Posts Tagged ‘Friday the 13th’

Friday the 13th Part VII (1988)

October 13, 2017

88 minutes – Rated R for gory deaths, violence, brief nudity, and undead revenants

Friday the 13th has a rich tradition of fear. The first glimmer of this tradition is noting that the Last Supper was on a Friday and there were 13 people present. The actual origin of the superstition seems to be shrouded in mystery since it was far before the age of the Internet. I consider myself a man of science and not a man of faith so I do not believe in luck. I recognize that chance has something to do about it but only natural forces can affect chance. However, when I was a little kid, I believed in all sorts of things. My hands had to be above the covers and the pillow while I slept lest demons see this as some subconscious sign. I would absolutely not walk under ladders which is actually more of a good safety tip than a ward against evil. I would not pick up a penny that was tails up and stepping on cracks was off limits. I was nervous during Friday the 13th but it never amounted to anything. Still, that nervousness lasted into elementary school.

So, today is Friday the 13th which means that there was really only one series of movies that I was going to deal with today. Mommy’s favorite revenant has been a favorite of mine for a long time. The first movie centered on Mrs. Voorhees (37-year-old spoiler, sorry!), a mother still grieving for her dead son and dead set on getting blood in return for his death. Her death seemed to summon her son Jason back from the land of the dead. The early movies are good but I actually enjoy the later movies more because they get more outlandish and self-aware as they go. Also, Jason seems to grow and gain more magical powers each movie. My favorite is still Jason Takes Manhattan because it is the first quasi-confirmation of Jason’s teleporting powers as far as I know. Also, it is filled to the gills with plot holes. Ignoring or utilizing plot holes is also one of Jason’s powers (and also a weakness in Freddy vs. Jason). I once watched a string of these movies with my brother back when Blockbuster was still a thing so I thought I had seen all of them. I was wrong. After I saw gameplay footage of the new Friday the 13th game, I realized I was missing one movie right in the middle of the franchise. This cannot stand.

The acting was actually pretty good as Friday the 13th movies go. The teenagers act like typical teenagers and the adults are generally confused. The main actress was played by Lar Park-Lincoln and while she was 26 at the time instead of eighteen, she does a really good job of playing an emotional teenager. The other teens are appropriately catty and/or clueless. This is the first movie where Jason is played by the now legendary Kane Hodder. He is the man who played Jason for a record four movies including the movie where Jason goes into outer space. Unfortunately, he was tagged out when it came time to fight Freddy Krueger. Hodder has really imposing body language which is important for a character who is one hundred percent silent. He moves and kills with purpose but also the complete apathy of an act of nature. There is a reason they asked him to stick around so long and this is his first time out and it is really good.

This movie tackles more of the lore of Jason. Originally, this movie was supposed to be the original slot for the showdown between Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. Unfortunately, New Line Cinema and Paramount Studios could not come to a deal and they had to scramble to do something else with Jason. Their options were open but they were really enamored with the thought of Jason facing off against somebody. Freddy had just faced off against the Dream Warriors and the movie version of Firestarter was only four years prior. Having Jason face off against somebody with psychic powers was kind of a no-brainer. Psychic powers have kind of been a timeless feature in genre films since they first emerged. For example, this movie was released twelve years after Carrie and the same year that Akira came out. The psychic abilities also allow the viewer to see some of the kills twice for added impact. It also puts to the test the idea of Jason as an unstoppable killing machine.

Overall, I really liked this movie. Sure, it feels like when they wrote the teenage characters that they had a checklist of cliques that they were trying to check off. Yes, the movie felt heavily edited (and I checked, it really is) and it feels a little less gory than previous and later installments. However, a good Jason film goes beyond all of that. It is supposed to be kind of silly. It is supposed to be suspenseful until an undead embodiment of death attacks out of nowhere. In that respect, it succeeds.

Halloween Briefs

October 31, 2014

I was running out of time this Halloween season and I wanted to comment on more Halloween-y content so here’s a quick look on some random good entertainment!
Seed of Chucky (2004)
I saw this movie again (along with Bride of Chucy and Child’s Play 3) on AMC last weekend and it pretty much holds up as a Chucky movie.  The great thing about all of the Chucky movies is basically Brad Dourif and later Jennifer Tilly.  The murders are strangely incidental as the two dolls are somehow enough charisma to watch for hours.  It’s as if they consumed the flesh and stole the charisma from Freddy Krueger and the Leprechaun.  I’ve seen some chatter on the internet bemoaning how the movies started to skew more towards comedy as they continued making them.  I always thought the movies were funny though from movie one.  It’s about an idiot serial killer in a doll’s body so it’s bound to be funny and it is.  A definite plus is that Baltimore legend (and former neighbor of mine) John Waters was in this one as a great, sleazy character.
Tremors (1990)
The Tremors movies are another series that I always thought skewed more towards comedy and action than horror. However, it has some pretty scary monsters in it even if Graboid is not a name that strikes fear into the hearts of humanity.  A creature who may as well be anywhere under your next footstep is paranoia inducing but it also leaves the characters sitting around on walks or cement, as if they are looking for sharks from a life raft.  Thankfully I actually like the poor, unfortunate souls who are trapped so I don’t mind the lulls between action or horror sequences.  Aside from that, the first movie has some pretty grisly deaths but that kind of fades away as the series continues.
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
This movie is kind of a muddled mess.  The movie starts with the premise that Jason is dead so everything is going to be A-OK now.  Well, unfortunately we know that there’s a threat and that this isn’t going to be like Halloween 3 (Unfortunately).  So we’re looking for a guy in a hockey mask to show up and start up with the teens again.   You know, that old chestnut.  If you’re looking for cardboard cut out characters to be murdered by various sharp implements then you are in luck.  The movie isn’t even set around Crystal Lake and is a loose cash-in on the movie series.   It’s still worth keeping on in the background during October.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
This was a favorite of mine growing up, long before I even knew who Joss Whedon was.  Kristy Swanson is dead on, Clueless three years before Alicia Silverstone but with more attitude.  The real breakout in this movie is Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens who cracked me and my brothers up as Amilyn, the goofy/creepy vampire sidekick.  This movie was so much fun that I was actually put off when I first tuned in to the BTVS TV show.  Granted, the first episode I saw was about the Preying Mantis Woman so not the ideal starting point.  This movie was the rough blue print that started a phenomenon.  Do yourself a favor and watch it (it’s a little dated but whatever) and pick it up in comic book form which more closely follows Joss’ original script and dovetails a little better into the show.
Ticks (1993)
I had completely forgotten this movie until I remembered it this week.  It is a B-Monster-Movie in all of its glory about a group of troubled teens who are attacked in the woods by mutated ticks.  The whole movie sounded like if somebody read the wikipedia article on deer ticks and wondered what it would be like if they were bigger.  It kind of works and they definitely hit me in a weak spot in that I’m afraid of blood and blood being taken.  Strangely, I’m not too afraid of vampires but needles scare the hell out of me.  I don’t usually review or talk too much about B-movies on here because there’s not much you can add by talking about movies like Sharknado, Ghost Shark, Sharktopus or Sharkalanche.  I really enjoy them a lot but I probably won’t be reviewing them but I may do a rundown like this post.  If you see it, try it on for size but don’t go out of your way to see a movie like this.  Oh and Seth Green and Clint Howard are in it.
The Frighteners (1996)
Peter Jackson is a brilliant director and it was fun to go back and see this after I had started watching the Lord of the Rings movies.  It’s a much smaller movie with a less epic scope.  It’s so different from pretty much everything he’s done lately (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong) probably because it’s less polished.  Less polished is not meant as an insult here.  Not every movie has to be a masterpiece and you can hang something from the painter at the fair on your wall at the same height as a Da Vinci.  This movie has all of the fun of a movie like Beetlejuice without the intensity that Tim Burton brings.  The movie is a lot of fun and, to date, is Michael J Fox’s last appearance on the silver screen. It was also John Astin’s last movie released in theaters.  It is definitely worth a look and I’m always thrilled when people tell me they’ve seen it too.


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