Once again, I’m not going to watch any of the Friday the 13th movies just because it’s Friday the 13th. Probably. Don’t judge me.
What I did was give some thought to superstition and then watch Urban Legends: Bloody Mary because apparently, I don’t know what’s good for me. I have watched the two previous Urban Legend films and remember precisely enough to know I have seen them and no more.
Finding a good horror film about superstitions is dicey at best. A lot of it has been covered before, but rarely well.
There are plenty of movies about Ouija boards. They need a whole discussion of their own.
Other topics I wasn’t up for included black cats, hook hands, phone calls from inside the house, monkeys’ paws, witches’ revenge, and phantom hitchhikers.
There was Candyman way back when. I want to love it for the Chicago connection, but it always felt a little forced and I like bees. Bloody Mary is the OG mirror chanting badass. She didn’t need a hook hand or a swarm of bees.
There is more than one movie featuring Bloody Mary, but I went with UL:BM because I didn’t know it existed and I thought Kate Mara and Ed Marinaro (you may know him from such shows as Hill Street Blues, Laverne & Shirley, and Falcon Crest) would mitigate somewhat.
Upon reviewing this line of thinking, I’m not sure why these two actors would lead me to believe this movie would be more than bad. I saw Fantastic Four and I still haven’t recovered. On the other hand, I like football. Ed is in the College Football Hall of Fame. Kate is football ownership royalty…maybe that’s not such a great endorsement.
Whatever, I made the decision and forced myself to watch UL:BM mainly on the strength of fond childhood memories regarding the Bloody Mary legend.
Some of us kids went into a dark bathroom, lit some matches, and chanted Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror. It was definitely a legendary experience and not about expelling waste after a vicious Sunday morning drunken football watching bender. Not that I would know anything about such activities.
It is a fact that I don’t like Bloody Marys. I don’t drink tomatoes. V8 makes me gag. I still have nightmares about once accidentally ingesting V8.
I love tomato sauce. There is an infinite number of culinary uses for tomato sauce that I heartily approve of. It’s not the same thing.
No amount of hot sauce can save a drink based on tomato juice. Adding another foul “juice” to it is not a solution. Mixing clam juice into that liquid hellscape is not fixing a damn thing.
I can understand why Bloody Mary is pissed that her good name was besmirched with such a foul witch’s concoction.
It turns out the Bloody Mary legend isn’t what I thought it was when I was ten. Who woulda thunk?
I thought she was Mary I of England, who was called Bloody Mary for killing Protestants to save their eternal souls from damnation. My Catholic upbringing was getting in the way of reality again.
At least I hadn’t mixed that blood-bathing Bathory woman into my Bloody Mary mythology. For me, Mary was just an irate royal who would fuck you up for calling on her ghost. That made sense to young me. Who wants to be called back from the grave into some asshole’s bathroom mirror?
It turns out she was supposed to be a witch called Mary Worth, who was put to death for dealing in the black arts. Or possibly a woman who died in a car wreck and fucked up her face. But definitely not a misguided, murdering Queen.
There is some belief that chanting “Bloody Mary” in a mirror thirteen times will summon the ghost. Certainly not. You only have to do it three times. Who came up with this thirteen nonsense? That’s a lot of chanting. You would need a peasant or two to help keep count.
As I mentioned, in my time, you lit a candle (or a small flashlight or a lighter or fireplace match, glow stick…whichever) and said her name three times. Usually alone, but that could be tweaked for more fun. Then you would get scratched. At some point. I’m still waiting.
My recollection is that we followed this up by going outside and running around in the woods. Nobody was murdered on that day, inexplicably or otherwise.
No early demise saved me from growing up and watching UL:BM.
The movie poster for UL:BM looks awful. Even the font is bad.
The story is slow and predictable. The special effects are low rent, but not so low rent as to be funny.
In 1969, some girls get “pranked”. This involves roofies, accidental death by violence, and almost certainly rape. If you’re going to have a Bloody Mary, her origin story has to be harsh.
In the present, things seem to repeat themselves. Samantha (Kate Mara) is a victim of a similar prank sans the rape and death angle.
Then we get deaths by urban legend, courtesy of Samantha calling out Bloody Mary during a teen girl sleepover complete with a pillow fight and a weird brother (David, Sam’s twin brother – don’t worry it doesn’t matter).
How do they die, let me count the ways – a spider lays its eggs in some skin, an electric fence gets pissed on, that thing licking your hand by the side of the bed isn’t your dog, tanning beds are bad for you.
The good: The science teacher talking about gorilla biology and behavior in the background as the football players contemplate their prank. The only girl still alive from the 1969 incident (Grace) is a cool as ice, pot-smoking hippie artist with a sweet afro and a flower painted Vanagon. Power to the people, man. The heroines get right down to business without needing no man.
The horrible: Viewers are thought to be so stupid that we don’t know instantly that Sam’s stepfather Bill is the 1969 villain “Willie” all grown up. All of the movie’s failures pale in comparison to viewers being treated like we’re morons.
The music plays. The movie ends. Nothing is a surprise. Nobody cared about David. Grace survived. Groovy.
It felt like the movie’s running time was about 13 hours.
The same song played throughout. Mary’s song.
Niki Haris has a great voice, but the song makes me think of James Bond walking away from wrecking his Aston Martin in the rain after a few too many vodka martinis and a bad run at the craps table. You never see that motherfucker drinking Bloody Marys.
But Domino did in Never Say Never Again. Domino’s brother got killed and her boyfriend was the highest-ranking agent of the terrorist organization SPECTRE. Bloody Marys – devastating people’s lives since 1554.
Let’s never talk about Urban Legends: Bloody Mary again.
Happy Friday the 13th. The first of two this year!
I hope Jason Voorhees likes the 1960s musical vibe. He’s definitely a man who never says never.