Thursday, July 2, 2009

In Honor of "Piranha" - Top Six Sick Summer Flicks!

There’s been a shitload of net chatter lately regarding the 3D remake of Joe Dante’s nature-gone-amok B-movie “Piranha”. And from what early set pics have shown, the buzz may be justified. So far, we’ve seen scores of bikini clad extras (some in various states of mastication), cool pre-viz of the fish, and the buff-as-fuck Elizabeth Shue. With a top-notch director like Alexandre Aja at the helm, and the 3D element, and we may be in for one gory, bloody, fishy good time in 2010. My only beef: although I can’t wait to see this movie, I’m kinda wishing they’d bump it from its March release and schedule it for mid May. This has the potential to be a big summer blockbuster.

Here’s some of the aforementioned pics:

So in honour of the potential greatness that may be Piranha 3D, here’s a little list for you:

Top Six Sick Summer Flicks

Horror movies are pretty much synonymous with Halloween, but the great thing about our beloved genre is that there are sick flicks for all seasons! So with the temperature rising and the days getting longer, I thought I’d list some of my favourite summertime fright fests. After your ball game, barbecue, patio beer, or garden implement murder spree, pop one of these seasonal treats in your DVD player:

1. Jaws (1976)
Plot in a nutshell: a fucking shark eats people, Robert Shaw.

Summer, beaches, bikinis (albeit 70’s swimsuits – I shudder to think of the bush underneath – the shark must have been picking his teeth for days) and of course, sharks… Spielberg’s masterpiece not only defined the nature-gone-amok genre, it also holds the distinction of being the first summer blockbuster. And I’m still amazed they got away with a PG rating.

2. Friday the 13th parts 1-7, Remake (1980-2008)
Plot in a nutshell: a psycho/zombie in a hockey mask kills summer camp counsellors, Ron “Horshack” Palillo.

I’m not counting “…takes Manhattan”, “Jason X”, or “Freddy vs. Jason” because none of those capture the summer camp feel of the first 7. There’s talk of the next F13 (the sequel to the remake of the reimagining of the… ah fuck I’ve lost track) seeing Jason wreak bloody havoc in a snowy setting. Note to Platinum Dunes: do you know why no-one’s ever set a Jason flick in winter? Chicks don’t skinny dip in winter! Part of the charm of this series lies not just with the creative violence, but with the ample nudity as well. Nothing says “summertime” quite like perky tits and bloody cleavings. They go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

3. The Burning (1981)
Plot in a nutshell: See above. Substitute hideously burned face for hockey mask. Add Jason Alexander (with hair), Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter.
One of the first rip-offs of Friday the 13th, this summer camp slasher is notable for its cast of future stars, for being the Weinsteins’ first film, and for Tom Savini’s amazing and groundbreaking gore FX. This film also stands out from the pack by actually having likeable characters and some decent dialogue. Plus, if you’re like me and can’t forgive Fisher Stevens for his dogshit performance in Hackers, then seeing him get his digits lopped off by old Cropsy feels like sweet revenge.

4. Uncle Sam (1997)
Plot in a nutshell: Murderous, zombified gulf war vet goes on a 4th of July vengeance spree against his town’s hippies and draft dodgers. Break out the fireworks, baby!

This fun, underrated gem comes from Maniac director William Lustig and Q: The Winged Serpent’s Larry Cohen, and stars genre vets Ken Foree, Bo Hopkins, PJ Soles, and Robert Forster. And it’s got Isaac fucking Hayes! Although the beginning is slow-paced, and the film’s attempt at a social commentary (addressing topics like misplaced patriotism and post traumatic stress syndrome) doesn’t quite gel, once the inventive kills get going, the film kicks into high gear. Uncle Sam, I salute you!

5. The Lost Boys (1987)
Plot in a nutshell: punky, dirt-bike-riding vamp pretty boys try to recruit soon-to-be-reality star Corey Haim and his older brother.

I was lucky enough to catch this in the theatre the day it came out. Although a bit dated in parts, it still remains a classic. Kiefer was at his most pre-Jack Bauer badassiness, the Corey’s were not only tolerable, but funny (but what the fuck was with the Rob Lowe poster in your room, Sam?), and there was ample gore and bloodshed to keep us freaks enthralled. It’s worth noting that an R-rated flick featuring a young cast of teen heartthrobs would never get made in today’s greedy studio regime. And the seaside setting – complete with my one weakness: CARNIVALS – makes this one of my favourite summer-themed movies.

According to Kev at the lobby, the sequel sucks hind tit.

6. The Funhouse (1981)
Plot in a nutshell: Stoner Teens sneak into midway funhouse for overnight boinking session, but get stalked by mutant fuckface carnie and his grimy dad.

Speaking of carnivals, this is the mother of all carnival movies. I can’t go a single summer without at least taking one walk through the midway and going into at least one haunted house, so for me, Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse is damned near the perfect psycho summer treat. With its creepy carnies, mutants, and animatronic beasties, this flick harkens back to a time when carnivals were a more thrilling, chilling, and edgy than their modern-day counterparts. Can’t wait to see what Eli Roth does with this one.


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