Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Friday the 13th: Looking at the franchise

I watched the FANTASTIC documentary CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES and thought, "Hey, I should watch all the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies!" I thought it might be a fun idea. I proved myself wrong.

Six hours and forty minutes of awesome interviews and footage! I have to say that this is one of the best horror documentaries I've seen. Someone said it was too long and I say, "No." :) They covered things expertly and I loved every hour of what was presented. The behind the scenes footage and stories were priceless. Awesome stuff.


Firstly...I love any of the intro title sequences that feature the logo exploding. HA! BOOM! WHY?! heheheheh

NOTE: I'm watching these, then writing a quickie blurb about each to capture my general thoughts. The blurs will most likely contain spoiler points for the films.

By far one of the strongest offerings. It's a tight, fun WHO DUNNIT story with some grand gags and  fun edits. The film presents a cast of characters that - while at times rather wooden - provide people that you actually care about to a certain extent.

I particularly like the blinding fade up to white after each kill. I remember it being SUPER intense when I saw it in the theater when it first came out. Everyone was blind for a moment. I was surprised to see how the cuts ( to speak :::grin::...) came so rapidly after the kills here. There were no lingering moments over the bloody scene. We also have the famous JACK-IN-THE-BOX corpses as well - falling and slipping into view RIGHT when people go by! heh A tradition carried over in PART II.   One of the best FRIDAYs.

Another strong showing for sure. They upped the production, but kept the fun and inventive deaths up. The actors are, again, pretty good for a slasher film. It became clear that I would have been fine if parts one, two, and three were the only FRIDAY THE 13TH films that were made.

The characters were really likeable in here. They had substance and you cared about their well being for the most part. There was a constant sense of menace as well which really added to the tension. The writing is solid. I really enjoyed this one as well.

Rolling right along.....

I thought the series took a major drop here. The film was in 3D and it seemed like they were more concerned about getting their money's worth out of the 3D camera than making an effort on the story or character development. I didn't like the look of Jason more in this one than part two, however. He was larger and more menacing than part two's bag headed hillbilly.

FRIDAY THE 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter
Here we pick up right after part three. Like within a few hours at most. As if they heard what I was mumbling while watching part III, they pack this one with character development. And, yes, it's too much. :) However, when things actually get rolling, it's a lot of fun.
We get to see twins, more awesome Jason body hanging skills, Chrispin Glover dancing up a storm, and SO MANY THINGS going through WINDOWS!!!
And of course, it's "the final chapter", so Jason dies and that's that.  heh  Corey Feldman's character Tommy shaves his head to confuse Jason - making him think it just may be himself as a child? Ok...sure...Jason supernatural slasher monster man is who we're talking about here. Why not? He thinks Corey Feldman is himself as a child. Sure. Tommy wacks Jason in the skull with a machete, then proceeds to do what ANYONE in their right mind would do if they had Jason down for the count in front of them after surviving his assault - he takes the machete to him over and over again screaming "DIE!" The only part of this film that actually made a TON of sense.

FRIDAY THE 13th: A New Beginning - SPOILERS, remember?!
I'm sorry - this was fucking awful.  HA! 
Grown up Tommy is struggling in a halfway house for people with mental issues. Ok...points for trying, I guess. A cast of flat, cardboard stereotypes parade around until "Jason" starts killing them off. THE WORST Friday Final Girl and a child have to face off against "Jason". Then, hey....Tommy is back and he helps to fight "Jason", too. And....they WIN!"Jason" is STILL ALIVE! OH! NO! THEY WIN AGAIN! Whew! "Jason" falls to his death. But...WOW! Shocking! It's not really Jason! It's an ambulance driver who saw his estranged, murdered son at the half way house.

You know. The same ambulance driver that kept giving ultra-strange looks when "a crazy murderer" was mentioned.

You're supposed to think Jason here is Tommy because Tommy is straight up nuts in this movie as well. But, you never really think that because the writing and acting are so comically wonky most of the time that you never really make those sorts of connections. heh the end end end...Tommy pulls out a mask...hears someone walking down the hall. Awful Friday Final Girl (Melanie Kinnaman) hears a window break in Tommy's room and rushes in to see...a broken window. She mutters, "Oh no...", then Tommy slips up behind her in the mask holding a massive knife...and we have a slow push into the blank eyes behind the mask. Lame.

Not sure where any of that shit came from, either. Do you think they would let that shite stay in the hospital room where a survivor of a fake Jason attack and a REAL Jason attack was being held?

Melanie Kinnaman was by far the most bitter and pissed off of all the people in the CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES documentary. She was complaining and pissy and generally unpleasant during her part. When I saw it, I thought she was just an awful person, but after seeing this piece of crap, I'm sure she was just angry that the film sucked so bad.

At least they came a bit closer on ethnic casting here - four actors of color. Sadly, one is a pleather clad dude that lives in his van. :::sigh:::


It's interesting to watch these films in a row like this. You start seeing the same things over and over again. You see where they might be trying to do something different, but you also see where they have failed to do so and how the series kept slipping deeper and deeper into a pit of, "Man...FRIDAY THE 13th parts one and two were really good. :::sigh::: I miss those good ones."

My head hurts, but I'm moving on....

FRIDAY THE 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Well, it seems that they decided to just skip the events of PART V with this one. Tommy didn't kill the last final girl? Did he just...say..."BOO!'s just me, Tommy. Not Jason. Or a crazy ambulance driver.
PART VI starts SUPER strong! Tommy heads to Jason's grave with a mental patient buddy to get some grave disturbing therapy in. He's going to dig up Jason...and send him to hell. Presumably by...dumping gasoline all over the body and burning it to a rain storm. He digs Jason up and goes a bit crazier after seeing the rotten body - taking a broken bit of fencing and stabbing Jason's corpse with it over and over as he hears the events of PART VI echo in his head.

Then...two lightning strikes bring Jason's corpse back to life! Now this I love. In the CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES doc - which I'll now refer to as CLM, they mentioned wanting to go into a bit more gothic horror to bring Jason back into the mix. I love this idea. Why the hell not?!  Make him mythical and monstrous! Very cool.

And, that's where the cool stops for me. As I watch these, I'm starting to see how I...don't really like them. heheheh

We have counselors and a new camp on the site of the old Crystal Lake, so that's SOMETHING related to the old movies. But the characters are canon fodder and are super basic and silly as usual. There's a seemingly endless loop of Tommy running into the town sheriff, his daughter, and his deputy. Tommy rants about Jason being alive. Then the sheriff deals with him by either trying to get him to leave town or locking him up. I wanna say it happens about 37 times. :::grin:::  Meanwhile, a series of cardboard cutouts get killed by Jason. Children actually show up to the camp this time and the cardboard cutout counselors...kinda take care of them. When they aren't goofing around or playing cards.

And we get a car chase. Then another Tommy lockup. Sheriff guy is sure Tommy is the nutter killing people...until he and his men start getting dispatched by Jason. Then Tommy faces off against Jason and chains him to a boulder which gets dumped into the lake. Sheriff guy's daughter has to save Tommy and uses an outboard motor to fight Jason. The full throttle...doesn't actually GO anywhere. It just spins violently into Jason's face sending bits of gore and clouds of blood drifting through the water. the spinning blades of doom shred Jason's head down to a neck nub? Nope! With numerous shots of the thing tearing into him, we're left with a floating Jason underwater...with no facial damage at all. Even the mask is still on. And we push into his eye...looking around....with water sounds....but the shot is clearly not underwater.

We also get some Alice Cooper originals that...are special.

Yeah...I think the series is kinda shit from here on out, but I'm intent on pushing through!


I know that in the Freddie Vs Jason film, there's something they do with Jason's fear being water. However, after watching these, you can see that Jason is clearly nonplussed by water - not giving shit one about it ever. He walks into it, attacks people in it, walks under it....

FRIDAY THE 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Ooooh boo-oy.....the one with the psychic girl.  :::stares blankly:::
I just saw a cat jump scare like no other. The cat was inside a closed closet on a shelf.
Psychic girl. :::sighs:::
Another girl in a tshirt and underwear tossed out of a window.

Jason looks great. His bones are showing and he looks like a great big monster. He's doing his keeping up with people who are running, even though he's just slowly...stepping....ahead...  But, that's fun in it's own right. But, yeah...the characters are cardboard as ever.

It's also SO clean. Maybe it's the version I'm watching on Amazon, but there are no actual moments of violence being shown, which is interesting. It's all quick edits around the act. The lead up, the sound effect, then a body dropping or being tossed.

Clearly, watching these back to back is completely souring me on the franchise beyond episode two. :::grin::: I do remember seeing this one in the theater with friends and having a blast. Especially when we were all waiting for THE SAW! A long pole with a circular saw blade on the end of it. When it made it's appearance, we all screamed, "THE SAW!!!!!" and the people around us cheered. Fun stuff. :)
Psychic girl. Attacks Jason...using her Father...who she killed with her powers...when she was a little girl. Yeah, it's been something like 20 years and the body is just a little dirty. And...WHY WOULD THE BODY STILL BE THERE?! heheheheh  "My husband was drowned in an accident. Yes, right here at the end of the dock. The body? Naw...just leave it there."   Shite writing.   :)

FRIDAY THE 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Okie we go with more love for the series. :)

Man...I hate this series right now.

Another crazy messenger? "Young Jason" menacing someone who's parents were MAYBE children with Jason drown?  20-somethings being High School kids. More cardboard characters. Two chaperones for a Senor Class Trip...on a New York?!   And...I'm at the 36 minute mark and we're still not anywhere close to NYC. Scanning ahead, it looks like we hit around one hour, three minutes.  So...about 33 minute of Jason in New York. Should be called JASON TAKES A BOAT RIDE.

The days of Tom Savini's F/X magic - long gone.

Jason just WARPS places now. He attacks a girl in a disco area of the ship and literally warps from one part of the room to another repeatedly before finally appearing right beside her.

And...this young Jason. They got is bad eye on the wrong side. I mean...come on, man.

Boat engine room explodes killing the remaining senors in the senor class - about 45 people, and three senors and two teachers escape via life raft. They make it to New York, get off the boat, and are immediately mugged by two caricature Latino gang members. Our lead woman is kidnapped and taken away to be drugged and raped.

Then...who turns up? That's right. Jason. Lazy writers.

 Oh....and then we have to dramatically reveal that the FINAL GIRL's Uncle pushed her into Crystal Lake. THAT'S when Jason grabbed her a a kid and why she sees him all the time. Even though that Jason drowned in 1957 as a child. Thus, making this High School Senor Final Girl 42 or so.

Oops...we're on a subway now to escape Jason - the final two senors. Train full of people. Jason laser focused on the two and no one else. They use the third rail to fry him. He's up again. Time Square...still after those two. Jason break a radio of another "gang" and they threaten him. He lifts his mask and they flee comically, then he replaces the mask.

Fuck you, writers. hehehehehe

And we're out of New York topside and back into the sewers where are heroes are informed that...TOXIC WASTE! Whatever.
Final Girl tosses some into Jason's face and we get to see it. A nasty bit of business that was fun. Then as they try to escape, a toxic waste tsunami takes out Jason - melting him into fire mush as he remembers himself drowning in the lake...again. (OK! THAT IS CLEARLY NOT FUCKING WORKING! STOP IT!)  Then the dog that was lost AGES back in the mugging ally finds the two heroes. Then I mutter, "What a piece of shit..." under my breath as the credits roll and a HORRID theme plays.

That's it, right? They finally saw the error of their ways and stopped making these here, right?

Nope. But this was the last film for Paramount Pictures. It went to NEW LINE after this. Still made over 14 million after spending 5 mill to make. Whew.

JASON GOES TO HELL: The Final Friday
Sadly, I guess NEW LINE isn't part of Amazon's Prime streaming freebies, so you had to pay for this. So...yeah...I went to YouTube and augmented what I saw in CLM for this one because I wasn't wasting money on it. hehehehe  In this one, they light Jason up with a SWAT team, then blow him to bits. His beating heart and the other parts are packed up. Then...the evil that is Jason possesses people.


"Not cool, guys. Not cool."
And there's Jason's sister. And....the evil is trying to bring Jason back...through the sister. Reborn? And....(much to Erin Gray's DIS-approval)...a evil creature spermy thing enters her dead body "EVIL DEAD STYLE" and Jason is reborn.... with his clothing and mask.....and all his injuries.....and then he gets stabbed by a magic knife or sword? And then he's dragged to hell by muppet hands. And then...Freddy's hand pops up and snags Jason's Mask and people go insane. 3 mill budget....and 15.9 mill intake. WHEW!

Eight years go by and fans are rewarded for their patience with JASON X...Jason in space. Robots, some creative deaths, and a SUPER JASON created via nano-tech. Only takes in around 6 mill instead of the last film's 12.9 mill win. Looked at as a bomb.


And another I won't be revisiting - FREDDIE vs JASON. The 2003 mega-budget 30 mill movie that took in a whopping 114.9 million for a big 84.9 million intake. Freddy and Jason finally together and kicking each other's arses. How? Oh, they are both Hell Guys® and kill people, so they battle each other. How cares?! hehehehehe

And the remake? A massive bore. I'm that THAT much of a purist. It was worth a shot to re-do things. It might have been a great thing seeing how bad things got in the original run at one point. But, Re-make or not, it was just kind of a shite film. It was sad as well - in the doc, none of the actors really seemed to be too enthusiastic about their piece of the FRIDAY family. They knew it was a side note.

All in all, it was fun revisiting the series via the wonders of AMAZON PRIME, but it really did sour me on the series as a whole. I remember the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series running off the rails here and there, but all in all it was still highly entertaining for the most part.

There is still no topping Part One and Part Two. They were fantastic and charming and interesting and FUN above all. 

If you have not done a full rewatch of the series like this, give it a go. It might be eye opening for you. :)

The FRIDAY THE 13th GAME looks interesting. The online experience allows you to be a counselor trying to hide away and not be found out or Jason looking for kills. There are all sorts of in-game nuggets like breath holding and warping Jason around, evidently.

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