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The Friday the 13th Saga

SYNOPSIS: Upon the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake – a summer camp with a past so troubled it’s better known as Camp Blood – the new camp counselors (Kevin Bacon, et al) are murdered in increasingly gruesome ways. The killer turns out to be Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), a sweater-wearing fruitcake still upset because her son Jason drowned there years ago and then she had to murder people and then they closed the camp but now it re-opened so she got confused and thought the new counselors were the old counselors so she killed them. So one of the counselors chops her head off. But then a new set of counselors come and it turns out that Jason is actually alive and grown up and he lives in a weird shack in the woods with a shrine to his mother and he’s pissed off because her head got chopped off so he kills people for revenge. So an aspiring child psychologist puts on the dead mother’s sweater and pretends to be her to trick him and then she stabs him, etc. Then all the sudden it’s in 3-D and Jason gets back up and kills some more people. Some more people show up and some bikers and Jason puts on a hockey mask and then they hang him. But then little Corey Feldman is there and some other people and there’s deaths so Corey gives himself a terrible hair cut and tries to freak out Jason and stabs him in the head with a machete and then Jason trips and impales his own head and dies. Then it skips ahead 15 years, Corey Feldman (played by some other dude) is grown up and living in a halfway house with some other maniacs and he’s haunted by Jason, who is alive again. But then it turns out it’s just some asshole pretending to be Jason, so they kill him. But just to be sure, Corey Feldman (now played by yet another guy) digs up Jason’s corpse and he’s gonna burn it but it’s struck by lightning so it comes back to life and kills some more people so they chain that fucker up and throw him back into the lake where he belongs. But then a psychic accidentally uses her powers to bring him back to life and then fight him and then throw him back into the lake where an electrical accident brings him back to life again and he gets on a teen cruise ship where he bores everybody for 90 minutes before going to New York, fighting some silly punk rockers and turning into a little boy. But then he’s an adult in the woods again and gets killed by a SWAT team so a guy eats his heart and then he goes from body to body killing people and a bounty hunter you’ve never heard of before suddenly knows all this magical shit for killing Jason so he turns back into Jason and then some big goofy rubber hands pull him into Hell where he fights Freddy. Then it skips forward hundreds of years (Kubrick style) and Jason is unfrozen in space where he kills people and turns into a cyborg, etc. The end. OR IS IT?

FRIDAY THE 13TH

Friday the 13thFRIDAY THE 13TH has an unusual place in horror history because it was this huge breakthrough smash hit, it defined the style of many of the slasher movies of the ’80s (arguably even more than the much better HALLOWEEN) and yet when people say FRIDAY THE 13TH they’re usually forgetting the original and thinking only of the sequels. In the original SPOILER Jason is not even exactly a character, he’s the motive. We don’t really know the backstory of Camp Crystal Lake, we just know it’s called Camp Blood because of some murders in the past and previous attempts to reopen the camp have failed. In the end of the movie all the sudden Betsy Palmer shows up as the sweater wearing lunatic Pamela Voorhees, who starts talking about the little boy who drowned here and eventually starts ranting and reveals that it was her son, Jason, and she blames the counselors for not watching him closely enough, and she confuses any poor motherfucker that crosses her path for those counselors, and she stabs them with various tools.

Jason does show up briefly at the end. He jumps out of a lake and grabs the final girl. His hair is in patches and I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be dirty, decomposed, deformed or mutated. But he’s still a little boy, and this is years after he drowned. So that would make him either a ghost or a hallucination, and it seems to imply the latter.

This is a good movie, I like the whole feel of it, and it set the tone for at least the first couple sequels. It’s a good setting, you get a feel for this small town near this camp and I like the way the townies are suspicious of the camp but don’t really take the curse seriously except for a crazy old bicyclist doomsayer named Ralph. They treat the whole thing seriously and they have some nice gruesome effects from Tom Savini.

I think the score by Harry Manfredini is great. It’s derivative of Bernard Hermann but who gives a shit. This type of score classes it up, I think it’s a big reason why slasher movies they try to make now don’t work as good as these ones did.

To me the highlight is the fight between the final girl and Pamela Voorhees. They really go at it and start wrestling on the ground. It’s funny to see a grandma in a sweater getting down like that. Then she gets her head taken off with a machete which is a worthwhile addition to any story, in my opinion. If I was Leonard Matlin I would automatically add 1 star to the rating of any movie with a head chopped off in this manner.

The weird thing is that in part 2 they make Jason be still alive as an adult, and it doesn’t make any sense, but somehow it makes it way more fun. In the first one the identity of the killer is a secret, so you never see her. It’s usually from her POV. In part 2 you got a very similar tone but you get to see this big lug (actually he’s a regular sized lug at this point) walking around killing people and it’s more interesting that way.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2

Friday the 13th Part 2In some ways part 2 is my favorite of the series. This is kind of the one that actually started it all since it’s the first one about Jason. The head counselor tells the story of Jason around the campfire to scare his trainees and to get that business over with. It turns out he’s telling it as a joke but it establishes the new story of Jason – actually he somehow survived the drowning (guess his mom owes those counselors an apology) and lives in a cabin in the woods hunting animals and generally living a Unabomber type lifestyle. But the only person he really knows is his mom and he somehow saw her get beheaded (wonder why we didn’t notice him there?) and now he kills people to avenge her death.

There’s alot of parts about the story that don’t make sense, including but not limited to mentioning that the girl from the end of part 1 claims to have seen Jason. Yes, she did, but she saw him as a little boy coming out of the water, this hardly supports the claim that he is actually an adult living in the woods. But I guess if you were investigating bigfoots or UFOs you’d count that as solid evidence, ’cause you’re gonna take whatever you can get. So I guess it is fair to bring it up.

This also stands out as the only one where Jason is in it but doesn’t have the iconic hockey mask. He wears a burlap sack or a pillowcase or something, with two eyeholes ripped into it. A good look. At the end he’s unmasked and he looks like a monster, he’s supposed to be some kind of mongoloid. I’ve heard people say that the first one never establishes that he’s retarded or deformed, but I disagree with that. When Mrs. Voorhees is talking about the drowning she says “They were supposed to be watching him. He was–” and I think she’s going to say that he’s retarded, but then she stops herself and just says he wasn’t a good swimmer.

Another weird thing is that in part 1 it’s mentioned that they tried to re-open Camp Crystal Lake at one point but it got closed down again because the water wasn’t safe. So I like to think that lake pollution possibly increased his deformity and/or gave him his super killing and surviving powers.

Most people think of FRIDAY THE 13TH movies as being dumb, but I think part 2 has alot of clever business in it. For example at the beginning the head counselor is giving an orientation speech, realistically delivered by the actor so the ironic parts come across as sly instead of overdoing it. He’s talking about safety, listing knives, axes and lanterns as the top dangers. And we just know these things (well, except the lantern) are gonna become dangerous, but not on accident. My favorite part is that he talks about bears being in the woods and the precautions people need to take to avoid attracting bears. But of course we know they don’t have to worry about bears in the woods as much as a big ol’ retarded dude who also lives in the woods.

(Man, it just occurred to me – there’s bears in the woods at Camp Crystal Lake! Why haven’t they used this? A big buildup to Jason killing some poor girl and then just before he gets to her a fuckin bear jumps out and mauls him! And Jason would have to fight the bear. If Sonny Chiba can do it then Jason Voorhees can do it. The bear takes some good chunks out of him but he’s Jason, he survives. And Jason starts choppin the bear up with his machete! The crowd would go fuckin nuts!)

One thing I never caught until watching it this time is the girl who’s getting dolled up because she has a chance to score, and she puts on some perfume. This is an understated joke because it was much earlier in the movie when it was mentioned that women should not wear perfume because it can attract bears. And right after she put it on she gets killed by Jason. So either Jason is part bear, Jason heard the part about the perfume and thought it would be funny to kill her right after she put on the perfume, or Jason wants to kill her so as to not attract bears. Or it’s a coincidence. But I doubt it.

I like that in the campfire scene a guy jumps out wearing pelts, a Halloween mask and a spear to represent Jason and scare everybody. But later the real Jason uses the same spear. Something that wasn’t really true becomes true. Also you gotta give Jason credit for passing up the Halloween mask and sticking with the more classical Elephant Man style bag.

It’s mentioned once or twice that the final girl is majoring in child psychology. So when they go to a bar and talk about Jason (at this point because he’s a local legend, not because they know he’s gonna kill them) she drunkenly profiles him, explains his whole psychology and how he must be so confused and he misses his mother and he was traumatized by seeing her get beheaded. And then when she does face him she puts her theory to the test, putting on the dead mother’s sweater and pretending to be her. And I like that she is a child psychologist, not an adult one, so it shows that Jason has the mind of a child.

The director is Steve Miner, who was associate producer on LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and FRIDAY THE 13TH and turned out to be a good choice to promote to director. He does a good job recreating the atmosphere of the first one and making the chases more thrilling. The opening titles are great because it’s the same as the first one, the cool FRIDAY THE 13TH logo flying toward you, but then it EXPLODES and reveals the PART II behind it. So that’s the sequel in a nutshell. The same thing as part 1 except it fucking EXPLODES!

FRIDAY THE 13TH 3-D

Friday the 13th Part IIIThis one is the only one I think I might like better than part 2, but it’s mainly because I’ve seen it twice in 3-D. FRIDAY THE 13TH movies are best with an audience, with people oohing at the tension, screaming or laughing at the deaths, cheering for the lines they like, for the death of characters they don’t like, for the turning point where somebody hits Jason with a log or stabs him or whatever.

Because it’s that type of movie it is the absolute perfect thing to do in 3-D. 3-D is all about showmanship and getting reactions from the crowd. This has the good monochromatic 3-D, not the crappy red and blue kind (update: the new DVD has it in crappy red and blue 3-D, because that’s the best you can do on home video so far), and it also has more than your average amount of 3-D gimmick shots. You got the yo-yo in the camera. Juggling toward the camera. A TV antenna being adjusted toward the camera. A snake popping out. A speargun shooting toward the camera, which is a classic shot even on DVD but legendary in 3-D. The two shots that get the biggest reaction though are probaly the 3-D passing of a joint and (my favorite) when Jason squeezes a dude until his eyeball pops out. IN 3-D!

Seeing one of Jason’s dead victims is one thing but when the body is impaled with a pitchfork and the handle seems to be protruding out of the screen into the audience,that’s good fun.

The director is Steve Miner again and he does arguably even better. I’m not sure that the script is as good as part 2 but there’s some funny shit in here. I like the long scene of the dude talking as he’s pulling on a rope that is lifting his girlfriend up into the barn. The whole time you think she’s gonna be dead once she gets to the top, and the audience is tittering. But then it doesn’t happen. But later it does.

There are some funny characters. There’s a guy called Shelly who looks like a nerdier Seth Rogan. You feel sorry for him because he doesn’t fit in and is always making self-deprecating comments like “They went skinnydipping, but I wasn’t skinny enough.” Maybe he’s kind of an Albert Brooks type. But then when the nice girl politely turns down his advances and goes outside he waits until she’s left and then calls her a bitch. All the sudden he loses all sympathy and seems to be kind of an asshole.

Anyway Shelly is an important character because it’s his hockey mask that Jason ends up wearing for the rest of the series. So I guess he’s Jason’s stylist or something.

This movie also has the introduction of three bikers named Ali, Loco and Fox. They are the type of bikers you saw in movies in the ’80s, who wear sleeveless denim vests with spiders painted on them and go around bullying people like they’re still on the playground. But they also show that they are not complete bad guys. They want to get even with Shelly for running over one of their bikes so they steal the gas from their van, one assuring another that “no one will get hurt.” Of course, they all get killed and later somebody gets in the van and tries to drive away from Jason and finds there’s no gas. It would’ve been a hilarious joke. Jason was chasing her, that was the bad part. Otherwise it went well.

I don’t know what kind of music these bikers listen to, but our protagonists have a “Bruce Springsteen – The Boss” bumper sticker on their van. So I wonder if there’s some kind of extra animosity going on here because of musical tastes. Maybe those guys hate the Boss. You never know.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 4: THE FINAL CHAPTER

Friday the 13th: The Final ChapterWell, here we are, the very last one ever. Phew. We’ve been through so much with this series, it’s a bummer to see it end forever like this. For me The Final Chapter is fun, but not as good as those first three. Those had their share of silly characters, but this is the first one with purposely hatable ones. Crispin Glover plays the Shelly-type insecure nerd character, which is pretty good casting because that guy’s such a weirdo. But then some other prick who’s only slightly less nerdy than Crispin (if that) constantly teases him about being a virgin, a “dead fuck” and a “lousy lay.” If I gotta spend 90 minutes with some ’80s youths I don’t see why one of them has to be a giggling douchebag who can’t stop repeating his stupid catch phrases. Even TEXAS CHAIN SAW’s Franklin is more charming than this fucko. I’d rather push Franklin around in his wheelchair all day than have to hang out with the “dead fuck” guy.

On the other hand they mix it up a little by getting some non-20-somethings in there, which is a good idea. Next door to the vacationers is a family of Crystal Lake natives: a mom, a teen daughter and precocious little Corey Feldman, who like most boys in ’80s genre movies fills his room with monster masks and horror props (his budding makeup FX skills will play into the finale).

Most of the movie is not all that memorable, but the end of it is. In the tradition of part 2, Corey Feldman goes psychological on Jason’s ass. Using a newspaper artist’s rendition of Jason as a child, Corey cuts up his hair and makes himself up to look like young Jason, and then he keeps saying “Remember, Jason?” I’m not sure if it actually gets Jason to consider his deep-seated childhood trauma or if he just thinks “what the fuck is this little bastard doing with his hair like that?” but it does distract him and I guess sort of helps them defeat him.

Jason’s death is a classic moment. Corey chops into Jason’s head with his own machete and that doesn’t do it, but later he falls face first and his head is impaled on the machete. His mask is off at this point and they have a funny animatronic monster face that reacts as he slowly slides down the blade. I guarantee you will rewind it and watch it again at least twice.

It’s a great death, but it does seem kind of weird that “the final chapter” just involves stabbing his face. You’d think they’d really have to go to town on him. Cut off all his limbs, mail them all to different countries, cremate his head, mix the ashes in with glass, make a vase out of the glass, break the vase, sweep up the glass and then put it in recycling bins in two different neighborhoods so they end up in different recycling plants. Something like that. But remember, at this point Jason was apparently still supposed to be alive, just a retarded dude out in the woods, not a zombie. So face stabbing should do it. For now.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 5: A NEW BEGINNING

Friday the 13th: A New BeginningWow, they must have heard our pleas. They were so insistent on making that one the final chapter, but the world demanded a new beginning. It’s like an encore. The band is getting all packed up ready to leave but, what’s this? Do you hear that clapping? That chanting? Who is all that racket for? Wait a minute, for us? They want us to come out again, even though we were done, and just, I don’t know, play a few more songs? Well what the hell man, I don’t see why not. Let’s do it!

But, uh, this one’s not the best encore. I guess you can’t have Christmas every day. Nobody hits a home run every time. You win some, you lose some. You gotta know when to hold ’em. This is the first truly sucky FRIDAY THE 13TH. Now, if you are reading this review in the year 1985 and you haven’t seen the movie yet then you’ll want to stop reading, because the ending will be discussed in this review. The ending where it turns out Jason is not the killer, it’s some dude dressed up as Jason.

At the time of this movie, I guess part 4 really was the final chapter. Jason really was dead. But America needed Jason. The world was crying out for a dude in a hockey masking killing people in fanciful ways, and the right guy for the job was dead, so some other guy filled that hole. The actual Jason does not appear in the movie except in Corey Feldman’s dream at the beginning.
All the movie has going for it is “good kills,” like when fake Jason shoves a flare in somebody’s mouth and their face lights up. Also there’s a funny part where a little kid runs away and suddenly shows up again in a bulldozer which he uses to crash into fake Jason and send him flying ten or fifteen feet through the air.

There’s no camping in this one, the characters are all mental patients at a halfway house. The lead is the grownup version of Corey Feldman’s character, unfortunately played by a boring and bland dude sort of reminiscent of the guy in SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. He’s haunted by having killed Jason and they make it seem like he’s gonna turn out to be the fake Jason. They remind you of his makeup skills and they even have him disappear when Jason shows up for the finale. If it was him it would be stupid but it would sort of make sense, the guy killed Jason so he’s gonna remember him. But no, some other dude it turns out.

The twist ending is part of why the movie is lame, but it’s not like everything was going good until then. I think it’s actually influential though, because two years before NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS here is a FRIDAY THE 13TH that tries to cash in on teen angst by making the protagonists mental patients in a halfway house. In the other FRIDAY movies they were good looking people with lots of friends (with one token nerd). Here they are society’s outcasts, at least one of them legitimately psychotic. By 1985 horror was beginning to turn into a subculture, there were kids growing up on Fangoria magazine and worshipping Tom Savini and what not. And those type of horror fans were more likely to see themselves as put upon by society and they were gonna relate to the poor fucked up Tommy Jarvis and the girl who does the robot to her new wave music.

But personally I think that’s part of why the story crashes. To turn the characters into outcasts you gotta have the authority figures, but to make it a FRIDAY THE 13TH you can’t have the authority figures get too involved, because they’re not gonna have a whole movie about the police department chasing Jason around and shooting at him, running him over with a battering ram tank and spraying him with tear gas. Although that would be awesome. Instead of that we gotta waste a bunch of time with the cops suspecting Tommy Jarvis of murders and not believing him and thinking he’s crazy when he talks about Jason and all that type of boring shit. The early ones were more simple and more primal. Running through the woods trying not to get stabbed, that’s just more horror than the ol’ accused of a crime he didn’t commit story.

JASON LIVES: FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VIThis is a big improvement over part 5, but it has a cheesiness the earlier ones didn’t, and like V it feels like the series of ‘kills’ and quickie boob shots that detractors and skeptics always accuse these movies of being. But on the positive side Jason is back. He lives. This is the first one where he’s officially a zombie. Grown up Tommy Jarvis (now played by Thom Matthews from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) digs up Jason’s grave to cremate him for public safety purposes. And there’s Jason, more worms and spider webs than flesh. So whaddaya know, the ol’ mongoloid really was dead! Falling face first on a machete did what all those other injuries couldn’t do, what drowning couldn’t even do. It took Jason out. For a while. Way to go machete and little Corey Feldman.

Now, since Jason did come back you start to think well, we can’t really call Corey Feldman “the kid who killed Jason,” because who cares. He came back. Nothing to brag about. But if you think about it, many years have passed here. More than ten. Because when he was Corey Feldman he was 12, then he was that dude playing him as an adult in A NEW BEGINNING and here he’s older enough to be played by a third actor. So there was a good ten or fifteen years of peace at Crystal Lake. And if you think about Jason’s body count, that’s gotta be alot of lives saved. I would say at least 150, probaly alot more, depending on how many people would’ve come to the Crystal Lake area during that period.

Anyway, Tommy is digging up the body and there’s an unfortunate accident. He stabs the corpse with a metal pole, just to make a point I guess, and the pole happens to be struck by lightning. You know how it goes. And that reanimates the corpse. In 1986 when this came out scientists still believed that lightning could reanimate the dead. But in the last couple years studies have indicated that this might not be true some of the time. So in that sense this movie is a little dated scientifically but I like to believe that Jason was not dead, his heart had just stopped, and he didn’t wash his face much, that’s why he’s covered in meal worms. But the lightning jolts his heart back into action just like those electrical jiggers they shock you with in the hospital shows.

This isn’t exactly a comedy, but the writer/director does put some jokes here and there to show he’s kind of above this. I guess it’s a good move though because at this point there were all kinds of mystery science assholes going to horror movies just to laugh “at” them. So you can spin those guys in a circle by giving them actual jokes. The director, Tom McLoughlin claims he even intentionally put in pauses for people to yell at the screen. For example there’s a scene where a woman tries to bribe Jason with money and credit cards, and there’s an extra long shot of her American Express card floating away because he knew somebody would yell “don’t leave home without it!”

Most of the humor is of the lame “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know not to mess with a guy in a mask!” variety, but there’s one joke in the opening title that I think is brilliant. Obviously it opens with Jason coming back to life, then he puts the mask on and turns toward the camera and it zooms on him and says JASON LIVES. No surprise there. But what I did not expect was for the camera to zoom into one of his eye holes, which would sort of become the gun iris from the James Bond opening, so Jason could walk up in profile, then turn toward the camera and (not having a gun like James Bond) slash his machete at the audience. Man, that’s good shit. That shot alone brings the whole movie up one notch.

Another good touch in the opening is Jason’s first kill: the guy who played Horshack. Jason punches Horshack and his fist comes out the other side holding his heart.

FRIDAY THE 13TH VII: THE NEW BLOOD

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New BloodWell, this is a good idea anyway. It’s Carrie vs. Jason. A traumatized girl with telekinetic powers lives at Crystal Lake. What are the chances that both a Carrie and a Jason would live at Crystal Lake? I’ll tell you what the chances are: astronomical, unless you subscribe to my theory that the pollution in Crystal Lake is what gave Jason his powers. Then the chances are high. People dumpin shit in the water, of course you’re gonna get indestructible retarded killers and traumatized telekinetic avengers. That’s just science. Plus, pollution makes teenagers horny. That’s how the whole series happens.

Although this is a cool idea for mixing it up in the FRIDAY series, things don’t really get going until the end when the Carrie girl and Jason finally face off. The girl starts by knocking Jason into a puddle and causing a power line to go in there and electrocute him. It seems to almost do the trick which is ironic since it was electricity that brought him to life in the first place. I’m not really sure how it works, it seems kind of weird that the dead body would come back via electricity and yet the live body would die via the same force. You’d think it would require some kind of anti-electricity. Whatever is the opposite of electricity, shock him with that. But I guess people with Crystal Lake pollution powers, such as Jason or the Carrie girl, they have different biology and that’s just how it works, it is given both life and death by electricity. Hard to explain.

But he doesn’t die, he just gets fucked up. Then he gets back up and there is pretty good knock down drag out wizard battle. She tears his mask off to reveal that he now looks like some kind of demon monster. Because of the environment. Also she hangs him from the ceiling, shoots nails into his face, knocks him through the stairs, into the floor, etc.

JASON TAKES MANHATTAN

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes ManhattanIn this, probaly the worst FRIDAY THE 13TH ever, you pretty much know what you’re into from the opening frames. Instead of the creepy atmosphere of Camp Crystal Lake, it starts out with some garbagey shots of fake looking ’80s punk dudes hanging out in alleys in New York while horrible ’80s pop rock horse shit plays on the soundtrack. There are rats crawling around and there is an open barrel of toxic waste. Because this was made in the ’80s by people without taste. So that’s how they show that times are tough. Reaganomics and what not. Rats in the alleys. Punks.

Then it goes back to Crystal Lake where Jason’s body is chained up underwater. Some teens who for some reason have a boat drop anchor and cause an electrical accident which again shocks Jason back to life. That’s just how he works, electricity brings him back to life. He doesn’t have the mask anymore but luckily the dude on this boat was playing a prank where he wears a mask identical to Jason’s , so Jason was able to steal the mask after he spears them to death. So we don’t have to see that stupid demon face.

Jason really doesn’t take Manhattan until the end of the movie. Most of it takes place on a boat where the senior class is having their graduation party. There is a crusty dean type who is also legal guardian of the final girl. Like some of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET sequels, alot of the kids are one-dimensional stereotypes given one hobby or interest instead of a personality, which is then used for their ironic death. For example there’s a Lita Ford type rocker girl who is trying to shoot a rock video in the boat, so Jason bashes her head in with her flying-V. Also there’s a kid with a video camera so when he’s causing trouble that crusty asshole dean uncle guy threatens that he won’t get into film school if he doesn’t watch it. etc.

[sorry, I didn’t finish this project of reviewing all the Jason movies.]

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 10:31 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

79 Responses to “The Friday the 13th Saga”

  1. If you think Tom McLoughin had a jokey attitude, listen to the Jason goes to Hell commentary. It’s possibly the most irritating commentary I’ve ever heard. They come off as really fucking sleazy, yukking it up and oogling every onscreen actress. I made it about thirty minutes in before I gave up.

  2. This is a really great article. Much better than Devin Faraci’s one.

  3. As a huge Fan of both your reviews and the Friday the 13th Saga, I DEMAND the rest of the reviews of the left friday movies. I especially enjoyed Jason Goes To hell. Thanks for the article.

  4. Yeah, I never finished this, did I? I gotta add that to my things-to-do list. (there are separate reviews of Jason X and Freddy vs. Jason though, if you didn’t know.)

    thanks Atef

  5. Michael Mayket

    July 8th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I’d like to see a similar article discussing the HELLRAISER saga.

  6. I might do it some time. I’ve never watched any of the DTV ones, and it’s been a few years since I’ve seen any of the others. I always liked the first two, though.

  7. Watching 2 and 3 tonight off Netflix to celebrate the “holiday”. Although I keep up with annual viewings of Chainsaw and Halloween I bet I haven’t seen these since the 90’s.

  8. Just finished up part 2. Is this the first time that a character runs from a killer and gets to their car, but it doesn’t start? In this film it was established earlier that car has trouble starting unlike in most films where it seems to come out of nowhere.

    Also, is this first time a victim in is in a car and the killer “vanishes” and they aren’t sure where they are?

  9. Already know what x-mas gift to get for my Bronsonian Brooklyn buddy:

    http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Crystal-Lake-Memories-The-Complete-History-of-Friday-the-13th-Blu-ray/72907/

    Narrated by Corey Feldman, so you know it’ll be legit.

  10. I guess I’d better get a Blu-ray player then. There’s no way this story could be told in standard def.

  11. 7 goddamn hours!

  12. The coffee table book version is fucking amazing. Just so dense with info and pics. I’ve read through a zillion times. It was published post F vs J, but pre “Remake” though so I’d like an updated edition. I can easily see this taking 7 hours to watch as a doc version. Even at that they still have to have omitted a lot. Hell, I’m gonna go home and read it again tonight.

    Isn’t there one for the Elm Street series too? I need to get on that.

  13. R.I.P. Ms. Betsy Palmer, the grande dame of the slasher genre .She always came off as both a classy lady and a salty broad in interviews, and her performance as Mrs. Voorhees is one of my all-time favorites in all of horror. Without her making Jason live in the imagination of the audience with her bravura monologue at the end of the film, there’s no way there would be a Friday the 13th franchise, and my life would be much poorer. You gave it your all, Ms. Palmer, and you made ’em all pay. Best mom ever.

  14. Watching a marathon on one of the Starz channels. After all these years I don’t think I hate JASON TAKES MANHATTAN anymore. Also it’s been said before bur could never be stressed enough: A NEW BEGINNING is very underrated.

  15. My hot take on the FRITHIRTs is that I prefer 5-8 to 1-4. 3 is fun, but 1, 2 & 4 did relatively little for me. 6 is a genuine blast, and 5, 7 and 8 for all their faults have enough novelty to keep me interested.

    In summary 1-2=Bar Band, 3=Disco, 4= I dunno, JazzFunk?, 5=Lesser tier but still enjoyable New Wave Band, 6=High Class Hair Metal, 7/8=Lovable Bargain Bin Hair Metal

  16. In the past few years I have watched parts 1, 4, and 7 on Friday the 13th. What should I watch tonight? (I’m leaning toward 8. Or Freddy vs Jason.)

  17. If I was you I’d watch part JASON LIVES.

  18. Pacman I would never group 3 and 4 with the first 2. I respect the original for it’s innovations and place in horror history but it was never one of my favorites. 3 – 7 was always where it was at for me. Those and part JASON X. 2 always bored me even though I loved the burlap sack look for Jason.

    Part 3D was a fave cause it felt like something Tobe Hooper would do. THE FINAL CHAPTER to me is where the formula was perfected. It became the blueprint for what not only a Jason movie would be but every slasher ever since as well. Every slasher cliche you can think of good or bad was amplified and perfected by that picture. Jason got a better part 4 and part THE FINAL [INSERT NOUN] than Freddy all in the same movie. Amazing.

  19. Pacman,

    Why do you stop at 8? There’s 2 more sequels, a crossover and a remake after that.

  20. I won’t stand for any impugning of any of the sacred gospels on this, my people’s most holy day: an October Friday the 13th, which won’t bless us again until 2023.

  21. Wow, that long?

    I’ve been playing THE EVIL WITHIN 2 video game in celebration which came out today.

  22. Dan; I consider those a bit of a separate beast, what with them being from different decades, companies and (barring the remake) no 13 in the titles. If anyone wants to come up with musical comparisons for those or remake my original analogies they have my blessing, as long as they don’t pull a Rob Zombie and claim they didn’t to look cooler and more rebellious.

    But for the record I enjoyed Jason X (may have actually been my first) and Freddy Vs Jason very much, and was fine with JGTH. Haven’t seen any of those in about 12 years though.

    Didn’t particularly care for the remake, but it was probably the best of those Platinum Dunes remakes, far less egregious than TCM2003 for sure

  23. Confession: I have to catch up on A LOT of the F13 series. I only saw parts 1 (when our arthouse channel aired it for the first time ever uncut), a cut down TV version of TAKES MANHATTAN, X and FREDDY VS.

  24. Jason X is in my top 5 F13 films. I hate when i hear somebody doesn’t enjoy it.

  25. OK, I just thought of an analogy for JGTH; it’s like one of those albums from the mid-90s where a hair metal (or other very 80s band) tried to do a grunge/alternative album

  26. What bands did that?

  27. In terms of Hair Metal, pretty much all of them. Motley Crue’s self-titled album is probably the most famous example. The wave of stadium bands adding dance beats and humour ala ZOO TV is a similar but distinct phenomenon of the same period.

    But we’re digressing; whatever happened to that FT13 th reboot-reboot? Is it time for FT13430+ with Corey Feldman reprising Tommy Jarvis?

  28. They keep trying to come up with gimmicks to the different F13 ideas. My favorite one was Jason in the winter. They talked about a found footage one but that sounds awful. Personally I think they should just give up. What made the other F13 movies is that they tried to keep them canon to the one previous one or, at least, similar timeline. Now if we do a Jason it’s just going to be lame. Plus I don’t think any screen writer they would hire is smart enough to come up with creative kills.

  29. Yeah, I feel the remake proves the F13 series should stay over with.

  30. With that attitude they’d have stopped at JASON GOES TO HELL.

  31. The next one will be the 13th, so there’s got to be a lot of pressure for them to get it right. And I think the best way to do that is to keep it simple. No gimmicks or crossovers or ‘deepening of the mythology’ or revelations that will change everything. Not a reboot, not a continuation, just a timeless, stand alone Jason massacre that neither ignores nor laboriously connects to any of the previous installments/incarnations. And just try to do that well.

  32. Paramount had an opportunity to release the thirteenth FRIDAY THE 13TH on a Friday the 13th in October and they blew it, all because they got spooked by the poor reception of RINGS. Were they banking on a RINGS/FRIDAY THE 13TH cinematic universe? JASON V SAMARA? I know, all films are miracles etc., but is it THAT hard to make a FRIDAY THE 13TH? I’m happy enough to include the 2009 remake as part of the saga, and that was a bad movie.

    Griff: How is EVIL WITHIN 2? I thought the first one was pretty bad, but the trailer for this one looked interesting. Hopefully I can get around to playing RESIDENT EVIL 7 this month.

    Anyone here play the FRIDAY THE 13TH video game? Yeah, it’s a buggy mess, but it’s a lot of fun and nails the spirit of the movies. They should release a JASON GOES TO HELL mode where you can escape Jason’s body as a little demonic worm thingy and possess the camp counselors.

  33. I generally take Ancient Romans’s view. A satisfying Jason that sticks to the character, tropes, and spirit of fun that we love is definitely do-able. They could go for more a grounded approach and have a winter in Camp Crystal Lake kind of premise, or they could do something more weird a la Jason X. Why stop? That’s crazy talk, you guys.

  34. With all these passing-the-torch sequels to beloved 80s films, we all know they’re going to bring back Tommy Jarvis. The question is, who do they bring back to play him? Feldman probably has the most iconic performance, but Thom Matthews is the safer bet as an actor. Or throw a curveball and cast John Shepherd. Or bring them all back and have Jason fighting a dream team of Tommy Jarvii. And then at the climax, when our heroes are on the verge of defeat, Jason Voorhees is hit by a blast of psychic energy. Who’s that? It’s Lar Park Lincoln returning as Tina Shephard, coming back to finish what she started. This shit writes itself.

  35. I think the only way to make it work is to set it in the 80s. I’m not sure slasher films like F13 work in the age of cell phones and social media.

  36. Everyone always says that, but you think Camp Crystal Lake having shitty cell coverage is really too big of a pill to swallow? Or have everyone hand over their phones as part of a Camp Crystal Lake “no screens” policy. There are ways around it.

  37. I’m at the point where it’s a crutch to do the “I can’t get a signal” Your second idea is a pretty solid one.

    Speaking of something that bothers me, I’ve seen a lot of horror movies take place in buildings and not once does somebody think to press the fire alarm.

  38. Crust: RESIDENT EVIL VII is SO good.

    RE: F13 rankings. I’m with Pacman, I like the later ‘supernatural’ Jasons (6 & 7) more than the initial ones (1-4, which I still enjoy mind-you). I used to defend PART GOES TO HELL on the whole it tries to be different but upon a rewatch a few years ago I learned that no, it’s not terrible good. Awesome opening though. I used to really not like the remake but rewatched it earlier this year and I’m fine with it now. Still rank it low but I’ve learned to accept it into my heart.

    RE: cellphones. With the ‘no screen’ policy you could probably do a pretty good sequence where one or two of the counselors have to try to break into the manager’s quarters while Jason is staking the place out.

    I think what helped blew these neo-Paramount ones from getting started was the filmmakers obsessions with creating gimmicks (found footage, multi-generational story, etc.) to justify the movie’s existence/make them feel good about themselves. Not that Paramount was helping with them insisting on the found-footage angle and the silly aforementioned ‘RINGS sucked so I guess we can’t do F13 now stance =/’ If they are angling for a JASON v SAMARA movie I wonder if they’ll play with the potential romantic angle of it’s two pro/antagonists don’t know how to love anymore (if they ever did) and will these two crazy kids give it a shot? I guess BRIDE OF CHUCKY did that territory already though. Maybe they could go for a BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and the pathos will be that Samara just isn’t that into him? I mean I know Samara has been dead for a long time now but is she still technically a teen/underage?

  39. Watched the best FRIDAY THE 13TH last Friday (PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER, obviously) and thought of this review. Always makes me laugh to consider that FRIDAY THE 13THs parts 2-4 take place one immediately after another over the course of, like, two days.

  40. I watched Part 7 on Friday the 13th and man did I hate it. The MPAA ruined that shit and the Carrie stuff is bad because she has these powers and she literally drops him every time.

  41. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through one of the OG Friday the 13th movies all the way through until today, and I’m shocked how much I like Part 1. Especially because it weirdly plays less like a Halloween knockoff and more like a Brian De Palma knockoff! There’s the Bernard Herrman ape-ing score, the Carrie-inspired epilogue, and of course the central twist is a De Palma-y riff on Psycho where this time the mother is killing people egged on by the split personality of her dead son, instead of the other way around. The filmatism and style isn’t as showy as De Palma of course, but I’m surprised how much atmosphere and dread is going on here. (This came out a few months before Dressed to Kill, by the way – I wonder if there were never any sequels if this would be be remembered more as a Hitchcock riff with modern gore effects instead of the schlock-movie punchline it’s known as today)

    It’s a strange movie to be sure – a whodunit that doesn’t really bother to give you any suspects or red herrings, with a villain reveal that comes out of nowhere. And there’s no development of the Final Girl (who I can’t even name even though I just saw the movie) since you have no idea who it’s going to be (with the Psycho-style killing of the hitchhiker, who knew this was another series like Alien, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream that starts by misdirecting you on who the main character is!)

  42. The mystery aspect is handled really weirdly. Oddly, the “twist” works only if you’ve seen the sequels but somehow managed to miss the memo about who the original killer was. The only way any sentient viewer could fail to recognize the random stranger who shows up in the last 15 minutes of the film after literally every other character in the movie is dead is if that viewer never realized there was a mystery in the first place and assumed Jason was murdering everyone like usual.

    That said, I think the third act of this one is a reference-quality slasher climax. I believe even notorious stick-in-the-mud Leonard Maltin praised its “admittedly bravura finale.”

  43. I managed to see both this and ANOES 1 in 35 mm on the big screen this year, and they were both very solid bucket list theatrical experiences, but I think I enjoyed this one more, for reasons you guys cite. And I like the De Palma comparison, which never would have occurred to me but tracks pretty right on. This one is just fun and scrappy and doesn’t take it self too seriously but also is not intentionally wink-winky. It’s a bit campy (pun allowed), but not so much as to devolve into MST3K “so bad it’s good” / drinking game silliness. It’s just fun. ANOES holds up fine, but was not particularly scary this trip around, because I think it does tend to take itself a bit more seriously than it can sustain. Anyway, w/ F13, it is hilarious how Pamela just kind of shows up, and it’s pretty clear pretty quick that she’s bad news. She’s a good unhinged villain. “Kill her, mommy!”

  44. Wow Skani, that truly is a bucket list theatrical experience! I don’t even think anyone around me plays 35mm anymore, but even on Blu Ray I was surprised how great Friday Pt. 1 looked – the cinematography and deliberate camera moves in some of the stalking scenes are surprisingly arty for a series people equate with trash.

    Majestyk – The “mystery” and random villain reveal weirdly reminded me of the “Ash is an Android!” twist from the first Alien. It’s completely out of left field and has no foreshadowing whatsoever, but the sequels expand on it and seal it into canon, so when you watch the first one in context it seems like no big deal. But I really do wonder what the hell audiences at the time made of both twists. Were they mind-blowing or just giant WTF’s?

    And I’m not sure if I can binge this entire series now but I did finally watch Part 2. I thought it was great! It’s got a legit awesome (and really long!) opening sequence that Scream kinda stole from (Adrienne King is better here than in the entirety of the last movie). There’s more cool kills, an enjoyably faster pace, and I’ll go ahead and be honest – the ladies in this one are even hotter than the hot ladies last time. (I now realize being a Friday the 13th girl is like being part of an exclusive club like the Bond Girls or something). I’m surprised how much I’m liking this series so far.

  45. Neal, I’m loving your BILLY MADISON-esque journey through the slasher films of yesteryear. And I’m excited for you, as I cherish the many movements in the symphony of Jason. You have hockey mask and undead zombie Jason (oops…spoilers, you guys!) still ahead of you, to say nothing of Jason in NYC and space. Finally, you must versus FREDDY VS. JASON — only then will you complete your hero’s journey through these two franchises. Turn that cap backwards. Eye of the tiger, man. You can do it.

  46. Neal, I’m loving your BILLY MADISON-esque journey through the slasher films of yesteryear. And I’m excited for you, as I cherish the many movements in the symphony of Jason. You have hockey mask and undead zombie Jason (oops…spoilers, you guys!) still ahead of you, to say nothing of Jason in NYC and space. Finally, you must versus FREDDY VS. JASON — only then will you complete your hero’s journey through these two franchises. Turn that cap backwards. Eye of the tiger, man. You can do it.

  47. I was a Freddy kid through and through but as I grow older I really think I like the FRIDAY series more than the ANOES franchise overall. HALLOWEEN is still my favorite slasher series but I no longer look at Jason’s no nonsense force of nature style as Michael Myers lite.

    I really appreciate the creativity in a lot of the kills now that I am older and even the acting choices from the Jason actors. Bringing a shitload of life and character to a mute brute. I was kinda saddened when I was the only one at my office wearing a Jason t-shirt this past Friday.

    Yeah it got a lot of compliments in the end but also made me realize how irrelevant the big lug is in today’s pop culture market since I was the only one representing F13 on F13. End of the day that’s what it all boils down. The hell with them im repping this franchise to the death like Michel Qissi.

  48. Jason definitely has a lot of Michael Myers in him, but Jason has always been the grimier, more colorful, down-and-dirty get it done redneck slasher, and his kills are definitely more inspired. I actually think it’s kind of doubled-back and bled together, because Zombie’s interpretation of Michael brings in a lot of the Hodder/Kirzinger -era Jason hulking redneck blunt force trauma style. HALLOWEEN 2018 seems to embrace this, too, it’s a bigger, harsher, mash you to a pulp take on Michael. Grown Michael’s Kills in Carpenter’s film are quiet, efficient, and clinical. He’s a stealthy puma or a precursor to the T-1000 or something. In HALLOWEEN 2018, he still has that Michael Myers grace and slipperiness, but once he gets you close quarters, he’s really delighting in mangling the shit out of you, Zombie-Myers or Jason-style.

    Anyway, I like Jason’s personality, and I agree with you, Broddie, about the physicality and grace notes to that. I always like the way Kane Hodder did that heavy breathing Jason, where the breathing (accentuated by the exposed rib-cage!) seemed to convey just this palpable, pulsating rage.

  49. I can say with a straight face that Friday the 13th 3D was the best movie I saw yesterday, because it succeeds at what it’s trying to do more frequently and with better results than Rise of Skywalker. It’s a total shift from the first 2 – an old-fashioned 50’s drive-in William Castle movie with 80’s mean-spirited and nasty gore, but it blends the funny and the scary nicely. And even better – the two underlying fears behind all slasher movies are put onscreen here in their purest form – 1) the person you’re running away from will always catch up to you even though they’re slowly walking and 2) said person can never be killed no matter what you do to them. The finale encapsulates this dream-like feeling of hopelessness more bluntly and explicitly than even Halloween (even though this isn’t as good a movie), and like the rest of the movie, it’s absolutely iconic. I’ve literally never seen a frame of this movie (or Parts 4 or 8) before, but I feel like almost every scene and character archetype has been burned into my brain already via recycling and parody, and I’m glad there’s a pretty good movie in there too.

    Side note: So interesting that of the three main female characters, one is clearly the Final Girl due to her traumatic past run-in with Jason, but the other two are interesting Final Girl red herrings. One keeps mentioning she’s pregnant for no reason other than to make you think “Well I guess they’re not going to kill her” but she gets killed just like anyone else, and the Hispanic one has a racist encounter at the convenience store which actually made me think her character might go some place other than taking an arrow in the eyeball. Life is cruel in the Friday the 13th Universe, much moreso than any other slasher series I’ve seen so far.

  50. Am I the only person on the planet who liked Part V better than Part IV? I mean, Crispin Glover-dance and a truly kick-ass ending aside, I think Part IV might be the most tedious one yet – the characters (besides Glover) are really hard to tell apart on first watch, and there’s about twice as many of them as there needs to be. I’ve been kinda surprised how high the body counts have been in all these movies to be honest, but this is the first time it actually detracted from the movie. And the whole subplot of the “guy hunting Jason who’s carrying newspaper clippings of his sister’s death that happened two days ago” is terrible, and his death scene where Jason stabs him in the dark while he keeps yelling out “HE’S KILLING ME! HE’S KILLING ME!” was so clunky for a minute there I thought they were faking it and he was in on it with Jason. (I’m seriously wondering if this scene is where Kevin Williamson got the idea for the twist from Scream). I also don’t get why after finally giving Jason an iconic look in 3, they keep him offscreen for almost the entire movie, just having insert shots of a disembodied pair of hands stabbing people. The finale where Feldman and sis battle Jason in and out of the two houses is pretty great, and the ending cleverly gives us satisfying closure while keeping a door open for sequels (and totally inspired Halloween 4). I just wish the whole movie was just as good.

    And since we all have Star Wars on the brain now, I’m going to keep the Gremlins 2 comparison going and declare Part V as the Last Jedi of the series. It’s bold, it’s different, it subverts and upends expectations and messes with the formula while still delivering the formula. You can literally counter each complaint against it (“There’s no lake! There’s no Jason! There’s less gore than the other ones!”) with the Last Jedi defense – “You’re a toxic manchild who wants the same thing over and over again”. But it’s also kind of The Force Awakens of the series since it’s a stealth reboot of Part 1, except this time it actually sorta plays fair with the identity of the killer (who neatly has the same motivation as Mrs. Voorhees – he’s getting revenge on the people who failed to protect his son!). My wife knew this was the Halloween III black sheep of the series so she totally fell for the Tommy Jarvis fake-out – I actually wonder if people who saw this in the theater felt gypped there was no Jason or if they were blown away that the twist they saw coming turned out to be a different twist?

    By the way, I think Halloween ’18 owes alot to Part V – I love the way each victim gets a funny, quirky, often charming skit to establish them right before they get killed (often involving them talking or singing to themselves). The Miguel A. Nunez Jr. sequence in the van and the portapotty is my favorite thing in a Friday movie so far. (The off-brand Cousin Eddie and his Mama though, might be my least favorite thing so far).

  51. Neal, you’ve succeeded in sparking some interest in a movie I probably never would have seen again. the main things I remember from V are that Tommy seemed good and traumatized (and absolutely nothing at alll like Tommy in Part VI — he must have gotten some serious therapy), and Jason had the hockey mask with blue instead of red markings, and crazy old stew making hag and her son with the dirt bike and one or both of them getting decapitated.

    It’s possible IV gets bogged down in the middle the way you describe, but I just remember loving everything about it. Feldman is great, as are all the parts you highlight. Crispin Glover is so inspiredly Crispin Glover (the term “dead fuck” is permanently stamped in my memory), the doublemint twins definitely scratch some hetreo male id itches and are an iconic in the F13 universe, hook-up morgue escape (and isn’t the coroner eating or something — there is this coroner eating a sandwich trope I’m remembering, but could be confabulation), I love the odd couple chemistry between Crispin and his meathead buddy, banana hitchhiker girl (!). I remember liking the “He’s killing me!” thing, because it’s weird and upsetting to see our most likely manly hero done like that (a similar energy to GRIZZLY MAN for some reason). Maybe it offers some credence to your critique that I don’t even really remember most of the kills (except banana girl!), but there are so many great colorful characters and interactions, that it’s probably my favorite of the series, up there with VI, though I think my rankings tend to jostle arond.

  52. Skani – I kid you not, I feel the change in masks (which I’ve seen people online legit complain about as being the worst mask of the series) is kind of genius. Faux Jason has the blue markings while Jason in all the dream sequences and hallucinations still has the red markings. It’s a subtle visual tell to the audience what’s going on, kinda like when Luke shows up with the dyed hair and beard at the end of The Last Jedi (and his feet don’t leave red markings in the salt). You’re thinking in the back of your head “wait a minute something’s not right about this” and then it all gets explained and you’re like “ahhhh”. In another Last Jedi parallel – the ending is kind of disappointing and reveals the whole movie is a long wheelspin to the status quo set up at the beginning – when Tommy Jarvis turns “evil” at the end, you’re left thinking “oh, so the NEXT movie is going to be about what you kept saying this one was going to be about. Gotcha.”

    Yes, there’s totally a coroner in IV eating something over the dead bodies which I feel i just saw in another movie too (must have been New Nightmare, Pathology, or Captain Marvel. Or maybe all three). I’ll best sum up the differences in IV and V this way – in Part IV the banana eating hitchhiker doesn’t even say a line (she instead just shows a sign saying “Fuck You” to the kids who drive past her) and when she gets killed you see the knife punching through her throat in extremely gruesome Savini detail. If she were in Part V, she’d have a two minute scene of her singing a song to her banana while she unpeels it about how much she loves bananas, and then you’d just see a closeup of the knife stabbing through the air and only the aftermath later. I can’t believe I’m admitting I prefer the second approach but apparently I do!

  53. Lol, well, you’re definitely selling Part V. Coroners gotta eat, I guess.

  54. Its funny how you mention the body count in 4 being distracting but it has one of the lowest body counts in the series.

    5 isnt the best Friday the 13th movie but it’s also one of the greatest slasher films of all time. And totally steals a set up from Don’t Look in the Basement.

  55. Sternshein – in my defense I’ve never seen any of the OG Friday movies (1-8) all the way through until now, and 4 has the highest body count so far. But I think the bigger problem for me was the redundancy of the victims – Friday V apparently has 7 more kills than IV but I didn’t mind because I had no problem telling anyone apart; everyone has at least some distinctive look or personality trait. In Friday IV I had a real hard time figuring out who was who until their death scene (besides Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover of course). I’m really glad you appreciated V for what it is though!

    Skani – it pains me to say this but I have to admit Part VI makes me appreciate Part IV alot more. I get that it’s supposed to be a different tone and style this time, and I figured that would be right up my alley, but nothing worked for me. It’s obviously not even trying to be scary or tense, so I can overlook that, but most of the jokes fell flat and unlike Gremlins 2, they don’t really lean in and the humor’s half-assed. With Freddy and Chucky’s later comedic entries, at least there we had a killer who could talk to provide some of the humor. Making Jason Funny was never going to be an easy task, but adding in a long scene of a nerdy paintballer rolling around in the woods with wacky comedic music wasn’t the solution. I’d argue there’s bigger laughs in III, IV, and V than in this one.

    Shots and scenes seem to go on forever (I guess to allow audience interaction like Vern mentioned) and I have to admit I almost nodded off a few times. (I think Vern might have nodded off too since he mentions quickie boob shots here, but this one has no nudity. He also mentions the endless subplot about the cops thinking Tommy is behind the murders happening in Part V, but that actually happens here and takes up like half this fucking movie). I appreciate that it finally introduces camp kids for the first time in the series but it doesn’t do anything particularly interesting with them (except one very funny line), and even though I can tell people apart this time, this is probably the least interesting group of victims in the series so far. (And to be perfectly shallow this is probably the worst in the eye-candy department as well). This was definitely the one I was looking forward to most in this series, but I’m sad to report it’s my least favorite so far.

  56. Neal, I went back and speed-watched part V, and there were definitely some good parts (opening kill, port-a-pot kill, extended wet t-shirt running sequence, “Cousin Eddie” character and mom). In the end, though, my knowledge that it wasn’t Jason ruined it for me, and also, the kills had a very PSYCHO 2-to-3 vibe for me. A lot of foreboding shots of raised cleavers, a lot of not showing the kills, a lot of iffy prosthetics (the flare in the mouth was cool, but was very “knife in the mouth from PSYCHO 2”). Not bad all in all, but I am coming to the conclusion that we’re Bizarro-style F13 evil twin brothers or something. Bad-hello.

  57. I don’t agree on your view of part 6 but I really have enjoyed reading your thoughts. Well not disagree because I can’t disagree if you were nodding off. I wasn’t there. I recognize a lot is because I grew up on these films.

  58. My mind has been on different cinematic matters in the last decade but seeing someone brave the wilderness with his love of Part V brought me out of my slasher hibernation. Friday the 13th Part V is, by far and away, my favorite of the series. A few reasons for that have been mentioned above, but I’ll expand on a couple of those points.

    This is the one with completely eccentric and off the wall characterizations. This is the one where it feels like, from a director’s perspective, all bets were off on the day. I would never work like that, but seeing it in action gives me a big old smile. Which leads me to…

    …Danny Steinnman; the director of this… piece of work. Everything I’ve read or heard about this guy usually involves some combination of: Porn, Drugs, Getting Fired, Asshole, etc… Shit, this is a guy after my own heart. I have a special appreciation for his pictures The Unseen and Savage Streets. Very sleazy, dirty and weirdly wildly fun pictures.

    It’s the only one where, when watching, I find myself asking: what the fuck is up behind the camera. (The rest, it’s pretty clear to know exactly what they’re doing, the formula, etc… But this one…) That makes it the least boring, most entertaining of the series for me.

    Also, in that trash way, I think that Part V has the most fun possibilities for aueturist analysis.

  59. Drew – glad I’m not alone in my appreciation for Part V. There’s definitely a certain gonzo-ness to the movie which you pointed out, but I think there’s also a surprising intelligence that goes along with it – take that opening murder with the guy harrassing everyone while eating the chocolate bar. It goes on and on and on and he’s so annoying and so comically cartoonish with chocolate dribbling down his face and hands, and just as soon as you think “dude I don’t know if I can wait for an hour for Jason to kill this guy” – he takes an axe in the back from another character right there! In broad daylight with multiple witnesses! It’s such a “Wait what the fuck?!” moment unlike anything in the series, that I seriously assumed this had to be a Shelley in Part 3-gag or a dream sequence. And then of course the Jason stuff happens and you kinda wonder “wait what was up with that one axe murder at the beginning?” and then it all ties together at the end. Maybe I’m one of the few people on this movie’s wavelength but I found myself constantly impressed by the way it played with my expectations just as I was thinking of them.

    Skani and Sternshein – I do have to admit even though not much in VI worked for me, I did actually think “If I saw all these movies when I was growing up, that would probably be my favorite one”. Which brings me to Part VII: The New Blood. This IS the one I’d catch bits and pieces of on HBO when I was growing up, and (unpopular opinion) that’s probably why I think it’s great. The slasher movie tropes I thought were in every movie like the “mean girl who deserves to get it” and “sinister adult authority figure who deserves to get it” are actually showing up for the first time in the series here. I like the character interactions and dynamics and most importantly – I like that this movie moves the typical 3rd act killing spree to the 2nd act, so we can devote the actual 3rd act to that long, Terminator-esque battle between Tina and Jason (which means this movie gets to the good stuff seemingly quicker). I know Sternshein mentioned being disappointed in that final battle but I kinda loved how it went from 0-100 so quickly. Tina just discovered how to use her telekinesis TODAY, yet she immediately jumps into the most Rube Goldberg-ian, violent ways to use it like electrocuting Jason in a puddle or driving nails into his face. Not to mention she tries to crush her doctor’s head with a TV earlier on – there’s a real darkness to her character and power right from the beginning that I loved and kinda made me wish (not to bring up Star Wars again) Rey busted out that Sith Lightning in Force Awakens. That would immediately address and put a different spin on the “she’s too powerful!” complaint, and can you imagine what a HOLY SHIT moment that would have been?

    Anyways, Part VII gives us the best Jason yet (the internet is right – Kane Hodder is really good under there), and gives us a Final Girl who can really act against him. We get fun practical effects (and a hell of an explosion at the end). We get the return of 3 key things missing from Part VI – Jason getting unmasked (and looking different again), Jason jumping through a window (or throwing someone inside via window), and of course nudity (which is excellent here). I also like that this is the only one so far that doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or a “he’s not really dead!” scene. I also like that this is the only one so far that hints that Crystal Lake is a magical, haunted place. I’m surprised the series didn’t go back to that well more often.

  60. Tina’s such a Mary Sue, lol. Neal, I’m pleased to converge on a shared enjoyment of NEW BLOOD and for pretty much all the same reasons. I know Sternshein doesn’t like it because the gore is too censored, which is a fair point, but there’s so much about this one to love, and you’ve named a lot of it.

  61. One thing I don’t think people give the series enough credit is how different a lot of these movies really are to the other ones that probably every single movie is probably somebodies favorite in the series. I think 7 is bad but you think it’s not bad and all opinions on this are totally valid. You don’t see that in too many other horror series.

  62. One thing I don’t think people give the series enough credit is how different a lot of these movies really are to the other ones that probably every single movie is probably somebodies favorite in the series. I think 7 is bad but you think it’s not bad and all opinions on this are totally valid. You don’t see that in too many other horror series.

  63. Sternshein – I agree this series is a special thing indeed since everyone’s ranking is probably wildly different from anyone else’s. For instance, how can multiple (MULTIPLE!) people online say with a straight face that their favorite entry is Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan? I mean, that’s madness to me. I don’t understand how anyone can say it’s better than V, or better than VII, or even a competent or watchable movie. Even knowing there’s very little New York and a whole lot of boat in this movie, I found it excruciating and dull, with the worst Final Girl/Guy and the series’ worst supporting character in Uncle Charles or whoever. He’s so unwatchably, obnoxiously one-note, I suspect he’s still doing a handstand upside-down in that toxic waste barrel somewhere gurgling, “Jason Voorhees???? The dead boy who drowned in the lake???? That’s IMPOSSIBLE!!! You will stop this nonsense right now!!!”

    But I weirdly get it – these movies come with nostalgia and age factored in, and this is probably a lot of people’s first dip into the series and the movie’s jokey slant and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-esque New York aesthetic was probably fun when you were a kid. (I think when you’re a kid an awesome idea sometimes overrides shitty execution, which is why Tron is still popular to this day). There’s about 2 minutes of fun stuff buried in the dreck, but yeah, this is an awful movie and I’m probably going to have to take a long break before Jason IX to recover from this.

  64. I’m old enough to have seen the entire series on video before going to see MANHATTAN (the one with Jason not Woody Allen) on opening weekend, and it felt like the entire theater was going to riot when the credits started. People were yelling out “Are you KIDDING ME???” and throwing their popcorn in the air, and standing up and cussing at the projection booth – dudes just started punching each other in the shoulders and whipping their mullet heads around – it was INTENSE. So me and my friend (who were way too young to be in there in the first place) just dive down to the floor and army crawl out the emergency door because we wanted to get out before somebody lit the screen on fire.

    Anyway, I feel like in the series each entry from 1 to 3 get a little better than the last one, 4 and 5 are pretty awesome, 6 comes down a notch, 7 goes down another notch, and then 8 buries its head in the toilet. Compared to 8, GOES TO HELL is a breath of fresh air. And then JASON X is on a whole other scale because c’mon! It has Cronenburger in it! WHAT THE…

  65. Ok, I guess I finally have to weigh in on this. But before I do-that’s an awesome story, Shemp. I wish I coulda been there for that. I was 10 when MANHATTAN came out, so I woulda been right there with you, haha. I’ve loved Jason movies since my first one in 1986. I guess I feel the same way about them that some people feel about Bond, or Seagal (for instance), or maybe even Twilight movies, I guess. I could write a book about ’em and what they do for me. Instead I’m just gonna rank ’em and say a few words about why.

    1. THE FINAL CHAPTER- The one where it all comes together. The man. The mask (yes, I know it was introduced in 3). The music. The characters you know JUST enough about to give a shit when they die. THIS is where the formula was perfected.

    2. JASON LIVES- And then that formula was immediately subverted. As it necessarily was in A NEW BEGINNING, but this is much more playful and irreverent. Yes, I hate the paintballers too, but there’s so much fun in Jason’s newfound super-strength and invulnerability. Also, my first F13, which isn’t unimportant.

    3. PART 2- This one used to be close to the bottom of my list, but it simply has some of the best kills (wheelchair, upside-down split, spear double-kill, poor Alice) of the entire series. Not to mention, if you’ll pardon my testosterone, some of its lovliest ladies-I’ll never look at Mickey Mouse the same way, that’s for sure.

    4. PART 1- This is why I hope writer Victor Miller wins his suit against Sean Cunningham, even if it means we never get another F13 ever again. He crafted a real neat whodunnit (even if it doesn’t play fair) where the only person who realizes that anything’s wrong is the only person left. That’s prolly not unique, but it is a challenge.

    5. THE NEW BLOOD- I appreciate good gore, but I don’t require it, so the MPAA cuts never bothered me here. This one delvers on the most number of people I WANT to see killed. From the awful Dr. Bernie to Tina, maybe the most reprehensible teenager ever portrayed on film, I want them to get their due, and they certainly do. Carrie vs. Jason is a cool hook, too, and Kane Hodder IS the definitive Jason.

    6. JASON X- Yep, sorry. It’s on the cheap (what F13 isn’t?), but it’s AMBITIOUS. Again, some of the best kills (liquid nitrogen, giant screw, virtual reality sleeping bag) along with some of the best lines (“It’s okay, he just wanted his machete back!”) of the whole series. Plus, Jason takes out a whole space station, so highest body count by far.

    7. JASON GOES TO HELL- Again, AMBITIOUS. Plays with mythology in a slightly better way than HALLOWEEN. I think it’s fun to watch random people act like Jason.

    8. JASON VS. FREDDY- Jason gets more kills. Jason wins.

    9. PART 3- Shelley sucks.

    10. A NEW BEGINNING- Just nasty, You know what, flip 9 and 10 coz Violet is awesome.

    11. JASON TAKES MANHATTAN- Other than the awesome teaser trailer, this movie just sucks. Not surprised they sold the rights afterward. The rooftop boxing match is still epic, tho.

  66. I need to do a rewatch of 8 and see how my opinion had changed. I liked 7 until on a recent rewatch where I really hated most of the movie so I wonder if I’ll be that weirdo that champions part 8.

    Nice to see part 2 so high in the list because I think it is one of the very best.

  67. Hey thanks Jerome! It was a pretty awesome experience to live through, just a shame that it IS my least favorite of the FRIDAYs. Just my luck. And your list is right on – except I think I like A NEW BEGINNING a lot more than you do. It’s just so sleazy and grimy that if the voice track was off just a little bit, I’d believe that Joe D’Amato directed it. (This is a GOOD thing in my book.)

    Sternshein, if you find that you are now a fan of 8, please let us know – I’m ready to have my mind changed on it because to me, it’s definitely the least of the series by a long shot. And I don’t think I’ve ever read a defense of it.

    HOWEVER, if you stack FRIDAY THE 13TH against (let’s say) HALLOWEEN as a series, I’m going to say that 13TH definitely has a higher average score. From H4 forward is all pretty close to JASON TAKES MANHATTAN-level for me.

  68. There’s no argument that could be made that TAKES MANHATTAN is a good movie (or even a good FRIDAY, which is a different beast altogether) but when you hear what the poor director was up against, you start to feel for the guy. The studio took away like weeks of New York location shooting right before production began, forcing hasty rewrites that set most of the action on that stupid boat. You can practically see that poor bastard’s hopes and dreams drain away as the movie goes on.

    It’s by a considerable margin the one with the least to recommend it, but I don’t hate it because at the end of the day it’s still a FRIDAY THE 13TH. And one with my man Kane, no less. Also, the few shots they managed to get in NY are beautiful. Jason in 80s Times Square is just a great visual. If they have to remake a FRIDAY, this is the one they should pick.

  69. Oh absolutely Mr. M – the director got a raw deal for sure. And you’re right – the shots in Vancou… I mean, NEW YORK… look really good.

    But you must admit that the toxic waste ending would never work in ANY context, regardless of shooting schedule. It felt bolted on from a Troma flick or something. Heck, if Jason jumped out of that vat wearing a pink tutu and wielding a mop, I’d give it an additional half star.

    I think I remember that the director got to make a bunch of episodes for the F13TH TeeVee show after this? Perhaps as a “Hey sorry about that bud” from Paramount? Have no idea if the show is any good or not, but I’m about 99% sure there was no Jason in it.

  70. I know most of the movie was shot in Vancouver (and if you doubt it, look at the subway map) but I was talking about the one day they shot in Times Square for real, which cannot be faked by any technology currently known to man, let alone what they had available in 1989. The rest of the movie is disposable (and yeah, the toxic waste finale is the most inexplicable ending in a series with almost nothing but inexplicable endings) but for those few shots you can see the glory that could have been.

  71. The tv show probably doesn’t hold up but it was enjoyable for when and where it aired.

  72. I’d love to give the series another try. All I remember as a kid is being crushed that there was no Jason, no Crystal Lake. But the premise at least is super-interesting to adult Jerome.

    Oh, and I was reminded the handstand kill was from Part 3, not 2. But that doesn’t change my rankings.

  73. 1972 or so. A local public television station, I think. They decided to make a TV special out of actor William Hickey going through a wormhole and coming out into a series of scenes with characters from most of Kurt Vonnegut’s writings at the time.

    The first 24 minutes are on YouTube, but I haven’t watched it yet because I’m more working on a Read All Of Vonnegut project (the The Read All Of Vonnegut Project) and there was a book of the production published that’s mostly pictures and short, often interrupted, lines.

    It seems noisy, though. Some crowd stuff, arguments, and some quiet scenes with specific ambient sound. And visually, it’s very noisy. So many pictures. I read really slowly and stop a lot to think, and it took me less than an hour.

    Yesterday. Which is in the middle of me deep diving on Friday the 13th criticism, culminating in me reading The Friday the 13th Saga: Synopsis and thinking it should be given the Between Time and Timbuktu treatment, with stills from the series collaged along with the text in a modly artful layout.

    In fact, it’s so artful, it’s not even in the expected format. It’s not a coffee table book. It’s not even in color, which the TV special was. It’s a black and white (but with a clashingly colorful cover) novel sized hardcover that fits perfectly on the shelf with Vonnegut’s other books. I think this one should be formatted to fit alongside Vern’s books, though not necessarily in black and white, and with the reviews of the individual installments included in the back half.

  74. Finally resumed my Friday the 13th binge-watch and Jason Goes to Hell is….actually really good? I mean, I get why people hate it, since it looks like shit and is clearly a low-rent ripoff of The Hidden instead of an actual Jason movie. But seriously, does that really matter at this point? Part VIII excruciatingly proved the formula was dead as a doornail, Jason already sat out Parts 1 and 5 (meaning he’s not the main villain in 33% of these movies up to this point), and let’s be honest – most of the kills in this series have been performed by a set of disembodied hands swinging shit at the camera – I don’t really care who they belong to. It’s not like Jason was a comic huckster or a one-liner machine like Freddy. The people who are mad that the possessed coroner ripped a girl in half instead of Jason ripping a girl in half will not ever be something I can understand.

    But more importantly: how can anyone think Creighton Duke is not the best supporting character in the series? How can anyone argue the “Creighton Duke Snapping Fingers” scene is not the best SCENE in the series? Every single minute Duke is onscreen is fun and interesting to watch, and his presence alone puts this thing in the top tier of Friday movies. But even without him, you’ve got a surprisingly likable group of supporting characters – the red-headed waitress, the cop best friend, Erin Gray pulling a Laurie Strode as Jason’s sister – these characters actually get a bit of development instead of just being around for the body count. Throw in some proto-Natural Born Killers tabloid TV commentary, some proto-shared universe building with both Freddy AND Ash, and the return of some gnarly-but-fun gore after the relatively gore-free 7 and 8, and I think this is actually one of the best movies in this series. (scorching hot take)

    Btw with the Friday series tangled up in legal issues – how awesome would a Creighton Duke prequel be at this point? Insane Bounty Hunter battles supernatural serial killers in the 80’s that are not Jason? Throw Michael B. Jordan in that shit and you’ve got box office gold right there.

  75. Good heavens, Neal, I was inches from accusing you of being some kind of deranged Russian chatbot trying to warp our minds with your contrarian, heretical takes on the FRIDAY series, but damn if you didn’t disarm me by making a really good point about Creighton Duke, who does absolutely kick ass.

  76. What’s the Ash connection? How does Franchise Fred not know this?

  77. Fred – when they get to the Voorhees house, the main character guy finds the Necronomicon(!) and starts flipping through it – we even see some of the drawings and text inside and he’s like “What the hell is this?” It might have just been an easter egg like how the book from the Brendan Fraser Mummy pops up in the Tom Cruise Mummy, but the way they actually linger and have a character interact with it, and knowing they had plans for Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, makes me think they were laying some groundwork there (Mrs. Voorhees was into the dark arts I assume?) The crate from Creepshow 1 also shows up in another scene, but that feels more like a typical jokey easter egg.

    Skani – I’m going to go ahead and make a bold statement that I think The Last Jedi might be one of the most influential films of all time, since it changed the way we as a society looked at unpopular sequels. Pre-TLJ, fans could complain a movie didn’t give them exactly what they expected and what they wanted, and most people would agree with them. TLJ turned the conversation on its head so suddenly the fans who didn’t get what they wanted are now apparently the bad guys, and the people who don’t mind the formula being shaken up are suddenly in the right. Now I’m definitely not saying anyone’s right or wrong – I agree with Vern that the Jessica Biel Texas Chainsaw suffers from a lack of a dinner scene or someone jumping out a window. I will fully admit I don’t want to see a Rocky/Creed movie without a training montage. I don’t want to see a Mad Max movie without a climactic car chase. If someone wants to call me a man-child for that, so be it. And I’m not saying Friday IX is actually a brilliant work of deconstruction or commentary on the series like TLJ – (it’s literally just The Hidden crossed with some stolen ideas from Freddy’s Dead) but after the painful monotony of Part VIII, the Friday series was just as stale as the Star Wars series and I didn’t mind the shake-up.

  78. Speaking only for myself, the problem with GOES TO HELL when it came out was not so much that Jason was barely in it (though that also sucked) but that it forced you to consider the notion that Jason was not a vengeful wraith out of a scary campfire story, but merely the latest interchangeable meat husk controlled by an evil slug. This is simply too stupid an idea even for this series, which treats its own continuity the way Trump treats the immutable laws of science. With the passage of time (and space voyages and crossover events and remakes) this regrettable retrofit now seems like just another wacky bend in the road for this franchise, not the dead end it seemed like at the time. I’ve come to accept GOES TO HELL for its own offbrand charms.

  79. I share some of Majestyk’s thoughts here. At that point in the series, the Jason mythology was still, in my medical opinion, fairly cohesive: He was a single-minded, vengeful, undead redneck who would kill most anything in his sight, especially horny teenagers. Yes, he had gone through different iterations, but the basic premise that Jason is a not easily dispatched supernaturally murderous entity was arguably established and maintained from the very first film (even if he wasn’t the active physical killing entity in most of the first film), and it was maintained through part 8, notwithstanding the little “zag” of part 5, which nevertheless derives all of its intrigue and narrative energy from the “But is this Jason, back from the dead?” whodunit. Further, there was no elaborate supernatural mythology beyond the basic observation that this motherfucker won’t stay dead.

    Part 9 comes in with this deus ex machina of an elaborate supernatural mythology, which is a big and potentially creative swing, but that’s a lot of new backstory to introduce in the final film. Arguably that’s an inherently bad, bad faith idea. It’s like if we learn in RISE OF SKYWALKER that Luke had actually been a droid all along or some shit. It’s just a bridge too far as far as structure and mythology retconning for the central character. I mean, never say never, but if you’re going to reimagine shit at that particular point, you better come with something that is dynamite imaginative and whose propagating retconny implications works in the context of the other films and elevates them.

    So, I think it’s a miss in its original context, and I do think it was kind of a nutpunch to the fanbase, because it’s touted as a goodbye to the Jason we’ve gotten to know in 1-8, but it’s actually just some whole other thing.

    That said, Creighton Duke is cool, as is George Washington Duke eating Jason’s enlarged heart. I also like that opening scene, and there is some good eye candy going on and whatnot, and I remember the diner scene being pretty good. An interesting iteration in retrospect, but as the sequel to 8 and putative finale to that series, it’s a bit of a WTF

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