Alright kids, first things first. This blog is just spattered with spoilers so if you haven’t watched the movie yet read at your own risk.
I’m so truly impressed with what these movies are managing to do. If you told me some movies based on Fear Street were gonna revamp horror entirely I would have been as shocked as the people who have seen this ridiculous car in real life. Which is to say that I loved 1978 ( go figure).
So, I’m not going to go into the plot too much. Deena and her little brother haul her possessed girlfriend over to C. Berman’s-the only survivor of the Camp Nightwing massacre- house. Which is just entirely rude. But after much pleading the mysterious C. Berman tells the kids the story of the worst night of her life in the hopes that those fools can find something useful in it.
And, here’s the thing that people don’t like to dwell on after the movie’s over, to be a final girl you must survive absolute horror. Then you must carry that horror with you for the rest of your life. Every final girl is deeply and profoundly traumatized. Maybe they survived but that’s all they can do. Their dreams are restless, bloody things haunted by the faces of their dead friends. By their killer. Even the brightest day is filled with hidden shadows and unseen horror. It’s not a pretty place to be. So, when you’re that girl. The final girl that’s now a haunted woman, and two random strangers break into your kitchen in the middle of the night you’re a damn saint if you don’t murder them yourself. It’s even more gracious if you’re willing to open those barely healed wounds and tell those twerps every detail of your trauma but that’s what Ziggy Berman does.
Ziggy tells you about the massacre. About the night she stopped living and started surviving. She tells you about how her hope died as she desperately tried to reach her sister’s hand across a few feet of blood soaked grass.
You know what the movie’s about. A bloodthirsty killer roaming among the innocent at a summer camp. People-a lot of people die- and it’s scary and heartpounding and very entertaining to watch. The thing that makes 1978 my favorite though is that this is the heart of the trilogy. It’s a summer camp massacre movie but it’s also an exploration and tribute to the bond between siblings and best friends. It’s about the fact that even though these Shadyside kids are literally cursed. Are broke and discriminated against. That they have no future-at least not one that doesn’t involve holding down two jobs- and probably a broken marriage. Debt, addiction, you name it. Either the curse kills them directly or indirectly and maybe the ones who die quick are the lucky ones. Still though, they fight.
They fight to live, to fall in love, to find a way out of that town. To break the curse. And through all of that they remain good people which is brightly contrasted with the outright sociopathy of the Sunnyside kids. You can never trust a Sunnysider. They may fool you for a minute but they’ll sell you out to save their asses every time.
1978 takes the time to let you know the characters. It even takes the time to let you know the killers. It tells you how poor Ruby Lane was such a sweet kid before the witch possessed her. How much her mother loved her. It makes sure that you realize even the killers are unwitting victims of the curse. And that’s quite a feat to pull off.
Of course, it’s also filled with great acting and the music in this one is even better that the last. With the Velvet Underground crooning Sweet Jane during the love scene this time and bookending the movie with Nirvana and David Bowie’s versions of The Man Who Sold the World. It looks great too trading in the neon splashed vibe of 1994 for 70’s era oversaturated sunlight. Of course it moves the frame story along too and although I’m excited for 1666 no moment of this trilogy will top the last shot we see of Ziggy Berman.
Because, folks, Ziggy Berman is pissed. She has hope again for the first time in so long. Maybe her sister didn’t die in vain after all. Maybe they can actually break this fucking curse once and for all. The witch better watch her ass because Ziggy Berman is ready to fight. She may have to sacrifice herself but she’s ready to finish what her big sister started.