Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 Paul Young “Come Back And Stay”
 The Psychopaths “Nightmares”
 The Cure “Friday I´m In Love”
 Cold Crush Brothers “Feel The Horns”
 Marshall Jefferson “Open Your Eyes”
 Sterling Void “Runaway Girl”
 Gusto “Disco’s Revenge”
 Deftones 7 Words””
 M.C. Duke “The Final Conflict”
 Björk “Army of Me”
I have been a student of slasher since as far back as I can remember. Hardly the most sophisticated subgenre, it is however rather a tremendous deal of fun, and has introduced us to all manner of colorful characters over the years. The likes of Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger have managed to carve out quite the niche for themselves with regards to slaughtering co-eds and countless others have taken their lead, with varying levels of success. For around five years at the turn of the eighties, stalk and slash was considered the next big thing, and this was reflected in encouraging box office returns. However, it all tailed off as the decade drew to a close and entered into an extended hiatus for the best part of the next twenty years. You knew pretty much where you stood with slasher and eventually familiarity bred contempt as the whole world got over the craze and moved swiftly onto the next trend. Given that I had come of age at around the same time that masked marauders were leaving their calling cards, I was absolutely distraught to witness them dying their death after such a short run-out.
Anyhoots, that was a long time ago now, and slasher has seen something of a resurgence in recent years which encourages me massively. That said, things have changed considerably during the interim and audiences now expect far more than by-the-numbers execution. To truly flourish for a second time, it needs to have moved with the times as there is so much more scope for raising the stakes than appears to have been taken advantage of. Previously there was a rigid rule set to adhere to and few seemed willing to test the boundaries. It was regulation that became its undoing, thus retracing those steps is only ever likely to spark a fleeting revolution. I’m not entirely convinced that I’ll be around for the next thirty-year homecoming so implore filmmakers to make the best out of their current opportunity and ring any necessary changes. With a little TLC and fresh lick of deep red emulsion, the slasher could still prove enduring, thus I have compiled my own inventory of sorts to prepare us for the terror-strewn trail ahead. Safe passage is not guaranteed but at least we give ourselves a fighting chance by tooling ourselves up.
Recently I fashioned a superhero from spare parts and good will and had such a ball doing so that I went on to craft him a nemesis. Both were permitted ten pieces of cargo, each of which boasted special abilities, and I believe they turned out rather well, all things considered. Granted, Impervious Man and Very Worst Nightmare Girl were hardly the most inspired mantles but getting these babies through the production line was no picnic and brain fungus had begun to set in by that point so you’ll get what you’re given. This time there will be no pyrotechnics, rocket boosters, impenetrable armor, or parasitic brain leech attachments, and I’ll be putting my chips solely on wits. Some battles are best done in the mind and, when your opponent is two foot taller and wielding a machete that you just watched split your best friend’s skullcap like a honeydew, personal space is imperative. Get too close and you’ll soon learn that some things never need change. Stay back and you earn yourselves a bona fide survival credit. Now all you have to do is cash that shit in and live off royalties. Sinch.
I believe it would be most shrewd to keep this simple, start with the basics and see where that leads us. You never know, if there’s still space in those rucksacks come our penultimate item, then perhaps a couple of luxuries may find themselves in the mix. But not before we have all bases covered. Wisdom is critical here and, given the hindsight at our disposal, it shouldn’t be too painstaking a process pinpointing out where it all turned awry. To ensure that we don’t feel too discombobulated, I shall celebrate tradition by making our survivalist of the fairer sex. There are two distinct methods to this madness. Firstly, we need to educate not shun. Final girls have had a rough trot and deserve the chance of enlightenment for giving it the old college try in the first place. Secondly, and this one’s critical, they look better than men. Naturally, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m the one beholding right now. The clue really is in the title there folks. So without further ado, I guess it’s high time I make any formal introductions. Alas, no title as yet, thus I bring you a voluptuous bare-chested vixen.
Shameless ain’t I? No regrets Grueheads. It appears we have ourselves a template to build from and quite the tidy rack of ribs it is too. I especially like the fact that she remains unperturbed even though my head seems to be on a different scale entirely. I could quite easily just eat her up right here and now and nobody would be any the wiser. However, this doesn’t faze her in the slightest. Indeed, she has entrusted me with her safekeeping and I promised her that I would see her good. Let’s face it, should she perish on the front line, then who needs a moose head for decorative purposes? I’d just pop off those cherries and hang a sprig of mistletoe from her cleavage, before soundly slathering those perky pink splash pads. That’s just me but it doesn’t seem that our final girl has a problem with it. Stick with me girl and at least one of us will be grinning like a harlequin come crunch time. Can’t promise it’ll be you but we’ll give it a crack nonetheless. Just don’t come running to me if you come a cropper as we all know the shonky balance of final girls and I’m hardly the most stable fawn in the herd. Get me ventilated and I’m returning you to factory settings missy. That means absolutely no progression whatsoever and instead more of this.
Don’t think I won’t as I quite clearly will. We’re going to be required to work together to make it through this night and I already know what direction I’m going to be pulling in so at least your face gets a moisturizing. Leave it on for around two hours and it should peel off just fine. Meanwhile, we have a hulking juggernaut to flee from and I fully intend to furnish him too after giving you the customary head start. Behold! The Ultimate Crazed Killer has rather a nice ring to it after all and it would be foolish not to concoct you a nemesis as you’ll soon be in the unemployment line, flashing passing Japanese businessmen your wares for a quick fifty. Fret not young lady as I shall work out a foolproof itinerary and transport you straight to the cabin to further prepare for your foe’s arrival. Use that time wisely, remember what I taught you, and feel free to smoke a joint just to take the edge off. More on that later. For now, here’s your first of half a dozen tools of the trade.
Let’s begin with the basics shall we? We’re not going to get very far without scruples and these aren’t easy to come by in the world of slasher. Poor decision-making skills come with the territory and the repercussions for one slip up are usually fairly damn severe. To stand any hope whatsoever of outfoxing any potential boogeymen, you’ll have to surround yourself with wits and know your enemy. Understandably this is tricky at present as he’s still on the gurney, awaiting construction, but you know the breed well enough by now to have a fair inkling as to his attack plan. Chances are it will consist of one of the following two options: pick you off before your eyes can so much as widen or bolt straight in like a frisky bullock and start the panic. Either way, common sense is mandatory. Traditionally, the final girl fares much better in this regard than her entourage but can still be culpable of some pretty unforgivable blunders. Dropping whatever weapon they just used to create precious breathing space is one as is stepping over their floored antagonist when leaping through a patio window would be far more sagacious.
Indeed, some final girls just don’t learn from their near-death experiences and return to the fray for more of the same on the very anniversary of said carnage. I’m all for facing those fears when they don’t possess the ability to chop me into cook’s matches. Should our heroine endure her ordeal, then may I suggest entering the witness protection programme and changing your name to Les? Dang, I’ll even pay for the operation in exchange for first refusal of gripping onto that fresh ‘tache as I fondle your headlamps. Use your God given smarts and we stand a fighting chance here but drop your guard for a picosecond and it’s off to that early shower for you. It makes no odds with me as I already have the CCTV rigged and just hid all the towels so I’ll gladly partake in loafer duties. But we have an opportunity here to inform a fresh cohort and our beloved slasher needs us right now, don’t ‘cha think?
Heads on swivels and eyes on stalks would be a good start too. Remember those sneak attacks, never trust foliage or question that gut instinct I have already armed you with, and expect the unexpected at every turn as, chances are, you won’t receive a heads-up prior to engagement. Should a strange sound play out from beyond a door that is ajar, then give those peepers a rest and very slowly back up to a safe distance. That said, beware the inevitable stymie and activate those reverse lights as it could be a ruse and I wouldn’t put it past the cantankerous swine who just slaughtered all seven of your friends, one inquisitive sheriff, the town crazy, and a couple of dimwitted naturists. One advantage you have is that it’s hard to hide behind an oak tree when you’re 6″7 and possess the body mass of a big-boned Sasquatch. Use that to your advantage and set those orbs to their sentinel settings.
Another bit of free advice would be to take the hint when you find yourself alone and vulnerable. It’s not always what you can see so much as what you can’t and the moment your associates to fail to return from those late night skinny dips should be a pretty significant clue that all is way from kosher. Hang out in well-lit open areas where possible, somewhere that affords you a respectable cone of vision, and know all the potential dead ends you could run yourself into as that’s one of the most frequent facilitators of final girl folly. I’ll even pay for an eye test before you head off to the sticks and perform it myself just after providing you with a full and thorough colonic. Nobody wishes to be cut short in the thick of it, it’s hard enough to place one foot in front of the other as it is without a turtle head poking out. Speaking of which, next up are those getaway sticks and, more critically, running shoes.
Now let’s get one thing straight here. Your track skills have a knack of blowing ass bubbles and simple obstructions such as fallen branches have been known to bamboozle you at the most inopportune moments, making a ten-yard radius feel like a country mile. Barefoot is ill-advised unless you want to discover the answer to whether or not a bear shits in the woods. Where else is it going to do its business? That’s just common sense. I’ve slipped in a turd before and there’s no more conniving a treadmill that one freshly laid, soft, and whippy. Inappropriate footwear such as flip-flops is just as insipid as they’re the basement equivalent of dunce hats and love nothing more than endorsing those unforeseen slips, trips and falls. Likewise, Doc Martens are only ever going to prove cumbersome and you not well equipped for tight U-turns or last-ditch donuts. Granted, shit kickers have their benefits such as steel toe caps and sturdy deliverance, but I have a far better selection for this particular Cinderella and it ain’t glass slippers either. That’s just plain preposterous.
One pair of Onitsuka Tigers later and things soon start looking up. Firstly, comfort is imperative as it is fruitless attempting to pick up any kind of pace with blisters bursting left, right and center and agonizing verrucae on the balls of each foot. Secondly, these babies are aerodynamic and designed especially for long-distance endeavors. Velocity is your friend when your adversary is an inbred nutbag with only one track to his maggot-infested mind and sneakers don’t come more speed-friendly than these. One word of advice, they come in a range of colors and one of these is yellow, which is fine if you’re tracking down a pensioner with the katana of the ancients, but not so crash hot when camouflage would be more advisable. My tip of the day would be to take a leaf out of Schwarzenegger’s book and smear those Tigers with whatever top soil you can get your hands on.
Party Hat & Prophylactics
You’re only young once and owe it to yourself to enjoy whatever time you have so I fully endorse a dash of harmless campsite shenanigans as nobody wishes to die a party-pooping cherry grasper. Word to the wise, one of my planned bolt-ons for your opposite number will be the ability to let his hair down a little and not be so judgmental all the time. No longer will promiscuous sex necessarily be punishable by death, alcohol is openly favored, and a consuming a handful of magic mushrooms no longer a bum steer. Smoke that bong, party like it’s 1999, fuck your buddies, as prudish behavior no longer grants you a hall pass. Indeed, I’m considering donating my crazed killer a chastity compass, which targets any unbroken hymen or untested wedding tackle and provides GPS directly to their coordinates. AIDS was primarily an eighties plague and most STDs can now be treated with a simple cream so sow every last seed and throw caution to the wind as you will never again be held in contempt for doing so.
Should your hair be alban, then I would strongly advise getting yourself a suitably slutty color as one doesn’t need to be a gentleman to prefer blondes. Hell, captain the cheerleader squad if you wish and freely mock those of a lesser social standing than yourself as such ventures will stand you in good stead with your antagonist. Public nudity is a glorious way to fend off his unwanted advances as this particular death dealer is a visual creature and, let’s face it, getting laid has never been a priority. Even superhuman freaks have needs and you have yourself a full hand to play with courtesy of the easy-eyed assets you have been donated. For continuity purposes, I request that full bush is maintained (or not as the case may be), as it just wouldn’t be slasher without some disheveled pubic hair. Go faster stripes and tram lines will be frowned upon, whereas embracing nature is considered a rather persuasive bargaining tool.
Elocution Crash Course
Conversation has a tendency to consist largely of stupid questions and inane banter and I believe it is high-time we swot up as your arch-rival will be hitting the books in due course and nothing enrages him more than frittered intellect. Let’s not twist the lizard, should one of your party be feeling particularly gassy, then you are well within your rights to lower the tone accordingly. However, you will also be able to wax lyrical on any number of more meaningful topics, and not be restricted solely to dumb exchanges. This crash course will incorporate frequent viewings of Quentin Tarantino’s entire back catalogue to remind us of the fruit of two-way dialogue and vocabularies will consist of a far wider array of nouns and adjectives. Give them a run out, ponder the mysteries of the universe, philosophize while waiting for the joint to be passed, and exercise those neurons as they’ll be grateful for the manipulation.
Remember the no-nos. “I’ll be right back” roughly translates to “I won’t be right back”, “we should split up into small groups and scour the area” means “we should each die alone and petrified”, and “I promise we’ll make it through this alive” equates to “see you on the mortuary slab before sunrise”. Be aware of such potential Freudian slips and get that grey matter working overtime as talk really needn’t be quite so cheap and you may just talk yourself out of an early grave, should your blathering be deemed intriguing enough. That said, don’t forget that similar gifts will be bestowed on your assailant and, while likely the strong and silent type, he will understand every last syllable after having his ears syringed. Fail to exhilarate and the drapes will fall before you can ever sniff the morning dew. Chat with conviction and purpose and you could buy yourself some precious time to lace up those Onitsuka Tigers. One thing I will warn you about is that crazed killers tend to be somewhat tetchy when their mothers are brought up in conversation. Just saying.
The All-Important Rearguard
It appears as though you still have a little space in that rucksack so may I suggest packing yourself some weaponry, just in case your escape plan is thwarted. Crazed killers have a tendency to be in more than a single place at once and, despite seldom breaking into a jog, may well still cut you off at the pass thanks to their considerable spacial awareness and ethereal warping skills. If push comes to and proceeds shove, then you will be needing yourself an offensive tool or three to shore up the odds and I shall leave this down to your own personal preference. Perhaps a Elizabethan musket would be pushing it, while bazookas are a stone cold bitch to lug around over those pretty little shoulders, but a Swiss Army Knife takes up precious little space and neither do a fistful of shuriken. Try to take note of your enemy’s weaknesses and exploit them and, above all else, don’t go getting too courageous. One on one, chances are, you’ll be pushing up daisies before you can draw back your arm, so work on that evasive dodge and roll combo.
That’s right, weapons training also incorporates defensive manoeuver, and this could be the difference between knocking at the front door like a chump and infiltrating the rear when he’s least expecting it. If there’s one thing that unsettles a crazed killer, then the prospect of having one slipped to him unawares is it. Remember that most battles are actually fought in the mind and thirty years of wear and tear on that frontal lobe will invariably have called in the skull larvae. Topple him mentally and you buy yourself free bonus hits, of which you should make each count, and know how to locate that solar plexus. Alas, even if you somehow manage to floor this behemoth, he will be rattling your cage again in seconds. Triumph need not be conclusive, cut your losses when necessary and head for the hills before he catches that second wind. Also keep your eyes peeled for environmental hazards as moth to the flame syndrome is an indisposition to those tasked with pruning co-eds. Leave the log burner ablaze, oven the oven door, rest an ironing board against the closet you’re hiding within, and he’ll fall for every last chestnut. I may be something of a mad scientist, but cerebral regeneration is a stretch even for me.
Okay then, I think we have ourselves a final girl you know. There will never be a better opportunity to shine than this and, should you take heed of each of these half-dozen kindly pointers, then you may still make it back for the sequel. Of course, there is still the small matter of an alias, and I believe we should stray from convention here as slutty names are no longer off-limits. How does Candi sound? Candi Cockwarren it is. In the eighties, such a wanton title could ever dream of achieving around sixth in the end credits tally but nowadays it’s far more fair game. To summarize, you lost your virginity at fourteen to a thoroughbred pony during a school field trip, get blind drunk on a solitary stem of Chianti, roll a mean joint, never pack your bathing suit, have read War & Peace fro
m cover to cover and lived to tell the tale, know precisely how to rattle those pom-poms, currently host at least three undetected venereal diseases, let your pubic garden run free, know how to convert an electric whisk into a potent bludgeoning weapon, possess the speed and reflexes of a cheetah, never once clatter to the leaves, be aware of how to change a fuse, be quite the smooth talker, and this is more than sufficient to grant you the chance of reprieve.
It’s all dreadfully exciting and I believe that slasher is about to get the shot in the ventricle it has so woefully needed for decades now. As I have clarified, this isn’t likely to be made easy for you and your security is still very much in jeopardy. Where’s the sense of achievement in a nice relaxing stroll through the woods? No it is more beneficial to know you’ve been in a scuffle and, while the stakes really couldn’t be higher than your life, the kudos you will receive on evac will more than make up for the odd grazed knee or gouged open shoulder-blade. No pressure but I suspect all of your friends will meet grisly fates as there simply isn’t the time for group scholarship. Mourn them momentarily, use their demises to spur you on to gain a slice of much-deserved payback, and fret not as co-eds are a dime a dozen thanks to damning recent teenage pregnancy statistics. Bottom line is numero uno and I can’t have prepared you better for your battle royale. Now I feel duty bound to inform you that time is still on your side so how about that midnight skinny dip just to get a little air in that eighties bush?