Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Friday the 13th Marathon Part II

So, after trying to take on way too much with the January Friday the 13th marathon and having to skip the April Friday the 13th due to work, that left us with only one more chance to get our act together and do it right. The mission: to watch all eleven Friday the 13th movies in one sitting and, if given time, even watch the truly evil 2009 remake.  But the truth is, as long as we made it to Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (yeah right) we’d make it farther than the last Friday. Did we do it? I guess you’ll have to keep on reading to find out...

After the January letdown, I had to reevaluate the situation. I mean, we failed our mission so hard, it couldn’t even really be considered a marathon. And since then, we had also failed at My Bloody Valentine Day, April Fool's Day and the Leprechaun Saint Patrick’s Day marathon; a pattern was starting to develop.  How did this keep happening? Simple: too much other stuff going on. Every time we decided to have a marathon we had too many other plans as well (did anyone really think the Saint Patrick’s Day marathon was going to work?). But not this time, the July Friday the 13th was our last chance to have a real Friday the 13th marathon and we weren’t going to miss it. I mean, a year with three Friday the 13th’s - how could we? But unlike in January, this time there would be no Epic Meal Time breakfast, no candy sushi snacks, and not just because that stuff will kill you. No, because this time our party would be catered by Costco (with the exception of cupcakes) and meals would be all pre-made and ready to go. We still managed to get quite a spread, but no cooking on Friday meant nothing but movie watching magic. Jaclyn and I did make some cupcakes for the marathon, though. Nothing crazy or really even Jason-themed, just some Red Velvet Cupcakes that are a Covino favorite and well, I really wanted to try out the recipe (just because I couldn’t cook on the day didn’t mean I couldn’t bake the night before, right?). So with the Costco smorgasbord and cupcakes in place, Jaclyn and I sat down and started the first movie…

What can I really say about this classic? Besides the fact that this was the movie that started it all, it set up the folklore that kept us coming back for ten more films. In 1957, Jason drowns in Crystal Lake and a year later the first two kids are murdered (we see them die before the opening credits). How this movie differs from everyone that follows is we never see the killer until the very end.


In case you’ve never taken the time to watch the original Friday the 13th or didn’t see Scream (you remember the opening sequence with Drew Barrymore being questioned by Ghost Face?), you might not know that Jason is not the killer in this movie. In fact, he doesn’t even make an appearance until the very end of the film when he jumps out of the lake to grab a very surprised Alice Hardy around the neck and attempts to drag her to the bottom with him. No, the cool thing about the original movie is you never get to see the killer until everyone but Alice has met their grizzly fate. Only then does the killer reveal herself to be Pamela Voorhees, the former camp cook (and friend of the Christy’s), but most importantly the mother of the drowned boy Jason.

I guess what really makes the first movie stand out is it seems like a movie that you and a couple of friends could go out and make, and maybe that’s why it first captured my imagination. It’s a simple story, but executed really well and it only seems to drag in the final confrontation between Alice and Mrs. Voorhees; for some reason this scene just really drags for me. Maybe it’s because everyone else dies so quickly? I’m not sure, but after watching this film over and over again, I find myself wanting to fast-forward just a little bit to get to the climax. 

The sequel of Friday the 13th starts off with Alice, the sole survivor of the last movie, home alone. I realized watching it this time it doesn’t really establish how much time has gone by or whether or not Alice returned home to California or was still in New Jersey (that’s where Crystal Lake is, right?). What it does establish though is that Jason didn’t drowned in the lake; he grew up in the woods as some kind of out of control psychopath, a frightened retard, or a child trapped in a man's body. First off, what??? Okay, it’s definitely cool having Alice find Pamela Voorhees’ severed head in the refrigerator before being murdered, but didn’t they establish in the first movie that Jason drowned? Isn’t that why Mrs. Voorhees started murdering the camp counselors in the first place? Because they weren’t watching her son and he died in the lake? I mean, okay, the part of the first movie where the boy jumps out of the lake and grabs ahold of Alice could’ve been just a dream like the cops state in the movie, but Jason doesn’t drowned? So does that mean Mrs. Voorhees was just crazy or that Jason just wanted to raise himself in the forest? It hurts my head to think about, so I just won’t. After Alice is killed, we find ourselves back at Camp Crystal Lake this time, not at Camp Blood but at a training camp for camp counselors.  And guess what? They’re about to die, only this time you kind of get rewarded for drinking because the random characters we never really meet that go to the bar live and the ones that stay behind don’t. Only this time, they’re not killed by Mrs. Voorhees, they’re killed by the potato sack (pillowcase) wearing Jason. That’s right, this is the zombie Jason of the later sequels, the elephant man/mountain man variety Jason. You know, the frightened retard version (I can say that because it’s a direct quote from the film easily offended guy).  This movie follows the same road as the last one as Jason picks the counselors off one by one until finally only Ginny (this movies Alice) is left (okay, Paul could’ve lived too - wasn’t quite sure about that one). When Ginny faces down Jason in Ted Kaczynski’s summer home, she quickly puts on the blood sweater that Mrs. Voorhees was wearing when she died and convinces Jason she’s really his mother (frightened retard). Not the craziest thing to happen in one of these movies, but still WTF.

The best part about Friday the 13th Part III  is that it’s in 3D! Okay, just kidding. The best part about the third installment of the series is Jason gets his hockey mask. Unfortunately, at this point Jason is still, well, a mountain man and not quite the Jason of legend. This is a fact that actually ties into the story because the movies protagonist Chris (it can be a girls name) was attacked two years before by a disfigured hillbilly (it saddens me this was Jason’s beginning). Shelly (it can be a boys name?) is this movies practical joker (part one had Ned, part two had Ted) and he has a dark sense of humor, using masks and fake blood to scare his friends or, more accurately, to hide his own self-loathing. But it’s because of Shelly that Jason finally dawns his infamous goalie mask. That is probably the saving grace of this film. Well, that and the spear gun scene; that was just harsh. The movie is okay, but guess the reason why is it was heavily edited - to keep it from getting an “X” rating (before NC-17). It would be cool if we got to see the movie the way it was originally intended and I doubt the gore would heavily offend today’s audiences, but I’m sure the footage has been long lost. But fingers crossed, we could someday get a real gory Real 3D version of Friday the 13th Part III. One more thing that makes this movie interesting is the ending, which is a call back to the first film. After hitting Jason in the head with an axe, Chris gets in a canoe and falls asleep floating out to the middle of the lake. When she wakes up, she sees Jason is still very much alive and staring at her from the house. She begins to panic as Jason runs out of the house to attack her, but before he can Mrs. Voorhees jumps out of the lake and grabs ahold of Chris, a nice little homage to the first film. I never knew that this was supposed to be the end of the series, but I guess it was and if it had been the ending would’ve worked perfectly with Chris then waking up from her nightmare and the body of Jason still lying in the barn. However, this wasn’t the last film: in fact, far from it.         

From Left to Right Mark Covino, Jennifer Covino,
Jaclyn Kehoe, Travis Kehoe & Diva

So, by all rights, since this sequel takes place directly after the last movie, this one would have to really be Saturday the 14th right? I mean, maybe a year passed between the first movie and the second, but this time it was definitely the very next day. Some highlights of this film are, well, the Aerobicise video that Axel is watching in the morgue. I still don’t really understand how this is exercise… but I like it. This movie is also memorable because of the one and only Crispin Hellion Glover and his spas-tastic dance. Knowing that it was his own choreography that he made up originally to AC/DC’s Back in Black somehow still doesn’t make it any less silly, but can anyone really forget it? Who else graces us with their presence in this film? Oh yeah, a very young Corey Feldman who turns out to be this chapter’s hero. I mean, you can argue that his sister Trish kills Jason with the machete to the head, or even gravity kills Jason when his head slides down the blade, but it’s Tommy Jarvis (Feldman) who shaves his head to look like Jason and then proceeds to hack Jason’s head with the Machete over and over again. This movie, like its predecessor, was meant to be the final film of the series. Jason was supposed to die under Tommy’s blade, but we all know that just wasn’t the case.    

A Jason movie without Jason; that’s crazy talk, right? Well we all know it worked for the first movie so why wouldn’t it work for the fifth one? I mean, it’s not really a Jason movie without Jason, but you still have a hockey mask wearing murderer killing kids; his name just happens to not be Jason Voorhees. Tommy Jarvis (no longer played by Corey Feldman) arrives at the Pinehurst Halfway House; it seems he spent the years that followed his murder of Jason Voorhees moving from institution to institution with the ghost of Jason haunting him.  As fate would have it, as soon as Tommy moves into the halfway house a kind of annoying patient named Joey is brutally murdered by one of the other patients there, Vic. Because of Joey’s murder, the whole ball starts rolling. We don’t find out until the movie ends that Joey’s father, one of the paramedics that responds to Joey’s murder, is the killer dressed like Jason. There are some clues, though, if you’re paying attention: Jason’s hockey mask has red triangles, the fake Jason’s mask has blue lines, that kind of stuff. But I guess the bigger question would be, why would Roy Burns (fake Jason) choose to dress like Jason? Jason had been dead and buried for years and it seems like only Tommy who couldn’t let it go. I don’t know, maybe I’m just trying to read too much into the series, but it’s a strange choice. The highlights of this film would have to be Reggie the reckless, one of my favorite characters of the series, although I do love the scene between Robin and Reggie’s brother Demon when they’re singing to each other from either side of a port-o-potty wall. The biggest highlight of the film and I’m sure Covino would kill me if I didn’t mention it would be Debi Sue Voorhees’s role as Tina. If you don’t know what I mean, Google it and you will.  

Jason Lives! is the one movie I didn’t have when I was back in high school and therefore the movie out of the series I’ve seen the least. It has one of the coolest looking Jason’s sans mask and finally lays the Jason story straight because he is now officially supernatural. Up until this point, Jason was a crazed hillbilly who never drowned and was seeking revenge for the murder of his mother. Now that is no longer true; Jason did drown (like the first movie says) but has always been a super natural force… Okay, wait… How did he go from a boy to a man? Actually, I don’t care because now we have a kickass zombie Jason who was brought back to life by Tommy Jarvis stabbing him with a metal fence post that is struck by lightening. That’s right, Jason rises from the grave like Frankenstein to wreak havoc once again on the campers of Crystal Lake. But what makes this movie cool is for the first and only time there are actually kids at the summer camp. Jason doesn’t kill any kids, but still there are kids at the camp - Bonus! The town of Crystal Lake has changed its name to Forrest Green to try and distance itself from the killings, but that doesn’t stop Jason from returning to kill anyone who is dumb enough to go near his lake. Tommy Jarvis once again has to square off against Jason. This time, Tommy sinks him to the bottom of Crystal Lake by chaining a boulder to his neck. The bottom of Crystal Lake is where we’ll meet up with Jason again for the next two films.

Rumor has it that this installment is where Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees were first supposed to meet up, but Paramount and New Line Cinema couldn’t work out a deal and the movie fell through. Enter the psychic! Tina Sheppard first found out she had powers when her Dad was beating her mom and she destroyed a dock her father was standing on, sending him to the bottom of Crystal Lake. Ten years later, Tina is back at the lake house, supposedly receiving treatment from Dr. Crews to help her cope with the guilt of killing her father. Secretly, or not so secretly, (his plans seem pretty transparent) Dr. Crews really just wants to study Tina’s abilities. After a tough session with Dr. Crews, Tina runs to the lake and tries to use her powers to resurrect her drowned father, but instead resurrects Crystal Lakes most infamous baddy, Jason Voorhees. Jason tends to his business as usual, pretty much ignoring the weird psychic girl until their final confrontation, which is a little laughable. I know this will sound weird, but I can take a hockey mask-wearing machete wielding zombie but not a physic girl; she belongs in a Stephen King novel, not a Friday the 13th movie. And in one of the weirder twists of fate, Jason is defeated not by Tina but by her dead father who drags Jason back to the bottom of the lake… Yeah, that’s right, Jason is no longer the only ghost in the lake; beware Mr. Sheppard! The highlight of this film was Kane Hodder playing Jason for the first time, and also the infamous sleeping bag kill.   

When a movie has Manhattan in the title, you figure it would take place in Manhattan, right? Well, in the case of Jason Takes Manhattan you’d be wrong. This movie is more Jason Takes a Cruise and, well, isn’t that bad. Jason is once again resurrected from the bottom of Crystal Lake, this time by an anchor hitting an underwater power line. Jason then boards the boat and gets his hands on a hockey mask. Why was there a hockey mask on board? Oh, because the dude on the boat, Jim, was using it to scare his girlfriend Suzie. Isn’t this a little odd? I mean, after the amount of murders that had taken place on Crystal Lake, wouldn’t it be in poor taste to do this? I don’t know, call me sensitive, but what about the families of the victims? Oh wait, never mind, this was in ’89 - PC wasn’t a thing yet. Let’s continue. So Jason is back and this time he’s going to terrorize the graduating class of Lakeview High complete with Rennie Wickham, this film’s heroine. What makes Rennie special? Well, years before when her uncle Charles was trying to teach her how to swim (or drown her), she was attacked by the boy Jason and the memory has haunted her ever sense. That’s right, boy Jason is back and Rennie is going to have visions of him throughout the movie. But wait, I thought the psychic girl was in the last movie? Don’t worry, she was; this girl just has visions, not telekinesis. What’s weird is each time she sees a Jason vision, he’s in a different form of hideousness. At first he looks like a normal boy, but by the end he’s the deformed child we all know and love. I’m not sure what this movie really adds to the series besides that it’s the final Paramount Friday the 13th movie, which is kind of sad and really the last true Friday the 13th because after this film New Line Cinema takes the story in a whole new direction.   

This movie scared and scarred me when I was younger. There is something about a large black man eating a heart that just stays with you. This movie is so different compared to the other eight it’s hard to believe it’s even a Jason movie. Maybe it’s because New Line Cinema took over, maybe it’s because for the first time ever Jason changes bodies by turning into a demon worm. Maybe it’s because out of nowhere he has a sister. Really? That’s strange; they never mentioned that before. This is also the first Jason movie to feature fake breasts; something that really bummed out Covino when he found out his childhood was a lie. Fun Fact: John D. LeMay, one of this films protagonists, also was one of the three main characters on the Friday the 13th television series. This movie also contains my favorite kill of any of the movies. Yeah, that’s right, the metal sign post through the girl in the tent while she is having sex; it doesn’t get any more Friday the 13th than that.   This movie is also known for its ending which depicts Jason’s mask being dragged down to hell by Freddy’s glove, although Jason and Freddy never appeared together on the screen for another 10 years.

Jason X (2001)

Jason X is where I stopped taking notes and started drinking. What can I say about this film? Well, it does have some cool death scenes, including a new sleeping bag kill (a callback to Part VII), and unfortunately it’s Kane Hodders last movie as Jason. Besides that, it’s in space; doesn’t that say it all? If you run out of ideas, bring your character to space. They did with Pinhead in Hellraiser IV: Bloodline and the Leprechaun in Leprechaun 4: In Space, so why not Jason, right?   

Freddy vs. Jason (2003) 

The marathon ended with Freddy vs. Jason, a movie that I really love. I think it’s a great Jason movie and a great Freddy movie. They do both franchises justice and in some ways make the Jason legacy cooler than it deserves to be. My one and only problem with the movie is Kelly f’ing Rowland. Why, for the love of God and all that is holy, why? Okay, I guess I have more complaints than that, like Kane Hodder not reprising the role of Jason. I wanted to see the Jason that I knew fight the Freddy that I knew. And what’s with the character Shack? Why does he act like Jack Black and why does Bill act like he’s Jason Mewes? It’s just strange…


After all of that, I can now say I made it through the Friday the 13th Marathon. I know, I know, but what about the remake? The remake wasn’t part of the original series and therefore doesn’t count and honestly, I tried to also watch the remake, but I fell asleep. I don’t know if watching all of the movies gave me a better or deeper appreciation for the series, but I can say that I did it. Well, we did it. Special shout out to Jaclyn and Jenn and Mark Covino for attempting this craziness with me and to Nate for showing up at just the right time with beer to help us make it through. Until next time…