I always like to start summer off with an easy transitional film because spring showers and May flowers don't really do much for horror unless you count April Fool's Day. I mean usually, at least nine times out of ten, it's Jaws or a Jaws sequel. The original Jaws is like peanut butter and jelly for horror fans. Easily digestible, reminds you of your mother, gets all over your face and makes you a sticky mess. The sequels are like peanut butter and fluff and peanut butter and honey and peanut butter and banana respectively (respectively meaning Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge). Each of these movies is slightly less satisfying but, in their own chompy way, satisfying. At least they'll quench your thirst for summer water sport blood and gore. So while Jaws remains my king of the hill, Top of the List, Head of the Heap, A Number One, there are alternative options. But not this year... :creepy bassoon music:
The Friday the 13th series seems fully acceptable in this capacity, right? Summer camp, lake swimming, hockey mask (?!), lots of promiscuity. It's built for your Summer Solstice kick off, never mind that the doctor is addressing this on July 8th. Maybe Friday the 13th and its sequels are better for those landlocked states/countries that can't quite make it to the beach. I mean who's going to be scared of Jaws in Kansas. It's probably better to convince them that Malachi from Children of the Corn is a rogue who has come up from warmer, Southern waters, correct? We're going to need a bigger scythe? So Friday the 13th and Co. will work for the corn belt, dust bowl... ya know... the middle of the country folk.
Landlocked States... take warning
And since we're at summer camp let's also tag Sleepaway Camp because one unexpected wang deserves another. Sleepaway Camp is, of course, brilliant. Campers... die. There's mystery, romance, melodrama (is having your mother dress you up as a girlie melodrama?). Some good kills scenes especially the tall pot full o' corn (let's not spoil this for the Midwesterners who may or may have been hiding behind the rows for all these years and haven't ventured into Angela Country). Problem with using this one as your summer appetizer is that if you never went to camp or are so inclined to have male or female parts and want to dress the part of the other sex, you may not get the creep-out with this one. It's imperative that your summer starter attach in some way to a childhood memory. Your best creep-outs come from that beautiful hippo campus of yours. Your memory banks.
What is the Hippo campus?
The sequels to Sleepaway Camp are excellent chasers for the first one. They're short, hilarious, gory... they're movies you don't have to take too seriously and can truly bring a crowd together (did someone say drinking game). First order of business is to go get yourself a Camp Rolling Hills T-shirt or Fright Rags Sleepaway Camp 2 super-fabuloso T, learn the words to "I'm a Happy Camper" and with the grace of God... camp until you die. Do not watch Return to Sleepaway Camp. It will make you mad as hell... and you won't want to take it anymore.
Get your Fright Rags T
Camp Rolling Hills T
Notable camp movie that you may not have(may not want to see): Summer Camp Nightmare. Find it on VHS and find out why Runk the Punk wants to give you his Beef Bologna. Stay tuned creeps. I'm convinced this one's why I have an obsession with 80's hair queens and a strange fetish for Aquanet. But all the jelly bracelets in the world won't make this Doctor Terror's summer starter... not this year.
This year... (get ready for the tangent)... and maybe it's because our good friends at Exhumed showed it in their 24 Hour marathon... maybe it's because it's 3-D remake will be hitting a theatre near me shortly (and if it isn't I'm peeing the water fountain outside the local theatre... not telling which one)... maybe it's because they're about to release the Blu-Ray edition of the original (and I DON'T HAVE A BLU-RAY PLAYER!!!). We're doing Piranha kiddies.
Flying Piranha... The Swarm
B-D's take on Piranha 3-D
I hadn't seen this movie in years because... that's just the point. No good reason for not watching and re-watching and abusing this movie. Somehow the makers of this wildlife gone wild flick got me to believe their story line. They made me afraid to... swim in lakes/rivers, camp, float in an inner tube even. It's gory with and without the gore. Let's face it, red water is as good as a floating severed head because it's oh so suggestive. It's like having a spider underneath your covers. You don't want to look, but you can see something move just underneath the surface. If you just hit the offending/moving object underneath... IT WILL BITE YOUR FUCKING LEG OFF!!! Ouch!
Let's get some scientists in on this before I start to sound like a kid with waaay too many traumatic experiences to let me function as a normal, healthy adult (because someone who calls himself a doctor of terror and doesn't even have a degree from a terror degree granting institution must be cookie cutter clean). From Extreme Science (horror hosts of the science world):
When a school of piranha are in a feeding frenzy the water appears to boil and churn red with blood. They attack with such ferocity that they strip an animal of its flesh within a matter of minutes, even taking bites out of each other in the process.So it's not just movie magic here. IT'S REAL!!! Churning, boiling, bubbling death. I can't tell you how many people have this very same account of these little buggers. No one goes easy on the Piranha (and yet every one's afraid of the Great White off the coast of New England). Teddy Roosevelt (yes THAT Teddy Roosevelt... the big game hunter) said:
The rabid, furious snaps drive the teeth through flesh and bone. The head with its short muzzle, staring malignant eyes, and gaping, cruelly armed jaws, is the embodiment of evil ferocity; and the actions of the fish exactly match its looks. I never witnessed an exhibition of such impotent, savage fury as was shown by the piranhas as they flapped on deck. When fresh from the water and thrown on the boards they uttered an extraordinary squealing sound.Insert shutter... SQUEALING!!! So if you're not terrified of the swarms... the teeth, the clip and eat action... there's Watership Down to worry about and suddenly the bunnies rabbits being slaughtered are fishies that want to make you a lunchable.
Extreme Science on Piranha
Fun Facts about these Man Eaters
Watership Down... The TRAILER
If that isn't enough this movie has got Kevin McCarthy of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Twilight Zone: The Movie fame. Crazy old scientist who tries to run away from the monster he has created, but really... it's not his fault. You know the type. Think Dr. Eric Vornoff and then take away his excommunication from his homeland. You actually feel real tears before this guy gets it. :sad violin:... immediately followed by :sad trombone: Barbara Steele too... c'mon horror movie buffs... Pit and the Pendulum... Black Sunday. Whoa! Roger Richman... future action star in the making? Eh, we'll just let him save the day in this one and take it one movie at a time.
Speaking of Black Sunday... Bloodsprayer!!!
Low and behold we have a summer camp too. So we have a river, lake, summer camp, hiking/back packing movie. With fishes... that eat people. Works for most climates and or regions (sorry Antarctica and the Southwest... you've got The Thing and Tremors). And there's nothing quite like seeing this guy on the big screen. Not that that's where you'll be seeing it this wild bloody American summer, but if you can, you should. I recommend alka seltzer tablets with red food coloring added to the frenzy or even better... Schlitz makes a Carnival beer that's blood red. Poor it in a pilsner glass. Watch your guests run of the toilet, vomit bag or behind your couch. Spoooky. You might even try serving sushi with your movie. That would be like the movie Piranha reversed (humans eating fish while watching a fish eating human movie... it's a delicacy).
Piranha Killer Sushi
Piranha 3-D... awesome one sheet
All good reasons to make this one your choice. Come to Fish Country... (not a public service message). Or you could just watch Something to Tide You Over... on endless repeat and come up with new ways for Leslie Nielsen to make you laugh and Ted Dansen to make you cry.
-Dr. Terror ... Fish Frying... Sushi Rolling... Hitchhiking, mofo... for your love