Category Archives: Rick’s October Horror Franchise Review-athon

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey


In Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood Jason Voorhees gets resurrected accidentally by a psychic. If that isn’t jumping the shark for the Jason series then that is only because we haven’t reached the ones where he goes to Manhattan, goes to outer space, and has his soul possess other people’s bodies yet. The New Blood starts the trend of taking the Friday the 13th series to ridiculous lengths without any deference to logic, continuity, or reason.

The main character is a girl named Tina Shepherd who has psychic powers including the ability to move objects. She accidentally murdered her father by knocking him into Crystal Lake when she was a little girl and now, as a teenager, she and her mother have moved back into their old house on the lake.
In a fit of stress she accidentally exerts her psychic ability into the lake and revives Jason from the dead. His corpse, more zombie like than ever, rises from the water and begins slaughtering teenagers who are having a party next door. They are having a birthday bash for a friend of theirs who never shows up because Jason killed him on his way there.

One of the party guests is a guy named Nick whom Tina befriends despite the misgivings of some of his friends. One bitch in particular named Melissa gets jealous of the friendship and openly mocks Tina’s emotional problems and history with psychiatric treatment. Tina gets pissed and accidentally destroys Melissa’s pearl necklace with her mind. I would suppose this is preferable to burning down a town and killing all of your classmates while covered in pig’s blood, but the incident leaves Tina distraught all the same.

As with any standard Jason flick the killer murders the majority of the film’s cast leaving only one or two survivors; in this case, Tina and Nick. The last character to die is Melissa who gets an axe in her pretty little empty blonde head right before he starts chasing Nick and Tina upstairs.
Tina uses her psychic powers on Jason which succeed in ripping his mask off and smashing a hanging light onto his head. The showdown eventually leads into the basement where Tina telekinetically shoots nails at Jason and then she starts a fire which blows the house up.
Our two heroes and Jason escape thankfully and Tina takes Jason down by using her psychic powers to send him back into the lake where he belongs.

We never see Tina in any sequels after this and so we never know what her life was like and what she did with her psychic abilities afterward. We’ll never know. Jason’s story, on the other hand, has not quite reached its end yet sadly. Jason still has to take Manhattan, go to Hell, go to space, fight Freddy Krueger, and then get rebooted before he finally bites the dust.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is not a good movie. It’s absurd, illogical, and virtually no thought was put into it. It’s just a lame attempt to revive Jason because the last film was popular. And like its predecessor it made a decent enough profit at the box office to produce another sequel. Horror fans are a loyal bunch and a lot of these movies will find an audience no matter how shitty they are. Just look at the Amityville series if you don’t believe me.

The New Blood is the last of the original Jason movies to really feel like a Friday the 13th movie. Starting with Part VIII the locations start either changing or the character of Jason gets fucked with in bizarre ways. The majority of Part VIII is spent away from Crystal Lake, Jason Goes to Hell has Jason’s spirit inhabit bodies of other people, Jason X takes him to space, and Freddy vs. Jason takes place mostly in Springwood. It’s not until the remake that the series returns to its roots and even that movie has problems which I will talk about when I come to it. All in all, The New Blood is the last film in the original series to feature Jason in his natural habitat as himself killing people. The New Blood is not the worst of the Jason series, but it is the point where the series starts to spiral downward in quality. On a positive note, though, this is the first Jason movie to feature Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees. Hodder has played the character more times than any other actor and he is a frequent fan favourite at horror conventions and interviews.

Speaking of conventions, horror fans are what really keep genre films like horror flicks, sci-fi movies, and cult obscurities alive. There is a fun cult-esque sense of belonging in the fandom communities that makes films like this worth while. Critics may scoff, but for many people these obscure actors and filmmakers are icons and horror is a way of life for them. And critics need to give films like the Friday the 13th series a second glance anyway. The low-rent exploitation vibes aside a lot of these flicks were way more progressive in their sexual politics than many action movies of the time. Characters like Nancy and Alice from the Freddy movies, Laurie from Halloween, and Tina from Friday the 13th Part VII were not common in other types of movies at the time. While the action flicks had bulky man-dudes rescuing the female leads these critically panned slasher flicks had their women surviving on their own. Nick barely does shit in this film and it is Tina who does most of the work contending with Jason Voorhees. What mainstream Hollywood is just barely catching up with nowadays, films like Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood were doing long beforehand. Bad or not I give credit where credit is due.


Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey


Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is my favourite of all of the Jason movies. It does everything required and expected of a Jason movie and it does it all so perfectly. Everything from the pacing, Jason’s amount of screen time, humour, story, and kills are done competently and effectively. Jason Lives epitomises and defines the perfect Friday the 13th movie. If someone you know has never seen the films and wants to know what they are about show them Friday the 13th Part VI. It is the perfect essence of what a Jason movie is.

Jason Lives is the third and final entry in the “Tommy Jarvis” trilogy, a story arc that began in the so-called Final Chapter of the series. Tommy has now fully recovered from his PTSD from the last film and no mention is made of his psychotic breakdown at the end of Part V. While this may raise some jarring continuity issues I think it is for the best that the events of Part V be acknowledged as passively as possible.
Tommy, in an attempt to find closure from Jason Voorhee’s traumatic role in his life, heads over with a friend to Jason’s grave in the middle of a rainstorm. They dig up Jason’s body and Tommy intends to burn it along with his machete and hockey mask. However, after seeing the corpse Tommy has a meltdown and begins pummeling the cadaver with a shovel and a metal pole. He sticks the pole in Jason’s chest which proves to be a terrible idea when lightning strikes the pole and resurrects Jason a la Frankenstein. They should have called this movie Friday the 13th Part VI: It’s Alive!

Jason kills Tommy’s friend by punching a hole in his chest and takes back his mask and machete. Thanks a lot Tommy! You just resurrected and armed Jason Voorhees!

Tommy flees the scene and tries to warn the local authorities that Jason is alive and well and back to his old slashing habits. Of course, none of them believe him and when he gets riled up they lock him in the drunk tank. Fortunately, Tommy manages to charm the sheriff’s daughter who helps him escape. Bring Your Daughter to Work Day probably shouldn’t be practised if you are a cop.

While on his rampage Jason manages to find Camp Crystal Lake again and begins stalking and killing the counselors. This time the camp is actually up and running and there are kids already staying in the cabins. This marks the first time in history that Jason is too late and fails to keep the camp from opening. His mom is gonna be pissed!
Jason doesn’t kill any of the kids strangely enough. I am guessing he is above that sort of thing. Adults, teenagers, and dogs maybe. But killing kids is going too far for Jason Voorhees! No wonder he hated Freddy so much.

Eventually we reach a climactic showdown between Tommy and Jason on the lake itself. Tommy, while inside a small boat, uses gasoline to light the lake on fire and during their fight he succeeds in using a rock and chain to hold Jason underwater and drown him. Tommy goes home with his new girlfriend and probably feels like a badass for killing Jason Voorhees twice and surviving all the movies he is in. Tommy Jarvis is awesome. Put him and Ash Williams together in a slasher movie and it would be over in two minutes.

One of the standout qualities of Jason Lives is that you like all of the characters. Slasher movies have a habit of making all their characters be unlikable douchebags that you can’t wait to see slaughtered by the killer. This trait only got worse in the 90’s. But here all of the main characters, camp counselors, and the kids in the cabins are all likable, funny, and you root for them. Like Laurie Strode from Halloween or Nancy Thompson from A Nightmate on Elm Street Tommy Jarvis is a recurring hero who has a personal vendetta against the antagonist that you want to see succeed and you cheer when he does.
While Part V is a pretty piss poor entry in the series the Tommy Jarvis trilogy as a whole makes for the best of the Jason series. They took the series in a new direction in which the characters were more than just gore fodder for Jason to kill in the movie’s 90 minute runtime. You like them and you want to see where their stories go.

The funny moments in the movie are well-balanced and do not render the movie into a comedy like Army of Darkness did. The humour is well placed and makes the movie light yet still appropriate. There is a funny moment when a woman tries to bribe Jason with a Mastercard to make him leave her alone. It doesn’t work of course, but in retrospect Jason should have taken her offer. He could have used the money since trips to Manhattan aren’t cheap.
One of my favourite scenes is when a couple of young boys in the camp are hiding under the beds and one asks the other, “So, what were you gonna be when you grew up?”

This movie is also surprisingly absent of nudity. There is only one sex scene and the actors have their shirts on for the entirety of it. That makes this the cleanest of the Jason movies and it shows a lot to the film’s credit since most of the Jason movies were low rent slasher flicks with strong exploitation vibes to them. The nudity was an essential part of drawing in paying audiences. They were “geek shows” showcasing sex and violence for an hour and a half. Jason Lives is confident enough in its own quality that it doesn’t rely on nudity at all and shows none. It’s almost as if the movie knows it is the best of the entire series.

Sadly this is also the last of the “good” movies in the Friday the 13th series. Jumping the shark became common for the series after this with a bevy of psychics, trips to New York, and space adventures bringing the series to an all time low. Many of those movies are fun and campy if you approach them in the right mood, but for me the best of the bunch is Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. It’s the definitive Jason flick.

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey


Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning is one of the worst films in the Jason series. A good slasher sequel should show some loyalty to its fans and aim to provide what they want and expect when they pay money to see it. This movie fails to do these things entirely.
The fifth Jason movie is the second film in the Tommy Jarvis trilogy and it takes place over ten years after the last one. Tommy is now in his early 20’s and being sent to a mental health community. The trauma from the last movie has left him with extreme PTSD and he has not spoken a word in years. The new facility he is sent to is run by a well-meaning progressive who wants to provide the residents more freedom and less of a sterile hospital environment. It’s run a lot like an adult foster care home with the clients allowed to do what they wish with limited freedom. The theory is that the clients will be better acclimatised to normal life this way and while that is good in theory several idiotic mistakes are made.
For one thing they allow a patient with severe anger issues to use an ax to chop wood. I am all for giving less fortunate people opportunities to better themselves, but giving someone with a volatile temper an ax is stupid. And the stupidity becomes readily manifest when he loses his shit and begins hacking to death another patient. Shortly after paramedics take the body away and the psychopath is arrested. But since the universe this movie occupies makes no sense the home remains open.

Later on while Tommy is staying there Jason shows up and starts massacring people in the vicinity. This is obviously surprising since Tommy hacked Jason to death years ago and was buried. Nevertheless with no explanation being presently offered Jason complete with mask and machete is slaughtering the patients, staff, and even the dumb hillbillies next door. In typical Jason fashion among the first slaughtered are a pair of horny teenagers having sex. What’s odd is that these two are patients from the facility and I find it unnerving that an AFC home would tolerate patients banging each other without doing much about it. Being progressive is one thing. Being so loose that you risk getting shut down is another.

By the end the survivors are the facility’s director, Pam; Tommy Jarvis, and a black kid named Reggie who is probably the only black person in history to survive a slasher movie.
Reggie runs over Jason with a tractor and he is thrown several feet in the air. Tommy eventually faces Jason off in the barn from the third movie and triumphs when he pushes Jason from the loft window and falls onto a harrow.

When the body of Jason is recovered from the harrow it is revealed that he isn’t Jason at all. It’s one of the paramedics from the facility. Apparently the boy hacked to death was his son and he went crazy with grief. Seeking revenge on the AFC home for its failure to protect his son he starts masquerading as Jason and slashing up whomever he meets. Too bad he never got revenge on the psycho that actually killed him. You would think that would be more productive to his point.
But, now that we know that the killer was just a normal guy a lot of questions are raised. The main one is how the fuck this guy was so strong. He was not the real Jason so how did he survive getting run over by a tractor. The paramedic was a middle-aged man. He was not a muscular melon head who lived in the woods for most of his life.

The movie ends with Pam visiting Tommy in the hospital and he has a nightmare in which he kills her with a machete. He wakes up and dons the Jason mask and grabs a butcher knife. Why these things were in his hospital room is anyone’s guess and since the next movie ignores this ending completely we are given no satisfactory conclusion to what the fuck was going on here. At least the ending to Halloween 4 in which the little girl stabs her mother is referenced in Halloween 5 a little bit.

I am not sure what the filmmakers were thinking. The fans after the previous three films are used to having Jason being the killer. How is adding a twist in which the main attraction is absent gonna please anybody? This is worse than Halloween III. At least that movie didn’t pretend to be something it was not.

This is the first real disappointment of the Friday the 13th series. There are more to come, but thankfully there is still some good ones before we start getting more shit than gold.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey


Few movies that call themselves ‘The Final Chapter” actually are. Saw: The Final Chapter is getting a sequel this month. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is getting a reboot. And Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare was followed by three movie Freddy movies proving he wasn’t so dead after all. The fact is that it’s hard to keep a popular horror franchise down. While this movie is calls itself the final chapter it eventually spawned a total of eight more sequels. This final chapter is anything but final.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is a common favourite among Jason fans and it is easy to see why. It’s a perfect and pure Jason movie that gives us everything we want. It’s an hour and a half of Jason with his hockey mask lumbering about and butchering teenagers with a machete.

It opens right where Part III left off with paramedics taking the supposedly dead Jason to the morgue. There he wakes up, kills the coroner and a nurse, and returns home.
The Following day a bunch of teens head to a cabin on Crystal Lake for the weekend and discover they have neighbours. A woman, her daughter, and young son, Tommy, are also living there and they befriend the group.
Tommy Jarvis (played by Corey Feldman) is a big horror buff who designs his own prosthetic masks and props. They are all pretty well made and it is clear he has a career following in Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero’s footsteps ahead of him if he survives this movie.

Crispin Glover of Back to the Future fame is also in this movie. He plays a virgin who is getting teased by his “friend” Ted for never being with a woman. If it wasn’t for the fact that Jimmy is played by Crispin Glover I probably would have skipped this subplot in my review as it is not that interesting. Long story short: Crispin gets lucky with a girl named Tina while the jealous Ted is left alone to watch old stag movies from the 20’s on a projector. Both of the guys are killed by Jason because if there is anything Jason dislikes more than people trespassing on Crystal Lake it’s premarital sex and vintage porn.

Eventually the survivors of Jason’s typical slicing and dicing boil down to Tommy Jarvis and his sister, Trish. Tommy, following Ginny’s footsteps from Part II, disguises himself to confuse Jason. He shaves his head completely bald and applies makeup to himself to make himself somewhat resemble Jason as he was when he was a child. How Tommy knew anything about this is anyone’s guess. Once again Jason is stupid enough to pause and wonder which leads him to getting a machete suddenly lodged into his head. Tommy goes apeshit and starts hacking Jason to death yelling, “Die! Die! Die!” over and over again.

Later at a hospital Tommy and his sister talk for awhile and she hugs him. The movie ends with Tommy looking up with a disturbed expression on his face implying that he may grow to have violent tendencies in the future.

This is the first movie of what many fans refer to as the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. Parts V and VI continue with his experiences with Jason as an adult and deal with his finally coming to terms with his traumatic experiences and overcoming them. Nothing stellar, but it does add to a cut-and-paste series of genre slashers that would inevitably degenerate into the mundane otherwise. And it stays true to the series’ formula without going too over the top or getting too ridiculous.
My only really complain is that this movie could not possibly take place on Friday the 13th. Assuming that Part II takes place on Friday the 13th then Part III must take place Saturday the 14th because that movie is a day afterward. And since this movie does the same thing Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter must take place on Sunday the 15th and Monday the 16th. But since those dates aren’t very scary the movie titles make little note of it.

Roger Ebert called this movie “an immoral and reprehensible piece of trash” and went on to say, “Just think of the message this movie has to offer to its teenage audience: ‘The World is this totally evil place,’ this movie says. ‘It will kill ya. It doesn’t matter what your dreams, and hopes, and ambitions are. It doesn’t matter if you have a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend or if you have got plans for the future. You can forget those plans because you’re gonna wind up dead.’ There is literally nothing else in this movie.”
I love Roger Ebert most of the time, but I think here he is giving the movie way too much credit. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter has no message at all. There is no cynicism present in its storytelling. Nihilism, cynicism, and despair are not themes of these kinds of movies no matter what the critics may insist. These movies are juvenile geek shows showing off blood and guts with a masked killer racking up a body count for a period of 90 minutes for the macabre entertainment of its audience. You can criticise the audience all you want for finding the macabre entertaining in an escapist sort of way, but it is unfair to give a movie with such little thought put into it accusations of cynicism and nihilism. Friday the 13th has nothing to say whatsoever about dreams or the meaning of life. It’s a fun carnival ride of cheap cheesy terror in which Jason slashes his way through the characters. If you like that sort of thing then this is a perfect example of a Jason movie. If not you can watch Halloween, The Devil’s Rejects, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, or From Dusk Till Dawn all of which Roger Ebert praised and gave glowing reviews.

Friday the 13th Part III

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey


I am not a big fan of 3D movies; even modern ones. They are gimmicky, distracting, and headache-inducing and add only marginal changes to the film viewing experience. And if you wear glasses like I do then you are even in for a more difficult time getting the 3D goggles to fit over your specs.
But in the 1980’s 3D was even worse. The red and blue 3D glasses often blurred the picture and made discerning the film difficult. And many of these films, and Friday the 13th is no exception, employ 3D in gimmicky and juvenile ways that look clumsy and ridiculous when watched in 2D at home. In this movie we have stupid moments like a guy playing with a yo-yo which drops toward the camera in obvious ways, a hippie making popcorn with each kernel popping into closeup shots which look horrible, and there is even a scene where Jason squeezes a man’s head so hard his eye pops out on a wire that the special effects crew failed to disguise. My blu-ray boxset comes with two pairs of 3D glasses and has a 3D option for this movie. I stick with 2D and patiently put up with the idiotic 3D gimmick scenes.

As for the movie itself it is not that bad as far as these kind of movies go. It follows the low-rent slasher formula well and Jason gets his iconic hockey mask. One of his victims is a rather tubby prankster who likes to scare his female friends with masks, fake blood, and prosthetics. In one scene he jumps out and scares a girl he has a crush on wearing a hockey mask and holding a spear gun. I am not sure why he thought hockey masks were scary since the only thing scary about them is the sheer boredom I suffer when I watch a hockey game, but the gag is effective and he successfully scares the girl. She, of course, berates him and he shamefacedly slinks off to the barn to mope. Apparently terrifying a girl shitless is not a good wooing tactic, who knew?
Jason finds him, kills him, and takes a liking to the hockey mask. After shooting the girl in the eye with the spear gun the iconic Jason image is born complete with hockey mask and machete in hand.

There is also a subplot involving these bikers who start harassing the characters staying at Crystal Lake. These are your standard dickhead characters that the viewer roots for the killer eliminating. Not being a biker or well-acquainted with that culture I cannot say how stereotyped these bikers are, but they are still a ton of fun to watch and their demises are creative and memorable.

The main character is a girl named Chris who used to live in a house on Crystal Lake, but left and never came back after a trauma she suffered there a few years ago. While out in the woods at night she was attacked by a hideous man and the effect of the experience had made returning emotionally difficult. It is also subtly implied by the film that Jason also raped her which goes to show that the writers did not have the Jason Voorhees character fully fleshed out yet. Jason is not a rapist and has no such inclinations. His mind is too primitive and underdeveloped to have an sexual urges of any kind. The notion that he ever raped someone is just inappropriate.

Over the course of the film Jason stalks and kills the vacationers one by one this time using his signature machete for the majority of his kills. Like the previous films the last survivor is the main heroine. Chris has a final encounter with Jason in the barn and in a brief moment he is unmasked and she recognises him as the man who assaulted her all those years ago. She ultimately defeats him by taking an ax to his head and he eventually collapses. She goes out in a canoe onto the lake and then has another jumpscare nightmare sequence in which Pamela Voorhees’ corpse rises from the water and pulls her under. She awakes and is taken to safety by the police.

The Pamela Voorhees jumpscare fails to be anywhere near as effective as the one in the first movie and frankly it is really stupid. In the previous films the characters knew who Pamela and Jason Voorhees were. In this movie they identify him only as a masked maniac and later on Chris recognises him as her assailant from years ago. But, none of them know that he is Pamela’s son. So there is no justifiable cause for Chris to have a nightmare about Pamela’s corpse. It makes no sense at all.

But aside from the bad 3D affects I have few complaints about the movie. It’s not Citizen Kane, but it is good Jason movie. There is no overabundance of slow buildup, the kills are creative, and the pacing is entertaining. This is just another Jason movie that delivers what it promises. If you are a fan of the genre this movie will satisfy you just fine.

Friday the 13th Part II

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey


The first sequel to Friday the 13th is one of the best of the series. Part II sets the tone for the future of the franchise and is the first movie to feature Jason Voorhees as the killer. Everything you would expect from a traditional 80’s slasher movie is presented here with perfection. The tone is right. The setting is ideal. The characters are typical fodder for our machete-wielding antihero. And the story doesn’t devolve into the sort of implausibility we see in later entries. There is no Jason going to space, taking Manhattan, or being possessed by the Necromicon in this movie! What we get is standard low-budget slasher fare. It gets everything we expect right. One might argue that the formula of Friday the 13th Part II is too cut-and-paste, but it should be noted that this movie is a trend-setter and such tropes were stemming from this movie rather than being imitated by it. This movie delivers what you pay for.

Like any good slasher movie of the time the movie opens with the surviving heroine of the previous film getting killed. Alice is now back home and after assuring her mother over the phone that she is alright and taking a shower she decides to go to the kitchen to find something to eat. When she opens the fridge she sees to her dismay the severed head of Pamela Voorhees. Because she is not Jeffrey Dahmer and seeing the severed heads of people in her fridge doesn’t appeal to her she screams. The scream is short lived, however, when Jason comes in and pierces her temple with an ice pick.

The movie cuts to five years later and a camp near Crystal Lake is being opened for counselor training. Before starting the training, Paul, who is running the camp tells the counselors to stay away from Crystal Lake. He tells them a story which retells the events of the first movie and then proceeds to claim there is a legend that Jason, Pamela Voorhees’ son, still roams the grounds. He proceeds to tell them the legend is nothing but bullshit and that Jason is dead, but is clear from his intent that no one is to go to Crystal Lake anyway. I am not sure why he demands this since as he said the legend was nothing more than a myth. The reasons for why Crystal Lake is off limits are arbitrarily and unsatisfactorily given. Something to do with property and trespassing I guess, but why resort to bringing up a stupid story then if that is the case. And I also speculate how such a legend about Jason came about. This is the first movie where Jason began killing anybody so it is not like he has earned a reputation or anything yet. In the context of the world where this story takes place there is really no reason for such a legend to start. It would be like a story about Ed Gein having a son who roams his hometown killing people. There is no precedent for such a story to be told.

As things at the camp get underway it becomes more and more clear that Paul is incompetent. After two of his counselors get caught by a sheriff sneaking where they don’t belong his idea of discipline is to forbid them seconds on ice cream served that evening. In the last movie the guy running the camp had a creepy sex offender vibe in my opinion, but he didn’t strike me as an idiot who couldn’t keep the counselors in line. Paul is a complete fucking doofus who doesn’t appear to do any training at all. Most of the time he sits in his office posturing and doing nothing. He is worse than the maintenance staff at my apartment.

The aforementioned sheriff later on spots Jason in the woods and gives chase. He tracks him down to a really disgusting shack that Jason must have built for himself after he supposedly drowned. How he managed to do this is never made clear and before the sheriff can do anything about it Jason kills him with a hammer.

Paul takes some of his counselors to a bar (because fuck productivity) where Ginny, the new replacement heroine of the movie, ponders the possibility that the Jason legend may be true and he is out there alone in the woods somewhere. Paul laughs it off as any sensible person would. It simply isn’t feasible that a young child with mental disabilities could survive on his own in the woods. And if this was not a cheesy 80’s slasher movie he would be correct in thinking this. But in this universe Jason can and does survive and grows up in the woods feeding on animals and murdering wandering horny teenagers who may happen to pass by.

Back at the camp Jason kills off several of the counselors one by one. The most unique and memorable of the deaths by far is the spear scene. While two of the counselors are having sex Jason ruins their fun by spearing them together so hard that the point of the weapon goes under the bed and hits the floor. Damn!

When Paul and Ginny get back they are understandably put out when they find out someone has been murdering their friends while they were gone. I mean, shit, they didn’t even get done half the work they were supposed to do.
Jason soon ambushes them and the remainder of the film is Ginny and Paul running and screaming from their relentless pursuer. They eventually make it back to Jason’s shack and there they find a weird shrine with Pamela’s mummified head sitting in the centre surrounded by candles. In front of the head is her old sweater which she wore in the last film.
Ginny puts on the sweater and poses as Jason’s mother. This confuses the slasher icon for a moment, but after seeing his mom’s head on the altar the big dummy remembers that she was dead. He attacks Ginny, but she is rescued by Paul who gets knocked down. Jason is about to kill him with a pickaxe when Ginny slams a machete into his shoulder. He falls unconscious and they remove his mask which is a burlap sack in this movie. They see his ugly mutated face and are frightened by it. They might have approved of Jason’s behaviour if he was handsome, I guess.

They return back to one of the cabins when suddenly the unmasked Jason jumps through the window and grabs Paul. The film ends with Ginny waking up while being taken by paramedics into an ambulance. She keeps desperately asking where Paul is and she gets no answer.

Friday the 13th Part II is a good example of a traditional Jason movie. The only trope missing is his iconic hockey mask which he does not get until Part 3. If the final jumpscare is not as effective in this one as it was in Part 1 that can be forgiven because otherwise we get everything we need. Jason kills people in unique ways. We get lots of blood, nudity, and the movie is short enough and gives Jason plenty of screen time. Movies of this type don’t need 40 minutes of backstory and character development and I am glad this movie knows what it is. A Jason movie should be standard fare. When it tries to do something different we get robot Jason from Jason X. I can live without that.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey


Well it is the month of October again and that means it is time to review another horror series. Every few days I will release a review of each of the Friday the 13th movies just like I did last year with the Halloween franchise. It feels to me like Friday the 13th is the appropriate followup to Halloween and next year it will be the A Nightmare on Elm Street series that I review. Michael Myers, Jason, and Freddy sort of form The Big Three when it comes to slasher icons and so I chose this arrangement accordingly. What series I will do in 2019 remains to be determined.

As for Friday the 13th, the original 1980 version, it may come as a surprise to a newcomer or a casual horror fan that Jason is not the killer in this one. For the casual fan, newcomer, and young woman being stalked by Ghostface whose life I am now saving, it should be noted that it is not Jason; but his mother Pamela Voorhees who is the killer. Although, unlike in the other films in the series, the perp is not apparent.

Throughout Friday the 13th the Camp Crystal Lake counselors are being stalked and murdered by an unknown and unseen assailant whose motives are unknown and whose MO is both varied and vicious. We never see her face until the very end and she remains hidden by the power of POV shots for the majority of the movie.

The film opens in the 1950’s with a crowd of campers and counselors singing around a campfire singing hymns. Two of these devout worshippers decide to take a break and go to a cabin attic to have sex. If I was a bit more naive I would object to this depiction of two Christian teens having sex, but I have been around enough kids in Church youth groups to know that this is really not that uncommon.
The twain kiss for a bit, but they are interpreted by the killer who listens to the guy sort of sheepishly says “we weren’t doing anything” before she suddenly stabs him in the stomach just before turning to the girl and does her in as well.
Thus begins the most common trend in the Friday the 13th series: getting cockblocked by sudden violent death!

30 years later the Camp is getting reopened again and new counselors are preparing by rebuilding and/or renovating the cabins, fixing the plumbing, and landscaping. One of the counselors is named Annie, but she is late to arrive and she starts hitchhiking to get to her destination. And like every hitchhiker in a slasher movie she gets picked up by the killer and killed.

While the other counselors worry about Annie not showing up they work hard getting the place up and running. They do such important tasks as nail boards to the cabin roofs, sweep the rooms, kill snakes and other pests, jump around mimicking Indian yells, swimming in the lake, faking drowning so they can kiss the girl giving them CPR, having sex, and making fun of police men doing their jobs. I am starting to think if Pamela didn’t kill these assholes the Camp would still have been overdue and unfinished by time the children arrived.

After two of the counselors (one of them played by Kevin Bacon in his debut role) have sex in a bunk the girl heads to the bathrooms to clean up. Kevin Bacon remains lying in bed when suddenly from under the bed an arrow is thrust up through the mattress and through Kevin Bacon’s throat. The scene is very effective and the effects are impressive even to this day. The prosthetic work done to make the arrow look like it went through the real Kevin Bacon’s throat is the masterful invention of Tom Savini who also did the makeup work in Dawn of the Dead. Nowadays Savini’s career consists mostly of teaching the trade of prosthetic effects and making cameo appearances in horror movies (and The Perks of Being a Wallflower for some reason). But back in the 70’s and 80’s he was the go-to man for gore effects. He was a genius and this film is as good a resume as any.

Meanwhile the luckless Kevin Bacon’s girlfriend meets a dismal end herself in the bathroom. After pissing in the toilet, putting her underwear back on, and doing a terrible Kathryn Hepburn impression in front of the mirror she is suddenly struck in the face with a hatchet.
I kinda sympathise with the killer on this one. Kathryn Hepburn was a national treasure and her legacy deserves more respect. Cate Blanchett this woman was not and she should have kept her mimicry to that of valley girls and bimbos.

In another cabin some of the counselors start playing a unique version of Monopoly called Strip Monopoly in which landing on properties owned by people other than yourself costs you an article of clothing. How they came up with this game I have no idea, but I think they should invent Strip Uno next. It would make the game less apt to leaving all the players pissed at each other by time all the draw 4’s were used up.
However, the game doesn’t get far enough to show anything interesting as one of the counselors leaves to check the breaker. She hears what sounds like a child crying in the woods and when she reaches the archery range to investigate the lights suddenly flash on and she killed off screen.

Alice, our heroine who survives to the end, and Bill, the gentlemen who does not, wonder where their friends went so they go out to investigate. Bill goes to check the generator and is likewise killed off screen. For a raunchy, exploitative slasher flick this movie has a lot of off screen deaths. Two other characters similarly die off camera.

Alice later finds Bill’s body pinned to the door of the garage with a bunch of arrows. She does what any sensible person would do in such a situation and screams her head off and runs. She nearly bumps into an middle-aged woman driving up in a truck who says she is Mrs. Voorhees and that she is a friend of the people who own the camp.
Alice shows Pamela Voorhees the body and Pamela begins to pontificate that she had told the owners not to reopen the camp. She tells Alice that years ago her son Jason had drowned in the lake when the camp counselors were not watching him because they were too busy making love. Is that all these Crystal Lake counselors seem capable of doing?
As Pamela becomes increasingly irate as she recounts the story she suddenly turns on Alice and tries to stab her. The two fight and Alice tries to flee but the crazy woman chases her. Pamela starts talking to herself constantly as she chases the surviving counselor because she believes that her dead son is speaking to her and telling her to kill the counselors as if they were all responsible for his death. Even though most of these kids were not even born when he died.

To go into detail on the entire fight would be pointless and tedious, but suffice it say that after 10 minutes of hair pulling, kicking, slapping, biting, and rolling in the dirt Alice finally gets the upper hand and decapitates Pamela Voorhees with a machete.
Alice then crawls into a canoe and falls asleep over the lake, but when morning arrives she starts to wake up when suddenly she is grabbed and pulled under by a boy whose body resembles that of a decomposing corpse. She wakes almost immediately in the hospital and refuses to believe the incident with the boy was a dream.

I am not sure how to properly review a film like this as it never was intended nor marketed to be a good movie. It is exactly to the last degree what it sought to be. It is a cheap, sleazy, exploitative knock-off of Halloween in an attempt to capitalise on that film’s success. The violence is gruesome and lacking in style or any aesthetic merit, the plot is weak, stupid, and illogical; and it is peppered with marketable gimmicks such as nudity and sex to cater to its largely male audience. It’s the same sort of trash cinema that predominated the drive-in culture of the 70’s and 80’s. The only reason this film has become worthy of special note is thanks to its inordinate popularity that spawned its many sequels with the iconic figure, Jason Voorhees. By itself, this film is virtually indistinguishable from films like The Burning, The Mutilator, or Torso which only horror buffs even remember or care about. It’s such a sleaze-fest and I am hesitant to fault the film for being this since it aimed for nothing higher. To expect more would be silly.
To a horror junkie like myself who can, when in the mood, enjoy slashers, drive-in flicks, exploitation films, zombie movies, giallos, and even trashy mondo flicks a horror movie like Friday the 13th is hardly something I will stick my nose up at and snub. I am as much a film snob as any and I will always prefer movies like The Godfather or Citizen Kane, but I accept that different movies deserve different means of reviewing. I do not demand my sleaze to be as good as my critically acclaimed Oscar winners or Criterion DVD releases.
For what it is Friday the 13th is entertaining. It does not get boring by any means and it is not overlong. It works on the levels it is supposed to work. It is not supposed to make me think. Hell, it is not even supposed to scare me. It’s job is to excite. To cater to the lowest common denominator looking for a cheap fix of gore and boobs. And it achieves that end passingly enough that I can think well of it for reaching its aim.

The story doesn’t make much sense, but that doesn’t worry me. It doesn’t bother me that a middle-aged woman who is only about 5 feet tall managed to pin a full grown man to a door with arrows. I didn’t come to see a man pinned to a door with arrows by a plausible criminal with a legitimate motive. I just came to see a man pinned to a door with arrows. If I cared about the sense of it I would watch NCIS or a Coen Brothers film. And I will happily watch those too. But right now I am watching Friday the 13th and I embrace its stupidity and shameless depictions of sex and violence with the open arms of someone who appreciates the genre to which it belongs.