Why Anyone With a Sense of Humor Should Appreciate Jack Frost 2

Wicked Horror is the author of Why Anyone With a Sense of Humor Should Appreciate Jack Frost 2. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

Horror films are the ultimate form of escapism. And with that in mind, one of my favorite ways to escape is  by indulging in a campy horror film. I am particularly fond of the titles that fall into the ‘so bad it’s good’ category. Stuff like Andre the Butcher and Thankskilling. What makes films like these so much fun to watch is that whether they are intentionally (or better yet unintentionally) bad, they treat their audience to a delightfully absurd viewing experience. One of the prime examples of this very specific genre is Michael Cooney’s  Jack Frost (and its sequel, Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, but we’ll get to its predecessor in a moment).

Jack Frost is about a serial killer who, while on his way to his execution, gets turned into a living snowman. A truck of genetic material mixed with snow will do that, I guess. Now equipped with supernatural snowman powers, Jack goes on a rampage and kills anyone who stands in the way of his revenge on Sam, the officer that arrested him.

Between all the unsavory one liners and the forgettable and choppy looking kill scenes, Jack Frost left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. However, if you can look past that, there’s much to love about this train wreck of a film.

People with a good sense of humor who were able to look past the film’s flaws and appreciate it as a camp classic were the target audience for the even weirder sequel. Yes, believe it or not this zany flick about a serial killer snowman got the sequel treatment. While entertaining, I must confess that it’s bad. Really bad. But, therein lies the magic. Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman was released in 2000 and it’s even more absurd than its predecessor.

Also See: Looking Back on Campy Christmas Slasher Jack Frost

Following the events of the first film, officer Sam is a bit stressed at the thought of the upcoming winter so his wife plans a tropical vacation to get his mind off of things. Meanwhile the FBI accidentally resurrects Jack during an experiment on his remains. Alive (and for some reason way more powerful) Jack hunts down Sam at the island resort and makes it snow. Hysterical.

One of the pros of this sequel is that we actually see more of the cheap snowman costume moving around.  And that’s a lot of fun. Even though its low budget CGI, the fact that the creative team embraced their limitations makes for a ridiculous and festive spectacle. Michael Cooney returned to direct this follow up effort and he clearly had fun in doing so. Everything is even more ridiculous than it was the first time around and the camp quotient is through the roof.

I could tear into this ill-advised sequel for about ten more paragraphs but I won’t because I really get a kick out of it. Sure, it looks terrible and the acting is atrocious but that’s half the fun. If you have a sense of humor (and even the slightest appreciation for bad movies) there is so much to love about Jack Frost 2. 

The film is very much a product of its time and it never tries to hide its low budget. Moreover, with the way Jack Frost 2 ends, it leaves room for the possibility of a third film. It’s the perfect movie for people who, like myself, don’t care for cheery holiday fare. Besides nothing says Happy Holidays! like a little murder.

The post Why Anyone With a Sense of Humor Should Appreciate Jack Frost 2 appeared first on Wicked Horror.

Looking Back on Pet Sematary After Nearly 30 Years

Wicked Horror is the author of Looking Back on Pet Sematary After Nearly 30 Years. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

1989’s Pet Sematary is a timeless tale of terror that has earned its reputation as one of the best horror films of its era. Adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Pet Sematary was brought to the big screen by Mary Lambert. Up until that point, Lambert had mainly been involved in directing music videos, with only one other feature under her belt. Since then she has gone on to helm a number of short films, some TV episodes, several documentaries, and a handful of features. But looking back on her career, it’s easy to see why Pet Sematary is remembered as her crown jewel.

Pet Sematary stands as a one of a kind film for a number of reasons. First, Lambert remained close to King during production, as the author penned the script. Lambert wanted to stay true to King’s vision of the story. And thankfully she did. The end result is a faithful retelling of the novel that (naturally) can’t fit everything from the tome into its runtime but does a great job of hitting most of the important notes.

Something that adds a certain sense of eerie ambiance to the feature is that the pet cemetery depicted was a real place for the exact reason portrayed in the film. The area was located near a busy road riddled with oil trucks, and such. And it, unfortunately, left numerous animals dead in its wake. Take this, coupled with King’s grim imagination and you get one of the scariest tales ever told. The filming created quite a stir in the community, and brought with it a devoted cult following.

The film relies on several taboo elements. There is something of an unwritten code in filmmaking that dictates you should never kill an animal or a child. But this film violates these commandments not once, but twice! Due to the care with which the subject matter was handled, however, viewers were able to get past the broken code and enjoy the film in spite of its unusually dark subject matter.

So, what makes this film so special? Well, for starters, this could’ve easily become just another zombie flick, as I feel the much lambasted second installment did. With that said, the follow up effort happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine. But that’s another story for another time. What makes this film stand out is how relatable it is. [Spoiler alert for an almost 30-year old film] We’re all familiar with the hardships of losing a pet and even those of us without children can that the film doesn’t have to try very hard, if at all, to get us emotionally invested in the characters. We feel their pain and grief, and want, as much as they do, to be able to fix what has happened. Only we (should) know better than to meddle with nature. As next door neighbor Jud puts it, “sometimes dead is better”. But still, if there was a chance, even a small one that would grant you that luxury of hope, wouldn’t you be tempted to try?

Another key strength of the film is the characters themselves. The cast was predominately comprised of lesser known actors. The most recognizable name would have been Fred Gwynne (Jud), who we all recognize from The Munsters. The rest were relatively new to the scene (some having appeared in small roles in a handful of feature films) giving them a better sense of realism. The cast comes across as real people in a series of really dire situations. The veil of fiction between us and them is nonexistent and therefore we are right there with them. But what make it so effective? In the simplest of terms, it’s the theme of death, throughout. It’s no secret what this film is about, but it’s the relation each of the characters has with this formless, nameless antagonist who is only referred to a few times as “it”. In this story, death takes the form of the burial grounds. Some may even make the argument that Jud represents death. Resembling such in the scene where he is standing over Church’s corpse, his hood rendering his face to an almost hollow blackness. And it is Judd who effectively guides Lewis to the other side of the bog to the burial grounds.

gage from the stephen king novel pet sematary when after being killed is buried in a malevolent cemetery by his father, only to come back to try and kill the family

Each of the characters themselves has a unique and perhaps flawed perspective on death that might have otherwise helped them cope during such tragic times. Lewis, being a doctor has something of a blind approach to it, due to his profession. His wife, Rachel, has a much different outlook from having suffered such a traumatic experience in her sister’s death… Uhh, Zelda, I still get chills. While their 8 year old daughter, Ellie, and son Gage are both too young to truly grasp the concept. Each of the characters’ perspectives on the nature of death causes them to suffer further.

We all must face death someday, and we all know the pain the characters in Pet Sematary endure. The film  is by no means a happy tale, but an important one, nonetheless. With a haunting atmosphere, chilling effects, and a stellar cast, it manages to shake the foundation for anyone brave enough to keep their eyes on the screen.

Now, I’m not saying the film is without its flaws. Any keen observer can catch the numerous inconsistencies throughout, and yes, some of the effects are dated. But you can forgive them all on account of the film presented. the only two real missed opportunities for me are the Wendigo and Ellie’s story.

The Wendigo was a prominent figure in the book, and was reduced to a mere howling in the distance during a few scenes, if, in fact, that’s what it actually was. Many have theorized as such, and I tend to agree. If nothing else adds an extra layer of eeriness.

Ellie was quite an interesting character in her own regard, acting as something of a prophet throughout the film, with visions, and feelings of events to come, I find this to be the film’s biggest missed opportunity. As it stands, she is an underutilized character.

But hey, these are minor flaws in a brilliant film. Pet Sematary will always stand as a picture that takes thick skin to get through. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. For a more in depth look at the production, and interviews I suggest picking up Unearthed & Untold, a feature length documentary into the making of one of the best horror films to date.

Related: Unearthed and Untold is the Perfect Doc for Fans of this Stephen King Adaptation

Until next time, thanks for reading, and this Christopher Fink (The Horror Seeker) saying good night, and stay scared!

The post Looking Back on Pet Sematary After Nearly 30 Years appeared first on Wicked Horror.

They Live Is Still Just as Relevant 30 Years Later

Wicked Horror is the author of They Live Is Still Just as Relevant 30 Years Later. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

Socioeconomic disparity, unemployment,  oppressive government and police violence. No, I am not talking about the world today. I am talking about John Carpenters seminal classic They Live. Celebrating it’s 30-year anniversary this year, They Live is still as relevant today, maybe more so, than when it was released. Without going too far down the political rabbit hole, we will discuss this horror classic which to this day seems to be a glimpse into the current world. So, break out the sunglasses and prepare to take a trip down memory lane.

They Live stars the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper from World Wrestling Entertainment fame as Nada. He is an unemployed drifter who makes his way to Los Angeles. Nada finds himself working a construction job by day and at a homeless encampment by night.

While traversing around the encampment, Nada finds a slew of interesting characters. Two in particular park themselves in front of television and watch mindless shows throughout the day and night. The television signal is repeatedly hacked with strange and prophetic messages. The hacked signal shows a bearded man who proclaims “They are dismantling the sleeping middle class. More and more people are becoming poor. We are their cattle. We are being bred for slavery.”   He also declares “The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are non-existent. They have created a repressive society ad we are their unwitting accomplices.”

The next day Nada checks out a church where a lot of suspicious activity is taking place. There, he finds a box of sunglasses hidden in a wall. He also discovers the hacked broadcasts originated from there. Later that night the police raid the church and destroy the homeless encampment. When the smoke clears the next morning, Nada goes back to the church and retrieves a box with the sunglasses. He takes a pair for himself and stashes the rest. He then begins walking around the city wearing a pair. Through the sunglasses he can view the world as it really is. Nada realizes he is surrounded by aliens.

They Live - Horror films that satirize Regan-era AmericaThrough subliminal messaging disguised in everyday items, Nada realizes everyone but those with the glasses are being misled. He reads things such as Obey, Marry and Reproduce, No Independent Thought, Consume, and Do not question authority. While standing at a news stand he is approached by the worker and realizes the money in his hand actually reads This is your God.

They Live was a satire, very much like Robocop¸ of the excesses of the 1980’s under Reagan. John Carpenter certainly did not hide his opinion of consumerism, crony capitalism and economic disparity between the have and have nots in this film.

There are also very subtle jabs at the establishment. When you understand the tone and feel of the film you pick up on these references. The homeless encampment that Nada stays at is surrounded by urban decay and trash. The camp is dwarfed because in the background are the huge towers of steel of downtown. It is a side by side comparison of the riches of downtown with the downtrodden forgotten, just outside its reach.

Not much has changed from 1988 to 2018. We still suffer the same problems and issues Carpenter tackled. While watching this film, you begin to realize something about the aliens. They are all well dressed, have good paying jobs and some are involved in politics. By choosing this avenue, Carpenter was basically throwing the middle finger to the yuppies of the time.

Also See: Seven Standout Performances in John Carpenter Movies 

The term yuppie is now dated and seems to have faded into obscurity. But the fight against economic disparity is still as much of a problem now as it was when They Live was released.

In a nutshell, They Live is a political commentary neatly wrapped into sci-fi horror film. I implore you read a newspaper and then watch the film. You can clearly see that we have not made much progress since They Live hit the silver screen and made people question their personal and comfortable worlds. Always remember…..They Live, We Sleep.

The post They Live Is Still Just as Relevant 30 Years Later appeared first on Wicked Horror.