Tag Archives: 3D

“Nurse” (2014) REVIEW

This week, actress Paz de la Huerta sued the makers of Nurse (a film she starred in) for $55M, claiming it destroyed her career.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: does her name mean “orchard of peace?” Why yes, it does!

For the 7.125 billion of you who don’t know who Paz de la Huerta is, you’re not alone. Neither did I. I mean, I’d seen her name pop up on gossip sites occasionally (I think?) or in magazines; I knew she existed. I have a friend who lives in Texas who would occasionally post on Facebook that he was at ‘Paz de la Huerta International Airport’, which I’d assumed was a joke — and after Googling it, yes, I do believe he was joking, even though the name “Paz de la Huerta” is attached to several buildings in Texas — so ultimately, I’m left even more confused about Ms. de la Huerta than I was before. Maybe I’m just an out-of-touch old fogey. I digress.

With her outrageous claim fresh in my mind, I was intrigued: I wanted to see if this movie was bad enough to ruin one’s career. Nurse 3D had been sitting in my Netflix Streaming queue for months, but I wasn’t really itchin’ to watch the thing. Alas, I plopped down and turned the sucker on.

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The story centers around a nurse (if you couldn’t tell from the title) who develops an infatuation with a female co-worker. The infatuation grows and turns into this weird blackmail/stalker-type deal, and eventually it comes out that this creepy nurse is actually crazy and using a false name. Oh, and she’s been killing men for sport the whole movie.

Now, if that description didn’t make it immediately clear, the movie suffers from something a lot of bad horror films suffer from (especially recentish ones): too much going on. To me, it’s a sign: it shows a director who lacks the confidence to tell a simple, straight-forward story, and so they just throw a bunch of crazy shit at you as if that’s all it takes to make a movie interesting/scary/good. Just pile it up; bog the audience down so by the end of the movie they have no idea what the fudge is going on and leave confused — which is better than them leaving bored.

Nurse 3D starts very promising. We see a provocatively dressed Paz, slinking sexily through a nightclub and we hear her narration. She talks about how she can’t stand men who cheat, and how it’s her job to kill them and wipe that type of scum off the face of the earth. Great start, right? We see a guy notice her; he slips off his wedding ring and puts it in his pocket. He approaches Paz, buys her a drink. She turns him down and walks away. She narrates: “I always give them one last chance”, (meaning “to save their own life.”) The guy stands up and follows her outside. She kills him. Here’s why that works: He approaches her; he seeks her out; she turns him down, but he persists and seals his own fate. Unfortunately, the movie immediately abandons this solid concept and regresses into standard horror movie mush, and she ends up just killing dudes, even the ones she aggressively seduces. No longer do we empathize with her mission. It’d be like if Jason Voorhees went door to door, asking parents to send their teens to his camp.

So with its great promise abandoned, the movie devolves into typical slice and dice, with full frontal female nudity thrown in to keep watchers awake. By the end, Paz is completely batshit insane. The climax — which happens to be the best part — takes place throughout a busy hospital. It’s incredibly over-the-top. Unfortunately, since the previous 95 minutes were already cranked to an 11, the outrageous ending feels more excessive and overblown than anything.

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So the final verdict: could this movie ruin someone’s career? Not hardly. Leprechaun didn’t ruin Jennifer Aniston’s. Critters 3 didn’t ruin Leonardo DiCaprio’s. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes didn’t ruin George Clooney’s. And Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation didn’t ruin Matthew McConaughey’s. Paz, this one’s on you, dollface. The weird thing is, her acting is so otherworldly and bizarre that it transcends “bad”. It’s not bad in an amateurish way; it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s cryptic and indecipherable, as if she read her lines from the Voynich Manuscript. And in a strange way, it captures your attention; you are unable to look away. It reminded me of Shelley Duval’s performance in the under-seen and absolutely incredible 3 Women.

One last thing to note: the director thought de la Huerta’s acting was so bad that he actually had another actress dub many of her lines. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, a good chunk of Paz’s lines are narration, and the actress they chose to dub her lines sounds nothing like Paz de le Huerta, so there were many times when I thought the other lead female in the movie was doing the narrating. This led me to believe there was going to be some crazy, Fight Club-type twist at the end where this second female lead and Paz would be revealed to actually be the same person. But no, it was just a bad voiceover.

In terms of “what’s the most boring profession we could film in 3D?”, this falls somewhere between Electrician 3D and Carpenter 3D. It’s a totally passable entry in the modern B-movie arena, but in the end it just doesn’t know what it wants to be: slasher, psychological thriller, or soft core Skinemax fare circa 1995. It’s currently on Netflix Streaming; check it out if you dare.

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Hockey Masks, the 3D Boom, & Final Chapters!

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There was a time, long before CGI (and modern 3D techniques), where placing a piece of red cellophane in front of your left eye and a piece of blue cellophane in front of your right eye was the zenith of stereoscopic technology. And that methodology stuck for over 50 years. Seriously – that was it, man.

I remember being 7 years old and seeing Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare in the theater. The film was released in 3D – well, parts of the film were in 3D – but going into the movie you got these cool little cardboard glasses. Whenever one of the 3D parts was about to happen, there would be a little dialogue at the bottom of the screen that said, “Please put on your glasses now”. I was so afraid that if I wore the glasses during parts that weren’t 3D, I’d damage my eyes, just screw ’em up beyond repair. That was one of the most thrilling moviegoing experiences of my life.

Looking back now, as a jaded adult – sure, the movie kinda stinks. And being excited by that type of technology now would be like freaking out over a flip-book. But at the time, in 1991, it was a goddamn epiphany.

But the early days of 3D film were no treat. In order to pull off the effect, two prints had to be projected simultaneously – and be perfectly in sync. Otherwise, audiences would just see a blurry haze of colors and shapes. Due to its time consuming and cost-ineffective nature, the golden age of 3D films (the 50s and early 60s) was brief.

However, come 1981, 3D films became the craze once again. In fact, 20 3D films were released in a 3-year period. And horror took full advantage.

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Originally, producers hadn’t planned to do Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D. Instead, they did what they’d been doing from the beginning and decided to rip-off another film for inspiration, this time Halloween II, which had come out the previous year. The third installment of the Friday series was supposed to take place in a mental hospital, where Ginny – the final girl from Part 2 – was holed up. Jason would hack down any doctors or orderlies that got in his way until the final showdown between he and Ginny. Funny enough, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (which would be released 5 years later), did take place in a mental hospital. I do love the tenuous strings that connect all these films together!

Interestingly, there was initial discussion of filming Halloween II in 3D; (producer Debra) Hill said:

“We investigated a number of 3D processes … but they were far too expensive for this particular project. Also, most of the projects we do involve a lot of night shooting—evil lurks at night. It’s hard to do that in 3D.”

That anecdote is coincidental because, just last year, there was talks of a third installment to the Halloween reboot – and producers wanted to do it in 3D. While news surrounding the sequel has been scant, there’s reason to believe the 3D plans have since been quashed.

But back to Friday the 13th Part 3: once the Friday producers saw how much Comin’ At Ya! – the first 3D film of the 80s – made at the box office, they knew what they had to do.

Friday the 13th Part 3 was apparently a pain to make – blocking, setting up cameras, harsh lighting, multiple takes – all due to the 3D cameras they were using. It also cost a fortune just get into theaters, as Paramount had to pay to equip them with the extra prints and projectors. That one hang-up alone cost an estimated $8 to $10 million extra dollars. Of course, it made all that money back and then some.

But Friday the 13th Part 3 is historic for reasons other than being filmed in 3D:  it’s the first time Jason wears his iconic hockey mask. 

At the end of Part 2, Jason’s bag (which he wore over his head) had been torn up and was therefore no good. So for the entire first half of Part 3, Jason walks around without a mask.

Enter afro-ed merry prankster Shelly Finklestein (sounds a bit like ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’, no?). Shelly has at his disposal an endless supply of goofs and gags that he uses to torment his friends with. Things like fake knives, meat cleavers, and scary masks. His friends think he’s a jerk, but as Shelly puts it, “Being a jerk is better than being a nothing.” Oddly, he also has a hockey mask stashed in his bag of pranks. After Shelly is killed, Jason takes the mask – and the look would become synonymous with the name ‘Jason Voorhees’ for the rest of the series.

Now, producers claim their inspiration for Jason’s masked look came from when they were doing make-ups tests: they were lazy and didn’t wanna apply the make-up to the actor playing Jason, so instead just threw a hockey mask on him, and boom, a legend was born. But I call bullstuff.

A hockey masked killer would show up twice before Friday the 13th Part 3 – one as early as 1974. That film was Act of Vengeance:

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The next time it popped up was when Part 3 was being filmed, in the movie Alone in the Dark:

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I explored this obsessively in another article (actual, two articles), but I’m saying here and now: considering how blatantly derivative the F13 series is, I ain’t buyin’ their mask story. But I reluctantly digress. At least Part 3 had that kickass opening disco tune.

The ending of Friday the 13th Part 3 was supposed be just that: the end. There were no intentions of making a fourth film. In fact, the end of Part 3 mirrored the end of the original film exactly – with corpse popping out of the lake and grabbing our final girl, only to have it turn out to all be a dream. But just as they couldn’t help themselves that first time around, producers decided yet another sequel was necessary, and thus Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was released.

So convinced that this was actually, really, truly going to be the final Friday film, original special effects artist Tom Savini agreed to come back just to kill off the monster he’d help create. Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. saw that the slasher craze was starting to settle down, and he didn’t want to be pigeonholed as simply a ‘horror producer’, so with financiers and even Paramount Pictures having his back, Mancuso Jr. decided to finally send Jason to Hell. Yeah, right.

Look, as I mentioned in the intro, I saw Freddy Krueger get killed off for good, too. (And in 3D, to boot!) The movie was called Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, for Pete’s sake (sorry, Pete). I’ve seen the book closed on all the big ones. I watched an underground bunker collapse on Leatherface, sealing his fate. He didn’t make a peep for years. And I saw Michael Myers perish in a hospital fire.

When asked in a 1982 interview – after the release of Halloween III: Season of the Witch – what happened to Halloween main characters Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis, John Carpenter answered:

“The Shape is dead. Pleasence’s character is dead, too, unfortunately.”

But money talks, baby. It screams. And when you can make a profit of $30M off a little a slice-and-dice, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Also Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter introduced Tommy Jarvis. And he was just gettin’ started!

Join me tomorrow for my next installment, “Shemps, Tommy Jarvis, and the Modern Prometheus”!

(For more on this week’s series, check out my prior installment, “Killer Moms, Sequelitis, & Bagheads”!)