31 Horrifying Days: Day 18- Fright Night (1985)

A teenager, Charley Brewster (played by newcomer William Ragsdale) is watching horror flicks and trying to coerce his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) into having sex with him. She relents and agrees when he becomes distracted by someone moving in next door. They have what appears to be a coffin. The new neighbor, Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon, who returned for the 2011 remake) is charming, handsome …and has fangs. 

Charley figures this out after peeping on Jerry’s date with his binoculars. There are so many times where an immature nerd boy with binoculars has intruded in on some shit: Twilight Zone, the Simpsons when Bart broke his leg and Disturbia to name a few. Mind your neck! 

Anyway, Amy decides that Charley is an immature nerd boy and not worth her virginity. When he shows up telling her about the creature of the night neighbor, she assumes it’s a ploy to get her back. He tells his mom, he tells the police and when everyone thinks he’s a damn idiot… he enlists the help of Amy, pal Evil Ed and a horror host named Peter Vincent to vanquish the bloodsucker.

Jerry is not fucking amused. He sneaks in through Charley’s mother’s window (as a bat. a vampire shapeshifts into a wolf later which makes no sense to me, but whatever). He offers Charley a chance to forget about him and just let him be. Or else. Or else he’ll kill Charley’s mom and turn Amy. Ohhh snap.

All the women as potential fridging victims?

Image

 

But what I do like is that Charley feels the need to protect his mom. Lot’s of media with teenage protagonist have the parents written out, usually in some tragic backstory to explain why their child is galavanting around at night acting like frigging Van Helsing and they just could not even be bothered. Charley gets a little of that in that his mom is divorced (hence, he’s “the man of the house” and the protector). 

When they confront Jerry together initially the others had the intention of proving to Charley that Jerry was not a vampire. He drinks “Holy water” and isn’t harmed by crosses. But Peter Vincent notices that Jerry has no reflection. The cross didn’t work because the weilder had no faith… and the Holy water was tap water. Who thought he’d be a real vamp? Once Jerry knows they are on to him he turns “Evil Ed” and sends the boy to do his bidding. Mission #1 Attack Peter Vincent: Mission FAILED. Peter maims him with a cross. Mission #2 Find Charley’s mom: Mission FAILED. Charley’s mom is at work. 

Meanwhile, Jerry chases Charley and Amy. The couple duck into a club. While Charley calls for help, Amy is seduced on the dancefloor. She happens to bear a strong resemblance to Jerry’s lost love (because every vampire is Dracula). And he abducts her. 

Charley and Peter partner up and break into Jerry’s house, they take on a guard and Evil Ed in wolf form. Charley gets taken and brought to Amy… who is turning into a vampire. Peter concludes that she can turn back into a human if they kill Jerry by dawn.

But was it scary? Nope. And Amy was annoying and Charley was stupid. 

Jerry was the quintessential suave vampire next door. The movie would have been better if he seduced Charley’s mom and then Marcy from “Married With Children” saved her along with the kid who looked like Ferris’s friend and the Giles prototype. Because hundred year old grown men who look like 40 year old men dirty dancing with teens is fucking gross.

The effects were really 80s. They were really good for the 80s. 

It’s directed by Tom Holland, who would later direct Child’s Play and Psycho II

I understand why people like this.

But I didn’t really like it.

I gave an extra .5 for ugly vampires.

3/5

And I know I’m going to get hate for that, but the cool parts weren’t played up enough and the characters were fucking wack, with the exception of Sarandon who nailed it as Jerry.

31 Horrifying Days: Day 2: House at the End of the Street (2012)

Funfact: The film was shot in the 2-perf Techniscope format to provide a grainy image reminiscent of older horror films and to save money on film stock and processing. 

Image

Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games, X-Men Days of Future Past) Stars as Elissa who moves with her mom, played by Elizabeth Shue (CSI) to a new house, the house next door was the scene of a brutal double homicide. In the opening scenes we see a stumbling teenage girl come home in a lightning storm. She knocks over a lamp and her mother goes to see what the trouble is. The mother is bludgeoned and shortly after, so is the father. Elissa and her mother reflect on the fact that the house is empty, but late at night she sees a light turned on. 

They find that the son, Ryan Jacobson, is still living in the house. Everyone thinks this is the appalling. There are rumors that teenaged girl is still living in the woods. Elissa asks her mother, “do you think someone could still be living there?” (ironically at a time when she’s playing Katniss, and… living in the woods) …creepy camera angles reveal that someone may be watching from the brush. 

She quickly befriends rich dude Tyler (Nolan Gerard Funk, Riddick) and gets invited to a party. He gets fresh with her and she bails. She starts the 10 mile trek home in the rain, when Ryan (Max Thieriot, Bates Motel) spots her and offers to drive her back. She awkwardly blurts out that his “parents got killed” and “why do you still live in that house?” Which he minds less than everyone saying behind his back. He reveals that he’s just fixing up the house and he’ll sell it, but he doesn’t have much to remember his parents by.

In all practicality: where would he live? He’s a teenager. How many places would he have to go?

But there’s a bigger reason. Carrie Ann, Ryan’s sister, played by up-and-comer Eva Link (Best Laid Plans) isn’t in the woods. She’s in the house. And subject to violent fits. Ryan drugs her and asks her to leave Elissa alone.

Elissa and Jillian make friends over hating on Tyler. Yeahhh, unite don’t fight. J Lawr flawlessly delivers, “He’s worse than a dick, he’s a dick hole.” Jillian: “Dick hole is the new asshole.” and Elissa also goes to visit Ryan, who tells her that his sister had brain damage and we see in the flashback that his parents were crackheads. Carrie Ann fell off swings and hit her head, Ryan should have been watching her (he was, like, 6). Elissa’s mom is not amused. Ryan gets caught up thinking about Elissa and forgets to lock up Carrie Ann, who makes a break for Elissa’s house.

The camera angles and effects from Carrie Ann’s POV are blurry and hazy, adds texture and atmosphere. There are some jump out of your seat moments. There’s also a lot of angst, teenage drama and questionable parenting (your teenage daughter is literally always going to do what you told her not to do) and even more questionable romantic choices (you bring someone to hook up at your house with your murderous sister? How is this your life?) 

Good acting. Good directing. It captured the essence of teenage angst, hook ups gone wrong and strange behavior. Elizabeth Shue does a great job as a mom in over her head, Jennifer Lawrence is snappy and capable as per usual. Townie teenage mob mentality kicks up the drama. Nail biter “J Lawr, don’t be so damn curious” moments. Moments where you want to scream “Why would you ever go in there?!” But I cannot stand for this disabled/mentally ill people as mindless murderous villains. But it gets even weirder than that.

Bizarre plot twists. Upon bizarre plot twists show that there’s more going on than an inexplicably murderous brain damaged girl. 

Other things I liked: no neglect of technology. Everybody has cell phones, wi-fi and common sense. The characters attire, resources and behavior were reasonable. And J Lawr kills it. Perfect bra-less final girl swagger.

Image

But was it scary? Yes. Unpredictable nail biting thriller. Psycho-esque but creative enough and ballsy enough to make up for some tropes. Kind of scares that make me glad that I have roommates and more than one damn neighbor. 

4.25 out of 5

Comic-book Catch up #4

Featuring Ms Marvel #3, Tomb Raider #3, Lazarus #8

Ms Marvel #3

Kamala Khan is experiencing the backlash from sneaking out. Her parents are upset, she’s still upset with Bruno. Bruno has his own mayhem happening, his brother asks him to steal from his register at the convenience store. Zoe is getting all the attention for getting saved while Kamala tries to get a grip on her powers and ends up in hiding even though she’s the hero in this story. She’s worrying she’s outgrowing her life “like a pair of pants that no longer fit” and in the next moment she’s confronting both teenage drama and an armed robber head on. G Willow Wilson writes teenage well, and she provides insight to the way that Kamala’s culture separates her from others in Jersey City, but also how it bonds her with her friends. She questions authority but is realistically insecure and charming. 

Tomb Raider #3

We’re treated to a bit more backstory on the hard hitting Reyes. In Dublin, her daughter is in imminent danger from the Solarii cult. They want the artifact Lara stole. Only, she still doesn’t remember it. She tries to lie, but the cult members don’t buy it. Suddenly, someone takes aim and shoots the gangsters and Lara breaks a glass over someone’s head. Meanwhile, Sam is in trouble. Lara and Reyes make a break for it, with the men in hot pursuit, Reyes and her daughter split from Lara (I love when characters don’t all orbit the main protagonist, btw. So Reyes calling Lara out on being the cause of this, on being bad luck. Worthwhile). Lara clubs a goon with the a busker’s guitar and grabs his gun. Reyes’ daughter says she was too mean to Lara. Lara finds out that Sam has been taken and throws down, but one goon sneaks up on her- she averts disaster but causing a soccer riot. But the goons just keep coming. Luckily, Reyes shows her daughter what it means to be loyal and double backs for Lara, with a “Don’t thank me, it was Miss Manners here.” And Lara declares they’ll go back to Yamatai to stop this and save Sam.

Sam Nishimura has the best answering machine message of all time. “I’m either off shooting an award winning documentary or passed out drunk. You know what to do.”

Lazarus #8

The first 5 were amazing, a new series with so much promise. One with a female lead (and still more females with their own agendas) that creates a world that is bleak, violent and corporate. One of all out class warfare. How could I not be in love? But the momentum has slowed, flashbacks to Forever’s childhood bog down the series instead of advance it. Currently, Forever is looking for and IED while the Barretts are looking to go get jobs with the Carlyles, they’re headed for Denver. Them and everyone else. Like pioneers travelling to a new frontier, to their last ditch effort: the road is hard. Worse when Forever finds that Denver is the target of this attack. But her father refuses to cancel the lift. Forever is in a race to stop the plot in the final pages. but it won’t be resolved til next month. 

All-New X-Men #20

The Original X-Men and Kitty Pryde, now teamed up with Cyclops try to make nice with X-23 (Laura Kinney) who freaks the heck out -partially because the Charles Xavier School is housed in the Weapon X facility but even more so since she almost died in the Arena and then was hunted by a religious mutant-hater cult called the Purifiers.. As Wolverine’s genetic clone, it rightfully gives her the creeps. 

Image

 

And this series in particular has a track record of putting things on their covers that have little to do with actual events. X-23, with her long flowing hair making out with young Scott Summers. Oh that did not happen. But X-23’s hair did grow considerably since her last appearance and Scott had a crush for sure. 

KP tries to get X-23 through her recent trauma, while Jeannie pulls a Sookie Stackhouse and allows Laura absolutely no privacy within her own. Professor K knocks her down a notch and says that she can’t be intruding on Laura (or anyone) like that. After a heart to heart with young Cyclops, X-23 decides that she wants to take on the Purifiers  So she tracks them.

William Stryker’s son is holding a meeting, speaking to his fellow zealots. Getting everyone all riled up.

But, it should be noted that Scott Summers + Co. have proved themselves varying degrees of dangerous. And the Original X-Men are breaking the laws of time and space.

The sneak in, KP sabotages the electricity, Jean takes over the Purifiers small minds and then everyone attacks. It goes well and good for our mutant friends until Stryker makes some sonic telekinetic emanation and everyone falls flat.

So he’s one of those self-loathing mutants? 

Hmm…

Unlike in other issues, I very much enjoyed the teenage antics. Fickle Scott Summers, jokes from Angel and Bobby about why someone would want to MAKE Wolverines, Jeannie playing pranks on the Purifiers. 

What I didn’t really understand: It was just KP, X-23 and the young ‘uns. Admittedly, the Purifiers came across as a weak threat and they’re all capable. But no Magik? no Stepford Cuckoos? 

And KP’s orders to follow X-23 but answer to Scott (the young Scott who at the beginning of Battle of the Atom almost died apprehending Animax which threatened current timeline Scott as well) were perplexing. X-23’s role I understood because it was her fight… but putting the inexperienced version of Scott in the leadership role made little sense.

Major cliff hanger.