Friday the 13th series

I love intelligent horror movies and wish there were more of them. But you know what? I love the dumb ones too. Maybe more. I have no intellectual defense of it, I just like it. I don’t like them “ironically.” I don’t even know what that means really. I am simply entertained. And for big dumb horror movie fun, nothing beats the Friday the 13th movies. A big dumb backwoods guy stalks and kills sexy young people. There is much bloodshed. There is much pointless nudity. There is atrocious dialogue and not even a hint of character development. I love every minute of it. So on this, Friday the 13th of May 2011, I give you a handy little rundown of all twelve of the features films featuring our homicidal friend in the hockey mask… Mr. Jason Voorhees.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Plot: The first film in the series involves some camp counselors getting ready for the season. Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for twenty years after the drowning of young Jason Voorhees and the murder of two counselors the next year.

Fun Fact: (Spoiler) As mentioned in the beginning of Scream, the killer in this movie is actually Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s embittered mother. Viewing recommendation: watch this movie in the dark. A) Horror movies, even ones that aren’t scary, are better in the dark. B) The picture is so dark if you have any lights on in the room the glare is likely to completely wipe out whatever’s happening on screen. Then again I watched it on DVD; the Blu-Ray might be better (but I kind of doubt it).

Nudity: Blink and you will miss it. Mostly just implied.

Best death: Kevin Bacon goes into a cabin to have sex with his girlfriend in the bottom bunk of some bunk beds. Unbeknownst to the lovers, their friend who disappeared earlier is dead in the top bunk. After they finish and girl heads off to the bathroom Bacon lights up a cigarette and then some blood drips on his from above. Everything is drawing the viewer’s attention upwards… then a hands comes from beneath the bed and holds Bacon down as an arrow gets shoved through his throat.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Plot: A couple of years later, on the other side of the lake, a training program for camp counselors is opening up. Of course someone thought long dead is upset about these intruders.

Fun Fact: This marks the debut of Jason as the killer. His mask consists of a bag over his head with a single eye-hole Elephant Man-style.

Nudity: Mostly implied except for one scene where a very fit girl goes skinny dipping and a pervert steals her clothes.

Best deaths: Guy in a wheelchair (oh yeah, they go there) gets a machete in the face then goes rolling down the stairs, combining the two greatest enemies of the differently abled: stairs and machetes in the face. Also two young lovers in the missionary position are impaled together for a teenage sex-kabob.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Plot: Some friends go out to have a fun weekend by the lake. For one girl, it’s a cathartic return to the place where she was once abducted by a disfigured man in the woods… guess who that was.

Fun Fact: As with many “Part III” movies in the 80s this was shot in 3D! Until recently the 3D version was unavailable on disc so all the crazy shit that gets thrown at the screen is something less than impressive. Although I do not have it, I guess the film is now available on 3D Blu-Ray. This also marks Jason’s acquisition of his trademark hockey mask.

Nudity: Very brief shower nudity.

Best deaths: Jason squeezes someone’s head until his eyeball pops out… ON A SPRING! Done specifically to take advantage of the 3D effects that have been completely absent every time I have watched this movie. More painful to watch is a guy who is doing a handstand for some reason being split down the middle with a machete… crotch first!

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Plot: More teens want to have more drugs and more sex by the lake. They rent the house next to the family of a weird little boy named Tommy (Corey Feldman) who makes monster masks. Also the older brother of sex-kabob girl from Part 2 is hunting for Jason to get his revenge.

Fun Fact: You might have guessed from the “final” in the title that this was supposed to end the series. You might have guessed from the seven further sequels and the remake that it didn’t.

Nudity: And how! Group skinny dipping, shower sex (though doubling is used), and a late night swim.

Best deaths: A pre-McFly Crispin Glover gets a corkscrew in the hand and machete in the face. Also, the way Jason is dispatched (by Corey fucking Feldman!) is pretty intense.

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

Plot: Tommy from TheFinalChapter is now at a halfway home in the woods for mental patients preparing to re-enter society. Sucks for him that it’s in the same woods that he once fled from Jason Voorhees in…

Fun Fact: (Spoiler) For the second time in the series, Jason is not the killer. It’s a copycat who is taking his revenge for the death of his son. Interestingly enough he takes his revenge on everyone EXCEPT the guy who actually killed his son. The end of the movie seems to imply that Tommy becomes a serial killer. The producers actually intended Tommy to be the new slasher of the series, but fan reaction was very negative.

Nudity: Totally gratuitous, as it should be. A waitress changes out her uniform. An insanely cute girl has some very brief (but apparently nonetheless satisfying) sex with her boyfriend before getting killed moments later (afterglow is short-lived in these movies). Another girl goes to bed topless before being killed moments later.

Best deaths: Insanely cute naked girl gets garden sheers stuck into her eyes. Also worth noting: Miguel A Núñez Jr. is killed in an outhouse after suffering from diarrhea. Is this more or less embarrassing than the fact that he is primarily remembered as the star of Juwanna Man?

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

Plot: Tommy Jarvis, the protagonist of the previous two films, returns (played by yet another actor) to make sure Jason Voorhees is really dead and in the process accidentally brings him back to life. Oops.

Fun Fact: While all the previous films had some laughable qualities, this marks the series’ first foray into deliberate self-parody. Also worth pointing out: for a series that is primarily set at or near a summer camp, this is the only installment to actually have children at that camp.

Nudity: Only installment in the series not to have any.

Best deaths: There’s a lot of very silly deaths in this one but my favorite on screen death is when the sheriff gets his spine snapped by Jason. My favorite death in the movie period is actually not onscreen. Jason goes into a cabin to kill a counselor. You hear violent things going on but you see nothing, until he throws her halfway through the window and pulls her back in. Later on, another character goes into the cabin and literally everything is covered in blood (the body is not seen). It’s one of those situations where not seeing it happen lets your imagination run wild.

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

Plot: Tina Shepherd, a telekinetic teenager, returns to her childhood home of Crystal Lake so her unethical shrink (Terry Kiser, aka Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s) can “help” her deal with her issues. In doing so she accidentally raises Jason Voorhees back to “life.”

Fun Fact: The producers wanted to pit someone against Jason who could be more of a match for him. Their first choice was Freddy Kreuger, but Paramount (the Friday the 13th series) and New Line (the Nightmare on Elm Street series) couldn’t reach an agreement on how to handle it. So they replaced Freddy with a telekinetic teenager, because that totally makes sense right? Also, the ending of this movie is ri-god-damn-diculous… even by Friday the 13th standards…

Nudity: A cute blonde girl goes skinny dipping. Another girl sits up topless in bed after sex.

Best deaths: I think this is kind of a weak one as deaths go. A girl gets tossed from a second-story window and that for some reason kills her. A couple seemed like they could have been highlights, like when Jason crushes a dude’s head with his bare hands but they cut away from the really gory parts. For sheer silliness, I might pick the girl who gets a party horn stuck into her eye.

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

Plot: The never-before-mentioned Crystal Lake High School is going on its senior trip to New York City! (Sidenote: why the hell would anyone build a high school in a region known mainly for teenage murder?) Of course Jason stows away on the boat. Mayhem ensues. Manhattan is taken.

Fun Fact: Less than half this movie is actually set in Manhattan. Of the parts that are, only one scene in Times Square was actually shot in New York. The rest was shot in Canada, as evidences by the super-thick Canadian accent the NYPD officer has…

Nudity: A girl messing around with her boyfriend on a yacht. The bitchy popular girl is killed shortly after getting out of the shower.

Best death: A boxer puts up one hell of a fight against Jason… until Jason punches his head off. It falls into a dumpster.

Much as I mentioned in my very similar Nightmare On Elm Street guide last year, I’d like to point out that horror movie posters seem very much to have peaked in the 1980s. I wish studios would be more artistic with movie posters than the Photoshopped floating heads we seem to constantly get nowadays… This article on Ain’t It Cool News talks about a lot of this… Anyway, back to Jason Voorhees…

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Plot: After an ambush by the FBI, Jason’s body is blown to smithereens. However his evil spirit goes on a body-hopping possession spree and the blood keeps on a-flowin’. Now he’s out to kill his half-sister and niece for some reason or another…

Fun Fact: This was the first film produced by New Line after they bought the franchise from Paramount. As a result, you might recognize a certain gloved hand at the end of the movie…

Nudity: The bait counselor at the beginning of the film starts taking a shower. Some campers taking advantage of the supposedly Jason-free Camp Crystal Lake go skinny dipping.

Best Deaths: A girl is having cowgirl-style sex with her boyfriend when she is impaled, spitting blood on the terrified guy inside her. She is then ripped in half. Also diminutive Southern character actor Leslie Jordan is drowned in a deep fryer. But the best is when Jason’s spirit hops from one body to another, the person his spirit is leaving them precedes to very graphically melt.

Jason X (2001)

Plot: In the near future, researchers decide to freeze Jason until they can figure out how the hell to kill him. This goes wrong and many of the researchers are killed (including a cameo from Scanners director David Cronenberg) and one is frozen along with Jason. They are both thawed out 400 years in the future… IN SPACE!

Fun Fact: This movie is hilarious… largely on purpose.

Nudity: An android has her breasts inspected… then the nipples fall off. In a holographic simulation of Camp Crystal Lake, two simulated counselors boast of their enthusiasm for beer, pot, and premarital sex.

Best Deaths: Jason gets blasted to shit before futuristic healing technology brings him back, part-cyborg. A space marine is impaled on a giant screw and spins around as he sinks down on it. Best one though is a coroner who gets her face frozen in a sink and then smashed to bits on the counter.

Best Almost-Death: Badass Space Marine gets stabbed through the chest and says “It’s going to take more than a poke in the ribs to take this old dog down.” He is immediately stabbed again. He looks down and says “Yep, that ought to do it.”

Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)

Plot: The people of Springwood, Ohio have gotten wise to the fact that Freddy Krueger feeds off of fear. So they decide to forcibly make the entire town forget about Freddy. This pisses Freddy off so he resurrects the meanest person in hell, Jason Voorhees, to kill Springwood’s teens and make them scared again. But once Freddy is at full power again, Jason still won’t stop killing so Freddy and Jason battle over who gets to kill everyone.

Fucking AWESOME Alternate Ending (Never Filmed): Jason and Freddy kill each other. Later they both wake up in hell and start charging at each other to continue their epic battle for all eternity. Then, however, they are stopped by chains that fly out at them and trap them like snarling dogs on leashes. Then PINHEAD from Hellraiser comes out and says “Gentlemen, is there a problem?”

Fun Fact: The plot structure of this movie follows more the plot structure of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, but Jason racks up more than 20 kills while Freddy only gets one.

Nudity: Jason dreams about skinny dipping camp counselors. A busty teen takes a post-coital shower.

Best Deaths: Well the premarital sex kabob from Part 2 gets resurrected with a more date rape-y twist. Another asshole gets stabbed repeatedly with a machete and then folded up backwards in a bed.

Friday the 13th (2009)

Plot: Basically an amalgam of Parts 1-4 (the pre-zombified Jason ones). A first group of sexy young people are camping and hunting for a giant stash of weed that, for some reason, Jason grows. A second group of sexy young people go to a cabin on the lake to relax and party. It ends well for neither group.

Overthinking Things: I actually really like the portrayal of Jason in this one. He almost seems smarter in some respects. He’s still an idiot who can’t tell his long-dead mother from a young girl with a similar haircut, but his whole stalking-and-killing faculties seem rather honed in a way they haven’t before. Furthermore the pot thing makes sense if you overthink it, as I am wont to do. Maybe Mommy was a grower and that’s where Jason learned the killer instinct (seriously, you do NOT want to fuck with those people). While he lacks the stereotypical mellowness of a stoner, maybe he just grows it out of habit.

Nudity: America Olivo bones her boyfriend in a tent. Willa Ford goes wakeboarding topless. Julianna Guill bones someone else’s boyfriend in a cabin. Julianna Guill, by the way, does probably my favorite nudity in the entire series which is really saying something.

Best Deaths: Ryan Hansen (best known for playing Dick Casablancas on Veronica Mars) gets shot with an arrow in the head. The big asshole in the movie (played by Travis Van Winkle) almost gets away. Then Jason stabs him with a machete and pins him to the back of a truck which promptly speeds away, dragging the asshole behind.

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