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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
by Dan Greene
How fucking lucky are we? Friday the 13th in October. It doesn’t get any better than this. Take your Christmas and Labour Day and whatever the hell else is important to you and forget about it. Jesus has left the building and there’s no time to relax and watch the sunset. The sun has set on you, my friend; it’s almost the end and you are out of luck. How cool is that? Well, it’s so cool that I didn’t see the obvious. The perfect topic completely escaped me until someone a little less retarded figured it out for me. You know where this is going, right?
This is going to Crystal Lake, baby! Who’s up for camping, carnality and carnage? How the hell many of these are there by now anyway?
Friday the 13th
The First One - 1980
Man oh man, it’s not even two minutes into this movie when you hear the music that follows you forever, that ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha sound. That’s up there with Jaws and Halloween in terms of memorable scores. A hell of a lot better than the stupid ass song they’re singing around the campfire in the opening scene. Summer camp movies are the best, aren’t they? Anything set in the woods has potential.
A guy and a girl, both camp counselors, take off from the group for a little action. Maybe even fornication. You know horror karma though, anything fun will cost you your life – and Friday The 13th is full of that stuff. Yeah, they die. Takes about five minutes. Those five minutes set the tone and the standard for any part of the series worth talking about. Dark forest, the buildup, the kill. It’s all about the atmosphere.
Sean S. Cunningham was behind this one, produced and directed it. He produced a couple of other good ones too, like The Last House On The Left and House (the one with the Greatest American Hero and Bull from Night Court). He came back to the series to produce a few more, but not until Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday. Yeah, right buddy. That’s number nine and we all knew it was not going to be the last. There have been more and there will be more. Fuck’s sake, number four was called The Final Chapter. Think we’re stupid? Fool me twice and I’ll stab you in the neck
Tom Savini worked special effects on this one as well. That guy’s resume is a mile long. That final scene with Jason coming up out of the water (another trail blazer of sorts, that whole just-when-you-think-it’s-over thing) was his idea. Thanks for that one, Tom.
This movie doesn’t even have Jason in it. Well it kind of does but not in the way you might think, or might think you remember. Jason’s Mom was the killer in this one. Vengeance on her mind for the death of her son Jason, years ago, due to the negligence of the camp counselors who were too busy getting it on to worry about a weird kid who hadn’t come up for air in a while. “The counselors weren’t paying any attention. THEY were making love while that young boy drowned.”
Don’t forget that this movie is from 1980, so there isn’t as much gore as you might figure there would be, considering the reputation of the series. What’s more fun about the series is the imagination used in the style and method of dying. The whole idea of good deaths, know what I mean? A good scene is where somebody dies well. If you haven’t seen this in a while, or haven’t seen it at all, then you’re missing out on a sweet piece of murderous history.
The Second One – 1981
Oh yeah, with the response from the original it took them one year to get the sequel out. Now if the sequel had sucked then it probably would have been the end of the series. The sequel wasn’t too bad though, not at all. The story tied in quite well with the first one, bringing in Jason in a form that’s still not quite what you recognize today. He didn’t have his hockey mask in the second movie, he just kind of had a sack on his head. He gets unmasked at the end (in his shack in the woods, where he has a little shrine to his Mom, complete with her decapitated head) and it ain’t pretty.
So, okay. Jason was picked on as a kid because he was a deformed little reject who couldn’t swim very well. That explains the mask. Cool. We know that his Mom went nuts because she lost her special little boy. It’s easy enough to figure out that, well, the kid probably wasn’t that well adjusted to begin with. Losing his Mom and growing up in the woods on your own has got to make things worse, especially with your genes predisposed to murder like that.
Now I generally don’t make fun of people who can’t help it – except for Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Franklin, the guy in the wheel chair – but there’s another guy in a wheelchair in Friday 2 that dies really well. Again, a lot of the gore in this movie is offscreen, but this guy goes backwards down a flight of stairs. Trust me. Don’t worry so much about the lack of gore though, as it is made up for in the currency of boobies.
The Third One – 1982
Well they were on a roll and they had to keep it rolling. The third one was originally released in 3D, and although I’ve heard that it’s available on DVD somewhere in the world, Japan I think, I’ve never seen it myself. It transferred pretty well to regular film though. Of the entire series, this one is the best. There’s more humour in this one than usual and the murders start to get a bit more graphic. Steve Miner directed this one, as he did the second (he’s also responsible for such gems as tv episodes of Smallville and Felicity, and don’t forget Soul Man with C. Thomas Howell!)
I already talked about this one so I won’t get into it again today. Jason gets his hockey mask here though. You want to see that, don’t you?
The Fourth One/The First Last One – 1984
They took a year off, that’s nice. They come back and give us Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman. Now that’s good times.
Although it’s pretty solid, you can tell that the series is juuuust starting to lose its edge here. The deaths get better but there’s only so far you can go with the story. Good nudity too.
Much the same story here. Jason escapes from the morgue, heads back home and gets back to business. This whole thing is stereotypically 80’s to an even bigger extent than the third one. Dope and booze and promiscuous teenagers partying as if Kelly Lebrock just appeared in their bedroom. Then most of them die, then Jason gets offed, but he doesn’t get offed. The climactic scene goes to Corey Feldman (playing the character of Tommy Jarvis) so you know that the decline is imminent.
The Fifth One – 1985
More 80’s hilarity, this time in a halfway house. They’re running out of ideas and it shows. This is where the series starts to get the reputation it now has. You know what, I’ll just let you know now that if you’ve made it his far, you’ve seen the best of them. There’s nothing special after this one. Matter of fact, I’m only going to go one further.
The Sixth Fucking One – 1986
1986 was a bad year for a lot of reasons and I think this movie has something to do with it. It’s not that good. I’ll just tell you how it starts. Tommy Jarvis is fresh out of the mental hospital and wants to make sure that Jason is dead. So he goes to the graveyard and digs him up to look at the body for himself. He sees the dead body but figures it’s not dead enough, so he impales the corpse with a metal shaft. But Tommy, it’s raining out. Don’t you know that impaling an old corpse will reanimate it if the weather is right? Jesus H. Christ. I’ll watch the movie but that’s just fucking stupid. See why I don’t want to go further?
To be honest I’ve only been unable to sit through number eight, Jason Takes Manhattan. I keep falling asleep. I’m sure there’s something good in there somewhere.
So what do you guys think? What was the best? What was the worst? I’ve left out a few here…. Don’t forget Freddy vs. Jason. That was actually better than I thought it would be. Now are you guys all going to be okay tonight? Stay off the dope and keep your hands out of each other’s pants, okay?
Dan usually appears here on Wednesday's with Don't Go In There. He enjoys making that ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha in darkened movie theaters.