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The second film of Red Christmas was the gloriously insane Jack Frost; and no, it’s not the Michael Keaton snow-dad movie. The movie is absolutely wacky as Hell and has the distinguishment of being Shannon Elizabeth’s feature film “debutt.”

Also, this movie introduces an ultimate betrayal of our good host, and of us, the viewers. Even now, I still feel the sting of the horror host community’s betrayal of Joe Bob.

Jack Frost (1997)

Opening Rant: Joe Bob promises some guests, and that we will get “nasty with a snowman.”

1997’s Jack Frost is a direct-to-video horror-comedy. It was written and directed by Michael Cooney. The film features a town called Snowmonton under siege by a serial killer named Jack Frost. Oh, also, Jack Frost is a mutant snowman resulting from a genetic accident. The movie is every bit as ridiculous as you’d expect.

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The film stars a smorgasbord of character actors and was shot in Big Bear, California. The film features Christopher Allport, Scott MacDonald, Stephen Mendel, and F. William Parker. The film’s largest claim to fame is that it is the debut, of course, of Shannon Elizabeth. Shannon Elizabeth would really explode onto the scene for teenage males everywhere in 1999’s American Pie a couple of years after.

The film is 90-minutes of black comedy insanity and has developed quite the cult following.

Given the low budget, there are some genuinely solid effects at times.

Review

Drive-In Fashion Show: Darcy wears an extremely low-cut Christmas-red ensemble with black trim hood and high-laced boots.

Joe Bob, perhaps not so surprisingly, gave Jack Frost a half-star higher rating than Black Christmas. The film is far better drive-in fare than Black Christmas and fits firmly within the insane wheelhouse that is The Last Drive-In. Jack Frost comes in, officially, at three and a half stars.

There is a lot to admire about Jack Frost given its low-budget and ridiculous premise. It has some truly ingenious deaths, swerves, and generally screwed up moments that satisfy a lot of those drive-in cravings that we seek.

For example, here is a snowman murdering a nude Shannon Elizabeth:

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As a whole, this might be the most fun film that has been on The Last Drive-In since season one’s DEATHGASM. Everything about the movie clicks from the outrageous cartoony writing and killings to the clever usage of Christmas Carols for a score. We even get a nice segment around the third break with Joe Bob Briggs regaling us about the British farces. This second feature of the night basically offered everything.

Where’s the carrot? WHERE IS THE CARROT?!

There was also the continual tease of guest horror hosts, which was a bit of an impish trick on Joe Bob’s part. But the brand new musical number, “Lonely Red Christmas,” was a wonderful holiday treat.

Now, this was my first experience watching Jack Frost. I only knew it from its amazing lenticular VHS cover I kept seeing on the shelf at my local video store as a kid. I am sure you’ll recognize it from the Blockbuster Video days too, even if you’ve never seen the movie.

My parents were never cool enough to let me rent this movie as a kid and I weep for the amazing childhood I could have had.

Jack Frost might be one of the best experiences I’ve had on The Last Drive-In yet and I fully believe it is a four-star film. Joe Bob clearly deducted a half star due to actual breasts that aren’t made of snow, but I’m not as picky. Basically, I had a complete blast. The movie is ridiculous as all hell, and there were some genuinely cringe-inducing kills that really stand out for me. The scene with the Christmas ornaments, for example, is already on my list of the best kills in horror films ever.

Also, any film that features an anti-snowman firing-line with hair-dryers is clearly worth three stars at the minimum. It just helps that the rest of the film is so goddamn insane.

Best Line: “Well it ain’t fucking Frosty!” – Jack Frost

Snowmen: Now with Bologna-filling.

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As has become a tradition, let’s turn to Shudder’s handy-dandy Drive-In tweet for those official totals.

  • 1 Darcy Costume Change (SnowTran Darcy!)
  • 2 “Snowballs” Jokes
  • 18 Days of Shooting this Movie
  • Darcy Jailing
  • Christmas-Pig Joking
  • Darcy Impalement Threatening
  • Silver Bolo Awarding
  • Gratuitous Character Actors
  • Gratutitous Farce Lecturing
  • Sled-Decapitation Fu
  • Yuki Pasty Fu

Jack Frost was pretty much exactly what I would personally want in a Drive-In experience. There was a huge sense of fun throughout the entire experience, even if Joe Bob’s party plans, cruelly, did not seem to pan out throughout the evening. Poor guy.

One big surprise was the beginning of the Silver Bolo Awards, which will seem to be a feature of The Last Drive-In going forward. It is an award representing excellence in horror blogging and the horror community. The first recipient was, of course, Dinosaur Dracula, which is well-deserved. I’ve been following Matt, the blogger behind Dinosaur Dracula clear back to the X-Entertainment days and his work made me interested in blogging.

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Our Snow Queen of the evening.

So yes, congratulations, Matt. It is well deserved. It also gives me something to shoot for with Haunted MTL.

Anyway, stay tuned for our final post on Red Christmas, due later this week. Until then, please check out all the other content our new writers have been posting.

Movies n TV

Ghostbusters, Frozen Empire

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Released in March of this year, Ghostbuster’s Frozen Empire is the latest in what is now a four-part series that began in 1984. And, unlike most series that get a modern reboot, this series just seems to be getting better.

The story

Our tale begins in 1904. Firefighters from the same firehouse we are all familiar with are dispatched to save a building that is, well, kind of the opposite of on fire. In the middle of Summer, a whole room has frozen solid. The people inside are frozen in place. As this scene fades away, we see a woman dressed in strange brass clothes, holding a ball that seems to be whispering something.

Flash-forward to modern times, we see our Ghostbusters flying through the streets of New York, chasing a massive sea monster ghost. They manage to catch the ghost but are called into the mayor’s office for property damage. And, surprise, the mayor is Walter Peck, the minor villain in the original films.

Among Peck’s complaints is that Phoebe Spangler is underage. He insists that she be benched until she’s eighteen.

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This, of course, means that Phoebe is the only one there when Ray receives a strange ball in his shop. A ball that has so much kinetic energy that it breaks his tools. A ball that is, of course, whispering.

Dan Aykroyd, James Acaster, Finn Wolfhard, Celeste O'Connor and Logan Kim in Ghostbusters Frozen Empire.

What worked

What the Ghostbusters series has gotten right is that it’s never lost sight of the original film. It is one consistent story with new elements added. The music is similar in each. The characters are consistent from film to film. And, maybe the most important part, the original characters have aged and changed in ways that make sense.

This movie was also full of nods to original fans. Seeing Janine suited up was a fantastic moment for me. But it’s also great to see Ray, Peter and Winston as leaders and advisors.

Another thing I loved about this film was the actual creep factor. This is the first Ghostbusters movie that had some actual creepy moments. Right in the first scene, the frozen dead hand rolling around on the record player was eerie. The ghosts were creepy, except Slimer. Some of them looked like they might do some damage.

Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts in Ghostbusters Frozen Empire.

Finally, it was so cool seeing all of the Ghostbusters coming together. All three original characters fight with the seven new ones, and aided by Janine, Melody and Nadeem. It meant something that it took all of them to fight Garraka. And even then, they just barely stopped him. It raised the stakes and felt epic.

What didn’t work

I will say, this movie could have had more detail. There were a lot of storylines in this movie. Trevor trying to come into his young adulthood by battling Slimer himself. Phoebe deals with the fact that she feels like an adult and isn’t treated like one yet. Her love affair with Melody. Nadeem discovering and coming into his birthright. And, of course, everyone coming together to defeat Garraka.

With so many stories in play, it was going to be impossible to treat all of them with the time and respect they deserved. And one story I felt needed more attention was the story of Melody. I want to know why she was hanging out playing chess in Central Park. I want to know why there was a diner with her name on it. I want to know why Garraka chose her to get close to Phoebe. I want to know so many things about this character and there was just not enough time. This was an almost two-hour movie already, there was not enough time because they did too much.

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All in all, though, this is a small complaint. Ghostbusters Frozen Empire was funny, creepy, heartwarming and a lot of fun. It’s something you can watch with little ones and adults alike, and everyone in the room will have a good time.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Suburban Screams, A Killer Comes Home

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Episode two of John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams was more true crime than supernatural. It was the horrific, dark tale of a serial killer who escapes from jail and comes back to his hometown for revenge. And boy, does he find it.

The story

This story begins with a man coming out to his front porch to find a mysterious package wrapped in newspaper. He opens it to find a rotting, maggot-ridden head that he certainly didn’t order.

The head was placed there by a killer named Allan Legere. In 1986, Legere brutally murdered a couple in their homes during a robbery. For this, he was sentenced to life in prison.

However, he escaped from prison in May of 1989. Enraged at his old hometown, he returns there and starts a brutal killing rampage. He wants revenge on the people who wronged him. At least, the people he believes wronged him. Rather than focusing on the police who arrested him, or the judge and jury who convicted him, he decides to go after the journalists who reported on the case.

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Of course, he also murders a whole bunch of old ladies for some reason. And a priest.

Annette Holland in Suburban Screams.

Legere is still alive, and still in prison. But as he’s escaped once, many people believe he might do so again. And if he does, he’ll almost surely try to pick up right where he left off.

This tale is told from the point of view of the journalists, Rick MacLean and David Cadogan. Both men have been deeply impacted by this incident. They are still shaken. And still very, very angry.

What worked

This episode was far better than the first, right from the maggot-headed start. The gore was intense. The story was horrifying. And it’s made even more horrifying, knowing that it is, for the most part, true.

The thing that made this episode stand out is that it feels so much like several beloved horror stories. I would suggest that this story inspired John Carpenter’s Halloween, except that that movie came out in 1978. The events in this episode took place from 1986 to 1989.

To realize that a person could cause so much pain, and take so many lives, is possibly the scariest thing most of us can imagine. And while this story is, sadly, not unique, it is certainly worse than most.

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What didn’t work

After watching this episode, I can only really think of one complaint. There is a scene with the first victims, two elderly ladies. The first woman is home alone when someone begins hammering on her front door. We are meant to believe that it is the killer, but it ends up being her sister with a lovely salad. But if the two sisters lived together, why was she knocking to be let in? I can only believe that this is meant as misdirection to the point of being a jump scare. And this feels cheap. Especially when the rest of the episode was more on the level.

Is it True?

While I do think parts of this episode were, let’s say dramatized, I do think this happened. There are just too many facts that would be far too easy to look up. To my dismay, the part that is easiest to look up is the horrific deaths of many innocent people.

This was a much better episode than the one that preceded it. The story is compelling and frightening. It is well told, both from the survivors being interviewed and the actors recreating the moments of horrific history. I’m hoping that the rest of the season is more like this episode, and less like the first.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Suburban Screams, Kelly

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Launched in October of 2023, Suburban Screams is the latest project by acclaimed horror master John Carpenter. It’s a true crime/unsolved mystery series covering events that have terrified people living in, you guessed it, the suburbs.

The story

Our first episode, titled Kelly, is the story of two roommates named Dan and Joey. The actual Dan and Joey tell the story from their own perspective, interspersed with dramatic reenactments. This did feel very much like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

One night when Dan and Joey have their girlfriends over, they decide to play with an Ouija board. Since they don’t have one, Dan makes one on a pizza box, complete with a planchette. This is, of course, when things go terribly wrong.

Still from Suburban Screams, Kelly.

Honestly, I have never heard anyone say, “I had a great time with that Ouija board, I’m really glad we did that.”

The couples make contact with a spirit named Kelly. This is very upsetting to Dan’s girlfriend May, as she had a cousin named Kelly who went missing and is presumed dead.

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Dan then finds himself haunted by Kelly. He throws up water, finds his kitchen chairs stacked on the table, and is followed around by a haunting song. Dan feels like he won’t find peace until he helps Kelly find peace.

What worked

There was a lot to enjoy in this first episode. Specifically, I loved the horror visuals. Dan’s vision was very creepy, as an example. And I loved the shots of the body floating down the river. These images were eerie and upsetting.

The storytelling from Dan and Joey was also well done. While I have my doubts about the validity of this story, these two men believe wholeheartedly in what they’re saying. I certainly believe that they experienced something disturbing. Either that or they are some fantastic actors.

What didn’t work

That being said, some things rubbed me the wrong way in this episode.

I’d like to start with the herbs Joey burned during the Ouija session. It looked like sage, or maybe sweetgrass.

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As some of you might know, I am a practicing witch. So I do feel the need to point out that if you want to open a door and invite spirits in, you probably don’t want to be burning sage or sweetgrass as those are going to negate any spiritual activity. This was for sure the action of someone who does not know what the hell they are doing. It just irritated me.

Also, maybe don’t throw open a door indiscriminately to the spirit world. Just saying.

I also didn’t love the acting by Ben Walton-Jones, who played Dan. While it wasn’t a terrible job, the character felt overacted. I don’t know how he had room for that pizza, since he was chewing the scenery most of the episode.

Honestly, this episode felt a little underproduced. When I saw John Carpenter’s name, I was expecting something with some real production value. Great acting, great effects, great music. None of those were in effect here. I’m not sure where their budget went, because it didn’t go to any of the things it should have.

Is it true?

So that brings us to the big question. Do I think this story is true?

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Well, it is verifiable that Kelly Lynn Fitzpatrick was a young woman who unfortunately was found dead in 1999 in Quebec. The rest of the story, so far as I can find, is up to speculation.

Do I believe someone could contact the dead on an Ouija board they made out of a pizza box? Yes, I do. Because Dan made it with his own hands it might have worked better than a store-bought board. But do I think he was haunted to this extent by the spirit of Kelly?

Well, I would say that I believe this about as much as I believe the story of the Amityville house. Something certainly happened here, but I am sure that the details shared in this episode of Suburban Screams are highly overblown.

In the end, while I did have fun watching this episode, this fun was tainted. I would have enjoyed it more if it was presented as a fictional story loosely based on real-life events. Because that is almost certainly what it was.

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3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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