Steph's 2016 Halloween Rewatch!
Happy Halloween, everybody!
In the spirit of Halloween scariness, I went to the dentist and had a tooth pulled out of my skull. For a couple days, I was laid up, floating on painkillers with a mouth stuffed with gauze, so I watched a bunch of classic '80s horror movies... Well... more like I watched the poor-to-middling sequels to classic '80s horror movies.
(Because I was a wee bairn in the '80s, I later asked Dave and John if they'd actually seen any of these movies in the theater, and I was VERY DISAPPOINTED to learn they HAD NOT. Something about RENTING VHS TAPES and WATCHING THEM AT HOME. WTF?!)
Two of the movies featured in my marathon of gory badness were A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master and Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan.
(By the way, I thought for a moment I would include one of the Halloween movies I watched, but then I realized I saw both Part 4 and Part 5 and completely forgot they were two separate movies. I guess by then, conscious thought had gone bye-bye. Aahhh, sweet, sweet analgesia!)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master came out in 1988, so all I know is that DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince released an unauthorized tie-in song that scared me. Because I was a child.
If you haven't seen A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, it's important to understand that it features half of the characters from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors... except the part of the psychic girl originally played by Patricia Arquette has been recast.
There's also a scene in which a guy gets sucked into his waterbed. Similar to how Johnny Depp got sucked into his bed in the first installment. I suppose if you're making a movie about fatal nightmares, it stands to reason that MULTIPLE PARTIES will be killed by a bed.
So in this movie, Formerly-Patricia-Arquette is still psychic and can control dreams. She's adamant that Freddy isn't actually dead and tries to warn her two friends who were holdovers from the last movie. Of course, they get killed anyway... and so does Formerly-Patricia-Arquette. Which leaves us with a new hero.
This is Alice. Troubled daydreamer Alice. She is somehow sucked into a nightmare with Formerly-Patricia-Arquette, and FPA transfers her dream-control powers to Alice before she's killed. Alice's newfound abilities mean she's able to absorb the muscle memory and knowledge from her friends after they are killed by Freddy. This means she's kind of like Rogue from the X-Men, except she doesn't have to touch anyone. And her powers are sort of unpredictable. And a little boring. But she uses them to fight Freddy and presumably defeats him.
Like I said, I was on hydrocodone, so don't remember anything else that happens in the movie, except for the fact that that one song from Dramarama is prominently featured. Oh wait...
I remember that School Nurse Freddy happened.
ANYHOOOOO.... Moving on to Friday the 13th Part 8, perhaps the least-beloved of the franchise next to that one where they tried to make us think Tommy Jarvis was the killer at a summer camp for break-dancing bad kids.
Part 8 came out in the summer of 1989 where it was promptly overshadowed by big-budget hits like Batman and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. So sad.
And speaking of sad, the budget for the movie was slashed like one of Jason's high school grad victims. The dish behind-the-scenes was that the director was excited to bring Jason to New York City and had storyboards galore depicting the Hockey-Masked One terrorizing his victims in Madison Square Garden, on the Brooklyn Bridge and atop the Statue of Liberty. The studio was all about it... or at least they made it seem like they were. Then they promptly presented the director with $4 million to make the movie. (Insert '80s record scratch.) Since we're now about 28 years away from the production phase of this movie, allow me to give you some comparisons to some other popcorn flicks of 1989:
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - Third movie in the franchise - $48 million
- Back to the Future Part 2 - Highly-highly-anticipated sequel - $40 million
- Batman - Comic book film franchise in-the-making - $35 million
- Ghostbusters 2 - Highly-anticipated sequel - $25 million
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - WHY NOT? $10 million
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Master -- Oh LOOK! $8 million
The studio didn't even match the price tag of their nearest competitor, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise! DID THEY WANT TO SABOTAGE THEIR OWN MOVIE?
The super-low budget stymied development so much that most of the movie ended up taking place on a ship. Jason terrorizes a grad cruise. ZZZZZzzzzzzz.... The "Takes Manhattan" part of the title doesn't happen until halfway through the movie, and even then, you can tell they're obviously shooting in Canada.
I'd seen this movie a bunch of times already, so my drug-induced state didn't really affect my comprehension of the story: Jason sneaks onto the Lakeview High School senior class cruise to New York City and starts killing students. Student try to fight back, but fail. A bunch of students inexplicably disappear. (Seriously, we end up following maybe 7 characters out of what clearly was meant to be a Senior class of about 100 who all mysteriously vanish once Jason starts stalking and killing people). The few survivors end up in New York City and are chased by Jason through alleys, on the subway, though a greasy spoon, and then the sewers. Jason is finally destroyed by toxic waste. That just happens to be flowing under New York.
AND THAT'S THE END. That's what you get for $4 million.
The end credits should have read: "Jason Will Return in ... Um... 1993's Jason Goes to Hell. But you won't be around to see it, will you? We lost you, didn't we?"
THE REWATCH EFFECT:
As I watched these two '80s movies under the influence of prescription drugs, I think I was really just interested in music this time around. The aforementioned Dramarama song, Anything Anything is always AMAZING. And I will always have a soft spot for the late '80s soft-rock theme, The Darkest Side of the Night, which intros and outros Jason Takes Manhattan. Some things can never be improved upon.