Scary Movie

Scary Movie saw fit to make fun of the horror genre and unlike several other films that predated it, it was wildly successful and spawned four sequels of variable likeability.

Scary Movie posterCindy Campbell (Anna Faris) is a direct parody of all of the Final Girls of recent horror films and is hilarious in the process as she tries to survive the machinations of a comedic serial killer. Her boyfriend Bobby Prinze (Jon Abrahams) friends, Buffy Gilmore (Shannon Elizabeth), Brenda Meeks (Regina Hall) and Scary Movie 1their boyfriends Greg Phillipe (Lochlyn Munroe) and Ray Wilkins (Shawn Wayans) are involved in a (not at all) fatal car crash that leaves one man dead (after they’ve hit him with a bottle, dumped him into the ocean, and left him for dead that is) one year ago from when the main story has opened with the unfortunate death of Drew Decker (Carmen Electra) at the hands of her distracted parents. Sure the killer had a hand in it, what with the breast implant stabbing and all, but she was utterly safe until they hit her with their car and left Drew injured enough for the killer to catch up and kill her.

Scary MovieSurprised by this, Cindy wonders if it has anything to do with the man they had killed one year prior as Drew’s death was on the anniversary of this ridiculous crime. Suddenly they are being stalked by a psychopath who knows what they did last summer. Several scenes from iconic horror movies get a rendition in this, from Rose McGowan’s death in the garage in the original Scream to Sarah Scary Movie garageMichelle Gellar’s iconic fight or flight from the fisherman in the original I Know What You Did Last Summer. Keep in mind that Sarah Michelle Gellar managed to get killed in both of those franchises around the time Buffy the Vampire Slayer was trying to deconstruct the blonde victim that slasher films tend to go with quite often.

Scary Movie 2This film is an absolute parody of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer as most of its plot comes from these two films while a smattering of the other details are pulled from various horror films. While the sequels are divisive for one reason or another, my reason stems from the fact that every film after 2 (I enjoy 3 mind you) ignores what worked for the first one. Scary Movie was centered around the plots of the two aforementioned horror films and borrowed tangentially from the others whereas many of the sequels missed the mark on this blending process. The plots worked because they were similar enough that the deviations from one movie to the next made sense. Compare Scary Movie 3 which deviate between The Ring, The Grudge, Signs, and Eight Mile without much care for how these films would work together.

Scary Movie proves that the originals are invariably the best, and this is from a series which parodies films for a living.

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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.