Through the Black Hole » FRIDAY THE 13TH – Retrospect

FRIDAY THE 13TH – Retrospect

Written by Tony Northrup

Different times during the course of the year, certain events happen that reminds of us certain films. For example, Christmas we think of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Halloween we think of John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’, and so on, but when it comes to that rare date during the course of the year, Friday the 13th we think of only one horror film franchise of the same name. For over 30 years, Jason Voorhees has been haunting us on that date and in our nightmares for a long time.

Who would’ve guessed that story about a little boy drowning at summer camp, his mother takes revenge on the counselors of Crystal Lake and later meets her own fate. Ah, but as we all know, the story doesn’t end there does it. There’s ALWAYS room for a sequel and another and another and another until the franchise has been beatin to death till there’s nothing left but bloody rags and a rusty machete. Yet we keep coming back. The worse they got, the cheeser the sequel, the more far-fetched it got – we STILL wanted MORE! The Friday the 13th franchise was released in the 80′s which was the perfect time for the dubbed “Slasher Flicks” of the time. Crazied maniacs running around killing drug using, sex craving, dumb-witted teenagers that never learn. Slasher Flicks have splattered our movie screens for 40 years, but they died down for awhile, but just like Jason; you can’t keep a good killer down. These days its all about the Remakes! They can’t think of an original slasher idea so they “reboot” the classics. All the big ones have been done now; Jason, Freddy, Leatherface, Michael Meyers – and it proves only one thing: you don’t get remade unless you were a “classic” to begin with and Friday the 13th is that very thing! Although many critics and parents would disagree, my generation grew up on this “junkfood for your brain” type horror films.

Friday the 13th was released in 1980, what some believe the beginning of the “slasher film” era, although the film, ‘Halloween’ came out in 1978 – it was during this time that the ‘slasher film’ became the hot tread and Hollywood dished them out like there was no tomorrow. Made on a low-budget, hated by film companies and critics – ‘Friday’ was so successful it spawned 10 sequels and one remake. Every couple of years, the studios will hear the fans cries for “More Jason!” and they will be more than glad to serve up another helping of blood and gore. So, here are my thoughts and review of EVERY FRIDAY THE 13th made and my tribute on this “special” day.

FRIDAY THE 13th – 1980
The film that started it ALL! A simple story, a mother takes revenge on a group of teenagers out at Camp Crystal Lake for the death of her son, Jason, so many years ago. Director Sean Cunningham turned this low-budget film into a house hold name overnight.

I didn’t see this until EARLY cable late night on HBO. It scared the crap out of (then) 9 yr. old boy and I swore even then I’d NEVER go to summer camp! The first film is the Classic, what’s to follow is another story. I give FRIDAY THE 13th…4 outta 5 stars.

FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 – 1981
Whenever there is a hit, a sequel is practically being written before filming is done of the first film. In Part 2, it takes place yrs later, and the “urban legend”, Jason is grown up and apparently saw his mother killed so he takes revenge on even more camp counselors.

The main problem I had with this film and the rest of the franchise is the timeline. Pay attention to the beginning of this film and the “its been five years since anyone has return here”. This tried to repeat what they did in the first film, but it just wasn’t scary enough, however, more body count & creative ways of killing the counselors. I give FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2….3 outta 5 stars.

FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3 – 1982
This is the 30th Anniversary for this sequel. I remember seeing it in the theater and it was in 3-D! The WORSE 3-D effects (and glasses for that matter) I’ve ever seen (next to JAWS 3-D). This sequel takes place the next day after the events of Part 2 and its the same story except its just teenagers at a cabin, not counselors. However, it is in this part that Jason wears the historic & classic “hockey mask” for the first time. A symbol that would change horror forever.

Besides the terrible 3-D effects and bad acting, what bothered me about this one was, the timeline again. At the end of Part 2, Jason has long hair and 2 week beard, at the beginning of this film he has NO HAIR and NO BEARD! So, when did he have time for a trip to the barber shop? I give FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3……3 outta 5 stars.

I remember seeing this in the theater on my birthday, I got nacho cheese all over my shirt from jumping. This was a “better” sequel and had Corey Feldman & Crispin Glover in it. Jason seemed REALLY PO’d in this one (after getting an ax in his head in the last film, you can understand why, who wouldn’t?) The effects were better as well. Well liked by fans & my personal fav., by the end of the film we were sure this was “the end”, I mean, the title said so..right?

Picking up where Part 3 ended and ending with a gory mess, it was a sure thing we’d seen the LAST of Jason. I give FRIDAY THE 13th PART 4:THE FINAL CHAPTER….3.5 outta 5 stars.

I absolutly HATE this sequel! It is the worst sequel of not just the franchise, but of ALL TIME! Why? Because it has NOTHING to do with Jason AT ALL! It carries the storyline from the end of Part 4 where Tommy is nutty, yet he’s a “teenager” now (there goes that timeline out the window again cause Tommy was 12 or 13 in Part 4 & now he’s 17 or 18? Technically it would put the story into the 90′s by now. Tommy goes to a camp for disturbed teens only to be haunted by Jason by an upset parent whose son goes there & dies by one the other teens.

There’s no way of sugar coating it, this film is AWEFUL! I give FRIDAY THE 13th:A NEW BEGINNING..1 star outta 5.

I never thought I’d be glad to see Jason again! After the bad taste Part 5 left, the filmakers went back to the well with a “Frankenstein” type story of bringing Jason back from the dead thanks to an older Tommy from Part 4 & 5. This sequel came out at the right time. The time of Heavy Metal & MTV. With an “attempt” at throwing in some comedy, this sequel did very well, but the scare factor was!

I actually enjoyed this sequel even tho it didn’t scare or nothing really new. With a soundtrack by Alice Cooper, it showed fans Jason was BACK! I give FRIDAY THE 13th PART 6:JASON LIVES…3 outta 5 stars.

The New Blood? So what did that mean? Well, the filmakers dumped the “Jason vs Tommy” storyline and brought in a strong female character who has “special powers” (a nod to the horror film, CARRIE). Jason comes back for more slaughter on Crystal Lake, the teens are getting a little older and more adults are involved. Fans and some critics say this was one of the better sequels due to its plot twist. Jason sure did meet his match by this sequel, tho.

The one thing that bothered me about this time in the franchise was, they began to make Jason more of a “slimey-zombie” type of appearance. And with bones showing and other body parts missing, he was not scary, but the ‘Friday theme’ was slipping away. I give FRIDAY THE 13th PART 7: THE NEW BLOOD…3 outta 5 stars.

Next to Part 5, THIS is the worst ‘Friday’ sequel EVER! It takes Jason out of Crystal Lake and onto a Cruise ship during a graduation celebration. Jason’s appearance is even worse now! Rags and slime is all that’s really left. And the title fools ya. He doesn’t get to New York till almost the end of the film!

The worse part of all this is the ending. Jason gets dumped toxic waste on which turns him back to a little boy..we think. It is a very stupid and unclear ending that short changes the film goer. I give FRIDAY THE 13th PART 8:JASON TAKES MANHATTAN…1.5 stars outta 5.

So, this is Part 9, supposedly and to me, the first 20 minutes was the best part of the film. If they had ended the film with that first 20 minutes it would’ve ended the franchise forever, but they didn’t. Jason blows up and we THINK that’s the end of it, however, it becomes this “Jason’s spirit jumping from body to body” scenario that just does NOT work! And then they bring in a baby and it just goes from stupid to just plan Why? The ending is good, but you know its not gonna end there.

With the franchise being sold from Paramount to New Line by this time, the franchise was headed in a total different direction. For better or worse. I give FRIDAY THE 13th:JASON GOES TO HELL…2 outta 5 stars.

JASON X – 2001
This is actually the 10th ‘Friday’ film, but you wouldn’t know it because the studios got the crazy idea of sending him to..SPACE!!!! Yes, Jason slaughters teens in the future in space! Yeah, I know.

The worse part (and there are plenty), Jason ends up BACK to Earth! Stupid, unrealistic, and not worth anyones time! I give JASON X…..1 star outta 5.

FREDDY vs. JASON – 2003
Well, this is Part 11, but the title says it all. Since the ‘Friday’ franchise moved to New Line, everyone KNEW it was a matter of time before the two biggest powerhouses of the two biggest franchises of all time would come together and do battle. This idea went through TONS of writers, directors, and more writers until they just put the money up and made the film.

Even tho it was a good idea, even tho everyone had been waiting for this to happen – it just didn’t live up to expectations. Although it had SOME good parts, Freddy stole the movie, of course. Not to mention, they didn’t do Jason right. Three time Jason actor, Kane Hodder DIDN’T get to play him, they gave Jason grey hair, and the ax cut is NOT in the famous hockey mask (I believe that was part of the Paramount handover deal). I give FREDDY vs. JASON…3 outta 5 stars.

FRIDAY THE 13th (remake) – 2009
With horror film ideas at the bottom of the barrel, the studios jumped on the next trend; Remakes! With ‘Halloween’ already done and a ‘Nightmare on Elm St.’ on its way (at the time), it was Jason’s turn. Sortof putting Part 1 & all the other ‘Fridays’ together in one film in a way, the remake had SOME storylines that worked, but it wanted to be a trendy gorefest. Although Jason is meaner and bigger in this remake, it still doesn’t hold up.

By now the franchise is out of steam. It’s done just about everything it can and with all good stories, they must come to an end. Even tho, it has its traditional “surprise” ending, I feel we haven’t seen the last of Jason and I have an answer for that. I give FRIDAY THE 13th (remake)…..2.5 outta 5 stars.

I have, for the most part, enjoyed the ‘Friday the 13th’ franchise all these years. It’s one of those series you can just put in any one of them into the DVD player on a Saturday night when you want something brainless to watch and yet you’ll still find yourself involved just as much as the first time. Jason has changed not only the horror genre, but is an icon in his own right. And why do I feel we haven’t seen the last of Jason? Well, a LONG time ago, a studio exec., said they would make “13″ ‘Friday’ films, as it stands right now there are 12, so that means, technically, we have ONE MORE to go! Done right, pay respects to ‘Fridays’ past, it COULD be done right. Meantime, this Friday the 13th, lock your doors, don’t go outside, and leave the lights on…cause you never know what’s in those woods …

Posted in Cinema and Classic and Film and Horror by Tony Northrup on April 13th, 2012 at %I:%M %p.

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