SLEDGEHAMMER is the directorial debut of David A. Prior and brought to you by a budget of $20, a firm handshake and a case of room-temperature beer.
Well, let’s jump right in and see what’s so special about SLEDGEHAMMER!
After establishing the hell out of an ordinary house, we sift through days of slow-motion to get the heart-breaking tale of an abusive mother. Meeting her lover, she can’t be bothered with her child, so she locks him in a closet. However her affair is cut short when she and her lover get sledgehammered to death.
What happens to the boy? Nobody knoooows (spooky music)! But seriously, cops are like, “Huh…who cares.”
After a gross food fight and strange homophobic banter later, a group of horny (re: annoying) teens break in. Not only to have sexy times, but also…SATANIC RITUALS!!! Well, at least they’re not playing those awful, violent video games.
However, after goofing around a while, one of them has a bright idea:
Dude: Let’s have some real fun!
Other Dude: Orgy?
Dude: No. Seance!– this gem of a movie
Unfortunately, as expected, things go downhill fast and they start dying from a blue-collar, flannel-wearing serial killer. But can they find out about the missing boy before it’s too late? Can they escape the wrath of this every-man murderer? Could they show us another establishing shot of the house (because I missed it the first twenty times)?
Come watch to find out!
This is pure and utter 80’s garbage in its most beautiful form. SLEDGEHAMMER is the type of film that’s now parodied and glorified in today’s hottest Comedy-Horror flicks. Convoluted plot, awkward acting, scant budget, and gallons of fake blood – it ticks all of the boxes. It’s hard to understand, hard to hear, and hard to get any attachment to the characters, but it sure is easy on the eyes and the soul (just kidding, it’s garbage on the eyes, too).
This is a gem of Movie Mania’s Monday bargains, on the bottom shelf of the video rental store, un-rewound because no one cared enough to be kind to it.
Brain Roll Juice (spoilers):
Okay, two thoughts.
First is the strange fixation of homophobia of the 80’s. I’ve seen this time and time again in 80’s horror – there’s this sudden scene when we’re getting to know our cast of characters when gayness is brought up, usually to establish that our characters are “men” and they ain’t no queeros!This is usually in response to talking about having sex with their girlfriends (which is redundant at best and very suspicious at worst), or to prompt one of the dudes to incite the incident, which leads to their untimely deaths.
So….in a way…homophobia is to blame for the murder counts in a lot of these movies…
Second, I actually like this killer’s concept. Much like what Jason eventually becomes, this killer is very much a victim. I enjoyed the duality of the little boy and the fully grown serial killer. It touches on child abuse in a strange and real way. It’s understandable how the child could think, “If only I were bigger/stronger/older, I could save myself…” So, in death, he does just that. He becomes older and stronger to gain control and agency over situations that he had no prior agency in. As his larger and more blue-collared entity, he can make sure is safe – from everyone.
It is an idealized state of projection of what a small child would imagine what strength and power is.
And for this schlock of a movie to have that kind of depth and empathy…well, it might just be a happy coincidence. But I’m going to take it at face value and call congratulations to making a complex and well-developed killer in the midst of 80’s serial killer mania.
If you enjoy movies that can only be found on an unmarked VHS tape from a shady estate sale, then this is your jam, my friend.(3.5 / 5)
**Footnote: I just got through this whole review without mentioning Peter Gabriel, I’ll take my praise and adoration in the comments, thank you.**
Episode seven of Netflix’s Dahmer brings the spotlight, finally, to the hero of our story. Glenda Cleveland.
Glenda was Jeff’s neighbor. And honestly, I can’t think of a worse neighbor. A horrific stench is always coming from his apartment. He has people over, and they make a lot of noise.
While they’re dying.
If you’ll recall episode one of Dahmer ended with all of his neighbors, including Glenda, being forced to leave their homes. The whole building was declared a crime scene. They’re not given any place to go, of course.
Everyone’s got a few thousand dollars socked away for an unexpected motel stay, right?
Fortunately, Glenda was able to get a motel room. And that’s where she is when Reverend Jesse Jackson finds her.
Glenda pours out her story to Reverend Jackson. The rest of the episode consists of her dark and troubling encounters with Dahmer.
The most compelling scene, I think, is when Dahmer brings Glenda a sandwich. He’s being evicted, and he knows it’s because she’s been complaining about the smells coming out of his apartment.
He tries to pour on his little boy charm. He tells her that he got his apartment cleaned, just for her. He brings her a pulled meat sandwich as a present.
Notice I don’t say pulled pork, because I’m fairly sure it was human meat. Or, it was just drugged.
This episode just hummed with tension and rage. I was so happy to see Reverend Jackson tear into the police in the most polite way possible. I hated seeing what Glenda went through. And even though I know she lives through this horrific encounter, I held my breath the entire time she was alone with Jeff.
Dahmer is certainly not afraid to jump back and forth between the past and present. But they are careful to never do it in such a way that I felt lost. And I honestly think this was the best way to do it.
The reason for this is that it adds a level of suspense that Dahmer might have lacked without it. Suspense is something that true crime stories can lack. Especially well-known ones. We have heard this story before. We know how it ends. But in presenting the tale this way, first from one point of view and then another, it reveals sides of it that we may not have seen before.
I loved seeing the story from Glenda’s point of view. She was brave, determined, and selfless. She had every right to be furious at the way the police dismissed her concerns for years. And yet she continued to handle everything professionally. She never stopped trying to help people, even when no one else seemed to care. And for that, she is a true hero.(4 / 5)
Review: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
The second half of the 1990s was a comeback of the slasher sub-genre, thanks to Wes Craven’s Scream. It was precisely because of its success that Kevin Williamson was able to pitch the script for I Know What You Did Last Summer. An extremely loose adaption of the book of the same title, it follows a group of teenagers who drunkenly commit a hit-and-run. They decide to – what a surprise – get rid of the body to get away with it. Let’s have a look at why this film is a cult classic of its kind, shall we?
Top not atmosphere makes a big difference
I must’ve said this in one of my previous reviews but to me at least, the setting in a movie can make or break the viewing experience. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, I always found it a paradox and also highly effective that the action occurs in a fishing town with tons of open land and the sea. However, the characters feel trapped to the point of suffocating by the choices they made because, despite all the roads leading out, they always end up back there.
Their small town is living in its own little utopia with beauty pageants, firework displays, and unsurprisingly, not a single person the group can turn to for help. I thought it was really well done and it doesn’t hurt cinematography in general is beautiful.
Would the suggestions of the fans make sense?
Something that the fans of the movie have long debated is that they needed to swap the final girls of the movie, killing off Julie and making Helen the survivor. A lot of factors contribute to this. Sarah Michelle Gellar is phenomenal in her role and with all respect to Jennifer Love Hewitt, her portrayal pales a bit in comparison. Helen’s chase scene is one of the best if not the best in horror with how hard she fought for survival and how close she was to safety. On the contrary, Julie’s chip on the shoulder got on a lot of people’s nerves, mine included sometimes.
One has to think of the narrative purpose of the two characters. Julie serves as the outright goody two shoes, the one who actively fights Barry to go to the police, and the one who shows the most obvious remorse for what they’ve done. Helen is meant to be the ditsy blonde, however, throughout the movie, she’s shown to have more going on and that the incident affected her just as much even if it wasn’t so transparent.
Her endurance throughout the chase is a nice juxtaposition to the role she is meant to play, and to Julie’s scene later on (again, with all due respect, she does nothing apart from scream and run a bit) and the fact that she still dies after it gives a good gut punch that actually makes you care about these people despite their more than questionable decisions.
When it comes to the guys, I don’t actually have much to say. Barry is a classic jerk stereotype and Ray is a glaring red herring throughout the movie (I would also say Freddy Prince Jr was the weakest actor out of the four but again, I am no acting coach, just my opinion).
To sum up my thoughts on I Know What You Did Last Summer – it definitely has its flaws and asks the audience to suspend their disbelief (even for slasher standards). Regardless, it’s a staple entry of the genre and the 90s due to its atmosphere, tension-building, and for the most part decent acting. A must-have in your collection for horror buffs. No wonder it inspired a loosely based TV adaptation (its success is debatable but the thought still counts, right?)
The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!
The sweet putrid stench of love lingers through the air which can only mean one thing…Valentine’s Day and its annoying little winged cherub mascot, Cupid, is fast approaching. Soon, partners will be spoiling one another with extravagant bouquets of roses, heartfelt Hallmark cards, obnoxiously large teddy bears, glistening diamond jewelry, and heart-shaped candies or boxes filled with assorted mediocre chocolates. You know? Normal things couples do. I tend to prefer my chocolate boxes filled with bleeding hearts, à la ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but, beggars can’t be choosers, right? All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, however, there are also many others who find themselves celebrating this day without a significant other. Luckily, Shudder, along with drive-in king Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) will graciously be keeping us lonely mutants’, and yes, all you horror fanatic couples’ company on Friday, February 10th as they return with The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine, premiering live at 9pm EST.
Love Spells Abound…
Back in 2021, Joe Bob and Darcy invited us to a gruesomely passionate night of spell-binding love witches and animatronic dinosaurs infused with teenage human brains during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You. Many, including myself, were introduced to the tantalizing 70’s inspired retro throwback ‘The Love Witch’ and the graphically goofy cult classic ‘Tammy and the T-Rex’, providing the perfect viewing pleasure to mend any broken heart. While the two films for this year’s morbid love-induced special have yet to be announced, as a special treat, Briggs has announced for the first time on The Last Drive-In, he will be marrying one lucky couple during the live showing. We here at HauntedMTL are eagerly awaiting the return of the ghoulish duo so, as is tradition, we will be proudly hosting a watch party on Twitter during the broadcasting of The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder, @therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror to partake in this night of unholy love.
What started off as a one-time special premiering on Shudder July 13, 2018, ‘The Last Drive- In’ was originally meant to be Brigg’s swan song; one last special before hanging up the bolo tie in retirement. However, due to so many mutants, excuse me…viewers tuning in and breaking the Shudder servers, it was only natural to announce an official full season of ‘The Last Drive-In‘, which would make its explosive debut March 19, 2019. Since then, Darcy and Briggs have spawned many exclusive holiday specials, have graciously donated to many charities within the community, and have accumulated 4 seasons of ‘The Last Drive-In’, with a fifth currently in production premiering on Shudder’s 2023 schedule sometime this year, let’s hope sooner rather than later.
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The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!