At that point I didn't know much outside of my Remco (Mego style figures) Frankenstein and Mummy toys and Scooby Doo. I remember the ads for Fade To Black and Alligator ruining many a night's sleep, but nothing went straight to the very core of my fear as Jason Vorhees had. And it would be years before I'd even see one of the Friday films! The '80's slasher boom shattered my little small town world that had once seemed so safe.
My understanding of the origins of the Friday franchise is that producer Sean Cunningham saw John Carpenter's Halloween and wanted to do the same thing. (Cunningham had already produced Wes Craven's sick and shocking debut Last House on the Left.) Cunningham wrote the script with Victor Miller and crafted a fairly decent horror flick that could almost pass as an Italian giallo (compare it to Mario Bava's Bay of Blood).
The story goes that a young boy named Jason drowned at summer camp because the counselors were fooling around instead of watching him. After that the camp appears cursed, with murders, fires, and
The first Friday is a little more nuanced than the chapters that follow, which tend to have a tried and true pattern despite whatever gimmick the directors and writers may throw at Jason. Regardless, though, of how many horny teenagers have been lined up for Jason to hack through, the series remains the most popular of all the slasher franchises. Out earning A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween and Jason has wracked up a far higher body count than any of his masked counterparts. What the hell is the appeal?
Let's be honest; not all the sequels are equal. Chapters 4 and 6 are definite high points while 8 (ugh, Jason Takes Manhattan) is one of the worst horror films I've ever seen, despite a solid Jason
When we finally got the long rumored Freddy vs. Jason it was a great film that brought out the best in both franchises, even if it was a bit too slick/Scream-like. And the 2009 remake crammed the three original films into a satisfying thrill ride with one of the best Jason's we've ever seen.
So what sets Friday The 13th apart from other slasher films? What makes Jason more interesting than Michael Myers, Leatherface, or Freddy Kreuger? Let's start with character. Of the four psychos I just named, none are not scary. They all have a unique spin on what makes them frightening, with motivation that is their own. Myers is frightening because he moves like a nightmare; impossibly slow, yet always right behind you and everywhere at once. Leatherface is simply helping to protect and feed
Jason is the most complicated of the bunch. It doesn't help that the franchise is filthy with continuity problems and lapses in logic that are hard to ignore. When we first see Jason in the first film he's a dead little boy, but a couple months later in part 2 he's a hulking man wearing a sack over his head. In 1 his mother is committing the murders because her son drowned, later Jason is killing because he saw his mother beheaded. And there is no explanation given. But that's fine! The first four films happen in a relatively short time span, 3 and 4 within about 4 days, I think. There's a few years before the events of 5 and about seven between 4 and 6, where we see Jason dead and buried, before accidentally being brought
We the viewers are left to fill in a lot of holes. I think for many people the Friday films are like roller coasters, fun to ride with nothing to ponder. But Jason has always held a fascination for me and I've
It probably sounds like what I love about the Friday series is the potential and that's true, but these are fun films, even the 'bad' ones have a certain charm that begs re-viewings (except 8). Also, I love a sympathetic monster and I see Jason as a sort of Frankenstein monster-not born evil, but forced into it by circumstances beyond his control.
Friday the 13th suffers due to too many cooks in the kitchen and no long term direction from the beginning. The remake is a chance to start fresh and tighten the narrative and time will tell if this actually happens. At this point the next film is in some stage of preproduction. Hopefully Derek Mears (F13 '09) will be back behind the mask and rather than another retread of the previous entries the series strike out in a new direction.
Keep watching the sky, nerds!