MY TAKE: SplatterFlix Film Series: Part II: The Sequel

October 12, 2023 by Sandy Lerebours

Our Senior Director of Film, Jim Carl gives his take on films which have played at previous editions of SplatterFlix or are scheduled to appear at future ones.

Read Jim’s take on this year’s SplatterFilx film in Part I, here.


DRESSED TO KILL (1980) 

This is the one about a sexually repressed housewife who enters an elevator and gets slashed to death by a psychopath wielding a straight razor, and if that’s what you want to see, you’ll see it done here about as well as it can be done. This will be the closest thing to restraint in “Dressed to Kill;” a movie where no victim is ever forced to get dressed for a killer because they’re usually naked and choose to remain so even after the killer arrives. This movie is so over the top with nudity and perversion, we don’t have time to be offended because we’re trying to catch our breath. It moves from one sleazy situation to an even sleazier one, back and forth, up and down, for 100 minutes, as if Director Brian De Palma was allowed to do anything he wanted to do, which is kind of admirable. It’s hard to dislike a picture like this one – despite its sexual ideology because it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. It is what it is. 

 

THE FAN (1981) 

Lauren Bacall probably shouldn’t have starred in this “gay camp” big-budget slasher, but at least she gets to sing.  Basically, she plays herself (to her own horror, I would imagine, after seeing this picture). Her sidekick, played by Maureen Stapleton, is more fortunate, but only because she’s given less to do. This is a Paramount Pictures movie, but it seems like a violation against humanity that it somehow isn’t from the Lifetime Channel or Logo TV.  

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF WAX (2005) 

This is the type of picture where naive city kids take a road trip into the country and spend the entire time making ill-advised detours into the wrong campsite. It’s a thriller in which characters who hear far-off screams go to investigate, while stepping into goo which will later become forensic evidence. But it’s also a triumph of production design where we marvel at the technical craftsmanship of the sets and admire all the cool stuff in them. It mostly takes place in one of the best-looking horror towns I’ve ever seen, lying in the shadow of a towering wax museum on a hill, which dominates a little village below the way that Dracula’s castle loomed over its valley. Of course, everyone inside the little village is dead, but sometimes great architecture requires a sacrifice. 

 

 

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981) 

And then there’s the Canadians. In the 1980s, no one was better at ripping off a good American horror movie concept than our Northern brethren, except maybe the Italians. This is the type of picture where black clad psychopaths wearing respiratory gear furiously swing pickaxes inside dilapidated mine tunnels while dynamite-induced tremors shake the timbers, meanwhile chaos descends upon the screen and actors stagger out of thick clouds of smoke, as if looking for directions, a wet wipe, and a glassful of water.   

 

 

 

 

THE PREY (1983) 

The nice thing about “The Prey” is that it doesn’t deal with stereotypes because the film provides only one type: young, hot, and horny. This is a very, very attractive cast. Everyone has great hair, perfect skin, white teeth, and have bodies that look amazing in bikinis and Speedos. You’d swear the casting director selected these actors based on body fat percentages and not on talent. They resemble happy fitness instructors on a camping trip. When they get killed, it’s not because they made dumb choices, but because they’re unaware they’re in a horror movie. We feel sad, not because we particularly cared about them, but because the world now has one less pretty person in it, and we mourn over our loss of potential inspiration at Planet Fitness. It also has long passages where nothing much happens. Characters sit around campfires and tell stories about Greek mythology, have a few laughs, and all the while an unseen-killer stalks them, accompanied by a heartbeat so loud it actually lands on the soundtrack.  

 

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986) 

Basically, the opening narration of this sequel informs us that despite “mounting a month-long manhunt” and never locating the killers of the first movie Texas is still the safest place in the world to live. The picture then gives us a gore-drenched realistic horror flick – “inspired by true events,” no less – in which it isn’t. It’s sort of like those TV commercials which advertise a breakthrough drug that can save your life while a narrator reads a laundry list of its side effects that can kill you. We meet the usual sea of cowboy hats and tasseled western clothing that Hollywood assumes everyone wears in Texas. Mercifully, no one talks about oil wells. 

 

 

 


JIM CARL is Senior Director of Film at the Carolina Theatre. He has been in charge of its film program since 1995. Some more of his favorite horror movies include “Happy Birthday to Me,” “Poltergeist,” and “Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes.” He loves monster movies involving Great White Sharks which cause economic devastation to island villages during critical shopping holiday weekends, but especially on the Fourth of July. His favorite movie in the “Friday the 13th” franchise is the 1980 original. His least-favorite is “Part VII: The New Blood.” He is a firm believer in the presentation of pictures that are fun and entertaining (and sometimes scary) and will book any movie he suspects will make money, even if he hates it, except for “The Babadook.”