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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: A review of Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2012 by Paxton

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Platinum Dunes had a minor success with their Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot in 2003.  2009’s Friday the 13th reboot also actually made some money.  So, in 2010, New Line and Platinum Dunes decided to reboot the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

NOES reboot

I am a fan of Freddy Krueger as well as the slasher movies of the 80s. However, if I had to pick, I was more of a Jason guy myself. But I enjoyed the Nightmare movies, especially the first one and the third one.  I was intrigued by this reboot, I enjoyed the Friday the 13th reboot by New Line/Platinum Dunes in 2009 and I loved the idea of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy, so I was anxious to see how well they pulled this off.

Unlike the Friday the 13th reboot, I had not watched this movie beforehand, it was my first viewing.  I was intrigued by the idea of Jackie Haley playing Freddy and I really liked the look of Freddy from the trailer.  I didn’t go into it with HIGH expectations, per say, but I was optimistic.

Check out the trailer:

I think the best thing about the movie is the “look and feel”.  It was definitely grittier and more dark than the later Nightmare movies.  I also liked Haley as Freddy.  His mannerisms and his look were very well realized.  I even thought Haley was slightly more menacing than the original Freddy, well at least the version from the later movies.  The wise-cracking jokester killer.  All in all, I enjoyed it.  It sort of fell apart at the end, mainly because I think the teens in the movie weren’t very interesting.  I didn’t really like anybody.  Rooney Mara was okay if a bit understated as Nancy.  Katie Cassidy did pretty good, but I think I just got bored with the teens by the end.  I like the way Freddy is “dispatched” in the final battle and how the final stinger shot is sort of an homage to the final shot in the original Nightmare movie.

I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  However, that being said, I would watch another Jackie Haley as Freddy Nightmare movie.  I think the potential is there to have a really good sequel.  Especially if they follow along the story lines of Nightmare 3: Dream Warriors.

And they have to reunite Dokken for the soundtrack.  That is a must.

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: A review of Friday the 13th (2009)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2012 by Paxton

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In 2009, New Line and Platinum Dunes released Friday the 13th. It was a reboot/re-imagining of the horror movie franchise from 1980.

F13 reboot

I’m a big fan of Jason Vorhees and the Friday the 13th franchise. I enjoy most of the installments but my favorite ones are Part VI: Jason Lives and Part III in 3D. I also enjoy Jason X because it’s balls out crazy with Uber Jason. So I’m a fan going in and that means I have the potential to hate everything about this reboot. Let’s see if I do.

The story starts with a mother going crazy and killing all the counselors (except one) at Camp Crystal Lake after her son drowns. Unknown to the mother, the son, Jason, was still alive and watches her get beheaded by the last surviving counselor. Years later, Jason is surviving off the land and lives in the tunnels hidden underneath the camp. A group of partying kids stumble upon the remains of Camp Crystal Lake and Jason does everything he can to protect “his turf” against the interlopers. Now, that synopsis is decidedly biased towards Jason, but that is essentially what happens. Overall, the story follows a typical Friday the 13th structure. Teenagers partying, stumble upon abandoned camp, show boobies, incur the wrath of Jason, get killed.

Check out the trailer:

However, when you delve into the details of this movie, it is slightly different than the formula. Most especially with the behavior of Jason. The movie turns Jason into a survivalist. He isn’t just killing to kill. It is implied that Jason has lived on the grounds of old Camp Crystal Lake for years by himself. He only becomes “active” when someone “invades his area”. He’s protecting his ground in the most egregious way possible. They’ve also made this Jason leaner, faster and more calculating. He’s actually laying traps for his victims. I for one love this portrayal of Jason and I love that we see his lair and that he can get around camp underground in the tunnels without being seen. I always wondered how this giant murderous dude in a hockey mask walked around the wide open camp without being seen except at the last moment. Jason knows this camp like the back of his hand, so this combined with the tunnels is a great solution.

Now, I guess, let’s discuss the teens. They were what they were. You have the hot, horny party chicks. The prude chick. The douchebag guy. The sweet guy. The stoner. The black guy.  They are all there and they all serve their purpose, to be killed off in a spectactular fashion. For instance, Jason scores a sweet bow and arrow kill on a guy around the 45 min mark. Yes, he actually shoots an arrow with a bow into a guy’s head that is driving a boat on the lake. BAD. ASS.  Jason also stabs one of the horny blondes in the head from above.  So the kills are pretty good and imaginative.

As for the hot girls, the movie delivers.  For me, the hottest chick in the movie was Bree, who is played by Juliana Guill (see pic below).  Followed very closely by Amanda, played by America Olivo with Willa Ford as Chelsea a close third.  All three of these chicks are smoking hot and make a fine addition to the Friday the 13th babe museum.  And all three show boobs (BONUS).

Hello, I’m Bree and I’m incredibly hot. And drunk.

So, overall, this reboot isn’t that bad. I really like what they did with Jason and I liked a lot of the kills. I also enjoyed how Jason started off with the sack over his head for the first few kills in an homage to the original Part II. Jason Vorhees didn’t get the hockey mask until the mid point of Part III so this version also doesn’t get the mask until mid-way through the movie. That was a nice touch.  And the black and white intro that replayed the climatic scene of Mrs Vorhees getting beheaded was also really well done.  I liked what this movie did with the Jason mythos and I would enjoy seeing more of this Jason on the big screen. However, it’s unclear whether we are actually going to get a sequel, even though this movie made pretty good money.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Review of two Friday the 13th Part 3 novelizations

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by Paxton

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And so continues our second week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2012.  Last week was Norman Bates/Psycho week.  This week is Jason Vorhees/Friday the 13th week.  Let’s start off this week with TWO novelizations written for the same movie; Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D.

Yes, there were two novelizations written for Friday the 13th Part 3.  The first was by Michael Avallone and published the same year as the movie’s release in 1982. This particular novelization was the first published for any of the Jason movies.

F13 Pt 3

Right away, the cover for this novelization is pretty awesome.  First of all, the hockey mask isn’t the standard Jason mask.  However, Jason didn’t actually get the mask until Part 3, so the Jason hockey mask was not the iconic symbol when this book was published that it is today.  Also, I love that they included the 3-D moniker in the title.  Like the book is actually written in 3-D (IT SHOULD TOTALLY BE WRITTEN IN 3-D!!!).

For most of the book, the story sticks pretty close to the movie.  A few deviations here and there, nothing really to mention.  However, that is, until the end.  This novelization is interesting in that it features an alternate ending from the one used in the actual movie.  In this ending, Chris, who is in the canoe in the lake, hears her boyfriend’s voice back at the lake house.  She gets out of the lake and runs back up to the house and opens the door only to have Jason decapitate her.  This is vastly different than the “it was all a nightmare” ending that was actually used.

This novelization would go out of print and become fairly hard to find until Paramount decided to publish Friday the 13th novelizations for the release of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Gus Van Sant’s Psycho remake (1998)

Posted in Alfred Hitchock, movies, Norman Bates, pop culture, Psycho, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2012 by Paxton

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In 1998, Gus Van Sant set out to film a remake of Hitchcock’s classsic, Psycho. Van Sant used a shooting script from the original movie which included notes from Hitchcock himself.

Psycho remake

I saw this remake when it hit video for the first time. Being a huge fan of the original, of course, I was set to not like it from the beginning. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t hate it, it just felt superfluous. Like why even bother? So I filed it away and really never thought of it again.

So now that I’ve decided to have this Psycho week, I decided to rewatch this remake (as well as the original). I still feel the same. Even more so after watching this right after the original. Why bother, Van Sant? It’s so close to the original there is literally NO NEED to watch this movie. Sure, Julianne Moore tries to bring a little different to the Crane sister character and Vince Vaughn definitely plays Bates a little different, but not enough to warrant watching this. Anne Heche does NOTHING different with Marion Crane which makes her performance even less.  You not only get nothing new out of this you are also watching an almost literal copy of the dialogue and scenes from the 1960 original.  SO WHY NOT JUST WATCH THE ORIGINAL?

Like I said, I don’t hate this remake. It just makes me sad.  It has to be one of the most useless movies ever made.  When Van Sant was asked why he did it, he just said that he did it so no one else would have to.  NO ONE ELSE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF DOING IT, DUDE.  He must have been high off his big 1997 hit Good Will Hunting and thought he was invincible.  Apparently not.

Here’s the trailer:

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Review of Oz Book 8: Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)

Posted in books, pop culture, reviews, Wizard of Oz with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by Paxton

Following the Yellow Brick Road

Baum wrote the 8th Oz book, Tik-Tok of Oz, in 1914, one year after The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

This book is titled after Tik-Tok, the mechanical man.  The character of Tik-Tok first appeared in the third book, Ozma of Oz, but has also appeared in each subsequent book. Tik-Tok may be more familiar to people based on his appearance in the 1984 movie, Return to Oz.

Tik Tok in Return to Oz

A year before this book, in 1913, Baum attempted to stage a play based on a story that was heavily adapted from the third Oz book, Ozma of Oz.  He called it The Tik-Tok Man of Oz.  It was this play that would serve as the basis of this eighth book in the Oz series.  However, despite being named in the title, this book isn’t really about Tik-Tok, it’s more about the Shaggy Man and his quest to find his brother.

The story starts off with Queen Anne of Oogaboo forming an army to conquer the Emerald City. However, Glinda mixes up the roads between Oogaboo and the Emerald City forcing the army to March around Oz aimlessly. The group meets up with Betsy Bobbin and her mule Hank. Queen Anne wants to have them arrested but Shaggy Man comes along and convinces her not to. Shaggy Man explains that he’s out looking for his brother who has become a prisoner of the Nome King (last seen in The Emerald City of Oz). When Queen Anne learns of the Nome King’s riches, she instead decides to conquer him instead of Ozma and the Emerald City.  The group then travels to the Nome King’s domain to get Shaggy Man’s brother back and they have several adventures along the way.

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