SLASHER MONTH: Hatchet II (2010)

The best part of a slasher is that if it works, you get more than one. 2010’s Hatchet II starts exactly where the first ended, placing Marybeth Dunston (now played by Danielle Harris) into the grip of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). There’s even a scene that ties in this movie to another Adam Green film Frozen, which film geeks — hello, everyone reading this — will enjoy.

Sadly, this was to be the first unrated horror movie to be released in theaters since 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, but pressure from the MPAA took it out of AMC Theaters before most fans got the chance to see it.

Marybeth learns that from Rev. Zombie (Tony Todd) that her father was one of the boys whose prank started the sequence of events that took Victor Crowley physically from this world, leaving behind his unstoppable ghost. Along with her uncle (Tom Holland, the director of Fright Night) and a team of hunters — all being offered $500 to get back Rev. Zombie’s boat and $5,000 for the head of Crowley — she ventures back into Honey Island Swamp one more time. But all, as they say, is not as it seems.

With references to Jason and Leslie Vernon, as well as numerous and incredibly inventive kills — the last one is incredible — this is pretty much a slasher lover’s dream film. Where movies like Scream use the genre as a joke and springboard for their own retread of the form, this is a tribute worth watching.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

Saw 3D (2010)

This movie is also known as Saw: The Final Chapter and we should all be so lucky.

This time, a man falsely reveals that he is a Jigsaw survivor, making him a celebrity before he really gets to be part of the game. While that’s happening, Detective Mark Hoffman — the new Jigsaw — is hunting down Jill Tuck, the wife of the original Jigsaw.

This movie starts with two men forced to saw one another to save the life of the woman they’re both sleeping with. Of course, given the human nature exploited by Jigsaw, they end up slicing her in half to survive.

Jill Tuck (Betsey Russell), the wife of John Kramer, the first Jigsaw, has turned to the FBI to save her as the new Jigsaw, Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) comes after her. He dispatches an entire office full of agents just to get near her, killing her with the original Reverse Bear Trap.

There’s also the aforementioned celebrity, a self-help flimflam man named Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery) whose need for fame ends up destroying his wife (and his nipples).

There’s a pretty cool twist that brings the story of Saw full circle at the end, however. The pig mask comes back, as does an actor that hadn’t appeared in any of the movies since the first one. Actually, the other two people with him are the two survivors from the start of the movie, but while this movie is at least ten years old, I’m going to not reveal the spoiler.

This would be the last Saw movie for seven years.

Scream 4 (2010)

Despite there being no Scream movies for a decade — and no Ghostface murders in the universe of the films — there had been tons of Stab films, to the point that they’d become a joke. Sidney (Neve Campbell) had moved on to write books.

While the film skewers studios, the studio behind it — oh hello, Weinsteins — played with this movie so much that the original ending, which started with Sidney being stabbed and the ending, which set up a sequel where she would have amnesia and be stalked by the killer of this film, were both thrown out. Kevin Williamson was upset, but after so many go arounds with Dimension Films, what do you expect?

Sidney returns to on the fifteen anniversary of the murders, just in time for them to start all over again. Meanwhile, there’s a Stabathon showing other installments in the film within a film (look for Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell and others in cameos in bits directed by Robert Rodriguez) and a publicist (Allison Brie) who lured our heroine home just for publicity.

Emma Roberts from American Horror Story and Scream Queens plays Jill, Sidney’s cousin and there’s a whole new group of movie-quoting teens, including Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin.

Craven and Williamson had both hoped for a fifth and sixth film, but the movie didn’t do well and, sadly, Craven would pass on in 2015 (this was his last film). There was an MTV series without Williamson’s involvement, but supposedly a new film is on its way.

Life moved along as these films were made. In the first Scream, Cox and Arquette flirted. In the second, they were dating. The third was filmed just as they came back from their honeymoon. And they were separated by the time this one was finished.

For a film that’s critical of remakes and torture porn, it’s ironic that Craven produced recreated versions of Carnival of SoulsThe Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left, with that last film pretty much creating the torture porn blueprint.

The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry (2010)

Did you know that we like Paul Naschy movies here? Oh, you’ve seen us post one of his movies ever few weeks? You know who else likes him and talks about him in this documentary? Just people like John Landis, Joe Dante, Antonio Mayans, Caroline Munro, Javier Aguirre, Jack Taylor, Jorge Crau and Donald. F. Glut.

Beyond hearing how Jacinto Molina Alvarez became Naschy, you also learn how his films fit into the troubled history of 20th century Spain and how his hard work led him to living out his monster movie dreams.

From stories about encounters with the Yakuza while making The Beast and the Magic Sword to what happened to the never released Howl of the Devil and every bit of werewolf-fur covered piece of history in between, this movie is a feast for Naschy fans or anyone wanting to learn more about Spanish horrror.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010)

As stated in our previous review of Cha Cha starring Herman Brood, Nina Hagen, and Lene Lovich, your enjoyment of this (admittedly) pretentious “art house” flick hinges on your appreciation of the music of Ian Dury (which, I’ll admit, is an acquired taste for U.S ears raised on the commercial, new wave refrains of America’s the Knack and the Cars and the U.K.’s the Police and Gary Numan), the world’s first disabled “rock star.”

If you were lucky enough to have a college radio station in your area or frequented the then trendy, big city new wave clubs of the times, then you’re probably familiar with Ian Dury’s most memorable album hits of “Sweet Gene Vincent” and “Billericay Dickie,” but you’ve surely heard his hit singles “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick” and “Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3” with the Blockheads in a TV series, film, or video game in recent years. The title of this bioflick is, of course, derived from Dury’s biggest selling and most memorable single, 1977’s “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.” And while MTV ignored Dury’s catalog, the burgeoning video channel embraced the music of ex-Blockheads Chaz Jankel and turned his single “Questionnaire” into a minor U.S radio hit (watch the MTV video link, you’ll remember it).

So, in regards to the “art house” aspects of the film: Don’t go into this expecting a fluid, commercialized Tinsteltown chronicle on Dury’s life, ala Ray (Ray Charles), Walk the Line (Johnny Cash), or What’s Love Got to Do With It (Tina Turner). In lieu of a traditional, chronological narrative (that’s punctuated with animated segments and kinetic editing typical of an arty, indie film), Dury (a fantastic Andy Serkis — who you know as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and as Ceasar in the Planet of the Apes reboot series) appears as a colorful, brash carnival barker, telling his own life story from the concert stage via a series of flashback (e.g., his wife gives birth to his child upstairs, while he’s telling his story on a club stage; of how, as a child, he contracted polio from a swimming pool and was bullied for his leg brace; of how he met Jankel backstage at Kilburn and the High Roads (Dury’s band prior to forming the Blockheads with Jankel) gig, etc.).

Dury would go on to become an actor in his own right, with roles with in several British films and television series. Here, in the U.S., you’ve most likely seen Dury in Bob Dylan’s 1987 box office bust Hearts of Fire (hopefully, we’ll get to that one for “Rock ‘n’ Roll Week”), The Cook, the Theif, His Wife & Her Lover (I dragged my date to see that one at an art house theatre because of Dury; she hated it, but of course), but you definitely saw Dury in the sci-fi flicks Split Second with Rutger Hauer (1992), Judge Dredd (1995), and The Crow: City of Angels (1996).

You can watch Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll as a free-with-ads-stream on TubiTv; if you’d prefer an ad-free experience, it’s available on You Tube Movies. You can also get all of the music of Ian Dury you could possibly need — featuring album tracks, videos, and live performances — over on his official You Tube page. You can also catch Dury at the top of his game with his 1978 appearance on the live German television rock program Rockpalast (aka “Rock Palace,” a Euro-version of U.S TV’s The Midnight Special), also on You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S Movies.

Groupie (2010)

Update: Dark Force Entertainment made a February 2022 announcement regarding the Blu-ray reissue of this lost, Mark L. Lester film. You can learn more with their official Facebook post.

And the stars align at B&S Movies once again . . . courtesy of our proprietor, Sam, coming up with the idea of back-to-back “Mark L. Lester” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll”* tribute weeks. So this direct-to-video/streaming outing from the “director of Commando” . . . and our beloved redneck romps Steel Arena, Truck Stop Women, Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw . . . and Roller Boogie . . . and The Funhouse . . . and Class of 1984 . . . and 1999 . . . and Firestarter is the prefect closing transition to our tribute week to all things Mark and our start of all things rock n’ punk! This time out, Lester only directs and leaves the writing to prolific SyFy and Lifetime Channel producer (Lester’s wife) Dana Dubovsky (Sand Sharks, Pterodactyl).

Taking its scripting cues from Great White’s tragic 2003 performance at The Station night club in Rhode Island** (which also served as fodder for “Blaze,” a 2003 “ripped from the headlines” episode of NBC-TV’s Law & Order: TOS that starred John Doe of X as “Teddy Connor,” the leader of the once great Wotan), Travis Bellamy (Hal Ozsan) and Dark Knights (think Buck Cherry’s “Lit Up” and “Crazy Bitch” colliding with Jet’s “Cold Hard Bitch“) love their pyrotechnics — and that love of the flame is what put them on top: Travis sets himself on fire amid a wall of sparks for the band’s encores. . . .

Oops. The club goes up in flames — and a 16-year-old (male) fan is trampled in the ensuing chaos.

Fast forward a year later: Dark Knights are cleared from any wrong doing and back on the road; but without the pyro-gimmicks, the ticket and albums sales are down and manager Eric Roberts (who produces; and is in this one a lot longer than most the films of his 500-plus resume) is urging Travis to “bring back the flames.”

. . . And in steps — instead of a Lifetime movie-inspired psycho babysitter or student or a long-lost “kidnapped” daughter or an orphaned niece infiltrating the family and tempting the emotionally flawed dad — an “innocent” groupie (Taryn Manning of Eminem’s 8 Mile and the Oscar nominated Cold Mountain) who begins to (bloodless and boringly) dispatch press agents, groupies, Eric Roberts (Lone Star Deception), and band members one by one.

Since this rock flick comes from the competent lens of Mark L. Lester, a man who’s blessed me with so many great films during my duplex-triplex theatre and video store youth, I really wanted to get lost in this horror-tinged murder mystery — in the same multiple-watches vein as Ash Avildsen’s intelligence rock n’ horror flick, American Satan (2017). And while Groupie isn’t utterly awful, this probably was going for the feel of Mark Wahlberg’s major studio rock romp, Rock Star (2001), as a slasher flick (with a crazy Jennifer Aniston performance), but it ends up being undone by its against-the-budget set and production design that leaves it meandering one step above a TV movie. (And if not for Lester and Roberts on the marquee — others have name-checked Taryn Manning — I wouldn’t have hit the big red streaming button at all.) I was hoping for some supernatural hocus pocus; e.g., the dead male fan returns as a female for revenge, ala The Wraith. Denied. We got a Hand that Rocks the Cradle twist instead.

Does Lester’s behind-the-camera’s eye and sense of tight pacing (this clocks in at a brisk 78-minutes) make for a more effectively-produced rock ‘n’ horror flick than say, Ferd and Beverly Sebastian’s Rocktober Blood (1984) — which, unlike Groupie, has no “second act” at all — absolutely. However, unlike Groupie, Rocktober Blood lends for repeat viewings because it gives us Billy Eye Harper in his face-painted and ghoul-masked glory, along with memorable, original tunes by Sorcery belted by Nigel Benjamin.

Perhaps if Groupie had the budgetary and creative confluence of American Satan and Rock Star — along with a few more boob shots, blood and, say, the retro-cum-modern rock sounds of Greta Van Fleet standing in for a Sammi Curr-styled rocker (Trick or Treat) fronting Dark Nights — we’d give Travis Bellamy some bow-to-the-alter-of Billy Eye worship. (Or even John Doe’s Teddy Connor and Wotan — who didn’t sing or play a note to achieve their faux band stardom.)

Oh, well. Another trailer embed bites the dust.

So while the film around him spins nothing we haven’t heard before from the rock n’ murder jukebox’s crackling speakers, Hal Ozsan (who you’ll recall in the early-2000’s final two seasons of Dawson’s Creek) shines (he’s the best part of the film) as trouble rocker Travis Bellamy — courtesy of his L.A. based band, Poets & Pornstars, providing the music for Dark Knights. You’ve probably seen Ozsan’s band live during their U.S opening slots for the revamped Alice In Chains (sans the late Layne Staley), the 21st century reinvigorated Bon Jovi, and modern rockers Muse. These days, Hal’s hung up his six strings to concentrate on his newly cast role as “Ryan Porter” on CBS-TV’s NCIS: New Orleans.

Groupie is readily available in the online marketplace as a DVD for your rock ‘n’ roll flick collection, but we found a free (with ads) copy over on Roku’s online streaming platform. There also a free (sign in) no-ads stream on Vudu and PPV streams on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and You Tube.

Attention Tayrn Manning fans: Ms. Manning stars in another indie rock flick with the always awesome Peter Fonda (the wise ex-rocker), along with Jason Ritter (the troubled rocker), and Lucas Haas (the intrepid journalist). A “road movie,” The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll (2010) travels the crossroads where the legends of the “27 Club” meets Eddie and the Cruisers — only with the dramatic arc and production quality of the rock flicks Almost Famous (based on the downfall of Humble Pie) and Still Crazy (based on the ’80s Animals reunion). Sorry, no freebies on this one, kids. You can check it out as a VOD on Amazon Prime (where it pulls 4 to 5 stars and a 91% approval), Apple iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and You Tube Movies. (Never say never: we’ve since given the film a full review proper, so click that above link, wee rocker!)

Poets and Pornstars fans: Check out this playlist from their 2007 second album; you can learn more about their albums on Discogs.

* Don’t forget! July 19 to the 25 is “Rock ‘n’ Roll Week,” and we’ve got some great, deep obscurities to rock you all week long!

* Be sure to check out out review of the Providence, Rhode Island-shot rock-radio flick, A Matter of Degrees, which was part of last October’s Scarecrow Video’s “Psychotronic Challenge.”

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Blackaria (2010)

Francois Gaillard and Christophe Robin must be big Danzig fans, as their arty French neo-giallo films often reference his albums, whether it be the solo instrumental album this one is named for, the Samhain song that inspired All Murder, All Guts, All Fun, The Misfits song Last Caress or Die Die My Darling, which in turn was named for the 1965 Hammer movie.

Angela fantasizes about the gorgeous fortune teller who lives next to her. She dreams of what it would be like to touch her, but soon finds her decimated body. She accidentally breaks a crystal ball, which gives her the ability to see the future. But will it protect her from being the next victim?

This movie may have been made in the style of the giallo, but it doesn’t have the story to back it up. Let’s back up — yes, most giallo movies actually do have plots and are not formless exercises in style. This looks gorgeous, but it is inevitably empty inside.

Also, much like all giallo, my wife walked in at the exact moment that two nude women were making love. How am I still married?

MacGruber (2010)

Directed by The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, MacGruber does what all SNL  films do: stretch a short segment into a full movie. However, because this movie has a rich history of spy films and MacGyver to make fun of, it does much better than most.

Star Will Forte would tell The A.V. Club, “What you see with this movie is exactly what we wanted to do. It’s the three of us having a bunch of fun writing it, then having fun making it with a bunch of our friends—old friends and new friends. I think that fun comes across when you watch it. It’s rare that you get that kind of creative freedom.”

Basically, MacGruber is the greatest secret agent of all time, but he’s been retired ever since his archnemesis Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) killed his wife (Maya Rudolph) on his wedding day. Of course, he comes back. And oh yes, as I always say, hijinks ensue.

WWE wrestlers Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Kane, MVP and The Great Khali appeared in this movie as past agents that have worked with MacGruber, which led to Forte, Ryan Phillippe and Kristen Wiig hosting Monday Night Raw. And one of the henchmen is remake Jason, Derek Mears.

I’m for any movie that has Powers Boothe as an authority figure and Kilmer as a villain who ends up getting his hand chopped off, machine gunned, blown up real good and then, as MacGruber prepares to marry the love of his life, pissed on.

There’s going to be a series of this on the NBC Peacock streaming service. I can’t wait. Hopefully it’s as much fun as this movie.

Strangely enough — and this feels like complete BS because there’s no attribution on IMDB — Kilmer and Forte almost ended up being on Amazing Race as a team, as Kilmer later stayed at Forte’s house for a few months after this movie and they became such friends that they watched the show all the time together.

Monster: The Josef Fritzl Story (2010)

In this sickening story, Elisabeth Fritz tells the story of how her father Josef kept her locked in a cellar for 24 years, during which time she gave birth to seven incestuous children before she was eventually freed from a life of beatings, rape and torture,

This is not the strangest tale director David Notman-Watt has created. He also did a TV show with former Happy Mondays frontman, Shaun Ryder, who was abducted by aliens when he was 15 and traveled the world to meet others who had been taken by UFOs.

This is a rough tale, but if you enjoy true crime, you can watch it on YouTube.


The Other Guys (2010)

Between AnchormanStepbrothers and The Campaign, Adam McKay has made plenty of funny films with Will Ferrell, who stars in this with Mark Wahlberg. Points for Samuel Jackson and Dwayne Johnson playing against type here in a movie where two desk cops learn how to be the kind of supercops you only see on TV.

Allen Gamble and Terry “Yankee Clipper” Hoitz — called because he shot Derek Jeter and cost the team the World Series — are up against the villainous Sir David Ershon (Steve Coogan) in this one. It’s very much a hijinks ensue type of film, but I really enjoyed Michael Keaton as their Captain, Eva Mendes as Allen’s wife and Ice-T as the narrator.

Wrestling fans will be happy to know that Billy Gunn and Road Dogg show up, too.

I had fun with this one, as it’s written and edited really well. Your enjoyment of it depends on how much you like the leads, but it got a lot of laughs here.