Blog Archives

You Broke It: The End

Unlike most trilogies in the horror genre, You Broke It: 3 Trilogies That Went Awry must come to an end after its 3rd instalment. It was fun, and I learned a lot of things from this little experiment, not least the importance of continuity within a franchise 🙂 In case you missed any of it, the case studies were:

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

Halloween III Season of the Witch

You Broke It: Halloween III Season of the Witch

Year of Release: 1982
Genre:  Horror / Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 3 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0.5 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Of all the trilogies that went awry this week, this one really went all out to screw up a franchise. The only way this could have been more of an 80s mess is if Linnea Quigly had been in it. A little birdy has informed me that the Halloween franchise has long since past the point where its a trilogy (I don’t think there are words for the number of movies that make it up now) but trying to find three separate franchises where the first two movies were connected and the third falls under the banner but has nothing to do with the first two is a tall order. Let’s travel back to a simpler and less colour coordinated time and investigate the wonders of Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

I said no onions!!

John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Tommy Lee Wallace’s ill-conceived idea begins on a back road somewhere where a strange man is running away from a mysterious car. This movie’s nearly 100 minute run time is incredibly well padded, so the running carries on for quite a while before the car and its drivers eventually find the man hiding in plain sight and try to kill him with their bare hands. The man manages to escape and make his way to a little gas station but not without a few injuries, so the owner (who has a very odd-looking face) takes him to the hospital to be treated. It’s here that we meet our first main character, Dr Dan Challis. The good doctor really doesn’t do much but sleep in the nurse’s lounge, but for him to be active right now would interfere with the plot’s (alleged) development. In one of the rooms our stranger has been sedated and is busy resting, all the while clinging to a jack-o-lantern mask that he refuses to give up. While he’s sleeping a man similar to one of the Men In Black goes into the room and cracks the stranger’s skull in before going back to his car and setting himself on fire. Making any sense yet? No? Don’t worry, I’ll try to get you there…

Laser beams: now with extra mintiness.

In an attempt to shift the movie into second gear we find out that the stranger has a daughter named Ellie, and she wants to know exactly why anyone would want to kill her dear old dad. Since the old man owned a Halloween novelty store and was on his way to top up on his Silver Shamrock line of Halloween masks she decides that this is as good a place as any to start. Dr Dan also goes beyond the call duty and decides to tag along with her to try and find out what happened to his poor patient. The two make their way to Santa Mira, a tiny little Irish community in the hell and back of nowhere that’s about as relaxed and welcoming as London in 1984. Everyone’s under surveillance, the entire town is centred around the Silver Shamrock factory, a curfew’s in effect from 6pm and the most irritating advert for the Shamrock masks is playing on every TV in the country. Still not seeing how the movie’s working here? Don’t worry, if you actually watch it in all its tedious glory everything’s so slow to happen that you have plenty time to figure out what’s going on.

If she'd flossed regularly this might never have happen

OK, so the long short of it is that the Silver Shamrock company is busy making some very special Halloween masks for all the wee ones out there. The factory is owned by a man named Conal Cochran and the masks he’s making come kitted out with a very special trademark attached to the back that, when activated, kills the children and makes them ooze insects. This is all in some way connected to an ancient Celtic sacrifice that apparently takes place every 3000 years and involves sacrificing a lot of children at a time of planetary alignment. The trademarks are powered by a giant stone that Cochran managed to steal from Stonehenge and cart all the way back to the States without anyone noticing a thing. The stone, along with the bewitched and bedazzled trademarks, will activate themselves on Halloween night (most of the movie takes place in the lead up to Halloween rather than on the actual day) by a specially programmed advert. Dr Dan and Ellie now need to find a way into the factory, find out what’s happening, stop Cochran and not be killed by his army of super advanced robots.

My final thoughts. Having read some reviews I was quite surprised to find that some people out there quite enjoyed this movie. I think the problem for me personally is that the Halloween movies, apart from this one, define what good horror is and they are the standard against which all other movies are measured. Michael Myers terrified me as a child and can still give me nightmares, so to see this is just sad. Whether it could have functioned as a stand alone movie if it didn’t fall into the Halloween franchise is hard to say. To give it some credit, however, despite its complete lack of continuity and irritatingly slow pace it does contain two short scenes from the original Halloween movie in it. Having done that it already has more of an authentic Halloween feel to it than anything Rob Zombie could have hoped to accomplish 🙂

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • A car moving at 1.5 miles an hour can easily crush a man.
  • Brandy and surgery go brilliantly together.
  • You need a little lower arm strength to rip someone’s skull to pieces.
  • Malls will be the death of small Halloween mask shops.
  • Motels bring out the sleazy in everyone.
  • Security cameras in the 80s were designed to be very loud and very noticeable.
  • The local town drunk should be your first port of call when trying to snoop for information.
  • Children frequently go trick or treating way up in the hills surrounding a major city.

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH TRAILER

BUY HALLOWEEN III SEASON OF THE WITCH AT AMAZON.COM

You Broke It: Urban Legends – Bloody Mary

Year of Release: 2005
Genre:  Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 4.2 / 10
Level of Awful: Low
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Welcome to the second instalment of You Broke It: 3 Trilogies That Went Awry. Today we’ll be looking at the third movie in the Urban Legends franchise, Bloody Mary. I chose this movie because it fit many of the same criteria as I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer in that, while the first two Urban Legends movies were not directly linked, this movie takes the story down a completely different track and completely abandons its predecessors’ slasher elements in favour of being a ghost story. I would also like to state from the get-go that, despite the title, the Bloody Mary myth is used very loosely and only as a means of justifying adding this movie to the franchise.

Blink and you lose!

To begin our story we need to go back in time to the summer of ’69, albeit a far more tragic version than the one Bryan Adams has been describing for all these years. It’s the local high school’s homecoming celebration (admittedly, living in South Africa, I have no clue how homecoming works or what it’s for) and Mary Banner just feels like the most important girl in the whole school. The alpha jock has decided to dump his bitch of a girlfriend Dawn and asks Mary to the dance, proving that every now and then the plain girl can get the guy. He even manages to hook Mary’s 2 best friends Gina and Grace up with two of his buddies so that they can all be a matching set. If only good things like this did happen to the plain girl. Seems like the boys and Dawn aren’t happy about the fact that Mary and Co. don’t worship the ground the walk on so they decide to drug the three girls and play a little prank on them. Mary, not having any of it, runs away and tries to find help. Unfortunately for her she lands up cornered in the basement and, while trying to escape, she trips and knocks her head on the table, killing her. Not wanting to go to jail the alpha jock takes her body and hides it in a trunk, where it has stayed ever since.

Yeah, poor hygiene will lead to things like this...

Flash forward to 2005 and history’s busy repeating itself, just this time it has the use of modern technology. Samantha works for the school newspaper and recently published an article debating whether footballers should be given good grades simply because they know how to run around a field and throw a ball to one another. The article is accompanied by a very unflattering photograph of three jocks in particular. When homecoming rolls round Sam and her two friends decide that they don’t want to go and instead stage a slumber party. The boys, upset at how their vast levels of intelligence have been insulted by Sam’s article, rock up in the middle of the night, give the girls some chloroform and stick them in a room in the old abandoned paper mill. Unlike the events of the summer of ’69, however, all of the girls make it out alive and, the scare aside, seem none the worse for wear and continue on with their lives. This is when things start to get a little bit strange.

Yes. Yes they can.

Having shouted out the words ‘Bloody Mary’ three times during the slumber party (although not into a mirror or anything even mildly reflective) Sam and her friends have somehow managed to invoke the spirit of Mary Banner, and she’s pissed. Seeing this turn of events and Sam’s similar situation Mary decides that now is the time to take her revenge and kill those people involved in Sam’s kidnapping. It starts off with a simple homage to Aerobicide where one of the jocks is fried to a crisp in a sun tanning bed but gradually the attacks become more sinister and Mary’s ghost becomes angrier and angrier. What Sam and her twin brother David need to find out is why Mary has come back and why she has chosen this as her method of seeking revenge. With the help of Grace they will seek to uncover the truth about what happened all those years ago, but they will not seek to find out how Grace, a heavy stoner who hasn’t been outside her house in years, manages to get groceries and daily copies of the newspaper.

Some final thoughts on the matter. Like I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer this isn’t a terrible movie and, had it been released as a stand-alone film, would probably have been reasonably entertaining. It suffers from the fact that it tries to force the urban legend angle where it really doesn’t fit into the plot. The reference to Bloody Mary herself is only used so that the movie can in some way try to fit in with its predecessors and the murders using urban legends is in no way justified or explained. The use of newspaper clippings referring to the second Urban Legends movie, as well as a few recycled scenes, also fail to make this in any way a part of a continuous narrative. Whoever’s idea this was should hang their head in shame (just a little bit) for trying to sell a ghost story by piggy backing on two slasher films and hoping that nobody would notice. Because we did.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • To spike a hippie chick’s drink you need A LOT of rohypnol.
  • Girls who assert their independence and opinions are doomed to a lonely, single life.
  • Pillow fights are a great way for friends to sort out their issues.
  • Some people just don’t see the funny side of being drugged and locked in a room.
  • Alpha jocks can convince lesser jocks to do anything.
  • Anyone who uses dial-up internet is high on crack.
  • Ghosts always start out with a plan but God help you they devise a new one later on.

URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY TRAILER

BUY URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY AT AMAZON.COM

You Broke It: I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Year of Release: 2006
Genre:  Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 3.5 / 10
Level of Awful: Low
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Welcome to the first installment of You Broke It: 3 Trilogies That Went Awry. Today we’ll be looking at I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, the final (failed) installment in the I Know What You Did Last Summer series. To begin with one of this movie’s major failings is that the title is just far too long, but some people may be wondering why I’ve given it a ‘Low’ Level of Awful. In my own opinion this movie might have stood a chance at being one of those little films that you watch once, kind of enjoy and then completely forget had it not tried to follow up on its predecessors. The storyline in no way follows on from the other two and none of the previous cast makes a return, but some bright spark thought that trying to forcibly connect the two plots would be a good idea. It really wasn’t. Let’s take a look at the story…

Some movies don't take their curtain calls very well.

Somewhere between 1998 and 2006 the horrific events that centred on Julie James and her friends entered into a little town’s list of folklore tales and now, on July 4th every year, the Fisherman is said to make a return and begin killing teenagers at random. Seeing that this is a small town and high school students (in their late 20s) have very little to do with their time Amber, Zoe, Roger, Colby and PJ decide that they should do a little reenactment at the local carnival for some laughs. Roger will play the Fisherman, PJ will be the hapless victim and afterwards they’ll all get together for some laughs. Everything’s going fine until PJ skateboards up on a roof and the mattresses placed on the ground for him to jump onto are replaced with a tractor. PJ is impaled and dies at the scene and his friends, not wanting to confess to anything and risk being stuck in this little town forever, decide that they’ll hide the evidence and take the secret to their graves. It’s what PJ would have wanted after all.

Having a case of déjà vu over here!

A year passes and a lot of things have changed for our little group. Colby went off to college leaving the one-time love of his life Amber behind. Amber and Zoe, once the best of friends, are no longer in touch and Roger has gone into hiding, too haunted by the events of the previous year to deal with his friends or the outside world in general. Aah, if only wallowing in misery were so simple. As the anniversary of PJ’s death approaches Amber begins to receive a string of text messages, all of which bear a familiar message: I know what you did last summer. Suspicion inevitably sets in: who opened their mouths? Who went and put all of their futures at risk? Things are further complicated by the addition of Lance, PJ’s cousin who has had a thing for Amber for quite a while now. Soon the threats go beyond the digital realm and the Fisherman makes his presence known by killing Roger and leaving even more messages for all the others. The group now needs to band together to outsmart the Fisherman and outlive one another.


It doesn’t help, of course, that the fisherman is actually some demonic entity hell-bent on killing them all without having any real weaknesses that mortals tend to find rather cumbersome. To make this seemingly all tie back into the first two movies this Fisherman appears to be the ghost of Ben Willis, the original murderer from 10 years ago (according to the movie’s chronology). By using his history to play a prank that ultimately killed their friend and by then covering it up Amber and co. somehow invoked Ben and, in order to return to the other side, he has to do to this lot what he tried to do to the first bunch.

My final thoughts on the matter. This is not altogether a terrible movie. It doesn’t fail at being a horror movie, and there were times when I did jump a little. It simply fails at being an installment in a trilogy that it really has nothing to do with. The attempts, and there are many, to both compare it to the original movie and then to try and make the original storyline continue are completely forced and ineffectual. With a little reworking of the script to make it a stand-alone movie this might have been moderately enjoyable. Sadly this was not to be and all the horror community is left with is a movie whose title is too long and who brings a series I really enjoyed crashing to the ground.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Just because it’s legendary doesn’t mean it can’t be bought on Ebay.
  • You know you’re in a small town when the college kids are holding parties in a barn.
  • Hiding the fact that you murdered a great friend can really put strain on a relationship.
  • A girl who receives 1 threatening message is perplexed. A girl who receives 50 of the same threatening message is terrified.
  • No matter what a sheriff saying ‘hi’ is just creepy for some reason.
  • Policemen are known to be incredibly flirty at murder scenes.
  • When being stalked by a killer you should make sure you are alone in dark places as often as possible.
  • When the killer does eventually appear you should break away from the group and run somewhere you can’t escape from.

I’LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER TRAILER

BUY I’LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER AT AMAZON.COM

You Broke It: 3 Trilogies That Went Awry

Welcome to my latest little project – You Broke It: 3 Trilogies That Went Awry. While I do like to bombard my readers with a constant stream of film reviews there does come a time when I feel I should do something a little different with some form of cohesive thought, which is how we find ourselves here.

Over the coming week I will be looking at 3 different movie series. The movies have been chosen based on specific criteria: the first two movies must follow on from one another and present a continuous narrative while the third movie, although it falls within the franchise, must have absolutely nothing to do with the first two in terms of its storyline and should fall into a completely different horror sub-genre.

It’s gonna be messy, it’s gonna be brutal and, at times, it’s gonna be sad. I hope you enjoy this little misadventure with me 🙂

%d bloggers like this: