Cliff's Review of The Legend of Bloody Jack
OK, so I watched one of those bad B horror movies, not from the 70's or 80's on netflix...and I actually liked it. I wasn't that surprised when I found out just how harshly it had gotten reviewed, but still, anyhow, here's my case for The Legend of Bloody Jack
This movie is probably proof of a statement a good friend of mine once said. He once said that "Everyone has those genres where, if the product is even a fair representation of the genre, they will like it." He was talking about music, actually, and how my friend Paul liked anything that was an even remotely fair representation of pop punk. But it works with movies too.
And for me, 70's/80's era slasher films is that genre. I like legitimately good ones, like the original Halloween and Black Christmas most. But I like bad ones too. If you are an even remotely decent representation of that genre, I'm going to like you. I LOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEE most of the Friday the 13th movies, for example, love them. I like all of the random ass ripoffs. I love Killer Party, I love Hell Night, I love Prom Night, I love Prom Night II, I love all the Halloween sequels, even 5, I love every______ Massacre movie, I love He Knows You're Alone, etc. I know they are horrible, I don't care. I love them anyway. I watch every one I get a chance to.
Problem is, there aren't more new 70's/80's slashers coming out. At least not original ones. And they really didn't do many during the 90's. They all changed to "hip" films like Scream and all the countless ripoffs. But there has been a big push to do similar style movies in the past dozen or so years, mostly in direct-to-video films, and most of them are so godawful even I don't like them (Lover's Lane is a good example...I remember it because I blind bought it and could barely finish it. I don't even remember it. I just remember having high hopes and thinking is sucked hardcore).
I figured this one would be just like the other bad 00's era neo-slashers...and it was...but it wasn't. To be honest, I really enjoyed it.
First, the bad: Yes, the production values are horrible, roughly like 70's era grindhouse but without the charm (digital just doesn't seem gritty/cool the way grindhouse film did). The acting is pretty bad, even for a cheap horror flick. The characters do ridiculous things, the whole thing is basically a ripoff better movies etc.
Well, like I said, if you're even coming close to doing a fair representation of the genre, I'm going to like it.
The thing is, yes, it's a ripoff, but it's ripping off movies I like. It's basically halfway between Friday the 13th and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. So if you even halfway rip off those movies, you've got my attention. It's sort of like F13th in the sense that it's a bunch of young folks in the woods out to have a good time (and end up getting slaughtered) and TCSM in the sense that most of it happens during the day in somewhat open feeling areas. Well, not actually during the day, it happens in north Alaska during the summer, where it's always sunny, but the effect is the same. And the killer is halfway between leatherhead from TCSM and baghead Jason from F13th Part 2. So on that level, it was going in a direction I liked.
Next, I thought the gore was pretty good. Not realistic, mind you, but they did a lot with a little. The killer really liked dismembering people, and they put a lot of effort into making chopped up folks. In context, I found it delightfully...fiendish or something. They were having fun making this and it showed.
Also, the nudity was off the charts, which is always important in bad slashers (in legitimately good slashers, like Halloween, it's just icing). Every girl takes her shirt off for an extended period of time, some more than once, including this amazingly exploitative scene where a girl who just had her boyfriend murdered asks some other guy to stay in the bathroom while she showers because she doesn't want to be alone. It was so awkward and strange I found it both fun and hilarious. I also liked how they didn't pick dumb models with fake boobs. All the girls looked real, I like that.
I was also a fan of how they did the "Alaska summer" thing. It was actually very interesting watching people running around the woods during the day. There had been so many films like this that even such a little tweak made it fun for me.
Finally, and this might be counter-intuitive, I liked the illogical decisions the characters made. Characters ALWAYS do dumb stuff, but it was done in this film in such a way that, like in all good "bad" slashers, you get to guess which dumb thing they'll do next, which is part of the fun. Oh, and I like how the movie doesn't really go for the irony . It has a little self-referencing, mostly at the very end, but it takes the genre seriously. It's not a serious genre, of course, at least not "bad" slasher, but that makes being self-referential unnecessary and just gets boring.
Oh, and one other thing: I found the score oddly menacing. It was hardly John Carpenter's Halloween score, or even F13th's score, but I found it worked.
Anyhow, this isn't good movie in any objective sense, don't get me wrong, it's not even as good as, say, Friday the 13th Part 3. But it's a fair representation of the kind of "bad" slasher Friday the 13th Part 3 is, with a double scoop of nudity and gore. That was enough for me. So if that sounds like your cup of tea, go for it.
7/10 for me. But that's just me.