Sunday, October 31, 2010

MR:Quickies Friday the 13th movie series

Happy Halloween!
And what better way than with everyone's favorite serial killer?
Huh..I mean slasher, Jason Voorhees!

So let's have a look at the whole main series.
See if you should score some Friday the 13th movies today, and what best episodes to pick for the evening~
All in a day's work!

He may not have the first Slasher horror film, that would be the Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974, nor the first Slasher monster to define the genre after that, which probably is Michael Meyers in Halloween in 1978.
But he's definitively the most iconic.

And it's quite incredible to see he hasn't be that way since the beginning.
Jason Voorhees, as the Friday the 13th film series, has been through a lot since his creation.
First a victim, then a villain, most of the time an anti-hero.
Afterall, the term horror movie doesn't specially mean we, the audience, are the ones that are scared but the "characters", the cannon folder from an horror movie, are the ones that will get scared, chased and eliminated one by one.

It all started on a Friday 13, young Jason was in a summer camp. The teenages camp counselors were off having fun, sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Nobody was taking care of the children.
The other kids were mistreated Jason, the deformed autistic child.
Then it happenend...
That's how and why poor Jason drowned in Crystal Lake, due to the lack of attention those young adults had.
They didn't care about Jason, so Mrs. Voorhees would care killing some of them either...

The Friday the 13th series would start like another of those "serial killer" movies that spawned at the time, following the Tobe Hooper's Texas Massacre.
But along the years many things evolved a bit, and thankfully so we didn't get identical similar sequels one after the other.
Jason, the little drowned kid became the antagonist, thanks to the large number of sequels the serie had, he slowly become an invicible killing force and to avoid repetition, both the writers and effect guys started trying to get creative the best the could, since the series was basically about a guy returning from death and killing everyone around a Lake. At least, the best they could...

Movie: Friday the 13th 
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Release date 1980
Genre horror

It all starts with a murder. Two in summer camp counselors are killed in Camp Crystal Lake in 1957.
Jump to the "present", Friday 13, on June 1980. New people arrive in town, they want to reopen Camp Crystal Lake.
After being strangely warned by the locals that the Camp is cursed, everybody starts getting ready.
The Camp is being reinstalled, everything cleaned...some of the "counselors" get to know each other and...that's when a new killing spree starts off.
Who is killing everyone?! Is it that kid that drowned in the Lake many years ago? Did his spirit came back from the dead to have his revenge on these flirty bad exemples for kids?!

Overall:  The original movie!
Not necessary the best episode. And I understand why many skip this one to start on the movies that actually feature Jason.
But it's still is a solid horror movie from the 80s, maybe a bit slow compared to many later flicks of that time. More similar to John Carpenter movies from the 70s in tone.
The movie is pretty starightforward. Lots of killing, Miss Pamela Voorhees reappear, people follow red herrings thinking Jason might actually be the killer, then it is too late to see the knife coming in the back...
The deaths are fun, original. That's an important selling point for me for this kind of movie. After all, we don't wanna see these characters romantic problems but how they'll be dispatched throughout the flick.
Horror master Tom Savini worked on the special effects and it was actually his idea to feature little Jason to some extend in the movie (the original script didn't have the guy!).
The movie ends on a shoking twist, much to the director, Cunningham's regret.
For horror fans, 80s fans and the ones of you that might be interested in seeing how it all began.
But be warned, it's mostly little scares, slow paced action and everything happening in the dark.

I give this one a: 1.5 / 3 Score!

Movie: Friday the 13th Part II 
Directed by Steve Miner
Release date 1981
Genre slasher horror

Like all movies that happened to make some money in the 80s, it was followed by a ton of sequels.

Part 2 picks up were the original left.
Only one girl survived the events of last time...but not for very long...
Five years have passed. At Crystal Lake, a new group is attending a counselor training center.
Then they start drinking, having sex, etc...etc.. Second round!
People get killed.
Only this time it's the real deal, Jason is really resurrected mysteriously since his mother's death and now has for mission avenging her.

Overall: Since Cunningham didn't want to come back, Steve Miner was chosen to follow up.
His movie is more nervous, faster, funnier.
On the special fx, Savini also left his chair for Carl Fullertonwho does a fanstastic job both on the gruesome deaths as on the make-up effects.
Jason since to have survived his drowning death (then..for what reason did his mother had to kill everybody last time? I mean, apart from being a psycho killer...). He lived his whole life in the woods as an ermit of some sort.
This Jason looks more like a crazy hillbilly cousin to Leatherface than his more well known current self. He wears a potato sack on his head and wears local clothing found in the open.
The deaths are quite fun, without spoiling for those who haven't checked this movie yet, he kills from behind, from beneath, from above..he goes through walls and more!
It's not a great movie, mind you.
It only esablished several grounds for the upcoming sequels, introduced Jason for real. But basically it's the same exact "plot" as the previous film (yes I call it plot, which is the interaction between character, and in this case, "Jason's back and mean to boot!"). Thus the Part 2 on the title.
Like a big repeat of the original movie with a Jason who loves his mom as the killer this time.
It's pretty close to the original Halloween in spirit too. Only Jason looks like an invicible killer from the start (which Michael Meyers only grew up as on later films). Yes, I like to compare my slasher villains!
The movie was made without too much thought at the time and went on to make a lot of money, which was quite unexpected and showed the way how the future sequels should be made.
Fun movie, if a bit cliché, Jason is unkillable!

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Movie: Friday the 13th Part III
Directed by Steve Miner
Release date 1982
Genre slasher horror

After a small recap of the events of the last two movies and the whole previous endings, Jason is back! Again!
He escaped his apparent death at the hands of the previous protagonists, ran into a nearby barn, stole some clothes and went back to the Lake.
Now, Jason set his views on a new group of adolescents. Like before, they're here to party!
Jason stalks, Jason kills, they try to kill him several times.
He picks up lots of objects and is quite creative in the ways he kills them one by one. He also gets his hockey mask from one of the kids.
Jason is finally killed with a machete...or is he?!
A Pamela Voorhees (!!) attacks the last one!! was just a dream...they escaped the nightmare for this seems...

Overall: After the previous movie was such a success, the series grew stronger and defined Jason a bit more, since he would be this series monster.
The way Jason uses all kind of objects to kill his victims has become this series' mark.
Machetes, harpoons, his bare hands...
This movie introduced the famous hockey mask and his considered the most classic and prefered entry in the franchise. Steve Miner returned with a ton of new ideas that the make-up artists played with including disfigured Jason and his invicible aspect. Jason never gets down and is always back for more.
Also this movie was done during the original 3D craze of the 80s, so it was originally shot in 3-D. (there's various shots of objects being grabbed or thrown "at" the audience)
It's watchable in both versions, I prefer without 3D, cause it sort of distracts me from the deaths and blood. :P
Anyway, you only want to watch one Jason, one classic Friday the 13th? Pick this one up!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Movie: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter 
Directed by Joseph Zito
Release date 1984
Genre slasher horror

You tought Jason was killed for real last time?
Well, this time it is. This is the last, this is The Final Chapter!
At least, before the next sequel comes up.
After a fast recap, we're left in a Hospital were the survivors of last Friday the 13th's massacre ended up. As well as Jason Voorhees' body. But Jason can't be killed simply like that, so he just rises up, kills people in his path and find his way back to Crystal Lake.
We then join a new group of morons people who decides that this camp is the best place ever and they should reopen it instead of believing in urban myths that already left 3 recent groups all dead.
They then are joined by someone trying to find out about his sister's murder (in part 2) and the Jarvis family, mainly, a girl accompanied by her little brother Tommy.
You notice how I put his name in bold? It's because he's gonna turn into an important character of the Friday 13 series.
So, Jason gets there, starts killing again, people scream, people run, Jason takes hits and always comes back until the very end. They unmask Jason, and the HORROR!!
Finally Tommy is able to defeat him for good this time...or is it?!

Overall: The movie is very fun, one of my favs of the series. The ending is a bit weird... Twisted..letting us ask ourselves questions about the future...
They really meant to make this episode the last back then (the fouls! a series so popular as this one??... ha!)
It even had an alternate more open ending.
But Tommy is able to "kill" Jason for good this time.
Iconic deaths, teleporting Jason in the woods killing everybody at such ease.
People seem to usually hate this one, but it's pretty good I think. Much better than what the next year would offer..

I give this one a: 2.5/ 3 Score!

Movie: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning 
Directed by Danny Steinmann
Release date 1985
Genre slasher horror

Time for the worse!
Oops.. That's not a very opening line. Sorry...
5 Years have passed. Tommy Jarvis has suffered various trauma. He's been in various mental institutes since those traumatic events.
Tommy ends up in a local open air camp for people like him. He's been having various nightmares of Jason Voorhees. Then, the visions start to get real when people are actually getting killed.
Is Jason back?! Is he having visions? Is all this really happening? Is he the one killing those people?
The killer sports a blue-marked variation of the Hockey Mask.
After various surprises along the way... This "new" Jason is defeated...but then Tommy....!!
Shocking ending!!

Overall: I'm trying not to reveal too much about this one if you've never seen it. If you know it already, well, sorry for you! :P
With the previous movie, the producers intended to turn Tommy into the actual killer of the franchise, since it didn't start with Jason but with Mummy Voorhees. Only, people loved the character of Jason.
So instead of simply making Tommy into the actual new Jason, as the title implies a new direction, they tried a little twist of the concept.
On the paper, the plot was original, at least a ton more than all the past movies combined. Only, it turned out bad, a copycat Jason isn't good enough. Even if that someone was using the same modus operandi.
Tommy, as a character, was still a nice idea.
And it was good to finally have a recurring character, more than just the slasher.
Anyway, boring movie, mixed opinion on the death scenes (some rather good, other plain simple...) and bad Jason impersonator.
Only the  ending was actually decent.
Anyway, skip it, only watch it if you're a die-hard Friday the 13th fan.

I give this one a: 1 / 3 Score!

Movie: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives 
Directed by Tom McLoughlin
Release date 1986
Genre slasher

Jason's big return!
Tommy goes back to the cemetery were Jason's body was buried... Still remembering and being haunted by what he saw when he was 12, he decides he wants to put those memories back behind him... How's that? Simply by checking if Jason was truly dead for good.
But then, like an accident that was bound to happen, Jason awakes while a lightning strikes his dead body.
Now, Tommy has to face an undead zombie Jason, meaner than ever, deadlier and even more unstoppable for what that's worth.
Jason gets back to the Camp Crystal Lake and kills everything he finds.
Meanwhile Tommy tries to alert the authorities in a sort of reverse-role like the town's folks or the crazy old guy did in the first couple of movies.
Of course, nobody believes him.
Zombie Jason kills everyone and can't be defeated this time. Tommy tries to stop him by any means.
In the end, Jason is chained and captured at the bottom of the Lake. Finally.
Tommy sees that Jason is finally at rest where he came from, this time it may just be over for real...
Jason, on his side, still lives and awaits for the day someone will free him again...

Overall: Fantastic! The perfect slasher flick!
Very graphic, fun, gore..even somewhat original! Turning Jason into a sort of zombie was a great way to inflict some energy in this long-running franchise.
This was an important point for Paramount, they knew how well the series could do, what people didn't want to see (see previous moive). The movie makes good use of humour and references to past episodes and doesn't take itself too seriously. The movie also uses, in pure 80sness, many Alice Cooper songs and a special theme song was composed by the musician, "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" all for this movie's promotion. Epic.
Jason now has supernatural powers, superhuman strength and his really invulnerable. Why? Who cares! (though they would try to explain that later on, I prefered when it all seemed to be because of his connection to the Lake and his death)
Must watch! Even if you're not an horror/slasher fan, give it a try, you might just love it!
Great, dark humour, badass Jason...

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

Movie: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood 
Directed by John Carl Buechler
Release date 1988
Genre slasher

Now that Jason was redefined, what to do with him?
Enters Tina Shepard.One night, when her alcoholic father is beating up her mother, she discovers she has psychokinetic powers.
10 Years later (seems we jump a bunch of years every movie..), she's all grown up and has been on various Mental Institutes (see a pattern here?). The doctors have come to a conclusion it has to do with her stress and latent abilities. Full of guilt over her father's death, she's taken to Crystal Lake, to a little refuge in the woods.
Meanwhile a bunch of sluts and dicks young carefree people are partying in a house near the Lake.
Jason is made free, goes off on a new killing spree.
Our mutant superheroine Tina (well, that's what she is!) tries to come at peace with her father's death and defeat Jason at the same time.
In the end, thanks to the Lake, her dead daddy and superpowers, she's able to trap and capture Jason at the bottom of the Lake one more time. (since, you know, he can't be killed now)

Overall: Very strange movie the first time I've seen it.
Mmh.. nope, still strange concept.
It all started with a concept. Paramount Pictures didn't want to make yet another classic Friday the 13th. So they pitched a crossover, Jason versus Freddy Krueger. But they weren't able to come up with a correct deal with NewLine Cinema which had the rights to the A Nightmare on Elm Street series.
So instead they pitched up another crossover, Jason versus Carrie from Stephen King novels/films.
Which was a more approchable character from a copyrights point of view. Until the last minute when the movie was entering production, so at the last second they wrote another character with similar powers instead. Which sort of came out strangely with Friday the 13th mythos.
Anyway, other than that, the deaths, the special effects and Jason's undead rotting corpse  all look fantastic.
This movie introduced the great Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees, and he stilll is to this day one of my (if not the) favorite(s) actor to portray Jason.
Also many iconic deaths including the now super-famous "death by sleepbag".
Strange concept, good slasher flick.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Movie: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan 
Directed by Rob Hedden
Release date 1989
Genre slasher

You thought that was the last you'd seen of Jason? Really?
Some dumb kids on a boat allow Jason to escape from the Lake. He starts killing some of them on the boat and the nembarks on an unexpect adventure. The SS Lazarus sails to New York City for a school's graduation.
We discover Crystal Lake is connected to enough water to allow a boat to make such travel.
In the last part of the movie, Jason sets foot far, far away from his woods and starts killing people in the streets of NYC. Jason kills one guy with one punch. (ONE PUNCH! Instant decapitation! XD)
Jason and the kids he was tracking down end up in the sewers, traumatic memories come to the kid and Jason's mind. Jason is "destroyed" by the good folk of NY's dirty sewer water.
The last we see of him is an hallucination of a young Jason Voorhees as in the end of Part 1.

Overall: Bad movie, lackbuster setting & slasher and pretty bad plot. Yet I can't hate this movie.
It's like fine wine, with the years it has sort of grew into such a fine product.
Only 1/5 of the movie takes actually place in New York. But I wouldn't say Jason Takes actually Manhattan.
Most of the movie is spent on the boat with parts of it in Crystal Lake and the sewers. Why such a fake title?
The original script asked for too much money from Paramount, since they were greedy producers, the director had to do the best he could afford. (the commentary track is great and explains a lot of things that happened during its production, as well as its problems and failed objectives)
I guess they were too ambitious with this one.
And the fact that taking Jason out of Crystal Lake wasn't perhaps the best idea. Specially with a tiny budget.
Kane Hodder did another fantastic job at portraying Jason. More badass than ever, he kills with no remorse and even seems to have fun at it (the Time Square scene is classic!).
The ending was pretty bad.
At the time, it bombed at the box office and was considered a failure..but I really like this movie the more I see of it.
Sure it's bad, definitively one of those "so bad it's good" like people love to say. (I hate this expression!)
But you pass those problems, the way Jason seems to teleport all over the place, the silly ending and the badly executed concept...and it's a great fun entertaining slasher like you don't see anymore nowadays!
Try to watch it! Slasher fans, you'll love it!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Movie: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Directed by Adam Marcus
Release date 1993
Genre slasher

Like the title implies, Jason will go to hell this time!
The authorities finally catched on the fact that an invincible unstoppable killing machine's been mass murdering teenage kids and young adults all over Crystal Lake. So they finally set up a giant trap and manage to destroy him...
Wow! That was fast! And it was only the first minutes!
But Jason's spirit, or call it evil seed, is able to infect someone else. How's that? In the form of a sort of demonic snake (or tongue). Well, this dark spirit first makes someone eat Jason's earth at the morgue, then possesses him. A "creature" is born and then jumps from host to host until it reaches other Voorhees membres. Yes, Jason had a niece and family left somewhere.
To be actually fully reborn Jason needs to enters their bodies to be able to return in his original form.
Everyone dies, people acting as Jason pursue his left family.
In the end they try using some holy relics to destroy him and are able to do just that thanks to an old dagger.
Jason dies, finally.His mask rests on the ground.
At the last moment, Freddy Krueger's claws grab it. Someone won't let Jason rests in piece and will use him one more time.

Overall: Time for another bad installment!
Well, not really that bad..
The idea was correct, I guess.
NewLine finally bought the rights of the franchise from Paramount, but weren't able to keep the "Friday the 13th" title. Since the last one didn't make much money...
This whole movie was set up for prepare for the long in development hell Freddy Vs. Jason project.
Apart from Freddy's clawed hand, it also had several other horror references both in filming and on screen.
Like the skull dagger and Necronomicon from Evil Dead. (which would be another almost made crossover)
The movie is sort of strange when we're following Jason "in other bodies", sort of like the Jason copycat from Part 5. It looks and acts like Jason, but we know it isn't, so no deal!
The zombie undead rotting corps mutated disfigured deformed sewers-radiation poisoned Jason from the beginning and end of the movie sort of looks...weird.
Like, I know they tried to keep up on his stats and condition, but he doesn't look very menacing like that. More like a giant headed puppet...

I give this one a: 1 / 3 Score!

Movie: Jason X
Directed by James Isaac
Release date 2002
Genre slasher/scifi

Aroung 2008, the government was finally able to successfully capture Jason. The government tried various experiments, to copy or destroy him once and for all. In 2010, while being held at the Crystal Lake Research Facility (really??), they decided to put him in cryogenic suspension, not without problems.
Sadly, things go wrong...
Jump in time (the biggest we've ever done with this series), 2455 people have finally moved away to another planet to pollute, I mean colonize. Earth Two.
The Crystal Lake facility is found back, they bring in the frozen bodies to study them. In the morgue, Jason awaken, start a new rampage in SPACE!!!
They try to kill Jason, he kills them one by one once more time.
At mid-point of the flick, Jason gets almost destroyed, but thanks to a nearby lab gets "repaired" into a much improved cyborg form. Nanites repair him and complete what he lost transforming him into what fans nicknamed Uber Jason.
Uber Jasy kills the rest of the crew, land up in an holographic Camp Crystal Lake, kills simulated people and ends up on Earth Two to continue the legend.

Overall: Since Freddy Vs. Jason was still in development hell and they still had plenty of time to make another sequel..well, they made another one!
Critiques hated this movie. I say, bulsh..!!
This movie is awesome! Why? It's self-referencial, it really looks like they were having a blast. Kane Hodder, one more time rockin' Jason Voorhees really plays with Jason's stature and reactions.
Many death scenes are either quite original and creative (the liquid nitrogen smashed head) or parodies/references to former ones (double "death by sleepbag"!).
Most long-running B-movie series end up in SPAAAACE! Always! Critters, Leprechaun, Hellraiser, Living Dead... But honestly this is one of those rare times where, maybe it didn't make any sense, but at least it was well executed!
The movie is fun, fast paced, and doesn't ruins the mythos too much (unlike Goes To Hell).
Great, fun, recommended even for non-Friday the 13th fans! Much better than the actual Freddy Vs. Jason this one was made in the future to avoid conflicting with.
The 10th and last "real" Friday the 13th was a great fun final entry~

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

And that's all the "classic series" Friday the 13th movies. Sure, Jason also appeared in a crossover, a remake and various comics, but I only wanted to cover the original movie line.

For a series that originally was supposed to be about random murders/horror stories happening on Friday the 13th, it sure has come up a long way~
For the trivia: a fun fact, an actual Friday the 13th tv series was made from the same producers, actually based on this concept and without featuring mainly Jason Voorhees (he was only briefly spotted there once as a cameo).

Finally, I'd say you don't need to watch all films.
But in either case, the best way to grab all of them, if you wanna really see all of em, is to find one of those "complete collections" boxsets Paramount released over the years. (there has been a ton of re-releases and different copies)
I have french copies, as you can see from the pictures above. So don't just base what you need to find on my pics!
Most of the times Paramount "Friday the 13th" boxes have all first 8 movies, or at least Part 2 to Part 8/Manhattan (for copyrights reasons, the original isn't always included). Then, you only need to find the last two NewLine Jason Voorhees movies apart. Be sure to pick R Rated or Uncut copies or you'll miss the best versions and the 16/9 widescreen!

That's all for this time's Quickies!

No comments:

Post a Comment