ORBzine - Movie Reviews March 2002


Friday The 13th

This is the original Friday the 13th, with not a hockey mask in sight. Intended to reinvigorate the slasher genre, all this film did was spawn numerous low-budget sequels. The best comparison for this is with Halloween , a far superior film in all respects. To start with, we visit Camp Crystal Lake in the year 1958. The teenagers are having a bible-class sing-song around the campfire, but when two of them sneak off for illicit sex they are brutally slaughtered while the camera gives the killers point-of-view. The only real difference is that instead of John Carpenter 's chilling music we get the kill-kill-kill noise.

The film flashes forward to the Present Day, circa 1981. Camp Crystal Lake is being reopened, and a new staff of teenagers [including Kevin Bacon - Tremors ] are there to revamp the camp. Lots of fodder for the insane killer ...

There is one killing, early on, in a vain attempt to keep some kind of tension. But while the film is only 83 minutes long, most of the running time consists merely of establishing the climax. One scene exists soley to establish that there is a machete in the camp, while another only shows that there is an archery range with deadly arrows.

In short, this is slow and tedious. Halloween creates genuine tension and suspense that leaves you on the edge of your seat, but this is just boring.

  • Friday The 13th Part II
  • Friday The 13th Part III
  • Friday The 13th Part IV: The Final Friday
  • Friday The 13th Part V
  • Friday The 13th Part VI
  • Friday The 13th Part VII
  • Friday The 13th Part VII: Jason Takes Manhatten
  • Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Goes To Hell
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  • Mary, Queen Of Scots

    This is the 1971 version of the true-life story of the 16th Century Scottish Monarch, filled with familiar faces. Vanessa Redgrave plays the title character. As a young woman she travelled from France to take her throne in Scotland. She married Henry Darnley [Timothy Dalton - Flash Gordon, Living Daylights ], who became jealous of her Italian musician David Rizzio [Ian Holm - 5th Element, Fellowship of the Ring ] and had him brutally murdered. Darnley in turn was brutally murdered by Mary's next husband ...

    The real star is Patrick McGoohan [ The Prisoner ], who plays Mary's half-brother James Stuart, Earl of Moray. His beard and mannerisms make him merely a younger version of his role in Braveheart , which goes to show how good he is at playing the cunning heroes of history. Moray leads the Presbyterian noblemen who want to free their country from Mary and the threat of the Spanish Inquisition.

    The other main foil for Mary is Queen Elizabeth I [Glenda Jackson, who played the same role in the TV show Elizabeth R]. Although in reality Elizabeth and Mary never met, for the sake of dramatic tension the movie allows for a couple of secret face-to-face encounters between them.

    All in all, this is a well-made and reasonably historically accurate portrayal of events. The only real problem is that Mary is shown as too unbelievably perfect and flawless, the innocent victim of the machinations of others. In reality she was a cold-hearted politician who plotted to seize two thrones and was involved in the murder of her husband!

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  • Fatherland

    Germany in the 1960s, and Adolf Hitler is still in power. Yes, this is one of the few films to be set in an alternate universe. Our hero is Kripo detective Xavier March [Rutger Hauer - Blade Runner ] who investigates the mysterious death of a retired Nazi Party bigwig. He uncovers a conspiracy involving Gestapo chief Globo [John Shrapnel - Gladiator ], who then comes gunning for him.

    Along with an American journalist [ Miranda Richardson ], March uncovers signs that something unpleasant happened to the Jews in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine during the 1940s.

    The original book by Robert Harris was nowhere near as good a conspiracy thriller as, say, Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith. The film adaption has been altered in some ways, though it is recognisably the same story. Harris himself protested mainly about the adaption's portrayal of March's relationship with his son. The movie put things in a sickly-sweet light, which did it no favours.

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  • Dust Devil

    Robert Burke [ Robocop 3 ] hitch-hikes across the arid Namib desert. He is a serial-killer with apparently supernatural powers, performing ritual mutilations on his victims and collecting their fingers. He only kills those who are on the brink of suicide, and unhappy housewife Chelsea Field is summoned from Johannesburg as his next victim.

    Zakes Mokae played the evil Voodoo priest in Serpent and the Rainbow , while hre he is cast as the police sergeant trying to killthe demon.

    This is reminiscent of the better offerings of Clive Barker . The cinematography is excellent, making the most of the breathtaking scenery. There is an air of suspense not found in more mainstream big-budget American horror films.

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