Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday the 13th - The Movie Series

Friday the 13th is here!  :-D

I've always liked the number 13.  It's always seemed lucky to me, somehow.  In honor of this non-holiday, Epix and Netflix both have pretty much all the good friday the 13th series of movies, for your viewing entertainment!  Yay!  What's that?  You've never seen the Friday the 13th movies before?  You want to know what ones are good, and what ones suck huge sweaty donkey balls?  Well, shit!  Let me help you with that, because I've seen them all.  Plot spoilers to follow, but since most of these movies were made in the 80's and 90's, I'm guessing most of you have seen them all.  I generalize and sum up, anyway, so the movies should still be enjoyable even if I might spoil the end in some cases.  Obviously, these movies are your typical slasher flicks, so most of them contain graphic violence, lots of blood, some nudity, and severed body parts.  Just the way I like them!

Friday the 13, part 1 (1980) -  This movie begins the Friday the 13th series.  Essentially, this covers Jason's back story, like any good superhero movie.  Jason Voorhees was a deformed, mentally deficient boy who drowned in Crystal Lake, partly because the camp counselors were too busy smoking pot and screwing around to keep an eye on him.  Years later, Jason's mom gets even by killing a bunch of camp counselors who are trying to reopen the camp.  Some people think this is a classic, and it gets played on TV a lot.  I personally don't like this one because Jason doesn't actually do any of the killings; his mother does.  Jason himself may or may not put in an appearance at the end of the film, depending on how hysterical you think the only survivor is.  If you absolutely MUST see the back story of one of the most prolific fictional killers in movie history, then by all means, check this one out, but I'm pretty sure I covered all the basics.

Friday the 13th, part 2 (1981) - Some camp counselors are renewing their training on the other side of Crystal Lake before the start of the summer season.  The beginning of this movie may be the quintessential beginning of any horror movie ever made, with the introduction of one of the horror movie staples, The Old Man Who Knows.  Or, The Old Man Who Warns.  Either way, this is some creepy old geezer who knows what happened to the last bunch of people who died at the end of some old road, in some old house, at some old barn, or wherever, and tries to tell the latest bunch of kids to turn back.  Like the old man says, "I tried to warn them.  They didn't listen.  But I tried."  If only those crazy kids had listened to this old man, none of them would have died horribly at the end of a machete.  Or an ax.  Or a harpoon gun.  But, they never listen!  You know why?  Because there wouldn't be a movie if they did.  Somehow grown into an adult even though he supposedly drowned as a boy before the beginning of the movie series (apparently, Jason survived the drowning, but hid in the woods away from his mother, and then saw her get killed at the end of the first movie), Jason leaves Crystal Lake to take out the only survivor of the first movie (shown in the first few minutes of this film), then returns home in time to slaughter half the counselors-in-training.  This movie features nudity, Jason's first actual kill, and some pretty funny humor tossed in by the practical-joking counselors.  This movie sets the standard for the rest of the series, and is definitely worth watching and repeat viewings.  Also features the first skinny dipping scene in the series, and she's also definitely worth the watch.  Important thing to remember about the end of the movie, half the counselors survive by heading into town for a night of drinking and partying.  Apparently, Jason doesn't give a shit if you're a drunken slut of a party animal AWAY from the Lake.  Also, it probably helps if one of the surviving counselors cuts Jason down at the Camp before he can head into town.  Jason is still human in this movie, so don't be surprised by him sustaining injuries.  There may be some confusion about the ending, so I'll give you my theory: After Jason takes a severe wound to the body, his adrenaline allows him to chase down the survivors, but adrenaline doesn't last forever.  After killing Paul and probably thinking he's killed everyone else, Jason crawls off to heal up in the woods for the next film.

Friday the 13th, part 3 (1982) - Originally filmed in 3-D, this movie supposedly takes place the day after the second movie.  However, the supposedly wounded Jason seems pretty spry, and there's absolutely no mention of the camp counselors who spent all night drinking at the bar in town.  You'd think they'd all show up hung over and scared shitless, but they don't.  Instead, a group of drug-addicted party animals head up to the lake to, well, get high and have sex.  No surprise there.  Jason kills a few people living around town, then heads back to the lake to finish off the party-goers, who are being stalked by a gang of pissed-off bikers. There's a lot of 3-D action in this movie, sadly not featuring nipples, but everything from spears, to eyes, to snakes.  The usual version shown on TV is not in 3-D, but is still entertaining.  This film marks the first time Jason dons his signature Hockey Mask, having worn a burlap sack over his head in the second film (like the killer in The Town That Dreaded Sundown).  Fun fact, I actually carved a Jason-style hockey mask into a pumpkin one year for Halloween, and it was AWESOME.  Even my mom still remembers it.  Yea, I'm a Jason fanboy, I admit it.  Part 3 is worth watching only as a stepping stone to part 4, or if you must know where he picked up the hockey mask from.  Jason is axed in the head at the end of this movie, apparently dead, but somehow manages to return for part 4.  A critical exception to this is if you actually get to see a 3-D screening of the movie.  Apparently, the 3-d effect is worth it to see jason reach out of the screen and try to kill you.  Personally, those 3-D things and blue and red glasses only managed to give me a headache, so I prefer the TV version.

Friday the 13th (part 4), The Final Chapter (1984) - This movie apparently happens right after the events in Part 3 (which happens right after part 2), but how Jason manages to survive the ax-wound to the head in addition to the grievous bodily machete-cut on the day before is beyond me.  After his body is taken to the nearby hospital, Jason wakes up and kills a bunch of doctors and nurses, then heads back to the lake.  On yet another part of the woods around camp Crystal lake, the Jarvis family is living next to a bunch of kids who rented the cabin next door.  One by one, the teenaged party animals die, and then Jason goes after the Jarvis family.  Tommy Jarvis, a young boy addicted to video games and who makes his own horror masks, is scared so badly by Jason that he goes apeshit, shaves his head bald, and hacks Jason to death with his own machete.  Tommy Jarvis was played by a young Corey Feldman, who is now deceased.  Watch this one to see how Jason finally shuffles off his mortal coil, and the origin of Jason's arch-nemesis, Tommy Jarvis.

Friday the 13th (part 5), A New Beginning (1985) - Tommy Jarvis, now a mentally disturbed teenager, is attending a rehabilitation camp with a bunch of other teen-aged nuts when a death among their number gets Tommy Jarvis worried about Jason returning from the grave.  Things get even worse when Jason starts killing off more kids, and Tommy can't tell whether he's hallucinating and doing the killings himself, or whether it's actually Jason, back from the grave.  I don't like this movie much, not only because the teen-aged Tommy Jarvis is kind of a messed up dork who doesn't resemble his earlier self at all, but because Jason isn't actually doing any of the killings.  Turns out an ambulance driver got pissed and put on a hockey mask to cut up the crazy kids before getting killed at the end.  Generally following a similar pattern to the other movies, this movie felt like a bunch of filler that just gets you to part 6, OR it was supposed to start a whole string of movies where the killers were just Jason copycats.  Instead, part 6 happened, and really WAS a new beginning...

Friday the 13th (part 6), Jason Lives! (1986) - Tommy Jarvis, now an adult, is finally released from his long incarceration at a mental facility.  Still plagued by nightmares, Tommy tracks down Jason's grave, intending to dig up Jason's remains and burn them to ashes.  Instead, a sudden lightning storm manages to bring Jason back to life.  Oh, shit!  :-o  Zombie-Jason kills Tommy's friend, and heads back to the lake, stronger and tougher than ever.  After killing a bunch of deputies and the local sheriff, Zombie Jason is finally imprisoned at the bottom of Crystal Lake by Tommy Jarvis and the sheriff's daughter.  This movie marks the last appearance of Tommy Jarvis, who apparently runs off with the incredibly hot sheriff's daughter and is never seen again.  Worth watching to see the first appearance of Zombie-Jason, who returns for the rest of the movies from here on out.

Friday the 13th, part 7, New Blood (1988) - A young girl gifted with telekinesis, the ability to move things with her mind, accidentally killed her father at Crystal Lake with her emerging powers.  Years later, her psychologist tries to bring her back to the lake in an attempt to make her powers come out, hoping to record them and make a bundle off proof of the paranormal.  Instead, the girl accidentally releases Zombie-Jason from his prison at the bottom of Crystal Lake, and Jason proceeds to kill everyone off.  In a showdown with the telekinetic girl now in better control of her awesome powers, Jason gets the crap beat out of him and is once again imprisoned at the bottom of the lake.  Worth watching for the final fight scene alone, the Zombie makeup in this movie is also very good.  Zombie-Jason not only looks dead and rotting, but supremely pissed off by his inability to take down one teen aged girl.

Friday the 13th, part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) - A bunch of rich school-kids head out on a yacht from Crystal Lake to Manhattan.  Somewhere along the way, Jason hitches a ride, and proceeds to kill everyone on the boat before it makes it into port.  As the boat goes up in flames, the survivors paddle to shore, only to have Jason follow them ashore and track them down.  Not one of the better films, Jason ends up getting washed away by (possibly toxic?) sewer water.  Maybe worth a watch if you like to see Jason get the shit kicked out of a him by a boxer, only to win the fight in the final round by knocking the other fighter's head off.  Literally.

Jason Goes to Hell (Friday the 13th, part 9), The Final Friday (1993) - Jason is brought out into the open by a police sting operation, and is blown apart after being shot to death.  While the coroner is examining what's left of Jason's body, some surviving part of Zombie-Jason enters the coroner, who proceeds to go on a killing spree.  Jumping from body to body, the supposedly demonic part of Jason is eventually banished to hell.  Only worth watching to see Erin Gray, otherwise known as Wilma Deering from the Buck Rogers TV series, because you were wondering what happened to her after all these years, weren't you?  I know I was.

Jason X (2001) - After being captured, Jason manages to escape while experiments are being performed on him, but the doctor in charge manages to cryogenically freeze him along with herself.  Centuries later, a wandering spaceship salvages Jason's cryo-tube and unfreezes both Jason and the Doctor.  Catapulted forward hundreds of years in time, Jason is stopped by an android, only to have his body re-formed by nanobots, who make him an even more unstoppable cyborg.  While tracking down and destroying nearly every person on the space ship, Jason destroys the ship itself, and either burns up in re-entry on an alien planet that resembles earth, OR lands in a pond on a world colonized by humans.  Has the new zombie-cyborg Jason found another Crystal Lake?  Not really worth watching unless you need a decisive end to the series, or you really like Lexa Doig, who played the 20th-century doctor in charge of Jason.

I'm not even going to mention Freddy vs jason, because that one is just kind of weird.  It doesn't fit the pattern, and has more a Freddy-movie feel to it.  The crossover was likely set up to infuse some life into an otherwise dead Freddy, who hasn't been able to attract moviegoers to the theater in years.  So, to sum up, parts 2 (maybe 3), 4, 6 and 7 are definitely worth watching.  The rest of them, Eh.  Only watch them if you are having a Friday the 13th marathon and you need to show something in between the good movies.  The recent Friday the 13th remake?  Well, that's even worse than the in-between movies that I didn't like.  Only watch that if you're so high you can't find my blog page to tell you which movies to watch.  Maybe you'll enjoy it better.

That's all for tonight!  Might be back sometime this weekend with another review, if I see something good.  If not, enjoy the... damn, Friday the 13th is now Saturday the 14th (which is also a good movie, but more for kids than adults).  Don't fret.  There's yet a THIRD friday the 13th this year, in November, I believe.  Any month that starts on a sunday has a friday the 13th in it, so check your calenders.  As long as there are fridays marked 13 on your calender, there's going to be Jason movies.  :-D

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