Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friday the 13th Marathon

Friday the 13th marathon is something I’ve wanted to do since back when I walked the hallowed halls of South Burlington High School. Times were different back then; for one, DVD’s were out but hadn’t defeated the giant that was VHS (that’s right kids, we used to have movies on videocassette tape long before wirelessly streaming your media was even a day dream) and the Friday the 13th series ended with Jason Goes to Hell, the first non-paramount Friday the 13th movie. There was no Jason X or Freddy vs. Jason (although the ending of Jason Goes to Hell did promise this epic battle). Back then I used to fall asleep every night watching one of my many horror VHS movies, usually waking back up when the tape reached the very end and auto rewound to the beginning (imagine that, having to rewind a movie?). I always had a soft spot for the Friday the 13th series (and no, I’m not talking about the television show - that would be a different blog). 

I’m not sure why these movies stood out amongst the legion of other horror icons. Maybe it was because I was attracted to the hockey mask Jason sported starting with Friday the 13th Part 3 or the fact they sprinkled nudity through most of the series (this could’ve been the sticky point though; face it, I was in high school) but these movies always fascinated me. I mean simple premise, right? Don’t camp, try to set up a camp or generally go anywhere near Crystal Lake or Jason is going to get you. Don’t have pre-marital sex, don’t drink or use recreational drugs, and don’t ever mutter the infamous words… “I’ll be right back,” because we know that will never happen.  These movies aren’t Oscar winners by far, but there is something about them that just makes them special and stand out against the schlock they try to pass off as horror these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the Saw franchise and as far as horror goes that’s the closest they’ve come to the horror series of the 80’s (and early 90’s). I mean, we had Jason and Freddy, Leatherface and Chucky, Pinhead, Pumpkinhead, Michael Myers, Gremlins, Critters, and Ghoulies, not to mention Phantasm and Poltergeist (a movie series that still frightens me to this day).  Now we have a void where the horror movie franchises used to exist and Hollywood is desperately trying to fill that void by rehashing, recycling and repackaging what worked in the past, but with a modern spin. Sometimes these remakes really work. For example, The Hills Have EyesMy Bloody Valentine, and Piranha. Sometimes, though, they just fall flat like The Texas Chainsaw MassacreA Nightmare on Elm Street and of course Friday the 13th. I could spend a whole blog talking about why some of the remakes worked and why they didn’t and maybe I will in the future but for now, let’s stay on topic and discuss what we came to talk about: the Friday the 13th marathon.

Like I previously said, I’ve been a fan of the movies for a while now and used to use them as a sleeping aid back in high school. But even though I watched Friday the 13th movies every night, I don’t think I ever thought about watching them all in a row. In fact, for a long time this wasn’t even possible because I couldn’t find a copy of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (ah, life before Amazon) and didn’t track one down for quite some time, but even after my VHS collection was complete I never dreamt of watching them all in a row.  Fast-forward to 2006 and Saw III was about to come out in the theater. I decided to re-watch part I and II before I saw the latest… Er… Saw (saying I just saw Saw has always been awkward right?). This kicked off a tradition that lasted through Saw 3D: The Final Chapter; every year a new Saw movie would come out and every year I’d sit down and watch them all sequentially and catch the latest one in the theater. As the franchise grew so did my commitment to watch all the films, having to start the marathon earlier and earlier, but every year I continued to enjoy the process and would even tweet my progress as I made it through each film. This was the first franchise I ever managed to watch in one sitting (that’s right, I’ve never managed to make it through the holy trinity in one shot) but as of 2010 the Saw movies ended and so did my yearly movie marathons. Without a new horror franchise in sight (please don’t say Paranormal Activity) it was time to start looking back to the horror movies of my youth.

Enter 2012, the year of not one, not two but three separate Friday the 13th’s (one in January, April and July). The stars had finally properly aligned for a marathon that had been decades in the making. And what better way to kick off the New Year then with a horror movie marathon to escape the harsh January weather (actually one of the mildest Vermont winters). So the plan was hatched: we’d host the Friday the 13th Marathon and invite some of the gang to join us. But like most plans I make, they continue to grow and take on a life of their own. Joe and I hadn’t hung out in a while and when we do we started a tradition of our own; splitting a bottle of Dead Guy Whiskey from Rogue Brewery. But it wasn’t just the Dead Guy Whiskey bottle that I had been sitting on; I also had a bottle of John John Dead Guy Ale I was waiting to try (Dead Guy Ale Aged in Dead Guy Whiskey barrels) and what better day to drink Dead Guy anything then a day celebrating Jason Voorhees, the dead guy that just won’t stay dead. The guys and I had also decided we’d kick off the day by making a breakfast, but not just any breakfast - an Epic meal, or more accurately an Epic Meal Time meal (that’s right, we’re getting drunk off pancakes). For those of you who don’t know, Epic Meal Time is a crazy Canadian online cooking show where they prepare meals so sugary, so artery clogging and delicious that Wilfred Brimley might show up at your door just for watching it. But what does Epic Meal Time have to do with Friday the 13th? Simple. As I mentioned, Epic Meal Time was created and hosted by those crazy hosers up nord and what else did they create? Hockey (okay, I don’t know if they invented it, but they perfected it) and who wears a hockey mask? That’s right, Jason Voorhees. See, it all ties in together, right?

So the plan was to make an Epic breakfast and then sit down and watch all of the Friday the 13th movies back to back without stopping… That was the plan, and a great one it was, but that’s not quite how things went. I think the train derailed as soon as the beer waffles started. Beer waffles? Yeah, that’s right, we were making the next level sh*t. I didn’t have a recipe for the beer waffles so I visited my favorite place to score new ones allrecipes.com (I’ve tried several recipes from this site with great results) and found this one:

Beer Waffles Recipe

2 cups self-rising flour
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat a waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions. Combine flour, beer, butter, milk, egg yolks, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl; stir until the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Ladle the batter into waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately. 

Now, we followed this recipe but also added the Epic Meal Time twist of adding bacon to the waffles (what can’t you add bacon to?) and instead of chocolate chips we added Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups because that’s smart. For the beer I followed advice my mother gave me when cooking with wine, never cook with anything you wouldn’t drink. I’m a big fan of sour beers (beers with naturally occurring Brettanomyces yeast) and have even turned some of my non-drinking friends on to them. My favorite of these varieties is anything brewed with cherries or Kriek beers, and that is what we used in our waffles and I have to say it was an excellent choice. It made the waffles really light and fluffy (I know hard to believe with all the other stuff we put in them right?) and left just a slight hint of cherry behind. Although I will say the way we made waffles was fantastic, if you’re a little squeamish or, say, care more about your body, then I would recommend trying just the lambic beer waffles sans bacon and Reese’s Peanut Buttercups; you will not be disappointed. To top off our waffles, we needed a syrup capable of handling both the sweet and the savory… But more importantly it just needed to have alcohol, so borrowing another page from the book of Epic Meal Time we made our own Jack Daniel’s syrup using Vermont Pure Maple syrup and Gentleman Jack (because after all, we’re gentlemen). The first time I made Jack Daniel’s syrup I was making it for Jaclyn and I so I used more like two parts maple syrup per one part Jack, but I was cooking for the boys and this time it was more like one to one. I would say mix your syrup to taste but be aware that if you make it one to one you will get drunk off your breakfast and this is where we went wrong. Our personal breakfast of booze was supposed to be the kick off to the Friday the 13th marathon, but instead it took over the morning and most of the afternoon and between the waffles and the John John Dead Guy Ale and Dead Guy Whiskey (oh did you forget about those guys?) I was feeling pretty great before we ever sat down to watch the first movie. Actually, we didn’t even stop with breakfast. We also needed to make some snacks for the movie and we had decided that besides the breakfast of booze we were also making candy sushi. Candy sushi I can honestly describe as your dentists worst nightmare because just biting into a piece causes your teeth to hurt from all the sugar, but if you want to make it here’s how:

Candy Bacon Recipe

½ cup Brown Sugar
1 pound of Bacon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cover a baking sheet with parchment or foil and arrange the bacon in a single layer on top. Remember to leave space between the slices so they won’t stick together.

Sprinkle brown sugar liberally over the bacon.

Place your baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip over each bacon slice using tongs or a fork. Optionally you can add more brown sugar at this step.

Place your baking sheet back in the oven for 10 more minutes.

Rice Krispies Treats Recipe  (with Candy Bacon)

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal


In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Add Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.

Crumble Candy Bacon and stir into mix.

Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. 

Candy Sushi Recipe

2 boxes of Fruit Roll-ups
Various candy (for filling)
Pre-made Rice Krispies Treats


Unwrap six Fruit Roll-ups and lie flat connecting each Roll-up side by side until you have a large square piece.

Roll the Rice Krispies Treats into the Fruit Roll-up square until your reach your desired thickness.
Place pieces of candy on one edge on the Rice Krispies Treats in straight line from one corner to the other.

Roll the Rice Krispies Treat/Fruit Roll-up over the candy until you from a tight roll.

With a serrated knife cut the Candy Sushi roll into bite size pieces.

But what does all of that have to do with watching Friday the 13th movies? Nothing, and that’s sort of the point. We got so wrapped up in cooking and drinking that we slacked on the marathon. By the time we started the first movie it was late in the afternoon, almost evening really, and by the third movie the marathon was history. Mark and Jaclyn were the only survivors - everyone else was asleep hidden behind their 3D glasses. So with an Epic Meal comes an epic price, the sacrifice of the movie marathon that brought everyone together in the first place. So it’s with a heavy head that I report the January Friday the 13th Marathon was a bust… Luckily, as fate would have it, this wasn’t the only Friday the 13th on the calendar year and we’d have another chance to redeem ourselves and give the marathon a second try.

To be continued…