’ll admit it’s fun. Stupid fun, but still fun. But as the 9th entry in an already well-established horror franchise, it sticks out like a turd stubbornly hanging out of a dog’s ass.

However, love it or hate it, fans can at least all agree that final shot was awesome, at least at the time of its release. Seeing Freddy’s glove reaching out of Hell to drag down Jason’s mask left fans with a coveted glimpse into Freddy vs. Jason.  

Really there’s no reason why this couldn’t have just been Freddy vs. Jason rather than Jason Goes To Hell. Or they could have made a movie about Jason actually being in Hell. Kinda like the title implies.

Tommy Loses Control Part IV

Friday the 13th Part IV has some fan-fucking-tastic kills. But undeniably the best one was saved for last and it’s Jason’s own.

The moment stands out for a few reasons. For starters it’s a deliberately drawn out death. And it works. They meant to kill Jason and kill him good! So Jason gets brutalized and is left with no chance of surviving.

The other thing that stands out is who ends up slaughtering Jason – a little kid. Now it’s nothing short of brilliance that the film makers introduce Tommy Jarvis as some normal kid. Not a super hero and without any extraordinary gifts. Just a kid who makes cool monster masks and plays video games. Not to mention he was like all us guys back then and couldn’t wait to see some boobies.

As kids we wanted to be Tommy’s pal. And Cory Feldman was a really likable kid actor. He just had this innocent look about him, something angelic.

So when Tommy shaves his head in a clever attempt to connect with Jason and then lays the business end of a machete into the pretty side of Jason’s face it’s not all that shocking. Tommy’s just trying to protect his older sister… right?

But it’s when Tommy picks the machete back up and turns Jason’s body into a Cannibal Corpse album cover that the creepy factor rises. The manic look in the kid’s eyes, the ferocity in his face, and the wet sounds every time he pummels Jason all add up to a very disturbing experience.

Naturally we loved every minute of it.

The movie ends on a freeze frame of lil Tommy with that same crazed look in his eyes, hinting that the series may have lost one killer by creating a brand new one. Kids are creepy little shits anyhow and this movie drives that point home.

Yeah there’s no soul behind that stare.

This has already gone on way too long and it means a lot that you’ve stuck around for this long, my Nasties. There are still so many moments that shocked us and scared us silly, and this is just a small list of some of our all-time favorites from the series. Each one proves why Friday the 13th is a horror sovereign. We’d love to know which ones are yours so don’t be shy.

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‘Halloween Kills’ Trailer Is Here With The Return of Pure Evil!

Evil returns this October as horror fans return back to Haddonfield, back to him, back to the Boogeyman. From the few glimpses we’ve seen of it Halloween Kills already shows lots of promise for horror fans.

image via Universal and Blumhouse

That’s right! At long last, we’ve seen the first trailer of the highly anticipated horror epic, Halloween Kills. And we are excited!

Following the immediate events of 2018’s triumphant Halloween, Michael Myers rises from the swirling inferno built to be his prison, like a demon emerging out of the fires of Hell.

image via Universal and Blumhouse

Fire trucks arrive at the scene and the Shape makes quick work of each one of them, proving no earthly flame or human force can stop the purest embodiment of Evil.

And, according to this trailer, they want to drive home that Michael truly is the very essence of evil. 

image via Universal and Blumhouse

More noticeably now are the empty depths of Michael’s eyes, both hollow as an open grave site, and giving us a phantasmal glimpse at the malignancy within him. It’s as if whatever humanity (however little remained) may have been lingering in the man’s soul is finally dissolved by the hate and rage swelling in his heart. This time around Michael is truly the Shape more than ever before.

And I love the burn marks scratched across the iconic mask now. It makes the Boogeyman that much more ghoulish and unsettling to see.

image via Universal and Blumhouse

And speaking of masks the movie teases at some (more) very familiar Easter Eggs and throw backs from movies past. I think Halloween III: Season of the Witch fans will readily recognize an iconic trio.

image via Universal and Blumhouse, zero days till Halloween, Silver Shamrock

The trailer also reveals how Michael thrives off each victim he kills. And given the brief glimpses we’re shown the Shape does look far more savage than ever. So I’m expecting some wild kills scenes from this one.

image via Universal and Blumhouse , Michael takes out the entire firefighter team

It’s fair to say there will be (blood) plenty here for fans to enjoy and we’re very, very excited by what we’ve seen so far. It’s shaping up to be a wicked witching season this October, my Nasties.  

image via Universal and Blumhouse

So enjoy the trailer as we all anxiously await the Witching Season slowly approaching, bringing with it the Boogeyman and all his violent evil.