Hatchet bills itself as old-style American horror, and I guess that's
perfectly fair. It is quite similar to the first Friday 13th movie, except
with grislier deaths, as dictated by the current sensibilities.
The location is not a summer camp on a lake, but rather a touristy bayou
excursion. As is required of such fare, there are rumors of grisly events in
the past and 90% of the potential victims scoff at the hoary legends. The
deeper the level of cynicism, the earlier and bloodier will be their death.
The Jason character is Victor Crowley, a deformed human who was raised by a
loving father and presented no harm to humans until one Halloween when some
pranksters accidentally set his cabin on fire with him inside. Daddy got
back in time to save him, but could not get the front door open, so he
grabbed a hatchet to break the door down. A terrified Victor was behind the
door and ... well, you see where this is leading. Some years later, Victor
starts to commit a string of grisly murders.
The tour boat is being run by a newcomer who is unaware of the danger in
that part of the swamp. In fact, he's a guy from Detroit with a bogus
Louisiana accent, and he just moved to the South. The tourists are oblivious
to their peril, except for one woman who knows and believes the legend. She
is on the tour because her father and brother disappeared in the same area,
and the swamp is closed to boat traffic, so her only way to get in the area
is with the dumb-ass from Detroit.
The first half of the film is essentially a raunchy comedy which sets the
stage for the gory murders. We meet the characters and hear their witty
interaction. In addition to the feckless tour guide, there are two college
guys who are bored with Mardi Gras. One is our heartbroken hero, the other
is his wisecracking sidekick. Then there is the old couple from the Midwest,
and a con man (played by Bill Murray's much younger brother Joel) who
brought a camera and two bimbos into the swamp, supposedly to create a
naughty film called "Bayou Beavers." The dialogue consists mainly of the
wisecracking sidekick making fun of the tour guide, and the two bimbos
bickering. There is not much foreboding. The mood is silly, and the music is
frivolous. The only hint of what is to come is the brooding presence of the
woman who believes the Crowley legend.
I guess you can figure out the rest of the plot on your own. The tour
guide runs the boat aground conveniently close to the old Crowley place, and
the group has to walk through the swamp while trying unsuccessfully to avoid
gators and Victor, who hurts them real bad.
Several icons of horror appear with the cast of relative newcomers. In a
flashback scene, Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger) plays the missing father of
the serious girl. Tony Todd (Candyman) has a comical cameo. Kane Hodder
(Jason Vorhees) is once again cast as the monster, who is essentially a
Southern-fried version of his famous Jason character. Hodder also gets to
demonstrate some sensitivity as the loving and heartbroken father who
accidentally kills his beloved if deformed son with a hatchet. (Here are
the three legends together on set in a posed photo.)
This is your film if you would like to see what is essentially a
modernization of Friday the 13th for a new generation. The recent years have
seen a new style of American horror film, rated PG-13 and often remade from
Japanese originals, using a style which is grungy and stylish and arty, as
serious as a senior project at NYU film school. Hatchet is different. It is
in the theaters as a hard R for extreme violence and copious T&A, and the
DVD will undoubtedly be even nastier because the film had to be cut
substantially from the festival version to get an R for the theatrical
release. (There was talk of releasing it as a balls-out NC-17). I'm not a
great fan of slasher films just because I don't "get" the thrill in spurting
blood and graphic dismemberment, so I actually enjoyed the shallow first
half of the film much more than the predictable bloody denouement. I got
into the characters and laughed quite a bit, which means that the film's
set-up must be effective because the audience gets to identify with the
characters and starts to enjoy being in their company, and thus cares when
the mood changes and they start to feel imperiled and eventually get bumped
Bottom line: a competent old-school "guilty pleasure" slasher film with
plenty of gore and T&A, in the manner of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
It's recommended if you like the old slasher films and are sick of the
current crop of horror offerings, which gives you a choice of ponderous
torture porn or oh-so-serious-and-arty PG-13 remakes of Asian originals.
I started with a C+ and then changed it. The film seems to stand out from its
contemporary horror competition, so it seems better than it is. If people still
made this kind of movie, this one would be competent, but only workmanlike and
middle-of-the-road. Either way it will seem like a breath of fresh air if
you like the old school stuff.
McNab and Fioreavanti
* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).
* White asterisk:
Blue asterisk: not mine.
No asterisk: it probably
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
Scandalous Sex is a "couples erotica" offering that takes place
at a college. Rich and popular Beverly Lynne is president of a
sorority and wants to buy a new house. She is using all of her
charms to keep the real estate agent from selling to someone else
while she waits for approval from the national office. Meanwhile,
Jessica Drake shows up as a transfer student, and wants the house
herself. We soon find out why. Her late father owned the place
before he was framed for a rape, had his scientific research ripped
off, and later committed suicide. A night in shining armor arrives
in the form of perennial student Brad Bartram who knows how to work
the system, and is enamored of Jessica Drake. The villain in all of
this is the head of the science department, who had been a grad
student under Drake's father, and who took credit for all of his
work. He is a world class asshole.
Based on genre
standards, this is a solid effort. Beverly Lynne is adorable here,
and Brad Bartram can act as well. Most important, the photography
shows the body parts and actions rather than obscuring them.
The film falls short of a genre classic because the sex is a little tepid, and the story is
in equal parts far-fetched and predictable.
This is only
available in the US through RLDVDs.com on a dual region (1 and 4)
English language DVD.
NUDITY: Summer Fields, as the raped student, briefly shows her breasts.
Jessica Drake, Beverly Lynne, Felicia Fox and Julia Kruis all show
A double feature day.
No nudity but....
Jessica Biel is so hot in her bikini (a body to die for).
Brittany Murphy with some very nice cleavage.
Beverly D'Angelo is no kid anymore but still a very attractive lady
The Dead Girl
From "The Dead Girl" we have Toni Collette with full frontal nudity, albeit from a long distance.
There is a boob up close.
Notes and collages
The Cheyenne Social Club - day 2
Sue Ann Langdon
"The Cheyenne Social Club" is a charming comedy/western.
As the beneficiary of his late brother's will, quiet, conservative ranch-hand
Jimmy Stewart inherits a high-class whorehouse in Cheyenne, Missouri.
Henry Fonda is excellent as Stewart's best friend as this inheritance changes
both their lives...
...and all the "ladies" are gorgeous.
Two thumbs up.
Scoop's note: a strong second from me. The film
has been largely forgotten, and rarely makes any "best picture" lists, but that
is regrettable. It's a good story and a good comedy, the kind of film people
would still enjoy today. I'd have no trouble recommending it to my younger kids.
In fact, I have the urge to watch it again as soon as I can.
Although it is not a musical, it was the last film directed by the legendary
Hollywood song-and-dance man Gene Kelly.
The Dog Problem
Solo (Giovanni Ribisi) is considered a failure by everyone including himself and is heavily in debt thanks to spending all his money on psychiatry. He's so desperate for a connection to anything or anyone that he even buys his shrink (Don Cheadle) gifts which professionally
he cannot accept.
On what may be Solo's final session, the shrink suggests that he get a pet to help cure his
failure to achieve emotional closure. Solo is hapless at even this, bringing along his photographer best friend Casper (Scott Caan) to make the choice, only to watch him chase down a hot girl on the escalator.
Solo winds up picking a scruffy little mutt and then has no idea what to do with him. Casper suggests selling him to a rich, dog lover (Mena Suvari) as the means to rid himself of both the responsibility and to get some cash to pay
a loan shark who loves to pay regular threatening visits to Solo's apartment and is dismayed
to find that some of his money has gone to buying this dog.
When Solo finally gives his unnamed companion a place to relieve himself other than his apartment, he meets Lola (Lynn Collins), who would rather be left alone until her pit bull puts the hurt on his pup and he has to borrow money from her to pay the vet bill. Soon these two will be meeting again and again, all thanks to this little creature that Solo knows he wants but doesn't understand why.
The Comedy Wire
Comments in yellow...
Eleven members of the Australian comedy group "The Chaser's War on
Everything" were charged with entering a restricted area for a prank they played
at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference that President Bush and
other world leaders are attending in Sydney. The comics staged a fake
motorcade, pretending to be the delegation from Canada, with one member dressed
as Osama bin Laden. They made it past two security checkpoints before the police
noticed Osama and stopped them.
* To be fair, he's a lot easier to recognize when he's
* Hey, at least they caught him on the third try; that's better than the
* With his scraggly beard and anti-American attitude, the guards figured he
MUST be with the Canadian government.
Sunday, the Northern Italian town of Piobbico will unveil a monument to ugly
people. It's sponsored by the World Association of Ugly People, an Italian-born
group that has spread worldwide. The group's president said their motto is
that a person is what he is and not what he looks like. So instead of a
monument showing a good-looking movie star or dashing war hero, this monument
will depict "a person who is just as beautiful, but only on the inside."
* Paris Hilton is just as beautiful on the inside...We've
all seen it.
Tuesday in Deltona, Florida, a teenage boy who was stark naked entered a house
through a sliding glass door and asked a teenage girl inside if he could hide
there. She called the police and helped them identify the nude intruder. She
said he lived nearby, they rode the school bus together, and she pointed out his
photo in the school yearbook. The boy was charged with burglary and indecent
exposure. He told the cops he'd been playing hide and seek with friends, but
wouldn't explain why he was naked.
* Or what exactly he was seeking.
* His mom TOLD him it was a bad idea to pose for his
yearbook photo naked.