Archive for Amy Steel

Friday the 13th Part II (1981) Review

Posted in Friday the 13th Part 2 with tags , , , , on August 12, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

20130701-130029.jpg
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II

**** Out of 5

Tagline- The Body Count Continues

Release Date- May 1st, 1981

Running Time- 87-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Ron Kurz

Director- Steve Miner

Starring- Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Kirsten Baker, Stu Charno, Bill Randolph, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Marta Kober, Tom McBride, Walt Gorney and Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees

Released in 1981 Friday the 13th Part II is cited by many fans of the franchise as being overall better than the original and while I do enjoy part II I don’t think it’s on the same level as the original movie. I think the fact the audience is so used to Jason and the fact he isn’t the killer in the original is why some people rate this higher than the first part. With that said though Friday the 13th Part II is a very solid sequel and even if I don’t feel it’s as good as the original it does stand proud with it. 1981 was the Golden year for the slasher flick with such releases as Halloween II, My Bloody Valentine, The Prowler and The Burning are among the few of a year that seemed to be dominated by slasher flicks and while I wouldn’t rate Friday the 13th Part II as the best slasher of the year it is every bit as good as the films I mentioned and would most likely be in my top 3 slasher flicks of 1981.

The one thing forgotten by a lot of people is the early Friday the 13th movies weren’t just about gore and violence despite the reputation the franchise has. The reputation started more with Part VI. The early Friday the 13th movies did try and up the ante on make-up F/X, but the first 4 were still very much made to be scary and suspenseful movies as well and even though I did enjoy the series as it went on the first 4 I think are highly underrated as horror flicks. Friday the 13th Part II isn’t exactly this classic chiller of the horror genre, but it is a solid horror movie.

After the unexpected success of Friday the 13th the sequel was pretty much rushed into production and opened just under a year after the original. This time around Jason Voorhees makes his debut as the killer, which really doesn’t make any sense. If he did drown as a child how did he come back? And if Jason didn’t drown as a child than where as he been all this time? I suppose it really doesn’t matter and since this movie turned a profit and it didn’t matter to fans either. In many ways Friday the 13th Part II is almost a remake of the first film. The basic structure is the same, the characters are a lot like those in the original film; Ted is sort of a take on Ned, and Jeff and Sandra remind me a bit of Jack and Marcie; even the final chase scene is shot for shot the same only with new characters.

The screenplay by Ron Kurz is fairly good when compared to other slasher flicks, but the screenplay feels like nothing more than a rehash of the original; there are a few more characters this time around, but most are pretty much clones of the characters from the first. The characters are sort of the faceless victims we usually seen in the Friday the 13th flicks, they lack their own identity for the most part unlike like those in the first film, but with that said the characters are entertaining and likable and Ginny (Steel) is one of the best heroines of the series and one of the best developed as well and Paul (Furey) is one of the best characters of the series. Ron Kurz never really adds anything new to the series and seems fine on rehashing the original, but like I stated the screenplay is still stronger than most of these kinda flicks even if it doesn’t add much.

Steve Miner made his directorial debut with Friday the 13th Part 2 and he got his start working with Sean Cunningham on quite a few films as he worked his way up the ladder. Some people have called Steve Miner a master of the horror genre and while he’s made some good films and terrible films the problem I have is he seems to follow the formula of other filmmakers. Even later in his career with movies like H20, which came out when the slasher flick was marketable again all Miner did was follow what Craven did with Scream and what Carpenter did with the original Halloween. With Friday the 13th Part 2 he pretty much follows what Sean Cunningham did with the original at every turn.

In many ways Friday the 13th Part 2 is a bigger budget version of the original and seeing as this was Steve Miner’s first film I guess it can be forgiven, but he never really injects any of his own style into the movie. Despite the lack of originality, Miner is able to build some decent suspense and tension, but seeing as many of the scenes are copies of the original it can slightly hinder the suspense at times, but Miner is able to craft some solid scenes of suspense and even if its a total clone of the original, Steve Miner does deliver a fun and well paced movie with some nice moments of suspense.

Jason Voorhees was played by Steve Dash despite the credit for Warrington Gillette; Gillette played Jason for one scene and that was the unmasking scene. In many ways Jason was a lot like Michael Myers as he’s always somewhere lurking around and he’s a bit more methodical, but it still works here and in my opinion Jason was quite creepy here something that would later be lost as the series went on. As I mentioned Ginny being one of the best final girls and many fans of the series give her the title of the best final girl of the series and its quite hard to make an argument against that.

Overall Friday the 13th Part II is a fairly solid sequel and while it’s nothing more than a rehash of the original with new characters it actually works well and is at times fairly creepy. A lot of fans cite this one as better than the original and I can’t help but feel that is due to Jason since with all the sequels it does seem weird without Jason in the original. But regardless, Friday the 13th Part II is a fairly strong slasher flick and comes highly recommended to fans of these kinda movies.

20130701-130046.jpg

20130701-130055.jpg

20130701-130102.jpg

20130701-130108.jpg

20130701-130113.jpg

20130701-130118.jpg

20130701-130124.jpg

20130701-130131.jpg

20130701-130141.jpg

20130701-130147.jpg

20130701-130156.jpg

20130701-130201.jpg

20130701-130214.jpg

20130701-130221.jpg

10 Movies to watch for Halloween Night

Posted in 10 Movies to Watch for Halloween Night with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

This isn’t a top 10 all-time favorite list. It’s only a list for films I feel would make great Halloween night viewing. Also this isn’t in order either.

20121017-182537.jpg

20121017-182553.jpg

20121017-182601.jpg

20121017-182608.jpg

20121017-182617.jpg

20121017-182625.jpg

20121017-182634.jpg

20121017-182643.jpg

20121017-182651.jpg

20121017-182702.jpg

April Fool’s Day (1986) Review by Dave Kaye

Posted in April Fool's Day (1986) with tags , , , , , on April 1, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

Review by Dave Kaye

20120401-144101.jpg
APRIL FOOL’S DAY

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- A Cut Above the Rest

Release Date- March 27th, 1986

Running Time- 89-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Danilo Bach

Director- Fred Walton

Starring- Amy Steel, Deborah Foreman, Deborah Goodrich, Ken Olandt, Leah Pinsent, Clayton Rohner, Jay Baker, Griffin O’Neal, Thomas F. Wilson

Released in 1986 April Fool’s Day is sometimes dubbed the slasher flick that killed the sub-genre. I never really understood that comment since by the time the film was released the slasher flick was nearing its end. While through the rest of the 80s slasher flicks would still be produced at a pretty high rate the films were hardly making the impact they once did. Actually outside of really Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street most slasher flicks really weren’t huge hits. They were produced on a low budget a lot of times under a million and when they turned a profit by right they were big hits even if they weren’t breaking box office records.

By the time April Fool’s Day came along the slasher flick was starting to play up to the clichés of the early 80s or going for the body count and some were adding comedic tones. Even the early slasher flicks were kinda campy, but they were mostly played straight, but by 1986 filmmakers were making them campy on purpose. April Fool’s Day plays up to the clichés, but not in the way Scream would later do and rather go for suspense and tension April Fool’s Day plays light and fun for the most part and while it’s a flawed movie it’s also hardly the movie that ended the slasher flick. I think the amount of slasher flicks made during the 80s to the point where it was the same movie over and over again led to the downfall as well as all the sequels produced.

The screenplay by Danilo Bach is actually kinda smart and creative; Bach takes the basic element seen in the early 80s, but is able to put a little different of a spin on things. The characters are typical, but they are also entertaining. I suppose the characters are inter-changeable since none really stand out and are all pretty much the same, but again they are entertaining and that helps elevate the script. Despite being entertaining none are really all that likeable, but in general they aren’t un-likeable either. Overall the script is a lot of fun and while this may not be anything special it serves its purpose.

Director Fred Walton is best known for his directorial debut in 1979 with the cult classic When a Stranger Calls, which in my opinion has the greatest opening act in any horror or thriller movie. After that the movie does slowdown, but on multiple viewings it plays out better. But like I said the opening act is amazing and damn creepy and even people who didn’t like the film often cite the opening act as great and creepy filmmaking. Here with April Fool’s Day, Walton never quite reaches that epic level, but he does make a fun movie.

For the most part Fred Walton options for a light and fun atmosphere rather than suspense and tension. The first half of April Fool’s Day is very light hearted and fun with mostly comedy or some kinda light moments, but as the movie goes on the pacing does start to lag and the problem is since Walton isn’t really trying to make a suspenseful movie April Fool’s Day can at times drag in certain spots. The final 35-minutes or so April Fool’s Day changes gears a bit and Fred Walton then attempts at creating suspense and tension and it works to a certain degree.

Walton manages some decent suspense, but overall it’s just slightly lacking and in my opinion April Fool’s Day worked better when Walton was going for a more lighthearted atmosphere rather than suspense. That isn’t to say the suspense scene don’t work, but they don’t work as well as they could have, but they still get the job done I suppose.

The reviews for April Fool’s Day are often mixed and a lot of the negative reviews always seem to hate the ending and while I can’t argue that point since in some ways it does feel like we were cheated it is however a nice twist. Bach & Walton do manage to outsmart the audience and I think due to that people feel cheated. Like I said I can’t argue the point people make about the ending and on my first viewing many, many years ago I would totally agree, but as I got older I found a certain level of respect for the twist at the end. Maybe it’s sort of a cheat, but I think it works well.

April Fool’s Day like many 80s slasher flicks has built a cult following, but it’s also sort of forgotten about and this may not be in the top 10 of 80s slasher flicks I do think it should get more attention than it gets. Like many movies from this era it got a remake, which starred Scout Taylor-Compton and was easily one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. But the original may not be a classic of the genre it does make for an entertaining movie; the pacing can kinda lag at times during the middle, but when all is said and done it makes for a fun night.