Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jason X (2001)

At long last, Jason X, the most infamous of the F13 series! Here we are propelled into the distant year 2455, a time when humans have destroyed the earth, outlawed hockey, repopulated a new planet, and generally just spend a lot of time hanging out in space. Instead of campers we have a group of students, who are apparently capable of running an entire spaceship on their own in an emergency situation, but still act like idiots and look like extras from a scene at The Bronze.

There's also a sexy fighting robot, a cryogenically frozen woman from the past (2008), and a Jason Voorhees who looks like this:

But possibly the MOST ridiculous moment of Jason X is--tragically--barely shown at all, likely due to a limited effects budget. Witness the aftermath of what could have been the best Jason kill of all time: sucked through a grate into the vacuum of space!

I feel now that my life is more complete for having witnessed Jason X. This also brings us down to one final canon F13 (which happens to feature my personal favorite horror villain) FREDDY VS JASON. Welcome to the home stretch, folks!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

What what WHAT is happening in this movie? We are off the beaten path here, folks. There is SO much crazy going on, I'm not sure where to start. I guess I'll start where the trailer starts, with the fact that this is now a New Line film, not Paramount like all of the previous F13s. I'm sure that purists prefer the Paramount films, and they would be right to do so because this movie (and I'm guessing the rest to follow) really don't feel like "Friday the 13th". However, since I'm SUCH a fan of New Line's Nightmare on Elm Street series, I am ready to embrace this outrageous installment in all its insanity.

Probably the most ridiculous thing about Jason Goes to Hell is that it introduces the concept of what I will call *Jason Magic*. Jason Magic, which would probably be more accurately called Voorhees Magic, is the means by which Jason continually returns to life, and I'm pretty sure it's also inherently evil. This is not actually explained in any way, but is rather represented by some pretty flying sparks. We also discover, from some totally random bounty hunter, that only a Voorhees can kill Jason, AND that Jason had a sister (who has a daughter, and that daughter has a baby). This is, of course, reminiscent of both the Halloween series (family/sister issues) and Freddy's Dead (can only be defeated by his child). Here is a picture of Jason's neice Jessica and the magical dagger she uses to defeat him:

Oh, did I mention that "Jason" in this movie is a weird snakey demon-thing that crawls in people's mouths and possesses them, jumping from person to person throughout the movie? Because that's definitely happening.

The bottom line is, while this barely qualifies as a Friday the 13th movie at all, it IS really funny and ridiculous and enjoyable, and that's all I really ask for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Jason Takes Manhattan is probably the F13 movie I've seen the most. It's the kind of silly 80s slasher you can put on while hanging out with friends or doing whatever and only half pay attention but still enjoy. Given that this is the case, I've decided to sum this movie up with a series of stills that I think will pretty much cover everything you need to know. Enjoy!

Welcome to Vancou-- I mean, New York!

This movie is set in the year 2000, as you can clearly tell.

Peer pressure is a problem all teens deal with.

Tough street punks!

Protip: do not box with undead maniacs.

Jason, noooo! Your beautiful face!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

This time I'm actually going to be brief, because this movie was sort of boring. It did have telekinesis, which was fun, but overall it was just kind of typical. Here's a bunch of crazy teens, now they've all been stabbed. The end. The only thing I really want to talk about here is the timeline, because it's starting to get pretty wonky. In this AND the next movie we have characters who visited Crystal Lake in their childhood, but the movie takes place when they are in their late teens. This timeline is really helpful. It seems like they maximized the overlap to try to keep the timeline as tight as possible, and I support that decision, but I wonder if there's any reason not to think these events weren't much more spread out. Regardless, even by conservative estimates, we have now entered the 21st century and apparently it involves a lot more hairspray and shoulder pads than I recall.

Also, in spite of everyone telling me it's terrible, I'm still eagerly anticipating Jason X, especially since I accidentally noticed on that timeline that the sport of hockey was outlawed in 2024. How could this movie NOT be great?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)

I know that trailer was a bit boring, but don't worry, I'll make up for it later. This is Friday the 13th Part 6, we've reached the halfway point! Hooray! Seriously though, there are so many of these damn movies, and they are just getting more ridiculous as they go. This one was made in 1986 and it really shows; we are in full-on 80s mode here, which is ironic since I believe if you're keeping count the movie is actually set in 1990. Jason has been accidentally brought back to life Frankenstein-style by--who else?--good old Tommy Jarvis. He is accompanied on his misguided mission to dig up Jason's body by Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter, who sadly just passed away a couple of weeks ago. Let's take a moment.

Anyway, for all those who fussed about the killer not being Jason in the last movie, he's back now so you can settle down. In fact, in honor of his return, let's listen to this INCREDIBLE song by Alice Cooper, "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)". I TOTALLY LOVE this song and have been listening to it for years without ever knowing which movie it was from, so I pretty much freaked out when I heard it in this one. Please enjoy:

HE KNOWS YOUR HOUSE, guys. This song is really just the best.

Key points about this movie, let's do it:

-Long part at the beginning with some corporate paintball excursion that is kind of boring and just there to add to the body count. Whatevs F13!

-Tommy Jarvis gets a girlfriend, sort of, which is nice because the poor kid's been through a lot. He could have had a really promising career in horror special effects if only Jason hadn't ironically intervened!

-Speaking of Tommy, the actor who plays him in this part is Thom Mathews who was also in Return of the Living Dead, so that guy is now Officially Great (a title earned by being in two or more movies/tv series I like).

-Return of the camp concept! And we actually get campers! I am convinced the little blonde girl named Nancy is a Nightmare on Elm St reference.

-Ridiculous gags like this gem:

So F13p6 ends with Jason chained to the bottom of the lake and Tommy, all the campers, and this movie's generic blonde girl all live happily ever after (but will Tommy Jarvis ever REALLY be happy? Really?). I think things will be looking up a bit from here, as the next few films involve telekinesis, Manhattan, hell, and space. Awesome.

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

So here we are, F13p5 and not even halfway through the series. I'm going to try to keep this one brief [LIES] because there are still so many more to come and I've developed a tendency to ramble [TRUE]. This is one of the more controversial Friday films because it features a "fake" Jason, and apparently some people just HATE that. I, personally, am not so picky about my mass murderers, so I don't mind at all. It's also becoming very apparent that this series is focusing more and more on body counts, and the originality of the kills really suffers for it. However, this does leave a very nice window of opportunity open that A Nightmare on Elm Street fills beautifully with its super original and fantastic kill scenes. In case I somehow hadn't mentioned it, I absolutely LOVE Nightmare on Elm Street, but now is not the time for all that gushing. Soon.

Anyway, in F13p5, Tommy Jarvis is back, all grown up and mentally disturbed. He's staying at some kind of halfway house that is supposed to transition mental patients from life in a hospital to life out in the big wide world, which would make you think that these people have their issues reasonably well-sorted, but if you thought that you would be completely wrong. One guy is so unhinged he brutally axe murders another guy for being sort of annoying. In the axe murderer's defense, the annoying guy was really reminiscent of that kid in Return to Sleepaway Camp who is just awful, so I can kind of understand. But really, rage axe murdering is a bit much when someone is just offering to help you chop wood, no matter how annoying they are.

So long story short, Tommy Jarvis (who seems to have been abandoned by his sister, btw) keeps having visions of Jason still being alive and thinks he has risen from his grave and is committing all the murders that keep happening. However, he is just being crazy Tommy Jarvis and the killer is actually some random paramedic who also happens to be the father of the annoying kid who got axe murdered at the beginning. Also I guess he made himself look like Jason while he did it for whatever reason. But the point is that it was NOT Jason and people really don't like that (although theoretically Jason was still in the movie because Tommy's hallucinations/dreams were of the real Jason).

On the subject of Jason being alive or dead: in this movie, Jason is absolutely, definitively dead. Going forward, anytime we see Jason up and moving about, he will be undead. Period. I still am unsure if this is his first, second (after the morgue), or third (after drowning in the lake AND the morgue) death. But we can really be sure now that Jason is 100% dead. So at least there's that.

Now I said I was going to try to keep this brief, but that was obviously a complete and utter lie. We need to talk about this controversy around who gets credit for playing Jason in this movie. The credits list Dick Wieand, the actor who played the paramedic Roy, because his character was the masked killer perceived as Jason, but the actual actor wearing the mask is Tom Morga, who is only credited as Roy's stunt double. This is some bullshit. Tom Morga auditioned for Jason, he played Jason, and he should be credited as Jason. Period. To make matters worse, it seems this Dick Wieand guy has gone around signing & selling photos of Tom Morga as Jason, passing it off as himself. It may not have been done maliciously, he IS technically (if erroneously) credited for the role and so some people may want his autograph for that reason. But let's be real: Tom Morga was Jason in this movie, both imposter Jason AND real Jason in Tommy's visions. So please Tom Morga, do more conventions so people can meet you and get your autograph because you totally deserve the credit for this. Thanks.

Finally, the only other things you need to know about this movie are this scene:

And this girl:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter (1984)

The Final Chapter is one of the two F13 movies I have seen the most (the other being Jason Takes Manhattan, for obvious reasons). It is also, as I'm told, the most common fan favorite, which is pretty understandable. Let's review the highlights of F13p4:

-Crispin Glover! Seriously you guys, Crispin Glover is SUCH a weirdo, he's the best. Did you know he once sued Steven Spielberg and WON? He also made a surrealist film called What Is It? featuring only actors with Downs Syndrome (and himself). He has also released a spoken word album titled The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be. His middle name--for real--is Hellion. He is just the BEST. His role in F13p4 is a pretty typical hapless-loser-trying-to-get-laid archetype, but he does have a completely George McFly moment right before he dies that I just could NOT stop laughing about. This clip only shows a bit of it, but you get the idea:

-Corey Feldman! Seriously, this movie is a star-studded event. This is only his second real movie role (first being Gremlins) and he is just adorable. His character, Tommy Jarvis, is also somehow an accomplished special effects artist and creates totally amazing monster masks. I find this a little unbelievable, but since it's Corey Feldman I'll allow it.

-Weird vintage porn filmstrips! I looked for a clip online, but as you can imagine, it's a difficult thing to properly search for--especially at work. I would like to note here one low-light of the movie: there are several incidents of fat-shaming, most notably when one of the lovely vintage ladies is called a pig and when a hitchhiking hippie is shouted at and teased. Not cool, guys!

-The return of using psychology against Jason! After the approach was abandoned in the last movie in favor of an axe to the skull, it was nice to once again see some clever exploitation of Jason's severe childhood trauma. Unfortunately, Tommy's impersonation of Jason mostly just serves as a distraction and actually winds up doing quite a bit of damage to Tommy himself in the end, that's really a topic for another post (the one right after this).

In conclusion, I'd like to revisit the issue of when and if Jason is alive/dead/undead. After the last movie, he wound up in a morgue, suggesting all life signs were gone and seemingly supporting the theory that he did in fact die and in F13p4 is now undead. However, most medical professionals and other authorities in the series are pretty incompetent PLUS Jason's physical anatomy is certainly irregular, so this evidence is hardly conclusive. I know this issue is just going to keep getting more complicated with each movie, so I'll leave it at that for this post, but stay tuned for Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning!