Halloween Scene: Urban Legend (1998)

My buddy Rickey passed me some interesting horror movies for Christmas, one of which is the post-Scream Urban Legends which is a flick I never saw. I was a teenager when these flicks all started coming out, but thanks to a combination of theater attendants intent on stopping me from seeing R-rated movies and not super-loving either I Know What You Did Last Summer or Scream, I didn’t bother with UL because I was diving deep into the history of 80s horror and absorbing all kinds of horror both old and good.

I think it’s probably for the best that I waited until now to see this movie because I don’t think it would play as well before going to college. If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, Alicia Witt and her friends–a group that includes Rebecca Gayheart, Jared Leto (who I didn’t recognize at all), Tara Reid, Michael Rosenbaum, Danielle Harris (!) and Joshua Jackson–are being terrorized by a slasher who’s using classic urban legends as a jumping off point for murder. One girl gets axed in the back seat of a car after running away from a creepy gas station attendant who tries to warn her, but he stutters! Another involves a dude hanging from a tree on top of a car (can’t say I’ve heard that one). Witt, being the main character and SPOILER final girl, of course thinks there’s something going on before everyone else catches on.

The characters aren’t super exciting and wind up being kind of one note. Jackson’s the prankster, Rosenbaum’s the frat guy (pretty much the same part he played in Sorority Boys, but honestly with less of an arc) even our heroine doesn’t have a lot of character to her, she just keeps running into trouble and trying to stop it. But, the kills are great. I’m especially fond of that involves a sliced Achilles heel, a car in neutral being used as a battering ram of sorts and a series of tire spikes. Sick. But more than that, I enjoyed the play between actual urban legends I’ve heard (the one about gang members and headlights among the rest) and how all that prays upon the fears of young people on their own at college for the first time. My college had it’s fair share of stories, though most of them involved ghosts. My favorite was that there was a room on campus that was supposedly so haunted that, after spending a night in there, the president of the school ordered it bricked up never to be used again!

Like a lot of other slasher flicks from the 90s, the killer doesn’t have the most interesting or original look (a parka hiding their face) and the motive winds up being pretty familiar for anyone who’s seen a horror movie or even an episode of CSI or Bones but all in all, I found this one pretty fun and enjoyable. I added it to my newly purchased DVD binder. I also decided to finally rewatch IKWYDLS which I absconded from the great Wizard library purge from a few years back. I’m a few minutes in and it’s funny because they talk about urban legends pretty early on, including the one about the guy in the roof of the car!

2 thoughts on “Halloween Scene: Urban Legend (1998)

  1. I saw this movie when I was 17, on the first night of a week that I’d be home alone (haha) while my parents were on vacation. I was scared out of my mind the entire time. I watched it last year or the year before and it didn’t hold up. Sad face.

  2. I remember leaving where ever I watched the movie (can’t remember if we saw it in the theater) with my friend and being terrified of getting our Achilles tendons slashed…

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