Tag Archives: hair don’ts


crystal eyes 2017 mirada de cristal


3.5 Stars  2017/15/81m

“Alexis Carpenter wants to be the best model of all …Even when she’s dead.”

Original title: Mirada de cristal

Directors/Writers: Ezequiel Endelman & Leandro Montejano / Cast: Anahi Politi, Silvia Montanari, Erika Boveri, Camila Pizzo, Valeria Giorcelli, Diego Benedetto, Claudio Armesto, Victoria Del Rosal, Augustina Del Rosal, Adriana Pregliasco.

Body Count: 10

In 1985, monster diva model Alexis Carpenter pisses off everybody in her orbit, tossing hot coffee into the face of a poor makeup artist and taking to the runway in a shredded bridal gown, defiantly downs booze before setting herself aflame and going up like Mary Lou Maloney.

One year later, her Buenos Aires fashion house is preparing for a tribute edition, but a mannequin rocking all the killer runway poses keeps turning up and slashing, skewering, and drowning those associated with the concept, including the young models up for the ‘role’ of Alexis.

crystal eyes 2017 silvia manahari

Crystal Eyes oils itself up and rolls in a pit of giallo 80s excesses: Neon, big hair, high-end artwork, garish design, footwear that clip-clops loudly across any floor. Each and every shot is designed to wring out the sinister, every line of dialogue delivered like it has been redubbed, with characters responding to questions before the other person has even finished speaking. It’s so visually stunning, I’d defy anybody to think it’s anything other than an unearthed feature-length video from European MTV circa 1988.

The over-stylization of things actually makes for an unsettling, slightly nauseating tone, especially during the scenes as arch editor Lucia’s home, where identical twin assistants robotically clomp around in unison without cracking a smile. The kills are also savage, each dripping with the signature giallo build-ups: A creepy blind usher here, a razor glinting against the light there, eerie notes, and the killer themself; who sashays towards each victim like she’s on the Drag Race stage, her ‘face’ made-up to perfection like a drag exaggeration.

crystal eyes 2017

Like the 80s itself, and the fashion thereof, everything is grotesquely overwrought, bypassing a ten on the camp-o-meter at every possible moment. Expertly crafted stuff.

Not to be confused with fellow giallo throwback, Eyes of Crystal.

Lights on, nobody home

darkroom 1989


2.5 Stars  1989/15/86m

“Where old passions develop.”

Director: Terrence O’Hara / Writers: Rick Pamplin, Robert W. Fisher, Brian Herskowitz / Cast: Jill Pierce, Jeffrey Alan Arbaugh, Aarin Teich, Sara Lee Wade, Allan Liberman, Stella Kastner, John O’Connor.

Body Count: 9

College girl Janet returns home to her rural family home for a break – joining mom, grandpa, her sister and her cousins, who live with the family after a suspicious fire killed their parents along with Janet’s photographer father some years back. His darkroom still exists in the basement of their remote house. Someone in the cast is sneakily taking photos of people before killing them, occasionally wearing a creepy worn yellow rainmack while doing so.

When Janet’s boyfriend Steve turns up, mom asks them to go look for AWOL sister Paula, who has shacked up in a trailer with a temperamental local who, it seems, has killed her, and attacks anybody else who crosses his path. Lots of running back and forth ensues, with all vehicles unavailable or immobilised, the phone out, and the nearest neighbours ten miles away… Ideal working conditions for your common or garden slasher killer.

A nice credits sequence and some good photography make Darkroom look better than expected, though for a Nico Mastorakis production, most of the kills are tame or occur off camera entirely; the killer’s motive is hazy and seems almost shoehorned in in place of something that would really wrap things up satisfactorily.

An okay 86 minutes but you might get more out of developing some old photographs.

Blurb-of-interest: Aarin Teich was in Bloodspell.

Murder House Goes to Camp

american horror story 1984


2.5 Stars  2019/377m

Created by: Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk / Cast: Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman, Cody Fern, Matthew Morrison, Gus Kenworthy, John Carroll Lynch, Angelica Ross, Zach Villa, DeRon Horton, Lily Rabe, Dylan McDermott, Mitch Pileggi, Lou Taylor Pucci.

Body Count: 66-ish

Laughter Lines: “Girls are red, boys are blue. Don’t try to make purple.”

Before being mercifully put out of its (and our) misery, Ryan Murphy’s earlier attempt at a slasher TV show, Scream Queenswas slated to have a season set at a summer camp. However, people ran faster from it than celebrities from a Trump endorsement proposition, and it never came to be. Big spoilers.

In all likelihood, many of those ideas were exported to the far more wide-reaching American Horror Story, for its ninth season. While I only saw the first three seasons of the anthology series before I moved abroad, I heard it was starting to struggle after a while. I picked up at Apocalypse (the eighth year), which I found fine in its own batshit crazy way, and hoped for a good slasher-based yarn in 1984, to be set at a summer camp. YAY.

american horror story 1984

While far from the sledgehammer-to-the-screen inviting disaster that was Scream Queens, 1984 is nevertheless something of a chaotic mess, that plays out like the ideas tank was empty after just a few episodes and so the writers just began tacking on ‘the other massacre’ that occurred even before the previous other one. But wouldn’t someone have already mentioned that?? Apparently not.

In 1970, the janitor at Camp Redwood, CA, slices up the inhabitants of a cabin. Known as Mr Jingles, the loon is put away and the camp is re-opened fourteen years later by the sole survivor, questionably unhinged puritan, Margaret (Grossman). Due to the camp’s rep around those parts, she can only attract a few counsellors, in the shape of a group of friends from LA: wannabe actor Xavier, failed athlete Chet, nice-guy orderly Ray, aerobic instructor Montana, and newbie Brooke (Emma Roberts not doing her acid-tongued schtick for a change), who agrees to go at the last minute, when she’s attacked in her apartment by the Nightstalker serial killer, Richard Ramirez, who swears he’ll track her down. They’re joined there by the activities director Trevor, Nurse Rita, Chef Bertie, and a delirious hippie they accidentally ran over nearby.

american horror story 1984

Being 1984, the entirety of the backdrop is swimming in big hair, spandex, and people saying ‘rad’ a lot. Of course, Mr Jingles escapes his institute on the same day and heads back to camp, arriving at the same time as Richard Ramirez, and the bloodbath is underway pretty damn quickly, with a few intermittent flashbacks to the questionable lives of the counsellors, who have been engaged in hazing accidents, steroid abuse, and wedding day murder-suicides.

That all of this occurred in the first episode, I was concerned 1984 would run out of creative kills and Ghostbusters jokes too soon. The first five episodes are set almost entirely during that first night, and it’s clear (all too soon) that there’s a supernatural element at work, as people who die seem to reappear alive and well. Anyone who remembers the first season, Murder House, will recall that those who haunt said abode died there, and are forever stuck within its walls. Well, Camp Redwood is the same: You die there, you’re stuck there. Although later rules around not being able to leave the camp were thwarted in the very first episode when the hippie character was on the road outside…

american horror story 1984

Things fast forward to 1989 as Brooke, sent down for the murders, faces her death sentence, while Margaret – revealed to be the real culprit – tries to capitalise on her ownership of the place by holding a music festival there with the intention of killing everyone who comes to it (Kajagoogoo are the unfortunate first arrivals). Mr Jingles is forced to abandon martial bliss to return to Redwood to clear his name and end the horror for good. Brooke comes back (after the strangest roller-rink scene, which allegedly makes five years in prison all better). Ramirez comes back. Another killer turns up too.

While things wrap up neatly at the end of episode nine, it couldn’t feel more obvious that whomever was running this show gave up to some degree. Somewhere in the middle, it’s revealed that there was another massacre at the camp in 1950, when Mr Jingles’ mom went berserk after her other son died in the lake, but this goes curiously unmentioned by anyone up to this point. Then, the ‘thirty years later’ arc at the end, Emma Roberts appears absolutely unaltered, with a throwaway line about fillers to excuse the fact a woman who should be in her 50s looks exactly the same as she did in her 20s. Honestly, there’s literally no ageing makeup in sight.

american horror story 1984

Billie Lourd gives a good speech about women being blamed for the violent crimes perpetrated by men, which would be an awesome summary if the sequence of events in 1984 didn’t trace back to the rage of a woman, who then convinces another woman to embark on a killing spree and frame a man for it.

OK enough moaning. There is some fun stuff here, most of it early on in the more Friday the 13th-ey episodes: Brooke’s frantic chase through the camp, the payphone ominously ringing outside in the storm, Shocker‘s Mitch Pileggi as the clinic warden, and the Halloween homage with the lunatics running amok. Trademark bitchy-dialogue from Ryan Murphy’s favourite actresses is somewhat reigned in, but there are some cute gags throughout: “What do people think of the 80s? Did Judd Nelson ever get his Oscar?”

american horror story 1984

In a meta-way, 1984 showcases over nine episodes the kind of deranged chop-and-change effect that killed the at-the-start awesome Glee, when it seemed that those writing the show had a much lower boredom threshold than anybody watching it, so flipped around romantic partners, character motivations, and allegiances on an almost weekly basis. Here, the frenetic “let’s add another killer!”, “let’s add another massacre!” goes way beyond even the worst written slasher films of the 1980s.

Blurbs-of-interest: Roberts and Lourd were in Scream Queens; Roberts was also in Scream 4.

Being’s believin’


1.5 Stars  1989/84m

“Save the last dance… for hell!”

Director/Writer: James Shyman / Cast: Cindy Maranne, James Carrol Jordan, Joel Von Ornsteiner, Jay Richardson, William Kerr, Queen Kong, Kelle Favara, Jackson Daniels, Vinece Lee, Janice Patterson, Shari Blum, Susan Kaye Deemer, Cynthia Cheston, John Bluto.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “The way you girls shake your bodies all day, what do you expect?”

There are no feminist welders-by-day, dancers-by-night in this bizarre as fuck LA cheapo, which could be played as an intra-office guide about how male employees shouldn’t treat their female counterparts. But this was a product of the 80s, so nobody cared.

A girl with Tiffany-lite hair and lots of day-glo spandex turns up at an old Hollywood theater for a dance audition. Nobody appears to be there so she starts warming up anyway, as we watch a black-cloaked fiend creep around nearby wielding a saw. She does a pirouette and spins throat-first into the saw.

Sexy lady cop Tori Raines busts a couple of bag-lady robbers (one with questionable stick-on eyebrows that he removes in lieu of an intended sexual assault!?), two comic female wrestler-types selling steroids, and lands an undercover gig trying to find out what happens to pirouette-girl and a country singer/dancer who also went to audition and got herself strangled.

slashdance 1989

She masquerades as a dancer practicing for an upcoming revue show and tries to find clues. There’s the famous director, the almost-broke theater owner and his mentally challenged brother (from an era where he was likely just given a script that said “act all spastic” and so this buff young guy eats live goldfish and murmurs a lot with no explanation for his impressive guns). Tori and the other dancers do endless – endless – 5,6,7,8 steps: Step, toe, hip, step, look, turn, heel, step, toe, sass… This takes up approximately 77 minutes of the 84 minute runtime.

In spite of that awesome title, there’s practically zero slash to Slashdance. None of the other dancers are killed at all. Tori meets the killer with like six minutes to go, finds the bodies of the whopping two victims in that same window of time, bests the killer and the film just ends with silent credits.

slashdance 1989

The most interesting facet of the production is how casually chauvinistic it all is: Tori’s fellow detective has left his wife and kids and wants to go out with her. She tells him no, go back to the family. And he just keeps on asking incessantly. Her Captain talks about her being a decent pair of tits and won’t take her seriously because she’s, y’know, a woman – she’s also never dressed in anything but sexy evening wear or her dance garb. Curiously though, given that cover art, there’s no nudity in the movie, just the never ending close ups of thrusting and gyrating pelvises in lycra. It’s like that Eric Prydz video’s mom.

Somewhat wisely opting to (try and) be funny rather than po-faced, the slasher aspects are still very much an afterthought, with a particularly crappy killer, whose identity is obvious, and too many characters who would die in any other film but survive this intact. If you think you can handle it, watch it back to back with 1992’s Last Dance.

Blurbs-of-interest: James Shyman also directed Hollywood’s New Blood; Jay Richardson was in The Newlydeads.

Hair Don’ts II: The Revenge of Aqua Net

Somehow, since last time it’s taken ages to accrue more terrible hairstyles, but here they are:

bad hair final exam 1981

“The Walking Bouffant,” modelled by Final Exam (1981) Matthew Perry-esque frat dude.

I worry about how much hairspray went into creating this bonfire mound of hair, worsened by the centre parting and general volume. It lends well to the character’s general smarminess and eventual knife through the torso.

grotesque 1987 bad hair

“Wind Shear,” by Gang Member from Grotesque (1987)

Looks like actress Bunky Jones – also modelling a huge do in Hide and Go Shriek that same year – stuck her head out the window on the freeway and was hit in the face by a blueberry pie.

sleepaway camp judy bad hair

“The Cricked-Neck Counterbalancer,” sported by Judy in Sleepaway Camp (1983)

The entire 80s Sleepaway Camp franchise is full of fashion faux pas’ and bad hair, and it’s possibly Judy started it all by pulling her entire mane of thick, dry hair into a side-ponytail, which must have had consequences for her skeletal musculo something something.

child's play 3 bad hair

“What ever happened to Tiffany?” on random girl from Child’s Play 3 (1991)

Shaggy perm, scrunchie on top, was this look still around in ’91? I guess so. Perhaps Chucky was too weirded out by it, because this chick exits the film intact.

bad hair girls nite out 1982

“2-for-1 on Bad Hair,” with Pryor from Girls Nite Out (1982)

A classic 80s mullet and 90s curtains together at last, somehow before either became fashionable, on Hal Holbrook’s son as the is-he-or-isn’t-he killer, who understandably would’ve donned that bear costume after glancing in the mirror at this atrocity.

bad hair trampa infernal

“Perm-A-Mullet,” by lead-guy in Trampa Infernal (1989)

This guy is the hero, aided probably by extra protection afforded to the skull by the thickness of his curly mullet. I need to go to Mexico and see if they still have this do.

bad hair grotesque 1987

“The Morning After,” by Shelly in Grotesque (1987)

Grotesque – surely named for the hair-don’ts that litter it – strikes again, with another of the punkz, who looks like she lapsed into a two-week coma under a hairdryer.

christine elise child's play 2 1990

“Push it all aside,” with Kyle from Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Probably the least offensive ‘do on the list, but this is a nice compensation for Judy’s heavy list to one side, with Kyle pushing it all to the other, but with less length to slowly pull her neck over.

bad hair bloodstained shadow

“Insane Asylum Special,” for deranged son of nurse in The Bloodstained Shadow (1978)

It may be hard to see clearly, but this poor chap has a standard buzz-cut on top and then a sort of mullet at the sides. The character was kept in a room on a remote island off Italy, so maybe that’s how they rolled there in the late 70s.

linda blair bad hair grotesque 1988

“The Career Flatliner,” from Dame Linda Blair in Grotesque (1987)

Maybe she was possessed by a demon again, as that’s surely the only explanation for this hairspray-OD’d combo of several terrible mid-80s styles, which I fear still exist at roadhouses in the square States.

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