Friday the 13th: A New Beginning AKA Part 5

Directed by: Danny Steinmann
Category: Horror

Oh dear lord. I don't even know where to begin with this one. I'll just be brutally honest I guess. This sucked. Probably the worst in the series and now I know why I never felt the need to ever watch it. Well, wait. I never saw Jason X either, so I shouldn't judge yet until I've gotten to that one.Yup, much like a few films I've just seen recently, this is another one that I've never actually gotten around to until now. Even though I have the entire series on DVD, and have seen most of them countless times. Something always kept me from watching this one though.

Uuuuuuhhhh, ok. You know, I love bad movies. I love when a movie is so bad that it actually falls under the "So Bad It's Good" category. Some of my all-time favorites fall under this category. But this, this was just lame on almost every single level. The direction, the kills, the effects, the story and the fact that it's not even about Jason Voorhees. And I could forgive that, if there was some gratuitous nudity and awesome kills. But yea, there's nudity (often times just hilarious rather than enjoyable) and the deaths, kills and effects were amazingly gawd awful and lame. I can't remember the last time I yelled so much at my TV.

A year ago I bought all of these as a set with the intent of watching them in chronological order. But apparently it's taken me almost a whole year just to get to Part 5. Ever since I was young though, I've always regarded Part 4: The Final Chapter as my favorite in the series. It has everything you'd want from a Friday the 13th film and it's done so well. Great kills. Great effects by none other than Tom Savini. Nudity. Gore. A young Corey Feldman and a young Crispin Glover. And tight direction. But I don't know what the hell they were thinking when they decided to continue on with this one even though Part 4 was supposed to be the last one. Obviously when they saw how much Part 4 made, they were seeing dollar signs again. Maybe at the time they thought it was a "fresh" take on the horror genre by offering something different? I don't know. But I just felt constantly annoyed when watching this.

Tommy, who Corey Feldman played in the last one, is now in his 20's and sent to live in a Mental Institute/Half Way House full of other twenty somethings because you know, killing Jason Voorhees can really mess with your head. Even though Tommy killed Jason in the last film, Jason seems to be up to his old tricks again picking off people left and right. Waitresses, paramedics, teenagers, gangsters, whoever. Not just the kids from the Half Way House, but pretty much everybody. And it's the way these scenes are carried out that drive you nuts. You never see the killer..........ever. Not until the very end. Then you think, "Hhhhmmmm, I remember Jason looking bigger". "Why does he look so skinny?". And you rarely see the actual killing either. And when you do, it always seems half-assed. It's immediately made obvious Savini had no hand in the effects this time around. The dialogue is atrocious. The acting, if you can even call it that, is sub-par. And some of the creative decisions in here just make no sense. Thank the heavens that the producers redeemed themselves with Part 6: Jason Lives, which is a true sequel to Part 4 and a much better film than this garbage. I'm sure some will argue that this is an "underrated" film. No, it's just a bad film plain and simple. Director Danny Steinmann never made another film after this, and that's a good thing. As much as I don't care for Steve Miner as a director, I prefer his work in Parts 2 and 3 to this any day of the week.

For a recap on my reviews for the first 4 films in the series and the remake, check out the links below:

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 3

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter AKA Part 4

Friday the 13th (2009)


Quick Shot: The Thing (2011)

Directed by: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Category: Horror

I held off on watching this for as long as I could. Seriously, I avoided it like the fucking plague. For me, it just seemed ridiculous to think that anybody could top John Carpenter's version. I mean, seriously! You just can't touch it! For me, John Carpenter's The Thing still represents the best that 80's horror and practical effects has to offer. So then comes word almost 30 years later that they will attempt a reboot, prequel, sequel or whatever the hell you wanna call it. I don't think they ever actually clearly defined what this was supposed to be. But yea, fanboys all over the world were in disbelief, including me, and so I just made it a point to avoid this for as long as I could. But then the other day I was looking for something to watch and had this in my possession, don't ask me how, and thought "what the hell?". So here we go.

I'll be honest and give you the lowdown right up front. This wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be. It's not great, but I didn't hate it like I wanted to. Because I really, really wanted to. First of all, it looks great. Beautifully shot with a decent ensemble cast. And despite the use of CGI, there is a nice amount of practical physical effects too. What I didn't like is the excessive use of CGI (yea I know it's cheaper to do it that way), Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the lead, and not ever knowing until the very end what the hell this is supposed to be. I'll just tell you. It's a "prequel". Though for 90% of the film it feels like a direct remake. I'm telling you, it seriously does. Yea there are changes here and there as you would expect from a remake, but man this looked and felt like an identical remake of Carpenter's 1982 version and I just could not shake that feeling the entire time I was watching this. Not until the very end is it made abundantly clear that this is a prequel with events leading right up to the opening sequence of The Thing (1982). So there, now we all know.

But you know, it was a decent flick. I had moderate fun with it and all the actors did there best. There was some nice suspense, good effects (just too much digital), some interesting gore sequences, and I liked the overall look of it. The first time director here gives it all a nice clean, streamlined look, and integrates some of the bigger special effects well. The ending even surprised me a bit, which says something I guess. All in all, not a bad film. My main thing is that it just felt "needless", much like the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. There just felt no need for this to be made at all.


Quick Shot: Beyond the Black Rainbow

Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
Category: Sci-Fi/Thriller/Experimental

This is going to be a hard film to categorize. Not really falling under any one category, it combines sci-fi, drama, thriller and a lot of experimental elements. And you know, for the most part it works. Sometimes I felt the trippy experimental sequences to go on too long, but they were beautiful nonetheless and all in all, this is certainly worthy of a viewing from a very talented visualist newcomer.

I can honestly say that I don't think I fully grasped the entire "meaning" of the very small storyline, but from what I could gather, Elena is trapped in a secluded futuristic facility where she is constantly sedated by a demented doctor by the name of Barry Nyle. Somehow (never fully explained how or why I think) Elena is able to escape and make it out of the facility, only to have the crazed Dr. Nyle after her.

I don't know if it's just me, but a lot of this just didn't make sense and I didn't understand how or why things were happening. But then again, maybe they were never fully explained on purpose? Or maybe I was just too immersed in the visual aspect, having my mind blown by some truly inventive and jaw dropping sequences. It's a very slow picture, and you must possess an immense amount of focus, concentration and most of all, patience to sit through this. But if you can, you will be rewarded with some amazing futuristic space age mod set designs a la A Clockwork Orange, an incredible 80's electronic synthesizer score reminiscent of John Carpenter's output in the 80's and some outstanding trippy experimental sequences. Sure, some of them run a little too long, but they are gorgeously executed and photographed. The story might not do anything for most people, but just for the visuals alone, it's enough for a lot of others, like me. I'm glad I saw it because it's an amazingly constructed little piece of retro sci-fi fanfare, clearly drawing inspiration from a lot of well known classic science fiction films, most notably for me George Lucas' THX 1138. But I'm sure a lot of people might disagree and say it plays out more like this or that. Whatever the inspiration may be, it's a trippy mind-fuck that plays out more of a homage to 70's and early 80's sci-fi than anything. Director Panos Cosmatos, son of the late great George P. Cosmatos (Rambo: First Blood Part 2, Cobra, Leviathan, Tombstone) can certainly say that he gave it his all in this one, his first foray into filmmaking, impressing the hell out of me with this debut much the way director Duncan Jones did with his first feature Moon, another throwback to classic science fiction filmmaking. From a design and technical standpoint, Beyond the Black Rainbow is impressive. Very impressive. The only problem is that's not enough to win a lot of people over. Some, but not a lot. From a story driven standpoint, it can grow tiresome and you need a lot of patience to sit through this. I say take the trip, because it's a fascinating one for sure. Be sure to check out this trailer. If this doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what will.