Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus 7What started out as a Disney Channel Original Movie would be viewed by executives as a goldmine and turned into a theatrical release that is now shown on ABC Family’s Thirteen Nights of Halloween every single year.

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Hocus Pocus 9Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are the Sanderson Sisters (Winifred, Mary, and Sarah specifically) and are finally revealed to be witches who must eat children every once in a while to maintain their power and beauty. Unfortunately, after kidnapping Emily Binx one year her brother Thackery (Sean Murray of NCIS fame) refuses to let them have her and goes to save her. But while he is too late to save his sister his sacrifice is what leads the sisters to being hanged by the townspeople. Of course, since they’re actual witches, they cast a spell that prophesies a virgin lighting a candle that resurrects them at some point in the future.

Hocus Pocus 2Rather than burn the house down, no doubt because they might have a virgin do it of course, the house is left standing in Salem, Massachusetts as a museum commemorating the Salem Witch Trials. Smart. Thackery (Voiced by Jason Marsden) sits over the house for all time, having been cursed into the form of a black cat and unable to die and rejoin his sister in heaven. One day, the Dennison Family move to Salem Dave, the dad (Charles Rocket) and Jenny, the mom (Stephanie Faracy) are hoping that getting away from Los Angeles will do something for their teenaged son Max (Omri Katz) and their young daughter Dani (Thora Birch). Because that always works out so well.

(GERMANY OUT) Hocus Pocus Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler Auch Dani (Thora Birch,m), die Schwester von Max, brauchen die Hexen Mary (Kathy Majimy,l), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) und Winifred (Bette Midler,r) zum Leben. (Photo by United Archives/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

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Its Halloween in Salem and as Max finds himself crushing hard on Allison (Vinessa Shaw) in class and, after randomly accidentally ending up in her house while taking his sister trick or treating, he tries to impress her with his nonbelief in the Sanderson Sister myth. Funnily enough, from a Disney film, Max is revealed to be a virgin after lighting the candle and resurrecting the three witches who now must complete their goal or be left for dead for real this time. Hocus Pocus is a Halloween-theme movie and it takes great pleasure in this aspect of itself. With an ensemble cast consisting of three actresses most everyone knows and a few names who would go on to do important things, this film was an instant cult classic.

Hocus Pocus 5One other standout cast member who shows up partway through the film is the undead Billy Butcherson (played by Doug Jones). As Winifred’s ex-lover, caught in a tryst with Sarah of course, his death and subsequent loyalty to Winifred play out as one would expect.

The movie takes jabs at Christianity, somewhat subtly, and it truly plays up the belief that witches are servants of the devil for all that it is worth. Because it’s a comedy, it has the ability to do so and still take itself seriously when it needs to, and while it’s a children’s film it has elements of horror that are surprising for a children’s film, as well as a Disney film.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm StreetA Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t my favorite horror film, I don’t even think it’s on the list of slasher films I enjoy. But it has an interesting concept, developed characters, and like Psycho it pulls one of the biggest twits on the audience with the role of Tina.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5We are introduced to an interesting, scared young girl named Tina (Amanda Wyss) who has been having horrible dreams of a burned man with a claw-hand chasing her. Unfortunately, little does she know, this man is actually real and a danger to her. Truly afraid she has her boyfriend and two friends sleep over with her and that night her dreams take a drastic turn for the worst when she is brutally killed all about her room in a manner that would leave CSI baffled and probably should have precluded her boyfriend from being a suspect.

With no one believing Rod (Nick Corri), Tina’s boyfriend, he is arrested and Nancy and Glen (Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp respectively) are skeptical as things start to get strange around them. By the time Rod has bit the dust in jail, it’s no longer a question of who is killing them but how this person is killing them.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3While I don’t particularly care for Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) I can safely admit that he makes up a part of the trifect of serial killers that are most famous in the slasher genre, including Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers (With Leatherface sometimes around for the ride and sometimes conflated with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2Jason despite the fact that Jason has never once used a chainsaw). His series has a unique concept, something other slasher films can’t say or blatantly pirated from one of the four killers just mentioned. Supernatural, determined, laced with quips, and a weapon that makes me question his manhood much like Kia did in Freddy vs Jason. Of course it didn’t really end well for her.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4Slasher films are a huge part of our culture and because of that they have fallen into disrepair over the years. We no longer want new and original concepts but franchise mills that will keep our appetites whetted so we can feel good when we complain about them. I dislike The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise but that doesn’t make it a bad one. It is actually original in concept, features well developed characters in its first installment (something that Friday the 13th can’t share in but Halloween can), and blurred the lines between horror and comedy in a believable fashion that never dulled the wow factor. Then the sequels happened and that is a completely different conversation that we can have later in the month.

For now, it’s October, the month of scary images and tricking of friends and strangers alike. Enjoy the crisp autumn season as it begins to come to a close and hopefully join me in on a Halloween marathon this upcoming October 31st!

I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last SummerThere are very few films that followed in Scream’s footsteps and managed to do so successfully. I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer are a duology (because we’re ignoring I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer) that follows Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and her friends as they are stalked by a killer that is based on the urban legend of The Hook Killer (although it has no relation to Urban Legends, another interesting slasher film that followed in Scream’s wake).

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

In the quiet seaside town, Julie and her boyfriend Ray Bronson (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and their best friend Barry Cox (Ryan Phillippe) are supporting their best friend Helen Shivers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as she wins a local beauty pageant. Partying together late that night they, drunkenly, drive along the coast towards a more private beach party and continue drinking as they enjoy a few of their last days together before college separates them forever. Unfortunately on the way home that night they manage to hit someone and, rather than do the intelligent thing as Julie suggests and call the police, they’re bullied by Barry into thinking of their futures and dumping the body in the lake. Of course a friend-non-friend named Max (Johnny Galecki) almost catches them but for the most part the disposal of the body goes off without a hitch… aside from the fact that the guy is still alive.

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A year goes by and as Independence Day rolls around once more, Julie is convinced to go back home and she finds that some things have changed since their secret hit and run. Thus starts one of the most frightening killers that I believe has ever graced the silver screen. Rather than outright kill any of the four teens, the killer stalks them over the course of the weekend, letting them know that he can get to them at any time he pleases. This is an enhanced version of Scream, itself proving that there is no place that you are safe whether it be your own home, a police station, or a party surrounded by your friends. The killer in this film, in the course of a few days, manages to break into Helen’s home and eviscerate her hair while her entire family is there, run Barry over with a car outside of his gym, and throw a dead body into the trunk of Julie’s car and have it gone by the time she and her friends return (this last one is a little more ludicrous than the other two but it’s still fairly impressive).

I Know What You Did Last Summer 2By the time he actually gets around to killing people, the man with the hook is brutally efficient with his weapon of choice, managing to dispatch Barry, a trained police officer, Helen’s older sister Elsa (Bridgette Wilson), and Helen herself in the course of an hour at the most. By the time Julie and Ray figure out anything is wrong, suspicions are running high and Julie believes Ray to be the killer, landing her in hot water when the person she trusts is the actual killer.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer 2I Still Know What You Did Last Summer does what other horror films (bar Scream) fail to do as most of them never bring back the same cast twice. It shows the damage that can be done to someone who has suffered the brutal loss of their friends, subsequently stumbling onto their corpses, and being forced to kill the man attacking you in self-defense. It picks up around one year later and follows Julie as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life. Her friend and roommate Karla Wilson (Brandy Norwood) is doing everything in her power to keep Julie from crumbling and, upon winning a trip to Jamaica, decides that the two of them, Karla’s boyfriend Tyrell Martin (Mekhi Phifer), and another new friend Will Benson (Matthew Settle) should take the trip and enjoy a few days away from life.

I Still Know 2Of course things go wrong, what with the first clue and all being that the answer given to win the trips was glaringly wrong and the second being the fact that they’re trip falls around the time that the island is plagued with horrific weather, but sometimes you just need to believe in the good of the world. Needless to say, things go rather poorly for them.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer 1I Still Know What You Did Last Summer understood what a sequel was supposed to be. Enhance the good, eliminate the bad, and try and keep things new and original but also tying back to the mythos established. The killer is no less effective in this film, with a larger body count to boot, and his methods of terrorizing Julie seem designed to convince those around her that she’s just not quite sane and are so believable that, if this weren’t a movie, you might be inclined to believe it as well.

Rather than trusting her instincts and the fact that a storm has now made leaving impossible for several days, Julie decides to try and enjoy what remains of her vacation with Karla, Tyrell, and Ben. And with the bar flowing with alcohol from Nancy (Jennifer Esposito) I don’t blame them for wanting to ignore the as-of-yet unknown killer and enjoy themselves for once.

I Still Know 1Around the same time (mostly before) Ray is thinking of proposing to Julie and at the last minute decides to fly out and join her and the others in Jamaica. Unfortunately as his friend Dave (John Hawkes) finds out, the killer is still out there and is looking for some intense revenge.

I Know What You Did Last Summer 3Featuring a star studded cast across both films who actually give their all for their roles, this duology is an integral piece of the horror film’s slasher genre. Take a moment to look back on them and enjoy the creepiness that a quality, well-executed slasher film can deliver.

Cursed

CursedThere are three versions of Cursed. One that is awesome, one that should never have been released, and one that was never released. You might be wondering how I know anything about the last one, and while details are scarce I can tell you right here and now that what details we have on it prove that it was the best of the trio. Unfortunately, the two versions which were released had their own issues. Almost all of these issues stemmed from the fact that the original version was probably fine and overzealous people decided it probably would have failed. The other issue, though, is picking out which parts are new and which ones are leftover from the original version. Here’s a brief explanation of the overall interesting process that is the film Cursed.

Cursed 1Cursed is about two siblings (in the unreleased version it’s about three friends, two of whom are played by Jesse Eisenberg and Christina Ricci in every version but are brother and sister in the two versions released) who find themselves attacked by a strange beast shortly after they watch it maul a poor, defenseless young woman. It turns out that they were attacked by a werewolf. Of course Ricci’s character, Ellie, is in denial about everything because she believes in things that are grounded in realism. Eisenberg’s character, Jimmy, totally believes in it and he gets a sort of Peter Parker-esque origin story. A bully who hates him, a pretty girl dating the bully who now likes him because she isn’t a shallow twit, and best friends who disappear when the plot is convenient.

The major difference between the two versions released are the rating, which left the gore on the cutting room floor. Mind you, this is a horror film. The major difference between those two and the unreleased version is the supporting cast and the plot! Reshoots were ordered because executives didn’t believe that it would do well at the box office (it’s always the executives who ruin good films and directors who ruin bad films, you know). Unfortunately for us, reshoots weren’t done until well over a year after the film was supposed to be released. These reshoots excised characters entirely, Skeet Ulrich played Ellie’s original love interest and was the third friend, Heather Langenkamp, Scott Foley (Of Scandal fame), Robert Foster, and Corey Feldman were all cut from the film.

Cursed 3Other actors, such as Michael Rosenbaum (who was, at the time, well known from being on Smallville and thus it’s strange how he isn’t credited anywhere in the film or on websites), Judy Greer, Milo Ventimiglia (who would become famous shortly thereafter on Heroes), Shannon Elizabeth, and Mya were all added in during reshoots. Where Joshua Jackson fits into all of this is strange and weird and we’ll never really know. The tone of the film was irreparably changed by this major upheaval and people noticed because it was rather glaring.

Cursed 2When you have a film, any film, don’t cut down to appease to a certain audience because you’ll invariably alienate that audience because they’re not stupid. An R-rated film should be released as an R-rated film and not cut down to PG-13 to reach “a wider audience.” It’s a stupid reason to cut a film and it resulted in Cursed failing spectacularly even though it’s a fun movie in and of itself.

Jaws

A lot of people think that sharks are dangerous to humans, and while a shark bite tends to be fatal, their representation in film is grossly inaccurate. Jaws is one of those films and while it’s a good story, even the author of the book (yes, it was a book first) regrets having written it as it has led to the near extinction of certain species of shark.

Jaws

Jaws made the summer blockbuster a thing, go ahead and say what you will, it’s the truth. Without Jaws we would have to wait for who knows how long for a movie with a huge budget, an ensemble cast, and as good an excuse plot as our screenwriters can muster up in six to nine months!

Follow Police Chief Martin Brody (played by Roy Scheider) the day after a young girl’s remains have been found washed up on the beach… in pieces we think. They never do show us thank god. Poor, poor Chrissie made the unfortunate error of going skinny dipping the night a killer shark decided to show up and eat people… why? I… I don’t think they ever really gave an answer that merits repeating.

Aside from that, of course, this is a Summer Resort town in New England, so of course everyone is going to ignore the person whose job it is to provide safety to an area alongside a wealth of evidence because it would kill tourism. If a place is that dependent on the beach as a draw… I don’t even know any more. Moving on.

Everyone ignores Brody until another victim drops, a young kid, and obviously it is Brody’s fault for not having shut down the beach even though the… Logic? Anyone? If the Mayor forces you to disregard your job and someone dies, shouldn’t it be the mayor’s fault? No, just checking.

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Herein lies the stupidity. Everyone now knows about the shark so how do we end the story? Yes! You stay out of the ocean! Do they do that? Of course not. That would require some semblance of intelligence. At least the victims in a slasher film don’t know they’re being brutally butchered one by one until there are like… three people left. This town has warning, evidence, and enough bodies that you’d believe common sense would intervene at some point. Alas, common sense is a superpower these days and so a few more people needlessly die because the plot demands it.

Really, Jaws is a silly movie but it’s a good silly movie. The characters are likeable, for the most part, the part makes sense, sometimes, and the… Treat it like an action film and come for the destruction and you should be just fine.

Movie Poster jaws-3-photos-1

Of course, there are also a slew of unnecessary sequels that vary on quality. I tend to like 2 and 3 but 4… 4 is nonexistent of course. There is no Jaws 4, believe me, I’m a writer!

The Cabin in the Woods

We all hope that when we, and all of our closest friends, go on a fun vacation that we aren’t going to end up as anyone between the ages of sixteen and twenty five find themselves in the movies. As in our entire blood volume outside of our body.

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods, much like our previous review, is a deconstruction. This one, however, is a deconstruction of the horror genre and is not, I repeat, is not a standard horror film. By now the trailers may have spoiled the plot, the reviews may have thrown out surprising cameos that are missed if you don’t listen to people speak, and so on and so forth. We’re not gonna do that. Because some of you out there just haven’t experienced the beauty that is The Cabin in the Woods. We’re just going to point out the important things.

It starts out simple, five college students are going to their friend’s cousin’s cabin in the woods. Our teens are Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly who would go on to be known for her role as Christina Gallagher in House of Cards), Curt Vaughan (Chris Hemsworth who, at the time of release was most known for playing Thor in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe), Jules Louden (Anna Hutchison who none of you will know as Lily Chilman, the Yellow Cheetah Ranger in Power Rangers Jungle Fury), Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz, who Joss Whedon diehards will know as Topher Brink from Dollhouse), and Holden McCrea (Jesse Williams who plays Dr. Jackson Avery in Grey’s Anatomy). You may have noticed something about them. Yes, all five of them have last names, which is unusual for characters in a horror film, hell it’s sometimes unusual for characters in film in general.

The Cabin in the Woods Cast

This is only the first aspect of the deconstruction. Within the first ten minutes of meeting these people you get to know details about them, something my friend Anna and I always use to determine who is going to survive the end of the movie. If you focus on a slasher flick, or a monster mash, or some sort of horror film you may have noticed a lack of information on any character who isn’t the final girl. In this film you quickly learn that Dana had an affair with her teacher, is incredibly intelligent, and a beautiful artist. Curt is intelligent, insightful, and good humored and is so in love with his girlfriend that it takes him the entire scene to realize he’s been talking to her best friend while she was in her underwear. Jules is kind and caring, and just wants her friend to have a good time while being careful in how she does it. Holden is athletic and awkward but a really nice guy at heart who is clearly quite aware that he’s being set up with Dana but isn’t pushy about it.

Tell me the last time you knew this much about characters in a typical horror film?

This film plays a particular form of irony quite well. We call it dramatic irony. We (the audience) knows almost everything about the film before the characters do, and most of them don’t even live long enough to find out. Dramatic irony isn’t cruel, but it can be tragic and in this film it often is. Our characters are blissfully unaware of what they are walking into, and that makes it all the more painful to watch.

Not painful as impossible, but you probably knew what I meant. Check out this film and see where it leads you.

So, what are our heroes up against…? Take your pick, the list is endless.The Cabin in the Woods Monsters

Random Blog – Comparison of Friday the 13th Original and Remake and the Reason You Need to Stop Judging Slasher Film Victims

Here is our very first RANDOM BLOG!!!

Friday the 13th - OriginalFriday the 13th - RemakeI sit down every once in a while and appreciate the fact that Hollywood is so awesome and overflowing with ideas that all that’s really left are remakes, reboots, bad sequels, good sequels (occasionally), and the dreaded ORIGINAL IDEA!!!! So, let’s compare a classic with its remake dubbed reboot which is really just an homage of the first half of the series (You know, the GOOD half).

Friday the 13th as many people might know is a classic slasher film. It started what others didn’t. It wasn’t the first slasher film as that title belongs to Peeping Tom (but who really cares, it might not even be the first one), it wasn’t even the first of the most well-known slasher film as that title belongs to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and it didn’t star anyone who would eventually become the quintessential Scream Queen, as that title appropriately belongs to Jamie Lee Curtis (Daughter of Janet Leigh from Psycho which ISN’T a slasher film mind you) whose acting debut was Halloween.

No, Friday the 13th doesn’t have any of that. What it did start was the archetypes that we know and love to this very day. All of the others had a few of the stereotypes but none of them fit the mold that Cabin in the Woods would point out with more aggression than a high school football linebacker. You have the popular guys, Jack (Kevin Bacon when he was Cheap, courtesy of Everything Wrong with Friday the 13th by Cinema Sins), and Bill (Harry Crosby), the popular girl Marcie (Jeannine Taylor), the joker, Ned (Mark Nelson), the ‘virgin’ Alice (Adrienne King) and the brainy girl Brenda (Laurie Bartram). What was nice about Friday the 13th, the original of course, was that while their basic character types were just that, their basic traits. While none of them had any real characterization (half of them die within the first hour), they had a few things about them that made them stick out. Further sequels would ignore this for most characters and simply make them carbon copies or just stereotypes.

Almost thirty years later came a reboot that managed to cram the concepts of the first four films into one with literally half the number of teenagers, twice the number of stereotypes paired with less characterization for each. We open with five teens, two couples and a fifth wheel because that is precisely how friends go about their vacations these days. Meet Whitney (Amanda Rigetti), obviously beautiful and spirited, her boyfriend Mike (Nick Mennell), a little sexual and definitely caring of his girlfriend’s feelings, fun-loving jokester Wade (Jonathan Sadowski), and the sexually overcharged Richie and Amanda (Ben Feldman and America Olivo) people who might as well be cardboard cutouts of actual human beings. Thankfully they weren’t even trying to make us believe that these people are under the age of eighteen, it wasn’t that believable. Twenty minutes in, of course, they all die in horrible awful, brutal ways that are rather imaginative considering what we get for the rest of the movie.

We move on to other teenagers played by people you probably know by the year 2015; Danielle Panabaker plays good girl Jenna, Travis Van Winkle plays the asshole Trent, Aaron Yoo plays weed obsessed Chewie who is breaking down stereotypes, Arlen Escarpeta plays similarly weed obsessed Lawrence who is also breaking down stereotypes, Willa Ford (I Wanna Be Bad!!!) plays bland blonde Chelsea, Ryan Hansen plays Nolan, her fratboy boyfriend who is… basically Dick Casablancas sans a few hundred thousand dollars in the bank account, and Julianna Guill plays the smoldering temptress Bree (thank god someone is grounded enough in the situation as to ignore the fact that her boyfriend is cheating on her with someone we can only assume is one of her best friends and remember that there is a PSYCHOPATH chasing them with a wide array of sharp objects). Outside of all of them is the Memetic Sex God that is Sam Winchester…. Oh? That’s not his name? Seriously Jared Padalecki was basically Sam Winchester sans a brother and plus a sister but that’s beside the point.

This just goes to show that if you make a formula that is semi-successful that you shouldn’t ever change that formula no matter how sick and tired of it people grow over the years. Formulas good, originality bad.

Not only is Friday the 13th steeped in formulaic tradition, each and every version is a prime example of one of my favorite pet peeves… where film goers are concerned. One of the number one complaints that I always hear when talking about the slash film subgenre in general is that these people are idiots for not acting like they’re in a horror film…. Crickets literally sound in the background whenever I hear this or any variation of this.

Let’s look at the reason as to why this is not only an unfair statement but an ignorant one at that. Go back to the last horror film you watched and take notes on what the characters do. How many of these things are something you do on a regular or semi-regular basis. When you’re on vacation, generally your inhibitions are lowered for one, but you’re also with your friends and in this genre it’s always a large group of five+ individuals. How often in your life do you act as if your friends have been brutally butchered throughout the day? Now, how many of these characters act like their friends have been brutally butchered throughout the day until they actually learn that their friends have spent the day, or weekend, being brutally butchered? That’s right! You don’t act like your friends have been brutally butchered because you really don’t know that until the first body lands in front of you spewing blood all over your precariously white jean shorts. Who would have thought that acting like nothing is going on is the correct way to act when you legitimately don’t know that anything is going on? It isn’t stupid to think that your friends are playing a joke on you, it isn’t stupid to ask if someone’s out there when you hear a strange noise, it isn’t stupid to walk around the house in the dark at night because you don’t want to disturb your friends who you don’t know are already in the process of rigor mortis, you have absolutely nothing to fear because you don’t know that there is some violent murderer wandering the camp grounds, suburban streets, or recreation center or whatever else teenagers are getting butchered left and right in.

The first thing people need to remember about slasher films. The characters don’t know they’re in a slasher film. They don’t know they are being stalked by a psychopath. How many times do you sit in front of a police procedural’s opening scene lamenting the poor person who’s about to be brutally beaten, raped, murdered or all three in varying order? Do they act like they know they’re being stalked?

So remember, the next time you sit down and watch a horror movie, slashers in particular, don’t yell at the characters for their actions. Imagine yourself in the situation. You wouldn’t act any differently because you also don’t know that you’re being stalked by a psychopath.

The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next DoorThere is a stigma, almost always appropriate, against teachers dating students. It’s horrific for elementary students through high school students and simply frowned upon by faculty when professors/instructors date college students. However, this stigma is entirely dependent on the ick factor that is all but certainly biologically ingrained in our DNA to protect children (remember when twelve was the marrying age? Neither do I). This may seem like a rant, and in some cases it is, because while I completely against pedophilia I found the basic inciting incident of The Boy Next Door to be unbelievable at best and laughable at worst. It is blatantly pointed out that Ryan Guzman’s character (Noah) is nineteen when he goes to the high school where Jennifer Lopez (Clair) teaches English. Suddenly the stigma is cast aside because, while we are looking at a high school student having an affair with his teacher, he is well above the age of consent and almost to the age of majority (depending on which state you live in because they may or may not be the same thing!).

I totally understand what goes through our minds when we think of older women sleeping with younger men (for some reason it’s never the same things for when and older, and often uglier, man is sleeping with a younger woman *cough, cough*Hugh Hefner*cough, cough*), but he’s an adult and so is she. Thus I couldn’t really get behind her logic of it being wrong outside of her just being a teacher and him being a student… So by the time it was revealed he was a psychopath I was really thinking… REALLY?!

Now that we’ve gotten past that I have to say I’m really digging Ryan Guzman as of late, he’s really starting to come up in the world of acting from Pretty Little Liars (SQUEE!) to two of the Step Up sequels, he’s going places. Jennifer Lopez, in my not so humble opinion, is always a gem even in the strangest of movies I find her in. Now then, I must admit I was surprised to find Kristin Chenoweth in this movie, but it was really refreshing to see her do something (Last time I saw her was on Glee and before that it was Good Christian Bitches, God rest it’s soul). This is clearly Ian Nelson’s first big role, seeing as how a cursory scan of the rest of his work gave only minimal mention of his efforts in his other work, but he played the child of impending (actual?) divorce quite well. John Corbett (From Sex and the City) is also just as good, only he’s playing the philandering father trying to get back with his wife because…. Whatever the reason he did it quite well.

Even though I tore the inciting incident of this film to shreds I really, REALLY loved it. Give it a try and you may be pleasantly surprised, too.

Scream Series

ScreamIn honor of the new Scream television series being dropped this June by MTV, I thought it prudent to give my thoughts on one of my all-time favorite horror films. Scream was a beautiful deconstruction of the horror genre and its tropes and at every turn it took us by surprise, from that iconic opening murder of Drew Barrymore (then the most talked about celebrity who was actually in the film), to the introduction of the rules one must follow in order to survive a horror film (unless your name is Sidney Prescott of course), to the self-aware teens you didn’t hate to love.

Scream, as hopefully many people now know, was intended to eviscerate the horror genre when it was released as Wes Craven had thought it had played out and now needed to die without much more fanfare. It was thought this way because of the slew of horror movie sequels coming out left and right to capitalize on the icons of the eighties and seventies (If you don’t know who Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Meyers, and Leatherface are then SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY!). Obviously this didn’t happen (Oh hey there I Know What You Did Last Summer, Valentine, Saw, Final Destination, and the like) Yes, practically each and every one of these films (and for some their resultant series) owes their life to Scream whether they (or you) want to admit it. Ironic as it might seem, Scream itself became a series, a franchise really, despite what it was intended on doing. On the flipside, Wes Craven directed each sequel (and while executives may have screwed Scream 3, it was still funny as hell).

Scream started the practice of casting teen idols (whether or not they were teens is irrelevant to say the least), and this series has them by the boat load. Most everyone in these films is someone you should recognize today for one movie or show or something or other. Let’s count down! Rose McGowan (Charmed!), Drew Barrymore (EVERYTHING!), Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo), Jada Pinkett-Smith (Gotham now, a model then), Omar Epps (House), Sarah Michelle Geller (Buffy, obviously), Jenny McCarthy (…boobs?), Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy!!) and a whole bunch of other people we don’t really care about because they die before the last twenty minutes… Okay almost everyone I listed died before the last twenty minutes but this is a horror film series, did you honestly think most of these people were going to make it out when they were standing next to Sidney Prescott, Dewey Riley, and Gale Weathers? No? Good you’re learning.

Scream started a resurgence in the horror genre, specifically the slasher flick and while some of its successors are less than deserving it is still a fun series to sit back, relax, throw back some popcorn, and enjoy for all its worth. While a lot of its twists are well known today (two killers, Drew Barrymore bites it, Sidney’s not a virgin any more) it still has a place in history and for that it should be lauded.

Besides, Scream 4 was hilariously refreshing I mean, Lucy Hale, Shenae Grimes, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Aimee Teegarden, and Brit Robertson within the first ten minutes (okay you caught me, Kristen Bell lives)?! Not to mention we get Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts? Mary McDonnel? How the hell did all of these people sign up for Scream? Because it’s a kick ass film series!!