Creepshow 2 (1987)

Creepshow 2 is the extremely inferior sequel to the awesome horror anthology flick, Creepshow.  Unlike the first movie, which contained five stories in just about two hours, a star-studded cast, brilliant direction by George A. Romero, an atmospheric score, and charming animation spots here and there... Creepshow 2 has three stories at just over 90 minutes, a cast of nobodies (with the exception of George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour), pedestrian direction by a guy, a score that makes everything even worse, and horrible animation that goes on too long and looks like it was outsourced to starving kids in third world hellholes chained to animation desks in the basement.

In the first story, "Ol' Chief Woodenhead," nothing happens for five hours, and then a wooden statue kills three guys in five seconds while buttrock plays in the background THE END.

In the second story, "The Raft," a bunch of kids go to the titular raft and are eaten by a sentient oil slick.  Nice touch: the part where the "hero" just decides out of nowhere to molest his friend's girlfriend while she is sleeping (!), even though his friend/her boyfriend and her friend/his girlfriend were just hours ago eaten horribly (!!) by an oil slick that is right beneath their raft (!!!).  Our hero!

In the third and final story, "The Hitchhiker," a lady runs over a guy over and over for 20 minutes while a guy goes NEOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW on his electric guitar whenever something "extreme" or "scary" or "stupid" happens. When the guitar guy gets tired of quote-unquote shredding, some guy starts playing music that old people probably consider to be "funky." Good gory effects on the hitchhiker, though.

I first watched this movie as a kid on HBO at a friend's house, and even then I knew that "Ol' Chief Woodenhead" was lame.  "The Raft" terrified me then, and it's still a scary little story.  I liked "The Hitchhiker" much much more when I was a kid, and now I just find it to be tedious.  The less said about the animation parts, the better.

Worth watching for the "Raft," but be sure to bring a crossword puzzle or something for the rest of the movie.


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

Jason is back! But this time he's in a camp killing some adult teenagers!

Fans hated (and continue to hate) Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning because Jason is not really in it (instead, it's a guy pretending to be Jason)... but, come on.  If not for the last 30 seconds of the movie, no one would know any differently.  Besides, I liked how, instead of killing a bunch of camp counselors, "Jason" was killing a bunch of crazy kids at some mental home.

Well, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood has got to be the low point in the series, at least until Jason got a case of wanderlust and started going to places like Hell and outer space.  The only thing that makes this movie stand is that the heroine (Tina, which is the perfect 80s name for your horror movie heroine) has telekinesis and the power to raise the dead (!), but the script does absolutely nothing with this until the last scene of the film.

I did, however, appreciate how evil and slimy Tina's psychiatrist is.  By far the best part of the movie is where he is running away from Jason with Tina's mom.  Jason catches up to them, and the guy grabs the mom, pulls her in between him and Jason, and uses her as a human shield.  Although she dies rather painlessly from just getting stabbed, the psychiatrist gets what he deserves with probably the most horrible death in the film.

Other than that one scene and a great stunt where Jason falls backward not down but through some stairs, this movie has absolutely nothing going on.  With a bad horror movie, you can usually look forward to some inventive lighting or camerawork, and of course some great gore effects. 
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood has none of that, as it looks like a high budget TV movie, and the MPAA demanded that basically all gore and blood be cut from the film to get an R rating.  It's a miracle they even allowed the movie to have a Jason in it!

As far as I'm concerned, this is the low point of the series.  Friday the 13th Part 3, while awful, at least had some good effects and its laughable attempt at 3D, while Friday the 13th: Jason's Space Adventure brought some excellent gore effects to keep you awake.

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

A bunch of high school kids and their chaperones take a cruise ship to New York to celebrate their graduation.  Little do they know... Jason is on there.

This movie is absolutely ridiculous, but so much fun.  It begins with a couple enjoying a relaxing night on a boat on Crystal Lake—the very same Crystal Lake that Jason was banished to in the previous movie, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.  What's interesting is that, Crystal Lake must apparently connect to the Atlantic Ocean, because that boat somehow ends up drifting into some port in New Jersey, where it is completely ignored.  You see, it is this port that the high school kids are disembarking from, to make their trip to New York.  What kind of school are these kids going to, that arranges to rent a full-sized cruise ship to take like 10 kids from New Jersey to New York??  The ship has a DISCO in it fer chrissakes.

The vast, vast majority of the movie takes place on this cruise ship, and while the movie takes a lot of flak for that, I really don't mind.  Unlike the boring Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, which just takes place in another bunch of cabins on Crystal Lake, I really appreciated that this movie finally introduced a unique environment in which Jason could kill a bunch of unlikable kids.

It helps that the movie is just overall more interesting.  The kids are all hateful, but at least they have some quirk to tell them apart—and I actually got a kick out of how each of their quirks basically defines them as characters and there is zero character development whatsoever outside of that.  This girl plays an electric guitar, and that's how she dies.  This guy is an amateur boxer, and that's how he dies.  This other guy walks around the entire movie holding a video camera, and that's how he dies.  Contrast that with the previous movie in the series, where you had the psychic girl, and then that guy that gets killed, and this girl that gets killed, and this other girl that gets killed.

The last part of the movie takes place in "New York," but it was actually somewhat infamously shot everywhere else but New York (with some minor exceptions toward the end), including Vancouver and Los Angeles.  Jason manages to take the entire cruise ship down, but a few survivors climb into a little rowboat and escape (the movie gets major points for a part where a teacher tells another group of survivors to wait in the kitchen while she gets help, and then she is told five minutes later that, basically, all those kids drowned so forget about them).  Somewhat hilariously, Jason apparently just swims alongside that rowboat in the middle of a massive storm because the very minute the boat arrives in New York, Jason climbs out of the ocean—this is the guy whose origin story is, he drowned as a kid cuz he doesn't know how to swim.  It's nice to see Jason grow as a person.

The New York depicted in this movie is... unique to say the least.  It's ultra violent and filthy, and in one alarming scene the heroes are told to get out of the sewers because the city floods them with toxic waste every night at midnight!

Having said all of that, this is a criminally underrated F13 film.  Sure, it's not as good as the very best the series has to offer (that would be parts 1, 2, 4, and 6), but it is far, far better than any of the others.

Sadly, outside of some great gore effects in the unrated version of the following film, Friday the 13th sadly has very little to offer to pretty much anyone from here on.