Happy Halloween! Everybody knows that Halloween is the best holiday there is because it’s the one day of the year on which you can (credibly) dress like a tosser, drink shit loads and not have the big day spoiled by the application of religion in some way shape or form. For the big day, I have been saving a double feature review.
If there’s one thing I love as much as movies and weed, it’s reminiscing about my awesome childhood. I was so lucky as a child because not only was I born in the 80s, thereby possessing awesome 80s fabulosity that no-one can deny, but I also got to grow up in pre-internet 90s which meant I got to experience the glory of 90s teen slashers. Scream is undoubtedly the mother of this genre but there are so many greats. This post will look at a couple of my favourites.
Urban Legend (1998)
Cast: Jared Leto, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid
Synopsis: Set on a beautiful rural New England University campus, a murderer is going around butchering horny teens but is using well-known urban legends for inspiration.
If Scream is the mother of the 90s teen slasher genre, then Urban Legend is the eccentric aunt you only see once a year at Christmas who brings you funny smelling presents she no doubt picked out at a jumble sale. I remember staying up late to watch this on TV on school nights. As far as teen horror movies go, it is tacky as fuck but there something so hysterical about a killer whose modus operandi includes putting a dog in a microwave and then shoving bleach and popping rocks down Lex Luthor’s throat.
I have to admit, it’s quite a creative premise and everybody loves a good urban legend. The story about the killer on top of car while the woman’s locked inside still gives me shivers. The best thing about this film though is seeing much-loved 90s teen TV stars getting offed in such stupid ways. The whole way through this movie you’ll be screaming: “PACEY YOU SHOULD HAVE ENDED UP WITH ANDIE,” reminiscing about Cybill, singing 30 Seconds to Mars songs or, at the very least, just laughing at Tara Reid.
From an objective standpoint, the movie is really quite bad and it makes no sense. If you were on campus and a serial killer was offing all the people you know, why the fuck would you hang around!? I’d be on the first bus out of there and I definitely would not be waiting for either the killer or (strangely sexy) Jared Leto to make a move. OK, the plot is ridiculous and the acting’s a bit mediocre but who cares? When you have so much fun taking the piss out of a movie you kind of forget how bad it actually is.
- Every cop should be a sassy black woman who idolises Coffy.
- Lol, Tara Reid. I know I’m mean to her but c’mon! In the scene in which she’s being chased by the killer, why does she run into the lift instead of out the front door WHEN SHE’S RIGHT NEXT TO IT!?
- Bonnie Tyler!!! Time to get my 80s power ballad on.
- Did anybody actually have a sex-crazy goth roommate???
- Objectively speaking, it’s quite bad.
- “Boo hoo a serial killer is after me and instead of buggering off I’m going to hang around.” GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE.
- The 90s fashion in the final scene was terrible. The 90s may have been a great decade to be a child but God damn the fashion was awful.
I love Urban Legend and I’ll always come back for a re-watch after a couple of years. I think this is a great choice for Halloween because, at its core, the film does possess quite a scary concept but it is executed in the funniest way possible. This is best enjoyed with some close friends who understand how awesome the 90s were and, of course, weed to heighten the comedy value of it all.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Cast: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe
Synopsis: After a wild night of partying, four douchey teenagers run a guy over in their car and dump the body in the ocean. A year later they all receive threatening messages but who could they be from?
If Scream is the mother and Urban Legend is the distant eccentric aunt, then what is I know What You Did Last Summer? My guess is that this film is the aunt who was prettier and more popular as a child/teenager but didn’t really keep the momentum going into adulthood. As far as most people are concerned, I Know What You Did Last Summer is the hack 90s slasher. I have to say, I completely disagree. In some ways, I prefer it to Scream. For starters, it isn’t as gory as Scream and it has much more of a slow-burn effect. The killer in the movie doesn’t go straight in for the kill. He stalks and terrorises these kids which makes for a pretty great build-up.
Re-watching this was interesting because it dawned on me what an awesome cast was in this movie. I mean, these actors were hot 90s shit! You had Buffy, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Ryan Phillippe all in the same movie! All three were, and still are, total panty droppers. It’s like a 90s teen visual orgasm AND Phillippe gets semi naked AND his body is totally slamming. This movie has a raw sex appeal to it that other 90s slasher films lacked and, thanks to the relatively small cast, more time is spent developing the individual characters so we feel more feels when one of them gets killed.
As a horror movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer does deliver some genuine scares and jumpy moments. I was watching this with a group of friends, one of whom is not great with horror movies and she was jumping out of her skin throughout. Whereas Urban Legend satisfies a desire for comedy, if you want actually watch something that’s relatively scary for Halloween then this is a much safer bet.
- I love Sarah Michelle Gellar. How could you not? She’s Buffy!
- HAHAHAHAHA! It’s the guy from The Big Bang Theory.
- HAHAHAHAHA! It’s Anne Heche, the fair-weather lesbian.
- Some good scares.
- Why does she get on that randomer’s boat? That was like getting in the back of some guy’s white transit van because he asks you too.
- I think that the horror will be lost on people nowadays. You have to remember this was before mobile phones and such so if you hit a guy on a secluded road you couldn’t have done anything about it. Nowadays, kids would just instagram that shit and post it on facebook after adding sepia-tone filters. Stupid kids.
- That ain’t Brandy!
I Know What You Did Last Summer is pure, grade-A 90s teen slasher. It’s funny, sexy, and scary…pretty much the epitome of the 90s as a decade. If you want a ghoulish trip down memory lane this Halloween then this is the route you should take.