HOLLYWOOD—Can you believe it? September is over and we are officially in the month of October, all things spooky and scary are no upon us. I don’t know where the notion of spooky for October comes from beyond Halloween. I mean I was recently speaking with someone and we were both wondering why the month of October tends to be so rainy compared to other months throughout the year. It was a valid question to ask considering one would expect April, June, July or even August to be wetter than October which ushers in fall.
With that said, a recent study came out making the argument that those who watch or indulge in horror are more prepared for chaos if it erupts. I think people were trying to link that study to our current situation involving the coronavirus pandemic and how people are comparing it to some sort of zombie apocalypse. That really is not the case people, but I do believe horror films can make you a bit smarter. With all that said, let’s kick off our discussion talking about one of my favorite franchises of all time, “Friday the 13th.” If you were born in the 80s, you know all about Camp Crystal Lake and hockey-mask wearing psychopath, Jason Voorhees.
We can go back and forth for years about rather “Friday the 13th” was the catalyst of the slasher boom in the horror genre, and while it really is not, it set precedent for so many other films to follow its formula and technique of a killer dispatching a group of promiscuous, attractive, drunk and sometimes stupid teens being picked off one-by-one until only one person remains to take out the killer. Let’s forget all that for a second and focus on the fact that this franchise gave us an icon in the horror world in Jason Voorhees; a walking figure, one who is so disfigured that he hides his face at first with a burlap bag before getting that iconic mask in the third installment in the franchise.
If you have Cable, you have probably seen the films being displayed quite often lately on Syfy, as well as Epix (at least the third and fourth chapters). Heck, the Paramount channel recently had a marathon and just this past weekend Bravo, yes, that Bravo aired two installments in the franchise. Look there is no arguing many of the flicks are terrible in the franchise; there are indeed some smart standouts. Notably, I think “Friday the 13th Part 2” is a classic because it has a level of suspense and introduces the audience to Jason Voorhees for the first time.
Beyond that I’m a true fan of “Jason Lives” because it ushers in a wave of comedy and pure horror that balances itself with wit that works. You’re watching a horror movie, but you can laugh, but in a moment’s instance you’re back on the edge of your seat. You might think “Scream” was responsible for this, but before that flick “Jason Lives” was at the helm America. We don’t talk about the fifth installment because it should have never been made, “The New Blood” was just over the top with nudity and violence and that Carrie-esque twist just wasn’t believable, “The Final Chapter” was nothing final about it, and “Jason Takes Manhattan” was more like ‘Jason Kills On A Boat.’ The audience never actually got what the movie so called promised to us and that is the true shame people. The original is the original and will always be helmed a classic and is indeed entertaining.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the “Friday the 13th” franchise is camp at its best. The films are bad, but they aren’t so bad that you’re annoyed, you’re entertained to a degree, and I always make the argument if there is an entry you’re not a fan of skip it. I mean we all know a vast majority of the horror flicks from the 80s are the worst movies made because they had no plot, just some psycho running around with a weapon of choice and a mask unlike the movie that came before it.
Hollywood was not creative they just jumped on a trend and it killed the genre in my opinion and we still have not fully recovered from that decade and we may never. At its core, horror is not about violence or nudity, it’s about uncertainty; what you think you know that you don’t know and what you might do if placed in a situation that seems out of the norm, but it could possibly happen if all things align perfectly.