The Jason Voorhees Filmography Countdown

In celebration of the most recent Friday, February 13th and of the release of the series "reboot" of Friday the 13th, I have decided to take a journey down memory lane and review all past films featuring the world's most iconic fictional slasher, Jason Voorhees.

I was introduced to Jason at a very young age (late nights on the USA Network, woohoo!) and I've been a megafan ever since. I vividly recall childhood camping trips where I would summarize the films by campfire to anyone that bothered to listen. I even dedicated a Halloween or two to Jason by fixing up the best hockey masked slasher costume I could scrounge up. No other slasher or horror movie stands up to this character or his movies so added incentive to compose these reviews are evident. If this is the year that we celebrate briefly Jason again, I owe it to myself and to the film franchise to write all I can about it.

For those who missed my Arnold Schwarzenegger Countdown, the process is as follows. Using my fanboy powers, I go back and rewatch all pertinent movies and carefully decide how to rank them in regards to all around personal enjoyment. I'll provide an official poster for each film, a cast list, brief synopsis, my take, thoughts on the film score, body counts, favorite kill, and probably more when it comes closer to the time that I start posting up each film review. For a categorical look, here is what I am projecting:

The Specs - Title, Release Date, Tagline, Cast
The Review - My take on the film
The Score - Brief thoughts on the music
The Sequence - My favorite, most memorable scene
The Body Count - Total on screen or implied deaths of anyone by anyone
The Line - My favorite quote of the film
The Shot - The singular image that defines the film
My Favorite Kill - The most unique death, most likely
The Man Behind The Mask - Short commentary on each portrayal/performance of Jason
What You Should Not Do To Jason - Something someone tries to do to Jason in every film which turns out to be an obvious mistake

As for updates, I can't make any promises other than that I will see this project to completion. Once I get the first review or two in, I try my best to keep a regularly updated pace, typically weekly, but I never know when a certain week or two are busier than others. I think it took me six months to do all of the Arnie reviews and that was 25 movies or so. To be official, here is what you'll see on the list, reviewed "worst" to "best".

Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part III
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Friday the 13th: Jason Lives
Friday the 13th: The New Blood
Friday the 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday
Jason X
Freddy vs. Jason
Friday the 13th (2009)

I will also try my best to keep these reviews SFW but come on, give me some obvious NSFW respect and understand that the subject matter is assuredly going to get a little messy here and there. Feel free to comment at any point with agreements, arguments, or just to show your disdain or support.

And here's some external links for flavor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th_(franchise)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Voorhees

Comments

can't wait!

who wants to place bets on where the sci fi movie places?

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Joseph Rhodes | Mon, 02/16/2009 - 21:13

#12 - Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

The Specs:
Evil has finally found a home.

Kane Hodder (Mr. Voorhees himself)
Steven Williams (The X-Files)
Richard Gant (Babylon 5)

In this far from final installment of the Jason Voorhees adventures we finally confirm that even if you blow Jason up into tiny chunks, he can still cause havoc without missing a beat. Turns out he can jump into and out of bodies on a whim so no one is safe. He can be anyone at any time, nowhere to run and no one to trust. We also discover the true way to destroy Jason once and for all and the Voorhees family history is expanded upon as well.

The Review:
After the success of its predecessors, I am baffled as to why it was necessary to alter the franchise formula to this extent. Sure, the entire series is notorious for abandoning continuity but at least there would always be a silent stalker/slasher type in a hockey mask slowly killing off bumbling hordes of sexually charged teenagers, right? Not so much is this the case in Jason Goes To Hell. At least the title was half right, the film certainly went to hell within the first ten minutes as the iconic visage of Jason is removed entirely and then we're forced to deal with a slew of coroners, cops, and TV show hosts shambling around trying to be Jason instead. Needless to say, this proved to be most ineffectual. The film slows to a crawl and I'm left begging for the hockey masked Jason to come back quickly and save me from boredom.

However, I wasn't completely disappointed. In a kind gesture, the movie gods awarded me one of my heroes from the X-Files, Mr. X himself, Steven Williams as a pretty badass bounty hunter in Creighton Duke. Look, they even gave him an awesome black hat and duster because only cowboy looking guys are allowed to be bounty hunters!

He was great, crazy, and had a knack for snapping people's fingers in horrific ways as payment for his vital Voorhees knowledge. They never explain how or why he knows every intimate detail about the Voorhees family but he does. For me, Mr. Williams was the star of the show which is great in a sense but when the movie is etched in Jason history then it doesn't say much for the movie when the main guy cannot steal his own show.

The other redeeming factor I slightly enjoyed was the local town's reaction upon hearing that Jason was finally dead. In Reality TV fashion, the town begins to market Jason accessories and various other souvenirs to would-be travelers wanting to scope out the town that was so near to all the brutal slayings over the years. I don't know, just something about expanding on the simple sighs of relief when a killer dies is what really sold this angle to me. Time and time again these people always prematurely cheer when Jason dies and this time they finally think they've won.

Other than that, this was your typical body possession killer movie/plot with Jason showing up at the start for about three minutes and at the end for another five. This is why it pretty much ranks this at the bottom of my list, never got terribly excited to watch the movie but I always watch it to completion when I aim to watch the entire saga. Plus, I'm here to review these films in the sense of Jason's actual involvement so you can rest assured that the few flicks that had little or nothing to do with him will fall short on my reviews. Not that those other few were terrible, just this one.

The Score:
Harry Manfredini reprises his musical genius. If you don't know him by now, you will as my reviews continue. Although this particular episode wasn't as memorable as others, Mr. Manfredini brings musical consistency back to this Jason installment. No off beat rock or lyrical stuff here folks, this is classic horror tension achieved through creative musical compositions. For the few times he results to using some synth work, I believe he does so in a manner that remains effective and far from distraction. And, yes, you can still manage to glimpse a few "Chi-chi-ah-ah-ah's" here and there too.

The Fact:
Kane Hodder, the stunt guy who has played Jason behind the mask the most manages to make an "out-of-body" cameo as himself as a security guard who had something to say about Jason.

"He wasn't nothin' but a big ol' pussy anyway."

Apparently, Kane was also Freddy Krueger's arm which was seen dragging Jason's mask into hell at the very end.

The Sequence:
This resembled the most classic of Jason, albeit briefly, so here's my personal pick. It gets a little out of hand by the time the FBI shows up but I accept it for all of its overkilling glory.


The Body Count: 22

The Line:
Interviewer: "I'm going to say a couple of words to you and I want you to say the first thing that comes into your mind."
Creighton Duke: "Okay."
Interviewer: "Jason Voorhees."
Creighton Duke: "That makes me think of a little girl in a pink dress sticking a hot dog through a doughnut."

The Shot:

Yup, they were serving Voorhees Burgers (complete with hockey mask shaped meat paddies) and Jason Fingers!

The Kill:
The top kill goes to the second or third Jason possessor who gets impaled by a large metal rod of some sort by a waitress. Having no effect on him, he then proceeds to pull the waitress through the other end of the rod which has immediate effect on her.

The Weapon:
The old faithful machete was the weapon of choice for this one.

The Man Behind The Mask:
Kane Hodder was again admirable as Jason during his actual eight minutes or so of screen time. Personally, I find him to be a little too thick for the physical part of the role but I think he is always spot on about how he stalks future victims and overall mannerisms.

What You Should Not Do To Jason:
Form an FBI sting operation around him, thinking that blowing him up into tiny chunks will do the trick.

Erik Ellickson | Sun, 02/22/2009 - 20:28

#11 - Friday The 13th (1980)

The Specs:
They were warned... they are doomed... And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.

Kevin Bacon (Footloose)

In the summer of 1957, a young boy named Jason Voorhees drowns in the lake at Camp Crystal Lake. The following year, two camp counselors are brutally slain. Without a suspect and with no leads, time has forgotten both incidents in present day 1980 when a Camp Crystal Lake revival is under way. Unbeknownst to a new group of camp counselors, the local Curse of Camp Blood begins anew and all hell will break loose.

The Review:
Let me get this out of the way, so we're all clear. I love this movie, I really do. It is flawless when considering its genre and film techniques. However, my personal film review countdown is all about Jason himself. And, well, if he is only a small child and has literally 25 seconds of total screen time in flashback form, I can't seriously rank this movie high on the list. At least this is testament to how bad Jason Goes To Hell is because at least he is in all of his murderous glory for a few moments in that one. The other thing I want to get out of the way is the lack of casting significance. I tried to sift through IMDB as best I could, and yes, no one in the entire movie besides Mr. Bacon went on to do anything else of geeky/science fiction significance. But from a certain perspective, if Kevin Bacon is involved, do we really need anybody else in the movie? I believe the Six Degrees of Separation can be somewhat debunked if we tried to link anyone else from this F13 installment, One or Two Degrees tops.

Okay, anyways, I love this film. I'm sure it probably doesn't hold up to modern crowds but for me, I truly dig what was probably only duplicated from Halloween at the time. A lot of it was filmed in POV, especially the killings so as to keep the actual killer a mystery until the finale. But even the POV stuff that was intentionally lurking behind trees or bushes was fantastic and very vouyerish, some techniques I feel are abandoned in modern film probably because that method is tacky nowadays, I'm not sure. Plus, this film was very slowly paced and mainly involved getting to know all the campers and the surrounding folk lore of Crystal Lake. Some of this setting information is still classic though. We have a moment to witness Strip Monopoly, listen to a babbling naysayer about how all the kids will die (a running theme for the first several Jason flicks), the old pretend drowning sequence to score a bonus mouth-to-mouth kiss, and the now standard booze and drugs scenes. And, of course, the always popular sexist practice of having every female who is running from the killer ultimately stumble and trip over thin air. And if that is not enough then there is always the scenes of Kevin Bacon in midriff shirts and thigh-tightening denim shorts which undoubtedly leads to an eventual full on bare ass shot. Take that, Kevin Costner!

Then there is Alice, the token pure-as-fresh-snow girl who never quite manages to try any drugs or drink some booze and who manages to keep all her clothes on during Strip Monopoly. I guess she was to be the Jamie Lee Curtis role for all intents and purposes. Anyone else was fair game though, nothing was out of bounds. I guess Alice's payoff was she got all the good screaming and action scenes towards the end. But, if you think about it, she is really the one who starts this whole Jason Voorhees comeback though. Yup. By the finale, we come to learn that Mrs. Voorhees is responsible for the 1958 murders, seeking revenge against all slacker counselors who neglected her son Jason drowning in the lake nearby. She eventually kills off everyone but Alice so we witness a very nice cat and mouse chase which ultimately ends with Alice chopping off Mrs. Voorhees head with... a machete.

The Score:
Here is where we're truly introduced to Mr. Harry Manfredini. I'm sure this movie would be somewhat creepy without a musical score but the masterpiece that is created for it is so powerful, it's definitely like anything John Williams to Star Wars, just the perfect union of score and movie. If you can either download or buy the album, I highly suggest it at least for Halloween to scare the neighborhood kids. Lots of jolting violins and eerie stalking compositions in this one. And as for the pop culture defining soundbyte - I present to you an awesome tidbit from IMDB:

Composer Harry Manfredini has said that contrary to popular belief, the famous "chi chi chi, ha ha ha" in the film's score is actually "ki ki ki, ma ma ma". It is meant to resemble Jason's voice saying "kill kill kill, mom mom mom" in Mrs. Voorhees' mind. It was inspired by the scene in which Mrs. Voorhees seems to be possessed by Jason and chants "Get her mommy....kill her!" Manfredini created the effect by speaking the syllables "Ki" and "Ma" into a microphone running through a delay effect.

Pure genius, without a doubt.

The Fact:
During the first few weekends of the film's release, makeup/effects artist Tom Savini would go into theaters for the last five minutes of the show to see the audience react to Jason emerging from the lake and grabbing Alice. - IMDB

More on this in just a moment.

The Sequence:
Memtioned earlier, the showdown between Alice and Mrs. Voorhees is great. It probably runs a solid 20 minutes so I'm not going to bother trying to scrounge up actual video but the highlights are below. Just know that this consists of them hitting each other with clubs, pans, fists, slaps and cheap biting tactics as well as slamming faces into the ground. I say it tops any typical catfight you'd see today without a debate.


The Body Count: 10

The Line:
Mrs. Voorhees quickly plays spoiler at the end of the film, revealing with intimate detail the story of her son. Then this last line is heard and just the way she delivered it was extremely creepy.

"You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday..."

This line and the preceding dialogue was heavily used in the trailers for the recent series reinvention.

The Shot:
I remember when I first saw this as a kid and this shot still freaks me out, even after watching the movie twice for this review. Just something about the happy "it's finally over" music and then a loud roar with this clawing at her back is downright freaky!

The Kill:
Without a doubt, Kevin Bacon lying in bed when an arrow suddenly slams out from behind him, stabbing outward from his neck. I think the camera cut too fast because I swear it looks like the geyser of blood is going to hit Kevin Bacon on the face.

The Weapon:
Again with the machete. It's the prime weapon of all things F13 and it started here but I promise you more noteworthy ones come about later on.

The Man Behind The Mask:
No real man behind the mask per se, but I give all the credit in the world to special effects makeup guru Tom Savini. What he did to that little boy, and for as brief of a time as he was on camera, those were the strongest visuals burned into my mind even to this day in regards to thinking back on the series. Chilling I tell you, chilling.

What You Should Not Do To Jason:
Well, it's quite evident that killing his mom was a massive mistake. It's what started this entire mess, isn't it?

Erik Ellickson | Fri, 02/27/2009 - 12:37

yes!

what a great way to capture this film. i'm going to have to try to watch them as you post, because aside from this, i don't think i have seen any others (save for bits of the sci fi one and freddy vs jason, which, does that count?)

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Joseph Rhodes | Fri, 02/27/2009 - 16:02

Thanks!

Well, they are both on my list so, yes, you'll read them here eventually. Even the brand new re-release too. I'm trying to hit all the major films that have Jason Voorhees in them in some shape or form.

Glad you like 'em so far. I'll have one more up sometime next week before I split for vacation.

"I sing like an amputee - can't hold a note, can't carry a tune."

Erik Ellickson | Fri, 02/27/2009 - 18:24

#10 - Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

The Specs:
If Jason still haunts you... you're not alone.

Corey Feldman (Goonies)
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. (Action Jackson, Juwanna Mann)

In the second act of the Tommy Jarvis Trilogy, a slightly older Tommy is driven away from the mental institute he was presumed to had occupied following the events of what was supposed to be The Final Chapter. Now we find Tommy at a halfway camp for current mental patients working their ways back into society. However, after a psychotic and murderous episode from one of the patients upon another, a slew of new murders crop up. With the mental case behind bars and Tommy constantly at war with himself and the distant memories of Jason's demise, who could possibly be responsible for these new Jason-like slayings?

The Review:
If I took this film at face-value, I'd rate it somewhat higher on this list but due to a certain technicality, it rests here comfortably at number ten. Although Goonies is an all-time cult/geek classic, it was because of its filming that limited young Corey Feldman to a brief cameo for this installment as opposed to the full role he had in the prior film. I think a lot of people who are distant Jason Voorhees fans forget that Corey was in a couple of these films so here's the brief proof of his involvement for this one.

Sadly, the character of Tommy Jarvis takes a dive because of the lack of Feldman, who I deem the true celeb of the series after Kevin Bacon. Instead, we timeskip a handful of years to an older Tommy who doesn't look anything like an older Feldman but by now it is obvious that the creative forces behind the series didn't even attempt to satisfy continuity in any form but one (to be hinted at in a future review). After the flashback at the film's start, we learn that Tommy went nuts after "killing" Jason and has been confined to a mental institute ever since. The scene still haunts his mind, however, but the doctors are ready to give him a new shot at life. So he winds up at Pinehurst Youth Development Center which is a medical term for Camp Crystal Lake for Crazies.

So after we meet all the crazies and their caretakers (one of which is a Patrick Duffy clone), we are introduced to the "MUST DIE!" characters, the neighboring inbred family who constantly whine to the police about some of the crazies who trespass onto their land to knock boots. Trust me, this mother/son combo really start off on a nails-across-chalkboard level of annoying so as soon as you meet them you will want Jason on camera ASAP to deliver us from their evil. Anyways, one of the nicer yet slower crazies attempts to make friends to some of his peers working in the yard. Eventually, he stumbles upon the loner with an axe who is genuinely minding his own business chopping wood. However, he gets easily frustrated by the slow fellow and winds up slamming the axe into his back several times. The police and paramedics arrive, including one EMT who is a little squeamish about the mangled body under the white sheet.

Shortly after the axe psycho is carted away more killings begin to crop up and in higher frequency. Tommy begins to up the dosage of his hallucination pills with visions of Jason becoming more frequent as well. It isn't long until his visions apparently become reality as Jason mysteriously returns to continue his murderous carnage and to seek revenge upon Tommy! Or has he?

By the end of the film, we discover that the squeamish EMT Roy was copycatting Jason's M.O. as a cover! You see, it turns out the slaughtered mental kid was his son and he couldn't stand to see him dead without taking revenge on all of the Pinehurst residents. It's great, watch the film twice so you can catch all the subtle hints they drop - even the BLUE mask! So, yes, because Jason isn't Jason but some guy named Roy who does manage to copycat quite well is the reason behind my low rank. It was fun while it lasted but us superfans hate to be deceived! I mean, at least the Tommy visions actually depict the red masked Jason but those are only for a few seconds at a time.

The Score:
It's going to be tough to praise Harry Manfredini again and again but his musical gold returns for another round. I really enjoy how he uses the chi-chi-chi-ah-ah-ah very minimally and he really doesn't cookie cut his own scores from the prior films but he makes enough subtle adjustments to keep the music fresh and tense.

And I also have to give credit for the one song not of Manfredini's design. It just so happens to be featured in my favorite kill so you'll hear it's appropriateness in a moment.

The Fact:
IMDB - One month prior to the film's release in the U.S., the Motion Picture Association of America demanded that 16 scenes featuring sex or graphic violence be edited in order to merit an "R" rating instead of an "X" rating. The film ultimately required nine trips to the MPAA before being granted an "R" rating.

The Sequence:
The world is always made a better place when "Jason Voorhees" kills an emo Kim Bauer lookalike. Plus the song is so priceless, pay attention to the lyrics.


The Body Count: 23

The Line:
Ethel takes it down with this entire exchange.


The Shot:
Something creepy about looking out a window and seeing this for a second and then gone the next.

The Kill:
It was tempting to give my favorite kill back to the emo girl but I didn't want to come off as being cheap so the second place kill is not that far off from top honors. Here we get Juwanna Mann in Michael Jackson attire getting impaled inside an outhouse.

The Weapon:
I'm going with the flare to the mouth.

You don't see that every day.

The Man Behind The Mask:
This one is tricky. The guy that played EMT Roy was also credited as Bluemask Jason. However, in truth, Tom Morga played both the imposter and the actual/hallucinated Jason. Either way, I thought all shots and scenes with either mask were great, solid performances all around. I think there were good mixes of head turns, stalking, and reacting to taking damage. I also like his build for the part, not too bulky and not too lanky. Too me, something is off when I find that the stuntman's build gets my attention. If the guy disappears behind the mask then I say it's a job well done.

What You Should Not Do To Jason:
Imposter or not, a kid should never operate heavy machinery (aka bulldozer) in an attempt to run over any adult wearing a hockey mask.

Erik Ellickson | Tue, 03/03/2009 - 21:19

#09 - Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

The Specs:
On Friday, the 13th, Jason is back. But this time someone's waiting.

Terry Kiser (Weekend At Bernie's, Weekend At Bernie's II)
Kevin Spirtas (Daredevil, Apt Pupil)

Years after Tommy Jarvis chained Jason Voorhees to the depths of Crystal Lake, all seems quiet at long last however. However, a young girl witnesses an argument between her parents which eventually leads to her father becoming violent against her mother. Running away, the girl climbs into a boat and begins to float away from her father who has since followed her in an attempt to apologize. When the girl becomes increasingly angry and emotional she unleashes psychic powers that causes the dock to shake and brake apart with her father still yelling for her to come back.

Years pass again as young Tina, now in her teens, returns to Crystal Lake with her mother and her mental therapist who are attempting to free her from the guilt of her father's death. Desperately wanting her father back, Tina focuses what she can of her developing psychic powers, mistakenly releasing Jason from his chains instead of bringing her father back.

As fate would have it, a group of teens show up at a nearby lake house for a weekend of booze, drugs, and sex. With the stage set once again, Jason arrives and carries on his murderous rampage. Will the teen psychic meet Jason's match or is she merely another tally on his kill list?

The Review:
Aside from the premise, I found this flick to be quite solid and entertaining. But, for whatever reason, I cannot wrap my brain around the premise. Yes, yes, I know Jason has been a zombie, returned as a worm thingy that body jumps, and he has been cryogenically frozen and blasted off into space four hundred years later but I draw the line with teenage psychic girl. I mean, really? It is obvious they tried to pose an actual threat to Jason in this installment but I found their answer to be a little weak. In some ways I can see why, especially since the majority of Jason's opposition are teenagers so why not make this particular teen something special? But knowing where they've gone in other movies, both before and after, I still find this angle to be complete crap even if they tried to bill it as Jason vs. Carrie. So if you can stand psychics then I'm sure this film will rank higher on your list than it does on mine.

As for the usual suspects, we're introduced to an annoying blonde snob very early on who we have to endure for most of the film but Jason makes sure she gets what's coming to her by the end. Her death really was classic too. At this point, I start to ponder if the Friday the 13th franchise originated the "cheer for the killer" angle by creating very annoying characters who we'd normally care about it. I mean on some level it is a little sick to root for the grotesque killer but some of us moviegoers only have so much patience, right?

What I really like a lot about this film is the special effects. We're still not in CG land here so I give mad props to all the practical stunts and effects which are still impressive to look at today when considering the technology that wasn't available back then. Even so, I scratch my head at one ultimately harmless thing. Chronologically, Jason was left chained at the bottom of the lake after the last film. Knowing this and skipping ahead in time, why would the costume department give Jason different clothes all together? It's not like tattered clothes impact the limited budget. This is just one of the billion continuity issues with the series and it has been documented over and over again that the filmmakers cared less but it is one that irks me more than most. At least the special effects artist made up for it. He sought to depict each and every ounce of damage Jason has sustained and it shows.

So again, when some choices were made for change and others for meticulous continuity, I question the aforementioned carelessness. All the way or not at all, I say. Either way I am fuming over tiny details. Actually, I'm not. Only the psychic girl freaks me out about this movie. Moving on.

The ending was also really bad. It's okay, a few of these films do end poorly but this one goes a little too far. Eventually the final showdown and struggle winds up by the lake, as these scenes usually do, and the girl psychically freaks out just as Jason is about to lash out to grab her. Suddenly, the lake starts to bubble and, would you believe, her father leaps out from the lake in perfect condition and drags Jason back down into the depths, once again never to be seen.

He spent just as much time down there as Jason did and yet he doesn't have any water damage to show for it.

The Score:
A lot of the score was recycled stuff from Harry Manfredini from previous films but the little additions inserted by Fred Mollin didn't harm the ambiance at all. I like to sum up his interpretations along the lines of creepy chamber music, mostly slower sounds that lacked a lot of tense jerks and shrieks that Manfredini excelled at implementing. It's not often that two different composers can seamlessly blend a new score together that works.

The Fact:
This film was originally intended to bring Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger together onscreen for the first time. But when Paramount Pictures (at that time was holding the rights to the "Friday the 13th" franchise) and New Line Cinema (who holds the rights to the "Nightmare On Elm Street" series) couldn't agree behind the scenes, the script was rewritten to pit Jason up against the telekinetic Tina Shepard instead. - IMDB

The Sequence:
Even though I'm not a fan of Psychic Girl, the bits toward the end of the film where she finally opens a pwnbook on Jason is pretty solid stuff. If anything, it proves that he can take it just as well as he can dish it out.

For some reason, embedding is disabled for this clip so see it the old fashioned way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzUmv0Qr0aM

The Body Count: 16

The Line:
There's a sequence with a couple of campers. The female one demands that the male one get more firewood on the fire before bed. He doesn't want to at first but eventually caves in.

"I'll be back!", he tells her in his best Arnie voice. (No lie.)

The Shot:
Probably one of the creepier, most awesome, Jason unmasked shots.

The Kill:
Death by sleeping bag...


Best. Kill. Evah.

The Weapon:
I'd wager that a kazoo makes quite the creative weapon.

The Man Behind The Mask:
This movie was Kane Hodder's first casting as Jason. Turns out this was a rough introduction, the most demanding Jason I've heard Kane say in a few interviews. If you watched my favorite sequence clip then you know why. He was drowned, electrocuted, strangled, caught on fire and blew up to name a few. Usually he doesn't do much outside the realm of killing off people so this was a stretch since he also got his ass kicked rather thoroughly. Not to mention the amount of costuming and special effects pieces he had to wear as well. What I appreciate the most about Kane's performance in this one was how the camera treated him. In some films they make him look too thick and short but in this one his actual stature was well hidden. Or maybe the rest of the cast was really, really short. I dunno.

What You Should Not Do To Jason:
If Jason is resting comfortably (?) at the bottom of a lake, minding his own business, it's probably unwise to use your untrained psychic powers to release him.

Erik Ellickson | Mon, 03/16/2009 - 15:31

#08 - Friday The 13th (2009)

The Specs:
Welcome to Crystal Lake.

Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist)
Jared Padalecki (Gilmore Girls)
Danielle Panabaker (Sky High)
Travis Van Winkle (Transformers 2007)
Derek Mears (Men In Black II, The Hills Have Eyes II)

Re-envisioned for the current modern movie-watching youth, a young group of campers dare to explore the regions surrounding a forgotten Camp Crystal Lake in search of El-do-Weedo, quite literally a rumored marijuana "forest". On the brink of the ultimate stoner Mecca, the campers fail to realize they've stirred the attention of one Jason Voorhees, the subject of campfire horror stories aimed to scare the kiddies. This particular group discovers quickly that the stories are true but are unable to warn anyone of the impending slaughter.

Flash ahead six months. A new group of college youth proceed to a summer lake house belonging to one of the rich kids in the flock. A loner on a bike eventually arrives, handing out fliers and talking to anyone who'd listen about his sister who went missing roughly six months ago. Just when Jason thought he was left alone again, turns out his work is not quite finished. Watch and witness again, the birth of a horror icon.

The Review:
I went into this touchy subject of a remake with low expectations. Obviously, I'm probably not the type of person these filmmakers sought to attract since I am too fond of the original films. I'm sure they welcomed my money but I'm sure they were aware that some of the updates they made wouldn't please everybody. Honestly, I was pleased about the film in many ways but some of the changes I felt were not needed since the original formula behind the character and his mannerisms were so successful, why change if nothing is broke? Overall, I was satisfied with the effort and I was later impressed that the creators really aimed to make a quality product and didn't want to displease the fanbase. I'm sure some would think they'd toot whatever horn was necessary to get butts in the seats but I felt that the cast and crew really were sincere about their efforts about staying true to the history and success of the franchise.

I thought the plot was good enough for an introductory installment. I never expect philosophically shattering stuff in these films but this particular story kept Jason and the scenario within a seemingly believable reality, no zombies or psychics to be found anywhere this time. However, I thought the marijuana goldmine and fake boobs (ALL natural in the 80's baby!) were a little much but it's not exactly a Jason film without some level of excess. The best comment I read was from AICN, claiming that it was perhaps Jason's scheme to PLANT all that marijuana to LURE stoners to his camp for the slaughter.

Anyways, this movie does well in establishing the franchise basics such as the one or two MUST kills, crazy sex and drugs, and kids isolated from parental protection. The clever move made here was the narrative choice in blending several elements from the first four films of the old franchise. To the defense of the originals, however, Friday The 13th was not meant to springboard into a flurry of sequels that it did. So instead of having mom in one film, potato-sack Jason in the next film, and the hockey-masked Jason in the next, all of those minor yet important details are worked into this one film.

I begin to take issue with some of the realistic qualities given to Jason in this film - which was the choice of the filmmakers to do so. A major risk I felt they took and was a horrible move was to establish Jason as such a hardcore hunter that he, in fact, has dug out a network of underground tunnels throughout the camp and even has strategically placed a series of bells under and above ground so when they are tripped he can pinpoint the locations of his victims. Yeah, a little too much impractical science. The zombie who doesn't flinch, run, and yet seemingly "teleports" was not favored. They instead went for a Jason that is clearly a hunter, trapper, sprinter, and someone who articulates with as much physical motion as a real-world psycho killer would possess. I guess I wouldn't have an issue with that but when you take away some of the classic staples of the character, I frown a little. I don't think anything beats the silent stalker who ignores pain and who possesses an uncanny ability to simply be there before you get there. I chalk up his "teleporting" as simply knowing his own damned woods he has inhabited for thirty years better than Joe Stoner and his girlfriend Boobs Malloy.

Part of the fun about movies is suspending some disbelief and rolling with the punches. What fun is it if everything is detailed to satisfy scientific continuity? For the unaware, this is an ongoing (silent) debate I have with most of my movie-going friends. I'm all for avoiding glaringly stupid mistakes, but once you attempt to redo something that was cheesy to begin with in a more realistic manner, the lens for mythbusting scrutiny opens even wider.

The Score:
I guess Steve Jablonsky was fearful of tapping into too much Harry Manfredini. I mean, we get a few samples of the iconic chi-chi-chi-ah-ah-ah but the score itself is mostly forgettable. Actually, most of it was either non-existent or simply too ambient for me to notice or care about it either way. I guess a safe bet in a remake is to not make any music when the original stuff is essentially untouchable.

They did throw in some lame alt punk rock in the middle of the film during the topless water skiing sequence. Other than the boobs and the kill, the rest was just as forgettable.

The Fact:
Tommy Jarvis, a character that appeared in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), and Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986) was at one point confirmed by producers Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form of Platinum Dunes to be returning as Jason's nemesis. - IMDB

The Sequence:
Unfortunately, this film is still way too new to link up a specific sequence via Youtube and I lack the knowledge and program of splicing it out from my crappy cam download. Pretty much the intro campsite slaying of the first group of campers wins hands down. I may be so bold in claiming it's probably the most seriously brutal sequence in all F13 films. The reality of it was captured very well, lots of tension and panic. And machetes, and burning sleeping bags, and bear traps...

The Body Count: 14

The Line:
I'm going with the safe line of dialogue but rest assured, there is a classic line during a sex scene which really blows my mind that a FILM WRITER thought that stretch of dialogue was awesome.

This was great though, got some chuckles from the theater crowd. One of the kids runs off into a tool shed and finds a hockey stick. So he starts pretending he's skating and playing hockey when he accidentally backs into Jason who was finally allowed to "teleport". The kid spins around and musters the courage to say...

"Are you, uh, looking for this? 'Cause it, uh, completes your outfit.", as he looks up to the now hockey-masked Jason with the hockey stick offered to him like Excalibur. Instead, Jason opts to kill him with a screwdriver through the neck.

The Shot:

The Kill:
Even though this film honored and tried to up the ante' with the sleeping bag kill, I don't like to recycle favorite picks. So my favorite "original" kill from this movie belongs to the genius girl who thought she could avoid Jason by swimming under a dock while hoping he was deaf because she did end up breathing rather heavily from the swim to get under the dock.

Machete to the skull. Ouchie.

The Weapon:
Being a remake, they stuck with his weapon of choice, the machete, for the most part. However, I think he made great use of the axe in this one. He manages to hurl it several yards to hit somebody in the back with it.

The Man Behind The Mask:
Although Derek Mears went against a ton of Jason mannerisms, I blame the directorial choices for that and not Derek himself. The few times that I thought he portrayed Jason well was enough for me to be okay with him. And he also seems like a mega nice guy in person, someone you could just hang out with and shoot from the hip. Apparently, from more interviews I've seen and read of his, he really went overboard with research such as child psychology and how they generally react or respond when their parents/mother figure are murdered in front of them. So at least he is extremely dedicated to the material and means well in the end. At any point in the film where he wasn't asked to violate traditional Jason actions or reactions, I thought he shined the most and pulled off a lot of "cold stares" and simply being creepy in general.

What You Should Not Do To Jason:
For the rednecks out there: Never go to your attic and talk naughty things to your first love mannequin with Jason lurking in the nearby shadows. He thinks that's gross. And so do we.

Erik Ellickson | Wed, 03/25/2009 - 14:53

#07 - Friday The 13th Part II (1981)

The Specs:
The body count continues...

Amy Steel (Millennium)
Stuart Charno (X-Files)

Two months following Mrs. Voorhees murdering spree at Camp Crystal Lake, the lone survivor Alice is slowly coming to peace with the tragic event which resulted in her decapitating Mrs. Voorhees in self-defense. Turns out she is unaware that she has earned the vengeful attention of Mrs. Voorhees rumored to be dead son, Jason. Tracking down Alice's whereabouts, Jason sneaks into her apartment and kills her off then disappears into the night once more.

Five years pass and the Packanack Lodge, neighbor to Camp Crystal Lake, opens up a new Camp Counselor Training Camp. As the new counseling trainees arrives, stories and rumors begin to crop up about the slayings at the nearby Camp Crystal Lake from years past. Certain that Jason had, in fact, drowned all those years ago, the trainees naturally fall victim to their own curiosity and begin to trespass into the campground where Jason still lurks...

The Review:
First of all, I'd like to welcome the return of old Crazy Ralph, everybody's favorite doomsayer!


"You're all dooooooomed..."

Continuing the trend, Ralph returns to warn the new group of kids to avoid the camp because it is cursed and only death awaits. I'm just saying, of all the crazy old people in movies than warn the youth that the end is nigh, Ralph is the most honest and believable, hands down! I'm sad they never explored Ralph in depth though. How does he know so much? Was he there at the camp all those years ago? We can only make our own assumptions. And even though Ralph disregards his own advice and dies by Jason's hand, he did return later as the opening Narrator to Part VII. More of the same, "Yes. I've told you for SEVEN movies now, you're all doooooomed!"

What I really like about this film the sequels at large are the introductory recaps. They're great. Usually the first five or ten minutes of the movies start off by recapping the plot points of the previous film. So here Alice's story is retold so the actual Part 2 intro makes sense. Well, except for how Jason tracked her down into the city and into her apartment (GoogleMaps?). All of this takes about fifteen minutes before the intro credits roll, which I think makes for a more interesting movie when it breaks preconceived visual pacing.

Face it. All of these movies were made only because of the money they generate. No one had a massive story arc spanning nearly a dozen films. So, in a way, we now begin a journey with the writers and filmmakers into uncharted territory. Jason was never even an original plan. But when the first film cost roughly a half million to make and it earns 39 million, some sequels just HAVE to happen! So this is the first film where they begin to get their feet wet with Jason, both as a character and as a look.

What I like most of all is the similar shot formula this takes from the first film. Lots of creepy POV shots from the killer's eye, slow building tension, and mystery to first time viewers of who is doing all the killing and what he/she/it looks like. So, for the first sequel, I actually don't find it cheap at all that the format from the first is followed almost identically. I think it would be harder to replicated shot techniques than it would be to simply film off the cuff in a new direction.

I can't really blame anybody for Jason's first look but I can't imagine a lot of people were creeped out by a dude in overalls wearing a pillow case with one eye hole cut out. So I still can't help but laugh every time he is on screen. But this film cost about a million to make and it raked in another 21 million so at least they'd have another chance to get it right. And, boy, did they ever.

The Score:
I realized I've yet to actually provide a link of Harry Manfredini's work. I think music speaks for itself without written reviews. So check out the theme for Part II. It's one of my favorites in the series.

A part of me wants to queue this song up on my iPod and trounce around in the woods at night with it on.


But another part of me is a little scared to try.

The Fact:
Jason in this film is dressed to look exactly the same as the killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976). - IMDB

The Sequence:
Probably the climax of the film. Some of it was hokey and silly but the reactions by Jason at around 1:50 and/or 2:00 are priceless (slight headturn - "Really?!"). I think this sequence has the best overall tension and music as well. Not the best sequence but the most memorable for sure.


The Body Count: 9

The Line:
Ginny, the main heroine, tries to start up actual Jason analysis at a bar with some friends.

"What if there is a Jason? What if there is some kind of boy-beast running around Camp Crystal Lake? I mean, lets try to think beyond the legend, put it in real terms. I mean, what would he be like today? Some kind of out of control psychopath? Frightened retard? A child trapped in a man's body?"

The Shot:
There was a great reveal later on in the movie where Jason hides under the covers next to someone he already killed. Naturally, a girl comes in to check on someone she doesn't already know is dead. The shot of Jason sitting up was classic and kinda funny.

The Kill:
Jason, believe it or not, is an equal opportunist when it comes to killing. He jumps right over the "You wouldn't kill a guy with glasses, would you?" question and gets right to the answer of "You wouldn't slam a machete into a guy on a wheelchair, would you?".


Brownie points for connecting with enough force to send him rolling down a long stairway.

The Weapon:
Going with the garrote because this was one of the rare kills by Jason where he doesn't show himself to the victim before/during/after the kill.


Poor, poor Ralph.

The Man Behind The Mask:
It gets tricky again with the casting of Jason. Steve Dash, in my mind, is Jason for this movie but the one brief sequence of Jason unmasked is given to Warrington Gillete who was oddly given the overall credit. So lowly stuntman Steve Dash didn't get respect until Part III when they credited him for the intro recap footage from II. Either way, both men were great for their roles. Steve had a few moments towards the end in the barn with some awesome subtle head movements and reactions to almost being fooled into believing his mom was alive.

And Warrington just looked flippin' freaky as an unmasked Jason hillbilly inbred looking guy. He even had a few patches of long scrawny hair. Definitely could pass as Sloth's brother in Goonies. Also props for the homage to the ending of Part I, leaping out at the surviving girl after the trick happy ending music begins.

What You Should Not Do To Jason:
I don't think it helps you or Jason to put on his dead mom's moldy, dusty sweater and attempt to command him like you are his mother. Especially, you know, when his mom's head is sitting on an altar right behind you.

Erik Ellickson | Mon, 03/30/2009 - 13:26

just wanted to say great job

just wanted to say great job so far...

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Joseph Rhodes | Mon, 03/30/2009 - 16:38

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