Monday, March 16, 2015

A Chronology on Elm Street, Part 8

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Part 4 here is where this series really started guzzling out of the toilet, but people are reliably stupid so naturally it was the most successful entry yet. And I am in part to blame, because this is the only Nightmare on Elm Street I ever paid to see in a movie theater, although in my defense my date insisted and she did give me a handie right there in the balcony. So fuck it, that was totally worth $5.25 times two, or however much movies cost back then. I wouldn't know, since she put the tickets on her credit card and I "forgot" to pay her back. Hey, it wasn't that good of a handie.

I begged her to finish me off at this exact point in the movie, but she wasn't having it.
So, in a "fuck you" on par with Alien 3, the hot blonde from Dream Warriors returns, only to be portrayed by a new actress who's not quite as hot. Although she does a fair job of rocking a bikini top at one point, so I suppose I can let this slide. Less forgivable: all the kids who survived the previous movie are ruthlessly killed off before this one is even half over, beginning, naturally, with the black guy. (Speaking of black guys, they really should've included a scene where Freddy finishes off the Fat Boys too, seeing as they also recently infuriated him by escaping his clutches. That would have been both thematically appropriate and hilarious.) It's an unapologetic middle finger to everyone who liked these characters, but in this movie's defense at least these early scenes are effectively creepy, and I did like some of the imagery, like the dog pissing fire (symbolically pissing all over the previous movie, I guess), and the corpse discovered floating inside the waterbed. Even the one-liners still lean more towards "badass" than "Henny Youngman" at this point:

Victim: "I'll see you in Hell."
Freddy: "Tell 'em Freddy sent ya."

But once Freddy has wiped the slate clean and starts in on the next batch of kids, this movie becomes a completely different animal. I'm not sure what kind of animal, exactly, but definitely one that eats its own shit. Seriously, it's like someone threw a switch because the idiocy kicks in the instant we're shown the graves of his final Part 3 victims, who are buried right next to each other and next to two previous Freddy marks, even though almost none of these people are related. Is this just a mind-boggling coincidence? (Studio Audience: "That's incredible!") Or are we to understand that there's a special cemetery reserved exclusively for victims of Freddy Krueger, like the one in Zermatt that's reserved for people who died climbing the Matterhorn? Either way, it's pretty stupid. Ah, but this movie has just begun to stupid: wait until you see the bit where the dead kid pops out of his coffin for an American Werewolf in London-flavored monologue, which to be fair might have worked if said kid wasn't portrayed by the worst actor in this entire fucking series. From here, it's just one long, slow slide into suck:

Horror movie producers refuse to accept the fact that pizza isn't scary. In one nightmare, dead people appear as toppings on a pizza. Look, horror movie producers, what is it going to take to convince you that pizza isn't scary? It's not scary when it comes flying out of the refrigerator (976-EVIL II), it's not scary when it grows a face and bursts into song (House IV), and it's not scary here. Pizza = NOT scary. Got it, assholes?

"No! No! Please! Help us! So stupid! Please! Our careers! No!"
"I spilled a beer on the DVD player and now it always does this." There's a sequence that repeats itself several times, which is probably meant to be disorienting but in practice just makes everyone think that the DVD is skipping.

Roaches check in, but they don't watch the in-room movie. Because it's Nightmare 4. The chick who's afraid of bugs turns into a giant cockroach and then dies in a giant Roach Motel. It's just like Kafka! Except, you know, stupid.

The nonsensical resolution just falls out of the screenwriter's ass. The nonsensical resolution just falls out of the screenwriter's ass.

In short, fuck this piece of shit.

Freddy Krueger will return in Moonraker.
The Mr. Satanism library. Finally, someone puts movies in their place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Making Contact (1985)

By the mid-1980s, everyone wanted to ape Steven Spielberg's suburbia-centric "sense of wonder" shtick; you can see it in movies as diverse as Explorers (1985), The Gate (1987), and Pulse (1988), which, minus Spielberg's suffocating influence, would almost certainly have been a disposable children's film, an R-rated horror flick, and unproduced, respectively. Of all the late-1980s Spielberg wannabes though, the most wildly unhinged has to be Making Contact, created by Roland Emmerich, the guy who would go on to bury movie theaters in a deluge of liquid shit including but not limited to Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), Eight-Legged Freaks (2002), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 10,000 BC (2008), and so, so many more. Seriously, it's a wonder every movie fan on the planet hasn't killed themselves. Anyway, this flick concerns a kid with ESP who regularly talks to his dead pop on a toy telephone, owns a toy robot sporting the most sophisticated A.I. I've ever seen, and spends most of the running time being terrorized by the ugliest, dirtiest, smelliest (probably) ventriloquist's dummy you've ever seen.

Still waiting on that Magic, Part 2 callback.
On a scene-by-scene basis it's an awkward, clumsy disaster, full of sequences that make no real sense and that seem to have been included simply because "I dunno, magic". The end result is completely batshit retarded and plays out like a deranged alternate reality version of Poltergeist (one where Steven Spielberg ate a lot of paint chips as a child) crossed with bottom-barrel E.T. ripoff and all-time Mystery Science Theater 3000 favorite Pod People (1983), with elements from The Goonies, The Monster Squad, Poltergeist II, and Labyrinth randomly tossed into the salad for no apparent reason other than to make the end result as mind-fuckingly incomprehensible as possible. Oh, and Star Wars too, literally in this case: copyright be damned there's a scene in this movie where several kids are menaced by honest-to-fuck Darth Vader, who's sporting a lightsaber and everything. It's unbelievable. So if you've ever wondered what Steven Spielberg's early-1980s output would look like if you edited them all together into one mega movie and then let a schizophrenic person cut the result down to 75 minutes while huffing ether, well, here's your goddamned answer you fucking lunatic. The fact that the person responsible for this fuckgoggle went on to become one of the most successful people in Hollywood just goes to show that anything, and I mean anything, is possible. As long as you're a gibbering maniac.
A Chronology on Elm Street will return next week.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Chronology on Elm Street, Part 7

"Are You Ready for Freddy?" - The Fat Boys

Here's some Nightmare on Elm Street trivia for you: Who inherited Freddy Krueger's house after he was killed by that lynch mob? Give up? It was his nephew Mark, AKA Prince Markie Dee of the 1980s rap group the Fat Boys, best known for... being fat, I guess. (If it seems strange to you that it took until 1988 to finalize this transfer of ownership, keep in mind that Freddy's paternity is a bit convoluted. There were at least 100 potential claims floating around out there.) Of course, there is one caveat before he can take possession. That's right: a worldwide scavenger hunt spanning all seven continents, during which the Fat Boys will be competing against none other than the substitute Duke Boys, Coy and Vance! Yeeeee-haw!

Nope, nothing here to offend black audiences.
Okay, fine, I'm kidding; he just has to spend the night in the place, which is, of course, standard legal boilerplate in the horror genre. And this is bad news for Markie Dee and his boys, because while Uncle Freddy Krueger wasn't actually destroyed at the end of Dream Warriors (because fucking bullshit) he did take a serious ass-whuppin' and is currently holed up in his former digs, attempting to recoup. Needless to say, the last thing he needs is a bunch of overweight assholes lumbering around the place and throwing House Party 8. Not to mention the effect on property values if three people of color move into the neighborhood. (Sorry, but it's true.) So Freddy runs them off, but not before they perform a little rap about their predicament, which has no adverse effect on Freddy whatsoever, unlike the music of Dokken. Hell, Freddy even joins in and raps a few lines himself. Why the sudden immunity to pop music? Well, it may seem odd now, but rap music had yet to garner any real critical respect in the late 1980s (the Fat Boys, in fact, were one of the main reasons why), so back then fat phat rhymes simply weren't enough to ward off any serious supernatural threat. You had to rock. Or whatever it is Dokken does.

So yeah, a herd of fatties stampeding through Freddy's house; the riderless tricycle, an ominous symbol of impending doom in all previous Freddy appearances, is inelegantly kicked out of the way by a morbidly obese man as he flees in slapstick terror; and Freddy Krueger raps. Welcome to the Nightmare on Elm Street experience, post-Part 3. You might want to bail now, because it's not gonna get any better.

Also, do I really need to point out that it's super fucking racist to make a video that's entirely about black people being afraid of a ghost? Because it totally is.
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