Friday the 13th, Part Eternal
Given it is the season of ghouls and goblins, I thought I’d write up a letter of recommendation to Paramount, or New Line Cinema, or whoever owns the Friday the 13th franchise now. Yes, you read that right. This is a letter of recommendation. That is, I recommend that they re-boot the series.
Why, Gary? Why write such nonsense? Haven’t we had enough of the 80′s campy horror films? Aren’t there enough Friday rip offs to satisfy you? Why do you need to drag the rest of us into your deranged wishful thinking?
Hey! I’m writing the blog here. Pipe down and read.
I was a kid when the first Friday the 13th was made. I was eight. Didn’t see it at the movie theater. However, I did see it on HBO. This is back in the day when HBO really was a home box office. We had a beige box with a switch that you pushed to turn the television set over to HBO. I can still hear the HBO theme song as the camera swoops down over a model of a city. Very cool.
Anyway, it wasn’t until the third film in the series that I saw it in a movie theater, and in the 80′s a third sequel only meant one thing: 3D! Friday the 13th, Part III scared the willies out of me. I saw Jason’s face in every window, screaming down at me. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Jason busting through a door, coming for me in a rage. Every garage had a Jason hanging from a noose, waiting to reach out for me. I was traumatized. I loved it! Part four was scary, but the jig was up and it would be the last of the film series that I would watch. That was a huge mistake.
I recently watched the Friday the 13th films on AMC this past week. The first three are as I remember them. They are frightening and low budget. The fourth one still had me wishing for more… and something different. However, the films that follow number four are the real treat.
After number four, the producers decided not to take the series too, well, seriously. At least, I hope they didn’t take it too seriously. They’re ridiculous! But, they’re ridiculously wonderful. I laughed, jumped, and watched in wonder as Jason, yet again, terrorizes teenagers for no apparent reason. He’s unstoppable and then he’s not. The kids are paralyzed by so much fear that their legs don’t work properly, they lose the use of their voices, and arms fall limp to their sides as Jason strangles, chops, stabs, and rips them apart. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?
The plots are outrageous and far fetched. He rises from the grave after lightning strikes his corpse, a la Frankenstein; he comes back to life after a boat short circuits and sends an electrical current down the anchor then he hijacks the boat; he takes Manhattan; he’s in space; he fights Freddy. This is good stuff, people!
There is only one reason the studio kept making these films. They made bags of cash. My question is, at what point did the audience decide their hard earned cash was too good for Jason? Was it space? It had to be space. My suspension of belief waned in space. Fighting Freddy Kruger was desperation. I bet that made money, though. After that, they were still left with the space disaster. Once you send your bad guy into the future where he kills people in space, you’re out of ideas.
The Friday the 13th series is awful from an artistic perspective. And, for the record, I believe that horror films can be artistic. However, one cannot walk into a Friday movie with great expectations. That is, unless ones great expectation is to have a good time. These films are like Disney World’s Space Mountain. You’re not actually in a mountain and you’re not going to space, but man you’ll stand in line again and again to get back on that ride.
So, Mr. Studio Executive from Paramount, New Line, somewhere, do us all a favor and put some money behind the franchise once again. But don’t take it too serious or you’ll go bust. Two million dollars ought to do the job. All you need are the woods, a guy with a machete, and some screaming girls and you’ll have a winner.