Friday, June 4, 2010
Friday The 13th: The Capsule Reviews
The Friday The 13th films are my favorite horror franchise of all time. I have had a close, personal relationship with the series, since my sister took me to the see the first film at the tender age of 8. It frightened me so, but I was in love all the same, I'm sure all horror-heads out there can attest to this rapturous feeling. I have seen every one of the films, most of them in the theatre, and as bad as they got, I will always go back for more. Something about the rustic, backwoods setting of Camp Crystal Lake has always appealed to me, and made me wish that I had the chance to go to camp myself, at least once. It had a fantastic back story, and the filmmakers always introduced something new into the mix in further installments, with very mixed results. Every horror fan has his favorite "killer", and Jason is mine, something I wear proudly on my sleeve. The series has became something of a joke, mostly due to the recent activities under the Platinum Dunes banner. I am just happy that someone is continuing the F13 legacy, because I feel that it should be available for future generations to discover and obsess over. We all know that kids these days don't like the "old movies", so hopefully The Sultan will be gracing the big screen for a long time to come.
I realized that I have never done a review of a Friday The 13th film, despite my obsessive love for the series. Then I started wondering, "which film should I review"? For someone with OCD, the task of choosing one film to review, could be disastrous. So I decided to review them all!! Don't worry, just capsule reviews, that way I can give you my opinion on each and every film in the series, I hope you enjoy.
Friday The 13th(1980): The O-G...the one that started it all! I feel closest to this film, even though I wouldn't call it my favorite. Betsy Palmer as Ms. Voorhees is a tour-de-force, and she scarred me as a child. The film completely toyed with my mind, the whole concept that a Mother could go so psycho, terrified me to the bone. This film also has the best atmosphere of any of the films...it's almost claustrophobic. Many slasher fans claim this one to be boring, I can't believe that, while it does develop the characters more than any further installment, it's far from boring. We all know the story, so I won't repeat it here. This one just has a whole different vibe, due to the fact that Ms. V was the killer. My only complaint is the Annie didn't live longer, as she is my favorite character. I would have to say that Marcie's death is my favorite, nothing like an old axe in the face to ruin your day.
Friday The 13th Part II(1981): I think that I would have to say that Part 2 is my favorite of the series. I think that has a lot to do with Jason's appearance in this film. Before he donned the famous hockey mask, he was "backwoods Jason", and he looked awesome! Just a white sack over his head with one strategically placed hole over one eye, and a pair of overalls. Before he was burnt, mutated, and zombified, Jason was far more terrifying. The first batch of campers arrive at Camp Crystal Lake since Ms. Voorhees was dispatched, and Jason takes care of em' just like Mother showed him. Amy Steel as Ginny is the other reason I love this film so much, she is by far the best "final girl" that ever had a run in with Jason. Cute, like able, and she actually possessed some brains, Platinum Dunes should smarten up and bring Amy back for their #2. Biggest letdown in the film.....the lack of explanation on what happened to Paul, and my favorite kill is the clawhammer to the policeman's dome.
Friday The 13th Part III:3-D(1982): I still remember being so excited about seeing this at theatre in 3-D! To a 10 year old horror-head that was an extremely big deal. Although to look at the film now, it wasn't really executed that greatly, but back then it was amazing. The film picks up directly after Part 2, and another group of kids, despite the fact that there was a massacre the night before, return to Jason's stomping ground. This one has some really cool characters like Chuck & Chili, the stoners, and Shelley, the cherubic comedy relief, who also provides Jason with the famous hockey mask. This installment is the favorite of many slasher fans, and while I like it, I can't say that there is anything really special about it. Biggest letdown is that they didn't keep the original ending that they shot, where Chris(Dana Kimmel), met an ugly demise. My favorite kill is the harpoon in the eye that Vera received.
Friday The 13th:Part IV:The Final Chapter- A close second for my favorite Friday film, Part 4 has it all. Like able characters, great murders, a fantastic Jason, I challenge you to find anyone who hates The Final Chapter. For the first time, there were character actors that I recognized: Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Laurence Monoson, and Kimberly Beck, and Peter Barton, and they all added unique elements to the film. The filmmakers had full intention(at that point) of killing the franchise, so they put everything into it. The effects, seeing the return of Tom Savini, were over the top, and brilliantly executed. Jason's demise in particular, which has been dubbed "the brainpan slide" by slasher fans, was one of the most gruesome moments in the franchise's entire history. The biggest letdown, would have to be the removal of some gore and extra dialogue scenes, which I felt should be in the film, for the sake of continuity in the least. My favorite kill would be Crispin's demise, the classic "where's the corkscrew" line, followed by said instrument crucifying his hand, followed up by a cleaver to the face.
Friday The 13th Part 5: A New Beginning(1985)- Talk about a polarizing entry in the series, this film pissed off millions upon it's release. Slasher fans were in an uproar over this whole "impostor Jason" story that Paramount delivered this time. What we had was a standard F13 film that announced in the end that it wasn't Jason, but an ambulance driver named Roy, upset at the murder of his own mentally unstable son. It really was the series coming "full circle" per se, and I enjoyed it for that fact, but most fans weren't havin' it. In recent years it has undergone a resurgence of sorts, and many fans hail it as their favorite entry. It does boast the highest body count up to that point, and some of the characters and lines are so sleazy, that it does have that campy, cult appeal to it. The biggest let down to me was the waste of Tommy's character as strictly a "red herring", there was so much more that could be done with that character. This one has so many good kills, but my favorite would have to be the "infamous leather strap from around the trees, that crushes horny Eddie's skull".
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives(1986)- After undergoing a Frankenstein like resurrection, Jason is alive again, and stalking a new gang at CCL. Although this is a fun little entry, and I can't really say anything that bad about it, I have never connected with it. I think that it's all in the characters for me, and I didn't really like them this time around. In fact, I absolutely loathe Tom Fridley, who played Cort, so that could have something to do with it. Also Thom Matthews, who plays Tommy Jarvis this time around, really annoys me. He was super whiny in Return Of The Living Dead as well, but that movie is so awesome, I had to accept his performance. In Jason Lives, I just can't do so! The change of shooting locations to the forests of Georgia, helped tremendously in the atmosphere department. The night chase scenes are extra foggy and oozing with suspense. CJ Graham does a more than adequate job as Jason, and his services should have been retained over Kane Hodder. To me, the biggest letdown is the lack of like able characters, as I said before, they suck, and I hated them all. The best kill of course, is the murder of Cort! Not because the hunting knife in the skull gag was exceptionally done, it's because I hated that dork, and couldn't wait for Jason to exact his revenge on the idiot!
Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood(1988)- This is one entry that I really want to love, but just can't. I even like Part 6 better than this one. Undead Jason is still stalking the teenage masses at CCL, but this time the "final girl" is Tina, a telekinetic vixen that gives him a run for his money. This one has some decent characters, and even though a lot of the gore was removed, the killings still look good. I am just of the purists that believe that supernatural concepts like telekinesis, don't belong in a Friday film. It was more like Jason meets Carrie, and I didn't really care for the deviation in formula. I guess I don't have to tell you what the biggest let down is, and of course the best kill is the "body in a sleeping bag, slapped against a tree" gag.
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan(1989)- Aside from Part 5 and the remake, this is the most maligned entry in the series. Purists screamed that Jason belonged in Crystal Lake, and not New York(even though it was shot in Canada). I can agree with them to an extent, but my view has softened over the years. I just watched this in the last 6 months, and I have to say it's not that bad. They don't even arrive in New York till the last 10 minutes of the film. Up that point, it's your typical Friday film that takes place on a large ship. It's not stellar in any way, and the characters are all pretty forgettable, aside from the "final girl" that looks just like Meryl Streep. The biggest letdown is the stupid "rebirth" of Jason scene that takes place in the sewer, and makes no sense logically to the film. The best kill, cliched as it may be, is Jason knocking the boxer dude's head clean off!
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday(1993)- I guess I forgot about this one when I was mentioning the most hated entries. I have always had a soft spot for this movie, which is more like New Line's film The Hidden, than any previous entry. I also know that this goes against my "no supernatural shit in Crystal Lake" rule, but this entry is just so damned mean spirited and fun! Jason is blown apart by the FBI, and one of the agents eats his heart during an autopsy, and becomes possessed by The Sultan. He travels from one body to the next, killing folks in his typical fashion. I guess that it was just too much for purists to see a black guy and a fat middle aged man, dispatching people in Jason's place? I like this deviation, and watch it at least once a year, sure it's not typical, but it does star Erin Gray. The biggest letdown aside from the lack of Jason, is the retarded appearance of Freddy's hand at the end. The best kill was the deep fryer murder.
Jason X(2001)- After 8 long years, New Line decided that they needed to bring Jason back to the big screen, and this was the horrid result. I mean whomever thought that Jason in space was a good idea, should have been shot. Everything sucks about it, except for the cool futuristic look that Jason was sporting. The characters were horrid, and I can't recall any of them except that horrible androgynous android! The biggest letdown was that New Line actually sank money into this shit pickle, and the best murder, of course, is the frozen head being smashed, the ONLY reason to see the film.
Freddy Vs. Jason(2003)- Even further proof that New Line ruined the most important horror franchise ever. I suppose they thought that a "meeting of the titans" horror film would be their biggest hit ever, and bypassed anything remotely resembling a script. Freddy summons Jason to his hometown to kill teenagers, so that they will remember him, therefore allowing his return. Who wrote this, a 4th grader? I have only watched this installment twice, and while it's a decent time waster, it's nothing I reach for often.......silly, silly, silly. Like it's predecessor, the biggest letdown is the entire film! The best kill is getting to see the Destiny's Child chick dying, damn she was annoying!
Friday The 13th(2009)- The infamous remake, reboot, refake, whatever you wanna call it. Most hate this one, but I actually liked it, and have watched it at least 4 times. It's by far the best installment under the New Line affiliation(I know that's not saying much), and I have a lot of fun watching it, and that's all that counts. Basically a cram session of the first 3 films, we see a cameo from Ms. Voorhees, Jason in the sack mask, and Jason get the hockey mask in one film. In personal taste I would place it behind the original 5, and perhaps ahead of part 5. I thought it was creepy, and I for one, loved the aspect that Jason was running! There I said it! Why wouldn't he run, and why should we believe that he magically catches all of his victims while always maintaining that leisurely gait? I thought they also did an awesome job by giving us a large body count 10 minutes into the film, a first for the series. The biggest letdown of this film was the casting of the "beautiful people" as all of the characters. All of the kids were straight out of an American Eagle ad, where were the plain characters like Shelley from Part 3, Ted from Part 2, or Duke from Part 5? We live in a normal world here, not the Galleria. The best kill is the arrow through the head in the motorboat.
It would appear that as much as I dissed on some of the entries, that I am not as much of a fan as I think I am. But I would rather watch a bad Friday film over your everyday run of the mill Hollywood Blockbuster movie any day. Even the installments that I don't really care for, will still get some play out of me from time to time. I would love to know your thoughts and feeling on the series, and your biggest letdowns, and favorite kills, so shoot em' my way.