It's FRIDAY THE 13TH!!! Okay, maybe it's not anymore, but that's when this article went up so bear with me for a moment. Among those of us wacky webmasters who bother to observe this spookiest of day/date coinkidinks, I imagine that most will choose to commemorate the day with some sort of feature involving Jason Voorhies of the Friday the 13th films. However, since Scary-Crayon eschews convention, for the site's first Friday the 13th (yay!) we're going to review, yes, a horror movie (hey, some norms just shouldn't be fucked with, but maybe next time we'll taste test stale Easter candy and/or edible violet condoms), but a lesser known one based on an old comic book that I've never heard of.
In fact, the film kicks off with the skull noting that while I probably don't know him, he's well acquainted with my parents: "As they flipped through my Campfire comic books, the flames from my pages almost singed their noses!" Yeah, you probably looked at that flaming skull and assumed that he flies at the screen before or after the title appears in burning letters, but you were wrong! Dead wrong! In addition to being a friend of the family, the skull actually introduces the movie over the course of a two-minute monologue. That's right; before we even get to the meat of Campfire Stories, we're treated to a two-minute speech by a badly animated CG skull who is also on fire. So after Ghost Rider finishes talking nonsense about singed noses and sweaty little hands, we get the title screen. Then the movie really begins!
Of course, with a horror flick comprised of several different tales, it's customary to have a framing story to tie things together. Like other horror movies before it and even that Pepsi commercial with Ludacris, the main arc of Campfire Stories involves two idiots who get lost while driving to some kickass party that just happens to be held in the middle of fucking nowhere. Allow me to introduce Teddy and Joe, today's resident morons. They're quite a pair, too. Not only do they start slapping at each other while Teddy's driving, nearly causing them to crash into a tree, but upon swerving and narrowly missing it, Teddy allows his mouth to go slack in his relief, thus letting the lit cigarette fall directly into his lap. And then, with reference to the kinds of people likely to be found in such a remote area, there's this comedic gem:
Q: How do you castrate a redneck?
HahahahohahahaHAHAhahahahahah-ah-ah-ahahahahaheehahahaIhatethismoviehahahahahaha alrighty let's move on.
So they look up from their moronic activities and manage to stop just inches away from Natalie, also known as "that stupid bitch standing in that road in the middle of nowhere". Now, I've never seen an episode of "The Sopranos", but if you watch the show you'll probably recognize her as Meadow Soprano, played by actress Jamie-Lynn DiScala (credited as Jamie-Lynn Sigler). Given that her name's stamped all over the DVD case in prominent places, I assume that she's the main draw for seeing the film. Just so you know. Anyway, Natalie apparently had some car trouble a ways back and she needs a ride to the nearest telephone, but since somehow Teddy and Joe got a flat when stopping for her, they're all in the same boat now. But lo! Natalie sees a light in the woods, and proposes that they venture into the forest to find the campers and perhaps borrow a cell phone. However, this is one of those self-aware horror films -- most are these days, for better or worse -- so of course Teddy and Joe stop to point out that kids who enter the woods in the movies don't usually come back out alive. 'Cause thar be monsters an' rednecks in them woods, dontcha know. Yet despite this earnest warning, Natalie runs off into the forest like the headstrong bitch that she is, and Teddy and Joe are nice enough to follow along to make sure that nothing happens to her. Fuck that! On my watch, she would've been on her own.
So after wandering in the woods for a bit, splitting up, and scaring the shit out of each other when they reunite, the three kids -- I'm calling them kids, I don't care -- come upon a clearing just as darkness overtakes the sky. And then they jump as a lone figure emerges from the woods! Folks, meet Ranger Bill, whose first rasping words are, appropriately, "Scare ya, did I?" And again with the trivia, ol' Bill is played by David Johansen (a.k.a. Buster Poindexter) of "Oz" fame. That's another one of those shows I haven't seen, so I don't really have anything to say about it. However, it's worth noting that Johansen did star in Tales From the Darkside: The Movie, making him a veteran of these kinds of films. It shows, as his lunatic camp appeal is probably the best thing this film has going for it. Besides the skull, anyway.
After catching their breath, the three explain the situation to the good ranger. Apparently he spotted their car on the road and already took the liberty of calling for a tow truck. Nice guy, that Ranger Bill. In the meantime, he welcomes them to Camp WannaBeThere -- don't ask -- and says, "Why not sit here an' git warm... while you wait for your truck t' come fer ya." But though he begins that statement with "why", believe me when I tell you it's not a question -- when they try to decline the invitation, Ranger Bill stands up all imposing like and they sit the fuck back down. "That's better," he growls.
And now it's time for our first CAMPFIRE STORY! This one begins at the Down State Facility for the Criminally Insane (deliveries only). As is typical of such institutions in bad horror movies, the doctors are more insane than the patients, performing all manner of teeth-pulling tests in their pain threshold experiments. So it goes without saying that one of the inmates breaks free, kills the shit out of all of the doctors and employees to death rock screaming, "WELCOME TO MY HELL!!!" ad nauseam, and escapes into the night. Because like the song says, his brain is sliced salami.
Twenty years later, we see a janitor and groundskeeper trimming a bush at an unnamed Catholic university. He's simply listed in the credits as "Janitor", so that's what we're going to call him. Hello, Janitor! And hello, Petra and Donny! Apparently an item, these two young lovers are having what appears to be another argument about Donny's infidelity. He claims that the girl was stalking him, but it's quite clear from their discussion that he always uses that excuse to explain the presence of naked girls in the backseat of his car. It's also clear that we're supposed to think Donny is a hunk or something. If you ask me, he looks like the hypothetical best effort of a reconstructive surgeon to fix Tom Welling's face after he got beaten beyond recognition for starring in the fly-covered cowpie that is the WB's "Smallville", but I digress.
So Petra leaves, and apparently Donny's so pissed off about it that he decides to attack the Janitor for no fucking reason whatsoever while a bunch of blonde girls look on and laugh. What the hell? Given that they're at a Catholic university, I wonder if there's some social commentary going on here. I mean, it would be the "beautiful," blonde, and probably wealthy Christian girls who would take pleasure in the pain of a nameless member of the lower class. Those bitches. Still, it's not a total bust for the Janitor. Sure, the entire football team jumps on him and pummels him good, but he does manage to rip the shit out of Donny's ear from underneath the dogpile.
Eventually Petra comes back and saves the Janitor from the football team's wrath, handing him his cap and giving him such a sweet smile that he can't help but get all bashful and say, "Dur hur hur," before stealing Donny's bag as he runs off. But seriously, that look they exchange with one another -- it's like there's a love connection in the making. You go, Janitor man! Petra then proceeds to scold Donny for being such an asshole, 'cause he knows the Janitor is mentally challenged and it's not nice to pick on people like that. Donny's response: "The guy kills his whole family and isn't satisfied, so he digs them up and kills them again just for laughs... yeah, I'd say he's mentally challenged." The hell? Donny thinks this guy is a psycho killer and still goes out of his way to pick on him? That ain't too bright, kid.
So because the Janitor stole his bag, Donny shouts, "I swear to God I'm gonna kill that psycho... You hear me? YOU'RE DEAD!!!" Given that Donny's the one flipping out over a backpack and pledging to kill a retarded dude, him calling the Janitor a psycho is kinda like this movie calling a piece of used toilet paper "shitty", isn't it? Ho ho ho! I hope Santa blasts everyone who had anything to do with this movie with pepper spray. Anyway, that's pretty much the setup for the rest of the story -- the next day, Donny and his boys grab some weapons from a shed somewhere on campus and chase the Janitor into the woods with intent to kill him. I guess they learned the catechism well, huh?
And now it's time for a classic shitty horror film conditional: If you are male and you stop to pee in the woods, when you turn around you will get your penis chopped, torn, and/or bitten off by whatever happens to be stalking you at the time. There's really no getting out of it, so if you ever find yourself in a similar situation I advise you to go ahead and take the urine crotch-cologne and the embarrassing nickname for pissing your pants rather than whipping the lil feller out and bleeding the lizard in the open air. Otherwise, the same thing that happens to Robby and Robby's dingaling when you roll your cursor over the Janitor (go ahead, try it) just might happen to you. And nobody wants to go out like that.
So after Donny's friends all bite the dust, he finally faces off with their killer, now back in killing form after twenty years on the bench. "You see, kids," says Ranger Bill, "you really can't judge an animal by the spots on his back. The right buttons are tapped, the pixelation is correct, and BAM!... anything can happen." I'm pretty sure that was about as mixed as metaphors come, but whatever. The Janitor clotheslines Donny, but he doesn't kill him right there. Instead, Donny awakens in the Janitor's utility room, surrounded by the bodies of his dead friends and even the incredibly well-kept corpse of the doctor from so many years ago. Then we get to see what Donny sees as the Janitor cuts into his neck with a hacksaw and
Poor Petra... them once quick and intelligent eyes... now lent to a more permanent milky vacant gaze. Of course, when the demons are unleashed, there will be innocents caught in the crossfire! Y'see, if you can't figure say the trajectory of... A BULLET!!... you shouldn't stand in the path of a tornado. However, these youngsters -- NOT UNLIKE YOURSELVES -- was caught smack dab in the middle of both!
Alrighty then. So as we've established that this is a self-aware horror film, Joe indignantly says, "What [the fuck] is that supposed to mean?" Ranger Bill answers that he's just playing with them. Anyway, as the kids try to get the hell away from Ranger Bill, they address him "with all due respect," exhibiting such politeness and manners that the ol' Ranger finds admits to being touched. This elicits a chuckle from the kids, causing Ranger Bill to do a 180, get pissed as shit, and accuse the kids of making fun of him. "It may happen here," he says, "and you may get away with it... but then again, it may come back and BITE YA RIGHT IN THE ASS!!!"
Um, okay. I don't see what he's getting so pissed off about, since they were courteous enough to sit there and listen to his shitty story about a homicidal janitor. If I were out in the woods with a buddy and Ranger Bill tried to detain us around a campfire, I'd give my friend that "let's roll" look and then we'd stand up and proceed to kick the living shit out of him so fiercely that future generations of campers would gather 'round the fire to tell stories about how badly Billy-boy got his ass kicked by the fearsome Scary-Crayon Axis of DOOM on a night just like tonight. And you know what? To lone rangers in the woods, that story would be a hell of a lot scarier than anything that's happened in this movie so far. Anyway, Bill pretty much tells them to sit down, shut the fuck up, and listen as he relates another crappy tale. Joy!
Our second CAMPFIRE STORY begins in a bar full of old people. Seriously. In fact, the director goes out of his way to make sure that you know this bar is fucking filled with old people, with lots of closeups of grey hair and old wrinkled hands and withered lips and everything. Except for Robbie, Michelle, and B.J. above, everyone in this bar is as old as grit. Then this old Indian dude who, according to the credits, goes by the name of Two Feathers, walks in and pays for his coffee with money he pulls from a pouch filled with glowing yellow pixie dust. Nope, not kidding. So he downs his coffee and, after enduring a bit of mockery from the three youngsters, climbs onto his motorcycle outside and hits the road. And apparently the our three main characters are murderin' thieves, 'cause they follow Two Feathers back to his trailer with intent to kill him and steal his shit. Kids today have no respect for their elders.
As the cutthroats watch from the woods, Two Feathers puffs from the peace pipe and devoutly prays to the great spirits, noting that "all life is sacred." Then, having finished this reverent task, he commences to bug the fuck out, waving his arms all around like he's listening to darkwave and muttering, "The ancestors," every now and then in tune with the crazy Native music that starts playing in the background. Then come the hallucinations -- a giant black wolf appears in the flames and leaps directly at him. You'd think that would be some scary shit, but Two Feathers just says, "Whoa," and goes right back to his trance dancing. I don't know what he smoked, but it's hella potent. That's North Cal lingo.
But lest you be tempted to track down some of this wacky Indian weed and have a peace pipe puffing session of your own, here's a reason you might want to think twice. Not only is Two Feathers so out of it that he doesn't even notice our three young robbers sneak up behind him to kill him, but while Robbie is strangling him he sees... well... go ahead and roll your cursor over the above left image to see. That's just fucked up. So with Two Feathers dead, Michelle, Robbie, and B.J. loot the immediate area. Michelle sucks on the dead man's fingers to retrieve his rings, Robbie snatches the feather out of his hair, and B.J.... oh hell, you know what B.J. wants. That fucker's all about the smoke. Dude.
They decide to relax and enjoy the spoils of their latest conquest inside the old guy's trailer, where a radio report lets us know that they're wanted in connection to the murder and subsequent robbing of two other elderly persons. Does anyone else have the feeling that this one's going to turn around and BITE THEM RIGHT IN THE ASS??? Anyway, B.J. smokes up and sees a giant beetle crawling across Robbie. He laughs; it's all good. Robbie, however, has a more disturbing experience. When he smokes on the pipe, he sees a bunch of withered green faces hovering before his eyes, one of which screams, "You shall reap... WHAT YOU SHALL SOW!!!" Naturally, he starts freaking out. But don't laugh, because you'd freak out too if you saw a bunch of green masks with glowing yellow eyes floating in front of your face and shrieking at you about reaping what you'd sown. Especially if you'd sown the seeds of MURDA.
Michelle doesn't fare any better. At first, she sees a crappy CG Tinkerbell flitting about the room, which she finds endearing despite the fact that it later grows fangs and rushes at her face with glowing red eyes. However, when she looks down at her feet and sees her toes morph into black snakes that turn towards her and hiss menacingly, she loses it. And if you're familiar with this sort of thing, you already know that this is the point where one guy -- here, B.J. -- plays the sage and lectures his companions about how they're supposed to control the high. You don't see him getting all fucked up, do you? Quoth B.J.: "Let the peaceful ways... of the earth... inhabit your oneness. Dude." Words to live by.
But it doesn't help, because when they look at B.J. they just see a monster B.J. who has glowing red eyes and moves with the appearance of being perpetually underneath a strobelight. Much to B.J.'s chagrin, Robbie takes the smoke and tosses it into the woods, citing it as the source of their present trauma. Well, duh, Robbie. Glad to see that you've kicked the habit. But even with the naughty Native weed gone, Michelle becomes convinced that burying the Indian's body would help to ease her mind... so she drags the guys outside and makes them do it. However, in the midst of digging the hole, they all begin to feel a little... drained. And hey, does Michelle's hair look kinda grey to you?
Yep, in typical "what goes around, comes around" plot fashion, the youngsters who preyed on the elderly become elderly themselves. Not very remarkable, but you know what is worthy of comment? The fact that they hired real live old people to make this movie. Now I don't know about you, but when I'm old and grey I think I'd like to be reading a book in an air-conditioned hotel room or maybe writing poetry in a cottage overlooking a tranquil pond. And I don't expect everyone to have the same aspirations, but I have a hard time picturing some kid out there saying, "When I'm old I want to be on my knees in the New Jersey wilderness, screaming bloody murder because an Indian stole my youth in some shitty direct-to-video release they paid me $5 to be in." No, I've got to think that these seniors fell on really hard times for them to give up the inherent dignity that comes with old age just to be in fucking Campfire Stories. It's sad.
So we find Robbie, Michelle, and B.J. back at the diner, now aged like the rest of the place's inhabitants. And ho, there's Two Feathers, alive and looking quite spry for a dead old man! I guess that shit about all life being sacred only applies to folks and creatures who don't stop into this diner, 'cause that damned Injun apparently sucked the youth out of everyone in there. And I know he's all young now, but hell, forty old people could probably take the guy anyway, especially in such a small diner. For that matter, why the hell does he still come into the diner? If I stole your shit, I probably wouldn't flaunt it in front of you and everyone else I'd robbed over the years -- that's just cruel. For shame, Two Feathers. I wonder what the ancestors would say about that. And now we cut to Ranger Bill for the moral of the story:
Y'see, just when you think ya got life by the balls, you try to kill an Indian... an' he steals the life right outta ya.
Here, Teddy questions the setup of this story -- namely, why there had to be two guys and a girl here, and by extension why so many horror stories are set on "a night just like TONIGHT" and star characters obviously based on the storyteller's audience. It's a valid question, but those are the rules of the game and Ranger Bill's not one to break tradition. In fact, the merest suggestion of it makes him hopping MAD. So mad that he's reminded of yet another story.
This one, Ranger Bill notes with a wink, starts off with two lovebirds -- Melissa and Ricky. By the way, Melissa's played by Abigail Spencer, who for some reason looks really familiar. She did star on "All My Children" at one point, but I never watched that, so I'm thinking maybe I know her from my dreams because -- apologies for the digression, but it must be said -- she's flippin' gorgeous. Okay, back to the story. If you can't tell, that look on Ricky's face is the look of a guy who's just been DE-NIED in his efforts to get some sexual healin'. Apparently tonight's supposed to be the night, but Melissa doesn't feel right with them being in this creepy setting. See, they've come out here to stay at her grandmother's old house while the relatives who inherited it are away, but since her grandmother was a psycho who came back to the house after she was released from the institution and may or may not be lurking on the premises, she finds the place a little less than comforting. Oh, and apparently she also hears someone moving around outside.
So after investigating in vain and nearly K.O.ing Ricky with an automobile club because she mistakes him for the mysterious stalker, Ricky goes off to find Kyle and Beatrice, who will apparently be joining them for weekend fun at Grandma's Manor of Murder. Alone, Melissa has another freak-out episode that prompts her to run to the door in fear... only to be frightened by the appearance of Beatrice in her scary green facial mask. The other stories were dumb as all hell, but this one's already got my vote for the worst given the number of cheap "scares" it's thrown at us before anything's even really happened. So to make up for the lack of action, Beatrice and Melissa sit down and discuss past events to create the illusion that things are actually taking place. Here, we learn that a) a year ago, Beatrice's old roommate mysteriously disappeared, and b) after this happened, a distraught Beatrice sought comfort in the loving arms of her boyfriend... only to be wined and dined with cheeses and scented oils and the works. Oh, it sounds pretty sweet alright, until she gets to the part where he tried to film them having sex but was given away by the flashing red light on his digital camera. Didn't the same thing happen to Paris Hilton? Now all we need is for someone to kill that snotty tramp with a fireplace poker to the head. But whoops! We're getting ahead of ourselves.
So rather than break up with Kyle -- which is what any sensible, sane girl would do after catching her boyfriend in so vile an act -- Beatrice apparently stayed with him this long with intent to humiliate him in turn. Jeez, honey, it's been a year. You don't trust him, and you're still obviously upset about it, so just dump the guy! Vengeance is highly overrated. But Beatrice isn't listening, and here she cackles with delight and lets Melissa in on her plan to get them back. Wait, them? Why is Ricky being indicted here? It's not like he was the one trying to film comfort sex with his girlfriend after her roommate suddenly made like ninja and vanished without a trace. Not that Melissa gives a shit about this injustice! After all, all men are dogs, right? So as Beatrice relates her plan to "get them drunk, get a little carried away, and then do some filming of [their] own," Melissa does her sexy smirk thing and responds, "You're a bad, bad girl, Beatrice!" TOO BAD YOU'LL BE DEAD BY THE END OF THE NIGHT, YOU SEXIST REVERSE-CHAUVINISTIC MISS PIGGY! Yes.
While Beatrice goes off to freshen up for the implementation of tonight's scheme, Melissa decides to relax in her room for a bit. However, that's pretty fucking impossible to do when she finds "I LOVE TO WATCH YOU" scrawled in lipstick/blood/whatever on her full-length mirror. And then, she gets that feeling again -- you know, that she's being watched -- and spins to find... someone actually watching her! But relax! It's only Deputy Horace Pell, here to fill the stock crappy horror movie role of goofball policedude. Apparently he knew Melissa when she was just a baby -- used to bounce her on his knee, in fact, but he jokingly notes that she's gotten a bit too big for that -- and is now the deputy around these parts. And knowing that the owners were away, when he saw a light on at the house he came on over to investigate. And since Melissa just found a scary note written on her mirror, she asks him if he could do a quick check of the house and the perimeter. Everything looks fine to him, but being the nice guy that he is, Deputy Pell responds with a reassuring, "Don't you worry none!" He then tips his hat and adds, "I'm on the case."
And on the case he is! After stopping to admire a portrait of Melissa's grandmother, muttering to himself that she's got "a face that could stop a clock," Deputy Pell enters Beatrice's room, resulting in one of those novel "you scream, I scream, we both scream because we're complete morons and must respond to screaming by screaming in turn even though we're looking right at each other and there's really no need to continue screaming because we can see that we mean each other no harm and neither one of us is a rotting humanoid creature with a taste for BRAINS" exchanges that can only be found in the absolute best of horror films and children's television shows. Hey kids, that's called sarcasm. Oh, and check out how stretched and sinewy Beatrice's neck looks when she screams. That's fucking disgusting.
Later, Kyle and Ricky show up and are greeted by the sight at right. H0t. Damn. Beatrice looks a hell of a lot better without a towel over her hair and that goop on her face, and we already know about my newfound crush on Abby so there's no need to comment on the incredible hotness of Melissa. But here's what I want to know -- what's up with girls trying to expose men FOR THE DOGS THEY ARE by dressing like this? Seriously, ladies. If you really want to make a man look bad, come out looking like shit and then make a big deal about it when the dude tries to sniff your butt. Remember, a real dog will eat anything. But if you come out looking like fatty tuna sashimi and a bottle of the finest licour, you've really got no leverage to accuse men of being pigs for going all gaga when they see you. 'Cause hell, maybe those guys just have great taste in women. And is that so wrong, I ask?
Besides, you've really got no room to complain about guys being horny when you serve them fucking oysters, which is what Beatrice and Melissa have cooked up for tonight's party snacks. This shit isn't even close to being fair.
So hijinx ensue, with the gang kicking off this night of FUN with a rousing game of "Truth or Dare". Kyle, in typical fashion, dares Beatrice to toungue-kiss Melissa, which she does without batting an eye. In turn, Beatrice asks Kyle to admit to attempting to film their sexcapades... which he does with a smile and a toast. Great man you've got there, Beatrice. And then Melissa brings the party to a screeching halt when she asks Ricky if he's the one who wrote the message on her mirror. Of course, he has no idea what the hell she's talking about, thus resulting in her getting freaked out all over again. And then, to make matters worse, Ricky asks Beatrice if she knows what really happened to her roommate.
I killed her... I slit her throat while she was sleeping... I carried her to the bathtub and cut her up... placed her in plastic bags... and buried her all over town -- just like I'm going to do to you.
Good times. So after picking up the camcorder, zooming in on Kyle's crotch, and singing, "Kyle's got a wooooo-oody!" (uh, where?), Beatrice is ready to play another game -- "Hide and Seek". The girls will hide... and if the guys find them, they take off all their clothes. Yes, you read that right, and fuck me if that's not an incentive to play! But there's a catch, 'cause there's always a catch. Here, the guys have to go it blindfolded. Not something I'd want to do when there may or may not be a psycho killer lurking on the premises, even with the promise of nekkid female goodness if I succeeded in my task. Melissa's also concerned, but Beatrice ignores her warnings and ups the ante -- if the guys find them, they get both of them... and they can film it. The guys are like, "HELL YEAH!" so that's that, but I think in their position I'd still decline. Seriously, did you see how many lit candles are in that house? Walking around there blindfolded would be like inviting flamey death... not a risk I'd take, even for sex with the lovely Abigail Spencer. Sorry, hon.
With the guys blindfolded, Beatrice and Melissa go into the next room to discuss their plan. Beatrice'll go outside, let the guys catch her, and do some filming out there. Melissa, however, is instructed to wait in the basement until Beatrice comes for her. She'd rather not, given the spookiness and all, but she begrudgingly complies.
So while Ricky take a few shots pass the time while the girls get their head start, Beatrice makes her way outside. Then Deputy Pell kills her or something. I dunno what happens; we see Beatrice approach a car, we hear the good deputy step out and greet her... then she screams, someone gets clobbered, and there's the camera's view as it lies on the ground. Then, after a cut to the boys beginning their search, the camera rises and resumes its activities, though we're no longer sure who's manning it.
Well, whoever it is, he/she's got a knife now. And with that tool, mere moments later, our mystery cameraperson slits Kyle's throat. Then Ricky gets it as
Having disposed of the men, the murderer sets the camera down and unwinds with a music box, because tiny ballerinas twirling to tinkling music is oh-so creepy. Hearing the sound, Melissa timidly makes her way out of the basement, calling out to her friends in vain. Finally she comes upon the music box and closes it. For a moment, the house is silent... and then, an old woman's voice: "Melissssaaaa... I'm watch-ing you... I love to watch..." Fucking sicko.
Melissa wanders on, yelling typical and not-so-typical responses to this kind of thing -- "This isn't funny!" and "You're not getting laid, not by me, if you keep this up!" respectively -- as the elderly female voice continues to drone on. Then a male voice joins the old woman's... and then Melissa slips in a pool of blood and discovers the corpses of Kyle and Ricky, along with a message written in blood on the wall. With good reason, she freaks the fuck out and runs outside screaming... to find Beatrice, wounded, but still alive! Sadly, Deputy Pell was not so lucky. Vaya con dios, Horace.
So despite Melissa's warnings, Beatrice frantically runs inside and attempts to phone the police. She doesn't get very far, though, as our mysterious cameraperson reappears and brains her with a fireplace poker. But before that happens, she stares at her killer with a certain look of recognition. Waitaminute... could it be...?
Yep, Melissa was the killer all along. BET YOU DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING! Or if you did, I hope you came by that knowledge by some means other than legitimate logic (as opposed to shitty movie logic), because it doesn't make any fucking sense. Sure, I see how she could stab two blindfolded guys to death, but Deputy Pell was a pretty big guy and his eyes were open, 'cause he was ON THE CASE! And if Melissa was with Ricky and they were just arriving at the place, who wrote that message on her mirror? And why would she want to kill them in the first place? Hell, even Ranger Bill looks confused by this story -- it's like he knows he told it wrong but can't remember how it's supposed to end. The fact that he's got no crazy moral to accompany this tale just supports that theory. Anyway, with the close of that tale, Bill's audience has had about enough and is ready to get the fuck away from him. Surprisingly, he lets the three go with a smile, and nods knowingly to himself as we hear the tow truck pull up in the distance.
Moments later, the tow drops Teddy, Joe, and Natalie off at Extra T's Bar, whereupon the frighteningly greasy and snaggle-toothed yet rather well-spoken driver says that he'll come in and get them when their tire's fixed. Now, I think I'd be a little wary about a bar with a sign made from black felt and badly cut iridescent posterboard letters, but I guess they've got no choice -- apparently they have calls to make. Inside, The Misfits are rockin' the joint, singing, "We have been waiting for you to come..." and, "The end is near..." I'm not sure whether they're talking about the end of the movie or of these poor kids' pitiful lives -- because you just know something like that's bound to happen -- but I sure hope it's the former. Or both. So long as this movie fucking ends in the next few minutes, I'm cool with it.
Anyway, the guys comment on the scene around them, noting the presence of Pamela Anderson (they made reference to fucking Pamela Anderson somewhere towards the beginning of the movie, but this isn't really her) and a robotic smoke-blowing dragon. And apparently Natalie finds the scene inside the club scarier than sitting with Ranger Bill in the middle of the woods, because she hightails it the fuck out of there. Undaunted, the guys pushing their way through the crowd and finally arrive at the bar. They're about to ask the bartender about the phone, but when he turns around...
IT'S RANGER BILL!!!
Yep, that fucker's everywhere -- not a good sign. Accordingly, Teddy and Joe spin around to flee in terror, but find their path barred by Two Feathers, the janitor, Melissa with her camera, the dirty tow truck guy, and even the elderly Robbie, B.J., and Michelle. Why those latter three would choose to team with the guy who stole their youth and shit is beyond me, but I guess human flesh is tasty enough to warrant making a truce with even your worst enemy.
Human flesh, you say? Yeah, apparently it's dinner time at Extra T's Bar. The rogues gallery rushes Teddy and Joe, and given the growling and ripping and munching and gnashing sounds -- not to mention the screams of agony -- I'm going to assume that they get eaten. So not only did they have to endure three shitty campfire stories told by an insane forest ranger, but then they had the pleasure of being torn apart and devoured by the characters of said shitty stories. Well. This movie may have irony down to a science, but has no sense of justice whatsoever. I'm telling Superman.
As the film draws to a close, Natalie runs into the road and flags down the Turtle Van, giving the occupants the same story about her car breaking down and her needing a lift. Then her eyes glow fucking red, which kinda gives away her evil intentions, but I guess she doesn't care about maintaining her act anymore because THIS IS THE END. Roll credits.
Thus ends Campfire Stories, and not a moment too soon. It did, however, end about ninety minutes too late, since after the flaming skull's monologue it was pretty much downhill from there. Sure, Ranger Bill's insanity was good for a laugh or two and the awful CG animations of the second story were side-splittingly hilarious, but the stories not only employed hackneyed and overused plots but actually employed them badly. Sure, we're all familiar with tales of assholes who get what's coming to them, but having students at a Catholic university set out to murder a retarded Janitor because they think he's crazy is just moronic, as was having the Janitor kill the only person who was ever nice to him. The story of three murderous twenty-somethings who prey on old people getting turned old themselves was painfully routine, relying on bad CG hallucinations to make it watchable. Granted, the direction succeeded there, but it didn't make the story any more worthwhile. The only thing that last story had going for it was the presence of Abby dearest. And the framing story? Despite being terribly cliched, it did well enough for what it was... until the characters from the stories showed up at the end and fucking ate the "protagonists". What the hell was up with that?
See -- and forgive me for getting all serious here -- what makes horror movies work is that we have to actually care about the characters. We have to identify with them. That's why it's scary when we see them being hunted down by aliens and axe murderers, because even though we're munching on buttered popcorn in the safety of our homes or the theater, it's like we're watching ourselves running frenzied through the woods, slipping in pools of blood seeping from our murdered friends, relentlessly dogged by things that go bump in the night that will kill us if they catch us. And here, while certain characters were entertaining, there was nothing endearing about them -- except, perhaps, for Petra, and her death was treated as an afterthought. But hell, I know this movie never set out to be a genuine horror film. I picked it out of the $5.50 DVD bin at Wal-Mart, after all. However, I do think that the people working on Campfire Stories didn't intend for it to suck, and I think the film -- especially that last segment -- was intended to be somewhat scary. In both endeavors, the movie was a complete failure. Actually, scratch that. At the end of the credits, there was something pretty scary...
If that means that Campfire Stories II is in the works, whip our your stony grey crayons and color me fucking petrified.
Just click the image above! Simple, no? ;)