The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting (dir by Louis Morneau)

What the sweet Hell is this crap!?

So, the 2003 film, The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting, is a sequel to the original Hitcher.  That’s the film where C. Thomas Howell plays a dumbass who picks up a hitchhiker played by Rutger Hauer and then kicks him out after a few miles because Hauer’s like totally insane.  So, Hauer responds by murdering random people and framing Howell.  The Hitcher‘s a pretty good film, largely because of the terrifying performance of Rutger Hauer as the title character.

The Hitcher came out in 1986.  It got terrible reviews and didn’t do well at the box office but it found an audience when it was released on video.  In fact, The Hitcher became a bit of a cult favorite, which is what it deserved to be.  Then, 23 years later, a direct-to-video sequel was released and….

Seriously, this movie is so bad.

C. Thomas Howell returns, playing Jim, the same character that he played in the first movie.  Jim is still haunted by what happened in the first movie.  He’s a cop now but he fears that his encounter with the original Hitcher may have contributed to him using excessive force on a kidnapping suspect.  Seeking some time away from the stress of it all, Jim decides to visit a friend in Texas.  He and his girlfriend, Maggie (Kari Wuhrer) hit the road and, as they drive through the desert, they see a hitchhiker standing by the side of the road….

Now, I know what you’re saying.  “Oh, come on!” you’re yelling.  “There’s no way Jim would be make the same stupid decision twice!”

Well, you’re right.  Jim doesn’t stop to pick the guy up.  Instead, Maggie is the one who decides to pull over.  Apparently, Jim has never bothered to tell Maggie about any of the terrible stuff that happened during the first film.  Considering that Jim is apparently waking up constantly with nightmares and he’s on the verge of having a mental breakdown, you would think that all of this would be something that he would share with Maggie but no.  Maggie is totally shocked when Jim later tells her that he had a bad experience picking up a hitchhiker.

Anyway, in this case, the hitchhiker is named Jack (Jake Busey) and …. wow, shock of shocks!  He’s totally fucking crazy!  That’s right — it’s happening again!  So, Jack is chasing Jim and Maggie across the desert, murdering people and framing Jim and Maggie for the crimes.  Does this sound familiar?  Jim is eventually killed, giving C. Thomas Howell an excuse to never have to appear in another direct-to-video sequel.  Can Maggie beat the new Hitcher at his own game?

Oh, who cares?  This version of The Hitcher basically has none of the weird subtext of the first film.  Unlike Rutger Hauer’s Hitcher, who seemed to be almost erotically obsessed with Jim, Jake Busey’s Hitcher doesn’t have much on his mind beyond killing people.  If Rutger Hauer was all about quiet menace and charismatic intensity, Jake Busey is loud and in your face and so obviously crazy that it’s hard to have much sympathy for anyone stupid enough to pick him up.

The main problem with The Hitcher II is that it gets so damn repetitive.  I lost count of the number of times that a cop showed up, refused to listen as Maggie shouted, “STOP!  HE’S A KILLER,” and then got gunned down.  Seriously, this film featured the stupidest cops that I’ve ever seen.  The same thing keeps happening for 90 minutes or so, at which point we get a pithy one liner and then big explosion.  And then the movie’s over!


The Predator (Final Trailer)

The Predator

The teaser trailer for this Shane Black production didn’t wow me, at all. Then the first trailer came out and a red band one at that. That one was an upgrade but I was still on the fence. They’ve released more teasers, international trailers and tv spot and, once again, I was still not fully sold on the film.

Today 20th Century Fox drops the final trailer for The Predator just two weeks from it’s release date of September 14. This just days after the studio confirmed that the film will be a very hard R-rating raised my interest level.

It is this final trailer (again another red band trailer) is what finally sold me on this film as a must-see. We still know only bits and pieces of what the film will be about but the trademark Shane Black quips and smartass attitude shows up much more clearly with this last trailer.

I actually enjoyed the last Predator film and I hope this one continues the trend and just entertains it’s audience.

Here’s The First Teaser for Stranger Things Season 3!

Here’s the first teaser for the third season of Stranger Things!

Don’t expect to learn anything about what’s actually going to happen during season 3 from this teaser.  In fact, the main message of this trailer seems to be, “We’re in production.  Get off our freaking back.”  The teaser, however, does make sure to remind us that Cary Elwes and Jake Busey will be joining the cast in season 3.

So, all of you Jake Busey fans — rejoice!

(And really, who isn’t a Jake Busey fan?)

Interestingly enough, at one point, I wanted to write a movie specifically for Cary Elwes and Jake Busey, one in which they played tabloid journalists who ended up stranded in a town controlled by a Wurdulak.  I really should get back to work on that…

Anyway, enjoy the teaser!  The third season of Stranger Things come to Netflix in 2019!  Will we once again convince Case Wright to watch and review it for us?  Keep visiting the site to find out!

The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Most Likely To Die (dir by Anthony DiBlasi)


Most Likely To Die is a slasher film about a group of old friends who gather at a remote house for the weekend.  It’s their high school reunion and almost everyone’s looking forward to getting caught up on old times.  What they don’t know is that there is a killer in their midst and that killer is going to kill them one by one.  Even worse, he’s going to do it in a way that ironically comments on their senior year superlatives.

Fortunately, everyone received a superlative that lends itself to an ironic death.  Seriously, this killer is just lucky that Most Likely To Eat Anything was friends with Most Likely To Break Hearts and Most Likely To Be Put On Ice.  Just imagine if Most Likely To Kill A Psycho had shown up for the weekend?  And what if he had brought his wife, Most Likely Not To Split Up In The Face Of Danger?  That would have screwed everything up!

Who is the killer?  Well, the natural suspect is John Daughtery.  He was the outcast who all the kids made fun of.  They even vandalized his yearbook entry, declaring him to be “Most Likely To Die.”  John was pretty upset about that but then it got even worse when a gun was discovered in his locker!  That pretty much ruined John’s life!

But maybe it’s not John.  Maybe it’s Tarkin, the groundskeeper.  Tarkin used to own a liquor store but he lost it when it was discovered that he was selling alcohol to underage kids.  Could Tarkin be looking for revenge?  Or is he just a perv who obsessively hangs around outside a certain bedroom window?  Tarkin, incidentally, is played by Jake Busey and, whenever Busey shows up in a slasher film, you know he’s either going to be the murderer or the film’s biggest red herring.

Then again, maybe this killer is Perez Hilton!

Seriously, Perez Hilton is in this movie and it’s not stunt casting.  Perez actually plays a real character and, at no point, does he wink at the audience and go, “It’s me, Perez!”  Perez gives a far better performance than you might expect.  His work here is, at the very least, on par with Paris Hilton’s performance in House of Wax.

Or maybe the killer is … someone else!

Honestly, if you’ve ever seen a slasher movie before, you’ll guess who the killer is.  Most Likely To Die does offer up a typical, last-minute slasher movie twist but it won’t take you by surprise.  In fact, there’s really nothing surprising about Most Likely To Die.  That said, for fans of the slasher genre, Most Likely To Die is entertaining and fairly well-done.  It doesn’t redefine the genre but it’s well-acted, the house is a creepy location, the murders are properly gory and mean-spirited, and the film does what it does with a certain panache.  If you’re a horror fan, there are worse (and, it should be noted, definitely better) ways to waste your time.

Most Likely To Die made its premiere at Film4 FrightFest in 2015 and it had a very limited release earlier this year.  It’s now available on Netflix, where it can be watched by anyone with 80 minutes to kill.

What Lisa Watched Tonight: The Killing Jar (directed by Mark Young)

Earlier tonight, I happened to catch, on Chiller, the 2011 film The Killing Jar.

Why Was I Watching It?

I was hoping that, at some point, the classic Siouxsie and the Banshees song would show up on the soundtrack.  It didn’t.

What’s It About?

I’m trying to work up the strength necessary to go into it all but basically, there’s this diner down south and one night, right around closing time, a news story comes over the radio about a brutal murder that was committed at a nearby farm.  There’s only a few people left in the diner — a depressed waitress (Tara from Buffy, a.k.a. Amber Benson), a tough trucker (Kevin Gage), a wimpy deputy (Lew Temple), a mysterious stranger (Harold Perrineau), two teenagers who don’t matter, and the Danny Trejo-look alike who apparently owns the place (Danny Trejo).  Anyway, all these people are so upset to hear about the murders that they blame them on the first surly stranger who happens to step into the diner.  Unfortunately, that stranger is played by Michael Madsen and he responds by shooting up the place (Danny Trejo’s head explodes in close-up) and holding the survivors hostage.  Things get a little bit more complicated when Mr. Greene (Jake Busey) shows up and reveals that someone at the diner happens to be a contract killer known as Mr. Smith.  Guess what?  It’s not Michael Madsen.

After typing all that, I feel I have a responsibility to add that this all sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is.

What Works

Well, the big “twist” is kinda obvious and you probably figured out just from reading the previous paragraph.  However, it’s still kinda fun, kinda being the word to remember.  Benson and Gage both give pretty good performances and Busey seems to be having a lot of fun.  Madsen, to be honest, seems to be on the verge of falling asleep in a few scenes but still, he can say more with an annoyed eye squint than most actors can with a 10-page monologue.  However, the film really belongs to the always underappreciated Harold Perrineau and his combative, confrontational scene with Madsen is one of the few instances when the film really comes to life.

Danny Trejo’s head explodes with style.

What Doesn’t Work

Oh.  My.  God.  Where to begin?

I can count the number of succesful “hostage” films on one hand and let’s just say that The Killing Jar is no Dog Day Afternoon.  Taking place entirely in one location and with a small cast mouthing melodramatic dialogue, The Killing Jar unfolds like one of those really bad plays that an ex-boyfriend of mine used to write in high school.  They always ended with everyone dead and always seemed to feature at least one evil redhead who ended up crying over the dead body of her ex-boyfriend.

Director Young does not help matters by confusing tension with meaningless pauses.  There’s a lot of scenes of people glaring at each other but since nobody really comes across like a human being, the glares don’t mean anything.

HOWEVER, what really didn’t work about this film was the fact that the first 20 minutes of the film was taken up with Amber Benson asking people if they wanted a slice of “Pecan Pie,” that she claimed was “the best this side of the Mason-Dixon.”  The problem here is that the film was clearly meant to be set in my part of the world.  And in my part of the world, we pronounce it “PEH-cahn.”  However, Benson repeatedly pronounced it “PEE-can.”  Seriously, this annoyed me more than words can express.  Listen up all you aspiring filmmakers — if you’re going to insist on setting your crappy films in my part of the world, at least try to get the pronunciation right.  Speaking for myself, I don’t have the slightest idea what a PEE-can is supposed to be but it sounds kinda nasty.  I’ll take a PEH-cahn over a PEE-can any day.

PEH-cahn Pie.  Good Lord, people, it’s not that difficult.

“Oh My God!  Just Like Me!” Moments:


Lessons Learned:

I have no desire to ever eat another pecan pie.