31 Days of Horror Movie Reviews, Vol. 4
Today on Andy watches too much horror movies, we venture to the 50s and glimpse Christopher Lee’s other monstrous role with Hammer horror, David Cronenberg’s ode to staring contests, a hidden gem from the 1980s and of course, a Kevin Williamson 90s two-fer…
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
“The secret’s killing us.”
Previously on Dawson’s Beach: Scream was a huge hit and writer Kevin Williamson clearly had some unresolved issues with fishermen that he couldn’t quite tackle on The WB.
Yet even if this could be characterized as a Scream B-Side or an amped up Halloween episode of Dawson’s Creek, it still leaves me croaking with glee because of its dream 90s cast and a bangin’ soundtrack. Sprinkle in Hall of Fame horror movie names like Helen Shivers and Billy Blue, and you have a movie that I might actually choose over Scream every sixth time you ask.
The moral of our story? Secrets kill. Tell the truth. But like any and all of our favorite soap operas, the truth isn’t as fun as repressing trauma and keeping secrets to avoid trouble, thus creating far more trouble for ourselves in the process.
Cinematic Crop Dusting:
- Am I the only one who still thinks about the poor old fisherman that Ryan Philippe attacks and traumatizes?
- As someone who will go out of his way to figure out what a school’s mascot is every time I drive by a new school, the high school mascot of “Croaker” is an all-timer.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
“It’s not my blood, Julie,” says Rufus Humphrey to the future Ghost Whisperer.
Despite that climactic occurrence, I feel bad for Brandy and the rest of the cast assembled for this rush job that was the cinematic equivalent of cutting open my expired dates in the fridge to find them black and soulless.
Look no further: this is the low point of Jack Black’s career.
“We’re the dream and he’s the nightmare.”
I love a movie that basically centers around explosive staring contests.
While it doesn’t feel as dangerous or transgressive as a lot of his work (don’t worry, there’s still room for medical and government conspiracies), Cronenberg’s take on the X-Men still works, especially in the front half when it’s less complicated and merely a wish fulfillment to explode the heads of the people who judge us.
Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Watching this for the first time in theaters and in 3D (on a new print) added an extra layer of affection to a movie I felt nonplussed about the first time around. Who would’ve thought watching a 3D movie in 3D would make it better and more fun?!
Bonus points goes to any slasher film where one of the victims shares my name. Poor acrobatic Andy.
Call it recency bias, but this go-round definitely will vault it up in my Friday the 13th rankings.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
This take on the Frankenstein mythology definitely focuses on the most monstrous of monsters on display: Doctor Frankenstein.
Indeed, the film actually opens with Young Victor (a terrific Melvyn Hayes) gaining his inheritance. Pair money/privilege and time with arrogance, and you know the bubbly fruit punch in his lab is not going to be put to happy uses.
While Christopher Lee’s Frank is memorable (and came before his Dracula), this film acts as more of a showcase for Peter Cushing’s Doctor Frankenstein, who will stop at nothing to cheat death, including actually murdering someone for their brain, which feels antithetical to the mission, but hey, that’s the point. It’s a joy to see Cushing, so often staid and proper, unhinged.
My favorite part is that this Dr. Frankenstein is very concerned with his creation being reborn with the finest hands.
Silent Madness (1984)
You wouldn’t think this B-movie from the 3D happy 80s boasts the most realistic horror movie plot ever, but it does: an underfunded, overcrowded psych clinic with an overworked staff is forced to release patients to save money… and due to a clerical error, release the wrong patient.
A Dee Wallace type (Belinda Montgomery) crusades for justice against a corrupt medical board who lie to save their ass, all while trying to stop the ax throwing maniac Howard Johns who was released instead of John Howard, lol.
I don’t remember it at this moment, but I made note of an evil laugh worthy of the Hall of Fame that is yours to be discovered if you can survive the middle of the movie that drags.
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