25 February 2011

From Slasher to Supernatural

Sequels to horror films are inevitable (usually) and there's nothing more inconsistent than taking a slasher film and putting a supernatural spin on it. In my opinion it just doesn't make sense. If it's a slasher, it's a slasher. Why not just base it off the slasher but call it something else instead of confusing the facts and changing the story line. BUT, there are also exceptions to the rule (as with everything) and if you keep reading, I will explain the ONE film on this list that I don't mind the restructuring. In any case, here are some films that went from slasher to supernatural at some point.

We'll start with one of the classics. Prom Night (1980) starred scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis fresh off her big screen debut in John Carpenter's original Halloween, the late great Leslie Nielsen, Michael Tough and Casey Stevens.
For six long years, several Hamilton High School seniors have been hiding the truth of what happened to ten-year-old Robin Hammond the day her broken body was discovered near an old abandoned building. They kept secret how they taunted Robin, backed her into a corner until, frightened, she stood on a window ledge... and fell to her death. Though an accident, the then-twelve-year-olds feared they'd be held responsible and vowed never to tell. But someone else was there that day... watching. And now, that someone is ready to exact murderous revenge on prom night.

From there we fast forward 6 years (1987) to Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II which starred the guy with the best name in all of Hollywood, Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Louis Ferreira and Lisa Schrage as Mary Lou Maloney.
When Hamilton High's Prom Queen of 1957, Mary Lou Maloney is killed by her jilted boyfriend, she comes back for revenge 30 years later. Bill Nordham is now the principle of Hamilton High and his son is about to attend the prom with Vicki Carpenter. However, she is possessed by Mary Lou Maloney after opening a trunk in the school's basement. Now Bill must face the horror he left behind in 1957.

Add to that another supernatural sequel... Prom Night III: The Last Kiss and then we're right back to the slasher genre with Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil.

Moving on to 1988 and Urban Legend which starred 30 Seconds to Mars front man, Jared Leto, Alicia Witt and the chick with the super hot hubby Rebecca Gayheart.
Campus legend has it that 25 years earlier Pendleton was the site of a mass murder by a demented abnormal psych instructor who killed six students and then himself. However, no proof of the prof's deed remains. When a series of bizarre deaths occur on the campus, an assertive student thinks they are murders based on urban legends, but her classmates claim it's just coincidence. They change their minds when their friends start to go missing.

Urban Legends: Final Cut holds true to it's slasher roots.

And then on to the direct to video, "jump the shark" one of the bunch, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary which has a mix of knowns and unknowns with cutie patootie Kate Mara, unknown Robert Vito, TV star Ed Marinaro and breast cancer advocate Tina Lifford.
On Homecoming night, several girls are having a slumber party due to being black-listed by the sexy football players. Since the dance and game are out of the question, the trio stays up and entertains themselves with Urban Legends... all leading up to BLOODY MARY. With nothing better to do and a whole night to waste, one of them chants "Bloody Mary." Her friends laugh... "Bloody Mary." More laughter. On the third and final "Bloody Mary," the friends are kidnapped by three jocks and return soon thereafter, shaken but well. One of them begins having hallucinations and soon bodies turn up - is it all a high school prank taken to grisly extremes or is it Bloody Mary, who's youth was taken far too early?

Ahh, Silent Night, Deadly Night, a holiday classic for almost every horror fan. Who can resist an axe wielding Santa? Robert Brian Wilson takes the lead in his first and only feature film which costarred Lilyan Chauvin as the evil Mother Superior, Gilmer McCormick and H.E.D Redford.
A young boy watches his parents killed by a thief in a Santa suit. He spends his youth in an orphanage, staying quietly to his self, but his mind is further bent by an ironhanded Mother Superior. He finally gets a job at a local store, where he finally snaps when he is required to wear a Santa suit, and goes on a killing spree that leads him slowly back to the orphanage.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 and Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out! while far inferior to the first, still keep the slasher tradition going.

Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 ventures into the world of witchcraft (GAG) and stars Ron Howard's little brother Clint Howard, Neith Hunter, Tommy Hinkley and everybodys favorite ice cream vendor Reggie Bannister.
A female reporter investigates the death of a woman who, on fire, lept off of a building to her death. Her investigation leads her to discover the existence of a strange cult dedicated Egyptian god Isis--and the cult wants her as its new queen.

And if that wasn't bad enough, Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker jumps even further into left field with killer toys.
A young boy sees his father killed by a toy that was anonymously delivered to his house. After that, he is too traumatized to speak, and his mother must deal with both him and the loss of her husband. Meanwhile, a toy maker named Joe Peto builds some suspicious-looking toys, and a mysterious man creeps around both the toy store and the boy's house...but who is responsible for the killer toys?

I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer filled theater seats with their star studded cast of, what I call, "pretty people" like Jennifer Love Hewitt Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brandy, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe and Mekhi Phifer. Along with Scream, they helped carve a new face for horror and threw the slasher fan in a new direction.

I unfortunately can't say the same for I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. This one throws slasher out and supernatural in like it's always been that way. Brooke Nevin, David Paetkau, Torrey DeVitto and Ben Easter are only a few names on the roster of this time waster.
On July 4th, in the small Broken Ridge, Colorado, several teenagers play a prank with the legend of the Fisherman that kills teenagers with dirty little secrets with his hook in an entertaining park. However, when one of them dies unexpectedly makes a covenant to keep their secret. One year later, they start receiving messages "I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer". The friends gather to find who might have told about their pact and they find out that someone else does in fact know their secret. They soon realize that they are being hunted by a dark man wearing a slicker and he means to kill them all.

Slumber Party Massacre, considered by some to be a cult classic, stars Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella and Debra Deliso.
An eighteen-year-old high school girl is left at home by her parents and she decides to have a slumber party. There is friction between some of the invited guests and the new girl, who is better at basketball than they, so the new girl decides to stay at home (which is conveniently across the street from the host's house). Meanwhile, a murderer of five people with a propensity for power tools has escaped and is at large, and eventually makes his way to the party, where the guests begin experiencing an attrition problem, with only the new girl to help them.

Slumber Party Massacre II came out 5 years later with a new cast and a new vision. The line up for this one includes Crystal Bernard, Jennifer Rhodes, Kimberly McArthur and Atanas Ilitch as The Driller Killer.
The younger sister of the "new girl across the street" in the first film is all grown up now, but suffers from nightmares about the Big Wet Incident. She and the other members of her female rock group go to a condo for the weekend to play music and have fun with their boyfriends. Her dreams are of her sister, who is in a mental institution, warning her of having sex, and the dreams begin to spill into real life, threatening her and her friends as they begin experiencing an attrition problem.

Friday the 13th took the horror world by storm and introduced us to a new phantom of fear. But don't go into this one looking for a hockey masked killer. Betsy Palmer takes command of the screen and delivers a powerful performance. Some of her lines are still quoted today, over 30 years later. Riding Palmer's coat tails to the box office were Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan and even Footloose star Kevin Bacon (though he'd never admit it nowadays). Ari Lehman brought Jason to life that summer and into the hearts of horror fans everywhere.
One summer at Camp Crystal Lake, a group of young counselors begin to get ready to lead campers. Unfortunately for the former, someone isn't happy about what's going on in the camp and enjoys playing Kill the Counselor. As bodies fall to the ground in the camp, no one is safe.

Friday the 13th Part 2 came out in '81 and was followed by 3 more installments, all holding strong to it's slasher roots, until 1986's Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI. C.J. Graham dons Jason's mask for this supernatural version. Genre legend Thom Mathews plays the now grown up Tommy Jarvis. He's joined by Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Renee Jones, Kerry Noonan and Tom Fridley.
Tommy returns to the grave to make sure Jason is dead and accidently brings him back to life. Now it's up to Tommy to stop Jason's mindless killing and put him back where he belongs.
The switch up on this one didn't bother me at all. Maybe because even though he's "back from the dead", he's still Jason. The same avenging soul that he's always been. And for me it works out just fine.

I'm sure there are scores more that I didn't get to. Feel free to comment below with your opinions and film suggestions!!

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