A terrible plane crash ferries almost a hundred people to the great beyond, but one woman manages to survive unscathed. While she initially sees the event as a mere coincidence, strange occurrences after the crash force her to wonder if she was worthy enough to be the sole survivor. These events turn even more sinister when she becomes convinced that death itself is out to collect the soul he was cheated by her survival. With the help of a very washed-up, evidently psychic actress, Denise struggles to stay one step ahead of death and its ghoulish minions.
If the central conceit of this film sounds eerily familiar to you, it’s no surprise. Sole Survivor later found itself remade as Final Destination, and of course by remade I obviously mean shamelessly ripped off. Now granted, Sole Survivor is itself a remake of Australia’s The Survivor (1981) so I’m not asserting its originality by any means. But at least Sole Survivor openly admits to being a remake where Final Destination makes no such concession. In terms of expression of concept, I much prefer Sole Survivor to Final Destination. The idea that death travels through the bodies of the recently deceased to try and reclaim Denise is far more interesting than death as a mean kid constantly setting up obnoxious Rube Goldberg devices that end in sensational, but ultimately empty, deaths. That being said, Sole Survivor is pretty empty in the middle.
First, let me apologize for the lack of Terror Tuesday coverage last week. Due to the madness of SxSW, and the fact that both the theaters at the Alamo Ritz were requisitioned for the festival, there was actually no Terror Tuesday last week. I’m not saying that if there had been I would have been able to attend, and thus the result would have been the same, but it’s nice to have an excuse that absolves me of blame. Last week I briefly mentioned a documentary called Not Quite Hollywood in reference to a misconception I had about last week’s (read week before last’s) film. While Sole Survivor turned out to not be one of the films featured in the aforementioned doc about Australian genre movies, this week’s selection definitely was.
Behold the trailer for The Howling III: The Marsupials. I am confident this film will be subpar in quality but will provide an abundance of cheap laughs; in the end, that’s all I really ask.
Brian is a terribly average guy. He lives in a passable New York City apartment with his brother and spends most of his free time with his loving girlfriend. Unfortunately for Brian, the neighbors in the apartment above him are neither average nor are they passable human beings. For years, they have been harboring an ancient parasitic brain worm named Aylmer who injects a highly potent narcotic directly into the cerebral cortex of those who in turn offer him delicious brains as tithes. Aylmer derives his strength from human brains but the neighbors have been feeding him animal brains to keep him weak enough to control but strong enough to get their fix from his venom. Unfortunately, for everyone, Aylmer escapes and finds his way onto the brain stem of poor Brian who instantly gets addicted to the venom. Will his craving drive him to commit murder to satisfy Aylmer’s hunger for human flesh?
Brain Damagewas among the first cult films I sought out upon moving to Austin. During Fantastic Fest 2008, I attended the 100 Greatest Kills Party and someone submitted a rather raunchy, but wholly amazing, demise from this film. To be completely honest, I did not enjoy Brain Damage at all upon my initial viewing shortly thereafter. I found it to be dull and overly goofy. It is incredible how ceaseless exposure to obscure cinema can alter a viewpoint in less than three years.
Part of me wanted to start this post preemptively and emphatically dispelling any possible misconceptions that Terror Tuesday would be showing a made-for-TV Dean Koontz adaptation from 2000, but then I realized I too was operating under a misconception. In the documentary Not Quite Hollywood, which if you haven’t seen you should watch on Instant Netflix right stinking now, one of the many Australian genre films discussed was an airline disaster movie I thought was calledSole Survivor.
The film is about a passenger flight that crashes leaving the bewildered captain as the…well, you know. The hook of the film is that the spirits of the passengers blame him for their untimely death and seek their revenge from beyond the grave. But that’s not the film we’re seeing either, that movie is called The Survivor. The movie we’ll be seeing is actually a remake of the Australian film which would explain the similarities between the trailers. I am honestly looking forward to this one more than I was before being aware of this connection. Check out the trailer below and we’ll see you next Tuesday.
Happy Monday! It’s time to take a sneak peek at this week’s Terror Tuesday fare. I’ve actually seen Brain Damage once before and…wasn’t terribly thrilled with it. I just found it a little too goofy and, dare I say, trashy to be enjoyable. However, I am all for giving movies like this a second chance and I have a feeling the 35mm print will offer more to appreciate visually than the lovingly worn VHS tape I had rented for my initial viewing. Plus, gotta love the protagonist’s name, right? As always, the trailer is below. Brain Damage, we’ll see you next Tuesday!
A cadre of suicidal teens are remanded to the care of a mental health facility. Trouble is, while inside, horrific nightmares become a shared problem. When the kids begin offing themselves in the most bizarre ways, it becomes apparent–to the kids at least–that something far more sinister is taking place than unstable psyches. When the newest resident of the facility begins discuss a recurring, charred-faced figure haunting her dreams the others realize they too are being visited by this sweater-clad madman. With a little help from the facility’s newest intern Nancy, the truth is finally revealed, but will be in time to save their lives?
Dream Warriors is often haled as the best of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels and, while I agree, I don’t find it particularly well-done. There are elements that work exponentially better in this film than any other sequel and the concept is laden with potential. But it gets squandered in favor of cheap visual gags masquerading as scares; a problem all too familiar to this franchise. I do like that Freddy is used very sparing for the first chunk of the film, solidifying his legendary status. I also appreciate the return of palpably cool John Saxon to the series as it is my firm assertion that he should have played every police chief character in ever horror film of the 70s and 80s.
Monday! Hooray! Back again with a look ahead at this week’s Terror Tuesday. When the happy occasion presents itself that I have absolutely no concept of the film being presented, I am therefore forced into the dubiously advantageous position of having to manufacture my entire understanding of the film from its trailer. When you watch the below trailer for 1985’s The Oracle, you may understand why I am simultaneously thrilled and terrified. Beyond all the horrendously poor ADR screaming that sounds like its coming out of a sick camel, my favorite misstep has to be the line, “are these spirits, like, dead people?” Nothing instills my confidence in a horror film more than a brain-dead, valley girl heroine. Oh boy, this could be interesting…
I have an unhealthy level of affection for this entire franchise. In one of the few entries of my AYIF series, I revealed my love for the first film in suspiciously overzealous fashion. After seeing the first, I immediately sought out and watched parts 2 and 3 and found them both to be very enjoyable followups. But it wasn’t until this screening of William Lustig’s own print of Maniac Cop 2 that I realized just how special this sequel is.
Maniac Cop 2 picks up right where the first film leaves off, with undead police officer Matt Cordell and our hero, played by Bruce Campbell, locked in a death struggle on a speeding police paddy wagon. Once Cordell is assumed to have been secured a watery grave, officers Forrest (Campbell) and Mallory (Laurene Landon) have a hard time getting the brass to buy their explanation of what happened; the police chief being especially reticent to accept that Matt Cordell returned from the grave to perpetrate a series of homicides. But while our intrepid heroes try to pick up the pieces of their shattered worlds, Cordell again rises to dish out his own flavor of law and order. Will their combined knowledge of Cordell’s methods, along with the aide of loose cannon Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) be enough to once again stop Cordell?
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