Welcome to Psycho Drive-In’s 31 Days of Schlocktober celebration! This year we’ve decided to present the ABCs of Horror, with entries every day this month providing Director information, Best-of lists, Genre overviews, and Reviews of films and franchises, all in alphabetical order! Today brings us F is for Friday the 13th! Created in 1978 to cop off the popularity of Halloween, Friday the 13th proved to be a smash hit and raked in over fifty million worldwide on a budget of $550,000. Not too shabby really. It went on to spawn ten or eleven sequels (depending on whether or not you count Freddy vs Jason, or Jason X as cannon), a TV series that had nothing whatsoever to do with the films, a cash-in reboot in 2009 that new fans are probably more familiar with, and lots of fan made movies including a musical. I can’t even mention all the parody moments in other movies making fun of Friday the 13th. Originally there was debate as to whether the series would continue after part one with Jason or as an anthology series of horror stories. Spoiler! They went with Jason. But the idea carried on in a way with Friday the 13th the series. Part Three was supposed to be the end of the series but it made so much money the studio had cartoon dollar signs in their eyes. So they made one more, Part Four “The Final Chapter” (wink wink). I don’t know the story behind Part Five, but I assume it was a pure cash in. From Part Six onward the writers threw their hands in the air and said fuck it, and Jason became a cartoon character. Really though there wasn’t much the writers could do at that point with Jason unless they rebooted him, or introduced a new Voorhees, like Jason’s father who was supposed to appear at the end of Part Six. The pacing of some of these movies could have been better, and at times scenes can drag on a bit in the earlier movies. The original movies were thriller films. The kills were shocking in their suddenness, not because they were graphic. In fact they are pretty weak by today’s standards. Even Jason’s “final” death in Part Four was kinda under-sold. Then again, I am a gore whore, so I may be being a tad unfair to the era. Here’s a patented Psycho Drive-In Movie by Movie Overview: Spoilers ahead. Duh. Part 1 The story is Jason drowned as a child in the lake. It’s hinted at that he possibly has some mental retardation, and he has physical deformities. Mrs. Voorhees blames the councilors for his death, which is never really explained. Freddy vs Jason tried to in a dream sequence, but whether or not you buy that is up to you. Enraged and crazed, Mom proceeds to kill all the councilors. And then the movie starts. This one is the slowest of the series. And like I said, the kills are tame. Also, I don’t understand why they kept Jason’s mom out of the movie till the end. She could have been part of the movie and still had the big reveal at the ending. The first time I saw it I didn’t even know who she was since I watched them out of order. And she wasn’t in the movie till the end. So the big shocking reveal wasn’t so shocking, and only slightly revealing; especially given how if you are just staring the series you wouldn’t know who Jason was, or even care for that matter. That’s not even getting into the real ending which just confuses things later. You can skip this one unless you just want to say you’ve seen them all. Then again, if you skip it you won’t be able to meet Crazy Ralph. He’s so important to the series… Part 2 Five years after the events of Part One, a new camp opens up down the road from Camp Crystal Lake. This one is supposed to be suspenseful with you not seeing the “new” killer till near the end. And when you do you realize its Dr. Salvador from the fourth Resident Evil game. Yes dressed in his trusty pillow sack to protect his identity is Jason, a maniac we all know and love cause we all watched these things out of order. When most of the councilors go out to get wasted, a small handful of slasher fodder is left behind to count the hours left in their lives. Not that they knew that. This was just as Jason was starting out. Before he perfected his killing techniques, before he discovered his one true passion for killing anyone that stepped into the woods. Back when he ran instead of striding everywhere… This one is… kinda a drag. Not as much as Part One, but still. I do like how they explain (or try to) Jason’s mentality, and reasons for his behavior. The theory being Jason saw his Mom get axed (or machete’d) and knew she died trying to avenge him. Out of love for him. So by killing people, Jason is showing love for his mother, the only person who ever cared for him. Tear jerker that may be, it doesn’t really jibe with the series later on. Unless he was OCD as well as being ugly and a snappy dresser. Part 3 Picking up shortly after Part Two, this film was panned by critics, but managed to be the highest grossing horror film of ’82 and knocked E.T. out of first place in the box office. And why not? Jason is twice as cuddly as that Yoda wannabe. I wish I could tell you the deep story here, but there’s not really one. Dumb kids come to Crystal Lake, and Jason kills them. He also kills some locals for no provided reason. Maybe he just wanted to stay in practice. I will say some of the characters are more developed then the ones in Six and Eight. And apparently early in his career Jason was the redneck version of Sloth from the Goonies. He was also a bit more rape-y then later on. It never says per se he raped the girl, but it was pretty clear he didn’t want to kill her. Cause he didn’t. This was also the movie where he found the hockey mask that became so iconic to people that never watched or played hockey. And who doesn’t want to cosplay as Casey Jones at some point in their lives? And masks are so much more stylish then pillow sacks. I bet Finn is gonna trade up for a mask in the next season of Adventure Time. This may also be the only movie in history to have a jump scare with a duck. I know AvP tried to up the ante with a penguin, but it’s fun Friday the 13th did it first, and better. It’s definitely a step up from the cat jump scare in Part Two. And did someone say mind-fuck ending? Cause Mrs. Voorhees comes back, and she has looked fresher. Or has she? Cause then it says the whole thing was a dream a la the end of Part One. This one is firmly middle of the road. Not the best, but worth a watch. And did I mention it was 3D? Part 4: The Final Chapter This one is slow going. It sets up Tommy Jarvis as our plucky kid survivor, although not too obviously. And you see Jason come back to life with his snazzy new mask he got in the last movie. Too bad he’s going to die. Like in the last movie. I mean, this is called the final chapter. So you know he’s gonna die. Okay sure, the earlier movie had sequel bait, but I really think this was supposed to be the end. Especially given how the next one goes. The story pics up the night after part 3 (continuity!) and shows Jason waking up/coming to life in a morgue and of course resumes his life’s goal of killing mortuary employees. Or something. Maybe he got confused and was trying to stop the movie Mortuary from happening. The cast are boring cut outs and might as well wear signs that say ‘kill me next.’ Most of the characters in these things are kill fodder, but they can still have different, recognizable personalities. The kills are good, but too spaced out as the movie tries to play suspense and flops. This one is good, but not the best of the pre-zombie Jason movies. Part 5: A New Beginning Not to be confused with The New Blood. Six or seven years have passed and Tommy is all grown up. Mostly. But he keeps seeing Jason everywhere and having freak out sessions where he gains the reflexes and strength of Spider-Man, and beats a couple people up for poking him in the chest. (I totally get it. I hate that shit myself). So Tommy is sent to a home for mentally and emotionally challenged teenagers. But suddenly people start dying left and right in the style of Jason’s murders. I am not going to spoil this one in case you are new to the series. Really, story wise and kill wise, this is one of the best of the entire series. Originally the ending was going to take the series in a new direction (sound familiar at this point?) But of course it didn’t test well with audiences. And that’s the story of how Part Six came to be, in a nutshell. Part 6: Jason Lives! Or, Jason Jumps the Shark Part 2. This is my personal favorite of the series because it’s the first appearance of super zombie Jason, and the kills become cartoonish in delivery and violence level. So, story: Years after killing Jason and a Jason cosplayer, Tommy is still kinda fruit loops about Jason, and wants to make sure he’s dead once and for all. I’d say this is weird since he has no reason to think Jason is anything but fertilizer. I guess seeing Jason in the mirror for years drove him loopers. So he digs up Jason’s grave to burn the body and exorcise Jason from his mind a la Supernatural. Seeing his old… nemesis I guess? Makes Tommy lose it for real and he begins to spear Jason with an iron fence rail. But apparently God hates Tommy and sends down a bolt of lightning that revives Jason. Killing spree ensues. Now me, I would have got the hell out of Crystal Lake right then. Tommy, though, decides it’s his job to put Jason down “for good” again. ‘Cause apparently he’s been reading some spooky books and he knows the secrets of stopping Jason — books that didn’t tell him not to go digging up dead men, or stab them with metal during a thunderstorm. Spooky books are vague and mysterious like that. Notable in this movie is the scene where Jason goes into the lake after Tommy Jarvis and showed no signs of hydrophobia. So fuck you Freddy vs Jason. This is also the movie where they changed the name of the town to Forrest Green, and then forgot it, or changed it back a year later. His design is killer (hee hee) and the pacing is pretty good. Even the scenes without Jason are pretty watchable. It is annoying that they didn’t get John Shepard back to be Tommy, but Thomas Matthews does well enough in the part. All in all though, I can’t recommend this one enough. Part 7: The New Blood. Friday the 13th: The New Blood, or as I like to call it Jason vs Carrie. It’s actually been a while since I saw this one, and I forgot how awesome it is! The start is kinda holey (plot-wise). Apparently years after the events of Part Six, some people decided to build a house by the lake where all those deaths happened. (Why not?) And apparently the family that lives there has a telekinetic daughter. Ploty stuff happens that I won’t spoil for you, and we skip forward about ten years or so to see that Crystal Lake is once again largely populated by teenagers. Tina the psychic chic has been brought to Crystal Lake because Dr. McAsshole knows her powers manifest under stress. How he was going to stress her out if Jason hadn’t come back to life is anyone’s guess. Oh, yeah, Jason is brought back by Tina and proceeds to pick people off in pairs. What I will say for this is that it wastes almost no time getting into the kills. There’s almost no teen drama this time; just Tina drama — ‘Cause poor Tina keeps seeing visions of the man in the mask. But as plot would have it, Tina has problems with hallucinations, and doesn’t know if Jason is real, or just her personal boogieman. Of course we know, and are just waiting on Jason to kill Dr. McAsshole. Really though the whole selling point of this movie was to see Jason get a much needed ass whooping. Just watch the trailer if you don’t believe me. Low drama, fast paced, and some nice kills. One kill was pure Mortal Kombat, and it was awesome. Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan. This is the movie where the studio got worried people were bored with Jason, so what to do…. Gimmick! Send that mother lover to Manhattan, why not? Shit, I want to watch Jason slashing his way through New York. That’s not what we got though. After being resurrected through the powers of plot contrivance (for the third time now) Jason climbs onto a boat that some students are taking to New York. Not really sure why they started in Crystal Lake, but whatever. The movie is misleading because most of the film takes place on the boat. So it’s more like Jason takes the Love Boat. Also there’s this bizarre subplot about the lead girl seeing the soul of young Jason. Because… Jason is a child at heart? I dunno, maybe the lead girl was psychic too. It’s never really explained. Not to me anyway. This is the campiest of the series, and easily the funniest one. While the ending will annoy hardcore continuity hounds, the movie itself is passable. More the second half of the movie, but that half really is worth it. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday This is different. I remember it being terrible, but having rewatched the originals I have to reconsider my stand. This one certainly isn’t boring, that’s for sure. This was sold as the Final Friday and was supposed to be the last of the series, except fuck the viewers, they already had the sequel planned. The biggest complaint from fans is the lack of Jason in the movie. Or his physical form anyway. Instead Jason moves from body to body like the creature from The Hidden. Here I thought he was a zombie, but nope, he’s a demon worm like Freddy– I should stop referencing FvJ and just go write that part. Another complaint is Jason’s look at the start. After a long career of killing camp workers, the military steps in and blows Jason to hell. Figuratively speaking. But you can’t keep a good slasher down even when he’s in pieces. At the mortuary Jason’s heart begins to beat, and somehow compels the coroner to wolf it down. This leads to him being possessed by the… demonic worm of Jason? This version of Jason is more focused then past versions, and sets about his mission to recover his old body, even passing a few security guards at the start. But then they hurt his feelings and he kills them. Who knew Jason was so sensitive? So it’s basically standard fare of Jason, mowing his way through people, several off-screen, and a few in underwhelming fashions. This movie also introduces Jason’s extended family. Apparently he has a sister and a niece. I guess Pamela wasn’t as close to her daughter. The movie is self-referential, at one point a character jokes that people go to Crystal Lake to have premarital sex, get high, and be slaughtered. And then there’s the starting scene where a girl takes a shower to lure Jason out. (For optimal effect she should have been making out in the shower). There are stupid things like a magic dagger, and the plot about how only a Voorhees can kill Jason. Fun facts: Kane Hodder played as Jason, as a security guard, and as Freddy’s hand. Having rewatched this movie I have to rate it higher then I intended. It really is a fun stupid movie. If you want absurd violence, a black Crocodile Dundee, and the best sequel bait ever, then give this popcorn flick a try. Jason X Fun facts, a few ideas pitched before X included Jason being in the ‘Hood’, or in Los Angeles fighting gang members. Honestly I’d rather see him in the hood instead of space. I think that’s something we learned from the Leprechaun movies. The hood beats space. I guess that would be too close to Part Eight though, so to space it was. I also love how they built a facility in this movie to study Jason rather than take him to an existing facility. And of course he escapes off panel through the powers of what the fuck, so clearly the SCP Foundation these guys were not. But plot stuff happens and lead girl gets frozen along with Jason, and the two were thawed out in the future, where Jason is brought back to life by young people having sex. I love Jason’s design in this one. His clothes look like he hasn’t changed in thirty years or so, and no one can give a stink eye like Kane Hodder. The movie itself isn’t really horror, more like a parody of the series really. Some of it is eye-roll inducing, like the geek with an android girlfriend? Really? Come to think of it, this is a rehash of Part Eight, only in space. Now it makes sense. Jason was trying to hunt down the muppets… There’s a thing where Jason is resurrected by nanos and becomes terminator Jason, or Jason X, but is where the movie loses me. He was hard enough to kill already. I will say he looks bitchin’ though. This is the last one canonically, but came out before FvJ because that movie was in production hell forever. Freddy vs Jason This didn’t even try to be horror. There are some funny moments, but Jason is played like some idiot savant of killers. Somehow able to find a specific house of Elm St. and track the main cast somehow from a rave with lots of death fodder all the way to Westin Hills (wherever that is), is a complete doofus later in the movie, getting his machete jammed first in a table, and then in a cabin floor. And again later when Freddy cuts his fingers off and Jason holds his mangled hand up. Cause ha ha, he’s stupid. Freddy is his usual self minus most of his power. And speaking of de-powered, Jason got a big downgrade for the final fight with Freddy in which he moves super slowly. That had to happen though given how one punch from Jason would have ended the fight. Or should have, based off past movie feats. In cannon this is a direct sequel to Friday Part 9, but doesn’t fit the Nightmare series cannon at all. So Freddy’s in Hell with Jason, and he somehow revives Jason to go kill Elm St. teens so they think he’s back because blah blah blah. It’s not a great story. And it’s not really supposed to be. It’s a fight movie. It’s a fun movie if you can look past the whiny lead girl. Just the look of Freddy’s face when they bring him to the real world makes the entire movie worth a watch. Unless you’re a Fred head, in which case you will dig the dream world fight no doubt. FYI, don’t bother watching this on the Syfy channel. They hack into this movie more than the slashers. The biggest questions all the fans have after the fight is of course, how the fuck was Jason carrying Freddy’s head with no fingers??? Friday the 13th: Reboot Even though this is the one new viewers probably know best, it’s not the place to start. The characters are a little better then past movies, and Jason himself looks great. But the kills are either too much or too little. They try to stay true to what we expect while making it fresh. Somehow it fails at both. Jason does not torture people, and he does not kidnap people. He did run in the earlier movies, but his trademark is power striding. You can’t appreciate him running if you start off seeing him running. It’s the slow zombie > fast zombie rule. The thing about the underground tunnels is also just stupid. The story picks up after Part One, with the last girl lopping Mrs. Voorhees’ head off. Once again Jason sees it happen, and once again it doesn’t explain how he was alive if he had drowned a year previously. Then we skip forward to a group of kill fodder looking for a secret pot farm to get rich quick. This begs the question how the pot farmer(s) have survived with Jason, but I digress. Luckily we get a recap of the story from one of the characters, because we probably forgot in the intervening two minutes. Aaaand they die. Or most of them do. Enter the main plot and Sam Winchester. He has a name, but I’ve been watching Supernatural since day one, so he’s Sam Winchester to me. And as Sam Winchester he should have owned Jason’s ass. He’s at Crystal Lake looking for his sister, who went missing with the rest of the kill fodder. Luckily there’s a band of unlikable miscreants also at the lake for plot-y reasons. Conflict, sex scene, stab stab stab. That’s about the rest of the film, as you could guess. I really do like this movie, but it’s not the best starting point for the series. It compresses about six movies worth of evolution into one movie just so the new people can see a caricature of Jason. It’s the Happy Meal of Friday the 13th‘s in short. So that’s my fast run down of the Friday movies, and I hope I have piqued your interest. It’s a great series that runs the full gauntlet. From slow to fast, crap to gold, suspense to horror to horror-comedy. See larger image Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray] New From: $399.95 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.