Sunday, June 30, 2013

Horror on Party Beach

For our podcast episode about this very film, please click here.

Hello! The time has come for my big announcement!

I just got hired to write for an indie publication called CinemaBeach. It's unpaid, but there are some press perks and it's a very exciting opportunity.

I will be running a horror column called Killer Waves and reviewing new indie horror releases, which means I get to go to the Laemmle Theatre in Beverly Hills (and the nearby Sprinkles Cupcake ATM) a lot more often.

I will of course keep posting here. I like to review every movie I see and CinemaBeach has no use for mainstream movie reviews.

However, when I write a post for the website, I will link to it here and consider my work done for the day. One post a day is my goal and I don't think anybody can complain if that post is in a slightly different format.

My first official review in my new capacity is of the Australian import 100 Bloody Acres, and please check it out. I'm very excited.

Note: Because the format is different on CinemaBeach and doesn't include ratings, I will post my usual information here along with a link to the article.

100 Bloody Acres
Year: 2013
Director: Cameron Cairnes
Cast: Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson, Anna McGahan
Run Time: 1 hour 31 minutes
MPAA Rating: UR

Leave it to the Aussies to find the fun in bloody mayhem. 100 Bloody Acres is filled with wicked glee ,whether it’s presenting a severed hand, a vat of carnage, or a local radio jingle. Taking place in a small town in the Australian Outback, the film follows a group of three teenagers who are on their way to a music festival. When their car breaks down (as vehicles in these types of movies are wont to do), they are given a lift by Reg Morgan (Damon Herriman) of Morgan Organic, a local blood and bone fertilizer company.
Unfortunately, times have been tough for Reg and his brother Lindsay (Angus Sampson) and they have been forced to cut corners in order to make ends meet. Lately Reg has been culling new blood and bone material by appropriating still warm bodies from roadside wrecks. He is in the middle of delivering a bloody metalhead when the hitchhikers discover the corpse and the brothers are faced with a tough decision.
On one hand, they could threaten them to keep their mouths shut and send them on their merry way.
On the other, they could really use fresh fertilizer for a big delivery this afternoon.
What ensues are hearty laughs, geysers of blood, and a comic examination of the interactions between country folk and city slickers. This horror comedy is decidedly more funny than scary (the filmmakers were more keen on making you cringe instead of shriek), but the humor is so devilish that the dearth of scare sequences is not to be lamented. Some would even go so far as to call this film a straight comedy, but the humor is hung on the framework of movies like Saw or Hostel, and in fact could not have existed without their influence. As it happens, the audience is too busy laughing to discuss the intricacies of genre.
A standout performance is Damon Herriman, whose Reg is simple, polite to a fault (even when taping someone’s mouth shut), and too scared of his big brother to raise a stink when it comes to his alternative business methods. Cute as a puppy dog, Herriman somehow manages to make Reg an audience favorite despite some of his more morally reprehensible actions. His inherent goodness hangs in the balance of a delightfully subtle portrayal for which the filmmakers should be immensely grateful. Drinking a juice box while covered in blood is a naturally funny concept. But with Herriman behind the wheel, it is not only a silly gag but an important character moment.
Also a standout is Anna McGahan’s Sophie, a strong woman whose role is key in subverting the historically misogynistic slant of the torture genre that the film is riffing on. There is a particularly vicious case of slut shaming at the middle mark that would make any feminist cringe, but the characters that view Sophie’s sexuality as immoral get their comeuppance in the end. In fact, a diatribe against her actions is explicitly detrimental to one character’s survival. It reflects very well on the filmmakers that they not only take a stance on a hot button issue, but avoid bludgeoning the audience with a “moral”. It’s obvious that we should root for her character, and we do. That’s all there is to it, no need to make a fuss.
One of the biggest strengths of the movie (besides Sophie being one tough sheila) is that every character’s actions logically follow from their circumstances and personality. Albeit that logic is somewhat twisted, but it makes perfect sense in the heightened cinematic reality of the film. There is a complete lack of dumb horror movie character behavior and, though mistakes are made, the setups are unforced and avoid the common “Don’t go in the basement, stupid!” pitfalls.
Regrettably, sometimes Australia-specific jokes or concepts will fall flat for American audiences (John Butler? Australia Day?), but in general the humor is broad enough for international audiences to enjoy and sharp enough that even if one doesn’t understand a particular cultural reference, it frequently adds to the absurdity rather than detracting from the audience’s understanding. But that is beside the point, because the film is necessarily Australian. Many plot points hinge on social, economical, and environmental structures unique to the country. For example, many horror movies accentuate the protagonist’s predicament by placing her in a far-off location where nobody can hear her scream – the mountains, a cabin in the woods, and sometimes even space.
In Australia, every single place is like that.
The movie is far from flawless, but the humor is satisfying and rich, the gore is suitably realistic and campy for the bloodthirsty horror faithful, and the underlying message is sincere but not too preachy. 100 Bloody Acres is a must-see for fans of comedy and horror alike, although more squeamish audience members may wish to sit this one out.
TL;DR: Bloody good fun, with a uniquely feminist and frequently hilarious riff on the backwoods torture genre.
Rating: 8/10
Should I Spend Money on This? It might be hard to catch it in a theater, but it's a worthy film to catch on demand for a night in.
Word Count: 908

Can We Talk About The Great Gatsby?

Every now and then a movie comes out that I truly want to see, but I just happen to not get around to watching until too long after its release date. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby came and almost went before I dragged my butt out of my apartment to go see it.

When we walked into the theater, I commented to my boyfriend Sergio that I didn’t think I would review this film. I’d already been tainted by reading other reviews and it’s too late in the run to really change any audience minds.

I said I would only write something if I had something unique or interesting to say about the film.
Boy do I.

The Gay Gatsby - Homoerotic Undertones in an American Classic

Now, I haven’t read the book in several years, so this analysis is taken exclusively from the film. No doubt elements of my hypothesis are present in the book, but I am not suitably equipped to make that assessment.

Let’s dispense with the chitchat.

Jay Gatsby is gay.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was known for his use of color symbolism. Yellow windows. Green light.… Pink suit?

OK maybe that one’s a stereotype. But let me continue. The instant Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) moves in next door, Gatsby has him on his radar. In fact he spends a great deal of time spying on him from an upstairs window.

Nick is the only person in the entire history of this earth to have ever received a personal invitation to one of Gatsby's parties. Now I know what you're going to say - Gatsby is ostensibly trying to use Nick's position as Daisy's cousin to get in with her. And while he does use this connection eventually, in the beginning he mostly just takes Nick out to dinner and tries to convince him to go swimming with him.

Like a spaghetti noodle - straight until wet.

The instant Nick meets the Gatsby he's heard so much about, he is enamored.

He is so unduly impressed with this man he often describes him as a God on Earth despite his massive flaws and his obvious connections with organized crime. He is too blinded by love to notice his faults. Likewise, he vehemently rejects the advances of Myrtle's cousin (he is only convinced to stay with copious amount of liquor) and largely ignores the beautiful and fabulous Jordan Baker, who gives him numerous chances to... show her his Jordan Almonds.

You'd have to be gay to not notice her. Heck, I'm gay and I even notice her.

When Gatsby finally meets Daisy and their long overdue courtship is realized, it is less than steamy. Yes, there is an intimate connection between the two of them, but remember these are old friends who haven't seen each other in years. There is a sex scene in the movie, yes. But it was one of the few scenes that felt like it didn't gel with the narrative, perhaps for the fact that it wasn't included in the book - which is told from Nick's perspective exclusively. There is no textual evidence whatsoever that Jay and Daisy had a sexual relationship.

A man in love? Perhaps, but clearly not with anyone in frame.

Yes, he thinks he loves Daisy. But how does that explain his continuing friendship with Nick, long after he has brought the two together? For a man whose ultimate goal is to reunite with his long lost love, he seems awfully keen to keep her cousin around. His most intimate moments with Daisy - the shirt scene, the tour of his house, dancing in the grand ballroom - all occurred in the presence of one Nick Carraway. Nick, not wanting to be a bother, insisted he let the two tour alone, but Gatsby wouldn't take no for an answer.

Gatsby's plot to win Daisy back? To impress her with his decadent, glittery parties and sense of style.

Thus, I would like to put forward the argument that The Great Gatsby is not only a literary classic about the American Dream and the lengths to which one can go to pursue it, but of the last bastion of sexual repression in the sexually decadent time period of the Roaring Twenties. The film and book are fraught with women finding their sexuality, raucus parties, and adulterous affairs stacked up to the rafters, but the most deep and abiding love in the film is one that can not yet be expressed in carnal measures.

It is found in small places; in the shade of a tree in the garden, in a glance, in a smile, in the nervous adjustment of a cufflink.

And, in closing, I leave you with this.

Word Count: 795

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Drumroll, Please...

Posting has slowed down, almost imperceptibly I hope, but it's all for a good cause.

I'm working on another J-Horror history lesson/rant for you guys, which takes forever because I have to watch six movies with a Sergio who is working constantly. What a guy. Also I have something very special (for me) in the works that I'm almost ready to debut.

Hold on to your butts.
Word Count: 68

Friday, June 28, 2013

And Now, A Very Special Episode of Popcorn Culture

Today is a great day. Not only do I get to showcase the writing of a cohort of mine, I don't have to do as much work!

Today's post is brought to you by my partner in blogging, Penelope Queerwater. The only hand I had in this was some minor formatting. As promised, I present to you

The Top 10 Most Gay Marryable California Actresses

Like Brennan promised, here is the list of the top ten most gay marry-able leading ladies who were born in Californi-gay. I, Penelope Queerwater, will be your guide into the few things Brennan actually doesn't know much about. Specifically, vagina affairs and synchronized swimming. (Synchronized swimming is a complete mystery to him.) Ready? OK!

Basically, I am willing to forget the previously declared sexual orientations, the supposed relationships already in place, and the fact that I am not at all ready to be that committed to someone and say "Hey, Gay's Okay now, so let's have a Gay old time and get married." …Ladies.

#10 Allison Scagliotti

Hometown: Monterey
Known For: Warehouse 13, Drake and Josh

My dear, dear Aly Scags. Originally I fell in love with her character Claudia Donovan on Warehouse 13, because Claud is edgy and cool and witty and basically who I want as a girlfriend, but alas her character gets slightly dumber around boys, like a lot of women characters do. BUT everything is okay because Aly is apparently even cooler than her character and is crazy into music AND a huge supporter of the LGBT+ community. 

#9 Emma Caulfield

Hometown: San Diego
Known For: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I don't think I've seen her in anything from this decade but I DON'T CARE. She's the actress who played Anya, my favorite character on Buffy, and guess what, she's still rather hilarious and gorgeous and I miss her on my television screen. So yeah, Anya.

#8 Alex Breckenridge

Hometown: Mill Valley
Known For: American Horror Story, She's the Man

Basically, this woman is captivating. Anyone who has seen the first season of American Horror Story would agree, because she plays the seductive maid who is always trying to get in Dylan McDermott's pants, even if it means a steamy scene between her and Mena Suvari. I am definitely not complaining. Suddenly, when people make jokes about role play in maid's uniforms, I get it, because if every maid's uniform came with an Alex Breckenridge, I would stay home to watch my house get cleaned more.

#7 Kaley Cuoco

Hometown: Camarillo
Known For: The Big Bang Theory, Being the Negotiator's daughter on TV

I jumped on the cookoo for cuoco train after laughing at the Big Bang Theory while being amazed that someone could actually bring back the 90's midriff. (Seriously, why did that ever go out of style?). Kaley reminds me of Britney Spears in her younger, prior to the Meltdown of 2007 days. Can you see it? Kinda? And just think, if Madonna and Britney could kiss, who knows what could happen in 2013. Oh wait, I do! Marriage.

#6 Lizzy Caplan

Hometown: Los Angeles
Known For: Mean Girls, New Girl, Cloverfield

Lizzy Caplan, I have a BIG LESBIAN CRUSH ON YOU.

#5 Kristen Stewart

Hometown: Los Angeles
Known For: Twilight, The Runaways

I am not going to insist that a person's sexual orientation is not what they say it is, because it's up to the person blah blah blah BUT I solidly believe that KStew's most believable role is when she played Joan Jett in The Runaways. And who doesn't want to be the girl to walk down the aisle to KStew, though I wouldn't doubt if Charlize Theron proposed to her first.

#4 Mae Whitman

Hometown: Los Angeles
Known For: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Arrested Development

I was bi-furious prior to the prop 8 repeal yesterday. Now I'm in lesbians with everyone- legally. Mae Whitman is going to be a big deal real soon, so better to get married before she takes off, right?

#3 Alia Skawcat

Hometown: Riverside
Known For: Arrested Development, Whip It

Must I say it? MARRY ME. I hope that the fact that gay marriage is now legal won't take the taboo out of our relationship… or maybe I can rig to say that we're also cousins.

#2 Krysta Rodriguez

Hometown: Orange
Known For: Smash, The Addams Family Musical, a Dominoes commercial

When I saw Krysta on broadway starring as Wednesday in the Addams Family Musical, I was pulled in a new direction. Brennan's New York love was Andy "Floppy" Mientus, and mine was Krysta. What can I say? I get talent lady boners, and KRod's belt makes my hair stand on end. If I had lived in New York when gay marriage was legalized I would have asked her then, but now I just have to wait for her to come this way. KRYSTA DO MORE ACTOR-Y THINGS IN LA.

#1 Jennifer Aniston

Hometown: Los Angeles
Known For: Friends, being divorced by Brad Pitt

Look, Jennifer is the older version of Taylor Swift without the sappy love songs that I admittedly can't get out of my head. One of the reasons her relationships just haven't worked out is that she hasn't found the right… sexual orientation. Come to the dyke side, Jenn. We have vegan cookies.

And there you have it. May all your marriages, and my imaginary ones be magical.

~Penelope Queerwater 6/28/2013
Word Count: 913

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SCOTUS Pocus - A Vanishing Act

Hello everyone! I haven't seen you since yesterday!

And what a day it's been. I spent my shift this morning ignoring customers so I could keep up with the news on the Supreme Court, and boy is it good (to a point, but we can't go around expecting our government to grow a pair anytime soon). DOMA and Proposition 8 have both been struck down today, Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

A federal same-sex marriage ban has been deemed unconstitutional, which means that LGBT couples have access to a lot more financial rights given to married couples under the US government. Proposition 8 was deferred to the lower courts, who had already deemed it unconstitutional, so there has been no national precedent set, but equality has once again been brought to California. There's still a long long way to go, but this has been a major step in the gay rights movement, and it's honestly just a really great day to be an American.

In honor of my new right to marry David Boreanaz in my home state, I present to you...

The Top 10 Most Gay Marryable California Actors

Note: This is my list so you can't complain. If you don't like it, make your own list.

#10 James Marsters
Hometown: Greenville
Known For: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel

James played Spike, the *ahem* lesser of Buffy's two vampire love interests, but he was such a hit his part was extended about four seasons longer than planned. He's charming and exotic/edgy looking, plus he can do a fake British accent, which is perfect for spicing up everyday conversations.

#9 Ben Affleck
Hometown: Berkeley
Known For: Good Will Hunting, Pearl Harbor, Argo

Ben is very well-rounded. He won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for Good Will Hunting when he was only 24. He directed and starred in Argo, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture this year, and you just know he's good at housework. Also, he's loyal. He's been married to Jennifer Garner since 2005. He'll be in it for the long haul. 

You know, once he ditches the chick.

Fun Fact: He starred in the (terrible) movie adaptation of my favorite Dean Koontz book, Phantoms.

#8 Dante Basco
Hometown: Pittsburg
Known For: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Hook, American Dragon Jake Long

If you'll permit me to be a horrible person and name drop for a moment, I got the chance to work with Dante on a web series shoot this weekend, and he's a really great guy. Also, when he tells you he loves you, you can imagine Prince Zuko is saying it. Or Rufio, if that's what floats your boat.

#7 Tyler Posey

Hometown: Santa Monica
Known For: Teen Wolf

Isn't he just the sweetest thing? The only reason he's lower on the list is because he's obviously under a lot of homoerotic tension on set, and the sheer amount of abs on that set have enough combined power to shatter any marriage less than ten years strong.

#6 Tobey Maguire
Hometown: Santa Monica
Known For: Spider-Man, The Great Gatsby

I know this is an odd choice, and he's not strikingly handsome or anything, but he's got a pleasant Boy Next Door quality that seems perfect for a happy, loving, committed relationship, which puts him above the more volatile charms of the more eye-catching Tyler.

#5 Zac Efron

Hometown: San Luis Obispo
Known For: High School Musical, Hairspray, The Lucky One

Forget everything I just said, I'm just marrying Zac for his looks.

#4 Dave Franco
Hometown: Palo Alto
Known For: Scrubs, 21 Jump Street, Now You See Me

No, James Franco is not on this list. Think about it. Do you want to spend every single day with him for the rest of your life?


His little brother though has come to prominence recently and although he usually plays less than likable characters, you can tell deep down he's just having fun playing against type. Also, my vows would be 50% me praising his eyebrows.

#3 Adam Scott
Hometown: Santa Cruz
Known For: Parks and Recreation, Party Down

He's got the whole package. He's funny, intelligent, and handsome, but not smoldering hot enough to pose a problem. See, there's the rub. You could go ahead and marry, say, Ryan Gosling. But you know you would always be jealous and suspicious every second he's not by your side. Because yes. Literally every person he meets is trying to sleep with him.

Adam would notice your concerns and smooth your hair and kiss your forehead and then everything would be right with the world.

#2 Tom Lenk

Hometown: Camarillo
Known For: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing

I saved the actually gay ones for last. Tom Lenk is a key (bit) player in the Whedonverse, and is most known for playing ambiguously gay Andrew Wells in Buffy, whose love for his best friend Warren drives him to the dark side. But in Season Seven, he redeems himself, becomes a filmmaker, and locks himself forever in my heart.

Whedon loves him, so you know he's fun to be around. And he's the only person other than Zooey Deschanel who can be described as adorkable without me wanting to gouge my eardrums out. Maybe not even Zooey. I'm over it.

#1 Chris Colfer
Hometown: Clovis
Known For: Glee, Struck By Lightning

You know you want him to sing you to sleep. He started off Season One of Glee as this little slip of a boy and somehow went through puberty about four times between each season. He's still as cherubic as ever but also very clearly a strong and confident man.

He's also basically the most talented actor on Glee, adding emotional heft to scenes that, as written, would send any other actor into a diabetic coma.

Stay tuned for the Top 10 Most Gay Marryable Actresses, written by a special guest!
Word Count: 992

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beat It, Essay: Ensayo Número Uno

In the Spring semester, I actually started taking film classes for the first time in my life. These classes were the reason I started my blog all those years ago. Well, two - across three platforms. It started as a web site that I lost the domain rights to. My content from that period also vanished into the ether. It was a sad day.

I wanted to prepare myself for thinking about movies as something other than entertainment. It's a tough balance, because if I don't find them entertaining it's not worth it to get into the business, but I wanted to incorporate considering how and by whom the films were made and why things were the way they were. Why is this shot in the film? Why did the director choose to use a close up here rather than there? I think I'm getting better at it, and writing this blog alongside my academic essays for classes has been an immense help.

Here's an essay from my Media Aesthetics class last semester. (I got an A+ on my first essay pairing - this one and the one following.) Ironically, what with all that buildup, it is only tangentially about film.

Prompt: Write a two page reflection on any single work of classic art or architecture that has moved or inspired you. 

When I think about my past, I can always see the seeds of who I am today rooted in my childhood. Even as a kid, I was fascinated by foreign languages (at the time, it was the Greek and Latin root words we were learning in 2nd and 3rd grade) and cultures because they were a part of something larger than the individual, passed down through the centuries.

Being a born-and-bred American, I have always felt this instinctive craving for culture. Whatever traditions, languages, or values that were brought to the New World by my ancestors had long since been watered down by the generations, leaving me disconnected – isolated from my heritage – and extremely bored. As I grew older, I began to realize gradually that being an American didn’t leave me totally bereft of culture, but it wasn’t what I had imagined it to be.

Of course growing up here provided me a set of values and a connection with the people around me, but I wanted more. I wanted the elaborate tea ceremonies of the Japanese. I wanted the gentility and conviviality of a British thoroughfare. I wanted, in short, anything to which I could attach my longing to be a part of something interesting and larger than life. I viewed any foreign language with reverence and was held in rapt attention by anything that indicated it was from somewhere other than the place of my birth.

It was through this somewhat desperate bid for culture that I discovered the 1931 surrealist oil painting La persistencia de la memoria by Salvador Dalí. I was drawn in by the fact that it had a Spanish title (a pet language of mine), but when I saw the painting for the first time it had a much more profound impact on me than merely being representative of another culture.

I was intrigued and personally affected by the images of the melting clocks on this barren landscape and realized that Dalí had tapped into something that I, and surely countless others, had long understood but had never been able to properly express. Nobody wants to be forgotten. The motif of the clocks being destroyed is in direct opposition to our rigidly fixed human concept of time.

Despite whatever we know or claim to know about life and death, we all secretly assume that we will exist forever and the idea that even time is not immutable and can be destroyed flies directly in the face of our deepest desires. We want to exist beyond time, but what is there beyond? Just a desolate, empty wasteland filled with nightmare shadows and creatures of unknown origin, slipping away like a dream.

Nothing that is real can exist outside of time. After the passing of the ages, our voices will be lost in the great unknown and that scares us. And that’s what culture is – a mass human instinct to communicate; a desire to be heard, to be understood, and to not be forgotten. Culture is what allows us to live far beyond the boundaries of this mortal coil.

So in a simple act of seeking a culture apart from my own by looking at a painting I accidentally discovered the root idea of culture itself. Dalí’s own intent in producing his work was clearly to make a point on memory (as indicated by its title, in English, The Persistence of Memory), but his theme is part of an even larger one. The human desire to retain the traditions and values of their ancestors is an effort to increase the strength of the persistence of memory.

Culture is built on a solid foundation of memory. We must prevail. We must persist. We must not be forgotten. Otherwise what are we here for? We don’t want to answer that question. I don’t want to answer that question. But the lessons that La persistencia de la memoria has taught me have stuck with me throughout my entire life. We seek to attach ourselves to something larger so we have a means to prolong our memories. That’s why we make art. That’s certainly why Dalí made his painting. And that’s why I want to make film. Art remains long after life fades away and I want my films to exist in the persistence of my memory.
Word Count: 948

Monday, June 24, 2013

Big Trouble in Little Tokyo

The web series shoot I've been working on is going much longer than anticipated, as shoots are wont to do. So basically I'm stranded in Little Tokyo indefinitely and can't write a legitimate blog post today.

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of me and Asian Bad Guy legend Al Leong. 

Word Count: 51

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can We Talk About The Terminator?

Hello, literate blog readers! This is the first part of a new Sunday series I'm starting called Can We Talk About? where we can discuss topics away from movie reviews and lists. I don't think you'll ever be able to escape me talking about movies, but this is a more free-range zone where broader topics can be covered.

For instance, how

The Terminator is a Slasher Movie

Warning: This article contains spoilers for a large number of 80's movies and let's face it, you can't get mad. The Statute of Limitations has long since run out on these.

I watched James Cameron's The Terminator (1984) for the first time a couple months ago and found it inexplicably familiar. It was familiar for the obvious fact that I'd heard it quoted in just about every TV show, movie, book, article, and dentistry publication in existence. But beyond that, I realized that the film was laid on a framework very familiar to me - an 80's slasher movie.

Now this is entirely possible, because the slasher boom had been in full force since 1980 and experienced its greatest popularity in the four years following Friday the 13th. And, while the film clearly isn't a full-blooded slasher flick (despite my sensationalist leanings in the title), it hews closely to the established format, but with an extended third act.

Now, I'm not going to just state my case and tell you what to believe. That's not fair to you, for I am certain you are a bright and distinguished individual. I mean, you're reading this blog. Of course you are. For you, dear reader, I have assembled empirical evidence showing The Terminator's roots in my beloved genre.

Note: When talking about killers in general, I will use the pronoun "he" to expedite things though I am well aware that females can and do make absolutely fabulous slasher villains.

The Silent Killer

A key figure in the slasher movies of yore is the mute killer who slays teens without speaking a word. Generally this is done to dehumanize the killer and make him feel more like the pure embodiment of evil. It is also used to increase tension, hide the killer's identity, or to rip off Halloween.

In The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character does speak (see: "I'll be back"), but his entire speaking role is limited to just 16 lines making 17 total sentences. That's actually, believe it or not, less lines than Jason has in the Friday the 13th series (He speaks in the original as a child and in Jason Goes to Hell when possessing the body of a police officer).

He mainly just shoots things.

The Indestructible Villain

Another facet of a slasher villain's evilness is his inability to die. You can stab him, shoot him, drown him, and blow him up yet he still relentlessly chases you down.

The Terminator is much the same way. Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese think they have defeated him with a giant explosion, but their celebratory embrace is interrupted when he rises like a phoenix from the ashes.

And after being supposedly defeated after Kyle's sacrifice of his life, the Terminator exoskeleton - with all his flesh having long since burned away - still implacably hunts down its target.

The Cheesy 80's Score

Even the best of the best horror films have their flaws. Many early slasher movies act as a time capsule for the year they were released, and the scores hold up the least under modern scrutiny. Charles Berstein's compositions from A Nightmare on Elm Street feel more like deep cuts on a Duran Duran album (though I admittedly love both of those things and own the entire score) and the opening for Friday the 13th Part 3 features a now legendary disco version of the theme song.

Just watch this scene from The Terminator and try to tell me it could take place in any year other than 1984. The music in the club is forgivable as a sign of the times, but when it makes the shift into the actual score music, it is clear that the snail trail of 80's kitsch was ineradicable.

Themed Killings

While many slasher villains are out for revenge (Freddy Krueger kills the children of the people who trapped him in a burning building), there are a range of themes available like holidays (the only holiday that doesn't feature a mysterious rash of killings seems to be Arbor Day), anniversaries of your death (Leslie Vernon in Behind the Mask satirized this tendency), or just being bored (Jason in the later sequels).

In The Terminator's case, the victims are all named Sarah Connor. Arnold mows down a whole crop of Sarah Connors in the order they're listed in the phone book because he has orders to eradicate the mother of his greatest enemy, John Connor.

Sex Equals Death

One of the most important rules in the horror universe, as expounded by Randy in Scream: If you have sex, you will die.

Kyle Reese has been sent back in time to save Sarah Connor's life, thus ensuring that her son John is born and can lead the rebels to victory. Unfortunately, he is not told that he is also John Connor's father and once he falls in love with, makes love to, and impregnates Sarah Connor, he's a goner.

To coin a nifty phrase

The Final Girl

This is incontestably the single most consistent element in the entire slasher genre. While a whole slew of nubile hotties might be mowed down beforehand, the one person to escape the bloodbath alive is female. Pretty much always. And if a man survives, it is only because a girl has also managed to stay alive. It's the way of the world, guys. Women are in charge.

A brief pause to reflect on how incredible Jamie Lee Curtis is.

Enter Sarah Connor. She kicks butt, takes names, chews bubblegum, and lives to tell the tale.

Improvised Weaponry

Once it comes down the showdown between the Final Girl and the Killer, it has been a long night for everybody. Often the Final Girl will find herself up a creek without a paddle or, more likely, hiding in a closet without a shotgun. Time to improvise. Ginny (above) went the pitchfork route, but other notables are Alice Hardy in the kitchen with a frying pan (Friday the 13th), and Jamie Lee Curtis giving Michael Myers everything she's got with a knitting needle, an unbent clothes hanger, and Activia yogurt.

The Terminator's resident Final Girl uses a hydraulic press to finally defeat her robotic stalker once and for all.

The Big Finale

Especially in the more supernatural slasher movies, the villain needs to be returned from whence he came and the big setpiece is usually a vital location in the killer's life. For Jason, it's the lake where he drowned. For Freddy it's the boiler room where he killed his children. And many of Michael Myers' climactic showdowns take place in his childhood home.

In The Terminator, the big ending setpiece is, appropriately, a factory full of machinery.

The Spawning of a Huge Franchise

So maybe it's not so big as Jason at his bloatiest, but you get the point.

So does The Terminator have its place in the great slasher pantheon? Well, no. But it is undeniably influenced by one of the most culturally important (for better or for worse) cinematic phenomena of the 1980's.

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