Posts Tagged ‘Jason Voorhees

12
Dec
19

Dottie Menerva: December Devil Girl of the Month (2019) NSFW

Hey Gang, The Primal Root here, and I am honored to introduce to you our December Devil Girl of the Month, Dottie Menerva with her blood soaked and ultra sexy ode to Jason Voorhees. Enjoy this special Friday the 13th Devil Girl and beware…It’s Got a DEATH CURSE!

The Primal Root: Dottie Menerva, this is one fantastically bloody, dirty ode to our brother in filth, Mr. Jason Voorhees. What prompted this gore soaked spread of Friday the 13th depravity?

Dottie Menerva: A girl and a camera.

Root: What was the most challenging aspect of this Devil Girl shoot? Did you encounter any wildlife while out there bringing the naked weirdness in honor of Friday the 13th?

Dottie: The most challenging aspect for me is the wildlife. You know what perverts those birds are.

Root: Do you have a favorite Friday the 13th film in the series? A favorite kill in the series, perhaps?

Dottie: Jason Goes To Hell

Root: How long did it take you to get all that blood off you and whose blood is it?

Dottie: Surprisingly not long at all, I’m an expert at removing it at this point in my career. It was GG Allen’s blood.

Root: Which horror movie character would you most like to party with?

Dottie: TJ Miller’s character in I’m Just Fucking With You

Root: Any advice to those roaming around Camp Crystal Lake and happen to run into you, naked, blood drenched and sporting a hockey mask and a blade?

Dottie: Life’s short, party naked (then I chop off their heads).

Root: What song would you like folks to listen to while checking out your Devil Girl spread?

Dottie: Blind Melon’s Skinned

Root: Any parting wisdom for any aspiring Devil Girls out there, Dottie?

Dottie: Don’t be afraid to see different versions of yourself and love each of them for a part of your complexity as a human being.It’s very transformative to have self perspective and I highly recommend getting in touch with Rewski Photography as she offers vivid concept art and delivers photos that offer a unique world.

Photography by Kayla King of Rewski Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09
Nov
13

Blip.TV Cancels and Deletes The Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews

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a Primal Root Dirty Thought

Gang, I am saddened to say that blip.tv has cancelled our original review show “The Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews” and deleted every single episode I ever uploaded to their site since I began creating this venture back in 2009.  From what I gather from the notifications I have been sent,  blip.tv is under new ownership and are deleting shows and accounts that violate their new terms of use and are of “low quality.” This means us. The Trash Cinema Collective’s original video series “The Primal Root’s  Rotten Reviews” no longer have a home or a hosting site.  This means that the links on our page to these videos are no longer active or watchable.  Blip.tv was once an open forum for those with original ideas and content that other hosting site would be quick to take down or outright deny the exhibition of.  It’s a shame, and I cannot deny how disappointed I am that they have chosen this path.

Hopefully this is only momentary as we scour the internet looking for a site that has balls enough to host our videos. If you have any suggestions we would greatly appreciate hearing them.  I still have every rotten Review I’ve ever made on my hard drive and will upload them to a new site as soon as one is located. I cannot thank you enough for your support over the four years, Hell, almost FIVE years now,  since we began The Trash Cinema Collective. We will continue business a usual and the latest, enormously ambitious episode of “The Primal Root’s Rotten Review”  is still in the works and will hopefully see the light of day very soon.

Please be patient with us and send your suggestions our way. Thank you again for staying by our side.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

Jason Die

10
Dec
12

V/H/S: Found Footage Feast of Fear

VHS-Movie-Poster-2012

a Primal Root review

V/H/S is one of those lucky horror entries who’s sails get caught up in a wind of hype and praise from the horror community, a community ravenous for something worth a damn in this genre that, when not about people eating other people’s shit or featuring a cast made almost entirely of guests from the current horror convention circuit getting torn into chunks by a mad man, is remaking films from decades past and transforming masterpieces into dumbed down fodder for the masses.  So ravenous are they, that V/H/S has become the toast of the community at the moment. Over hyped? Maybe a bit. But V/H/S sure is a fun little anthology film.

Basically, V/H/S, is a found footage horror anthology period piece. It tells six separate tales by different filmmakers all taking place in the mid to late 1990’s.  It’s about two hours of none stop shaky cam footage that will give ‘The Blair Witch Project’ a run for it’s money in stomach churning motion sickness department.

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The central wrap around story of V/H/S features a group of college age hooligans and criminals who tape their Jackass inspired shenanigans and sell them to online distributors. Now, who would pay good money to watch a bunch of twenty something assholes break the windows of abandoned houses and sexually assault random women to show their bare breasts in parking garages is beyond me. But these jerks, the rapist criminals, are our protagonists.  We follow them as these scumbags as they are sent by a mysterious party to break into the residence of an elderly man and retrieve a tape. Easy enough, right? HA! Wrong! If it were that easy we wouldn’t have a fucking movie!

Bizarrely enough, these bros find what looks to be the old man’s lifeless corpse upstairs in a recliner with several TVs flickering snowy static in front of him and surrounded by mountains of VHS tapes. Seems they have their work cut out for them.  So, as these jerk-o’s have never seen a horror movie before, they decide to split up and leave one man behind to review tapes. This feels like the flimsiest of premises, but I’ll take it. Not sure if this even warrants a *SPOILER ALERT*, but the old guy ain’t so lifeless.

Let us get to our TALES OF TERROR!

*SPOILER AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!* I will try to keep things as vague as possible, but the basic premise and plot points to many of these stories might be spoiled if you read the below synopsis. Just a heads up.

vhs - amateur night

First up:

‘Amateur Night’ tells the tale of a trio of guys who strap one of their buddies up with a pair of now-trendy, ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ spectacles equipped with a hidden camera as they head out to enjoy a night of drunken debauchery and date rape. The three central male figures all come off as totally legit, obnoxious, collegiate horn dogs who generously rent the seediest of hotel rooms for taking advantage of the two drunken young ladies they’ve picked up. Honestly, the behavior of these young men is far more disturbing, in my opinion, than what happens to them. They gather around, dicks out and at the ready for gang banging, but as they soon realize that the one they undress, a troubling, mousy “girl” with wide creepy eyes, matted dreads, and a nervous way about her, is something they couldn’t have ever imagined. Out of all the tales in V/H/S, this may possibly be my favorite as it utilizes the hand-held, “found footage” aspect in a clever way and beautifully illustrates how being a completely loathsome, gutter-feeding, tool can literally bite you on the ass. These are the type of dudes who seek power and validation that they have penises via lording control over women, but in the end, they get a horrific taste of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of someone (something) else looking for validation. One of the cherries on this blood-soaked cake, is in the pretty awesome and grueling final chase scene climax that film-makers of ‘Amateur Night’ managed to put forth. Ultimately, this story works because it doesn’t shy away from its racy subjects of desire, power-mongering, and douchery comeuppance dealing with everything directly, brutally, and unflinchingly.

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‘Second Honeymoon’

These two are married? How old are they, 23? And they are on their second honeymoon? Eh. Okay… This one tells the story of a (very) young married couple driving through the desert. That’s pretty much it. It was strange to find out these two are married since they come across as an awkward, unlikable couple who don’t seem to get one another and might have just started dating a couple months ago. The wife is creating a video diary of their road-trip, which, as we watch it in it’s uncut form, comes off as more of a negative comment card than a tribute to their affectionate good times. She does little more than whip the camera about and complain about where she is and what she’s doing. Yeah, this is the woman you wanna travel with. Her husband is just as unbearable. Anyway, she gets her fortune read for a buck by a redneck buckaroo version of the Zoltan machines at an old west tourist trap, and it makes mention of reuniting with a loved one. That very night a strange woman knocks on their motel room door in the dead of night asking for a ride in the morning. Who is she? What does she want? Why does she like breaking into hotel rooms, filming folks with their own cameras, poking people in the butt with her switchblade, and pulling lame, elementary school pranks on them while they sleep? Who knows! Sure, it builds some much-desired tension, but the stories’ load is blown a bit prematurely, and doesn’t have much weight as it is as we don’t know these characters very well and from what we do gather of them we don’t like, anyway. The story ends leaving the audience hanging with their questions, which is just fine.  These people are dull, and you’ll probably be ready to move on.

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‘Tuesday the 17th’ is a cool concept where a young woman takes some of her friends out to the woods where, in the past, she had encountered a Jason-esque killer who brutally murdered her buddies. Only thing is, he is either invisible and can only be seen through the video camera’s view finder or he is actually conjured to life via the actual presence of the video camera. It is never explained, but the effect of the killer as a humanoid shape appearing on the tape in scratchy glitches, a visual distortion, works well and is pretty damn eerie. The presentation of this killing specter is this story’s greatest asset.  It’s an idea worthy of a feature-length movie but, as it is, the whole thing comes off as a tired Friday the 13th clone as the love-child of Jason Voorhess and ‘The Ring”s Samara stalks down some dumb, canned-character kids in the woods. Despite a cool set up, the story rushes to it’s conclusion and falls apart, as a result. I can’t help but wonder what it could have been had it been fleshed out.

VHS - Emily Ghost

‘The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Young’ is an intriguing story about a long-distance relationship taking place over video chat as our heroine experiences a haunting and some kind of mystery growth under her arm… It’s a nifty little ‘Outer Limits’  style yarn that’s relatively satisfying. I couldn’t help but wonder how great this story would have been if captured in the format of a normal film narrative as opposed to found footage. Our main girl is remarkably sweet, likeable, and attractive with a vulnerable but outgoing quality to her. Although her beau says he’s working out-of-area for his business, we cannot help but wonder about the nature of this curious long-distance relationship. Does anyone else sense some early commentary possibly co-dependence, manipulation, and abuse in the relationship? I wouldn’t put it past this one as all motives are made clear by story’s end. As it featured a great leading lady  who didn’t annoy the ever-loving shit out of me, ‘The Sick Thing’ was a nice change of pace.

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‘10.31.98’ is right up there with ‘Amateur Night’, vying as a favorite of the anthology. Four surprisingly charming and likable college age fellows, one dressed as a Nanny Cam (teddy bear with a built in camera. CLEVER!), traverse across town to find the Halloween party they were invited to. When they finally come to the address where the party is rumored to be it seems the house is empty, but as they investigate they find they most certainly are not alone. These guys walk into a situation with no frame of reference, expecting the light-hearted frivolity, and come out with the worst possible scenario imaginable. Once they come across what appears to be a damsel in freaky distress the story explodes into an effects-heavy, supernatural nightmare, and works better in its brief running time than all the ‘Paranormal Activity’ films combined.  Matters escalate in the blink of an eye and the guys react with righteous bravery, putting their lives in peril to save a young woman whose life seems to be on the line. This welcomes us to one of the most well-played shocks of the whole film. These guys aren’t out to take advantage of anyone, they don’t act like drooling, poon-hounds. It’s Nice Guys vs. Pure Evil delivering chuckles, anxiety, and, by story’s end, pure terror closing V/H/S out on a high note.

Oh, and the ineffective, brain-dead wrap around of the original tape-retrieval asscapade? Well, they all die. The End.

*END SPOILERS!*

In the final analysis I enjoyed V/H/S, despite myself.  It’s got a bit of everything, post-modern horror, supernatural, psychological serial killer, the whole shebang. It’s almost like a sampler case featuring several of horror’s most beloved sub genres, and when these stories are at their best (see: ‘Amateur Night’, ‘10.31.98’)  they work pretty damn well. At their worst, they still have some cool ideas to dig into (see: ‘Tuesday the 17th’, ‘Second Honeymoon’).

V/H/S proved to be an entertaining collaborative experiment that spins some imaginative tales.  By no means a masterpiece, V/H/S is a creepy excursion into the macabre, the supernatural and the rewindable.

Stay Trashy!

-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

05
Aug
10

Jason Goes to Hell: Every single one of us has a Jason inside

a Primal Root review

Jason just took a trip to Manhattan where he was melted into a little boy and was then sold by his handlers at Paramount to New Line Cinema…now what can we do with him? Let’s send that Mama’s boy straight to Hell!

Our man in Crystal Lake had been pulverising teenagers for well over a decade by the time Jason Goes to Hell was released in 1993. He’d been on countless misadventures, he’s battled telekentic teenagers, taken a trip to Manhatten, battled Corey Feldman and even been killed and brought back to life several times! Jason Goes to Hell is the 9th story of Jason Voorhees, and let’s face it, things had gotten a little tired. Four years had passed since Paramount’s strange choice of a  franchise swan song, Jason Takes Manhattan, was released  and now New Line wanted a shot at  making some cash off this monster and bring the audience something different.

"mother..."

And holy shit, they made something different all right. The film features Jason being killed within the first 15 minutes when a swat team goes undercover, draws him out and then sprays him wth automatic fire power and drops two nukes on him. No, it’s not a short film. Jason’s meaty chunks are collected and sent to a coroner who makes some wise cracks about how many bullets he’s been hit with and how dead as shit Jason is.

Then it gets weird.

Jason’s over sized heart (awww) starts beating, hypnotizes the coroner who then decides it would be a great idea to chow down on this goopy purplish black mass of nasty. Once finished, some fairy sparkles shoot out of Jason’s chunks and into the coroner leaving him possessed by the evil spirit of Jason…or, something like that.

Jason's heart typically serves 3 to 4.

Possessing a new meat suit Jason heads back to the Crystal Lake area to find some relatives so he can be reborn.  But this time, there’s a reward on his head offered up by a sleazy Inside Edition style show, and there’s one of the greatest badass characters to ever grace the series who answers the call. Mr. Creighton Duke (Steven Williams).

"She's only your girl 'cause she ain't had a taste of The Duke yet."

This guy is the epitome of cool. He’s a bounty hunter who’s been chasing Jason for years. I imagine, from the shadows, because we’ve never known about this guy till this 9th Jason film. Still, Duke is an imposing, powerful character and is one of touted as being one of the greatest professional bounty hunters of all time.  He knows everything about Jason Voorhees– what he is, what drives his evil, and most importantly, how to stop the madness once and for all. This is hinted at as he gives a Quint from JAWS inspired speech on TV. “I’ll get you the mask, the machete, the whole damn thing.” This guy is fucking cool as ice cold.

Jason Goes to Hell is one of the most complex, confusing and rule heavy films ever made within the slasher sub genre. In this movie Jason may only be reborn through a Voorhees. He may only be killed by a Voorhees. But not just any Voorhees, one using the super magic dagger…um, and Jason’s gotta keep hoping from body to body until he gets to a Voorhees because only Voorhees bodies can withstand that kind of evil very long without melting into what looks like liquidy pools of Hubba-Bubba bubble gum.

Jason Goes to Hell: Where Delicious and Disgusting Collide!

It’s all kind of ridiculous and overly complicated but I do give the young team of filmmakers who put Jason Goes to Hell together kudos for having the brass balls to make something so drastically different from the rest of the series that it was almost destined to be universally loathed by fans. I mean, you take Jason out of the movie, you introduce a ton of rules and mythology that was never even whispered about before along with Voorhees family blood lines that no one knew even existed and what do you expect?

But for me, I like those aspects.

The film, in it’s unrated form, has some of the most gruesome deaths the franchise has ever witnessed and some much appreciated extended gratuitous nudity…which of course, leads to a brutal blood  caked gut crunching death scene. As Jason stalks the abandoned woods of Crystal Lake he comes up a trio of campers two of which are enjoying some unprotected sex in their tent. As our cowgirl reaches her climax Jason stakes her all the way through her back, out the solar plexus and then rips her in half in and lengthwise with his spike. It’s a Ménage à trois Jason style!  It’s one death scene that delivers and then some.

Swingers beware! Casual sex with Jason = BAD IDEA

It has the feel of a high budget fan made sequel where someone came up with some of their own answers as to why Jason is who he is. Sure, Jason Goes to Hell isn’t a very well made film but it’s by far and away the most unique and original entry in the series. No one can argue that statement. It’s like nothing that came before and it’s like nothing that comes afterwards. It’s reviled by many of the franchise devotees and appreciated by some of us. Taking a chance with something so popular takes courage and I cannot help but find that admirable. Jason Goes to Hell might not be among the best the series has to offer but it’s definitely one of most interesting.

04
Aug
10

Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes a Boat Ride

a Primal Root review

Space is a giant vacuum of suck for any slasher franchise to deal with. It’s the fish out of water scenario that doesn’t work for characters so deeply rooted in their mythology.  Jason Voorhees never stood a chance in space because no one takes the guy seriously. Now Manhattan circa 1989? How in the world could this forest dwelling zombified mentally ill-equiped boogieman make it on his own in the Big Apple? Believe it or not, surprisingly well…that is, when he FINALLY arrives.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan was the final Friday the 13th film produced by Paramount Pictures. The series had an excellent 8 entry run that proved remarkably profitable for the company who kind of viewed the franchise as an (albeit profitable) black sheep. By the end of the 80’s creative teams kept trying to come up with new gimmicks that would make Jason and his exploits interesting again. Part VI: Jason Lives added a bit of a humor element, PArt VII: The New Blood added and telekinetic teenage spaz girl to battle Jason…what else could they try? Why not a trip to Manhattan?

Honestly, the idea is a winning one. How awesome would it be if the film really was just Jason stomping around Manhattan’s seedy, dark alleyways splattering thugs and punks all over the pavement. Shoving hot dog vedors into their carts and rolling them down the stairs. Crashing the stock exchange and hacking away at day traders. Throwing some schmuck off the top of the empire state building…really, the possibilities are endless.

Even Jason thinks gentrification sucks.

Sadly, the major detractor of the film was the fact they don’t get to the Taking of Manhattan till the last 20-30 minutes of the film. And then when J-Cool gets there he doesn’t so much take the place as just borrow it for a little bit and then hand it back only slightly soiled.

Instead, for most of the film’s running time, we are treated to Jason taking an aquatic journey (after commandeering a teenage couple’s boat) on an old, dilapidated cruise ship named Lazarus which is filled with high school teeny boppers and school faculty members on a graduation trip to New York.  No, it’s not what we were promised by the title but I still get a lot of kicks out of Jason Takes a Boat Ride.

Unlike the previous two entries I’ve reviewed for the 13 Days of Friday the 13th, Part VIII falls squarely in the ‘So Bad, it’s Good’ category, as does just about every entry in the series. The flick itself doesn’t make a lick of sense. For one, when did Jason learn how to man a boat? After killing off two kids on one of their Daddy’s boat he takes it for a spin. But not just in circles and then scuttling it onto dry land, but he actually maneuvers it all the way down some river connected to the lake which then feeds into the Atlantic Ocean.

Excuse me?

Not only this, but Jason climbs off this boat and onto the decrepit cruise ship Lazarus to join a group of recent high school graduates and faculty members on a trip to Manhattan. What is Jason’s motivation to commandeer a boat and take a trip to that Atlantic? What prompted this? Did he need a change of scenery? A vacation?

It’s a film that doesn’t make a lick of sense. Jason can teleport in this movie. You read that right, the guy can be one place and the, without moving, pop up somewhere else. This is not some kind of editing mistake, this was done on purpose. I guess they were trying to establish that Jason was kind fo like a ghost or something. A bit misguided, but it is something different. Even if it is kind of…wacky.

"Let me just check your Lymph Nodes here..."

Then there’s the matter of our final girl’s  little Jason hallucinations. Where do these come from?Does Rennie has a history of tripping out? If so, it’s never established in any way, shape, or form so it kind of comes out of nowhere. Could it tie into the Jason as a ghost concept? Is the ship now haunted because Jason is on board?

And why in the hell does Jason activate the fire alarm after killing the A.V. geek? Did Jason decide to play fair this time around or something? Did he set A.V. Nerd on fire, see that it was growing out of control and then fear for the rest of the teenagers’ safety? Come on, movie! What are you doing?

Better give those kids a heads up. It's the right thing to do.

Better give those kids a heads up. It's the right thing to do.

In these moments, I wish the filmmakers could have spent a bit more time trying to clarify just what the crap was going on. These scenes are quirky and kind of humorous because of how outlandish they are and I’ve grown to find them rather endearing. I can’t help but smile when Jason knocks Julius’ head off, then goes through the trouble of collecting it and placing it inside a police cruiser as if it were a decoration.

Once Jason and the survivors of the Lazarus disaster make it to Manhattan it’s kind of touch and go. One can’t help but feel a bit of a rush watching Jason react to seeing Times Square for the first time or knocking a young man’s head off from the top of a tenement building and into a dumpster down below. There are some fun moments to be had here it’s just a shame we don’t get to spend more time with Jason in Manhattan tearing apart some local color.

And that ending where the sewers of New York flood out with a raging rapids of toxic waste every single night at the stroke of midnight and Jason gets completely soaked and…transforms into a pudgy little white kid in a pair of swimming trunks? Not even a rotten, nasty, dead kid…a regular looking little boy who looks like he’s taking a nap. Is this purely symbolic or are we supposed to buy this melting into a child scenario they just shat onto the screen?

There are some fun performances here. The stand-outs are V.C. Dupree as boxer Julius who turns in a funny, over the top, badass performance. Veteran Actor Peter Mark Richman as Principal McCullom is one of the greatest assholes to ever grace the series–he gives Dr. Cuise from Part VII a run for his money. Kane Hodder returns for his second portrayal of our favorite undead mama’s boy, and brings out all the rage and single mindedness of the character. Whether you love or hate what Kane does with the character you cannot deny he gives all his when behind that mask. And, of course, there is the young Ms. Kelly Hu as the brainy, geeky, asian girl. Yeah, she went on to bigger and better things. Well, certainly bigger, I guess. (Scorpion King, X-Men 2)

Hellooooooooooo, Kelly Hu!

It’s no wonder this entry is possibly the most universally hated by Friday the 13th’s most die hard fans. It doesn’t really deliver on the promise of the title, it’s pretty much bloodless, there’s only one bare female breast and it’s side boob, the plot holes are big enough for Killdozer to drive through, and the lead character’s performances are as stiff as my dick.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is no masterpiece, that’s for goddamn sure, but it is still a stupid good time if you watch it in the right frame of mind. If you read the title to this one and then take the premise seriously you will no doubt be disappointed. The best way to approach Part VIII is with a good group fo friends, a case of brews and a good sense of humor. It’s one of the worst films in the series for sure, but it is still a whole lot of fun.

Trash Cinema Gold!




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