Marathon of marathons. There comes a time when you realize you've got a gap in your knowledge of the hard hitters that has to be rectified. In my time, I've watched Friday the 13th films sporadically. I've seen the atrocity that is Jason X, I saw Freddy vs. Jason at the theatre on opening night (call for help!), and I've seen the Final Cut at least a dozen times; and so far in this binging adventure, I don't think there's an entry in the series that can top Joseph Zito's Crispin and Corey on parade. Most of the movies featuring Jason have melded into a big, hockey-mask-wearing, blob from my childhood. So, it was time to do this thing; to watch the series with the attention that it deserves (probably). I can say with assurance, that parts I-IV have left me nothing but ready for the next installments in the series. Despite their tendency to repeat themselves, and the absolute absurdity of the dialogue and rationale of the victims, Friday the 13th begs to be seen, installment after installment. So, here are some things I observed while watching the first four films of the series.
Friday the 13th Part I:
- All the men in this movie are super into taking of their shirts and showing off their oddball accessories. Neckerchiefs, red suspenders, short jorts. Every dude at Camp Crystal Lake seems ready to pedo-stache themselves into a stupendous summer, and dies with the same "erk!" straining out of their bare-chested torso.
- Crystal Lake is apparently inhabited by about thirteen species of birds, all with very distinct calls. Someone in the sound editing department got a little excited, methinks.
- I know it supercedes rational explanation, but I'm not sure I see how Mrs. Voorhees views murdering random camp staff as a logical venue for avenging her son who was allowed to drown in the lake. Perhaps I missed some important dialogue, but her plan seems ill-founded. She can really rock the cable knit sweater, though.
- If crazy man Ralph wants people to listen to him, maybe sneaking up on their porch and yelling "you're doomed!" isn't the best way to do it? Also, did he ride his bike forty miles out of town just to say that, and then ride away? What's his role in all this? Why does he care? How does he know? I need some back story...
- Murders: 10. Mostly throat slashes with a hunting knife. One arrow stab, one axe to the face, and of course Mrs. Voorhees is decapitated in one surprisingly easy slice.
- Weirdest ending ever. Was the final lake scene a hallucination? I don't think so, but then how long was Jason just hanging out in there? Impressive lung capacity. Also, how did the cops know to show up?
Friday the 13th Part 2:
- This is basically the same movie as part one, except Jason rises forth as the killer. I do really, really, exceptionally enjoy the bag over the head and overalls look.
- Again with all the bird sound effects. Doves, crows, gulls, hawks, and kookaburras. Crystal Lake has it all.
- All you have to do to defeat Jason is put on a dirty cable knit sweater, and baby talk him, I guess. Just make sure you stand in front of the alter honoring his mom's shriveled head.
- Murders: 10. More inventive this time, as well. Knives, claw hammers, machete, bared wire!
Friday the 13th Part 3:
- Now we're getting somewhere! I think this is when they figured out the 13th films would fare well if they didn't take themselves too seriously. The music that plays as the end credits roll is enough to serve as evidence of this presumption. I think the folks writing these stories also finally just said to split with worrying about WHY Jason is killing people. There's no real reason for it, other than the victims are there. That's fine. I kind of miss the days when the slashers slashed just for the sake of slashin.
- I knew I was going to like this movie as soon as I saw 80's gutter punks. This is always a sure sign of quality. These motorcycle folk were not the highest quality horror punks, though; they didn't even have switchblades! They were also the first to die (save the Hockett's) , which was a serious bummer. I was rooting for them, and had my money on the hippies to bite the dust first. Oh well. Rest in Peace, Loco and Fox.
- "Dammit, Shelly!" - everyone
- Finally, we get the iconic hockey mask. As much as I liked the bag head, the well known mask does a lot to elevate the intimidation factor of our beloved Jason. I would also like to mention that the guy has a really great pair of masculine hands. Hold me close (but, like...keep your mask on).
- I watched this in 2D, but the 3D gags were still pretty fun. And no, obviously that eyeball was NOT on a string. Also, nothing like seeing a dude get chopped from groin to chest while doing a hand stand. That's what happens, I guess, when you walk around on your hands for no good reason. Someone else test this theory out.
- Murders: 12. Making progress!
- Again with the springing out of the lake ending. Weirdest ending ever. This time it was a little more surreal though, with Jason screaming in the window (and loud! She heard him all the way from the lake).
Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter
- Everything that takes places in the opening scenes of this movie gets me laughing, every time I watch it. Lecherous Axel deserved the hacksaw to the throat, no doubt. But, you kind of have to appreciate a bold dude like that, who watches TOTALLY REAL exercise videos, while he eats a sandwich in the morgue.
- "You know what...let's kill this hitchhiker while she's eating a banana! Forget context!" - Joseph Zito
- Best teens to visit Crystal Lake so far. In spite of all the rampant teen murder in the area, they just keep showing up; horny and carefree. Of course, I am biased here. Crispin Glover is my forever celebrity crush, and this young, dreamy version of him has all the right dance moves. Weirdly, I also like seeing him get his wig split with a meat cleaver after he's stabbed through the hand with a corkscrew. Cute!
- I swear if I ever meet a horror effect prodigy who is creating Tom Savini quality masks in his bedroom, I will do more than say "wow, cool!" That kid is getting a scholarship come hell or high water, and he is getting introduced to some film industry artists, immediately. Tommy is a swell little dude.
- Jason is getting strong with the murders by the time The Final Chapter rolls around. He's throwing girls out of windows like a pro, and crushing heads against shower walls like they're made out of a head shaped sack of rotten garbage. There's only one more murder than the last film, but our boy is getting inventive. Put your hands together for the gal who gets stabbed through the rubber dinghy.
- I don't know why Corey Feldman in lumpy Jason makeup seems to tame the beast, but...whatever. I commend this nonsense ending.
More to come...I can't possibly get off of this train now that I've boarded.