I Still Remember The Faculty’s Urban Legends That We Screamed At Last Halloween

It was bound to happen. After being bombarded with one teenage horror flick after another, it was only a matter of time before they started to look and sound alike. How else can you explain this dreadfully derivative film about a group of high school students and faculty members who end up staying at an abandoned campground over Halloween weekend?


scary2As if it’s not bad enough that an alien hockey player with a hook for a foot is supposedly wandering the woods nearby, the faculty delights in telling the students a series of urban legends intended to keep them on edge.

Since the previous films mined every teen-oriented television show for stars and victims, the filmmaker’s behind “I Still Remember…” had to resort to third and fourth string players to flesh out their vision. Not that it really matters.

Directed by horror veteran Christopher P. Wilson (“Catholic High School Girl Zombies” and “Bad Tripp,” starring gay porn drag queen Chi-Chi La Rue as Linda Tripp), “I Still Remember…” doesn’t have an original bone in its body, unless you count the scene between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, who make cameos.

The young cast does their best to kick start the chills and thrills, but to no avail. Real life siblings Natale and C.J. Myers and Melissa and B.J. Linne are excellent as the youngest members of the camp out, whose hip dialogue by screenwriter Deena Deja Vu suggests that these characters have seen and are familiar with previous horror films.

The older characters, especially Mark Thomson as the Camp Counselor (whose secret link to the killer is the film’s only realization of suspense), don’t fare nearly as well. They’re basically set up as victims, and then ripped apart or maimed beyond recognition.

My favorite? When Miss Popularity Mimi Mood (Mona Jennings) is forced by the killer to listen to Hanson’s “MmmBop” until her head explodes. The problem with the film is that screenwriter R.B. Scott tries to fit so much into so little. The film only runs 18 minutes, yet manages a body count (87 by film’s end) that drags out the film.

The character’s are all cliches. There’s the handsome football hunk, the cheerleader, the class nerd, the brain, and the Presidential intern. None of the actors manages to make these characters more than they are.

Director Wilson delights in having his characters enter dark rooms, or tossing things out of the shadows. In one scene, two lovers are startled when a cat jumps out of a trash can, and then repeat their shock when each of the cat’s kittens follows.

After six jolts, you would figure that this couple would get a clue. Instead, they find themselves inside a cabin where they have sex and then die. Composer Don Peters does a sensational job with his creepy score, which he created by feeding Taco Bell to Chihuahua’s and then squeezing them, creating a moody woodwind sound.

Shot on location in the producer’s backyard on a budget of $350 million (a record for Dementia Pictures), “I Still Remember…” will probably do better on video, where viewers are less discriminatory. Rated R for violence (the usual beheading’s, dismemberments, torso shredding and Fran Drescher’s narration), sex and language, “I Still Remember” opens tomorrow citywide.

DEEP ARMAGEDDON

Once again proving that Hollywood is an institution that isn’t afraid to beat a dead horse, Pamela Lee Anderson’s Paramound Pictures releases the latest in a long string of “end of the world” films, “Deep Armageddon.”

While it’s no better or worse than those that came before it (“Armageddon,” “Deep Impact,” “Impacting Armageddon” and the X-rated “Really Deep Impact”) “Deep Armageddon” suffers from familiarity while trying to put a new spin (literally) on the genre.

Claimed by rival studios to be the most expensive film ever made (it’s budget was listed as $600 million, but sources close to the film’s financing place the final tally at $2 billion). While most of the money is visible on the screen (the filmmaker’s decision to actually film all of the space scenes in space contributed to the budget), casting problems sabotage the effort from the beginning.

Written and directed by neophyte Lars Johnson (whose short film “Butt Cracks” swept every award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival) “Deep Armageddon” takes the asteroid smashing into Earth scenario to new heights. When the Earth is thrown out of its orbit after Marlon Brando and his “Chubby Chasers” group meet in Antarctica, it is sent spiraling into deep space.

Meanwhile, on the planet Asinine, a scientist learns that the Earth is going to plow into their planet. While scientists on both planets attempt to come up with a solution to avoid the collision, the film focuses on the lives of the citizens of both planets, creating more melodrama than drama.

While it’s a novel twist on a popular theme, casting creates some real problems. For instance, not once do you believe that the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, are really NASA trouble shooters. Even though they’re able to reach the control panels thanks to phone books placed on their seats, it’s hard to believe that these two know anything about astrophysics.

The girls are put to the test when they’re forced to send a ragtag group of Chippendale’s dancers in the space shuttle to blow up Asinine. Johnson explains his decision to use Chippendale dancers instead of astronauts is because no one will miss a Chippendale’s dancer. Makes sense to me.

The film then slips into one of those bonding sessions where the dancers get to know each other and prepare for their do-or-die mission. Thank goodness the shuttle has an 8-track player, providing the music for not one, not two, but three musical strip shows.

Meanwhile, on Asinine, the film focuses on two families, one bright and intelligent, the other totally clueless. The laughs come when the clueless family, father Lazy, mother Do-Do, and son Just-Stupid, are totally oblivious to the events surrounding them.

While everyone else understands their responsibilities, it’s hilarious to watch the clueless family maintain their irresponsible and childish ways. Kerri Highstrung is excellent as Do-Do, with her bigger-than-a-asteroid belt butt and mad cackle as she constantly screams to everyone around her to “grow up!” She says it so often during the course of the film that she becomes a cliche and a joke.

Director Johnson does a good job of evoking actual menace by filming and then killing most of his cast in real space, which explains why the roles of all of the Chippendale dancers were filled by former cast members of the Aaron Spelling television stable. I’ve never seen an audience applaud more than when the cast of “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills 90210” blew up.

Filled with spectacle (the sight of Congress being crushed under the foot of a 50 foot Kenneth Starr) and romance (the love scenes between Monica Lewinsky and the city of New York really blows), “Deep Armageddon” manages to be engaging while being totally ludicrous.

The supporting cast, including Susie Hagen as a madcap bellhop at the Watergate Hotel, and Richard Cooper as the President of Cal-Mexico, are better than the rest. Rated PG-13 for scenes of violence and sexuality, “Deep Armageddon” will most likely be a bust for Pamela Lee. Now playing citywide.

I STILL REMEMBER THE FACULTY’S URBAN LEGENDS THAT WE SCREAMED AT LAST HALLOWEEN



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