Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th Special

Since it's Friday the 13th, I thought I'd take a brief look at the franchise and throw in a few other things as well.  Not sure it really means anything to actually "review" the films  at this point since A, they're more or less the same damn movie and B: See point A, I hate repeating myself so these will be just general thoughts.

 We begin in 1980 with the first entry in the series, a gritty, gory little flick with some great Tom Savini f/x and a twist ending that is well and truly pulled out of the film's ass.  An iconic slasher movie that sparked controversy.  I love it though, you can't really hate a movie that has Kevin Bacon getting an arrow slowly pushed through his neck.

 The follow-up, and in my opinion the best of the series, this is the film that introduces Jason Voorhees into the series.  Some nice f/x and a nasty, gritty atmosphere make this a very entertaining entry in the series.

 Things take a step down in quality (and with this franchise that's saying something) as Jason gets his iconic hockey mask in a deadly dull 3-D cash-in.  Not much positive to mention about this one apart from the amazingly cheesy main theme that tries to revive disco...and fails.  Outside of the fifth film, it's easily the cheesiest and most blatantly 80's entry in the series.

 Jason finally dies for the first time as Tom Savini returns to the series to give us more gore and a knockout-death for Jason.  A very good entry in the series, especially if you enjoy Corey Feldman and seeing Crispin Glover do a dance that is a cross between an epileptic fit and actual dancing before getting a cleaver in the face.

Let's take a little breather and move onto another 80's classic.

 I dearly love this cheesy, surprisingly intelligent gore-fest from Roger Corman.  Galaxy of Terror sports an all-star cast (including a young Robert Englund), top notch gore f/x, an interesting psychological spin on Alien and one of the most notorious scenes in exploitation history as one of the characters is raped to death by a giant space slug.  It's just a hilariously bad/good movie.

And now back to our feature presentation...

 Most people hate this entry as it has some nutty paramedic impersonating Jason but I have a soft spot in my heart for it.  A huge body count, tons of stupidity, this is the most disgustingly 80's of all the films.  There are some hair and clothing choices here that really make one wonder what everyone was thinking in 1985.  It's so, so bad...Yet so, so good.

 A huge step up, this brings Jason back as an unstoppable zombie with more humor, a great Hammer-esque opening and some cool songs from Alice Cooper.  This is a fun, cheesy entry in the series.  I have fond memories seeing this on Saturday afternoons on KCOP in 1993.

 Almost as good (like the previous entry, the f/x were butchered by the MPAA) is the next entry which puits Jason (now played by the great Kane Hodder) against a psychic teen.  Yes, it's Jason vs. Cafrrie with a great showdown between the two and a fantastic design for Jason.

 Sigh...I don't have much to say about this one.  Great trailer, great posters, great idea, horrible execution.  There are some decent kills but the whole affair is just dull.

 Time for another breather as we go from slasher films to this very good US/Canada co-productuion that stands as one of the better horror films of the early 80's.  George C. Scott is a pianist who moves to a large house after his wife and daughter die in an accident.  The house turns out to be haunted and he finds a connection with a politician played by Melvyn Douglas.  The Changeling is an effectively creepy little flick with great atmosphere and some genuinely unsettling moments that is let down only by, surprisingly enough, Scott who just never gives the impression he's truly frightened.  Good performance though, as usual from the man.

An amusing side note, this was put out both by HBO Home Video and Vestron in identical packaging.

 Back to the main event as Paramount steps out of the picture and New Line steps in.  I quite like the ninth entry.  It has some great gore from KNB, an interesting script and a nice, if underused design for Jason.  The Fangoria cover for this is what really got me into horror.

Now what 14 year old in his right mind would not want to grab this?  Might do a future post on this one, actually.

 Equally amusing is the tenth film which sends Jason into space.  It's pretty much everything you've seen in previous entries only every now and then you get stars in the background.

A year later, we got the match-up to end all match-ups in Freddy vs. Jason.  I love the Nightmare on Elm Sreet series and rather than take up more time talking about the series, here is a link to one of my colleagues at The Agony Booth.  Not only has he covered the Elm Street films, he also has some other great videos you should check out.

 To the film, it's a decent enough blend of the two franchises that really picks up steam at the end when the two villains begin to fight.  Until then, it's a bit of a drag with some great flashes of gore here and there.  Worth seeing for the finale, though.

 And I hate to mention it, but since we're covering the entire series, I'll bring up the rather limp remake from 2009.  If it was just a random slasher movie without any of the Friday the 13th branding, it would still be very mediocre because either way, you have a film that has too much story, not enough creative kills and no real sense of enthusiasm to the proceedings.  Just not worth the time and effort.

I don;t want to end things on a down note, so here is one of my favorite 80's comic book ads.

I like to think the makers of the game knew full damn well the jokes that could be made from the title.  The game is pretty decent too, from what I hear.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.