Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Rounding up some friends for a Friday the 13th fear fest

Yes,today is Friday the 13th,the perfect excuse to watch a few good(or bad) horror movies before October rolls around. While you could go for the obvious choices here, it might be more fun to get together with a few friends or even watch on your own a few frightening examples of what happens when the whole "safety in numbers" concept goes horribly wrong.

First up is V/H/S, an anthology flick whose framing device is a group of rowdy guys who take a break from filming their chaotic antics to break into an old house to steal one videotape. As most of the group separates to search the place(that only has a seemingly dead man as it's occupant), one guy starts watching the five videotapes that make up most of the film.

A lot of those stories have groups of friends looking for trouble and finding more than they could handle,such as a trio of college kids picking up a pair of girls,one of whom turns out to be less than human and a four pack of buddies heading for a Halloween party but stumbling into the wrong house in more ways than one. Different types of video taping are showcased,from online video chats to handheld cameras and even a hidden eyeglass spy cam.

I saw this film over the weekend by chance(and it was late at night,making the experience extra spooky) and found myself impressed by the ingenuity of the multiple film makers on board here. While the found footage formula can get very routine these days and the horror anthology a rather old staple, this merging of both had real moments of startling creativity and suspense. A sequel was recently made and I'm more than willing to see if it stands up to the previous eerie effort:

 Next up is Identity,a thriller from 2003,that has a group of stranded strangers at a remote hotel becoming victims of a mystery killer one by one. As the lone survivor recounts what happened that night, a pattern emerges that reveals the connections amongst the members of this supposedly random gathering.

The cast of this movie is pretty impressive with the likes of Alfred Molina,Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet,Rebecca De Mornay and John Cusack who acts his little heart out here. The set-up of this story line is smarter than the average slasher film and while it wasn't a big hit when it first came out(it did make some money but not a lot of impact, pop culture wise), I feel that it's very underrated and deserves another look at and appreciation of:

Last but far from least is Tales From The Crypt Presents Demon Knight, based on the HBO series that revived the old school horror comics genre.

The main story of Demon Knight has a mystery man on the run(Will Sandler) hiding out at a run down motel from a creepy "Collector"(Billy Zane,in fine villain form) and who winds up having to recruit one of the locals(Jada Pinkett) to help him battle the forces of evil. Much like the early seasons of the cable show, it's gruesomely funny but scary smart as well.

I have great memories of this movie,since I saw it at a midnight preview thanks to the NYC Fangoria convention that year,where I meet  two of the screenplay writers(Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voff)and the screening was attended by one of the film's co-stars,B-movie legend Dick Miller. Also, if you're in the mood for a good old fashioned gore fest with a heap of humor and  characters worth cheering on, Demon Knight fills the bill nicely:

Whatever you watch tonight, I hope it's a great scary time had by all. Even if you do go for the traditional Friday the 13th fare, maybe that will spark some fresh conversations with your usual gang of fiendish friends:

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