Full disclosure: my father was born on Friday the 13th in 1956, on the day before the videotape format was introduced to the NARTB convention in Chicago (you can thank Wikipedia for that one). So it's pretty much my destiny that I contribute to Friday the 13th Blog-a-thon hosted by the incomparable/irreplaceable/funny-as-a-fork-in-yer-eye Stacie Ponder. For my contribution I give you an expanded version of a story I wrote for the last Friday the 13th for PLAY Treasure Valley, my newspaper's entertainment magazine. If you're reading this you probably don't need any reasons to have a Friday the 13th marathon, but here's my sell to the general public:
Paraskavedekatriaphobia — or fear of Friday the 13th — is a condition that affects many people. Paraskavedehockeymaskphobia — or fear of the movie series “Friday the 13th” — likely afflicts even more.
What started in 1980 as a slightly inventive fright flick riding the coattails of the original “Halloween” movie, devolved into a seemingly bottomless ‘Crystal Lake’ of sequels filled with witless teenagers finding dumber and dumber ways to die inside a dark cabin (or bathroom, or closet, or malfunctioning car).
But really, how else do you plan on celebrating today, the last Friday the 13th until ... well, July? To keep you from viewing this date with any sort of trepidation, here are 13 reasons you should watch all eight movies contained in the $50 “Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan” box set.
1. Jason Bond: The opening credits sequence for “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” takes a cue from 007 movies. In the place of a gun barrel, we get an extreme close-up of Jason’s eye, where the retina “opens” to reveal Jason, who then slashes through the screen to reveal the title. It’s one of the series’ rare moments of actual style. (I've watched this intro more times than necessary, and it's definitely worth your while).
2. The Corey Factor: Before Corey Feldman endeared himself to a generation of kids as the bilingual “Mouth” in “The Goonies,” he played a key role in the “Friday the 13th” series, killing Jason in “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.” Of course, a better-than-expected box office return brought him back to life. (Is it wrong to say that Lil Corey is one of the creepiest aspects of the whole series?)
3. Evil never drowns: The startling ending to the original “Friday the 13th” remains the pinnacle of the entire series — and can still shock just about anyone. And we’re not telling. (I. Love. This. Ending. I first watched Friday the 13th when I was like 9 and my friends and I kind of laughed our way through it, but the ending on the canoe really put us in our place).
4. Will the real Jason please stand up?: On the other side of the spectrum is “Friday the 13th: A New Beginning,” which is without a doubt the lowest point of the series’ abyss. While you watch it, ponder the fact you may be viewing the worst flick you’ve ever seen — it’ll help get you through it. (If you've ever actually tried a Friday the 13th Marathon, it really grinds to a halt when you get to 'A New Beginning.' It certainly spelled doom for the marathon I was a part of in college).
5. 3-Deplorable: Yes, “Friday the 13th: Part 3” was filmed in 3-D. But it does not wear the crown of the worst 3-D threequal of all — that honor goes to “Jaws III.” (I've only seen parts of this one, but I'm pretty sure it's still quite a bit better than 'Jaws III').
6. Cribs — Crystal Lake: “Friday the 13th: Part 2” allows a rare look into Jason’s house — and look what’s on the table! (Why didn't the other slasher franchises pick up on this device? I mean, doesn't Michael Meyers need a lil' place to map out his killings and take a nap? Doesn't Pinhead have somewhere to spend his downtime?).
7. Jason vs. Carrie: That’s the nickname for “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood,” as the villain squares off against a psychic girl, possibly to draw in some fans from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” crowd. (I remember seeing the trailer for this one where you see Jason getting electrocuted, and you think for a moment 'maybe this is really the last one! That blue electricity can do anything!').
8. FrankenJason: Good idea — going to Jason’s grave. Bad idea — trying to “finish” Jason by sticking a big spear in his corpse during a lightning storm. See “Part VI: Jason Lives” for the electrifying result. (Combined with the aforementioned Jason Bond intro that follows up this Frankenstein bit, the opening of 'Jason Lives' truly exists in the top half of my favorite all-time sequences).
9. Jason on a boat: Though it was called “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan,” unfortunately, most of the movie takes place on a cruise ship. Also noteworthy for exposing the horrible truth that New York City’s sewers are filled with toxic waste. (They really should have had a spin-off franchise where Jason 'takes' other locales -- 'Jason Takes the Alamo,' 'Jason Takes Fort Sumter' and 'Jason Takes It All Off' have potential).
10. Look out below: Proving that he’s more than a machete wielder (and also that the writers were running out of ideas), Jason throws three people through windows and to their doom in “The Final Chapter.” (But not Corey!)
11. Cold Bacon: A young Kevin Bacon stars in “Friday the 13th,” the only other actual “star” to act in the series besides Feldman. (This is probably my favorite death scene in the whole series, it's unexpected and pretty damn gruesome).
12. The boy in the bag: Another of the oddities of “Part II” is that Jason spends the movie masked in a flour sack, with one hole cut out for his eye. In “Part III” he gains the hockey mask and apparently grows back his other eye. (I've always thought about going as this Jason for Halloween some year, and when people ask who I am I would get really belligerent, accosting them for not seeing 'Part II').
13. Down for the count: A man unwisely tries to box Jason in “Part VIII,” and guess what? Jason wins. With one punch. (You think he would have tried this kill tactic earlier in the series).
Friday, July 13, 2007
Filed Under Blog-a-thon