Archive for the '13 Days of Friday the 13th' Category

16
Aug
10

Friday the 13th: Look what you did to him!

a Primal Root review

Friday the 13th is the film that sparked the match. Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre had put down the kindling and soaked it with gasoline but it was Friday the 13th in the summer of 1980 than set the fire which became the slasher sub-genre that would define the decade and would pump out a near constant stream of sequels for just about all of those 10 years.

Although incredibly successful there is the small tragedy of the affect all those sequels had on Victor Miller, Sean Cunningham and Tom Savini’s original piece. As Friday the 13th became an ever popular franchise of films with entries reaching into the double digits they have, in a sense, watered down the impact of Friday the 13th. What people lose sight of is just how good and even scary the original Friday the 13th is. With so many stories told of Jason, imposters, trips to Hell and trips to Manhattan, Friday the 13th kind of gets crushed under all the weight of the strange tales that unfolded afterwards.

The simple concept of isolating some teenagers at a secluded summer camp where they could no be reached by any adults, where they must fend for themselves, was ingenious. Many of us spent summers in these mildewed, moist and rickety old summer camps being tended and tormented by counselors who weren’t much older than us. It;s something many children and teens can relate to and it feels organic. Kids with responsibilities but still trying to bekids and have fun.

And we aren’t dealing with some group of unlikable morons this time around. These are intelligent, funny, and self reliant young people. Sure, they smoke a little “grass”, have premarital sex and even partake in a rousing game of strip Monopoly, but they also talk of neutralizing nitrates, creating delicious vegetraian meals where one will get all the protean they need, and also notice the change in weather patterns. Not sure if this makes them smarter than the usual batch but there sure aren’t any characters here calling one another “Dead Fucks” while typing into imaginary computers or commenting on how their casual sexual partner “Hardly Sweats at all.” I doubt those guys would even have a remote idea as to how to run the Emergency Generator.

This distinction makes the sequential murder of each counselor that much more frightening and impactful. No one wants to see these fun loving, relatable kids die. Let alone in such a grisly and graphic fashion. Sure they mess around, but they risk life and limb and give their all to save their fellow counselor, NEd, who looks to be drowning. Revealed later to be a woefully unfunny practical joke. Especially to a certain killer gazing on from the woods.

Friday the 13th also functions as a “Who-Done-It” murder mystery. Although, it’s a film tat totally cheats at this scenario. Several red herrings are introduced but they are all killed by the end of the movie only for the real killer to drive up put of nowhere and confront ALice, our final girl, under the guise of trust.

It’s the warm, and completely disarming actress Betsy Palmer who identified herself as “Mrs. Voorhees, an old friend of the Christie’s.” The audience looks at Mrs. Voorhees and she seems pleasant, personable and like she wouldn;t harm a fly. But you feel something might be off. Maybe she’s a bit too happy. A bit too inviting. That there’s something much darker just under the surface.

Palmer delivers and knock out of a performance as Mrs. Voorhees who is revealed to be the vengeance seeking mother of a former camper who drowned at the camp in the 50’s due to horny, negligent counselors. “They weren’t paying any attention. They were making love while that young boy droned! His name was Jason”  It’s one of those reveals that slowly and effectively builds the dread. We learn of Mrs. Voorhees’ lose, her sense or despair and tragedy. And we can feel her pain. Why she has snapped and decided to wreak vengeance on this camp and anyone who tries to open it again. Because every time the gate to the camp opens she relives her lose, all the pain comes flooding back, and she must avenge her son and prevent the lose deaths of other children by punishing those who are trying to bring those youths back to the spot of her son’s passing.

The final chase is frenetic and crazy as hell highlighted with some great vengeful one liners from Mrs. Voorhees as she stalks and battles the terrified Alice. It all culminates with an excellent showdown on the beach where Alice gets her hands on Mrs. Voorhees’ machete and knocks her mother fucking block off. It’s a surreal and graphic effect by master Tom Savini, where toothpicks are visibly holding the head on, Mrs. Voorhees has hairy man hands, and the neck pops open the opposite way from where the blade makes contact, but these strange screw ups make the whole thing even more jarring to the audience. It all feels like a nightmare.

And who can ever forget the sting in tail ending? After a long night of bloodshed Alice has survived. Having left the the blood caked beach of the lake to take off into the secluded safety of the water itself in a canoe she wakes to find the local police on the shore calling out to her. Her ordeal is over. She has saved herself and the cavalry has arrived. The music swells, ALice looks hopeful, and then a rotted, zombified mongoloid rises from the depths of the lake, wraps his muddied, decrepit arm around our heroines neck and in slow motion drags her under the water.

It’s an obvious steal from Brian DePalma’s film adaptation of Carrie, but it works in spades. the first time I saw this on VHS in the safety of my living room I nearly put a dent in the ceiling I jumped so high off the couch.  Sure, Alice wakes up later in her hospital bed safe and sound. When she asked about the boy, Jason, who dragged her under water, the sheriff replies “We didn’t find any boy.” As if this is supposed to bring some comfort. Did Alice dream this? Hallucinate it? Was it some sort of ghost? Or was it really Jason, whose body was never recovered from the lake?

It’s a terrifying image. One that sticks with the viewer long after the credits roll and the lights come up in the theater. Much like Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th is about the ghosts of our past wreaking havoc on our lives today. The mistakes and tragedies of our collective pasts revisited.  Every camp has a legend like Jason or Cropsey to keep the young people who make up the population there in check. They are morality tales, where those who do wrong will always pay. The past is in stone and cannot be erased. And for some they will never forget. And that these skeletons. no matter how deep they are buried, have a way of resurfacing. They will one day return to us and bring those days back to life.

Friday the 13th is a very affecting and entertaining horror film but it is also a dark and sad tale of vengeance, insanity and lose. Mrs. Voorhees’ rage is an understandable one, but it is clear this deep sense of personal tragedy has caused her to lose her mind. She was a mother and a cook once. She was a good person. The counselors are also all very good people and have much to contribute to society in their own way. They might be young and a little naive but they haven’t harmed anyone. Now, every single one of them is dead because of one terrible day that took place decades earlier. Due to the same act that brought Jason into this world. The same act that was the cause of his death. An act of love.

Friday the 13th is one of the finest examples of the horror films produced in the 1980’s.  It’s a machine the builds the scares and delivers them with glee but is also grounded in a a relatable reality and heartbreaking and believable tragedy. It;s a film well worth revisiting. And when you do, try to forget Jason X, Freddy vs. Jason, and even Friday the 13th part. Forget the whole franchise. Just pop in Friday the 13th and take it as a stand alone, independently made horror film and you’ll find a strong horror films that stands up on it’s own two legs.

Happy 30th Birthday, Friday the 13th.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

12
Aug
10

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter or Jason Delivers the Goods

a Primal Root review

As connoisseurs of trash cinema, bad taste and glory through garbage we know exactly what we want from our sleazy flicks. And this is certainly true when it comes to slasher movies. Even more sow ith Friday the 13th films. And there is one Friday the 13th movie that gives you everything. One sequel that pulls out all the stops, jumps out of the plane without a parachute and goes for broke. And that would be The Final Chapter: Friday the 13th part IV.

Directed by slasher veteran Joeseph Zito (The Prowler) and with Tom Savini back on board to kill the monster he created, the creative mind behind this fourth installment had every intent of ending the series with one final hurrah. So why not give the fans everything they loved about the franchise and deliver the most crowd pleasing Friday the 13th film yet? And that’s exactly what they did.

And what we ended up with is one of the most enjoyable entries in the Friday the 13th franchise.

The film’s quality itself is heightened by the appearance of about a dozen notable actors and actress’s with far more talent than is typically associated with the Cystal Lake Saga. Crispin Glover, Corey Feldman, Judie Aronson, Kimberly Beck, Peter Barton, etc. The list of on screen talent is commendable and does a lot to gain this entry some credibility and give the stock characters more life this time around.

Corey Feldman in the memorable “Peeping-Tom Boogie” scene.

Tom Savini’s special make-up and gore effects are, again, a wonder to behold. From skull crushing, to scissors through necks and cleavers tot he face, The Final Chapter contains the best effects of the series. I would say they even rival those of later, higher budgeted installment as far as overall affect and deployment. In the mid-90’s Savini was at the top of his game a year later would deliver magnum opus in Romero’s Day of the Dead.

When sore throat pain strikes!

There’s also the choice of Mr. Zito taking a seat behind the camera for this outing. Not the most prolific director but his list of notable’s include The Prowler and the Chuck Norris epic, Missing in Action. The man knows what he is doing and gets the feeling when watching The Final Chapter that Zito is a man who understands his audience. Whether it’s the care given to the composition of a shot featuring man being hoisted into the air by a spear gun rammed into his love grove or maintaining a fresh, bouncy pair of female breasts in a shot for far longer than anticipated, Joe Zito is a man trash cinema collectors can believe in.

And then there’s Ted white as Jason. My second favorite Jason of the entire series (behind Steve Dash of Part 2). Ted is an old school professional stunt man who was cast simply because of his size but has a real screen presence when that mask is on. He cuts a very imposing figure when he’s bursting through door sand windows and crushing people with his bare hands. There’s something about the way Ted moves as this character when he runs, and haults and charges after his victims. It feels very real and of the moment and you can;t really say that about most of the folks who have taken the mantel of this backwoods boogeyman.

You are certainly fucked now!

The final Chapter is a constant fan favorite for a ewason. It gives us all everything we could have ever wanted and more from a Friday film. Even some things we never knew we always wanted. Like the jaw droppingly brilliant Crispin Glover dance sequence that will go down in history as the greatest spaz out in slasher films. It’s a true thing of beauty and everyone must see it at least once in their lives. Trust me, it’s really that astounding.

Crispin is taking his passion and making it happen.

Unlike other Friday films that decided it would bring in audiences with the promise of something new or different to inject life into the series, The Final Chapter doesn’t use anything other than the classic ingredients. Crystal Lake and the surrounding woods, young nubile kids, and an psycho mongoloid with a score to settle and a machete in his hand. And what they do with these simplest of scenarios is  give the Friday the 13th fans an entry they will always cherish.

The body count is plentiful, the naked bodies are many (and even some milky white man ass for the ladies), and the carnage is never ending. For my money, it’s probably the most fun you will have with this series. Everything lines up, clicks and will both please the die-hards and maybe even convert none belivers.

One thing you can’t deny is The Final Chapter is one hellishly good time and a load of fun to watch. The Final Chapter is essential viewing for all on Team Jason and it’s hard not to want to give te man a hug after this entry where he is killed off by a pint sized Goonie dressed as Uncle Fester.

Billy Corgan? Nope, still Uncle Fester.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

 

11
Aug
10

Friday the 13th part V: A New Beginning or The Wages of Chocolate

a Primal Root review

****SPOILER ALERT!****

People hate this film’s guts. They despise it. It’s ridiculed by critic who already can’t stand the franchise and hardcore fans alike. From what I understand a lot of the anger and resentment stems from the fact that Jason is dead and  there’s a new killer in town…who dresses just like him and uses the same M.O. The film takes on a rather tacky and obvious murder mystery “who-done-it?” approach in the same vein as the original Friday the 13th, but in the case of A New Beginning, none of it really gels.  But unlike Friday the 13th, where the killer isn’t even mentioned before she drives onto the scene and introduces herself, part 5’s new killer is introduced with all the subtlety of a tack hammer to the face. If you watch this movie for the first time and don’t pick out EXACTLY who the killer is it’s time to go by to grammar school ,junior!

It’s an oddly paced wreck of a film but what it lacks in talent infront of and behind the camera it makes up in glorious, all American, SLEAZE! A New Beginning delivers it in spades. So much so, you leave feeling dirtier than usual after viewing a Friday the 13th movie. Maybe it’s due to the fact the film’s director, Danny Steinmann, helmed a few porn films in the 70’s…

I have a feeling this is why I love A New Beginning so much. It’s mean spirited, caustic, vulgar, has the highest body count in the franchise at 22, three sets of boobs including the awe inspiring set exposed by Ms. Debi Sue Voorhees, disgusting rednecks who scream constantly and compare one another to dildoes, several dozen red herrings, a twenty minute final chase sequnce featuring a hot blonde in a wet t-shirt,  the use of the dreaded “C” word, the list of filth is endless and MAN does it make up for whatever else is lacking.

Tommy and his imaginary friend.

We follow Tommoy Jarvis, our hero from The Final Chapter, who is in his mid twenties but I am guessing is supposed to be an remarkably well built and ripped 16-17 year old, who is on his way to some hold over hippie mental institution where they hand out axes to psychotic teenagers and send them on their way. See, it’s a trust system. Not sure if that’s your best approach with a bunch of horrifically unstable youths…but what do I know, I never went to college.

One Slashed Into the Cuckoo's Nest

This adds a level of  sadness to the proceedings knowing that the majority of this film’s victim pool is made up of mentally ill people. Folks who are handicapped. Watching them try to deal with their issues, whether it be a speech impediments, doing the robot or being constantly horny, really adds gravity to the proceedings.

So, of course, a young fat crazy guy gets hacked to pieces by Suicide from Return of the Living Dead over a harsh argument revolving around a chocolate bar. Isn’t this always the way? Anyway, fat kid’s dead, Suicide goes to jail  and the paramedics pick up the meaty chunks. One paramedic in particular seems kind of shocked by this whole thing. A paramedic named Roy who the camera stays on as he does a menacing take towards the camera….HMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

It totally can't be Roy.

With our inciting incident behind us we are introduced to our rag tag group of mentally unstable youths, residents and vacationers. Most notable is our young, black protagonist Reggie who supplies all the one screen talent in this film along with his older brother, Demon, who doesn’t wipe after taking a shit, is played by Spider from Return of the Living Dead , and has a lovely singing voice to go with that Jheri Curl.  These two guys steal the show (along with Debi Sue Voorhees bountiful breasts) even if Demon’s time on screen is fleeting.

Reggie should probably ditch the hysterical deadweight named Pam.

Reggie is visiting his grandfather who is the cook at the mental institution. Again, is this the kind of place to send your child? I mean, someone was chopped to bits there…you’d think they’d send him home or something. But in the end, A New Beginning has much to gain from the poor parenting that has sent poor little Reggie the Reckless off to this halfway house death trap in the middle of the woods.

There’s a far bigger pool of possible victims, and in a  very rare occurrence in the series, a kiddy pool full of possible killers which allows for a bit more plot than usual. But, as I mentioned earlier,  there’s also a hell of a lot more blood shed and naked bodies this time around as well. It’s a strange concoction that so many people hate. However, over time I have grown quite fond if this , the absolute TRASHIEST film in the entire ever lovin’ franchise.

New Guy knows how to make an entrance.

A New Beginning was the bridge between the original four part Friday the 13th series and story arch and the return of Jason as the unstoppable zombie juggernaut in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th part VI. It was a time when Paramount had no idea what to do with the series. By the end of this installment it seems like Tommy Jarvis is ready to don the mask as the heir to Jason’s slasher throne, but alas, it is never to be. The fans stayed away from The New Beginning in droves after finding out Jason wasn’t actually in the movie other than appearances in dreams and hallucinations. So, the movie bombed and gave way to the resurrection of Jason Voorhees and Tommy would again be the hero which brought the fans back to theaters.

It’s sick, twisted, leering, gross, violent, crude and downright shameful. But it’s also a whole hell of a lot of dark, slimy, evil fun. For those of us who like our slasher films gratuitous, unintentionally hilarious, and unapologetically nasty, you can’t do much better in this franchise than Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.

The Trash Cinema Collective Loves You, Debi Sue!

Stay Trashy!

-The Primal Root

11
Aug
10

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood or Raising Kane

a Primal Root review

The New Blood was, coincidentally, the very first Friday the 13th movie I ever saw. As a child I was completely forbidden from watching these kinds of films. Sure, I could be traumatized by Speilberg’s JAWS and Hooper’s Poltergeist, but the insanely fun Friday the 13th series was OFF LIMITS.  I think it’s because my Mom didn’t want me seeing bare female breasts. Now look what kind of complex that’s created.

Anyhoo, my first recollection of Friday the 13th part VII was  building up the courage to walk into the theater as a child and just catch a glimpse of what all my friends on the playground were talking about. I don’t recall what I was at the local Winter Haven, Florida movie theater seeing but I had gotten up to go use the boy’s room and it was on this unchaperoned venture I summoned up the courage to walk into the theater for my first ever taste of Friday the 13th.

And oh man, did it deliver. It was that moments towards the end of the film when there are hardly any teens left. Just our telekentic star Tina, love interest Nick and uber bitch, Melissa. I walked into that darkened theater to see Melissa open the door to leave Tina’s cabin only to have Jason firmly plant an axe right in her face and chuck her across the living room over a TV and into a wall.

and a horror nerd is born. Winter Haven, Florida. 1988.

My blood ran cold and my little first grade self finally knew what everyone was talking about. I was frozen in place, eyes wide, jaw on the floor. I felt terrified but excited simultaneously. My mind spun, my pulse raced as soon as my heart began beating again. Jason had the two remaining kids trapped in this house and I couldn’t bear anymore so I bolted back to my correct theater to sit next to the safety of my Mom and watch the rest of Who Framed Roger Rabbit or something.

I was fascinated with a hockey masked, undead, monster from hell.

It wasn’t until Friday the 13th Part VII was shown on USA when I was in 6th grade that I finally saw it in it’s entirety and was my favorite in the series for years.  The kills are brutal even if they were equally brutalized by the MPAA. Jason looked scarier than ever in this incarnation. His decomposing body allowing for cracked ribs and a rotted spinal column to protrude. This look has become my favorite incarnation of Jason, hands down. And for the first time in the series, Jason is pitted against another super natural force that gives him a run for his money in the form of Tina, a troubled and traumatized teenage girl returning to Crystal Lake to confront the demons of her past.

What is it about The New Blood that I love so much? It’s not my favorite in the series anymore and it does have a good amount of sentimental value, but why is this one so high on the list?

One of my favorite sequences in the whole film is the excellent opening montage which had become a bit of a staple in the franchise to keep the audience up to speed with what happened in previous installements. The Final Chapter had a pretty sweet opening montage but The New Blood’s is by far and away the best of the series. Walt Gorney, Crazy Ralph himself, lends his considerable voice talents to retell the legend of Jason Voorhees as footage from previous films are viewed. Some with audio, others are eerily silent. It’s the perfect opening to the film that gets me pumped every time.

"People forget he's down there. Waiting."

Much like one of the most heralded entries in the saga, The Final Chapter, The New Blood focuses on the drama going on in two separate households. There’s Tine, the hysterical and overly dramatic teenage heroine who hates her given telekinetic gifts. Her screeching, hardcore mullet sporting mother, Amanda. And pure evil psycho therapist, Dr. Cruz who is looking to exploit Tina’s powers. This trio has taken up residents in their old lake side abode where Tina killed her Father with her untamed mind bullets about a decade earlier. Yeah, this ought to prove incredibly soothing and therapeutic to the already on edge Tina. Especially after she brings Jason back to life after mistaking him as her Father. Was her Dad into hockey?

Damn, that Power Mullet's sexy as Hell!

The lake house next door has been rented out by a group of teen cliches in order to throw a surprise birthday party for their friend Michael. There’s the geeky guy, the stoner guy, the fun slut, the bitch, the token black couple, everyone is accounted for and then some. Needless to say, I was surprised to see even one of these faceless meat sacks make it to the end credits.

Might as well tattoo "Dead Meat" on their foreheads.

And there’s the little matter of the man behind the mask. Professional stunt man, Kane Hodder, steps up to bat for the first time as the legendary Jason Voorhees and he knocks the ball out of the park and embeds it in the cranium of some poor schmuck 5 miles away. Kane Hodder uses his body to emote whatever is going through Jason’s maggot riddled mind and he does it masterfully and like none other. He uses his shoulders, his breathing, his head movements to reveal levels of Jason never previously seen. Sure, these layers are primarily pissed off and blood thursty but Kane does it with gusto.

Kane Hodder and The Primal Root have a moment at Spooky Empire.

There’s also this fantastic sequence in a shed where Jason is looking for his potential victim and spots her through the slates in a wooden wall. It’s a frightning moment seen from the perspective of the victim, Maddy. Jason is fucking pissed and frustrated throughout the duration of his screen time with a kind of , “Well, it’s a dirty job but someone;s gotta do it.” swagger that immediately endears him to the fans. I still say this is of Kane Hodder’s best of his four Jason performances. He makes the character his own and has always given 100% to the character.

The last thing you ever want to see when hiding from Jason.

And the kills are fantastic in concept even if they are cut down tremendously by the ratings board. A party horn shoved into a young woman’s eye! Two axes to the face! Jason crushing a guys head to the size of a walnut with his bare hands! Weed whacker to the gut!  And, of course, the now iconic sleeping bag death that the mere mention of makes Friday fans all warm and fuzzy inside.

Foreplay. Jason style.

Friday the 13th part VIII is an exercise in excess. There’s just so much bloody, supernatural, horrific fun to be had it’s kind of mind blowing. Levitating severed heads, full on underwater female crotch shots, Maddy’s EXTREME makeover, kittens hidden in closets, bloody psychic visions, “I got a date with a soap on a rope.” I could  go on all day with the little things I love about The New Blood.

It a crass-tastic slice of late 80’s trashy slasher cinema fun.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

09
Aug
10

Friday the 13th Part 3 or When I Began Rooting for Jason

a Primal Root review

Oh boy, Friday the 13th Part 3 is really a mixed bag of trash goodies. It was the 1983 film that ushered in the brief Reagan era 3-D craze. And ever since it’s theatrical run, until recently, every copy you came across was the 2-D version so there’s dozens of shots where things like poles, snakes and eyeballs come lunging at the camera. Seeing this movie for the first time on Cinemax when I was all of 12 in an age before the internet was widely available I had no idea this was originally shot in 3-D and thought it was the weirdest damn thing I’d ever seen. Was this some filmmaking technique I’d never heard of? Why the hell are so many of these shots from the victims perspective? Why is EVERYTHING lit?

Of course, now I own a copy that includes the 3-D gimmick, but I still prefer watching this sucker in 2-D. It’s just so much more fun. And less headache inducing.

But a film should be judged on it’s storytelling merit rather than how well the gimmick works and Friday the 13th part 3 feels a little off kilter as an entry in the original 4 part series of Friday films. And this begins right out of the gate with Harry Manfedini’s retooling of his affective trademark score into a catchy disco track which plays over popping 3-D credits. This does not evoke any kind of dread but it sure does make me want to shake my booty. Not exactly what I was expecting going into a Friday the 13th flick.

The Heart Warming "Shitting" Scene.

Picking up hours after the events of Friday the 13th part 2 this film features a new, drastically different looking Jason. No longer a slim, hairy, sack headed redneck, J-Man has at some point that day shaved, changed clothes and pounded some weight gain shakes as to be more formiddable this time around. Jason is fucking BUILT in this installment and looks like he could pick you up and break you in half over his knee. Quite a change from the string bean Jason of Part 2.

Anyway, after stalking and murdering the most disgusting white trash couple in Friday the 13th history (yes, even more so than Ethel & Son in Part 5. At least we didn’t have to watch them take a graphically noisy shit.)  who wonder around their home and general store as the evening news reports on the events of the previous film (they mention the victims being killed by an “axe wielding maniac” though Jason never uses that particular tool in Part 2. Just sayin…) and provide a little peek into their generally sad and desperate existence. Then they are both killed. It’s a cathartic moment.

Thank you, movie!

The next day we are introduced to our new cast of machete fodder. There’s Debbie and Andy, our fun loving couple who really enjoy fucking. They enjoy it so much, in fact, Debbie is established as being in the early stages of pregnancy. Now that’s an unusual bit of character development. There’s Shelly, our obligatory practical joker and douche bag extrordinare. And behind the wheel of the Scooby Van transporting our motley Crew is female lead, Chris, who may as well do a take to the camera and introduce herself as the final girl.

They pick up their Hispanic friend Vera who looks pretty Caucasian to me. Anyway, as they pick her up it looks as if the Scooby Van has spontenaously combust as smoke bellows out the open windows. Upon closer inspection it’s just their hippie stoner friends, Chuck and Chili, in the back sucking on their bongs.

"What's a weekend in the country without sex?" Andy asks a profound question in Friday the 13th Part 3.

Our band of misfits are heading to Chris’s Father’s cabin, Higgins’ Haven, out near Crystal Lake.   They arrive and Chris is grabbed by the throat and pushed up agaisnt a wall by Rick, her tool of a…boyfriend? Fuck buddy? Perverted brother?  Who, when Chris screams and runs away from the giant lug exclaims, “Did it get cold in here or is it just me?” What a charmer. Girls throw themselves at assholes like this nowadays. Just take a look at the Friday the 13th remake!

Later, Shelly and Vera incure the wrath of a trio of bikers (two of which are BLACK and have speaking roles! Another series first.) who manage to track them back to Higgins’ Haven and ratchet up our victim pool to 11. The bikers are all killed under the cover of mid-afternoon in the Higgins’ Haven barn s they attempt to burn it down. By nightfall, we join up with Chris and Rick as she describes a horrifying encounter she had with a giant behemoth in the woods with a head like a melted Milk Dud that took place a couple summers ago. Jason stalked and attacked Chris in the woods, but the strange thing is, no one knows anything about Jason in this flick. In fact, his name isn’t even mentioned. Not once in the entirety of the part 3.  This adds to the slightly obtuse feeling of this third entry.

On tonight's episode of, "OUCH! My Balls!"

Soon, all our leads begin dying. Shelly puts the moves on Vera to no availe so he decides to jump out of the lake at her with a spear gun while wearing a hockey mask. Believe it or not, this also fails to make Vera want to have sex with him. Shelly goes off to pout and get slit open thereby giving Jason his now infamous hockey mask. Vera is speared in the eye by Jason in a scene that showcases the INCREDIBLE 3-D effects. Andy gets chopped down through the genital zone as he does a head stand (YOWZA!) and his baby’s Momma gets impaled through the back after an nearly nipless shower scene. Later Chuck gets thrown into a fuse box and Chili gets impaled with a fire place poker. I’m not sure if there’s another Friday the 13th film that’s so remarkably heavy on females being fully impaled on phallic objects.  This is another weird strange moment that sets this sucker apart from the litter. For better or for worse.

Eventually Chris and Rick make it back to the cabin to find it in disarray and no one around. Rick goes out to investigate and gets his beefy, uber masculine head popped like a zit by Jason sending his eyeball soaring towards the audience in what might possibly be the the single most knee slappingly funny death in the series. Rick is such a jackass it’s truly a pleasure to watch this happen. In fact, this is probably the first film in the franchise where the majority of the characters are unlikable dickheads. The only characters I even kind of sort of care about are Debbie and Andy and you know they are meat grinder ready the second you lay eyes on them. they like to have sex, are nice people, and they both look good without their shirts.  The rest of the characters are all self centered jerks who no one in the audience can be compelled to root for. It’s a tradition the Friday the 13th franchise would carry on from part 3 to the bitter end and rebirth in 09.

Rick's got an eye on you. I'll be here all week.

Chris eventually finds herself all alone against a powerful wind storm that has erupted outside, blowing open doors and windows and causing her to cry and scream like a baby. She cries out for Rick’s help because she can’t close windows by herself. Rick pops up as his corpse is cartapulted through the living room window and Jason makes his grand entrance.

Now it’s on.

Chris and Jason run about the property as she knocks him on the noggin’ with logs, trips over rocks and drops from a rafter temporarily knocking Jason out with her ass. It’s one of the more ludicrous final girl chases in the series and therefore one of the funniest.

Jason shortly after Chris's patented Ass Attack. A move never performed again in the Friday the 13th series.

Eventually Chris gets the upper hand and sinks an axe into Jason’s melon sized cranium which puts him down for this outing.  Chris then goes canoeing into Crystal Lake where she is haunted by nightmares of Jason and is then attacked by…Mrs. Voorhees? Who rises from the bottom of Crystal Lake, head reattached, grabs chris by her tits and pulls her overboard. Not since the end of Jason Takes Manhattan have I offered such an enthusiastic WTF?  What the hell just happened?

Whether it truly happened or it’s another hallucinatory nightmare is never explained as Chris is lead to the back of a police cruiser and looks to have completely lost her fucking mind.  It’s not a great way to end the movie but it is an ending…I guess.

Mrs. Voorhees' attack prompts an O-Face from Chris.

With Friday part 3 the series really figured out what worked. Young people and edged weapons. If we have these two elements fans will return. It’s one of the clunkiest entries in the series and it shows. The whole movie feels as if it were just thrown together haphazardly with little  to no forethought.

But this weirdness, this lack of attention to GIANT plot holes and simply tossing out huge chunks of character development that are addressed and then never ever resolved or mentioned again, kind of  hysterical in a mind bogglingly moronic sort of way. In a franchise not known for it’s intellectual attributes Friday the 13th part 3 is among the dumbest in the series.

It’s big, it’s dumb and it’s intensely trashy.  It’s my least favorite of the pre-Resurrected Jason films but it’s still a damn good bit of fun. The lackluster 2-D, 3-D, gimmicks go a long way to making this entry a laugh riot.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

07
Aug
10

JASON LIVES! Friday the 13th Part VI or Welcome Back, Voorhees

a Primal Root review

By 1986 Jason was dead. He was no more. The franchise ended on a high not with 1984’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and that was it. Right? Well, in 85 Paramount decided to try and relaunch the franchise. Not with a remake, but with a sequel. Part V: A New Beginning brought back all the elements of the Friday series with the exception of one ingredient: Jason Voorhees. This proved a major misstep as fans who wanted more of the same JAson fueled bloodbaths felt betrayed. Hence, this 1986 sequel which resurrects our deceased villain and declares loudly and proudly, that in fact, JASON LIVES!

Our film begins with our third incarnation of recurring character Tommy Jarvis ( The fellow who, as a young Corey Feldman, killed Jason in The Final Chapter and…didn’t do much in Part V besides cry, scream and kick the crap out of people) here played by Return of the Living Dead’s Thom Mathews heads out to JAson grave intend on digging his shrivled corpse up and setting it ablaze to ensure that Jason will never return. Along for the ride is Tommy’s pal Allen. Who did they suitably cast into this role? None other than Ron Palilo of Welcome Back, Kotter fame! *nudge, nudge*Get it?

OOOHHH OOOHHH OOOHHHh man, I'm not making it past the fifteen minute mark, am I?

It turns out as you might expect. Once Tommy unearths Jason Tommy has a flashback and goes nutso, grabs a long metal rod and stabs Jason’s crusty old cadaver with it. Before you know it the rod is struck  by lightning twice (as if the Lord almighty wanted Jason brought to rise) and brings our anti-hero back to life. First order of business is killing off the comic relief  side kick by ripping his heart out through his stomach…and then lettingh is arch nemisis Tommy run away.

Back in business.

In essence, Tommy has now brought his own worst fear to life in the process of doing the therapeutic thing and confronting it. So much for being proactive.

Tommy runs straight to the authorities with the bad news and they respond by tell him he’s completely bonkers and locking him up behind bars thereby giving Jason plenty of time to regain his murder mojo.  And let m tell you, for being dead however long, Jason might be a better killer than ever. He now moves like The Terminator and is capable of complety crushing skulls with his bare hands. He was strong when he was alive..er, dead and resurrected the first time or whatever he was in the first few films but now he’s transformed into the hulking, unstoppable truly death proof man-tank he will remain for the rest of the series.

And wouldn’t you know it, Jason’s resurrection also marks the first day of the summer season over at Campy Crystal La…oops, I mean Camp Forest Green. See, they changed the name so everyone would forget the bloodshed that took place there however many years ago that was. Anyway, the camp is just opening for the summer, even though all the leaves are brown, the sky is grey, everyone is wearing thick, insulated jackets and we can se their breath at night.

My money is on the blonde white girl.

There’s a whole new batch of counselor this year, seeing as everyone got slaughtered once upon a time, and they are lead by the Sheriff’s daughter Megan who is portrayed by Jennifer Cooke who would later by the founder of Celestial Seasonings. That’s right, the tea company. LEt me tell you, their peppermint tea is awesome come winter time.

Drink Celestial Seasonings or I'll kick your ass.

Will Tommy escape from jail in time to save anyone? Will the Sheriff  ever stop being an overly violent aggravated jerk for long enough to listen to Tommy? Will Megan force Tommy to put his face against her crotch? And will Jason be stopped before turning everyone at Camp Forest Green into a teeny bopper smoothie?

Jason Lives is a fun movie. It was an attempt to bring some new life to the series and they tried on the comedic shoes for the very first time. To be honest, it’s a little touch and go. Some jokes work, others don’t, and some just make you want to go out and kill paint ball players.

I’ve heard over the years that the creative team behind Jason Lives wanted to create as many jokes as they could where the audience owuld be responsible for the tag line. Like the scene where the lead counselors get murdered by Jason and the female counselor gets speared in the face and drowned in a mud puddle. He purposely captures a close up of her American Express card as it floats out of her lifeless had setting it up for some wise guy to shout, “DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!” It’s one of the comedic approaches that I feel works in the film and is an innovative and smart way to go about it.

The famous "I dropped my credit card." shot.

Then there are jokes like…extended scenes of co=workers on a company retreat playing paint ball that brought to life by an unfunny comedy troupe that happens to be friends with the director. This scene is painfully unfunny. It fails to be anything more than severely annoying. It’s the quivilant of hanging out with that one guy you knew back in high school who thought he was just hilarious and you laughed at his jokes just trying to be nice at first but then he wouldn’t leave you alone and all you could do was try to ignore him and hope he would get the hint. But he keeps trying, and smiling and winking and saying “Get it?Hu? Get it?” And finally your face just goes inferno red from having held back for so long and you just scream at him to SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE! YOU’RE NOT FUNNY! YOU’VE NEVER BEEN FUNNY! I CAN’T FUCKING STAND YOU! Please, just go away. Please, just stop…please…oh god…just go away…*sobs uncontrollably*

The infamous paintable sequence. The worst ten minutes in ANY Friday the 13th movie. So bad it almost ruins JASON LIVES!

Like I said, it’s touch and go. It’s a half and half sort of movie for me. A yin and yang. There are some things in JASON LIVES! that work so damn well. The gothic element of the horror, the production design, the above average performances, the well developed characters, some fun deaths and even some of jokes work.

But there are the drawbacks of there are the drawbacks of so much time spent on those terribly unfunny sequences which hurt the film;s flow and it’s overall impact. They were trying out something new to the franchise so I can forgive a few missteps. However, comedy in the Friday the 13th series would never be handled this well again. Well, intentional comedy, that is.

JASON LIVES! is on a lot of fan favorites lists. It’s a snarky, fun and competently made entry in a series that never got a whole lot of respect from the mainstream or those that made them. Jason Lives, however, comes across as a film with a lot of heart. Watching it you can;t help but feel everyone involved was having a great time making this puppy and that there was a genuine affection for  the whole franchise.

Jason is not amused.

It’s one of the nicest entries in the series. It’s a lot lighter than many of the other sequels but also draws you back in with some relatively heavy moments including the deaths of someone’s father and one of the most brutal off screen deaths ever filmed, Jason’s liquefaction of young, super sweet and likable counselor, Pam.

JASON LIVES is unlike any other installment in the franchise. It has it’s highs and lows but as an original take on a long standing series it stands on it’s own two legs and wields that machete with pride. Damn good show, Jason.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

06
Aug
10

Freddy vs. Jason: Adolescent Wish Fulfilled

a Primal Root review

For me, there was no bigger event film this past decade than Freddy vs. Jason. It was the film my friends I would talk about on the playground when I was in elementary school. Who would win? Who has the advantage? It was so much fun building these scenarios and debating who was the tougher monster between hanging from monkey bars and playing flag football. I think it was in those early discussions that I grew an allegiance to Jason Voorhees in a giant sandbox at DeSoto Trail Elementary. . We already had King Kong vs. Godzilla, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman….where was Freddy vs. Jason? It was the movie all of us were dying to see. The years passed and I waited.

And then the news broke. It was actually going to happen after all these years of hoping, waiting, rumors, false reports and face palmingly weak leaked scripts it was finally happening. New Line was putting into production the one film I’d been wanting to see since I was in short pants. Freddy vs. Jason. I could not have been happier. For the majority of 2003 leading up to the release of the film I could not stop watching both franchises over and over, hyping myself up into a frenzy over the upcoming film to the point I knew my friends wished I would get caught between the two slashers and be quieted for good.

The big day finally arrived. I put on m Jason costume and hockey mask as a sign of allegiance, and headed to the midnight showing. I got there early and rushed to the best seat in the house. Turns out only myself and two of my friends had dressed up as who we were rooting for (two Jasons, one Freddy) so we stuck out like the awkward, over enthusiastic horror fans we are.

Freddy vs. Jason Opening Night!

The lights dimmed, the trailers ran…and then the movie began.

Freddy vs. Jason begins with Krueger narrating his life story over footage of his final moments and his life as the eternal dream demon, Fred Krueger. It’s been almost a decade since Freddy has seen any action, Springwood has hushed up those who remember him and white washed everything regarding his very existence. Without the children’s fear, Freddy is rendered powerless to haunt their dreams and has been dwelling in Hell ever since.

Freddy Krueger reminds you to brush and floss every day.

But, being the evil genius he is, Freddy has found a way to make the children of Springwood remember. By resurrecting the towering hunk of unstoppable rotted death, Jason Voorhees. Freddy is hoping Jason can spark some fear into the kids, and in the process, bring the legend of Freddy back to life.

The plan goes swimmingly at first. Jason rips up some Elm Street residents, the kids start getting scared and Freddy is again able to enter their nightmares. But there’s one  little bit of the equation Freddy left out. See, Jason is REALLY good at what he does. He may not be the high concept killer Freddy is but Jason knows how to get the job done, quickly and efficiently which might be why he always has the higher body counts.  Jason kills just about everyone within machete shot where Freddy brings in a kill total of…1. Way to bring your A game, bro.

Freddy vs. Jason is a blazingly cool and tantalizing idea. The simple day dreams of these two laying into each other is the stuff of childhood fantasy. And that’s what we went in expecting, a none stop battle to the death between the greatest icons of modern horror. One thing we hadn’t counted on was all the teen melodrama which makes up almost three quarters of the film.

A riveting scene with our teen protagonists.

See, there’s this plot about a girl named Lori who lives at 1428 Elm Street now with her psychiatrist father.  Lori’s Mom was murdered in the house and her pops is made up to be a red herring, which if you buy into, you’re a complete idiot. Of course Freddy killed her. Anyway, Lori’s boyfriend Will saw the murder go down and is now locked up at Westin Hills (REMEMBER! From Nightmare 3 & 5? Yay, for references to previous films!) with his buddy Mark on Lori’s father’s orders.

Jason sneaks into Lori’s house, kills a jerk, Will escapes and finds Lori and blah, blah, blah, did anyone care? Does anyone care now? It’s all just filler and a means to slow the pace of the film to a snail’s crawl and deliver inane, moronic dialog that helps to crap all over both franchise mythologies.

“Freddy’s afraid of fire, Jason’s afraid of water…how can we use that?”

And the problems roll on from there.

When the shit did Jason become afraid of the water? Sure, deep down subconsciously (does Jason even have a subconscious?) which is where Freddy is able to tap into it. It makes sense, seeing as he drowned at Crystal Lake (or, kind of drowned but didn’t and doggy paddled to shore and decided to never inform his Mom of this fact) but in the real world? Jason’s been literally living in and around the lake for decades! He doesn’t show much fear of the water in the real world during Freddy vs. Jason, but the sad thing is, that single line uttered by Lori has ingrained in many young horror fan’s minds that Jason really is afraid of water. Like, you could turn a hose on him and he’d run away like a frightened little girl. This is simply not the case and we all know better.

LIES!

Then again, I guess the writers had to give Jason some kind of weakness in order to balance the fight. Because let’s face it, once Freddy enters the real world and is face to face with Jason, that fucker’s dead as Dillinger. But of course, Freddy has taken kung-fu lessons while in Hell and busts that shit out all over Jason’s ass in a surreal and comical fight sequence at the end of the film.

It’s this battle royal that the two titans get into, Round 1 in Freddy’s Dream World & Round 2 at Camp Crystal Lake, that Freddy vs. Jason really starts cooking. The battle commenced and it was a sight to behold .It’s insane and over the top and quite cool in my book.

Freddy continually gets the upper hand thanks to his intelligence and agility but his cockiness tends to get the better of him. Jason just takes the damage, as always, and keeps on ticking. Sure, he looks like he’s hurtin’, but it’s Jason Voorhees. To him, everything is just a flesh wound.

I'm fine!

My favorite moment in the fight comes when the two are on the pier together, lit by the burning cabins in the distance, Jason rips of Freddy’s arm, Freddy sticks Jason’s machete deep int he hockey masked killer’s chest. The music sweels, the  two lock eyes and exchange hate filled glares before a huge explosion erupts sending both boogiemen hurtling in Crystal Lake. It’s almost like a final goodbye, like a strange, slasher twist on that last kiss between guy and girl before they both part ways. It was THIS moment I had been imagining for years. When the two monsters, caked in blood and gore, gasping for air and on their last leg, starred into one another’s eyes. Two legends fueled with hate, one of pure evil and the other eternally seeking vengeance, embraced in death.

I’m not going to lie, I got a little misty eyed from beneath my hockey mask on first viewing.

There’s still some debate as to who won this thing. Freddy fans will always say it was Freddy and Jason’s fans will say Jason is the clear victor. . I dunno, it’s really up in the air and it has to be by design. I’ve heard some fans on both sides griping about this but it’s fine with me. I half expected it to end that way going into the movie. The moments between Freddy and Jason were so entertaining I can forgive them for not wanting to please just one side or the other.

Freddy vs. Jason works pretty well as a Friday the 13th film but is probably around the same level of artistic merit in the Nightmare franchise as Part 4: The Dream Master. It’s an event film, pure and simple. Not something made to be anything more than pure entertainment for the masses and a tip of the fedora/hockey mask to the loyal fans who had been waiting since the mid 80’s for this sucker.

Simply beautiful...

The sad thing is how boring and lack luster the segments featuring our teen leads are. They just seem more annoying and useless than usual but that could just be because I am so anxious to see what the title of the film is promising. I just remember wishing the film would get moving whenever our teenage pals showed up to furrow their brows and talk about how much it sucks their friends are dead. Come on, Freddy vs. Jason, let’s get to the main event!

It’s old hat with a bit of a twist in matching the two guys together. Freddy’s charisma is a great foil to Jason’s silent brutality and it makes for an enjoyable viewing experience when they are in one another’s company.

This was a film I had dreamed about for years and now I own it. I have seen it numerous times, I have the poster rolled up in a tube. What was once simple childhood playground debates is now set in stone. It went down, the masters duked it out, and now it’s over. I left the theater with a smile on my face. I had witnessed what we had always talked about. I wonder what my childhood friends thought of it? It took me back to that time and I think that’s the major appeal of the movie to me. It’s not just the ultimate battle of  horror pop culture icons, but a trip down memory lane and a loving tribute to the slasher form.

Both franchises had completely run out of steam at this point. The Friday the 13th series had crapped out Jason X and Wes Craven had delivered the poetic and  darkly beautiful New Nightmare as a final chapter for Freddy. But if both series wanted to bring their heads to the surface and gasp one final breath before plunging into the annals of trash cinema history for good, I was pleased they did it together.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root




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