Category Archives: Trade-a-Life

Trade-a-Life V

Let’s play Top Trumps with the lives of a bunch of fictional slasher flick characters yet again.

My confidence in said trades is starting to wane a little now; I’m less passionate about switching this group as the films become less…”important” to the slasher landscape, shall we say. Or maybe I’m just soppy in my old age and want them all to live?

As ever, ma-hoo-sive spoilers lie within…


Rennie Wickham (Jensen Daggett) ranks as the most uninteresting Friday final girl. It’s fair to say that imagination was in short supply by 1989 and the staggering eighth instalment so perhaps the solution was to take a step away from the weepy, good girls of the last few parts and let Saffron Henderson’s punk-tastic JJ have a go at besting Jason.

In one of the many errors this movie makes (not least in its title), JJ is killed off but 20 odd minutes into the film after just one dismal little scene in which she illustrates misfit-solidarity with geeky film kid Wayne, goes off to play her oh-so 80s guitar in the engine room and is ironically killed with it. Sucky.

No offence to Rennie but we’ve seen it all before; JJ’s rocker-in-suburbia approach could’ve been an interesting element to the film. Correction, THE interesting element to the film.


Again, I have nothing against Mandy’s survival in this film – she’s one of the tiny handful of non-white girls to make it out alive – but Lenora Crichlow is given little to other than happen to not get in the way of the killer’s vengeance.

Counsellor Louise (Alex Reid), however, is smart, resourceful and puts the kids first, taking a lethal dive over a cliff top to ensure the others get away and later getting her head cut off for the trouble!


Can I opt for a special offer and trade three-for-two? Hey, it’s my game! I’ll do what I want, damnit!

So, Wrong Turn 2 is a good sequel, albeit very different to the near-perfect original, and Joe Lynch bravely juggled with the expected conventions. At the start, it looked like reluctant nice girl Mara (Aleksa Paladino), who steps into the survivalist gameshow after one constestant fails to show (read: gets chopped in two), would conquer her fears of inadequacy and survive, even after discovering her fiance is cheating on her… But no, she gets an axe in the skull fairly early on.

Final girl duties are passed on to Nina (genre regular Erica Leehrsen), who plays the character a bit more realistically, with a bitchy edge, though she does good in the end, going back to save Jake (Texas Battle) from the cannibal clan. Jake is functional as the nice guy and, for once, doesn’t conform to ghetto stereotypes as the only black guy, but I’d have preferred a different outcome altogether.

The non-white girl we’ve needed to survive all along should’ve been Amber (Daniella Alonso), ex-military lesbian and ever-prepared, who goes out with joker boy Jonesy in a double impaling arrow-through-the-eye gag.

Then there’s presenter Colonel Dale Murphy (Henry Rollins), he kicks ass left, right and center, turning up when needed to save Nina and Jake and is nice to the right people but is done away with at the last hurdle. It seems right given the survival nature of the film but I’d have like to have seen Dale save both Mara and Amber in an unusual capable-people-win for once (well, not Mara, but she didn’t deserve that axeing).

Trade-a-Life IV

Thanks to those of you who made Trading suggestions; they’ve been added to the growing list of people we wish would die in place of someone we wish would live and will feature at some point… But for now, satisfy your fix with these…

As usual, spoilers abound!


In a twisted way it makes sense that Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkampenschwartzenfusski) was killed off at the end of Elm Street 3 – it helped drive the series forward in the way it probably should’ve done. She couldn’t keep coming back over and over to help a new group of kids fight Freddy Krueger. Or could she?

She could’ve taken another film or so off and returned when the series started to flag again and been substituted in death for the horrible Dr Simms (Priscilla Pointer), who is almost as eeeevil in her ignorance of what her young patients are trying to tell her as Krueger is for killing them. Well, not really but she was a total bitch.

Apparently, she was scheduled to die in the original script, which would’ve been a cool scene to witness as all her core beliefs crumbled before her. Meh, I suppose it would go against the struggle the teens have convincing the adults and authority figures that they’re in danger and the actress played Maureen Prescott, cause of all the misery for her daughter in the Scream movies. Still, poor Nance.


It’s rare for kids to die in films but Christina’s House begins with the murder of a girl scout selling cookies and so there’s absolutely no reason that Christina’s really annoying little brother Bobby – who’s about 13 anyway – not to have been killed with extreme prejudice.

It would be preferable to the death of Christina’s friend Karen, played by Michael Bublé’s sister Crystal, who’s all perky and free-spirited, just as every best-friend-of-final-girl is, which is usually a guarantee that she’ll die. But she’s about a gazillion times better than proto-Bieber-haired Bobby, who just hangs around playing video games, whining about things and hasn’t mastered the really quite simple method of sandwich making. He nearly dies but nearly isn’t solid enough, shoulda been more thorough, Mr Killer!


As if the “remake” of Black Christmas wasn’t deranged enough in its total annihilation of everything that made the original so fucking scary, by the time enough of the cast members have had their eyes forcibly removed from their ocular cavities, it becomes clear that textbook bland girl Kelli (Katie Cassidy) is going to be the heroine. Snore.

Considering the impressive cast roster in the flick, which included several final girls from other slasher flicks, it would’ve been better if they’d plumped for Michelle Trachtenberg’s dark-humoured Melissa as the go-to girl for kicking ass. She was Buffy’s kid sister after all.

As it turns out though, Kelli’s practical and flair-less approach to survival wins out and she does alright… But given the choice of potential replacements around her, it’s a bit of a cop out she was made the supposed lead. But I guess Cassidy was murdered in both Harper’s Island and the remakes of both When a Stranger Calls and A Nightmare on Elm Street so I’ll cut her some slack…

Trade-a-Life III

Here we go again, playing God with the lives of hopeless slasher movie characters… As ever, contribute, criticise, shout n’ scream. Hell, it’s not like we can change any of it now…

Watch out for those ma-hoosive spoilers!


A double Trade to start off this time. The sorority girlies of the house on, y’know, the row (…assumedly of other sorority houses), were most definitely guilty of killing their acid-tongued housemother in a prank gone wrong and as such, they probably deserved what they got. Well, the ones who were in on the joke, for sure. Requisite nice girl Kate is the only one with a wise head on her shoulders but I was quite sad to see overgrown-child Morgan (Jodi Draigie) and ribbon-haired Jeanie (Robin Meloy) go out violently.

I’d have much preferred to see leading-bitch Vicki’s greasy man-toy (who supplied the very gun that was used in the gag-gone-bad) turn up willy-nilly and getting that creepy-ass walking stick through his head… Or there’s Kate’s dorky date-for-the-night Peter (Michael Kuhn), who is pretty much innocent in it all but could’ve been meanly killed off to add fire to Kate’s strikeback. He didn’t do much else that was interesting. May as well’ve died!


This is a bit of a popular one as I’ve read a few times that people were sad to see Camp Forest Green counsellor Paula (Kerry Noonan) exit proceedings so brutally. Even the filmmakers seemed to think enough of her to give her an off-camera death (sort of). We see Jason burst into the room and the camera cuts to the exterior where a blood splash redecorates the window before Paula’s corpse is smashed through the glass. Yeah…still kinda mean for the nice girl whose only concern was the little kiddies.

Now, this was recently altered from a swap with surviving gal Megan (Jennifer Cooke) but it was pointed out that the kids at camp were far, far more deserving of Jason’s chop so it has come to pass that having failed to find a good group shot of all the kids at camp, I nominate about the only ones who get any lines of dialogue (bar the little girl who has a nightmare): Ty and Billy (played by brothers Justin and Tommy Nowell, one of whom later appeared in Sleepaway Camp II). They’re sarcastic and whingey for their cumulative two or three minutes on screen so they should die instead of Paula. Jason’s been far too liberal when it comes to kids in the past, he should’ve made an example of these two.


Urban Legends 2 is a strange little slasher flick but a pretty good one all the same: student/final girl Amy (Jennifer Morrison) finds her friends/crew being stalked n’ slashed one by one by a fencing-masked loon with some ridiculous motive up his sleeve (and it is really ridiculous). Strangely, not only she and her obligatory love interest are left at the end. Reese (Loretta Devine) is there, natch, but bizarrely two other random guys are left unscathed… Weird.

They’re red herrings, of course, but even once the killer is revealed they could’ve been done away with. Especially sleaze-merchant rich-boy Graham (Joey Joseph Lawrence), who hangs around on his phone to his producer daddy all day and commits the unforgivable sin of suggesting Amy should insert CGI gore into her film rather than old fashioned latex grue!

So, give him the chop and let’s save import-a-camera-guy Schorm ‘Simon’ Jabuscko (Marco Hofschneider), who turns up to help the gang out, makes their film look all nice and does it all with a sexy European accent – and is then gruesomely beaten to death with a lens.

And they let Blossom’s little brother live!?

Trade-a-Life II

Sometimes when watching a slasher pic there’ll be a nice person who dies and I’ll be sad about it for ten or twelve minutes. In recent years horror’s insistence that all people bar heroes are tossers has meant this is rarely the case anymore but way-back-when it wasn’t uncommon for sympathetic victims to pile up along with their more promiscuous, pot-smoking, more sinful buddies. It smarts more if someone who damn well should’ve been turned into a giant pin cushion makes it out unscathed.

Hence, here are three such examples where I’d gladly play God and swap one of the survivors for someone who bought the farm… Humongous spoilers follow.


Joseph Zito’s nihilistic little splatter movie may be largely a bore-fest punctuated by some excellent grue but it did offer up a strange little moment of trickery where a teen boy and girl, who I’m calling HornySexCouple for lack of a better understanding of their purpose, creep away from supervision to do the dirty in the basement. A classic slasher flick error.

Meanwhile, nice teech Miss Allison (Donna Davis) goes to look for a missing (and in fact dead) student. The camera cuts between both parties challenging us to guess who’s gonna get it. We watch from behind blurry foreground objects HornySexCouple get in on while Miss Allison discovers a bloody pool where the now-dead chick was slashed up.

Alas, Miss Allison is hijacked on the way back to safety by the killer and gets a blade to the neck while HornySexCouple, it turns out, were being watched by the local perv rather than the psycho. A cruel trick on a nice character.

HornySexCouple were just non-dimensional fodder who would’ve bolstered the rather low body count and Miss Allison should’ve lived to twirl another day in her delightful pink-with-black-shapes dress.


I actually have nothing against eventual Tiffany-lite heroine Marcia (Tracy Griffith, Mel’s half-sis), she who along with Tony (Mark Oliver), are the only campers at Camp New Horizons who make it out in one piece after puritanical transsexual psycho-loon Angela does away with the rest, who are participating in a meeting of the privileged and not-so youths in an “exercise of sharing.”

Tony is from the less-privileged group, while Marcia is middle class all the way, and herein lies my objection: bad guys can survive but final girls almost always have to be good, moralistic and girly. So I champion Arab (Jill Terashita) as the preferred choice to Marcia.

Arab has ‘tude, silky long hair and a bitchin’ leather jacket. She’d have kicked Angela’s ass if she hadn’t fallen for her trick and lost her head in the process. In fact, looking back at the film, Arab didn’t actually commit any particular ‘sin’ of the type Angela is always so keen to act on.

Although, I should point out neither can hold a candle to Sleepaway Camp II‘s final girl, Molly, played by the lovely Renee Estevez.

FRIDAY THE 13TH (the remake)

Were you sad when final-girl-for-most-of-it Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) became nothing more than a bit of meat stuck to the end of Jason’s machete? Even though I saw her demise coming, it was still a rare ‘awww’ moment for a Friday film, where characters seldom graduate beyond well-trodden stereotypes who we don’t care much about.

Why swap her with Clay, you ask? Well, I loves me some Amanda Righetti in The Mentalist so I can’t bring myself to trade her in for Jenna but then I thought, why couldn’t there have been two final girls for like the first time ever (unless you count Bloody Murder 2 or the Scream movies)?

There’s nothing wrong with Jared Padalecki as the lead but in Jason movies, the main character should really be a girl who channels some inner-Xena to kick ass. A 6’4″ buff guy doesn’t quite press the right buttons but on this one I’m fairly forgiving and it’s clear that Chewie (Aaron Yoo) was the best character by a mile anyway.

Yes? No? Still reeling from my inclusion of Alice last time? Leave me a comment and let’s duke it out.


Sometimes when watching a slasher pic there’ll be a nice person who dies and I’ll be sad about it for ten or twelve minutes. In recent years horror’s insistence that all people bar heroes are tossers has meant this is rarely the case anymore but way-back-when it wasn’t uncommon for sympathetic victims to pile up along with their more promiscuous, pot-smoking, more sinful buddies. It smarts more if someone who damn well should’ve been turned into a giant pin cushion makes it out unscathed.

Hence, here are three such examples where I’d gladly play God and swap one of the survivors for someone who bought the farm… Humongous spoilers follow.


Yeah, that’s right – let’s switch whiny Peeping Tom Alfred (Brian Backer) – who somehow survives! – for shy, well-meaning but slightly naive Karen (Carolyn Houlihan), she with whom we become acquainted early on, tricking us into believing she’ll be the one to face off with Cropsy. That is, until she disrobes in full view of the camera and gets her throat cut with his pointy shears in a particularly spiteful demise.

I’m all for Final Boys every now and then but Alfred ain’t got it – he is saved by Todd anyway, who does most of the legwork, and adds almost nothing to the mix and should’ve gotten the shear blades through the nuts for his penchant for perving.


This could be an unpopular one as Alice (Lisa Wilcox) successfully took on Freddy Krueger not once, but twice and lived to tell the tale. However, after the ass-kicking Nancy and Patricia Arquette’s Kristen, it’s like the writers of The Dream Master dug out an old American Gothic painting and decided the heroine should be all dowdy and feeble. So yeah, she grows a pair and wins the war later on but I’d rather have seen uber-dork Sheila (Toy Newkirk) take that journey.

She of oversized glasses and a sort of Janet Jackson-lite ensemble, Sheila may be even weaker than Alice Plain n’ Tall at the offset but would undoubtedly be the kind of black final girl we’ve been in need of for so many years: smart, sweet and unassuming.


Conversely, I think a lot of people who watched the eighth Halloween movie through distraught eyes would’ve been happy with anyone surviving in place of Busta Rhymes, who surfs a wave of cliches through the movie until only he and willowy heroine Sara are left alive.

But let us look to Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas) who isn’t given much to do in the film but thankfully is not turned into a ghetto stereotype by the script. Instead, Rudy and his gal pals merrily join the webcast group and he’s smart enough to toss spices into Michael Myers’ eyes – something that hadn’t been tried before – shame it didn’t work though… In any other movie, the guy who tries to use martial arts or some other physical skill to best the killer (see Julius in Friday the 13th Part VIII for example) is usually swatted away like a gnat – unless he’s a well-known “musician” who probably only signed on with a clause that he wasn’t killed off. Boooo.

Agree? Disagree? Someone I missed? Drop a comment and let me know!