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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore: I Can’t Wait to See What Macon Blair Does Next

December 8, 2017

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a fantastic film that showcases director/writer/actor Macon Blair’s (Blue Ruin, Green Room) many talents. His performances in Blue Ruin and Green Room are perfection and it seems like he used his time on set with director Jeremy Saulnier to learn the directing ropes.  I really liked how he let this film bounce between genres while keeping it reigned in enough for it to remain cohesive. I’ve been a big fan of actress Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures, Win Win) for a long time and I love that this film put her front and center in a “hero” role.

The story revolves around a woman named Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) hunting down items that were stolen from her home. Before her house was robbed she was the type of person who let people push her around as she silently watched the world unfold. The robbery pushes her over the edge and she becomes embroiled in a world way out of her league.  Her journey to reclaim her stolen items finds her teaming up with her squirrely neighbor Tony (a very fun Elijah Wood) and becoming enemies with some dangerous criminals. Her misadventures see her dealing with ninja stars, throat strikes, crushed windpipes, poisonous snakes and some grisly death.

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The stakes are relatively low and that is why I love it. It’s refreshing to watch a small stakes crime story unfold in ways you didn’t expect. I dig that the villains are suitably violent but they are still out of their league when amongst proper criminals. I’m a big fan of Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe, Evil Dead) and it was fun watching her play the villain instead of being terrorized. The final showdown is a thing of gnarly violence and I found myself laughing at all the chaos and blood. Blair was able to create a classic Tarantino-esque showdown that incorporates humor with violent carnage. You will never look at ninja stars the same way again or trust all the guests at your holiday party.

This film earned its Grand Jury Prize from Sundance and hopefully it is able to build an audience so Macon Blair is able to showcase his skills again. The guy has made a very good film and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

 

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John’s Horror Corner: Raw (2016), a French horror film offering coming-of-age allegory on addiction and impulse control.

December 7, 2017

MY CALL:  This is one of those neo-contemporary pseudo-horrors that are difficult to classify.  Just watch it.  It’s cool—and even if you don’t like it, it’s likely worth the experience.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Raw:  Films that have a lot to say include The Neon Demon (2016), Black Swan (2010), Antichrist (2009), Ginger Snaps (2000) and Brain Damage (1988).

Yes. This is that film that every well-seasoned horror fan told you to see. It’s the film that made everyone’s “best of” lists.  But what exactly is it?  That’s something on which you probably weren’t advised.  It’s a contemporary something or other… but which… something, or other?  I heard some compare it to movies about cannibals… others to modern werewolves or zombies or… it’s best to leave it alone until you see it for yourself.

Living a sheltered, conservative life, Justine (Garance Marillier) is dropped off at her dorm with a pink suitcase and a kiss.  New to veterinary school, Justine finds herself hazed by the upper classmen.  She’s ridiculed, subjugated, and forced to eat rabbit kidneys as a rite of passage.  Being from a family of vegetarians, it took some significant peer pressure that apparently even broke her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf).

Written and directed by Julia Ducournau, this exploration of academic normatives provisions allegory to the consequences of such submissions.  Despite being against her will, Justine develops horrible itching and rashes as she falls into an impulsive addiction-withdrawal behavior after her exposure and begins to crave blood… meat… raw meat… and more.  Her drive is almost primal, and you may recoil as you witness Justine pushing away those who care, hurting those she loves, and alienating herself.  It’s all too familiar (for some of us viewers, anyway).

Justine’s innocence is not limited to ingested carnal exposure, but to more intimate experiences as well.  Her cravings for flesh are paralleled by maturing desires, conflicts, complications; and her journey may just as readily remind one of Ginger Snaps (2000) as Brain Damage (1988)—although far more elegantly executed.  But be not fooled.  This description has all the trappings of something that could topple affray into exploitation—and nothing of the sort will befall your eyes.  Scenes of premiere sexual encounters, a graphic bikini wax, and collegiate drug-induced nudity are equally provocative yet uncomfortable.  This foreign film will shock you with scenes of disfigurement and gory revelations.  They are few, but they are unnerving.

All temptations are mitigated with consequence, and those consequences may be awkward or serious.  I guess interesting, however basic the term, is the best word for all this.  This film is interesting, and it constantly taunts one to wonder with every scene to what end Justine will succumb.  Let’s just say it’s neither outside the realm of predictable, nor expected.

It won’t please everyone, it may even disappoint, but this film is a unique journey well worth the ride.

MFF Podcast #107: The Best Face Punchers of 2017

December 6, 2017

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back and we are talking about cinematic face punchers. Whether it be Vince Vaughn crunching people in Brawl in Cell Block 99 or Tessa Thompson drunkenly brawling in Thor: Ragnarok we believe we’ve picked the best 2017 brawlers. It was a great year for action films (John Wick: Chapter 2, Baby Driver, Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, Dunkirk) so we did a lot of soul searching in order to give you the best list and podcast imaginable.

You need to watch Brawl in Cell Block 99

As always we answer random listener questions and discuss the greatness of Dunkirk. If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

MFF Special: National Treasure: The Mystery of the Lemons

December 6, 2017

In honor of the 13th anniversary of National Treasure, I decided to clear up (with educated guesswork) the infamous lemon mystery.  Why is a scene involving lemons infamous? Having lemons in a refrigerator is nothing groundbreaking or worthy of internet snark. It is the way the lemons are presented that has confounded audiences for well over a decade.  The issue the nitpickers have revolves around the lemons resting nicely in a big bowl in the middle of Jon Voight’s refrigerator.  It is a one-second scene in a two-hour movie that has joined the ranks of world-famous mysteries like Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, and magnets.

Watch the clip below to get a feel for the scene:

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In my quest to be more like Benjamin Gates I’ve watched the scene over and over and did some lemon research to best guess why he had those lemons in a bowl in the middle of his refrigerator.

Between the soda, leftover boxes and lack of other ingredients I’m guessing he doesn’t use these lemons for cooking.

Here is how the scene plays out. Nic Cage and crew steal the Declaration of Independence in Washington D.C. and make their getaway to Philadelphia to hideout in Jon Voight’s house. They realize they need lemons for the declaration and the scene starts to take place.

Here are the clues I’m working with:

  1. They start their drive from Washington D.C to Philadelphia well after sunset (7:30PM) around 9:00PM.
  2. Mr. Voight has a sizable bar that looks to be loaded with cognac, gin and Irish whiskey. Also, to the left of the bar there is a decanter filled with a mystery booze.
  3. If you look to the left of the characters during the clip you will see several glasses filled with iced tea and lemon.
  4. When Harvey Keitel is at the house later on you will notice there is a half-filled iced-tea pitcher.
  5. There is a bowl of apples and bananas in the same place where the iced tea glasses are
  6. There is a massive library inside the house
  7. Next to the apples and iced tea glasses there are poker chips.

Here are the Benjamin Gates style deductions:

  1. They arrived in Philadelphia around 12:30AM which means a late night lemon pickup was pretty impractical. Also, the van they were driving in was being searched for so they would want to keep it off the road. This means the lemons had to be in the house.
  2. Before they say “we need more lemons” they already have a cut up lemon in a tiny bowl. This means that they must’ve found the lemons in the refrigerator, taken them out of the bag and placed them in a bowl in the middle of the refrigerator. Nothing in his refrigerator looks organized, so I highly doubt that Voight would organize them in a bowl.
  3. After looking at various retailer websites it seems that there are approximately ten lemons in a two pound bag that is commonly sold. Due to the contents of his fridge it seems clear that he would rather grab a bag of lemons then pick them individually. If you look at the picture above you will count nine lemons. The tenth was used for the initial tea and lemon plate.
  4. Due the contents of the refrigerator and the large pizza box I’m guessing that Voight rarely cooks. Thus, I don’t see him making lemon chicken or anything of the sort. Also, you won’t see him making any lemon cheesecake bars.
  5. There were no lemons in Harvey’s iced tea. Thus, they were all used or Jon Voight straight up dissed Harvey.
  6. The inclusion of poker chips means that Voight most likely has a weekly game with several of his friends. The lemons could easily be used with iced tea and various drinks.

Lemon hot take: After several discussions about the lemons I’ve learned there is a small group of people who believe Voight placed the lemons in the bowl himself. The reasoning is he decided to wash all the lemons at once instead of cleaning one at a time. After the cleaning he placed them in the bowl. This would make it easier for him to access. I think these people are delusional.

Why were the lemons in the refrigerator?

  1. The loaded bar and empty contents of a wine bottle suggest that Jon Voight likes the occasional drink. I didn’t see any mixers in his bar or house so it looks as if he likes his booze neat or on the rocks. Lemon may seem like an odd garnish but it combines nicely with a whiskey hot toddy or gin/vodka tonics.
  2. During the inspection of the declaration I’m deducing that Voight set them up with a nice pitcher of caffeinated iced tea. It was already late so they needed something cool and refreshing to keep them up. The fact that there are lemons inside the drinks show he is used to entertaining people (Poker) at his house and has no problem using lemons in their drinks/cocktails.
  3. He has a massive library and since he is eating dinner at 12:00AM I’m assuming he likes to stay up late and read. Since he loves making iced tea,  he most likely enjoys brewing tea. Perhaps he likes to make lemon tea (needs half a lemon for squeezing) or cuts up a piece of lemon for his tea. The lemon has a nice detoxification element and helps with immune system building and digestion.
  4. After researching lemon drinks in Philadelphia I found a treasure trove of articles talking about drinks and lemons. People love their iced tea, lemon shandys, and lemonade. Also, I managed an annual event in Philly and many of my volunteers could be seen with half gallon iced tea jugs from WaWa (they were obsessed). Thus, the dude loved his city and embraced drinks that could benefit from a lemon.

Conclusion: The lemons were already at the house and were most likely used for cocktail garnishes and iced/hot tea flavoring. They were in the middle of the refrigerator because Nic Cage pulled the lemons from the crisper and placed them in the bowl for easier future use. The mystery has been solved (or potentially creates more mysteries….)!

A Quick Pitch: If National Treasure 3 is ever made I think it should be about Nic Cage and crew rescuing a kidnapped Kurt Russell (dude is a national treasure).

If you like my dumb data make sure to check out the other posts that feature more weirdness.

  1. Jet Ski Action Scenes Are the Worst
  2. How Long Did it Take The Joker to Setup the Weapon Circle in Suicide Squad?
  3. Michael Myers Hates Blinkers
  4. Jason Voorhees Can’t Teleport?
  5. How Far Did the Merman Travel in The Cabin in the Woods?
  6. How Far Did Matthew McConaughey Jump in Reign of Fire?
  7. How Fast can Leatherface Run?
  8. Deep Blue Sea and Stellan Skarsgard
  9. How Far Did Michael Myers Drive in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
  10. How Did the Geologist Get Lost in Prometheus?
  11. People Love a Bearded Kurt Russell
  12. A Closer Look at Movies That Feature the Words Great, Good, Best, Perfect and Fantastic
  13. An In-Depth Look At Movies That Feature Pencils Used as Weapons
  14. Cinematic Foghat Data
  15. Explosions and Movie Posters
  16. The Fast & Furious & Corona
  17. Nicolas Sparks Movie Posters Are Weird
  18. Predicting the RT score of Baywatch
  19. The Cinematic Dumb Data Podcast
  20. What is the best horror movie franchise?
  21. How Fast Can the Fisherman Clean a Trunk in I Know What You Did Last Summer?
  22. It’s Expensive to Feature Characters Being Eaten Alive and Surviving Without a Scratch
  23. How Long Does it Take Your Favorite Horror Movie Characters to Travel From NYC to San Francisco?
  24. What was the Guy’s Blood Pressure in Dawn of the Dead?

 

John’s Horror Corner: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), mixing The Hidden (1987) creature, The Evil Dead (1981) mythology and The Dream Child (1989) twist.

December 4, 2017

MY CALL:  We’ve left everything you thought you knew about Jason Voorhees and Crystal Lake behind us only to venture into a zany land of bonkers fun and thematic mash-ups that seem to violate any and all canonical axioms of Friday the 13th.  Some hate it for this; I love it for this.  It’s definitely something different!  MORE MOVIES LIKE Jason Goes to HellObviously, Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) for sure.  Sadly, I’d only suggest part III (1982) for the sake of story continuity (it didn’t impress me at all, but many seem to highly favor it), but part IV: The Final Chapter (1984), part V: A New Beginning (1985), part VI: Jason Lives (1986) and part VII: The New Blood (1988) were all quite redeeming.  Although part VII and part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) get a bit more silly.  So I’d suggest fans of this turn to later Freddy sequels like A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) and The Dream Child (1989).

Part 8 SIDEBAR:  Tommy Jarvis wrapped up part VI by defeating the lightning-resurrected Jason (Kane Hodder; parts VII-VIII, Hatchet) in the first of his undead movies, which ended leaving Jason drowned (yet again) and chained at the bottom of Crystal Lake.  Then in part VII, Tina telekinetically resurrected and subsequently dispatched Jason, sending him back to his watery grave.  No surprise, part VIII (in a stroke of originality) also resurrected him with electricity and then drowned him, this time leaving him in a New York City sewer.

In his writing and directorial debut, Adam Marcus (Secret Santa) wastes no time before diving into the entertaining mania that is this ever-developing franchise.  Jason (Kane Hodder; parts VII-VIII, Hatchet) seems to grow ever more powerful while ever more decomposed with each sequel. His water-bloated flesh now engulfs the margins of his crusty hockey mask and grossly swells around its straps, and we see straggling long hairs whisping in the moonlight.  He’s become pretty awesomely gross…but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been drowned and waterlogged three times between various forms of electrocution (i.e., parts VI-VIII).

Franchise Timeline SIDEBAR:  So when does this movie take place???  Part 1 took place in “present day” (1980), parts II-IV all occur in rapid succession 5 years after the events of part 1 (so 1985), then part V jumped forward 5-6 years (so 1990-1991-ish) and (probably more of a writing flaw than anything) part VI took us questionably another 10-ish years yet further into the future (soooo, 2001…?).  Parts VII provides no time statement, but could just as well occur in the same year as part VI.  I guess it makes sense that too much time hadn’t past, or the fish and freshwater bacteria would’ve whittled him down to nothing.  I’d guess that parts VI-VII took place in the same summer, and that VIII is about 10 months later (into the next year; so 2002???) since our victims are on a high school trip around graduation.  But, as you read on, you’ll find this sequel (and part VIII) seem to have little regard for continuity…

Not sure how Jason was resurrected this time or how he got back to New Jersey’s Crystal Lake after being drowned in a New York City sewer.  Perhaps he respawns like some World of Warcraft or Call of Duty player… or perhaps a lower Manhattan power grid’s electrical surge awoke a rather homesick Jason.  Our opening sequence finds Agent Marcus (Julie Michaels; Doctor Mordrid, Witchboard 2) as a topless coed decoy to lead her SWAT team to capture Jason.  And, by “capture,” I mean shoot him about 100 times and then detonate his body leaving his head and still beating heart to be transported to a morgue.

Now this is where things get crazy.  After some feisty autopsy narration over some crispy sundered body parts, our coroner (Richard Gant; Godzilla 1998, Hood of Horror) gorily eats Jason’s beating heart in a ravenous fit!  And so, Jason has a new body—apparently now having the ability to possess and swap bodies via heart-eating (or another method to be discussed later).

Franchise Admixture SIDEBAR: Like part VIII, this sequel seems quite self-aware of its thematic silliness. And, also like part VIII, we find numerous callbacks to Freddy Krueger and his Elm Street franchise (e.g., Jason’s remains are taken to Ohio).  Part VIII had premonitions of young Jason warning our protagonist (or haunting her, as if she was somehow connected to him) much like the nursery rhyme girls and Amanda Krueger did in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), and someone warns that the kids on the cruise to Manhattan were “the last of them” (and that was why the voyage was “cursed” and Jason was coming) much as NOES 4: The Dream Master (1988) was all about Freddy getting the last of the Elm Street kids. Now, Jason Goes to Hell follows in the path of NOES 5: The Dream Child (1989), in that Jason seeks to be reborn through another Voorhees much as Freddy sought to be reborn as Alice’s baby.  Breaking the Voorhees-Krueger emulation pattern, Jason switches bodies by way of an evil worm parasite passed mouth-to-mouth like in The Hidden (1987).  As if there weren’t yet enough honored movie flavors, we visit the run-down Voorhees house (a la 1428 Elm Street) and find a Necronomicon!  Yes, as in the exact book from The Evil Dead (1981; in concept) and Evil Dead II (1987; exact book design)!  So apparently Jason is a deadite, and there’s an article to such effect in Bloody Disgusting.  Makes sense, right?

I’m a major fan of the gore and effects.  Not only was Jason’s body fantastic, but the death scenes were spectacular!  The sex scene kill was brief but awesome, there were some abrupt but gruesome arm and jaw breaks, a blood-geysering head crush (a classic Jason maneuver), and the outstanding post-parasite-partem body melt.  That body melt was so gooey and slimy, rich with the kind of awesome that reminds me of The Blob (1988) or the transformation scene from Hellraiser (1987)!  The effects of the slimy demon parasite itself are pretty cool, too—even if it’s the campiest aspect of the movie.  Well, to be fair, the truly silliest thing about the movie was the bounty hunter (Steven Williams; It, Supernatural, The Leftovers) who somehow knew all this “hand-waiving” new mythology about Jason Voorhees, how only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees, and all this hoo-ha about the magical dagger.  Yes, I just said magical dagger! LOL

Yup. That’s exactly the book you think it is…and there’s Voorhees dying by the prophesied hand of a Voorhees.

My past comments (see the “Incontinuity SIDEBAR” in my review of part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan) about movie inconsistency get Hulk-smashed by the nonsense transpiring before my eyes as I watch with a sort of child-like wonderous glee.  Ever since part VII: The New Blood (1988), things have grown ever more exponentially bonkers and I couldn’t be happier.

A scene from the alternate ending.

The ending slips all the way into batshitcrazytown when Jason tries to mouth-demon impregnate an infant, Jason’s demon larva crawls up a dead Voorhees woman’s you-know-what, and Jason is pulled (like, by actual elemental demon arms emerging from the ground) down to Hell and Freddy Krueger’s clawed hand grabs his mask.  I get that this may sound stupid and a bit off-track for what you thought you knew about this franchise, but trust me in that this was AWESOME FUN!

John’s Horror Corner: Brain Damage (1988), Frank Henenlotter’s horror-comedy allegory for drug addiction.

December 3, 2017

MY CALL:  I’d call this a higher quality B-movie that actually has something to say.  If you’ve ever enjoyed a Henenlotter film, then you should try this.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Brain DamageObviously, Frankenhooker (1990) and the Basket case trilogy (1982, 1988, 1991).  I’d also suggest Dead-Alive (1992).

This review is all sorts of NSFW.
Just FYI… very NSFW
You’ve been warned. NSFW

This film drops us right in the middle of some weirdness.  Feeling a bit under the weather, Brian (Rick Hearst; Warlock III) awakens to find a sort of brain monster parasite attached to his spine.  And this little brain snake has an anthropomorphous face and a name: Elmer (Aylmer).  Elmer injects Brian with some intoxicating blue liquid which brings about a euphoric state.  However, in exchange for additional treatments, Elmer demands access to victims so he may feed (on their brains)—clearly an unsubtle social commentary on the desperate behavior behind drug addiction.  The dialogue and presentation are quite blatant, often depicted as a man (Brian) having a sober conversation with the very personification of his addiction.

Brian begins to act all sorts of weird.  He prefers seclusion, distances himself from his girlfriend, puts locks on the bedroom and bathroom doors, and seems to care about little more than his next dose from Elmer.  He doesn’t even remember some of the things his done to earn his next fix.

Writer and director Frank Henenlotter (Frankenhooker, Basket Case 1-3) tends to produce a mix of stylized dark slapstick humor, very gory low budget effects, heavy allegory, and perverse sexualized themes.  Being no exception, this film parallels sexual acts in its horror (e.g., the alley scene behind the bar in which Elmer assumes an analogous role to oral sex).  But despite the disturbing themes, this is a dark horror comedy complete with a musical number and it does not rely on smut (there’s very limited nudity).

Elmer appears to be a mix of puppeteer work and stop-motion, he’s sufficiently slimy, his face looks kind of cute yet evil, and they have a lot of fun with his ever-widening mouth when administering Brian’s fix.  We also see plenty of him, even (in one scene) in the form of cartoon animation!  Although the effects are cheap, they’re highly effective in this B-movie.  When the scenes merit gore, it’s gooey and chunky and exactly what you were hoping for given the silly movie posters.  Some highlights include the brain-eating sex scene, the deliciously gory withdrawal scene (yanking a brain through an ear) and the mouth-to-mouth kiss death scene.  When Elmer attacks it’s hilarious—akin to the larvae in The Deadly Spawn (1983).

Voiced by John Zacherle (Frankenhooker), Elmer/Aylmer sounds surprisingly like Jeffery Combs!  Elmer gets so much screen time that I’m left to wonder if Henenlotter or someone close to him endured a bout with addiction.  This work was clearly important to him, and it presents itself much more significantly than most random B-movies ever could.  We watch as Brian goes through every stage of addiction (including self-awareness).

This was surprisingly satisfying. The gore was adequate and silly and fun, the story actually worked and had something to say, and the title monster was quite likable.

John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), teleporting all over the place in a love letter to Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

December 2, 2017

MY CALL:  Much more mainstream and kind of silly, this sequel is nothing like any of its camp-slaughtering predecessors except for its growing sense of humor.  This is not a “good” movie, but it’s such a fun flick! I love it.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Friday the 13th Part VIIIObviously, Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) for sure.  Sadly, I’d only suggest part III (1982) for the sake of story continuity (it didn’t impress me at all, but many seem to highly favor it), but part IV: The Final Chapter (1984), part V: A New Beginning (1985), part VI: Jason Lives (1986) and part VII: The New Blood (1988) were all quite redeeming.  After part VII, things started to get a bit more silly.  So I’d suggest fans of this turn to later Freddy sequels like A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988).

Wow. Where’s the lake?  Where’s the van unloading girls in short-shorts out into the Pine Barrens?  From its first moments this film feels so distant from Camp Crystal Lake and the seven prior Jason Voorhees movies.  We open to a late-night radio narration, rough city streets and heroine-injecting alleys overlaid by rock music.  It’s as if writer/director by Rob Hedden found his greatest muse in the stylings of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988).  Upon hearing this movie’s title as a kid, the first thing that came to mind was The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984).  But around this time a lot of horror franchises were absconding their secluded cabins in the woods to try their hand at horror in the big city.  It was seldom successful. Carol Anne moved downtown only to be followed in Poltergeist III (1988); evil tribbles hit Los Angeles in Critters 3 (1991); Pinhead went solo in the club scene in Hell on Earth (1992); and Leprechaun 2 (1994) took its diminutive rascal to Las Vegas and then the Hood twice (2000, 2003).

Part 7 SIDEBAR:  Wrapping up the Tommy Jarvis story arc, Tommy wrapped up part VI by defeating the lightning-resurrected Jason in the first of his undead movies, which ended leaving Jason drowned (yet again) and chained at the bottom of Crystal Lake.  Then in part VII, Tina (Jennifer Banko; Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) telekinetically resurrected and subsequently dispatched Jason, sending him back to his watery grave where we find him now…

In this most contemporary installment, Jason is once again resurrected when some midnight lovers’ boat anchor severs a submerged electrical line near our favorite masked revenant.  I know…very convenient. LOL.  Then, somehow the boat drifts from Camp Crystal Lake all the way to maritime waters (by magic or teleportation or something…because it’s a LAKE!) where Jason boards the aptly named Lazarus on its way to take a group of high school graduates to New York City.

Incontinuity SIDEBAR: A lot of things just don’t add up in this franchise.  In part V we learned that Jason Voorhees’ body was purportedly cremated (to justify that Jason wasn’t behind all the killings) and then in part VI we learned that the locals of Crystal Lake changed its name to Forest Green to help forget the horrors of Crystal Lake’s past.  But neither are acknowledged in the ensuing movies in which Jason’s body is still intact (and clearly not cremated!) and strolling past signs that read Crystal Lake (not Forest Green).  And speaking of lakes, that’s what Crystal Lake is!  A lake!  So how the Hell did a boat in this lake (in the woods) drift into a waterway leading to New York City!?!

Something I love about the last few movies is that Jason (Kane Hodder; part VII: The New Blood, Hatchet, Smothered) keeps decomposing and getting yuckier.  After being left for dead underwater and resurrected twice now, his bloated body is covered in a sludgy slimy muck-like mucous.  And just wait until you see what’s under that mask!  Yup, he gets uglier with every sequel and I adore that.

Franchise Timeline SIDEBAR:  So when does this movie take place???  Part 1 took place in “present day” (1980), parts II-IV all occur in rapid succession 5 years after the events of part 1 (so 1985), then part V jumped forward 5-6 years (so 1990-1991-ish) and (probably more of a writing flaw than anything) part VI took us questionably another 10-ish years yet further into the future (soooo, 2001…?).  Parts VII-VIII provide no time statement, but could just as well occur in the same year as part VI.  I guess it makes sense that too much time hadn’t past or the fish and freshwater bacteria would’ve whittled him down to nothing.

What is it with all the spear guns around Crystal Lake?  Is New Jersey known for its quality lake spear-fishing?  I guess they make for good death scenes…and so do steaming sauna rocks plunged through teen chest cavities and even electric guitars.  And speaking of the rocker’s guitar death, this is the first kill of the franchise that led me to strongly question if Jason simply teleported!  Yes, this is a big point of contention among F13 fans and one savvy Movies, Films and Flix writer offers his arguments refuting such teleportation hypotheses (even producing a diagram for the Kelly Hu death scenario) for several kills in Jason Takes Manhattan.  I smell controversy!

Director Rob Hedden wore his love for Freddy Krueger on his sleeve—or, to be fair, the NOES sequels’ style more than Freddy himself.  Not only does Jason manage to surprise his victims with putatively impossible movement patterns, but our final girl (Rennie) has spectral visions of a young drowning Jason through her cabin’s porthole, pulling her under the water, and strangling her through her bathroom mirror (all before she knew or even suspected any murders were afoot; like premonitions warning her).  Additionally, scenes depict injectable drug use (against one’s will) and death by syringe (like the drug addict, punk girl in Dream Warriors), and a talented fighter being defeated by our boogeyman (as with The Dream Master’s martial artist).  All are Freddy movie tactics and even the very reflection of a young innocent Jason harkens the nursery rhyming children or Freddy’s nun mother reminding us of our killer’s human origins.

The campiness is in steady league with part VII: The New Blood (1988).  We have random nods to Stephen King and The Toxic Avenger (1984) (just because, I guess), what seems to be the unofficial son of the “death curse” guy from early in the franchise, horrible logic by authority figures, Jason breaking every door and window he finds, lots of boobs, and even more poor decisions.  The nonsensical climax is also a fan favorite—when the boxer taunts “take your best shot” and Jason punches his head off!  It’s also joyously funny seeing Jason shoving his way past regular people in the city streets or the subway—the New Yorkers aren’t even shocked until they see what’s behind the mask.

Revealing his extra-uglified face, Jason is defeated in a dramatic finale matched only by the utter lunacy of the resurrected father in part VII.  And like VII, this is overall about as outlandish as the franchise has reached thus far.  This may not be a favorite among die hard Crystal Lake fans, but these last two movies strike me as the most blast-tacularly enjoyable despite their silly flaws.

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