I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer” (2006) goes low-budget, low-talent and straight-to-video to wrap up the trilogy. Since it came out eight years after the second entry, I didn’t even notice this film’s existence at the time. When I noticed it years later, some curiosity percolated at the back of my mind about how the franchise continued after the first two films, both of which I liked.
Director Danny Cannon and writer Trey Callaway pump up the humor and simple slasher pleasures in the sequel to 1997’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which popularized straight-down-the-middle slashers (as opposed to winking examples like “Scream”) for a new generation. Hey, you have to have a sense of humor when your movie is called “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998).
Scream” (1996) introduced a new era of slasher films by being brazenly self-referential, but also by having better production values and acting than the previous era defined by the “Halloweens,” “Friday the 13ths” and “Elm Streets.” The second major entry of this new era — “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997), likewise written by Kevin Williamson – doesn’t have many insider nods, but it keeps the quality high.
Paramount held the rights to “Friday the 13th” for the first eight films before handing them off to New Line Cinema, and it closes the era with a whimper in “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” (1989). The idea of taking Jason (Kane Hodder) out of Crystal Lake, N.J. (even serial killers need a vacation now and then), is refreshing and filled with potential. But the execution is atrocious.
Iwas gung-ho for “Virus” in 1998; I gobbled up the 1992 comic series by Chuck Pfarrer (who co-writes the screenplay), and I recall the novelization by S.D. Perry being a cracking good read. I devoured the articles and photos in Fangoria and Starlog. Then in 1999 it finally hit theaters – as one of those classic January sci-fi discards — and it made my honorable mentions even in that great year of cinema.
I’ve complained that most of the “Friday the 13th” sequels tentatively try something new but don’t commit to it, so I admire “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood” (1988) for committing to a supernaturally inclined protagonist. And even though these films are made on the cheap, always casting soap-opera-level actors, they get a good one to play Tina Shepard, Lar Park-Lincoln. It helps tremendously that she’s not merely a random Final Girl, but instead gets a complete hero’s origin story under the pen of Daryl Haney and Manuel Fidello.
Sleepaway Camp” (1983) is one of the most prominent lakeside summer camp slasher flicks in the wake of “Friday the 13th” (1980), and refreshingly its tone is nothing like “Friday the 13th.” If it were made today, maybe by Robert Rodriguez teaming up with David Robert Mitchell, we’d say it’s a masterful homage/parody to the style of the time. Writer-director Robert Hiltzik’s film is often technically bad, sometimes aimless, and inexplicably engrossing.
Leigh Whannell was a writer before he was a director, but “The Invisible Man” shows off his directorial skills more than his screenplay-penning talent. This third entry in what was originally intended to be a “Dark Universe” but is now just standalone films (“Dracula Untold” and 2017’s “The Mummy” were the first two) has the requisite moments of Cecelia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) being terrified of an invisible man in the room with her. That’s timeless monster-movie stuff.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” (1986) wraps up the “Tommy Trilogy” in blandly competent fashion. This entry, written by directed by saga newcomer Tom McLoughlan, doesn’t descend into utter absurdity like some of its predecessors. In fact, it checks some boxes of things the “F13” saga should have done before this: One, the sheriff (David Kagen as Garris) and his deputies actually pursue Jason in the wake of his killings. Two, there are actually kids at the camp.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” was released in 1984, and then the franchise went into a long hibernation. Just kidding. It returned less than a year later with “Friday the 13th: A New Beginning” (1985). Refreshingly (and it’s just about the only refreshing thing in the movie), it skips the long “previously on” montage and gives us a decent nightmare sequence of a worm-covered Jason climbing out of his grave. Then we jump to the previous film’s Tommy as an adult.