I am again a day (or two) late and a dollar short for Final Girls’ film club. I suck at this and my life probably won’t amount to a hill of beans. What does that mean? Did people in the past collect beans and those with the largest pile, or hill, ok I’m going to stop now. Opinions sure are divided over this movie, if Final Girl’s comments section can be said to represent real life (Spoiler alert: it can.)
I happened to enjoy the movie, with some caveats. I liked it because it pulled at my nostalgia strings. It’s set in the early eighties and I was a child in the eighties. In fact, I’m certain that I had the same stone-washed drawstring backpack as the protagonist. It reminded me of a simpler time, when scary movies didn’t all look like music videos. It’s kind of like a cheeseburger. It tastes good, is fun to eat, and is simple, but it’s not gourmet unless you’re getting one of those Kobe beef and truffle deals.
The movie starts with this announcement;
Sweet, I love movies that start like this. Hell, put an introduction like this in front of a VeggieTales tape and I’d watch it. And be scared.
Incidentally, does anyone remember the Satanic panic? I’m familiar with it from reading, especially about the West Memphis Three but I’m a little young to have experienced it. In a moment of weird synchronicity where what I’m reading reflects on what I’m watching, I just got to the part about the Satanic panic in The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. According to Sagan, a 1994 study by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect studied over 12,000 claims of sexual abuse involving satanic cults and not one held up to scrutiny. I find the fact that there were enough people believing in satanic cults to yield 12,000 claims almost as scary as this movie.
The intro gave way to these opening credits and I was in love.
It looks like a tv movie where it’s revealed that the head cheerleader and captain of the football team are going to the woods to smoke up and worship satan while listening to Judas Priest but then someone DIES. Or it could be the cover of one of those sick-girl books I used to read.
Samantha, she of the scarf and hat from the opening credits, is in trouble. She just got her first apartment, to get her out of the dorm that she shares with the worst roommate ever, who we meet later. Seriously, this girl is gross. She blows her nose on her hand and then tries to comb her hair with said hand and I died a little inside. Trouble is that she needs money. So she picks up a babysitting advertisement and calls the number. From a payphone. Remember payphones? She leaves a message after the beep and when she walks away the phone rings. She picks it up and it’s the guy who she called. This is instantly creepy. I once picked up a ringing payphone on my college campus and a guy started talking about $600 worth of stuff. I was freaked out so I hung up. Anyway, Samantha and anonymous phone guy make a deal to meet but he never shows up.
Samantha meets her bff Megan for consolation pizza. Megan is a total weirdo and I love her for it. I really wish that there could be a just Megan movie. Even if she drinks like a jerk–use a straw! Oddly, the people at Final Girl think she ate pizza like a jerk. I don’t get it, I eat pizza like that, what’s jerky about it?
Anyway, she goes home to her roommate of evil who says that a guy left a message for her only she didn’t take down any details or anything. Bitch! Samantha calls the babysitting number again, on a hunch, and he offers her $100 in eighties money. One-hundred-dollars! That’s like a…lot of money in now money. If you’ve ever watched an episode of The Twilight Zone, a slasher movie, or read an R.L. Stine movie then you know that something bad is going to happen. But it’s kind of fun watching it happen.
Megan drives Samantha to the house and enumerates all the reasons why this is a terrible idea. I want to shout out for Samantha to listen to her.
They get to the house and it just looks so foreboding, kind of like a gaping mouth.
Please, turn around and if you need money ask Megan’s allegedly rich dad. Yes, there is a bit of class commentary in this movie but not enough to bog down the fun. And the fun is meeting the creepy owners of this cool yet creepy house.
This is Mr. Ulman, as played by Tom Noonan who played Francis Dolarhyde in Manhunter. The secret is that the babysitting job isn’t for a child but for grandma and Samantha is ready to bail–as she should! But he doubles, then triples his offer and Samantha talks him up to $400 for four hours of work.
Megan tries one last time to get Samantha to leave but alas, Samantha is determined. Megan goes and promises to pick her up at 12:30. Samantha then meets Mrs. Ulman.
She’s played by Mary Woronov who was Calamity Jane in one of my fave sci-fi movies ever, Death Race 2000.
They leave and typical creepy house things happen. Samantha explores and uncovers more and more evidence of creepiness. I won’t give away the ending. Frankly, I thought it was a bit anticlimactic after all the buildup. This is a movie that keeps you tense but it’s still fun getting to the end.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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