Sequels

Sorority House Massacre II

Five sexpot sorority sisters track down a real estate bargain…a downmarket California mansion that they can put in a low-ball offer for without an inspection? That’s just speculation on our part, as the abode in Sorority House Massacre II: Nighty Nightmare is a real fixer-upper. In real estate parlance, it has “good bones,” but nothing else (nothing else except…BAD MOJO…ominous cackle).

Little does the fivesome know, there’s a heavy breather neighbor peering at them behind his drapes across the way. Luckily, the girls busy themselves tackling beer and tequila and within the first 7 minutes, the Greeks* are given the particulars about the “old Hokstedter place,” by one of their own, a Goth-lite named Janie.

The new sorority digs was “the best they could do for the money,” and we know what that means in horror. But that’s the first of their (many) mistakes, the others being, taking part in elaborate seance (and in the midst of a nasty storm to boot) and letting their greasy neighbor in to regale them about how the bodies were found.**

This is pretty audacious, gonzo film-making. Director Jim Wynorski, a year after making the send-up, Transylvania Twist (featuring a self-parodying Angus Scrimm in Tall Man form) returns to helm what is a straight-ahead slasher with a, uh…twist: flashbacks from a different movie entirely. Yes, as the girls get backstory aplenty, it’s paired with flashbacks from The Slumber Party Massacre! Guess oversights like this can be expected when a film’s entire production took about a week and a half.

Sorority House Massacre 2 follows the girls-in-a-house motif, established in Black Christmas, and carrying on through Halloween and up to any number of seemingly interchangeable “massacre” movies.

There is lots of door jiggling, a basement animal trap, which became a hallmark of horror in the 2000s, and of course, copious screaming.

Not much to be said about this sequel, but it does feature a few Wynorskian touches: to wit, lingering, and what some might call gratuitous, shower and strip sequences.

** (out of 5)

(*Fraternity/sorority colloquialism; **reiterated by a cop: it was a “real butcher job, body parts were scattered all over the house, fingers in the sink, scalps on the mantel, guts cooking on the oven.”)

 

Freddy vs. Jason

freddy_vs-_jason_movieA F*ck-Marry-Kill kill game with the Three Stooges, played by a reluctant Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child? That fun tone sets the groundwork for Freddy vs. Jason, a mad crossover worthy of NBA wunderkind Steph Curry. It’s a film that has absolutely no business being this fun.

With Freddy’s powers dwindling (they’re derived from FDR’s famous line, “the only thing you have to fear, is fear itself”) it seems nobody in fictional Springwood has anything to be afraid of anymore. He can’t fulfill his kills, and life is back to normal in blah suburbia.

To add some juice, Freddy conjures up the dormant underworld form of Jason Voorhees to drum up a little bit of terror on terra firma.

The big galoot starts offing teenagers, including one clamped shut in his bed that alludes to the famous Jason kill from Friday the 13th Part II, as well as Johnny Depp’s boudoir demise in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The infamous address of 1428 Elm St. is suddenly the site of horrors again, and destined to be on the market for decades.

Suddenly, cops have something to do with themselves far removed from the halcyon policing days of John Saxon.

Kids are drugged up in the local sanitarium, wigged out on Hypnocil and having mercifully dream-free slumbers. But with Jason wreaking havoc, Freddy’s powers are slowly returning and two butchers are laying waste to the town.

Directory Ronny Yu smartly goes all Nightmare with this, and it’s a far more believable conceit that Jason could exist in Freddy’s suburban milieu than the other way ’round. Still, we get a brief glimpse of a Camp Crystal Lake dock, and a hot girl’s knocked off in the first scene.

freddy-vs-jason-horror-moviesFreddy vs Jason features glorious kills, a terrific Mexican stand-off finish from two of pop culture’s most infamous slashers, and you’re left with something that not only doesn’t stink, but is unabashedly good clean fun.

Stunt-like setups like this could get outta hand (especially if there’s a third icon to double up on the “vs,”) but as a one-off, it’s darn decent.

[Be sure to check out our Freddy vs Jason podcast!]

***1/4 (out of 5)