by Jim Foote
Before that, both Josh and I took on the daunting task of fitting the Friday franchise (no, not Ice Cube), into its own timeline. You can check THAT... here: http://uruniverse.weebly.com/timelines--tangents/the-official-friday-the-13th-timeline.
And lastly, go check out the proposed video game, the one Jason truly needs. You... can check... that...
OUT HERE: http://uruniverse.weebly.com/friday-the-13th-the-game-we-need.html.
Over the years, when asked to list the flicks, I'd typically say, "ask me on any given day, and you're likely to get a different answer." Not anymore. I'm going to show you, worst first and best last, how I view one of my favorite movie franchises ever.
That's right. EVER. Let's dive in, shall we?
There's no movie in this franchise I wouldn't watch. I've seen them all, at least ten times a piece. Having said that, this one is clearly the weakest. They took a big risk, following the ending from part 4. Besides dream sequences/delusions, we don't even get Jason. Instead, we get Roy, a paramedic whose kid gets killed over a candybar. While Josh finds it unbelievable for Roy's partner not to know it's Roy's kid, I simply write it off as Roy not telling anybody about his son. If he doesn't tell anyone, then how would they know? While I can explain that single part, I can't explain this movie as being anything else than a suckfest. We don't care about any of the characters. Tommy Jarvis, Corey Feldman in the last one, barely speaks in the whole movie. Plus, they try to turn Tommy evil by the end of this. I see they wanted to let the previous film's ending stand, but an imposter Jason does not a good movie make. It's easily the worst of the bunch. EASILY.
Trying to gather my thoughts for this, I'm all over the place. Problem is, so was this movie. Following our theme of "No Jason," we get only two (2) scenes with actual Jason here. Otherwise, it's a reflection in someone's mirror, as he's possessing various people. Jason has been reduced to a body hopping demon. Not to mention, he is reborn by crawling through his dead sister's vagina. Three things saved this from being last on my list; Creighton Duke (all around badass), a decent kill in a tent, and the ending "sneak peek." Other than that, give me my fucking Jason.
Back in 2003, I initially loved this movie. I saw it four times in theaters. I bought it on DVD the day it was released, immediately watching the movie and all its extras. I even watched it with commentary.
That being said, it's really frustrating when I watch it now. People wanted to see Freddy vs Jason, but more importantly Robert Englund vs Kane Hodder. We didn't get that. We get a really tall and kind of thin Jason, a Jason who's apparently afraid of water. It's not like he was voluntarily in the water in the earlier movies. Heck, it's not like he swam to Manhattan. Wait...
The fights between Jason and Freddy are passable. I guess. It's bloody, sure. The flick has some decent kills. But even with those things, we still get a movie that feels more like Nightmare and not so much like Friday. I wonder how things would've turned out had they made this back in the late 80s like they originally wanted.
There are twelve Jason movies, four of which come from New Line. Three of the four are numbers 11, 10, and 9 in this list. That's telling you something.
Jason X is fun, in a very dumb way. It's not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm willing to bet no one was expecting anything even resembling a good movie. There are some solid kills, the cryo head smash being a personal favorite. BUT... let's count some of the things they roll out in this...
1. Uber Jason. 2. Jason fights a cyborg. 3. "It's okay. He just wants his machete back." 4. Earth two.
That's right. In the Jason timeline, it spans two Earths. Jason was dormant for almost ten years before he returned, only to go to space. Very few movies perfectly encapsulate the early 2000s. This one does that in a major way, complete with a song by Drowning Pool in the trailer. Funny how future space clothes are pretty much the same, except for some arm bands.
Annnnnd that fourth New Line flick? Right here. Four of the first five selections have all been New Line. Here at number eight is the least offensive. The remake doesn't reinvent the wheel, nor does it give us anything new. All it does is pretty much bunch up Parts 1-4 in the same movie. This time, we're back to human Jason, who has constructed an elaborate underground labyrinth at Crystal Lake, giving us an explanation for how he moves around so swiftly. It's clever, but it doesn't really present anything major enough to lead the franchise into a new direction. It's, kind of, a dead end.
On the other side of the coin, this movie features probably the most beautiful cast ever in a horror movie. There's no real nerd. Even if there is, it's probably the Asian guy who's fully accepted as part of the group. Yay for diversity?
All in all, I'm totally "okay" with this entry. That's the problem, though. It's just kind of... there.
I'm assuming Tina is the NEW blood. I don't really get it, but plot? Who knows. All I do know, this flick has some pretty solid kills. You have the chick in the tent, axe to the face, decapitated head in a potted plant, and a random-as-hell long motorized saw in the middle of the woods. Once Part 7 rolled around, it's as if the filmmakers decided, "ah, hell, let's just fuck around and have fun with it."
Like mentioned above, this was supposed to be the big battle with Freddy Krueger. Jason and Freddy in the 80s would have most likely been insane and fun, for all the right reasons. Instead, we get a matchup against a telepath. If the franchise was put on a graph, with all the bells and whistles, New Blood would mark the beginning of its descent. The pacing is off, it's not sure what it wants to be, even halfway through. Plus, Ghost Dad comes out and supposedly beats Jason.
Did he like... kill him, or just pull him underwater? Why didn't they ever search for the father's body? Wouldn't they have found Jason there? They just accepted he died and didn't bother looking? Why isn't his body even dilapidated? Jason was down there just as long. Jason looks all fucked and the dad just looks wet. What the..... okay, clearly I'm asking too many questions.
First doesn't mean best, but we're definitely on the upswing, finally. There's something so... dare I say innocent and or peaceful, about this? Hear me out. No zombie madman running about. Its simplistic story, setting, and payout work wonders. Counselors. Killer. Bingo.
There is one catch, here. We don't actually KNOW the killer's identity. Being the first of the franchise, a franchise that wasn't even expected to be a franchise, they don't commit to a working mythology or any rules of other films. This one is just allowed to be whatever it wants to be. This film wouldn't work today, though. We've become powered by the promise of future film slates and production dates. Friday the 13th comes from a day where you made your movie, and after the fact, you might get a sequel if deemed a success. Also, big mention for Betsy Palmer. She kills it. AMIRITE?
Plus, it had Kevin Bacon. C'mon.
Here, we begin with the tough choices. Every film in the top five has a place in my heart. These are the foundation for what Jason Voorhees is and has become. Here, we get some of the better characters in the series, each with their own motivations. Well, for the most part, at least. The famed hockey mask makes its debut, complete with the first film that features Jason right in the open. With the first two, we were only featured with the stalking presence, the reveal only coming in the closing sequence. Here, the mystery is gone. It's gone from the 'who did it' to 'killer shark' mode. Here, you just hope certain characters aren't near him, because he'll get them.
I could do without the cheesy 3-D gags, though. Yoyo spins, a character passing some weed towards the camera, a homeless man holding an eye up, none of them add anything. I do imagine how this must've looked in theaters with the 3-D glasses.
Now, the elephant in the room. Does Jason really rape Chris Higgins as per her backstory? Josh thinks so. I say no. If we follow the timeline (link above), Jason doesn't see his mother get decapitated until AFTER the flashback in this. My guess is he didn't become psycho killer until the ending of the first film. During the time of the flashback, he was just a weird hillbilly in the woods. He was harmless at that point. Plus, the idea of Jason raping anyone is too weird to comprehend.
I know, I know. "Why is it so high?! This movie's terrible!" I beg to differ. We aren't in the land of taking this seriously, anymore. This entire movie is over the top. It's all over the place, to the point of lunacy. Jason's resurrected via lightning (again), then boards a ship headed towards NYC. Why? Well, maybe he was bored. It makes no sense, but I'm fine with it.
Let's count all the ridiculous shit this movie brings us:
1. Weird swimming flashback
2. Delusions of a kid Jason, who becomes more fucked up as the movie progresses
3. Random student-teacher blackmail
4. Another crazy Ralph
5. Teleportation Jason
6. Jason either swims or walks along the bottom of the lake/ocean/river to NYC
7. Jason openly walking through Manhattan, not attacking random people
8. Acid flooding sewers at midnight
9. Jason throwing Ken Kirzinger (who plays Jason in FvJ) into a huge mirror
10. The entire Jason vs. Julius fight
It's so retarded and ludacris (LUDDDDA), I love every second of it. I own it on VHS and will intentionally watch it every once in a while. While the ending makes no sense (adult/zombie Jason starts screaming like a kid and throwing up water), I'm giving it a pass. Just think of it as the movie equivalent of being drunk off your ass. You're never sure what's really going on, but it's laughable and fun.
I love this movie. It does exactly what a direct sequel should do. It takes the original, adding to it in ways to move the story forward whilst upping its game (and body count). Here, we don't know it's Jason. Up until the reveal, we only see Jason in the flashback of the first movie. Sure, they kill Alice (the survivor) in the beginning, but we don't see who it is who kills her. We can only assume. Plus, let's just think about how fucked up Jason is now. He collected his mother's head, took it with him to wherever Alice lived, and planted it in her fridge as a diversion.
That's real shit, son.
Besides that, we have a little budding romance between the cute brunette and the wheelchair man. It doesn't end well, but it's a nice little thing to follow. Ginny, the main girl, is definitely my favorite of the women in the franchise. She's cute, smart, and ready to throw down. She's one of the very few characters who seems genuinely concerned and or feels bad about Jason, if he IS real.
We also get to see Pre-Hockey Jason, in all his weird, potato sack wearing glory. Take a look at the picture below and tell me that isn't scarier than a hockey mask.
Plus, we have (possibly) the only movie where a side character randomly lives. Stu, the geek with the hard cut abs, stays at the bar. The others, including Ginny, go back to camp but he sticks around, trying to find an after party. Guess what? His alcoholism is rewarded and he survives. Respect. Plus, we get one of the better ending sequences here, complete with a Betsy Palmer cameo. Jason's crazy... but he's also an idiot.
Well, we know where I'm going with my favorite, but let's stop here at number two. Part 4 is here for a reason. Originally meant to end the series, they really do kill Jason here. It's brutal, explicit, and wonderful in its execution. Sure, the theory of Corey Feldman shaving his whole head in like 2 minutes flat is a little weird, but somehow it's overlooked.
While the first three had only groups of teens, we get a family unit here. Little Tommy Jarvis is one weird-ass kid, but I suppose that's what it takes to take down Jason for good. What works here is the beginning. We don't have some contrived setup. It's very simple. Jason was taken to the morgue, but he's not dead. Wakes up. Kills. Goes home. Finds people there. Kills. Simple enough, eh?
The group of teens is quite possibly the best. Crispin Glover as Jimmy, resident dead fuck and interpretive dancers. His friend Ted, a creepo with no game who looks at old black and white porn. The two twins, one girl who speaks with a British accent and one who speaks with an American accent. You have the virgin and her best friend, who is gorgeous and bangs all the time. Their respective beaus, your 80s All-American jocks, are there to bang and die. Then, complete it with Rob, who's hunting down Jason for killing his sister (from Part 2).
We are lead to believe by Tommy killing Jason at the end, the evil has then been passed on. We know that doesn't happen, but it does lead to the biggest p.o.s. of the franchise, A New Beginning. Good thing is, we get the final confrontation of Tommy and Jason in my top choice.
Shout out to Crispin Glover for his letting it loose and rocking out.
We've reached our Everest. There is no greater Jason flick than this one here. If any of the Friday movies were the embodiment of a rock concert, this would be it. We meet Tommy, this time played by Thom Mathews, on his way to cremate Jason. He screws up, of course, and Jason is revived. The era of zombie Jason begins here, in brutal fashion. He rips out hearts, crushes skulls, throws knives, breaks backs, decapitates with both a machete and his bare hands. It's everything you want Jason to do. He truly is THE killer shark.
The ending works, too. In both Parts 4 and 6, Tommy outsmarts Jason. The thing with Jason, and what this film gets perfect, is you can trick him. He's not smart. My official theory is while he didn't drown, he did sustain enough brain damage to keep him from seeking out his mother and being able to comprehend some situations and eventual confrontations. That's why Tommy tricked him into thinking he was a kid Jason in Part 4, and that's why Tommy goads Jason into coming after him here.
Jason Lives also boasts one of the best horror soundtracks in existence. It's practically an Alice Cooper album. Man Behind The Mask, Hard Rock Summer, and Teenage Frankenstein all fit perfectly in the movie, as Jason rampages throughout. Aside from the music, we get an American Express gag, a James Bond opening sequence, and ACTUAL CAMPERS. Aside from the prologue of the first movie, we never see any campers. Here, camp is officially open for business.
Jason Lives IS alone at the top when it comes to this franchise. None of the other entries even come close.
Next up, we'll be going through Freddy Krueger, A Nightmare On Elm Street, and its sequels.
I do... have one question, though, and it concerns Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. I know we saw it jump out the window, but what the fuck ever happened with the dog, Gordon? He's not dead. He's out there... somewhere.