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“Evil Dead”: The director and cast discuss the reinvention of a horror classic

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Take the first letters of all the character names in the new “Evil Dead” — David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, and Natalie — and it spells out “demon.” That’s just one of the many Easter eggs that the reboot of the franchise has to offer, according to director Fede Alvarez and producer Bruce Campbell (Ash!).

“You’re going to put on a nice, comfortable leather shoe here,” Campbell said. “It’s going to feel real familiar.”

Well, other than the gender reversal. The star of the new version, due out April 12, 2013, is Jane Levy, of the TV sitcom “Suburgatory” and the recent Halloween horror-lite film “Fun Size” (“That’s for kids,” she says). Campbell calls Levy (who plays Mia) “the new Ash.” “I hope she gets considered with the same respect and consideration that that idiot Ash does,” he said, noting that the gender switch allows her to carry on in his tradition without “some unnatural burden.” Also, he said, Sam Raimi’s idea behind the original “Evil Dead” — back when it was a short film shot on Super 8 called “Within the Woods” — was about a female protagonist. Alvarez said his treatment is a return to form.

“It’s a different story, but the same mythology,” Alvarez said. “The way it is for me, it’s very mythological, and it’s about women driving men insane. Usually in horror, it’s the other way around — it’s a girl running from some dude with an axe chasing her. ‘Evil Dead’ is one of the few where it’s completely the other way around, where the guys are freaking out and the girl is driving them crazy, because it’s the girl that turns first. I like the idea of women torturing men, psychologically, physically. That’s what we craved, and that’s one of the main ideas you’ll see in the movie.”

Alvarez co-wrote the reboot with his friend Rodo Sayagues, and then they brought in Diablo Cody (“Juno,” “Jennifer’s Body”) to punch up the dialogue and give it a female perspective. “As middle-aged men, we really don’t know how young people talk,” Campbell joked. “And she won a fucking Academy Award.” The story this time starts with the concept that Mia goes to her family cabin with her friends to try to kick a heroin habit. “You scream and get it out, and it’s a couple of bad days,” Campbell said. “But then the evil is unleashed.”

Knowing that not only would the film itself be scary, but making it could be scary, too, Campbell took a “fatherly” approach to the young actors, “letting them know what they were getting into,” he said. “I was like, ‘Don’t party, because you’re going to wear out. It’s going to be a long haul.’ Poor fuckers!”

“Bruce tried to scare me away,” Levy said. “He wanted to make sure I was up for the job, so at the audition he was like, ‘Do you know what it feels like to be buried alive? Do you know what it feels like to have tubes stuck down your throat to projectile vomit?'”

Luckily for Levy, she passed Campbell’s test. He claims that the film stands with the rest of the franchise, and anticipates double bills to show the original and the reboot at midnight screenings “for decades.” “I think they’re a great companion piece,” he said. “I know a lot of people were pissed when they heard about the remake, and I will be ready to accept everyone’s apology after you see it.”

What are you looking forward to most about “Evil Dead”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday the 13th Part VII The New Blood

Friday Night Frights

Every Friday the 13th Movie Ranked

Catch a Friday the 13th movie marathon to kick off IFC's '80s Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection

The Friday the 13th movies have been a part of pop culture for as long as many of us have been alive. And yet, how many can really distinguish the movies themselves from each other? More than any other franchise, the Jason flicks all seem to blur together into a bloody stew of decapitated heads and cavorting teens. Still, there are some gems among the carnage. To celebrate IFC’s Friday the 13th marathon kicking off ’80s Weekend, we thought we’d take a look back at the franchise as a whole, and rank which ones warrant a repeat viewing, and which should get the sharp end of a machete.

12. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th Part III
Paramount Pictures

First, let’s address the 3D elephant in the room. The powers that be behind Friday the 13th Part III knew they needed something big to lure audiences back to Crystal Lake, and so, as was seemingly required of threequels back in the ’80s, the filmmakers slapped some cheap looking 3D effects up on the screen and hoped for the best.

The thing is, while the 3D is hokey, it’s probably the best thing about this tired third outing. Director Steve Miner had brought a fresh take to the previous film in the franchise, the aptly named Friday the 13th Part II, but he seems to have hit a wall here, simply rehashing the same style and story from his last outing. The best moments, in fact, are the bananas 3D kills, like Jason squeezing a victim’s head until his eyeball pops out.

But most of the effects are cheap to the point of laughable. We’re talking visible strings, people. If there’s one word to describe this third entry in the franchise, it’s bland, and that isn’t going to fly in a series defined by over-the-top gore. If it weren’t for the fact that Jason’s iconic hockey mask made its debut here, this would be a completely forgettable outing from start to finish.


11. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Jason Goes to Hell
New Line Cinema

Friday flicks have the bad habit of billing themselves as the “final” chapter, only to return a year later with a cheaper budget, and a goofier premise. Still, this “Final Friday” stands out as the weakest of the lot, mainly because Jason barely appears in it. Instead, his spirit hops from body to body, like Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap, but with some serious bloodlust.

The rules never make sense, even by the loose standards of this franchise, so we’re left with a confusing journey full of magical daggers and family prophecies. Throw in a cheap Halloween nod (or yet another rip-off), when we learn that the final would-be victim also happens to be Jason’s long lost sister, and you’ve got a franchise running of fumes. When the best moment of the movie happens in the final seconds, as Freddy Krueger’s claw bursts from the ground and drag’s Jason’s mask to Hell (setting up a Freddy Vs. Jason crossover that took a decade to actually happen), you know you have a movie that’s just treading bloody water.


10. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Jason Manhattan
Paramount Pictures

When you bill a movie as Jason in the Big Apple, only to spend the majority of the runtime cruising down a presumably much cheaper to shoot on river, the audience is going feel like it was taken for a ride, literally and figuratively. Still, while Jason Takes Manhattan is often thought of as the worst Friday movie, it has some goofy thrills that at least make it good for a laugh.

A rooftop fight scene, where a boxer tries to take the fight to our campground killer, is hilarious, thanks to a head spinning climax. And the laughably poor New York sets, that seem to compromise one city block and a few Canadian actors, make for a fun “Midnight Movie” vibe. This is an awful movie, from start to finish, but at least it isn’t boring.


9. Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th reboot
New Line Cinema

The early ’00s saw a rash of horror remakes from the good people at Platinum Dunes. Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and, of course, Friday the 13th. None worked particularly well, but at least Nightmare and Halloween tried to establish their own voice. Friday was just a bland rehash, with a slightly higher production value than the bare bones effort of the ’80s and ’90s. There are some fun kills to be sure. Veronica Mars and Party Down star Ryan Hansen gets a particularly absurd death that almost warrants one more entry in the franchise. Almost.


8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

Friday the 13th New Beginning
Paramount Pictures

Yet another Friday the 13th movie that forgets to, you know, have Jason in it, the big twist here is that the grieving father of a murdered boy is the one doing the killing. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that was the plot of the first Friday the 13th. Not only does this movie skimp on the supernatural slaughter from that Voorhees fella, it also manages to rip off its own franchise in the process.

Yes, there are some fun kills, and loads of wacky sex comedy (hey, it was the mid-’80s), but the feeble attempt to set up a new killer — first with that deadly daddy, and then with Tommy Jarvis, an adult version of the Corey Feldman character introduced in the previous entry — falls flat twice.


7. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Friday the 13th New Blood
Paramount Pictures

New Blood is notable for one very special (and very ridiculous) reason. Instead of the typical bevy of nubile teens that are usually served up for Jason’s machete, this movie introduces a telekinetic girl with a serious chip on her shoulder. The plot is confusing, the super-powered storyline self-serious, and the final showdown not as epic as it should have been. But still…telekinesis!

Unfortunately, this movie has some of the weakest kills in the series, thanks to a last minute decision to cut down the gore to secure a R-rating. In a series based on gratuitous violence, skipping over the bloody bits is like trying to slice and dice a couple having sex with one arm tied behind your back.


6. Jason X (2001)

Friday the 13th Jason X
New Line Cinema

After the confusing misfire that was Jason Goes to Hell, it was only natural that a franchise largely centered around the murderous shenanigans of a particular summer camp would jump hundreds of years in the future, and into outer space. Wait, what?

Trying desperately for a fresh spin on a tired formula, the filmmakers behind Jason X made a truly awful movie, which is incredibly entertaining in spite of itself. Essentially a riff on Alien by a group of filmmakers who have never seen Alien, the story centers around a rugged crew trapped on a spaceship with none other than Jason Voorhees.

There are some truly head scratching choices here, like an android whose nipple falls off and a futuristic update on Jason’s iconic hockey mask that makes him look like he’s auditioning for a Shaquille O’Neal movie. Still, this entry ends up being incredibly watchable thanks to its idiotic premise, and some laugh-out-loud nonsense, like a holodeck scene that sees our favorite camp killer beating the living hell out of two holographic topless campers. Gotta get the T&A in somehow.


5. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Friday the 13th Jason Lives
Paramount Pictures

A surprisingly effective entry in the aging franchise, Jason Lives seems to know what it is, and how to just have fun with it. The jokes fly, and are often funny. The movie finds Jason punching through a man’s heart, hiding in a Winnebago bathroom, and bringing a machete to a paint ball fight in a scene that devolves into straight up slapstick.

True blue horror fans might shun this Friday entry for its comedy chops, but this is one of the few movies in the series to have a purposeful tone, and achieve it. If only the filmmakers hadn’t, for some inexplicable reason, ditched the nudity that is a cornerstone of the series, this movie might be much higher up on the list. Let’s be honest, a Friday the 13th movie without gratuitous boobage is not a Friday the 13th movie we can fully endorse.


4. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Freddy V Jason
New Line Cinema

After the fan freak-out inducing final image of Jason Goes To Hell, it took another 10 years of development hell before we finally got to see Freddy and Jason face off on the big screen. And while this movie tends to veer more towards the Nightmare side of things, Jason gets his licks in too.

While, yet again, you can’t call this a good movie per se, it is one of the most entertaining flicks Jason’s ever appeared in. Freddy gets to deliver the one liners, dream logic shakes up the tired Friday formula, and Jason gets to be Jason without having to carry an entire movie on his weary shoulders.


3. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Friday the 13th The Final Chapter
Paramount Pictures

Corey Feldman as a creepy kid! Crispin Glover in the weirdest dance number this side of Can’t Buy Me Love! This movie couldn’t be more ’80s if Debbie Gibson did the soundtrack.

Probably the best directed entry of the original movies, this is a solid Friday the 13th movie from start to finish. It has decent performances, fun kills and an actual story arc for young Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), who’s slowly driven mad by his run-ins with the hockey mask wearing killer.

Sure, even this well made sequel can’t escape the schlocky charms of the franchise. There are flashbacks galore here, including an unprecedented flashback within a flashback, that seem more a result of lazy writing than an actual coherent vision. But all in all, this is a solid horror flick, even if it would lead to two inferior entries in the “Tommy Jarvis” trilogy that plagued the middle of the franchise.


2. Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th
Paramount Pictures

The first, and nearly the best, the original Friday the 13th somehow manages to be a classic without a single hockey mask in its runtime. While the movie centers on the usual slaughter of randy teens down at Crystal Lake, the twist here is that it’s Jason’s mother, a vengeful matriarch getting even for her son’s death, who’s doing all the killing. With some iconic deaths, none more so than a young, naked Kevin Bacon taking an arrow through the throat, this movie set the sturdy foundation that the franchise was built upon.


1. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 2
Paramount Pictures

The Friday the 13th movies were guilty pleasures for many of us growing up. They were the movies we weren’t allowed to watch. The ones that gave us nightmares long after we’d forgotten which one was which. Still, when you look at the franchise as a whole, there aren’t a lot of high points. Compared to the sarcastic lunacy of the Nightmare movies, or the stripped down terror of the Halloween franchise, the Friday the 13th movies feel like a mishmash of boobs and blood in search of a compelling story.

The second film in the franchise, which established Jason as a monstrous murderer behind a mask, is probably the most coherent film in the series. It has leads with actual points of view, and a spooky final act in which one of them is forced to play house with Jason, pretending to be his long dead mother. Sure, the filmmakers here knocked off the Halloween franchise pretty blatantly in an attempt to find a formula they could repeat after killing the main bad gal of the first film, but it somehow works, making for an entertaining bit of blood soaked fluff.

Kick off ’80s weekend with a Friday the 13th movie marathon on IFC.

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Fast Times at Ridgemont High Ratner

Name Game

The Best ’80s Movie Nicknames

Catch Fast Times at Ridgemont High during IFC's '80s Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name?” If Ol’ Bill was a Hollywood screenwriter during the ’80s, he might’ve mused, “What’s in a nickname?” Any ’80s movie worth its popped-collar and feathered hair had at least one character with a great nickname. In celebration of IFC’s ’80s Weekend, we compiled a list of some of our favorites.

1. Maverick and Goose, Top Gun

Maverick Goose
Paramount Pictures

Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and Lt. JG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) are not only best friends — they’re the best pilots aboard the USS Enterprise, which is why they’re sent to the Top Gun school. Maverick, as his codename suggests, is a total hotheaded risk taker while Goose tends to be a bit more cautious and protective. During the ’80s, Maverick and Goose had one of the all-time great movie bromances, inspiring a loving feeling that even the Righteous Brothers couldn’t lose.


2. Baby, Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing Swayze
Vestron Pictures

“That was the summer of 1963 –- when everybody called me Baby, and it didn’t occur to me to mind.” So says 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) at the beginning of Dirty Dancing. Baby begins the summer as an idealistic and naïve young woman who has her eyes opened to the ways of the world by working class dance instructor/eye candy Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and the summer staff of Kellerman’s. By the end of her sexy, ballroom dancing-filled, coming-of-age in the Catskills, it’s safe to say she’s definitely outgrown her Baby nickname.


3. Duckie, Pretty in Pink

Duckie Pretty in Pink
Paramount Pictures

Philip F. Dale, better known to the students of his high school as “Duckie,” is actually quite the odd duck. From his bolo ties and dirty white “Duckman” loafers (which all the hipsters in Brooklyn are now wearing) to his pompadour hair and love for Otis Redding, Duckie never tries to fit in with the in-crowd. Like his avian counterpart, Duckie seems to be floating through life and school, much to best gal pal Andie’s chagrin, but he doesn’t let much ruffle his proverbial feathers except guys named after appliances who try to date the object of his affections.


4. Mouth, Chunk, Sloth, and Data, The Goonies

Goonies
Warner Bros.

HEY YOU GUUUUUYS! There are two kinds of people in the world: those who say “die” and Goonies. Our favorite ragtag band of adolescent adventurers from Astoria, Oregon all have totally killer, perfect nicknames. Mouth (Corey Feldman) has a smartass comment for everything even in Spanish. Chunk (Jeff Cohen) enjoys making fake vomit and eating pepperoni pizza. Sloth (John Matuszak) is a little slow-moving, but knows how to make a dashing Errol Flynn-style entrance. Data (Ke Huy Quan) builds pretty nifty booby traps. Mikey (Sean Astin), Brand (Josh Brolin), Stef (Martha Plimpton) and Andy (Kerri Green) round out the precocious gang who managed to steal both our hearts AND One-Eyed Willie’s treasure in this 1985 cult classic. Fratellis, watch out!


5. Indiana Jones

Scruffy archeology professor/adventure-seeker, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is usually the one unearthing secrets, so it came as a bit of a shock when it was revealed Indiana is not his real first name. At the end of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Henry Jones, Sr. (a playful Sean Connery) reveals that Indy’s name is Henry Jones, Jr. after loyal pal Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) keeps asking, “What does it always mean, this ‘‘Junior’?” The punchline is that our dashing, Nazi butt-kicking hero took his nickname from none other than his scrappy childhood dog. Awww puppy love looks good on you, Indy, erm, Henry!


6. Stiles, Teen Wolf

Enterprising teen Rupert “Stiles” Stilinski (Jerry Levine) never met a sarcastic/slightly offensive T-shirt he didn’t love. When he’s not sartorially expressing himself, he’s being the life of the party or running some scheme to make a little fast cash, capitalizing on best friend Scott’s (Michael J. Fox) werewolf alter-ego in every way he can. Whether van surfing with Scott, trying to get a keg for a party, or cracking wise, Stiles always does everything in style.


7. Rat, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times
Universal Pictures

Inexperienced Ridgemont High nerd Rat (Brian Backer) is head over heels for popular Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), but he lacks the skills and social status to land her, i.e. he’s pretty far down the high school food chain. Like the mammal with whom he shares his nickname, Rat spends a lot of time in the dark both literally (he works at a movie theatre in the mall) and figuratively (fumbling his way through his feelings for Stacy), even nervously scurrying away from Stacy’s advances with his tail between his legs, so to speak. Rat definitely gets picked on, but he has a biting sense of humor about pretty much everything.


8. Pee Wee, Porky’s

Porky's Pee Wee
20th Century Fox

The most desperate of his group of friends to lose his virginity, Pee Wee concocts plan after plan to “become a man,” all of which fail miserably. Definitely the runt of the litter, so to speak, Pee Wee is often the butt of everyone’s jokes. And since this is a raunchy sex comedy where guys drop trou fairly often, we probably don’t have to explain what Pee Wee’s nickname REALLY refers to.


9. Snake, Escape from New York

Snake Plissken
Embassy Pictures

Forget what you heard — Snake Plissken (full name: S.D. Bob Plissken) is DEFINITELY not dead. And if there’s anyone we’d trust with the survival of the human race and the rescue of the President, it’s the former Special Forces war hero turned criminal with the badass eyepatch and cobra tattoo on his abdomen. With a sharp tongue and killer instincts, Snake always manages to slither his way out of the worst situations (like being injected with explosives that will kill him in 22 hours if he doesn’t complete his mission). Oh, and somehow he does it all without ever wrecking his perfectly-coiffed hair. Consider us jealoussssssssss, Ssssnake!


10. Cobra

With a name like Marion Cobretti, it’s pretty much a given that you’re going to go into a line of work that involves bashing heads and blowing away creeps. As played by Sylvester Stallone in the over-the-top 1986 action movie that shares his name, “Cobra” lives up to his nickname by being coldblooded when it comes to dispensing justice to any perp who gets in his way.

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Good Golly Ms. Molly

Ranking the Guys From Molly Ringwald’s John Hughes Movies

Catch Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles during IFC's '80s Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Universal Studios

John Hughes isn’t the only one who loved Molly Ringwald throughout the 1980s. Thanks to his trio of Brat Pack movies starring the teen icon, we all did. And since her character’s biggest problem is often who is going to take her to the next school dance, we’ve decided to take a look at her many memorable suitors and rank them from lamest to dreamiest. (For more Molly, catch The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles during IFC’s ’80s Weekend.)

10. Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), Sixteen Candles

Long Duk Dong
Universal Studios

In addition to annoying Sam (Ringwald), foreign exchange student “The Donger” manages to score a date at the school dance before her. Plus, he’s got the whole dated cultural stereotype thing going against him.


9. Bryce (John Cusack), Sixteen Candles

John Cusack Sixteen Candles
Universal Studios

As one of the geeks who pines for Sam, Bryce may have some nifty gadgets but he’s barely a blip on her radar. Give it a few years, Cusack. You’ll get the girl eventually.


8. Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), The Breakfast Club

Universal Studios
Universal Studios

You may have missed it but at the start of their day-long detention at Shermer High School, Andrew casually invites Claire (Ringwald) to a party that very night. She brushes him off. Which leaves him with Ally Sheedy’s “basketcase” Allison styled by Claire as an in-crowd lookalike. Which probably means Andrew still wants Claire.


7. Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), The Breakfast Club

Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Brian’s the only one on the list who doesn’t openly pursue Molly, but we can totally see him pining after Claire from his desk. In fact, Brian puts his hat on his lap at one point to hide his erection then boasts of having sex with her. Right, like maybe in your mind, Brian.


6. Steff (James Spader), Pretty in Pink

pretty-spader
Paramount Pictures

Spoiled rich kid Steff has been hitting on Andie (Ringwald) in the school parking lot for years yet she won’t give him the time of day. His revenge? He trashes her to his best friend then makes her feel like a hoser at his house party. Seriously, she should ask him to the prom and then leave him hanging. This guy needs a takedown.


5. “Farmer Ted” (Anthony Michael Hall), Sixteen Candles

16-candes-2
Universal Studios

Ted’s all false bravado and his constant fawning over Ringwald’s Sam is kind of cute until he crosses the line and starts charging admission so his fellow geeks can gawk at her polka-dotted underwear. His blackout sex with a senior doesn’t bode well either. He’s young, so maybe he’ll grow out of it.


4. Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), Sixteen Candles

Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Yes, dreamy Jake gets Sam a belated birthday cake and saves her from attending her sister’s wedding reception which is bound to be a bummer. But he also pawns off his drunken ex on a freshman after remarking that she’s passed out upstairs and could be done any which way. Plus he cruises Sam before he’s even single. Jake? More like jerk.


3. John Bender (Judd Nelson), The Breakfast Club

Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Bender’s so deep, he bares his soul and the cigar burn he got from his pop. He’s also the first guy to see Claire’s panties up close while she’s wearing them. By the end of the movie, he’s got her diamond earring in his palm and she’s got him in the palm of her hand.


2. Duckie (Jon Cryer), Pretty in Pink

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Who defends Andie’s honor when Steff and the other rich kids put her down? Who’s there to escort her into the prom when Blane stands her up? Who exhibits somewhat stalker behavior by bicycling by her house every day? It’s Duckie! “Do I offend??” Yes, but we still love ya, Duck.


1. Blane (Andrew McCarthy), Pretty in Pink

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

He stood her up at her last prom but we just know he’d never do that again. I mean, he LOVES her. And frankly, she loves him. Plus, she tricked him into buying a Steve Lawrence album, for God’s sake. They both jerked each other around. Get over those abandonment issues with your mom, Andie. This one’s a keeper.

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