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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Don't Go in the Woods...Alone!

Don't Go in the Woods Alone! Seriously, just don't. It won't make any sense, and you'll be disappointed. The movie comes from 1982, and is hilarious, if not always coherent. As always, there will be SPOILERS, but I'm pretty sure that I'm one of about 12 people who've seen this thing all the way through. You won't be missing much if you never rent this, trust me.

Anyway, the DVD began with a short intro by some guy I've never seen before, and he proclaimed it a classic. In both the opening and the closing credits, one actress in particular, "Angie Brown", had her named singled out by a rectangle, for some reason. Oh, and the theme song during the title sequence keeps stopping and starting, punctuated by what sounds like a cuckoo clock...ay yi yi, what have I gotten myself into this week?

As the movie finally starts, we get several scenes depicting the aftermath of "something" attack by the killer, is my guess. There's something that looks like a bandanna beneath a tree ranch, a camera lying in a stream, stuff like that. Before long, we see a woman in short-shorts and a tank top screaming and running away from some unseen threat. She falls once or twice, and flails around quite a bit. Then the scene ends. Yup, it ends right there.

Next, we see 4 people backpacking, presumably in the same area as the woman we just saw. Before we get to know any of THEIR names, the scene shifts yet again, this time showing us a birdwatcher. The birdwatcher, who also has no name, is wandering around like "Monty Python"'s Upper Class Twit of the Year, when he gets pegged in the face by something. His cheek starts bleeding, and a guy dressed up like Captain Caveman chops his arm off. As the one-armed Twit tries to defend himself, that scene also ends in an abrupt cut.

Back to the 4 people hiking. At least now we start getting some names: There's Peter, a young biker-type who hates being out of the city, and is unable to say "air conditioning" in a normal way; Craig, a loud, whiny outdoorsy type whose voice sounds like it was dubbed by someone who just learned English the week before filming started; Jody, a dark-haired female who looks kind of butch; and Ingrid, an equally masculine-looking female with short red hair, who unfortunately looks like Ron Howard after a sex-change. Poor Opie.

The other 3 listen to Craig prattle on and on with survival tips, including the film's title, while I consider pulling a Van Gogh to spare myself from the irritating voices. The scene changes AGAIN, this time introducing a wildlife photographer named Dale(who looks like a gay version of Sam Kinison), and his wife. The wife apparently has no name, so I'm calling her "Chip". So there, nyah, nyah.

While Dale is taking pictures of twigs and bearshit, Chip is sunning herself in a folding chair. Dale decides to climb a small mountain for a better view, and Captain Caaaaaaaaaveman strangles him with the camera-strap from behind. Dale falls to his death, mere feet away from our other campers, who never notice his corpse. Chip is also killed, but the method and the aftermath are never clearly shown.

The 4 campers, meanwhile, are still wandering around. Craig consults a map, then offers them a choice: they can either keep going straight, which is rough terrain, or they can circle around the next morning, and find the trail instead. Tired of listening to Craig being a buzzkill, they opt to camp out.

Guess what happens next? If you guessed "another scene transition, where we meet another group of dumb characters in yet another location", you WIN!!!! Yup, this time we get to meet the local sheriff and his bumbling deputy. The sheriff looks like Jabba the Hutt, if you can picture Jabba squeezed into an ill-fitting uniform and wearing bad '70's hair and a moustache. His sidekick looks like Stifler from the first 3 American Pie films. Oh, and we get a weird cameo by Napoleon Dynamite at the end of the scene. Gosh!

When Stifler brings the latest "Missing Person" report to his attention, Sheriff Jabba throws a hissy fit. Together, they go to the general store to question a witness. The missing person turns out to be the birdwatching twit from earlier. When Jabba gets up to leave, he has to force Stifler to go with him, as he's deeply engrossed in an action-packed pinball game. At the national park, the sheriff has a very brief encounter with a cute girl on roller skates.

Then we return to our "main" characters. They hiked a little further, then set up camp. Craig tells them a scary campfire story, and the only reaction to his dull, lifeless narrative is a single "Huh?" from Ingrid. Jody then tells him not to finish the story, and I came very close to applauding. He continues anyway, garnering another "Huh?".

The movie shifts the scene to a mobile home(complete with a Farrah Fawcett poster on the ceiling), and we meet still more under-developed characters. I swear, this movie was made for people who have the attention spans of hyperactive hummingbirds. There's a woman in the mobile home who looks like David Schwimmer, and she's screwing a guy who resembles Dauber from the old sitcom "Coach". This movie would be the scariest thing ever, if I was tripping out. To no one's surprise, the guy's name is Dick.

There's a sound effect that sort of resembles the sound of a rattlesnake, and Dick theorizes that it's probably a bear. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, WHY am I watching this junk??? Anyway, Schwimmer urges Dick not to leave, and he shows her a gun. They have about 3 lines of dialogue before he leaves, and they repeat them over and over again. Wait, I now know why I'm watching this one: I must've died, and this is Hell, right? It all makes sense now!

Dick draws the killer out by calling him a jerk and a pencil-neck geek. Boy, that sure is some pretty strong language. It worked, because Dick is killed pretty soon after that, and his bloody face is pressed against one of the windows. Oddly enough, he appears to have been killed by jelly doughnuts, because his face is covered in white powder and red jam. As Horse-Face freaks out, Captain Caveman pushes the camper over the side of a cliff. There's even a half-assed fire inside after it finally lands on its' side. Wow.

The following morning, Peter wakes up from a nightmare with a start, causing Ingrid to let out another Shakespearean-level "Huh?"...I swear, you could make a drinking game out of all the weirdness in this film. Someone get on that. After they all "Huh?" about 60 more times, they resume their hike to this mythical cabin they keep talking about. Jody wanders away from the main group without realizing it, and stops to get her bearings at a stream. While she contemplates what to do, a number of rocks sail toward her from above!

Oh, it's just her friends, playing a prank. Everyone knows the best practical jokes are the ones that could lead to massive concussions. Duh!

Sheriff Jabba, meanwhile, decides to rent a plane to haul his fat ass around. He wants to see if he can locate some of the people from the reports his deputy brought to his attention. Hell, he probably ate them (the people, not the reports)! He and the pilot fly around a bit, but see nothing out of the ordinary. The sheriff announces he'll give the missing folks another day or so to turn up, and the pilot looks like he could give a shit.

In the next scene, we see someone dressed in khaki dipping a jar into a stream. The person gets back to their campsite, and we see that they brought a baby along for the fun as well. Wow, is this movie cynical enough to kill a baby?

The person collecting the water turns out to be female, and an artist. She is busy painting a watercolor, while her baby is jumping around in her makeshift cradle/sling. As she paints, the woman detects the presence of our hillbilly nearby, and stops to look around. When she resumes painting, he attacks her from behind, impaling and attaching her to her own canvas. Blood gets all over the canvas and her camping gear, and the baby's swing-thing is shown empty. Wow, the movie called my bluff! Is Captain Caveman going to eat the baby or raise it?

The movie then kicks into Screensaver Mode, showing several scenes of outdoor footage, before somebody behind the camera hits their mouse and gets the movie started again. Peter decides that all the rests they take are too time-consuming, so he announces that he's going to walk ahead of them for a bit. He tries to convince Ingrid to go with him, but she'd rather stay with the group.

Walking along the path, Peter hears something. He keeps moving, and tries to track any movement as he goes. Something comes toward him, so Peter gets scared and starts running back toward the camp. He runs into his friends as the pursuer catches up, and it turns out to be some doofus wearing Gilligan's fishing hat. He passes the group after a brief conversation, and everyone shares a laugh at Peter's expense.

Later, as they refill their canteens, they discuss where to set up camp for the night. Jody jokingly suggests that they should set up their sleeping bags in a circle around Peter to protect him from monsters, and he gets pissed off. Peter tells them that he'll find his own spot for the night, and starts walking away from the rest of the group. Craig tells the girls not to worry, because he believes that Peter will cool off and return before too long.

That night, some couple I don't remember seeing before now gets attacked by Captain Caveman. He swings one of the campers up into a tree, trapped in their own sleeping bag, while he stabs the other one to death. Then he turns the one in the tree into a pinata.

Craig makes a campfire and starts peeling potatoes, while Jody keeps an eye out for Peter's return. Both he and Ingrid assure her that Peter will be fine, and that they will all be together again in the morning. Yeah, right.

Peter, in the meantime, is freaking out faster than Freakazoid. He's made himself a campfire, and is waving a stick around, yelling to all of the woodland critters that his stick is a shotgun, and that he's quite proficient at using it. He spends the whole night yelling. Chicken.

The next day, when Peter still hasn't returned, Jody starts to really get worried about him. Ingrid and Craig tell her that they plan to go off somewhere alone, to learn more "survival tips". Jody decides to stay close to the camp, in case Peter returns at some point.

Speaking of Peter, he's collecting firewood. He stops to reminisce about the good ol' days, about 20 minutes earlier in the film. While he's daydreaming about androgynous women splashing him, his fantasy is interrupted by the fisherman who freaked him out earlier. He sees the guy approaching the water to catch fish, and watches as the man gets a bear-trap to the face. Above Peter's little hiding spot is Captain Caveman. Peter watches Captain Caveman approach the flailing man and stab him with a spear several times. Then, when Peter screams and flees, Captain Caveman sees him and decides to hunt him as well.

Following that, we get Jody and Craig frolicking in a field. I shit you not. It's more annoying than Julie Andrews on that friggin' mountainside by about a billion percent. Craig decides to show Jody how to build a rudimentary animal trap, using string, a stick and a heavy rock, and she repays the favor by bringing the rock down on his hand. Why the frack are there pranks always borderline psychotic? Given a choice, I think I'd rather camp out with Captain Caveman. He's less deranged. Oh, and when Jody apologizes, she then slams her fist down on his hurt fingers. Psycho....

Back at the tent, Ingrid hears them screaming and laughing, and contemplates asking Jodie Foster to go out with her, so the tabloids could dub them IngDie, or maybe JoGrid. Hey, it could happen!

Next, we finally get back to Peter. Tired of running, Pete's decided to collapse at the foot of a tree to catch his breath. Bad plan, because he soon hears Captain Caveman heading his way. He frantically snatches up a gigantic branch, and runs the other way.

Craig returns to camp eating a bag of trail mix, and Ingrid suggests that they should get moving again, in case Peter's in trouble. Craig agrees, but first he declares that he wants to get even with Jody. He then sneaks over to her sleeping bag and ties it shut. He then strings her up to a tree, much like the anonymous camper CC killed earlier. Ingrid hears her screams and continues sipping her morning cup o' joe.

Jody continues screaming at Craig, but he doesn't respond. She manages to find a small hole in the sleeping bag, and uses her fingernails to rip it wider. Jody peers through the tear, and sees the Cap-man heading her way. Craig returns, but when he uses a tree branch to make the sleeping bag swing a little bit, Captain Crunch shows up to stab him in the gut.

With Craig down, Jody finally manages to get out of the sleeping bag. Ingrid runs to see what all the commotion is, as Craig is dragged away by the killer. Oh, and Captain Caveman took a swing at him before that was hard enough to remove the guy's arm. When Ingrid comes along after everyone has fled the scene, she sees the blood and starts running aimlessly as well.

Peter gets back to the deserted camping site and starts rummaging through supplies, trying to find anything to use against Captain Caveman. While he's on the ground distracted, Ingrid emerges from the tent with a massive rock in her hand and tries to bash his head in. They hug when she realizes he's not the killer.

Reunited(and it feels so good!), the pair try to escape the woods while also searching for their friends. They find a cabin, and decide to ask for help. Heck, maybe it's the cabin Craig told them about! Being a useless ninny, Peter decides the best course of action would be to approach the cabin at a run, while shouting several greetings. Good plan, bro. Ingrid even points out that it might not be safe, making her officially smarter than Peter.

They enter the cabin anyway, with Peter taking the lead and thrusting his spear out in front of him. Wow, that sounded kinda dirty, didn't it? Yeesh. As the soundtrack gets louder and louder(the music sounds like what your washing machine does when you have an "unbalanced load"), Peter tells it to keep quiet. I swear to God, that actually happened.

While looking for weapons or clues or the frickin' Holy Grail, the uncover Craig's body. Ingrid just keeps saying no over and over again. In her defense though, Peter doesn't do anything useful either. The do agree, however, that they should leave quickly, before the killer finds them in his home.

Little do they know, Captain Caveman's pretty busy at the moment. He sees a young guy strolling around and decides to make him the next meal. Oh, and he has the dumbest plan since any Looney Tunes cartoon ever aired: he simply waves his stick around, while waiting behind a tree for the guy to come investigate. And the idiot does.

Well, as it turns out, it wasn't such a dumb plan after all. See, Captain Caveman knew that Ingrid and Peter were nearby, so he lured the hiker over. That way, when the guy takes the stick and starts walking around with it, they'll hear the jangling noise it makes and assume that it's the killer. Kind of smart, actually.

Sure enough, they hear the guy walking with the stick, and run the other way, toward danger. They hide behind a fallen tree, and Peter jumps at the stranger, stabbing him with the makeshift spear he carved. Hilariously, he screams at the dying man how sorry he is, which I'm sure helps quite a bit. Oh, and now that he knows where they are, Captain Caveman chucks a spear through the dying guy, and goes after the terrified couple once more.

Captain Caveman starts throwing sharpened branches at them, and hits Ingrid twice: first in the arm, then in the side of her head. Peter tells her to run, because he believes that the killer wants her in particular. Oh, and the killer's reaction to hitting her is classic, sort of demented jump-dance thing, with lots of grunts and growls.

The two survivors stop at a babbling brook, and Peter cleans and dresses Ingrid's wounds. He then washes the blood off the spear, while Ingrid watches in a daze. Oh, by the way, there's still about a half hour left in this thing. In case I don't make it, can somebody please tell my friends and family that I died peacefully? They don't need to know the horror I faced this week.

Oh, guess who decided to rejoin the movie? Yup, it's Jody, and she's wandered her way back into the campsite. As she looks for food, a corpse drops out of a tree, and she takes off running once more. Oh, that wacky Jody!

Ingrid and Peter hike through rocks, trees, name it, they stepped in it. That night, they huddle together in front of a small fire, and Ingrid tries to tell Peter the sort of stuff you only say when you know you're going to die. He assures her that they'll make it, and he tries to stay up all night to ensure their safety.

The following morning, Peter wakes up first and sees something that makes him ecstatic: telephone poles. In the dark, they had wandered close to civilization again without ever realizing it. After another "Huh?", they limp into town to find some help. THE E--

Wait, what? It's not over yet, even though they got away? Nope, Peter and Ingrid speak to Sheriff Jabba at the local hospital. Tell ya the truth, I had completely forgotten about him even being in the movie. Sheriff Jabba and Deputy Stifler compare notes and discuss whether or not the mysterious mountain man even exists. They eventually decide to stage a huge manhunt, using every available man and emergency vehicle they can find.

They stop to talk with "Dr. Maggie", one of the doctors taking care of Peter and Ingrid. She tells them that Ingrid lost a lot of blood, but it's Peter who is the real problem. His mental instability, coupled with his obsession over going after Captain Caveman himself, makes him a loose cannon.

Speak of the Devil! Peter escaped the hospital, and is on his way back to the park. He has the same ripped, dirty clothes on from before, no weapons to defend himself with, and not a single other person to watch his back. Smart guy, that Peter.

Oddly enough, Jody's still alive. She's been dodging under fallen trees, crouching behind rocks, drinking from streams...who knew she'd make it this far? I sure didn't. At any rate, Jody feels stronger after washing up and eating her last candy bar, so she returns to Captain Caveman's Dream House, armed with a big rock she found. Wow, she found a rock in the woods...What're the odds?

On her way to the house, Jody finds a cooler, and roots through it for anything edible. After licking a paper plate that looks like it dates back to the Triassic Age, she enters the house, ready for battle. She trips a few times, and finds a cardboard box that grosses her out, before she realizes that Captain Caveman is standing in the doorway, just watching her. Eek!

She backs away as he raises his weapon, and finds a small window above her head. As Jody frantically tries to reach it, Captain Caveman slices several deep cuts into her back, and she rolls away to try to defend herself. He keeps stabbing her through the stomach and chest, until she stops moving. Buh-bye, Jody.

In the woods, meanwhile, Peter stops to take a sip of water before arriving at Captain Caveman's House of Carnage. Oh, and he defends himself against a very scary tree. Then he runs away, before the tree's friends decide to retaliate. Smart decision.

Next, we meet a fat guy in a wheelchair. He's been struggling to push himself uphill, and when he pauses to wipe the buckets of sweat from his face, the chair starts rolling backwards--FAST! Before we get to witness either the most awesome or the most politically incorrect death in the film(or both), the scene ends right there. Damn!

Jabba, meanwhile, has assembled his posse. Deputy Stifler advises the gun-toting rednecks to "hang loose", right before the sheriff tells him that Peter is somewhere in the woods as well. As luck would have it, Peter is watching the whole scene unfold from a safe spot higher up in the forest. Jabba also delivers the news that the helicopter has been cancelled...I guess the film's producers realized that they spent most of their budget already. Darn!

Anyway, back to Martin Mull's wheelchair-bound twin brother. He's finally managed to get back up the path, when his chair tips over. D'oh! As a guy with a leg injury myself, I shouldn't be laughing. But, boy AM I!!! This shit's better than "Cats".

Just to recap Our Story So Far: Peter's running around with a sharp stick; Jody and Craig are dead; Ingrid's in the hospital fighting for her life; Sheriff Jabba is wandering the woods alone, looking for a fast food joint; Deputy Stifler's trying to keep a bunch of slack-jawed redneck yokels from shooting themselves; and Captain Caveman's looking for love(in several wrong places). Got it? Okay then, let's move on.

Jabba waddles his fat ass right to the killer's house. He calls out several times, to let the killer know his position, then enters the house. After a brief search Jabba finds a shiny hatchet, and Jody's corpse falls on him when he bends over to pick it up. As Jabba tries to drag her body outside(aren't they supposed to preserve crime scenes for, y'know, EVIDENCE???) to snack on, Deputy Stifler rushes in and scares him. Peter watches the two lawmen drag her body outside, and he gets all worked up.

The posse helps the sheriff and his deputy find more bodies. There turn out to be a total of six. Let's see how well they did: we have the Twit birdwatcher; Chip and Dale; Dick and his wife whose face looks like a foot; the painting lady whose baby was taken(and maybe eaten!); the anonymous couple; the fisherman; the anonymous hiker who gets Captain Caveman's club; and Jody and Craig. That comes out to...uh...carry the one...12(13 if you include the missing baby). Whoops, sorry posse, KEEP LOOKING!

Dr. Maggie swings by to bring Jabba a steaming cup of decaffeinated lard, and reveals that she also brought along Ingrid. Ingrid, for the most part, is just staring straight ahead at a knife in an evidence bag. Foreshadowing? The sheriff and the volunteers all spread out, looking for the killer.

Wheelchair guy again. Y'know, just for the heck of it, I'm going to nickname the guy Cutter John, after one of my favorite characters from Bloom County. To his credit, Cutter John has FINALLY made it to the top of the hill. Yay! As he surveys the amazing landscape before him, Captain Caveman unceremoniously removes Cutter John's head. Yay! His chair sails down the mountain, never to be seen again. Yay?

The next(and hopefully, LAST) morning, Captain Caveman sets up some kind of trap, a wooden box. Peter resumes running around the woods and waving his spear. Oh, and the posse resumes their search yet again.

Peter's the first to get results. The mountain man charges at him like a furry rhino, knocking the weary warrior off of his feet. As Peter takes off his shirt, Ingrid pops up out of the blue, swinging a knife and charging at Captain Caveman. Yay, the cavalry's here!

Turns out that Peter removed his shirt so that he could make a stick-figure decoy to draw the killer out into the open. The plan backfires, because it's Ingrid who sees the shirt first, and runs toward it, joyfully screaming Peter's name. She realizes at the last minute that it's not him, and hides just as Captain Caveman arrives on the scene. He sees the shirt, jibber-jabbers his usual nonsense, and Peter leaps up and chucks a spear through his shoulder. Down he goes!

Peter and Ingrid leap into each other's arms, neither one noticing as the killer uses his good hand to pull the spear out of his shoulder. As they kiss and hug, Captain Caveman leaps up and chases them, and Peter tells Ingrid to run in a different direction. He gets the killer on the ground, and bashes his repeatedly with a heavy, thick branch in the gut. Ingrid, not wanting to be left out, grabs the machete and helps turn Captain Caveman's torso into a pile of red mush.

Jabba and the posse hear the commotion, and arrive at the scene. A short distance away, the missing baby is watching the couple kill Captain Caveman, and she mimics them, hitting the dirt with an axe. Hey, he didn't eat her! Yay! The sheriff, his deputy, and the members of the posse all raise their guns, until Jabba sees who is killing who. He lowers his gun and just shakes his head in disbelief.

After most of the posse has gone home, Jabba and Stifler stare up at Peter and Ingrid, cleaned up and wrapped in blankets. Stifler calls them a cute couple, and Jabba throws him a dirty look. The final scene shows the little girl still playing on the ground, whacking the dirt with an axe. THE END. "HUH?"

Boy, what a disjointed, confusing movie this was. Bad enough that the killer is someone we find out NOTHING about, but then we get the stuff at the end about the baby? Are we seriously supposed to believe that the police, the couple, and the large group of volunteers ALL missed seeing a baby at the crime scene? Outdoors? In daylight??? Oh, and what about only finding half of the bodies? Geez, this movie had plotholes so massive, even the sheriff's ass wouldn't plug them up! 2 and a half killer trees, just for the massive body count, although half of them were people who didn't even have friggin' NAMES!

Ugh... next week we're back in Jason territory with Friday the 13th Part 7:The New Blood. See you then!