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Evilspeak, Saturn 3, Humanoids from the Deep, The Hidden, Magic, and Friday the 13th Part VI
Weekly Horror Bulletin Newsletter 227
We’ve got our usual lineup of six movies and a short film this week—
This week, we’ll watch some sci-fi horror from the 80s. We’ll start out with “Humanoids from the Deep” from 1980, then go into space with “Saturn 3” from the same year. We’ll play with computers for a while with “EvilSpeak” from 1981, and then have the aliens come to us in “The Hidden” from 1987. For our bonus films this time around, we’ve got “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” from 1986 and “Magic” from1978.
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Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
Directed by Barbara Peeters, Jimmy T. Murakami
Written by Frank Arnold, Martin B. Cohen, William Martin
Stars Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow
Run Time: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is a decent monster movie with a high body count, abundant gore, quite a bit of nudity, and a surprising number of explosions and fires. It’s nothing serious, but it makes for an entertaining movie overall that holds up pretty well.
We open on a shot of underwater plants as the credits roll.
Jim and Tommy Hill drive up to the dock and talk to the fishermen there. They all whine about the fishery that might open next year.
Later, a couple of the fishermen get something big, but their winch runs out of gas. We see the claw of the monster in the net, but they can’t get it up. Through a comedy of misadventures, the boat explodes in a rather excessive way. Jim and Tommy watch from a distance through binoculars.
The sheriff talks to Jim. He thinks the explosion may have been foul play. The monster outside kills Jim’s dog. The next morning, they eventually find every dog in town, dead. All except for the one belonging to the town’s Indian, and the fishermen think that’s suspicious.
The mayor calls a town meeting for the big festival. The executives from the cannery are all visiting. He’s brought in a scientist, Dr. Susan Drake, and her claim is to be able to grow salmon bigger, stronger, and more plentiful than ever before.
Johnny Eagle comes into the meeting, and someone finally killed his dog too– it was Slattery, who’s been pushing for the cannery. It all soon devolves into a fistfight.
The next morning, Slattery goes off into the woods and spies on the Indians, who are planning a legal case to stop the cannery. He then goes back to town and tells his goons that they need to solve their own problems.
Elsewhere, people are making out on the beach, and Jim and Dr. Susan are on his boat. They almost catch something big, but it gets away. Susan does get some undeveloped photos of it. Down the beach, something rips Jerry’s face off and then drags away Linda, his girlfriend. We see the horrible green monster pull off her clothes and maybe rape her.
Another couple is attacked that night; the man is killed and the girl is taken.
Tommy and his girlfriend go to Johnny Eagle’s place for dinner, but Slattery and his guys arrive outside in the dark. They firebomb the place which explodes dramatically. As Tommy shoots at the baddies, the monster comes out of the water and grabs him. Johnny shoots the thing, but Tommy’s in really bad shape.
The next morning, all the men talk about what happened last night. Johnny brings in Tommy’s body, and the sheriff says he’s got some explaining to do. Susan listens to Tommy’s story, and she believes him. Jim stands up for Johnny and he, along with Susan, go off looking for the creatures while everyone else in town searches for all the missing teenagers.
Susan thinks they’re nocturnal predators, so it’s probably safe in the daytime. They start looking into all the little caves along the beach and they find one of the creatures. They find Peggy, but she’s not completely dead.
They take some of the monster’s bodies to the lab for examination, but the cannery people are clearly trying to cover it up. They think Susan’s theories are incorrect, but the proof is right in front of them. She tells about DNA5, which speeds up evolution and growth. It accelerates the growth of salmon, but some experimental subjects escaped into the ocean. Eating those salmon may have accelerated the evolution of whatever ate those salmon.
The big salmon festival is underway. The DJ keeps pronouncing it “sall-man.” Most of the town is at the night-time celebration. The mayor isn’t really excited by any of this, but it’s all needed for the town.
Jim returns with one of the creatures’ bodies. Suddenly, several live ones break right through the boardwalk. It’s a mess, and lots of people die. Jim and Susan spray the whole harbor with gasoline and ignite it. Slattery is attacked by one of the creatures, but is saved by Johnny Eagle.
Meanwhile, we see the monsters are stalking outside Jim and Carols’ house. We also see that she has the most excessively effective door locks ever. That doesn’t stop them from coming in through the windows. Carol goes full “Psycho” on the thing.
The sun comes up, and the town is a disaster. The sheriff’s in a daze, and he says Dr. Susan went back to her lab.
Back at the lab, the survivor Peggy is giving birth. Dr. Susan is delivering the baby, which turns out to be an exact copy of the chest-burster scene from “Alien.”
They kill a kid and a dog in the first ten minutes, so you know you’re in for something special. Things blow up really spectacularly and easily in this town. What was the point of igniting the water in the harbor when the monsters were killing everyone on land?
Most of the actors thought they were doing a serious science-fiction film with some basis in reality. By the time Producer Roger Corman got finished, they were all embarrassed by the excessive nudity, and the director even asked to have her name removed from the credits. It is, however, one of the first films to work with the idea of genetic modifications.
The creatures are obviously men in rubber suits, but they’re really good rubber suits and are surprisingly effective here. There’s a lot of gore and carnage, and we do get to see a lot of the creatures.
It’s basically a creature feature with a sci-fi premise, but it’s surprisingly good for as old as it is.
Saturn 3 (1980)
Directed by Stanley Donen, John Barry
Written by Martin Amis, John Barry
Stars Farrah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel
Run Time: 1 Hour, 28 minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
The sets are the standout in this one. The robots are pretty cool, expensive, and the best they could do at the time. All the effects are quite good. The acting is hit-and-miss, as is the script. Overall it’s more entertaining than not, but it’s far from a perfect film.
An enormous spaceship approaches Saturn. We cut to various scenes of sci-fi sets as many people talk over each other. A little ship is loaded for launch, and Captain James rushes to report. We hear him talk to Benson, who failed his mental stability test. James suggests that he not try to appeal it. Benson straps himself in and opens an airlock, sucking James right out while being shredded at the same time (why would that be in a locker room?). Benson then takes James’s place on the launch. The launch proceeds as scheduled, on the way to Saturn 3.
Saturn 3 is an experimental food research station located on one of the moons of Saturn. Benson, who replaced James, unloads his luggage and carries it inside, where everyone removes their masks. We have Benson, Major Adam, and Alex. She says that they hardly ever get visitors, especially from Earth. The entire Solar System is colonized, and Alex has never even been to Earth. They are in eclipse behind Saturn, so there’s a communications blackout that will last 22 days.
Benson says they’re behind schedule with their work, and they need help which he has brought. Adam and Alex are clearly an item, showering together. Benson gives Alex some “Blue Dreamers,” some special sleeping pills, but Adam doesn’t approve of their use. She wants to try one together. He has to remind her to wear clothes because they have a guest.
Benson sees the pet dog and thinks it looks tasty. Benson is unhappy that Alex isn’t available for sex, as she’s exclusive to Adam, which is not how things are done on Earth. He watches them have sex on the video cameras. The next day, he’s after her again. “I like your body; I’d like to use it.”
Benson opens the weird cylinder he brought. It’s full of lab-grown brains for a robot, but it’s not programmed yet. Once it’s fully programmed, either Adam or Alex will be irrelevant. Adam says he’s getting close to retirement, but he’s not obsolete yet. Adam suggests flushing Benson into space, but Alex thinks that’s just mean.
Benson assembles the huge robot without a brain inside. Adam and Alex are surprised that it’s finished so soon. It’s called Hector, and he’s not quite ready for prime time. Benson plugs his mind into the brain to train the robot directly, but we’ve already seen how stable he is. Adam plays chess with Hector, and Adam wins. Hector crushes the chess pieces.
Adam thinks it’s all very suspect, but Alex argues that Benson has been carefully selected and trained, so it must all be safe.
Alex gets a rock chip in her eye, and Benson holds her still while Hector reaches in with tweezers and pulls it out. It looks scary, but it works out fine. “I’m today; he’s yesterday, don’t you like me?” Benson asks.
Benson doesn’t understand why Hector won’t talk. “I am not malfunctioning. You are,” says Hector by text. Hector kills the dog and picks up Alex, refusing to put her down until she asks it to. Benson admits that Hector wants her; he learned that from him. Hector turns on Benson, but Adam rescues him.
Adam asks Benson what they can do as Hector starts smashing things up, but Benson doesn’t really know, because of course, he isn’t really the guy trained for the job. They hope to wait until the power reserves run out, but Hector has learned to recharge himself. Adam causes a power surge while he’s plugged in, which shorts out Hector and they remove his brain. Benson dismantles Hector, but during the night, Hector controls the mindless robots in the lab to reassemble himself.
Benson says he’s leaving, and he’s taking Alex with him. Adam takes offense to that, and the two men fight. Adam wins easily, but Benson whacks him over the head. Before Benson can do anything to Alex, Hector shows up and cuts Benson’s hand off. And worse. There is a great deal of running around and hiding.
Adam sets a trap for Hector, but Hector avoids it until they push him into the liquid nitrogen. That only slows him down. Adam and Alex suit up and run out to Benson’s spaceship, but it explodes before they can get there– Hector remotely detonated it.
Benson calls for a meeting. It’s really just Hector using Benson’s severed head.
The eclipse finally ends, and another Earth ship makes a flyby to do a wellness check on them. Adam wakes up, and now he’s got one of Hector’s ports installed on the back of his head. We see that Hector can speak in both Adam and Alex’s voices as he lies to men on the ship and sends them away saying everything is just fine.
Adam wires himself up with explosives and reports to the robot. He grabs Hector and jumps into the liquid nitrogen pit as he sets off the explosives. Bits and pieces fly everywhere.
We cut to a massive starliner, and we see Alex on board, finally going to Earth for the first time…
The opening scene, with the giant ship, couldn’t be more of a ripoff of Star Wars’ Star Destroyer intro scene. Benson’s murder of James didn’t set off any alarms? You can’t even open the back door at Walmart without setting off alarms!
For the age of the film, the space effects are really pretty good. The sets are large and really well done, some of the largest constructed at the time. The robot, which cost a million dollars to build, is not that impressive, but it does the job.
Harvey Keitel had a strong accent that they didn’t like, so all his lines are dubbed- this makes him sound stilted and almost robotic, definitely off. Earth sounds like a truly awful place.
There’s an awful lot of running around in those expensive corridors. It looks good, but the story is stretched out, the pacing is awful, and the acting is somewhere between mediocre and atrocious.
Short Film: Polaroid (2023)
Directed by Alex Magaña
Written by Alex Magaña
Stars Elizabeth Lee, Mila Bensken, Helena Geraci
Run Time: 9:13
Barbara goes to visit her dead mother’s grave. She pulls out a sandwich and eats it there as something approaches from behind… No, wait, it’s her friend Tiffany, who’s brought Barbara her photography homework from school.
Inside the homework packet is an old-style Polaroid camera. She takes a picture right there in the cemetery. What could happen?
Polaroids don’t develop anywhere near that fast, but no one under the age of forty would probably know that. Then again, it’d be a really slow video if it were time-accurate! Horror Guy Kevin adds that shaking them doesn’t, and never has, made them develop faster.
It’s well-paced, looks great, and it all happens in the bright daylight. Very nice!
Directed by Eric Weston
Written by Joseph Garofalo, Eric Weston
Stars Clint Howard, R.G. Armstrong, Joe Cortese
Run Time: 1 Hour, 27 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s kind of dated and hokey around the edges, but entertaining at its core. The technology and whole vibe are very 80s, which actually makes it kind of fun.
We watch as a group of conquistadors disembarks from their ship. The priest says that Lorenzo Esteban is banished from Spain and condemned to suffer eternal damnation. Later, we see Esteban with a group of his cultists doing dark rituals and human sacrifice.
We cut to the present, where Stanley Coopersmith causes the team to lose another soccer game for West Andover Military Academy. Bubba is the school bully, and he hates Stanley. The coach suggests to Bubba that if Coopersmith got hurt, they wouldn’t lose so many games. Stanley’s an orphan and he’s only there because of government assistance, another reason he’s so disliked.
Stanley goes to church to find Reverend Jameson and goes down to the old basement underneath. He runs into the creepy old Sarge, who’s a drunk and also hates Stanley. Jameson tells Bubba’s mother, a big donor, about the history of the old church, which was founded by Father Esteban a long time ago. Before being executed, Esteban vowed to return and get his revenge.
Stanley’s been assigned a work detail to clean out the basement of the ancient church. He finds a secret room down there, and inside that, he finds an old tomb with many old books.
Stanley has a nightmare about Satanists and is late for his Latin class. Latin final exams are coming up soon. Stanley mentions using a computer to make sure his project is accurate.
That night, working on the computer, Stanley types in some of the Latin from his book. It translates Esteban’s words for him. It mostly confirms what Father Jameson said earlier: Esteban will return.
The school’s headmaster chews out Stanley for being bullied and unconfident. He actually spanks Stanley with his riding crop. The Colonel’s secretary finds Stanley’s book and tries to read it while he’s working, and he’s almost mauled by pigs.
The bullies sabotage Stanley’s homework project, and he thinks they also took his book. Bubba denies having it. He takes the whole computer system, an Apple 2, down to the dungeon to continue his translation work. It gives him the ingredients to perform a black mass, which he soon attempts.
Jake, the cook in the mess hall, is nice to Stanley and shows him his dog, who just had puppies. He gives one of the puppies to Stanley
The black mass can’t be completed without blood and some consecrated Host. He goes to steal some Host from the church but just can’t do it. He leaves and is immediately attacked by the students wearing scary masks. He’s knocked out. He wakes up and thinks the spell worked. Meanwhile, the computer does some weird stuff before it shuts off.
He goes back to the dungeon to feed his puppy, but Sarge hears him and catches him down there. When Sarge goes after the puppy, Stanley hits him. The two fight, but the computer activates and makes Sarge’s head spin around, killing him.
Stanley finds an even more secret room behind his secret room, and this one’s full of skeletons. He stashes Sarge’s body in there.
Elsewhere, the Colonel’s secretary, who still has Stanley’s book, goes home with it. Since she’s the only woman in the movie, we get a naked shower scene. That soon gets interrupted when she’s eaten by pigs. The book on the table in the next room simply vanishes.
Tonight’s the big pep rally before the big game tomorrow. Bubba and the guys start picking on Stanley and they threaten his little dog. The Colonel only sees Stanley and throws him off the team.
The bad guys go to check out Sarge’s place down in the basement, and they find Stanley’s secret place when they hear his dog barking. They find the dog, the computer, and all the books. Bubba sacrifices the little dog, and the computer screen goes blank.
Stanley comes back to the dungeon, and he knows exactly what’s happened. The computer signals that it needs human blood.
The Latin teacher watches as Stanley steals the consecrated Host from the church. He’s going to finish the ritual as instructed. The teacher follows him down into the secret dungeon, arriving at just the wrong moment. Finally, Stanley has human blood to offer.
Upstairs, Reverend Jameson is giving a pre-game sermon to all the cadets. Esteban possesses Stanley. They see the Jesus statue bleeding, and they all freak out, except for Jameson, who gets a nail in his forehead. Naturally, the doors won’t open, and the computer does a graphic show that computers of the time weren’t capable of actually doing.
Stanley floats up out of a hole in the floor with a sword. The Colonel orders Stanley to stop this, but the Colonel loses his head. The pigs swarm in and kill some of the guys, while others burn in the rapidly-spreading fire. A few holdovers are simply beheaded by Stanley’s sword.
Only Bubba makes it to the dungeon, but he’s killed by the reanimated corpse of Sarge. We get a message on screen:
“Suffering from shock and catatonic withdrawal, attributed to his having witnessed the fiery death of his dear friends and teachers, Stanley Coopersmith, sole survivor of the tragic accident, was admitted to Sunnydale Asylum. He remains there still.”
We get one more computer message: “I, Stanley Coopersmith, will return!”
It’s a whole movie centered around what would later be “Google Translate.”
The sets aren’t particularly good. The special effects are pretty awful. The technology is thirty years out of date. Otherwise, it’s really entertaining, and the addition of technology to Satanism is pretty interesting. The gore is good, and no one can say that these guys didn’t deserve a little revenge.
It’s definitely dated in some areas, but it’s really good otherwise.
The Hidden (1987)
Directed by Jack Sholder
Written by Jim Kouf
Stars Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian
Run Time: 1 Hour, 37 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is heavily a science fiction cop action drama, but it has enough body snatching and body horror elements to qualify for the genre. Overall it’s a good story that’s well-made.
We get grainy black-and-white security footage from a bank as the credits roll. We watch a man walk in and look around carefully. Then he pulls out a shotgun and starts blasting. He stops and looks right into the camera and then smiles before shooting it.
The man gets into a sports car and speeds away, but the police are right behind him. There’s mayhem and damage as he causes other crashes and hits people.
Tom Beck, a detective, is already looking for the man, whose name is Jack DeVries. He soon arrives at a massive roadblock, gets shot many more times, and gets blown up. Somehow, they actually take him alive, but he’s on a ventilator in the hospital and not expected to survive. Detective Willis rattles off just how many crimes DeVries was guilty of, much more than just what we saw.
At the police station, Lloyd Gallagher from the FBI comes to the police chief to be assigned a local cop as a partner. He’s looking for DeVries as well; he wasn’t aware the man had been captured.
At the hospital, DeVries gets up and some kind of tentacled slug crawls out of his mouth and into the patient in the next bed. It’s quite large. The new man, Jonathan Miller, is said to be a very kind and honest man who is so terminally ill that he was expected to never leave the hospital alive. He’s currently out violently robbing a record store.
Gallagher then comes to Beck, wanting to find Miller. That’s strange because Miller has no record at all. Beck gets the call from the record store and finds that Miller was the guy who did it. Why would he suddenly turn bad? Gallagher is vague about what’s going on, but he says the criminal he’s chasing assumes other people’s identities.
Miller watches Senator Holt on TV, and he’s very interested. Miller sees a sports car that he likes and chases it on foot, but Miller’s got a bad heart that slows him down. He does eventually… get the car.
Gallagher tells Beck that the perpetrator killed his partner. Beck invites him over for dinner. Gallagher is very strange, and he eats strangely. He does everything strangely. He also mentions the perpetrator killed his wife and daughter.
Meanwhile, Miller goes to a strip club, but we can see that he’s bleeding. The police spot his stolen car out front and they call Beck. Miller goes into the dressing room and harasses Brenda, one of the strippers. We soon see that his “bug” has transferred into Brenda.
There’s a wild car chase and a shootout; Brenda is hit several times but still runs away. Gallagher shoots her a dozen times and then points a strange device at her. Rather than be captured, she says she won’t come out and jumps off the roof. The police lieutenant’s dog investigates her dead body, but no people approach.
We see the dog growling when it sees Gallagher. Beck has seen enough to know something very strange is going on. When Gallagher refuses to explain further, Beck orders his arrest. With a background check, Beck finds out that Lloyd Gallagher was supposedly killed in a forest fire a month ago. He’s not who he says he is.
Gallagher admits what’s going on. There’s an alien creature that moves from one body to another. It can only be killed when it’s between bodies. He thinks that now that it knows he’s after it, that it’ll come after him. He’s been tracking it for nine years and now it’s here on Earth. Unconvinced, Beck locks Gallagher in a cell.
The police lieutenant, Masterson, comes to the station. Meanwhile, in the police lab, the technician finds Gallagher’s weapon, and Masterson hears it fire; he takes the weapon and a shotgun. He takes Beck hostage and shoots up the police station.
Now believing the story, Beck lets Gallagher out of his cell. It’s moved into Willis, Beck’s partner, now. Willis is going after Senator Holt for some reason. Willis goes in shooting and gets Beck twice in the stomach.
Willis corners the senator after killing all his security. They soon find Willis dead, and the senator gives Gallagher a look.
The senator gives a press conference and announces that he wants to be President. Gallagher runs into the crowded room, and he’s shot many times but keeps going. He pulls out a flamethrower and blasts the senator right on stage. The bug crawls out of the senator, and everyone sees it. Gallagher blasts it with his ray gun, and it explodes.
At the hospital, Beck dies, but Gallagher is there and puts himself inside Beck. His true form is more like an energy beam of light rather than the slug bug that his enemy was. Gallagher, now empty, dies, but Beck opens his eyes.
We know from early on that the “perpetrator” is an alien that takes over innocent peoples’ bodies, but it’s a long while before Gallagher explains it to Beck.
The special effects are minimal; the bug creature was stop-motion. It’s more sci-fi police action than horror, but it’s got a lot of “body snatcher” and “alien invasion” elements, so we’ll call it horror.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Directed by Tom McLoughlin
Written by Tom McLoughlin, Sean S. Cunningham, Victor Miller
Stars Thom Matthews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen
Run Time: 1 Hour, 26 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s not a spoiler to say Jason is back again, is it? How he comes back is interesting. The whole project is decently done and more of the same. There’s quite a bit of dark humor in this one as well. If you like the series, you’ll probably like this one too.
Tommy and Hawes are driving to the cemetery, and they have Jason’s mask. They’ve got shovels and gasoline as they look for the grave. They find the grave of Jason Voorhees and start digging, “I’ve got to be sure.” Hawes thinks this is crazy enough that they could both go back to the institution. They open the coffin and inside, they find a rotting corpse, covered in maggots.
Tommy remembers killing him at the end of the fourth movie. He grabs an iron rod from the metal fence and stabs Jason’s body repeatedly and throws the mask in with him. Then lightning strikes the metal rod and electricity plays all over the body. Jason opens his eyes and grabs Tommy. Tommy douses Jason in gasoline, but then it starts raining. Jason kills Hawes, who falls into the open coffin. Tommy runs and drives off as Jason puts his mask on. We then get a James-Bond-gun-barrel scene with Jason, who throws a machete at the camera as credits roll.
Tommy goes to the police station, but he’s so wound up that they lock him in a cell; everyone knows who Tommy is, and they don’t want all that stuff stirred up again.
Darren and Lizbeth, a couple of new camp counselors, are driving through the woods and spot Jason standing in the road. Darren says to just drive, he’ll get out of the way. Jason impales their car, so Darren gets out with a pistol. The car isn’t the only thing getting impaled.
Megan and three other counselors go to the sheriff, wanting him to look for Darren and Lizbeth. Tommy is there, and he tells them about Jason. Megan is the sheriff’s daughter. At the cemetery, the caretaker doesn’t want to get fired, so he just fills in Jason’s grave. Megan tells the others that it’s Friday the 13th, and then tells the rest of Jason’s story. Then all the kids arrive for camp.
Stan and Larry are two loser salesmen out in the woods playing paintball, and they walk right past Jason in the woods. Bert shoots them both and then gloats. Roy spots Jason and shoots him with a paintball, which only confuses Jason. The police and Tommy end up back at the cemetery and find Jason’s grave filled in like none of it happened, which doesn’t convince the police of anything. The sheriff drives Tommy to the county line and drops him off.
Steven and Annette are making out in the woods. Jason kills the caretaker, and they hear the screams. Then they find Jason and scream themselves. Back at the camp, Sissy tells Paula about a card game she made up about Jason. One of the kids screams, seeing a monster, “It was real, just like on TV.” Paula convinces the kid it was just a bad dream.
Meanwhile, Cort and Nikki are going “bump in the night” as Jason hears them in their camper. Jason cuts their electrical cord, so they start the engine and drive off… with Jason hiding in the little restroom. It goes badly for them.
The deputy calls the sheriff; he’s found some bodies, and it looks like Jason did it. Of course, the sheriff assumes that Tommy did it to prove his point. Meanwhile, Tommy’s reading his occultism manual and then calls Megan for help.
Jason arrives at the camp. The police find various parts of the paintballers near Darren and Lizbeth’s bodies.
Jason grabs and kills Sissy so fast that her slippers fly off, and Paula isn’t far behind. Megan and Tommy run a roadblock, and the deputies call the sheriff. He catches them very quickly and still blames Tommy, but Megan gives him an alibi. She helps Tommy escape, and he tells her his plan—Jason needs to return to where he died the first time, in Crystal Lake.
A deputy finds Jason and shoots him in the chest several times. The sheriff gathers all the little kids together. That done, he goes after Jason with his shotgun and uses it on him repeatedly, but it has no effect. Then he hits him with a stick and bashes his head with a rock. None of this has much effect on Jason.
Tommy gets to a boat and unloads a bunch of chains and a big rock. Jason attacks Megan, but Tommy yells and Jason goes right for him. Jason hops up onto the burning boat with Tommy, and Tommy eventually works the chain around Jason’s neck. The boat breaks in half, and the rock takes Jason down to the bottom. He grabs Tommy and drowns him. Megan swims out to rescue Tommy, but Jason grabs her too. She reaches up onto what’s left of the boat, starts the motor, and uses the propeller to fight him off.
Megan drags Tommy back to shore, and he eventually wakes up. “Finally, Jason’s gone forever.”
Later, we zoom in on Jason’s corpse, still chained to the bottom of the lake, but he’s still awake and alive…
Who thought it was a good idea to build a new campground within a hundred miles of that place? It’s a whole, active camp, full of children, but not one child died. Perhaps Jason, recalling his troubled youth being bullied, has a soft spot for kids. In the beginning of the film, Jason is resurrected from his grave, but in the previous film in the series, it is mentioned that Jason was cremated.
The Bond-opening sets the stage for the rest of it. There’s a lot of humor here, as Jason has almost become a parody of himself; many of the kills are so over-the-top to be laughable. Still, it’s fun, and it’s actually better than the previous two films.
Directed by Richard Attenborough
Written by William Goldman
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith
Run Time: 1 Hour, 46 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s got a powerhouse cast in a good story with strong direction. There’s plenty of suspense, with horror elements for sure. It’s a winner!
An old man named Merlin sleeps as someone comes into the room. “Did you knock ‘em dead, Corky? Your first time on your own.” Corky’s a magician, and he does amateur shows. He tells the old man how smoothly the show went, but we see in a flashback how he completely flopped—no one paid any attention to him. The old man is impressed with the story, but the audience obviously wasn’t. He comes clean to the old man that he got angry and screamed at the audience.
Mr. Todson from NBC comes to see Ben Greene, Corky’s manager. This is the same place Corky flopped a year ago, but he came back and has been a big success. Corky comes out, and now everyone pays attention. He makes a mistake, and a heckler starts yelling from the audience. Corky goes out into the audience after the heckler. It’s a dummy—Corky’s doing ventriloquism now. The dummy, Fats, talks about his sex life and insults Corky during the act, and the audience eats it up. Ben has a whole plan to get Corky on Carson and be a big success.
Ben says that NBC wants a pilot special which could lead to a whole series. They’re going to require a physical exam, but Corky doesn’t want to do that, and it’s a huge deal-breaker. Ben comes over to talk, but Corky packs his bags and rushes out. He takes a cab to his old childhood home, the cemetery where his family is buried, and rents a cabin in the Catskills.
The woman he rented the cabin from is Peggy Ann Snow, an old flame from high school, and they both assume that they don’t remember each other, but they clearly both had crushes on each other. Fats helps them clear that up. Later, Corky and Fats talk, and Fats is afraid he’s going to get jealous. She’s unhappily married to Duke, who is away on business right now.
He shows Peggy how to do a card trick with telepathy, but they end up arguing. He gets angry that the telepathy doesn’t work, and it’s all pretty tense until it works on the second attempt. This leads to sex, as all good card tricks have a tendency to do. Fats sits in the corner looking ominously at them.
Ben shows up at the door; he tracked him down. He catches Corky and Fats arguing and comes to the conclusion that Corky’s losing his mind. Ben accuses him, “You ain’t in control!” He challenges Corky to make Fats shut up for five minutes. It’s quite a struggle for Corky, and he just can’t do it. Ben is really disappointed in Corky and wants him to get help.
The ensuing fight between Corky and Fats proves the old agent correct. Shortly after, Ben is beaten to death with the ventriloquist dummy. Peggy almost catches Corky with the not-quite-dead body. Corky contemplates turning himself in, but Fats talks him out of it. He dumps Ben’s body in the lake to be food for turtles.
In the morning, Duke returns home and wants to see how Corky and Peggy interact. He brings Fats along as a distraction. Duke goes out for some maintenance and finds Ben’s Rolls Royce off the side of the road. Corky fakes a call to Ben, arguing with the old man on the phone about why the car got stuck in the mud and Ben hitchhiked back to town. Neither Duke nor Peggy really believes any of it.
Duke takes Corky out on the boat for fishing, but Corky keeps looking down into the water for Ben’s body. Duke drops his line in the water and catches something… heavy. Oh, it’s just a branch. Then Duke spots Ben’s body on the beach and Corky pretends to not know him.
Duke suspects that Corky is lying, so he searches Corky’s cabin. He finds blood on Fat’s wig and then Ben’s identification. Fats pulls a switchblade and stabs Duke—or was it Corky? Fats tells Corky to go back out onto the lake and do it right this time.
Corky decides it’s time to leave, so he asks Peggy if she’s coming with him. She is, but she wants to tell Duke in person. Corky tells Fats that Fats won’t be going on their honeymoon. “I’ll tell…” threatens the dummy. “I’m doing a single now,” Corky replies.
Peggy comes to talk to Corky, but Fats tells her things that he shouldn’t. Fats and Corky argue some more, and we see Fat’s eyes move. Fats tells Corky to get a knife and kill Peggy. Fats comes to Peggy’s bedroom door and says he’s leaving.
Corky drops the bloody knife in front of Fats. Corky stabbed himself in the stomach. “Don’t leave me here alone,” Fats cries. “It was you all the time,” admits the doll. The two die together.
“I’ve changed my mind. Let’s go off together,” yells Peggy from outside.
The cast is small but excellent. Gene Wilder was the director’s first choice as Corky, but the producers didn’t want a comedian in the role. Anthony Hopkins plays it dead seriously all the way through.
We never really get much explanation as to why Corky has gone insane. We watched the version on Shudder, which I’m guessing was the edited for TV version, as there are some clunky cuts here and there, but the story was intact.
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