Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday might be my favourite film in the Crystal Lake franchise on deliriously excessive shock value and purely deranged artistic inspiration alone; this thing is fucking lovably unhinged. There just comes a time in every franchise where the filmmakers feel the need to shake things up, throw a bit of seasoning into the stew that wasn’t there in previous incarnations (see the wonderful Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6) and the result is often a tributary effort like this where a simple, effective slasher motif has the doors of mythology blasted wide open and we get something really unique and striking. Jason Voorhees is blown to bloody smithereens in the first ten minutes of this film, and rendered all but deceased… or is he? Of course he isn’t, you ninnyhammer, that’s the golden rule of these things. It’s revealed that Jason’s essence, his very spirit itself transcends the physical flesh and can jump between hosts like a murderous parasite, which he does quite frequently on his journey from a big city morgue back to Crystal Lake to kill the sister and granddaughter he never knew he had, and quite frankly neither did we until this uncommonly elaborate script came into being. On his tail is gregarious bounty hunter Creighton Duke (Steven Williams, also awesome in True Detective & The X Files), who believes he can end Jason’s recently esoteric reign of terror and stop the legacy of blood. Much of the Friday The 13th franchise exists as primitive narrative framework for sex, suspense, substance consumption and modest murder special effects with nary a whiff of any real storytelling, supernatural or swanky FX. Not this baby. There are countless super slimy gore effects here, starting with a weird turd/slug thing that Jason passes between hosts to control them and onto some *very* intense kills including a mid coitus, ‘split right down the middle’ machete Hail Mary execution that earns a sly slow clap from the viewer. Crystal Lake now has this bizarre little diner run by a a rampaging matriarchal bull hen called Joey B., played by the great and always under appreciated Rusty Schwimmer. At one point Jason lays siege on her establishment and she arms her inbred bumpkin clan with heavy artillery for a demented firefight that.. well, let’s just say I didn’t think I’d ever see anything like it from this franchise. While there is story, it’s naturally all over the place, kinda like Jason himself and when he does finally show up in his traditional form once again (played by the great Kane Hodder, of course) it’s a cheer out loud moment. The legendary homages to other franchises like Evil Dead and Nightmare On Elm Street are wonderful as ever, and overall this is just so much goddamn fun for any loving fan of the Friday films, provided you employ a healthy level of imagination and capacity for abstract thought so you can play on its level.
Amanda Iswan has always dreamt about making movies. While she isn’t Robinson Crusoe when it comes to such an ambition, it is often fascinating to me how such a common dream defies all the boundaries the world sets before us, and how, even in a massive city like Jakarta, Indonesia, her light is burning bright, her journey to the big screen is upon us. Having traveled extensively in the country and enjoyed numerous local films, like Amanda told me, genre cinema, especially local genre cinema – you have to be a bit of a rebel to butt heads against the dramatic norms. American movies dominate the globe, so when you try mounting films that aren’t just people talking about life, love and the human condition, (even here in Australia) the finance is not there. You are forced to go rogue, go guerilla-style, and with ZETA, Miss Iswan has brought a dash of depth and difference to what isn’t your garden-variety flesh-eating extravaganza.
Film Regions International (FRI) is announcing the release of “ZETA” a new foreign language horror film that the company has licensed for video-on-demand both in the United States and United Kingdom. The cast includes Indonesian actors Cut Mini, Dimas Aditya andJeff Smith. The film is subtitled in English for the U.S. and U.K. territories.
“ZETA” tells the story about Deon, a student in Jakarta, Indonesia who witnesses a strange incident at his school when a friend bites a nurse’s neck and becomes a raging cannibalistic flesh eater. Suddenly, he realizes the entire city has become ravaged by a zombie apocalypse caused by an amoeba Naegleria-Zeta parasite. Deon, along with his mother Isma, who is suffering early signs of Alzheimer’s, are forced to quarantine in their sky rise apartment and eventually team up with a rebel gang to get the best combat strategies against the zombie horde.
The film is currently available for rental or purchase on Amazon Prime Video and subsequent VOD platforms will follow soon.
Freddy Vs. Jason was kind of an inevitable thing as the two horror franchises paralleled and then gradually veered towards each other, it was just a matter of getting it right. Did they? Well.. yes and no. It’s better than Alien Vs. Predator, in case you were wondering, but in terms of doing a satisfactory collision and Mortal Kombat session between these two horror boogeyman, they could have done a bit better. Their first mistake is over plotting it; so much time is spent explaining how they both end up in Freddy’s hometown of Springwood that it seems redundant, who cares about specifics, any telling of it is going to seem silly anyways in a crossover like this, we just want to see the two of them kick the shit out of each other. Then there’s the painfully overdeveloped plot involving two ex Springwood teens (Jason Ritter and Brendan Fletcher) who escape the nuthouse and race home to try and warn everyone. By the time the two of them actually start physically scrapping, so much nonsense has come before that it’s almost too little too late. I say almost because the fight scenes are pretty spectacularly warped, from vicious hand to hand or glove to machete to Freddy launching giant oxygen canisters at Jason like torpedos. Choreography and effects are put to good use in these scenes, even if the filmmakers show a bizarre sympathy towards Jason that seems to come out of left field and paint Freddy as somehow more of a bad guy. There’s all kinds of stuff going on here from a cornfield rave that Jason interrupts in typical bloody fashion, a stoner character that’s a shameless ripoff of Jason Mewes’ Jay, flashbacks to Crystal Lake of yesteryear that get in the way and what have you. That’s the thing, there’d be space for all this random stuff in a film featuring only Freddy or only Jason, but in this collective dust-up there’s only really room for these two cooks in the kitchen. Still, we get plenty of deranged fight scenes between the two, Freddy utilizing his freaky dream powers and Jason swinging around that blade and any other large blunt object he can find. Who wins? Wait and see, but I’ll say it does have my favourite Freddy line of any Nightmare film: “How sweet.. dark meat!” He growls, approaching Kelly Rowland with razor glove at the ready. Fun stuff, if a bit too hectic.
The Nightmare On Elm Street franchise went to some pretty weird and wild places as it went on, like the snowball effect except the snowball is a grotesque sphere of faux burn victim latex. By the fifth entry, titled The Dream Child, New Line studios had basically not only let the floodgates open in terms of Robert England’s Freddy Krueger and the increasingly warped special effects, but left the keys to them in the hands of any filmmaker who came along to make their stamp on the legacy. This one is silly, excessively ooey gooey and super demented. As such, it’s naturally one of my favourite Freddy flicks. Helmed by extreme stylist Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, The Ghost & The Darkness), it has an especially disturbing opening sequence involving the origins and backstory of Freddy, one that balances schlock with outright atrocity nicely and is imaginative when you consider the tropes of these movies. Lisa Wilcox’s Alice is still alive and kicking, pregnant and finding ever present pizza faced Freddy trying to attack her through the dreams of her unborn child, as well as those of her friends. There’s not much to it except increasingly elaborate set pieces where he finds new ways to kill these teens, including literally force feeding a girl with an eating disorder until she explodes and causing the mother of all motorbike accidents, a well staged scene that’s actually up there with my favourite Freddy kills. The original theme music is back, but there’s also a super creepy new synth composition by Jay Ferguson playing over the opening credits that spices things up and makes this feel like it’s own beast. The later additions in the legacy get a bad rap for being silly and over the top, but hey these are horror flicks about dreams, which by definition are over the top and unbound by genre, and plus I like the one liners. Best quip to be found here? “Bon appetit, bitch!”, growled by Freddy as he proudly wears a ridiculous chefs hat. Savage af. I like this one a lot for its impressive practical effects, genuinely frightening prologue and fresh new score. Good times. Oh, and check out that gorgeous poster art, they really don’t make those like they used to anymore, unless you’re Panos Cosmatos.
I’m not sure what they were going for with Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, but the summation of what they produced is simply… bizarre. Of course it’s not the final round, they never can resist churning out meta reworking, crossovers and remakes, rendering the ‘final’ titles hilariously redundant (the ‘final’ Friday The 13th chapter is only the fourth entry in a franchise that soared into double digits). It’s silly more than anything else, like the New Line Cinema boardroom passed around the laughing gas and spit-balled out this cartoonish, random, cameo stuffed looney bin of a flick. Actually, writing credit goes to director Rachel Talalay, who also helped the equally silly rumpus cult classic Tank Girl, which is lovable in it’s own right. Speaking of silly, Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger has never been more buffoonish than here, the culmination of every one line and quip throughout the franchise. He’s back, hunting down the last remaining Springwood teenager, as well as a woman (Lisa Zane) whose connection to his past could be dicy for him. There’s also a weird backstory angle involving dream demons that look like sentient tadpoles who apparently are responsible for Freddy’s initial resurrection and powers. Hmm. The cameos seem like they just made a celebrity collage on a dartboard, blindfolded each other and flung them all over. Alice Cooper shows up in flashbacks as Freddy’s sadistic stepfather, Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold are around, plus Breckin Meyer and Yaphet Kotto. The rule of randoms is excepting Johnny Depp of course, an Elm Street veteran who has a quick bit as a TV advertisement dude. The dream sequences are wild and wacky, but never really frightening or as atmospheric as they used to be, the one springing to mind being a video game themed thing where pixelated Freddy chases a victim Super Mario style, not exactly the most bone chilling setting, but oh well. This does mark the last of the initial franchise before they moved on to deluxe entries like the super meta New Nightmare and the gong show that was Freddy Vs. Jason. If you’re looking for the weirdest Elm Street flick, you’ve found it, and if you’re looking for a scary, coherent one then you’ll have to backtrack earlier in the franchise, or skip ahead to Wes Craven’s excellent next one.
Although billed as pure horror, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors strays into fantasy as well and is a pure blast of fantastically diabolical special effects when it’s working in either genre. Around the middle of the franchise marks the place where Freddy Krueger began to turn into more of a cartoonish wise-guy from his original mainly silent phantom, but he’s still pretty foreboding here, as Robert Englund puts energetic work into both his funny and frightening sides. The cool thing about this flick is it’s ‘Goonies’ style aesthetic; several youngsters, committed to a mental facility for their insomniac ‘delusions’, do dream battle with Freddy, and it’s one of the few instances in a slasher film where victims get to fight back in some capacity, and as a unit. Patricia Arquette is wonderful as Kristen, leader of the pack and a fiercely vulnerable spirit, while a young Laurence Fishburne plays the kindly head nurse. It’s also a treat to see Heather Langenkamp return as brave Nancy Thompson, still out for Freddy’s head. The effects are dazzling, from Freddy’s remodelled syringe needle glove in one scene, to a giant pac-man version of his head attempting to eat a live person whole in another, it’s just imagination run wild in dreamland. The kills are still sufficiently gory too, if punctuated by his now classic growling one liners (“Bitch!”). It’s safe to say this is the best in the franchise barring the first film, it’s quite a bit of fun. Oh, and for a good hearty laugh, nothing beats the Dick Cavett/Zsa Zsa Gabor cameo featuring a priceless interruption from Freddy.
Sleek, frightening update on a sagging franchise. Brilliant use of a meta concept that could have easily taken the silly route. Imaginitive, jaw dropping practical effects. A darker, less flamboyant take on the iconic character Freddy Krueger. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was the best Freddy flick to come along since Dream Warriors, the third installment. After the stale and awkward sixth film, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (my ass final), there really needed to be a game changer, something fresh and solid that would shake up a routine that had been getting fairly silly for some time. Who better to facilitate that than the man who kicked the entire legacy off back in 84′, Wes Craven himself? Back with a vengeance and a whole grab bag of new ideas, Crane brought forth a new, remodeled version of the Freddy lore, with some innovative twists. This one takes place in the real world, where Heather Langenkamp is Heather Langenkamp and not Nancy, Robert Englund is actually Englund and not Freddy. Heather has a young son (Miko Hughes, the go to little tyke of the 90’s), Englund is relaxing and trying out the artist’s life, and Craven, also playing himself, has big bold ideas for the Nightmare franchise. The meta doesn’t stop there though; Whatever Craven is cooking up has somehow awoken a very real, very serious and very scary version of Freddy who is now trying to break free from dreams and into our world, using young Hughes as a conduit, and wreaking havoc left right and center. Heather knows the only way to put a stop to the evil is to face Freddy, as Nancy, one last epic time. I love the high concept, I love that Craven conceived of this and got it made, it’s one of the most inventive horrors ofnthe decade. When Freddy does show up, he’s dead straight serious without a quip or wisecrack in sight. His design and attitude are way darker too, he’s a suitable real world dream demon that makes the Englund of past outings look like Big Bird. The special effects crafted for the netherworld Heather ventures into are a confusing labyrinth of body horror, ornate production design and impressive imagination. A complete vision of the Elm Street legacy that does what few horror franchises attempt, let alone succeed at: It reaches beyond the tropes that have got it to where it is and pleased audiences so far, breaks new ground and reinvents the legend.