Thursday, July 4, 2013

Maynard and Craig's Last Summer Megapost!


A few months ago, this blog was honored to team up with the always stupendous Maynard Morrissey's Horror Movie Diary for a dual Megapost highlighting The Blob in all of its cinematic glory.

Recently Maynard and I were chatting online about I Know What You Did Last Summer - he'd just picked up a box set of all three movies in the franchise - and I was telling him how the first movie was shot here in my hometown.

Then it hit us - another three movies - two blogs - and one great idea! It's another MMHMD/LGOOH Dual Megapost - taking a look at the only movie series that depends on a steady diet of ginseng to keep it going. And we're posting the combo on the magical day from the movies themselves - America's Independence Day - July 4th!

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Four teens are partying one 4th of July in coastal NC – which weirdly has mountains in the distance thanks to some California-shot driving footage – and their lives are forever changed when they run somebody down on the highway. The teens decide to cover up the death, dropping the body in the ocean nearby and making a pact to never speak of this night again.

Almost one year later, in the first days of July the next year, someone starts stalking the kids and taunting them with notes saying “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Eventually the stalking turns to what might be termed cruel pranks – and then crosses the line to murder. The surviving teens try to figure out who could be hunting them down – a relative of the person they killed? Someone else who found out somehow? And all the while a rain slickered figure watches, a heavy hook in his hand.

I enjoyed this extremely loose adaptation of Lois Duncan’s YA suspense novel.

The novel features a disgruntled boyfriend of a dead girl stalking the people he blames for her death – but he kills no one, just threatens to. Williamson quickly throws that to the side and makes his stalker a full on screen slasher. (Consequently Duncan had no praise for the movie.) But the movie works – pretty people, a plausible storyline, some good Williamson dialogue, and plenty of suspense well handled by director Jim Gillespie. It’s not a Top Ten or Major Classic – but it’s definitely a solid slasher flick, well worth a look. Of course, there are some silly moments – one guy gets killed because the producers wanted another death despite the character having nothing to do with the events the previous year; the famous scene where the camera pulls up into a high crane shot while Hewitt bellows a challenge to the killer whlle simultaneously giving the audience a great look down her shirt; and Anne Heche’s out of nowhere cameo – but these are quibbles. This is definitely one of the best of the many slasher pics that got greenlighted by the success of Scream. Plus, it has my old buddy Muse Watson as the killer, Ben Willis.

Hook, line, and sinker. In order..that's what I'm going to kill you with; what I was doing
when I said I wouldn't kill you; and what I'm going to do to the boat to dispose of your body.

I've known Muse for more than twenty years now - did an interview with him a few months ago - we touched on this movie - here's what he had to say:

CE: You played that homicidal Gorton’s fisherman Ben Willis in I Know What You Did Last Summer. Was it fun to turn loose your inner homicidal maniac?

MW: Well, it was scary. I remember wondering how I was gonna let Ben have my body without him hurting me emotionally. As I conjured him, he told me I was being silly. He said he didn't go through what I went through to prepare to kill someone. Didn't mean anything to him. He was a psycho. So I didn't take my head there. I just went to the set and did the action without any thought. Made me kinda scary I think and closer to the character.

I believe I was working on the movie Virus when this show came to the area. It was a script Kevin Williamson had written before Scary Movie (Scream) but no film company was interested in it. Then Scream came out and was a huge hit in late 1996 – so this script was fast tracked and put into production just a few months later in the spring of 1997. Either right before or after it another production company shot a “presentation pilot” for Dawson’s Creek (I know all of this seems pretty divergent other than the writing hand of Kevin Williamson, but stick with me and relevance will be revealed.) I’ll go more into Dawson’s when I get to that show in my I Was A Teenage Production Assistant posts. So I was working pretty much non stop on a succession of projects, starting with Virus and continuing through the spring – the feature film, three TV pilots and some Shoney’s commercials – so I did not work on IKWYDLS or the Dawson’s presentation pilot.

During the production of his two scripts, Kevin Williamson was in Wilmington NC throughout, and being a huge fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween, he arranged a meeting with Jamie Lee Curtis – in town for Virus. They hit it off, so much so that JLC went back to her people – she wanted him to take a poke at a script she was considering – or had agreed to with script approval. Consequently, Kevin Williamson was brought in on that show and did the rewrite – though credit arbitration left his name off the movie’s credits – except as Executive Producer – a bone thrown to Williamson when his screenwriting credit was disavowed. That movie was Halloween: H20. The final convergences between all of these shows – Steve Miner – director of Friday the 13th parts 2 and 3 – directed the Dawson’s presentation pilot – and based on his interactions with Williamson and Curtis – got the job directing Halloween H20! And then, because Miner became the director of H20 – he hired Dawson’s Michelle Williams to act in it!

Which then led to me getting this as a present from Michelle Williams
and hanging it on my office wall. Thanks Lois Duncan!

Time passes. Dawson’s is picked up as a series, and I do get hired for it. We started shooting thirteen episodes in the summer of 1997 – with the first episode not scheduled to air until 1998 - after we wrapped in December. So when James van der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson were running around Wilmington throughout the production of these first thirteen episodes, no one knew who they were (mostly – Josh was the most known from the Mighty Ducks movies – but he’d grown up a fair amount since the most recent of those). In October, IKWYDLS came out in theaters, and late that work week on Dawson’s James, Katie, Josh, and guest star Monica Keena (later of Freddy vs Jason) decided to go – and invited me along. We invited Michelle as well, but she begged off – saying she had something else to do. But she and I were to have our Last Summer experience down the road.

We all enjoyed the movie – and when we came out of the theater – I saw that the local NBC affiliate had sent a camera crew out to tape reactions to the movie – prompted by Kevin Williamson’s involvement as the writer and his new series shooting here in town. We were all standing around doing the post-movie rehash – and I told the kids they should go be interviewed. Again – it’s important to realize that nobody knew who they were at this point in their lives. So they sauntered over and the field reporter was happy to put them in front of the camera. They praised the movie’s writing – a funny in-joke since we were all working for the movie’s writer. (Yes, I also participated – in a separate interview – I don’t even remember what I said.)

The segment aired that night on the local news – and they did use both interview pieces. So there are four kids who are about three months away from becoming very famous – and the NBC affiliate never realized what they had. (I toy with the idea of calling them up and seeing if they still have the clip – it would make a funny piece for their morning show – but I want to be involved if they do it. I’m selfish like that.)

I popped a tape in that evening and caught the segment – still have it in the video vault somewhere. I need to digitize it and get it uploaded so I can post it on the blog – but that will be another day. Actually, I stopped being lethargic and procrastinistic - and it will be today!

I'd forgotten how brief the non-movie bits are - but there they are - the first people to speak. In case it's hard to hear, Josh says "It's well written" and James starts to chime in but they cut away.

What were your thoughts on this flick, Maynard - did it "hook" you?


German Title:
Ich weiss was du letzten Sommer getan hast
(I know what you did last Summer)

USA, 1997
Director: Jim Gillespie



Oh man, this movie always make me sooo nostalgic. "I Know What You Did Last Summer" is one of these movies that totally reminds me of a time when life was just fine. I still went to school, still lived at home, and there was almost nothing to worry about. The summers were hot as fuck, the girls were drop dead gorgeous and the theaters were packed with awesome movies, like this one.

*sigh* I love this movie! I really do. Actually, I love the whole late 90s / early 00s post-"Scream" teen-slasher craze when killing teens suddenly became a stylish kinda thing. No demented or deformed killers, no creepy backwoods areas, no gruesome gore - it was all about high class colleges, suburban areas, beautiful teenagers, rich parents and killers with cool masks / hoods etc.
Die-hard 80s slasher fans despise this stuff, but I couldn't care less. I grew up on John Carpenter and Alfred Hitchcock, on Wes Craven and Nicolas Roeg. I just had to love these flicks :-)

I admit, there are certain plot points that don't make sense, several character decisions that are just stupid, and a few other hiccups, but overall it's a really great, entertaining and chilling movie, very well written by 90s grandmaster Kevin Williamson ("Scream 1-2") and superbly directed by Jim Gillespie (co-writer of "Joyride") whose career sadly went completely downhill after this (the two box-office bombs "D-Tox" and "Venom" - and then nothing...).

"I Know What..." is tense, thrilling and stunningly atmospheric from the very first to the very last minute. There are many wonderfully scary scenes (girl wakes up with her hair cut short / strange noises from the car trunk / dead body awakens while it gets dumped into the water), many terrifically suspenseful scenes (killer appears at a beauty pageant / guy gets run over by a car), and many really awesome kill sequences (giallo-esque chase-and-stak scene in the clothing store / ice pick stabbing at the foggy docks)
plus: one of the most badass open endings ever (the dream-sequence with the killer jumping through a shower door).

Ben Willis a.k.a The Fisherman isn't as iconic as Michael Myers or other famous horrorfilm killers, but still, he's an impressive and scary-looking guy, and I've always been a fan of him. Love that he's not just another faceless maniac: he's an interesting character with a great backstory, and we also get to see how he looks / talks / behaves. Kudos to Muse Watson's superb performance.


The acting is pretty cool. No stand-out performances, but everyone gives a solid and somewhat believable performance, especially the gorgeous Jennifer Love Hewitt, cutie Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Philippe, Freddie Prinze Jr. and a surprisingly eerie Anne Heche.

Cinematography and editing are top-notch, score and soundtrack are fantastic ["Hush" - Kula Shaker, "2Wicky" - Hooverphonic, "Proud" - Korn], and... let's face it: a film that starts out with Type 0 Negative's "Summer Breeze" just has to be awesome! :-D

A beloved alltime classic I could watch over and over without ever getting bored!

We match up pretty well there - better than we did on the first Blob movie, anyway!

Next up:

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Almost exactly a year later the sequel to IKWYDLS came out. By this time I was working on Dawson's Creek's second season. Between seasons the show premiered and had become a huge hit for the WB network - and all four leads had become overnight stars, appearing on scads of magazine covers and TV talk shows. I'll go into my relationships with the kids more when I cover DC for my Teenage Production Assistant series - but suffice to say we weren't all hanging out like we did during the first season's shoot. But I was still very chummy with Michelle Williams - and she asked me to go with her to ISKWYDLS. Funny thing, we were nearly alone in the theater - there was one other duo way back in the back - Michelle and I were in the center about six rows back from the screen. So it was like we were alone, and consequently we laughed and giggled all through the movie - making some choice goofs on the movie to each other.

In the film, a year has passed too. Julie James is off at college, hanging with her new pals while Ray is still back in Southport hauling fish around. Julie's new pal Karla (Brandy) wins a giant Caribbean vacation prize from a radio contest - which is interesting as she gets the question wrong. Nonetheless, Julie, Karla, Karla's boyfriend Tyrell (Mekhi Phifer), and Julie's new pal Will Benson (Matthew Settle) all end up heading out for the resort vacation. Poor Ray is left back in Southport. Once on the island - the quartet finds no other guests and few staff - seems there's a tropical storm heading for the island. Worse, the staff that is there is either creepy (Jeffrey Combs), old (Bill Cobbs), or incredibly obnoxious (Jack Black). Even worse, Ben Willis turns up again, still swinging the hook and gunning for Julie and her friends.

Meanwhile, Ray somehow gets wind that Willis is back and spends a huge chunk of the running time trying to get to the island, in a series of scenes that just gets sillier every time we see him. (Ray's on a bus; then Ray's on a bicycle; then Ray's in a rowboat - seriously - how did they not see that these scenes are like a Mad Magazine spoof of the movie - in the movie?)  Eventually Julie screams up to the camera on a crane again for Willis to just come get her, and the big climax plays out just as the tropical storm hits. Of course.

In the first movie, Jennifer Love Hewitt had no ability to affect things much - she was a young actress hired for the movie and she did what they told her to do. Consequently they make her look pale and haggard in the movie - which makes sense when you're being pursued by a crazy man with a hook and not sleeping much. For the sequel - now with some power to make decisions - and despite lots of scripted dialogue about how worn out and run down and terrible she looks in the second movie - she never looks anything but perfect and glamorous - I mean ready for a magazine cover - which is a trap actors can fall into when they move up the ladder (too?) quickly.

First movie - haggard

First movie - exhausted

Second movie - "haggard"

Second movie - "exhausted"

But it is just one problem in the long line this sequel has. There's really nothing good about this sequel, other than an admittedly decent twist - and Muse Watson - and here's an interesting bit from our interview where he talks about what this movie could have been if they'd stuck to the original idea:

CE: When we worked together on the sadly still unreleased movie The Last Summer, you told me a fascinating story about what the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer was originally conceived to be. Can you go over your memories of those original concepts again?

MW: An early draft of the sequel, or the way it was pitched to me was Julie and her friends go to New Orleans, and there against the backdrop of the spooky and atmospheric Big Easy...Julie starts to believe she's being pursued by Ben Willis again...but the movie was going to be shot to keep the audience guessing for a long while whether he is back or if Julie has gone bonkers before finally revealing Ben is sure enough there and swinging that hook again. I wish we'd gotten to make that movie.

Muse had another problem with this go-round:

CE: You also told me that unlike the first movie, you were not present for every moment Ben appears in the sequel – what happened there?

MW: Well, after the movie was finished, the test audiences said the killing didn't start soon enough in the movie. They proposed killing Jack Black much bloodier and making it sooner in the picture. I was already on another film shoot, but I ased them if I could fly back to L.A. to do it over the week-end. They decided it would be easier to get a stunt man to do it. He had to wear the hat so far down over his face not to be seen that there is where the criticism started of the movie being stupid...that the fisherman could not see, etc. I hated it. I could have done it.

(By the way, if you'd like to read the whole interview with Muse Watson - here is the link.)

The rest of the flick is just ridiculous - unlikable characters, threadbare suspense, and a setup that reeks of the producers' decision to have a vacation during production instead of damn well working and making a good movie.

Okay - had to slam that dreck pretty hard - what say you, Mr. Morrissey? Some saving grace, or Slam Hard 2: Slam Harder?


German Title:
Ich weiß noch immer was du letzten Sommer getan hast
(=I still know what you did last summer)

USA, 1998
Director: Jim Gillespie


Oh man, this movie reminds me of...ah, fuck the good times! I remember how this movie pissed me off because it destroyed all my expectations. "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" [um, shouldn't it be "I Still Know What You Did 2 Summers ago" ???] is the prime example of a stupid, unnecessary and completely expendable sequel that was rushed into production because Hollywood smelled dollars. I soooo wanted this to be another badass teen-slasher, but sadly it turned out to be just another shitty sequel-stinker.

Almost everything that was good in in the first part, it's gone in the second part. There's hardly any tension or atmosphere. Just endless boredom, interrupted by annoying and cheap jump scares, random Fisherman appearances and various unimportant characters getting killed, all accompanied by a horrible over-the-top score that kills off any bit of suspense.


Danny Cannon's ("Judge Dredd") direction is poor; he's completely unable to create anything original, remarkable or interesting. Trey Callaway's ("CSI: NY") screenplay is terribly muddled and all over the place, and the plot... christgoddammit! Never in the history of slasher movies has a plot made so little sense.

I also thought the inclusion of the voodoo-guy was completely moronic (oh, he stole my toothbrush, he HAS to be the killer...), and the fact that the Fisherman seemed to be everywhere at any time - fucking stupid. Yeah, I know. It's two people (Scream anyone?), but... fuck it. It felt as if they were jumpers.

Also, dumbest Karaoke scene in movie history. Hewitt sings Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" (oh, the irony...) and suddenly the "I Still Know..." message pops up on the Karaoke screen. What? Why? Were the killers really that thoughtful? How did they do it? And how could they be sure that Hewitt will sing this song? Did they insert the message in all the karaoke songs? Or was is just pure imagination? WTF???


The acting is pretty much decent (Hewitt, Brandy minus Monica, Mekhi Pfifer) - with the sole exception of Jack Black as dreadlock douchebag, probably the worst performance of his career. There's way more gore and blood than in the first one, the girls look smokin' hot, the hotel / island settings all look simply beautiful, and the soundtrack is once again excellent. Lots of personal faves like Lamb's "Gorecki" and Hooverphonic's "Eden", as well as other great stuff like Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" or Orgy's "Blue Monday" cover.

Nevertheless, this summer was a real bummer.

Yeah! Take that, lazy lackluster sequel!

And because it always seems that trilogies come in threes...

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Well, count your blessings that I have no exterior involvement with this movie at all – so this should be the shortest section of my part of this Megapost. If I shuttup and get to it, that is.

Seven years after the events of I Still Know, the studio decided to greenlight a second sequel. Initially the plan was to bring Hewitt and Brandy and Prinze back for another go-round – but that fell through for whatever reason. Instead, they decided to build a sequel around the idea of Ben Willis becoming something of an urban legend boogeyman - notorious for his two killing sprees and verbally invoked on July 4th by teenagers trying to scare each other. Way out in Utah a group of friends partying at a carnival on Independence Day bring Ben Willis up – talking about how he now legendarily appears to go after anyone trying to hide secrets from years past. (However – possibly in a move to prevent having to pay royalties to the writers of the earlier movies – Ben is never name checked in this flick – instead they stick to calling him The Fisherman – you can hear the capitals when its spoken – even in the credits.)

Suddenly, The Fisherman appears! He chases the kids through the carnival, slashing wildly with his big ol’ hook. One of the youths takes off and ends up pursued by the slickered figure across the rooftops near the carnival. He tries to skateboard to safety, but he plunges off the building from a great height. The other kids head towards the spot where he fell, and it becomes obvious all is not as it seems. Turns out the whole thing was a put-up job, with one of the friends in the guise of The Fisherman and the skateboarder set up to come down on some conveniently placed mattresses. Except…the mattresses were accidentally moved, and instead of some soft foam, the skateboarder has been impaled on a piece of farm machinery.

THAT'S gonna leave a mark.

No one knows who The Fisherman was, and the evidence is quickly ditched. In a eerily familiar turn of events, the gang decides to admit their complicity will only ruin their lives – and not bring back their pal anyway – so they make a pact “never to speak of this night again.”

Am I surprising you at all when I tell you we cut to “A year later”?

The events from the previous year took their toll on the friends – and their friendships dangle in tattered shreds. The town’s annual Independence Day celebration brings everyone together again, and as some of the relationships are renewed – other friendships have the final nail put in their coffins. Speaking of coffins, guess who else shows up in a rain slicker outfit and wielding a big hook?

Of course, he first makes his presence known with some notes – you get three guesses what they say and the first two don’t count – but it’s not long before someone meets that hook head on. The question the kids have is – is the killer someone they know using the persona of The Fisherman to make them pay for their secret crime? Could it be their dead friend reaching out for vengeance from the grave? Or is it The Fisherman himself – back from the grave and ready to party?

Well, I’m going to go ahead and spoil it – it’s The Fisherman, which is finally revealed in a fairly silly scene that starts off with a chase where his face is completely unseen (as the actor/stuntguy – Don Shanks stepping in for Muse Watson – is not wearing any special makeup in the first hour of the movie.) Then, the scene where his face is going to be revealed starts – and suddenly you can see the pasty white zombie skin under the hat – where before it was only darkness or something black obscuring everything. Finally, the hat comes off – and a pretty cool “evil looking dead guy” face is shown.

They couldn’t make it look like Ben Willis – but it’s pretty cool looking nonetheless. At this point, with the cat out of the bag that this previously “realistic” series has gone supernatural (just like the Friday the 13th movies did!) The Fisherman starts pulling all kind of new tricks out – like the expected shrugging off of bullets, and the less expected teleportation (not Jason style “I was downstairs in the kitchen in one shot and now I’m upstairs and seven rooms over in the next shot” – but instead the style of “disappear there and reappear here forty feet closer to the intended victim in the same shot”) How do you stop a killer who’s already dead?

Okay, having enjoyed the first movie and really despising the second movie – I really had no burning desire to see the third go-round for a long while. I found it on a very cheap used DVD and picked it up a couple of years ago and it has been gathering dust in the video vault ever since. When Maynard proposed this combo post – I went ahead and dug this movie up to watch.

Wouldn’t you know it? With the reduced expectations of a years-later almost in-name-only sequel – I actually liked this. It’s practically a “requel” – which is my (copyrighted) name for a sequel that doesn’t continue the story as much as just retell it. (The Watchers movie quartet is one of the longest string of requels in the history of cinema). This one just misses being a requel when they very specifically refer to the events of the first two movies setting up the legend of The Fisherman.

So, there’s not a lot (any?) new ground broken – but I like The Fisherman being a boogeyman/urban legend, and I really liked how he was used to set up the movie with the prank gone wrong. After that it’s a good ol’ meat and potatoes slasher flick, with enough suspense and bloodletting to bring this flick over the entertainment finish line. It’s not a classic – but it’s miles ahead of the second movie – which combines heaping helpings of lazy and stupid into a plate full of useless – while this third movie is a nice tasty fast food meal – nothing spectacular, but competent and even a little comforting. In fact, there was enough here that I would welcome a fourth movie in the same vein – certainly much more than a remake/reboot – mumblings of which I’ve actually heard bandied about.

Okay, we've been matched up on the series so far - will it happen a third time, Maynard Morrissey?


German Title:
Ich werde immer wissen, was du letzten Sommer getan hast
(=I will always know what you did last Summer)

USA, 2006
Director: Sylvain White


Better late than never. 7 years after the second part, someone thought it would be a good idea to shoot another Fisherman-flick. As expected, it didn't turn out to be as great as the first one, but thankfully, it's at least far better than the horrid second one.

"I'll Always Know..." isn't exactly a sequel. It's more of a stand-alone sequel with a few nods to the first two parts. The story is basically a rehash of part 1, combined with certain elements that reminded of  "Dead in 3 Days" and maybe "Jeepers Creepers". It's packed wich all kinds of teen-slasher-clichés and there's not much originality to find, but at least they were able to pull off a major twist by turning the Fisherman into some kinda ghost-zombie. Many people hated this - I thought it's quite refreshing!

Director Sylvain White ("The Losers") was able to create a solid flick with some nice suspense and some wonderful 90s atmosphere. It drags in the middle, but the first and last third are both pretty great. Some superbly creepy scenes and sequences (attack on the ski-lift, attack at the pool), a decent amount of gore (slashed throats, impalements, stabbings), a cool amusement-park opening and a fabulous chase-sequence finale. The epilogue is immensely underwhelming though.


The acting is ok. All no-names, no stand-outs but good enough to not piss me off. The cinematography is pretty cool (Stephen M. Katz, "Messiah of Evil") and the eerie score fits very well. The editing is way too hectic and way too over-the-top, and the rock/metal stuff is lame. Bands like The Bedbugs, Weapons Of Pleasure, or Goth Jones... who the hell are these guys?

No classic, but definitely worth watching. I've seen FAR worse teen-slasher sequels (I'm looking at you, Scream 3 and Urban Legend 2 etc.).

And there you have it - we pretty much agreed down the line on these three movies! Awesome!

Here's something we would have missed if it weren't for these movies:

This hilarious moment from Jennifer Love Hewitt's hosting of Saturday Night Live!

Maynard sent me the below photo which sums up our in-sync thoughts on Jack Black:

If I were to rate this series as Maynard does – here’s how the movies would break down:

I Know What You Did Last Summer – 7.5 out of 10

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer – 2 out of 10

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer – 6 out of 10

Now that you've checked this one out - go see how Maynard put his side together - you can check it out HERE.

My thanks to Maynard for suggesting this cool combo post - and for supplying the bulk of my movie pics - and thanks to Muse Watson for supplying his thoughts on swinging that hook. And as always thanks to YOU for taking the time to come by and read it!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Ah, my two fave brothers doing another combo-posts! And what a post it is! I love the first, it's definitely a classic on my part, but the seconds a real flush down the drain for me. (was there even any good slashing for this entry? I remember very little.)

    I originally hated "Always" but after a second viewing or three, I'm beginning to like it as a B-flick, or something on its own. More inclining to the "on its own" part.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Sounds like we three are in total agree about these movies three!

  2. Ha, I guess we did a pretty good job :) Thanks for the hard work. Can't wait to do another collabo =)

  3. You guys take some mighty fine photos, I must say. ;) I really dug these films, especially the first. it was fun and had some suspenseful moments. Wasn't this the flick where Sarah met Freddie? Terrific post, LGOOH and the Horror Movie Diary do exceptional work.