Archive for Kane Hodder

Prison (1988) Review

Posted in Prison with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2013 by Last Road Reviews


*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Horror Has a New Home

Release Date- March 4th, 1988

Running Time- 102-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- C. Courtney Joyner (Story- Irwin Yablans)

Director- Renny Harlin

Starring- Viggo Mortensen, Lane Smith, Chelsea Field, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Ivan Kane, Tom “Tiny” Lister

Released in 1988 Prison was Renny Harlin’s 2nd feature film and his first made in the United States. Renny Harlin who is a filmmaker that often gets mixed reviews and while Harlin can be hit or miss he has done some solid films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master, which I felt was one of the better sequels and he also directed Die Hard 2 & Cliffhanger. Prison was the film that helped lead to Harlin getting the job for Elm Street 4, but for many years Prison was long OOP only getting a VHS release and the film was sort of fading into oblivion until Shout Factory released it on a blu-ray/DVD combo pack collectors edition. Prison has retained a cult following despite how long it was OOP and hopefully now Prison can get a little more attention as it was a solid film and far better than I expected.

Like I said Renny Harlin can be hit or miss, but Prison in my opinion was one of his stronger films and despite being made on a low budget it actually looks like it cost more to make as it has strong production values. Quite honestly I really wasn’t sure what to expect and I decided to give the film a try and it ended up being a pretty good flick. For those looking for non-stop action you might wanna look elsewhere. Prison goes for more atmosphere and while it may not always work, but for the most part it does. There isn’t a lot of action, but when there is its quite effective with the highlight being a death involving barbed wire.

After an inmate is wrongfully executed he returns to haunt the prison as well as seek revenge against the prison guard as well and everyone from the staff and inmates are in danger.

The screenplay was written by C. Courtney Joyner based off a story by Irwin Yablans who is best known to horror fans as one of the executive producers of the first three Halloween films. Joyner has written some solid films including one of my favorite cult films Class of 1999. Joyner’s script for Prison is well written and while the characters may not have the most depth they actually work well. Joyner’s script is better than what you’d expect from a low budget 80s horror film. Prison is well plotted and even if characters lack depth they are mostly likable.

As director Renny Harlin crafts a well made film with atmosphere and suspense. The prison setting is used greatly here and adds to the eerie atmosphere and Prison is generally well paced. While the film may not feature a lot of action, but when there is, Harlin delivers effective death scenes. Like I said I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. I wasn’t expecting much, but Harlin crafts a very good horror film and too bad he didn’t make a couple of more. Prison is all about the atmosphere than anything else and Harlin delivers on that more or less.

Prison also has an excellent cast, which includes Tom “Tiny” Lister, Chelsea Field, Lane Smith and of course Viggo Mortensen in an early role. For a low budget horror film from the 80s the acting in generally strong.

Overall Prison is a very good horror flick that I found highly enjoyable. Hopefully with the Shout Factory release Prison will find more of an audience. Like I said I really wasn’t sure what to expect and quite honestly I didn’t think I’d be that into the film, but Prison turned out to be a nice surprise. The blu-ray release from Shout Factory (Scream Factory) has excellent video and audio and a nice batch of extras.












Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) Review

Posted in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday with tags , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2013 by Last Road Reviews



*** Out of 5

Tagline- The Creator of the First Returns to Bring You the Last

Release Date- August 13th, 1993

Running Time- 93-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Dean Lorey & Jay Huguely

Director- Adam Marcus

Starring- John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Steven Culp, with Erin Gray, Steven Williams and Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees

Released in 1993 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday was the 9th installment of the Friday the 13th franchise and first under New Line Cinema as the previous 8 were put out by Paramount pictures. This was billed as the final movie in the series and this wasn’t the first time since part 4 was called The Final Chapter and it was only for 1-year, but after Jason Goes to Hell it wouldn’t be until 2002 until we would see Jason again. The big selling point for Jason Goes to Hell besides being the last was the return of Sean Cunningham who directed the original film, produced this one.

Jason Goes to Hell often gets some mixed reviews from fans of the series. The problem with franchises is there comes a time when the formula runs thin and that’s when we start getting back stories to try and keep the series fresh. We’ve seen it A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween as well. When you break down the series the first 4 all follow the same formula than part 5 added a more exploitation feel. 6-8 changes the formula but doesn’t stray from it either. But while 6-8 are different than the first 4 it’s still Friday the 13th and Jason Goes to Hell has elements of past sequels but it also totally strays from the past films and actually a change or two Jason Goes to Hell could be its own movie and not even be part of the series. Even though this doesn’t use the Friday the 13th name it’s still part of the series and I respect something different was attempted, but this strays way too much.

The film opens with a woman (Julie Michaels) arriving at Camp Crystal Lake and has a classic Friday the 13th setup; Jason (Hodder) shows up and the woman runs off with Jason in pursuit. Suddenly Jason is surrounded by a SWAT team and they open fire then blow him up thus ending Jason’s reign of terror or so they thought. Jason’s remains are brought to a morgue and now we learn Jason has the ability to enter other people’s body and soon Jason’s rampage continues and we also learn the shocking secrets of the Voorhees family.

The screenplay by Dean Lorey & Jay Huguely is quite interesting as it only takes a couple of elements of the series, but mostly goes into a totally different direction and creates a backstory never even hinted at before and if anything this movie has far more of a supernatural feel. In terms of plot the Friday the 13th movies never really had one and if anything part 3 while the least amount of plot also has the most ideas it’s just never fleshed out. But Jason Goes to Hell is really the only film in the series with an actual plot, but its kinda sunk by straying too much from the concept. Like I mentioned earlier this could have been an unrelated film and I think the film while no classic would be better served. From a character standpoint this is one of the better parts if not the best. Characters have some depth and for the ones that don’t really add to the film are the very least entertaining.

Steven (LeMay) and Duke (Williams) are two of my favorite characters in the series and for some reason I’ve always loved Vicki (Allison Smith) and as I stated overall the characters are solid with some depth and even the lesser ones are entertaining in my opinion. The script really wasn’t bad at all, its not exactly one of the greatly written horror flicks but its fairly good and again Jason Goes to Hell would have been better served as its own film unrelated to the Friday the 13th films. As I mentioned as a series goes on we often get back stories or adding on to the mythology, but this one has a concept never once even hinted at. Overall the script was solid only brought down by straying too much.

Director Adam Marcus who also wrote the story delivers a fun well paced film that is pretty much action packed. This isn’t exactly horror filmmaking at its very best, but Marcus does craft a fun film that always moves at a fun pace. The suspense is light, but the fun factor makes up for that and Marcus also crafts some really great death scenes. For me the biggest problem with the direction is Jason isn’t Jason. Sure he might be in other people’s bodies, but its still Jason inside them and at times it’s a totally different character.

Adam Marcus also stages some really bizarre scenes such as a cop strapped down naked and Jason shaves him before entering his body. I guess like the script being brought down by straying too much the same can be said about the direction. I respect something different was attempted, but you still need to keep in tune with the series. Tom McLoughlin with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives was able to craft a film that stuck true to the formula, but yet bring something new and fresh to the series, without straying.

Like I said the film often draws mixed reviews with some loving it and others hating it. Honestly I would probably rate this as my least favorite because it strays too much but even if I ignored that it would still rate in my bottom 3 of the series. But I enjoy the whole series to some degree as even a poor Friday the 13th still has some fun to offer up. I do think the film itself is more of a 3.5, but I still even now writing this review 20-years after its original release still can’t fully embrace this due too straying too much even if I can watch it and enjoy it.

Back in 1987 there was an idea for a Freddy Vs. Jason movie, but New Line had Elm St. and Paramount Friday the 13th when the two studios couldn’t get an agreement the two franchises forged ahead with more sequels and when Paramount gave up on the series after the 8th installment, New Line got hold of the series and the ending of Jason Goes to Hell featured Freddy with his gloved hand snatching Jason’s mask and pulling it down to hell. That I remember got a lot of fans excited at the possibility of a Freddy and Jason movie. Who knew it would take 10-years to happen.










Friday the 13th Franchise Posters

Posted in Friday the 13th Posters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

































Friday the 13th franchise Lobby Cards

Posted in Friday the 13th Lobby Cards Vol. 1 with tags , , on July 13, 2012 by Last Road Reviews


































































Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) Review by Dave Kaye

Posted in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood with tags , , , , on April 10, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

Review by Dave Kaye



*** Out of 5

Tagline- On Friday the 13th Jason is back. But this time someone’s waiting

Release Date- May 13th, 1988

Running Time- 90-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Daryl Haney & Manuel Fidello

Director- John Carl Buechler

Starring- Lar Park-Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser and Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees

Released in 1988 Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is a fan favorite among fans of the series with some hailing it as the best of the series and quite honestly I never got the full appeal of the movie; The New Blood is an interesting installment in the series and I suppose I sort of get why so many liked it, but I don’t understand how anyone can rate this as the best of the series. In my opinion the original is by far the best of the series and all the sequels at least the Paramount parts are entertaining. The New Blood adds a little bit of drama mixed with a high body count and crazy death scenes and also is the debut of Kane Hodder as Jason who is quite imposing in the role. But overall I don’t think The New Blood is nearly as good as some cite it even if enjoyable.

By 1988 the slasher film was close to being dead and the Friday the 13th movies were also getting a bit stale and after Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives offered up a nice twist on not only the series, but slasher films as well as it makes for a clever satire the New Blood goes back to the basics and delivers the standard late 80s slasher flick, but it also has a little more going for it than most slasher flicks. This one has a little bit more depth to the plot and even has a layer of drama and while it may not always fully work it was a nice attempt at mixing things up to a certain extent even if at the end it remains clichéd.

The screenplay was written by Daryl Haney & Manuel Fidello, but from what I can gather Manuel Fidello isn’t even a real person. It was a name used by another writer during rewrites. The first half of the movie almost plays out like a drama at times with Tina (Lincoln) dealing with the aftermath of her father’s death 10-years prior. Tina also happens to be telekinetic and Dr. Crews (Kiser) rather than trying to help her is out to exploit her. It was an interesting idea and also it was interesting have a backstory for the character much like how Friday the 13th Part 3 also had a backstory for the final girl and here the backstory does add a little depth to Tina and also makes her sympathetic and while the dramatic aspect feels slightly out of place it does also add some depth and I’d rate Tina as one of the stronger heroines of the series.

The characters are interesting in regards that they do have their own identities rather than being interchangeable, but they are also rather annoying and obnoxious and the quicker Jason (Hodder) dispatches of them the better. Despite having their own identities the characters are still the typical faceless victims with very little depth that dominates the slasher film. However not all is lost since besides Tina, her mother Amanda (Blu) and Nick (Blair) are likeable and characters you can root for, but the rest are better off dead and the longer the focus is on them it does bring the movie down. The 2nd half of the movie it becomes the standard slasher flick and the dramatic element is put on the side in favor of the more traditional slasher mayhem.

Director John Carl Buechler delivers a rather uneven movie that suffers from some pacing problems despite the 88-minute running time and the movie also lacks any legit suspense and tension, but by this time in the slasher film all that could be explored was and seeing as this was not only yet another slasher film, but the 6th sequel I suppose it may not have been possible to deliver much suspense by this point in the game everything is fairly predictable. However, Buechler does deliver some exciting scenes with a couple of scenes having decent suspense and the movie does have a very fun atmosphere and Buechler also knows what his audience wants and delivers on that. The New Blood has some of the best death scenes of the series and all of them have a fun level going for them, but sadly the death scenes also lack due to the MPAA. The New Blood was cut to shreds and it clearly shows. Regardless, John Carl Buechler makes the best out of the material he’s given to work with and despite the flaws The New Blood is generally well-made, but is also bogged down by a very silly ending.

As I stated in the opening I sort of get the appeal of the film, but I would personally rate this as the weakest of the Paramount installments, but even with that said The New Blood despite the lack of suspense and the death scenes being cut to shreds does however have a fun atmosphere and even with the flaws it does serve its purpose as an entertaining stalk and slash flick.













































Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) Review by Dave Kaye

Posted in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan with tags , , , on April 9, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

Review by Dave Kaye

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- New York has a new problem

Release Date- July 28th, 1989

Running Time- 100-Minutes

Rating- R

Writer/Director- Rob Hedden

Starring- Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, V.C. Dupree, Sharlene Martin, Barbara Bingham with Kane Hodder and Peter Mark Richman as Charles McCulloch

Released in 1989 Jason Takes Manhattan was the 8th installment of the Friday the 13th franchise and even though I hold the original in very high regard and enjoy the sequels for what they are let’s face it these movies never really had much of a plot with the exception being the original, which had a light plot at that. Jason Takes Manhattan follows suit with the sequels and has a very weak plot if you can even call what the movie has a plot. This movie was a sitting duck for critics and audiences since the title alone offers enough jokes and by this time the slasher flick was mostly dead and Jason Takes Manhattan was the lowest grossing installment of the series and also in 1989 Halloween 5 and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 also suffered their lowest box office totals. The slasher film in my opinion peaked in 1981 with some of the very best of the sub-genre and while the rest of the 80s produced some excellent slasher flicks as a whole no year was as strong as 1981, so here in 1989 the slasher flick was on its last legs.

While Jason Takes Manhattan will never be confused with Psycho and if not for being part of the Friday the 13th franchise, Jason Takes Manhattan would be long forgotten, but under the surface there is actually a fairly decent movie to be found. None of the Friday the 13th movies were favorites with the critics, but believe it or not this movie actually got some decent reviews (not many). There is a lot to dislike about Jason Takes Manhattan; despite the high body count there is very little gore and while the Friday the 13th movies always had some continuity issues this one really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in connection with the previous parts.

This time around Jason gets on board a cruise ship heading to New York for the graduating class of Crystal Lake and begins to murder the students and the few who survive and make it to New York, Jason continues to hunt them down and kill them; and that folks is about all the plot we really get besides a backstory, which I’ll touch upon later. I think it was an interesting idea to get Jason out of the Crystal Lake setting. The previous 7 movies were either set there or around the lake. The title is misleading since Jason never really takes Manhattan. The more proper title would be Jason Takes a Cruise Ship. Only a few scenes in the final act are in New York and most of the New York scenes were actually shot in Vancouver, Canada. It’s more like Jason Takes a Cruise Ship than Vancouver and finally New York, but only very briefly.

Written and directed by Rob Hedden this marked his directorial feature film debut as prior to this he directed 2-episodes of Friday the 13th: The Series with the episode 13 O’clock being a fan favorite of the series. Some people have complained about the writing and directing in this movie, but in fairness it’s the 8th part and by this time you cannot really stray too much and let’s face it the odds of landing a known horror filmmaker or up and coming is very slim. This isn’t meant to insult Rob Hedden, but he’s really the best you can do at this point of the series. When all is said and done Rob Hedden doesn’t do such a bad job.

The script by Hedden attempts to inject some new life into the series, but it’s pretty much the same thing as past movies only with a different setting. The first half of the movie focuses more on the characters with a little bit of action thrown in and Hedden attempts to give the characters more depth than we are used to seeing in these kind of movies, but the only problem was the characters were too clichéd and were also very similar to the characters in the previous installment, however I felt they turned out better here than in The New Blood. We have the nice girl, her love interest, the jock, the nerd, the snobby bitch and the jerk. I like the fact Hedden wanted to make more than faceless victims and in some aspects he is able to do just that, but the characters while decently developed with some depth also are a bit too clichéd to fully work. However of the entire Friday the 13th series this does feature some of the stronger characters. The lead character Rennie (Daggett) does have a backstory involving Jason and while this may not fully make sense it was a nice touch and gives a stronger dynamic to her relationships with other characters.

As director Rob Hedden delivers a fairly well-paced movie, but it lacks any legit suspense or tension and at times the movie takes itself too seriously. Suddenly Jason has the ability to teleport and I have to assume this was meant to play up to how the killer in these movies always happens to right behind you no matter how slow they’re moving, but if that was the intention it wasn’t handled well-enough to get that point across. The first half of the movie as I stated is more about developing the characters and I found these scenes to be stronger than the 2nd half when the action kicks in. Once the 2nd half starts like I said there was more action, but since it lacks suspense and tension it doesn’t fully work and the biggest problem is the movie takes itself too serious for the most part, when Rob Hedden might have been better off playing things out a little more light in tone.

When Jason actually gets to Manhattan its fairly entertaining stuff and made funnier how nobody in New York seems to notice Jason walking around or when he’s aboard the train chasing after the characters and while I assume Hedden was having fun with the reputation of NY, but the problem is it doesn’t come out clearly and it seems like it’s meant to be serious and not a big deal this rotted guy in a hockey mask is just walking around. Overall Rob Hedden delivers an overall better made movie than people give it credit for and while the movie lacks any suspense and tension, which also has to do with it being the 8th part and all surprises are long gone, but Hedden handles the production well and delivers an entertaining movie that takes itself a little too serious at times and is a little overly long at 100-minutes, but quite honestly I think Jason Takes Manhattan is a decent film and makes for a fun viewing. Going into the movie I assume most people would expect hack filmmaking 101 and Rob Hedden delivers anything, but that.

The performances weren’t bad at all and while the Friday the 13th movies may not be known for their acting I also think at times they get more heat than deserved. Jensen Daggett as Rennie makes for a likeable heroine if not a little on the bland side; this was Daggett’s feature debut and she would go onto other and bigger roles and like I said she gives a strong performance, but a little on the boring side at times. Scott Reeves as the love interest Sean is also pretty good and I love Sharlene Martin as the sexy bad girl Tamara, she may have been a total bitch, but it was kind of hot and too bad she didn’t have a bigger role and look for Kelly Hu in a brief role as Tamara’s friend. That’s what I love about these older horror flicks is seeing who got their starts in these kinds of movies.

Veteran actor Peter Mark Richman does excellent as the un-likeable Charles McCulloch; his character is a lot of fun and I remember seeing this in theaters and his death was cheered by the audience so he did his job well. Tamara the sexy bad girl was my favorite character. Sure she was a little clichéd, but all her scenes were quite fun, too bad there weren’t many of them. Kane Hodder is still giving it his all and brings a lot of life to the Jason Voorhees character.

Overall Jason Takes Manhattan turns out a lot better than it should have. This is by no means a classic of the genre and as I stated if not part of the Friday the 13th movies would probably be long forgotten, but personally I have to admit I really enjoyed this one. Writer/director Rob Hedden delivers better than average characters with some depth despite the clichés and the performances were mostly strong and this movie is just simply a fun ride if you don’t take things too seriously.

Who says the Friday the 13th movies cannot be educational? I learned 2 valuable lessons from this movie. First up never take swimming lessons from Charles McCulloch and never try and fight Jason in a boxing match!