Friday the 13th Part 2 – Blu-ray Review

The Body Count Continues with Paramount’s Blu-ray release of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, the slasher sequel that launched Jason Voorhees as a horror icon.

When last we left young Jason Voorhees he was just a figment of Alice Hardy’s imagination: the manifestation of the 24 hours of terror spent fighting off Jason’s mother as she butchered her Alice’s co-workers to make sure that no one would ever re-open Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason had drowned as a small child while the teenagers that were supposed to be watching him were having sex. Alice finally defeated Mrs. Voorhees, cutting off her head with her own machete before drifting off into the lake on a small row boat. And while the hideously disfigured boy that leaps out of the water and pulls her under is just part of a bad dream – the sheriff in her hospital room tells her that they didn’t find any boy – Alice is convinced that he’s very real, and her final line closes the film, breathed out in a mixture of wonder and fear, “Then he’s still out there…”
After the money began to roll into Paramount Studios – over $100 million 1980 dollars on a budget of under $500,000 – the studio was very sure that he was still out there, and almost immediately commissioned a script for a sequel to Friday the 13th using Jason as the new murderer, even though his cameo at the end of the film was never meant to be any more than a last minute jolt. After Sean S Cunningham vacated the director’s chair, his associate producer on the first installment, Steve Miner, was brought in to replace him. This was Miner’s first directing gig, though his roots in the genre go back to Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left (produced by Cunningham), on which he served as a production assistant. Friday the 13th, Part II had a somewhat more luxurious budget (more than double that of the original – a trend that wouldn’t last long), which allowed for a more polished look, and a generally superior group of decent young NYC actors.
Friday the 13th, Part II begins with a pre-credit sequence that brings us up to date with Alice (played once again by Adrienne King) as she attempts to readjust to life after surviving the massacre of the first film. We probably don’t need to tell you what happens once she finds Pamela Voorhees severed head in her refrigerator, but suffices to say that it represents Ms. King’s final appearance in the franchise. Cut to five years later (and we always wondered why the script was so unnecessarily specific about the time, as it put the series four years ahead of the actual date), at which time Paul Holt (John Furey) is about to open a counselor training facility right next to the Camp Crystal Lake site, in spite of the warnings of some colorful townsfolk (Walt Gorney, reprising his acclaimed role of ‘Crazy Ralph’). Paul passes on the legend of Mrs. Voorhees and her deformed son to his counselors as a fireside ghost story, basically telling them that it’s all bunk, but also admonishing them to stay away from “Camp Blood” just in case. Of course, they don’t – not that it really matters much anyway, as Jason has never really made it clear where his jurisdiction officially ends. Jason spares almost no one, from in-coitus lovers, to old men, and even the handicapped in one of the series’ crueler kills.
We’ve always felt that Friday the 13th, Part II is actually the best film of the series, and catching up with it on Paramount’s new Blu-Ray only solidifies that notion. Filmed outside Kent, in western Connecticut, the film retains the deep-woods atmosphere that Cunningham found in his New Jersey location for the original (Part II would be the last Friday the 13th film shot in the Northeast, the convenience of California or the cheapness of Canada winning out in future installments) and makes for a seamless transition. The steadicam work is cleaner, too, sacrificing the grittier handheld look of the original for a slicker feel that seems more organic than it did in later installments.
There are also quite a few decent performances among the new cast, especially Amy Steel as the all-important “final girl.” Steel has a very appealing tomboyish quality that favorable recalls Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. In fact, the film represents the last time that characterization was really given any thought at all. Subsequent entries would stick to firmly established horror-movie stereotyping: the gum-smacking slut, the virginal girl dressed like she just walked out of an Emily Bronte book, the joker, the game-playing nerd, the fat kid (who was often combined with others to create “Fat Practical Joker” as in Part III’s Shelly ) the jock , the preppie, etc. The characters in Friday the 13th, Part II are hardly icons of screenwriting grace, but for the most part they seem like fairly normal teens who we could almost imagine hanging out with.
We should also single out the efforts of Tom McBride as the wheelchair-confined Mark, whose naturalistic performance is quite good, giving Mark a happy, positive life-outlook without the irritating After School Special, can-do pathos inherent in most portrayals of the handicapped (sadly, McBride is also the first counselor from a Friday the 13th film to pass away for real – he died of AIDS related causes in 1995.) And we couldn’t talk about this film without mentioning Kristen Baker’s Terry, the object of many a pre-teen crush in the ’80s. It’s partly the bowl cut and sporty workout clothes, but it’s her nude moonlight swim that really set fan’s hearts a flutter. Baker is one of the great MIA cases of the series; bit parts followed her Friday the 13th, Part II job, then she was seen working at an art gallery in California in the ’90s, but like Daniel Simpson Day, her whereabouts are currently unknown.
Another plus in Friday the 13th, Part II’s column is its depiction of Jason. He wouldn’t get his trademark goalie mask until the next picture, and the reveal of Jason here gives us a truly frightening and semi-realistic visage. When we picture killers living in shacks deep in the woods (and thanks to this film, we frequently do), it’s usually in a variant of this very ensemble: mud covered work boots, a filthy overalls and lumberjack shirt combo, topped off a burlap sack with a single eye hole over the head (obviously someone on this film remembered Charles B Pierce’s The Town that Dreaded Sundown). Oddly, the burlap sack gives Jason some personality that the hockey mask took away later in the series, though without the famous mask, Part IV may well have been the final chapter. There’s the most basic stab at creating a personality for the character in Part II – a window of opportunity that was rapidly closing.


Paramount’s new Blu-Ray of Friday the 13th, Part II contains a lovely 1080p transfer that freshens up the 18-year-old film considerably. We didn’t see the DVD release of the deluxe edition last year, but the image on the Blu-Ray is light years ahead of their previous bare-bones issue. It’s still a low-budget horror picture, and folks should set their expectations accordingly, but we noticed improvement in color stability and detail over the Blu-Ray release of the original film.
All the extras contained in the DVD version of the deluxe edition have been ported over; with a single exception, all are in HD.

  • Inside ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ (HD) is a chat with the amiable author Peter M Bracke about writing his tome on the series. It’s a lovingly put-together coffee table book that really is a must-have for fans, as Bracke was given unprecedented access to Paramount’s Friday the 13th archives.
  • Friday’s Legacy: Horror Convention (HD) takes us to a cast-and-crew reunion at an unnamed horror convention (possibly the Texas Frightmare weekend?) that artfully avoids the myriad uncomfortable moments that these events produce and presents a golden-hued view (we guess that Tom Savini, a notoriously ill-tempered con guest, is on his best behavior in front of the cameras).
  • Lost Tales from Camp Blood Part II (HD) continues the bizarre short film series began as a supplement on the original Friday disc. It’s a mercifully brief but professionally-made (by the same names listed in the credits of the other supplemental features) bit of fan fiction that is connected to the Friday the 13th films tangentially at best.
  • Jason Forever mixes archive interviews with more current sessions with the actors and stuntmen who played the character through the Paramount-produced portion of the series.

Also included is the original theatrical trailer (HD) that literally continues the body count motif from the origina Friday the 13th’s preview. It’s a shame that director Steve Miner couldn’t have recorded a commentary track (for this, but especially for Part III) as he’s easily the most successful filmmaker to helm a Friday film (his credits include House, the Mel Gibson vehicle Forever Young, Halloween H20, and Lake Placid).

Box Office: Coraline back in 3rd, Jason in 6th

This was one of those rare weekends during which no new science fiction, fantasy, or horror movies opened. The only two holdovers still in the Top Ten were CORALINE and FRIDAY THE 13, which saw somewhat divergent results.
CORALINE, in its third weekend of release, bounced back from #5 to #3, which is where it made its debut. Henry Selick’s animated film, based on the Neil Gaiman novel, earned $11.03-million, raising its three-week total to $53.4-million.
FRIDAY THE 13TH, which made its debut at #1 last week, fell faster than one of Jason’s victims – all the way to sixth place with $7.8-million. Nevertheless, thanks to the strong opening, the film has slashed its way through $55-million worth of tickets sales in less than two weeks.

Read the complete Top Ten here.

Box Office: Jason lives again

The new version of FRIDAY THE 13TH easily sliced and diced its way to the top of the box office. Making its debut in 3,105 North American theatres, the film earned an estimated $42.3-million. To put that number in perspective, in one weekend, FRIDAY THE 13TH has already matched the money earned by THE UNBORN in five weeks of release, and even if it drops precipitously in its second weekend, it will still easily surpass the $46-million earned by MY BLOODY VALENTINE.
As for holdovers…
CORALINE’s sophomore session netted $15.3-million, raising the two-week total to $35.6-million. The film dropped from third place to fifth.
PUSH skidded into tenth place, down from its debut at $6 a week ago, earning $6.9-million. Total is now $19.3-million.
THE UNINVITED dropped out of the Top Ten, going from #9 to #12. A $4.7-million weekend take lifted the three-week total to $24.1-million.
Read the complete results for the weekend Top Ten here.

Sense of Wonder: Jason vs. the Mummy

As you can see, it’s Jason Mania here at Cinefantastique Online. By clicking on the tag for Friday the 13th, you can check out reviews of the old films and of the disappointing reboot that opened this weekend. One interesting aspect of the new film is that it brings into focus the human tendency to view films from one’s formative years as being the apex of cinematic achievement: everything before is just one long prologue; everything afterward is just one dull decline. This tendency is amusing in the case of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise – which, unlike most famous horror franchises, does not boast a single classic films among its many iterations. No matter how many disappointing sequels there were to FRANKENSTEIN (1931), HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), or A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STEET (1984), the originals continue to hold their own as great movies – something that cannot be said for 1980’s FRIDAY THE 13TH, a rather lackluster, mechanical thriller most notable for the gory special effects by Tom Savini (DAWN OF THE DEAD).

Friday the 13th (2009)
Friday the 13th (2009)

It is, therefore, with a certain wry detachment that I read heated debates on message boards about whether the new FRIDAY THE 13TH lives up to the old. All too predictably, fans who grew up watching the originals tend to give the new film a thumbs down, while the next generation of horror fans are all to happy to embrace the new incarnation of Jason Voorhees. I feel a certain sense of vindication, knowing that once upon a time these older FRIDAY fans were disparaging horror films from an earlier generation; as it always does, the pattern comes full circle, and now they reap what they used to sow, scorn from younger viewers who think horror films of their generation kick ass over boring old “classics.”
I don’t really have a dog in this contest, so I am content to let both sides claw each other bloody while I sit on the sidelines, but I do think it worth noting that the new FRIDAY promises to exactly duplicate its progenitor in at least one regard: while being critically reviled (27% at Rotten Tomatoes), it will earn a ton of money (the weekend estimate so far stands at $42.2-million).
What this means regarding critical approval versus popular taste is not a question I want to explore at the moment. Rather, I want to take a moment to step back and remind older viewers that being old does not necessarily make a film better than something new. Yes, we recall the favorites of our childhood and teenage years with fond nostalgia, but that doesn’t mean they are all classics, and we shouldn’t begrudge the current movie-going generation for enjoying films that are probably no more flawed than many that we think of as a “masterpiece.”
This may sound like something that should go without saying, but sadly it bears repeating. This truism first occurred most obviously to me several years while channel-surfing with an older friend, a fan of classic horror from the Universal era (1930s and’40s) and stumbling upon FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD. While my friend (who shall remain nameless) launched into a rant about how terrible modern horror films, I tried to point out that this particular film was at least trying to do something a little different and interesting with the old formula.
When that strategy failed to appease him, I shifted to pointing out that, for better or worse, the FRIDAY films are really not much worse than the old MUMMY movies that are considered “classics”; in fact, when you come to think of it, Jason and the Mummy have a lot in common. Both are slow-moving, silent, decaying monsters whose ability to instill fear relies much upon their implacable nature. You might be able to outrun them, but they never tire and they never quit; eventually, inevitably, you will find yourself pausing for breath or running down a blind alley with no way out. Either way, once you are targeted, you’re doomed, even if that doom arrives on striding feet that do not break into a run.

Boris Karloff

One might argue that the FRIDAY films are cruder, relying on gore rather than subtlety, but the MUMMY film are not necessarily subtle. The very first one, Universal’s1932 THE MUMMY with Boris Karloff, did keep the title character’s decayed visage and bandaged body almost entirely off-screen, but when the studio revived the concept in the 1940s, the whole point was to show this ugly, rotting monster, the very sight of whom was supposed to instill terror.
When Hammer Films remade THE MUMMY in 1959, the character took another step in Jason’s direction. Combining elements from the 1932 original and Universal’s subsequent ’40s films, Hammer’s Mummy (played by Christopher Lee) was no longer an arthritic cripple shambling along at a snail’s pace; instead, he was a striding juggernaut, smashing through windows and doors and mowing his victims down with admirable dispatch. He did not wield any sharp implements, but their was a brutal efficiency to his methods, as when he rebels against the high priest and breaks his back over his knee.
This last sequence finds an approximate corollary in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES, when Jason bends a sheriff backwards. I can’t say that writer-director Tom McLoughlin was making a direct reference to the 1959 MUMMY, but the film shows him to be a fan of classic movie monsters (he names a store after Boris Karloff, the original Mummy, for example).
Also a fan of old horror movies was John Carl Buechler, who directed the next FRIDAY THE 13TH film, PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD. He told me once that the slasher icons of the ’70s and ’80s (Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason) did not have the same appeal as the previous generation of horror characters like Dracula and Frankenstein; only when Jason became one of the walking dead (in JASON LIVES) did Buechler start to find the character interesting. Indeed, one of the strengths of Bueckler’s FRIDAY film is the depiction of Jason, whose costume and makeup (when it is finally revealed) go a long way toward making him resemble a good old-fashioned movie monster.
What all this tells me is that the distinctions we might like to draw between films of different eras are not so clear cut as we might like to believe. Our love for films we saw at an impressionable age is not to be dismissed lightly, but neither should it blind us to the strengths and weaknesses of films are either older or newer than the ones we usually prefer. Here at Cinefantastique Online, we treasure classic movies not because they are old but because they are good and/or historically important. We may look askance at popular trends, and we don’t quaff each new brand of Kool-Aid that Hollywood pumps out to an undiscriminating public, but we don’t dismiss the new simply because it is new; we appreciate good work from any era. I wish the new FRIDAY THE 13TH had been a better film, one worthy of becoming the big success it seems poised to be. But I won’t let my disappointment fool me into thinking that those old Mummy movies are somehow intrinsically better in a way that a Jason film could never hope to be.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) – Horror Film Review

This film is a complete anomaly: the first film in the series not to be titled FRIDY THE 13TH, it radically reinvents the mythology of Jason Voorhees. After the diminishing box office returns since FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER, and especially after the disappointing FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, it was no doubt necessary to go in a new direction; unfortunately, in this case “new” meant ripping off another popular film, namely THE HIDDEN. In JASON GOES TO HELL, we are no longer dealing with a mere masked maniac or even a resurrected zombie; instead, we learn that Jason is actually merely a vessel carrying a slug-like creature from Hell that can pass from body to body. This opens up possibilities to do something different with the franchise, but the script makes so little effort at synthesizing the new mythology with the previous films that it is might almost as well have been a stand-alone effort. Fans may object that it’s not their idea of a FRIDAY film, but at the end of the day, you have to admit that this is actually a pretty decent movie.
Ignoring the ending of JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, the new film begins with a typical slasher scene: a beautiful woman (Julie Michaels) heads out to Crystal Lake, strips down for a shower, and soon finds herself pursued by the hockey-masked murderer. In a neat twist on expectations, the woman turns out to be an FBI agent leading Jason into a trap, where he is promptly blown to smithereens. This serves a double purpose:

  1. It is a literal visualzation of what the filmmakers are doing with the franchise, blowing it up so that they can put the pieces back together in a new way.
  2. It depicts something obvious that the previous films overlooked. Jason is only dangerous because you encounter him unexpectedly in the woods. If you know he’s there – as indeed you should after the numerous massacres he has perpetrated, involving survivors who lived to tell the tale – it is not really that hard to prepare yourself and get the upper hand.

The rest of the film, then, becomes an effort to re-imagine a new version of the threat, one that cannot simply be blown up. Unfortunately, this involves a rather obvious version of the traditional “Johnny Explainer” character: Creighton Duke (Steve Williams), who somehow knows all there is to know about the origins of Jason and conveniently ends up in a jail cell where he can tell it all to our hero, Steven Freeman (John D. LeMay, previously seen in the FRIDAY THE 13TH television series).
As arbitrary and contrived as the new explanation is (it even involves a magic dagger necessary to kill the evil slug), it provides an opportunity to tell a story about a protagonist who knows about the menace and is trying to stop it. In other words, rather like JASON LIVES, this is a FRIDAY film with an honest-to-god old-fashioned dramatic structure involving a hero pursuing a goal, so it is no longer necessary to pad out the running time with lots of irrelevant peripheral characters who simply take off their clothes and die. JASON GOES TO HELL actually exceeds JASON LIVES in this regard, telling an interesting story with likable characters that actually compensates for the fact that the exploitation elements are toned way down.
As hard as it tries, JASON GOES TO HELL still suffers from some typical horror movie cliches, such as the fact that the monster (in whatever body it possess) is able to kill off the supporting characters without breaking a sweat, but when it comes to the final showdown between Steven and the resurrected Jason, it suddenly seems as if an evenly matched pair are fighting it out – what Liz Kingsley at And You Call Yourself a Scientist terms the “Hero’s Death Battle Exemption.”
There is also a lot of supernatural hooey in the dialogue: besides the magical dagger, we also are told that the devil-slug was born in a Voorhees, can be reborn in a Voorhees, and can be killed only by a Voorhees – but why is left up to our imagination (as is the question of how there could be a surviving member of the Voorhees family in the small town near Crystal Lake without anyone knowing about it but outsider Creighton Duke).
Inevitably, there is also some disappointment that the figure of Jason Voorhees (here embodied once again by Kane Hodder, who had played the role since PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD) is given so little screen-time. Hodder’s version of Jason is probably the most memorable one, thanks to some reasonably expressive body language; it’s sad that probably the best film in which he portrayed the character features him the least. As compensation, Hodder gets a brief cameo as a security guard who unwittingly mouths off to the latest body hosting the evil paraside – and pays the price for it.
Although it may not be a “good” FRIDAY THE 13TH movie (by whatever strange standards that is reckoned) or even a very good Jason movie, JASON GOES TO HELL works reasonably well on its own terms as a supernatural thriller. It’s still not very original, but by this late date, ripping off THE HIDDEN was probably preferable to simply setting up another line of victims in a row for Jason to mow down.


This is the first film in the franchise not distributed by Paramount Pictures; instead the honors went to New Line Cinema, home of Freddy Kruger. Prior to this, there had been some talk of Paramount and New Line co-producing a film that would pair up the two characters, but New Line honcho Robert Shaye was reluctant, claiming that he doubted the idea could be developed into something more than a “dumb-hoot” movie. Shaye also wanted any cross-over film to be distributed through New Line, not Paramount – which became a sticking point that prevented negotiations from proceeding. With Jason now ensconced at New Line, these earlier objections became moot, and JASON GOES TO HELL famously ends witha teaser for a cross-over sequel: after Jason is destroyed, Freddy’s famous gloved hand reaches up from beneath the ground to drag Jason’s mask out of sight. In fact, FREDDY VS. JASON would not appear for ten years, thanks to difficulties developing a satisfactory script; in the meantime, JASON X (2002) put Jason into outer space. 
After the poor box office of JASON TAKE MANHATTAN, Paramount sold the rights to the Jason character to Sean Cunningham, who had produced and directed the first FRIDAY THE 13TH; however, the studio retained rights to the “Friday the 13th” title (which conseqeuntly did not appear on any of the subsequent sequels). The irony is that Cunningham’s FRIDAY film had featured Mrs. Voorhees as the killer, and Cunningham had no direct involvement with any of the sequels that had turned Jason into a horror icon. Consequently, it should be little surprise that JASON GOES TO HELL does not take a particularly reverential attitude toward Jason.

JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY(1993). Directed by Adam Marcus. Screenplay by Dean Lorey and Jay Huguely, story by Huguely and Marcus (inspired by characters created by Victor Miller, uncredited). Cast: Kane Hodder, John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Steven Williams, Steven Culp, Erin Gray, Rusty Schwimmer, Richard Grant, Leslie Jordan, Billy Green Bush, Kipp Marcus, Julie Michaels.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – Horror Film Review

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes ManhattanThis is easily the most disappointing of the original FRIDAY THE 13TH movies – which is quite an achievement when you consider that the overall quality of the franchise was hardly high enough to raise expectations to a level that would allow for disappointment. Paramount Pictures and company pulled off this neat feat by promising more with the advertising campaign than they could deliver with the film itself. Despite the subtitle JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, this eighth entry in the series takes place mostly on a slow-moving boat, and when the story finally reaches the Big Apple most of what we see is generic back allies and dark streets that could be part of any city. Jason doesn’t take Manhattan; he barely glimpses it. Whatever potential the concept had, for horror or comedy, is wasted; this is one of those films whose trailer is the superior work of art – see it and spare yourself sitting through the whole film.
The movie launches with another horny couple, this time floating on a boat through Crystal Lake. Their anchor drags a powerline across Jason (who has been lying at the bottom since the ending of PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD), and before you can scream, “It’s Alive!” the masked maniac is making mincemeat of the mincing lovers.
For reason left unexplained by the screenplay, Jason does not get off the boat and head back home to the woods; instead he drifts on until he encounters a luxury cruise ship taking a bunch of high school kids on a graduation trip up the coast to New York. This raises a couple of other questions that also go unexplained:

  1. How is is that Crystal Lake, previously presented as some tiny, land-locked backwater in the middle of nowhere, feeds into a river that leads to the ocean?
  2. Why the hell does Jason want to kill any of these kids when he previously was in the habit of either (a) killing camp counselors whom he blamed for his mother’s death or (b) killing anyone who wandered into the woods, which he defended like any territorial beast?

Of course, FRIDAY fans have long shown a capacity for ignoring problems of continuity and logic; otherwise, they never would have flocked to PART 2, which contradicted the original by telling us that Jason was alive.
Onc aboard, Jason quickly gets down to business – quickly being a relative term. Sure, he takes out victims at regular intervals, but the pacing is slow and dreary, never building up any tension. The idea apparently was to mimic ALIEN, with a monster stalking victims within the claustrophobically confines of a ship, but the execution is lackluster and formulaic.
After about an hour of this, the surviving kids finally abandon ship and float into Manhattan, where they are pursued by Jason, and for a moment or two it seems that the film is going to deliver on its promise. Instead, we get only more disappointment. There are a few brief scenes of Jason filmed on the actual location, but the film never really explores the possibilities of this backwoods maniac turned loose on a thriving Metropolis.
Jason does kills some muggers who are trying to drug and rape our leading lady – a scene presumably intended to register an irony of some sort as we wonder which form of evil is worse. However, moral speculation is quickly cast aside as the film returns to the familiar formula with Jason tracking down and killing the rest of the kids from the boat (although why he wants them, when there are so many other victims around, is never clear).
The whole thing ends up in the sewars, appropriately enough, with one of the most ridiculous endings in the history of horror movies. Throughout the film, Rennie (Jensen Daggett) has had flashbacks to the traumatic moment when she nearly drowned in Crystal Lake and saw a young boy trying to pull her under. The boy is clearly supposed to be young Jason, but this creates some more unresolvable continuity problems: even if you’re one of those fans who believe that Jason really did drown as his mother says in the frist FRIDAY, Rennie is of such an age that her childhood flashbacks must take place after Jason had emerged from the lake to avenge his mother’s death in PART 2.
Anyway, the point of the flashbacks, such as it is, comes to fruition when the city of New York conveniently floods its sewers with toxic slude. Rennie and her boyfriend manage to climb a ladder to safety, but unstoppable zombie monster Jason is swept up and drowned – reverting to the small boy that Rennie saw in her flashbacks.
What this means is anyone’s guess. Has Jason been restored to a state of innocence, or is the film setting up a sequel in which the serial killer can be reborn in a new form? Most best fall on the latter option. (Perhaps not coincidentally, a “baby” version of Freddy Kruger was used to justify bringing that character back to life in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 5: THE DREAM CHILD, which came out the same year.)
Whatever the intentions, they never came to fruition. JASON TAKES MANHATTAN was the least successful of the original FRIDAY films, and Paramount Studios sold the Jason character to New Line Cinema (owners of Freddy). The subsequent JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY ignored the events of JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, relocating the story back to Crystal Lake. Considering what a disappointment this film is, the strategy made perfect sense.

One of the few scenes set in the Big Apple.
One of the few scenes set in the Big Apple.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN(1989). Written and directed by Rob Hedden, based on characters crated by Victor Miller. Cast: Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder, Peter Mark Richman, Tiffany Paulsen, Barbara Bingham, Warren Munson, Fred Henderson, Scott Reeves.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood – Horror Film Review

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New BloodFRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES had pushed the old slasher franchise into a new direction, resurrecting Jason Voorhees as a living dead zombie from hell. and take notice. Now, along comes PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD, and it really wants to do something different. “Different,” in this case, means gene-splicing elements from another film into the familiar formula, and the result – about a face-off between the hulking masked maniac and a troubled teen with telekinesis – is fondly if not quite respectfully called “Carrie Meets Jason.”  You cannot really take the results seriously, but they are fun, offering both an interesting subplot and a chance to see something never really shown in a FRIDAY film before: Jason getting his ass handed to him on a platter. “Purists” (a funny word in the contest of exploitation trash) might object to seeing their favorite anti-hero dissed so badly, but anyone looking for a good time should be able to get at least a few chuckles out of seeing Jason meet his match.
The story begins with a prologue in which Tina, as a tiny tot throwing a temper tantrum, telekinetically – albeit not quite intentionally – sends Dad to the bottom of Crystal Lake. About a decade later,* Tina  is brought back to the location by her mother and a psychiatrist named Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser), allegedly so that the troubled teen can confront her unresolved guilt over daddy’s demise. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Crews views Tina as a lab rat, the study of whose unusual abilities will somehow make him rich and/or famous, and he is doing everything he can not to help her control her telekinesis but to amp it up. An unfortunate side effect of this is that when Tina wishes for her drowned father to return from the bottom of the lake, her psychic powers inadvertently resurrect Jason (who has been slumbering there since Tommy Jarvis dragged him to the bottom in the aforementioned PART VI).
This is a pretty good set-up, but the screenwriters do not quite know what to do with it. Once Jason is back in action, their main problems seems to have been how to delay the inevitable confrontation until the third act. This involves introducing another bunch of dumb, sexed up teenagers, who wander off into the woods and get killed at regular intervals.
Okay, you expect that kind of thing in a FRIDAY film. What hurts is that the main trio of Tin, her mother, and Dr. Crews are involved in something like a legitimate story that provides motivation for them to do something more than wander around in the woods like idiots, and yet they too often end up wandering around in the woods like idiots. (The real reason for this is to keep them busy while other characters are being killed.)
What this means is that, despite its best intentions, THE NEW BLOOD feels for most of its length too much like a typical entry in the series – and not a particularly distinguished one at that. We get the usual gang of idiots dying the usual deaths, and even if the scenes are not exact copies they do feel awfully familiar. (There is even a spring-loaded cat – a cheap scare device previously used in PART 2.)
By this time, it was more or less obligatory for the MPAA to demand cuts before handing out an R-rating, making it hard for the sequel to compete with the original in terms of on-screen mayhem. The irony is that, for the first time, a FRIDAY film is directed by an exerpt in makeup and special effects, but John Carl Buechler is not allowed to strut his stuff. With the shock value seriously diminished, he tries to turn THE NEW BLOOD into more of an old-fashioned monster movie, but he is no more successful than Tom McLoughlin was in JASON LIVES, and he lacks McLoughlin’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
There is also a certain flatness to his work. The scene of Jason first emerging from beneath the lake was obviously supposed to be a show-stopping moment, but the image is prosaically captured, forcing the editor to overlap multiple takes with dissolves in order to let the audience know this is supposed to be frickin’ awesome. (Hint to filmmakers: when something really is awesome, you don’t need to elbow the audience in the ribs; they will figure it out for themselves.)
Fortunately, one Tina becomes the Final Girl, the film delivers the goods. Her knock-down, drag-out smack-down of Jason Voorhees is just about everything you could wish for, as she pulls electrical wires down on him hurls furniture at him, strangles him with the strap on his own hockey mask, and more. Some fans and critics have complained that Tina’s psychi power diminishes the suspense because it relieves her from grappling hand to hand with an antagonist much stronger than she.
This misses the point entirely. The FRIDAY films have never been about conventional cinematic virtues like suspense, drama, and characterization. They are dumb-hoot movies whose only reason for existence is to provide an excuse for outrageous action. Denied by the MPAA from offering up the gore that made the franchise famous, THE NEW BLOOD goes over the top in a completely different way, and it’s so much fun watching Jason get what he deserves that you would have to be a malcontent to complain.
The other highlight of the film is the debut of stuntman Kane Hodder in the role of Jason. Jason was never much of a character, nor even a particularly memorable figure, in the earlier films; if not for the hockey mask, he would be just a generic lurking figure (which is exactly how he appears during the first half of PART 3). Although it would be an exaggeration to say that Hodder can convey much characterization from behind the mask, he does provide Jason with some recognizable traits that hint at a vestige of personality, particularly the purposeful stride, with head down and slightly forward, suggesting the focused concentration of a hunter pursuing its prey.
Hodder also deserves points for registering stupified shock when Tina first turns the tables on him, sending roots shooting up from beneath the ground to enwrap his feet and trip him into a puddle (which she will shortly electrify, courtesy of nearby powerlines). It’s not the kind of in-depth emotional performance that will win any Oscars, but it is a priceless moment that helps erase memories of the film’s many weaknesses.
Bottom line: THE NEW BLOOD, like JASON LIVES, is a film that deserves points for trying to be different, even though the attempt is only partially successful and tends to neutralize the exploitation element that is the franchise’s main appeal. Gorehounds may be disappointed by the relatively bloodless kills, and only timid viewers will really find the proceedings frightening. But if you’re a general horror movie fan or someone only interested in checking a FRIDAY film out of curiosity, you could do worse.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD(1988). Directed by John Carl Buechler. Written by Manuel Fidello, Daryl Haney (based on character creatd by Victor Miller, uncredited). Cast: Kane Hodder, Lar Park-Lincoln, Terry Kiser, Susan Blu, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Kevin Spirtas, Heidi Kozak, Elizabeth Kaitan.

  • This ten year jump creates some problems for the continuity timeline. 1980’s FRIDAY THE 13TH took place in 1979. 1981’s PART II takes place five years later, meaning it was set in 1984, which is also the year for the two subsequent films. Both A NEW BEGINNING and JASON LIVES depict Tommy Jarvis (who killed Jason in THE FINAL CHAPTER) as having aged into an adult – about ten years, which would put those films in the mid-1990s. Tina’s prologue in THE NEW BLOOD seems to take place after the end of JASON LIVES, so the main action, ten years later, must take place in the first decade of the new millennium. Strangely, the hair styles and clothing are all vintage 1988, the year the film was actually made.

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986) – Film Review

friday_the_thirteenth_part_viThis sixth installment in the all but interminable FRIDAY THE 13TH series seems deliberately designed to be the first one to make classic horror movie fans sit up and take notice. If you prefer the living dead to masked slashers, if you taste runs toward Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man rather than Michael Myers, Leatherface, and the old Jason Voorhees, this film is for you. No longer a mere maniac in a hockey mask, Jason is reinvented as a walking corpse, and writer-director Tom McLoughlin strives to bend the familiar FRIDAY formula into a throwback to an earlier era of horror monsters. The results are mixed – neither fish nor fowl (or, rather, neither bat nor snake) – but you have to give McLoughlin credit for trying.
Most of the previous FRIDAY films had played the lazy slasher trick of killing off the killer and reviving him without explanation, fudging the details with dream sequences that obscured exactly what had happened. Some fans even speculated that Jason had been a zombie all along, having drowned (as Mrs. Voorhees relates in FRIDAY THE 13TH) and then come back from the grave in PART 2 to avenge his mother’s death. That interpretation pretty much bit the dust when the character of Tommy Jarvis performed a little unauthorized cranial surgery on Jason in FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. The “Final” in the title lured customers eager to see Jason’s demise; predictably, the box office success led to FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING. That film’s attempt to jump-start the series by having someone else don Jason’s hockey mask showed a steep decline in ticket sales; ergo, Paramount decided to bring Jason back from the dead.
Ignoring the events of A NEW BEGINNING,* JASON LIVES begins with Tommy Jarvis (now played by Thom Matthews of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) heading out to a cemetery, along with his friend Allen (Ron Palillo,  in order to make sure that Jason remains in his grave. Needless to say, this ill considered operation has exactly the opposite effect: a metal spike that Tommy jabs into Jason’s chest acts as a lighting rod, and faster than you can say “Frankenstein” (or “Godzilla vs the Sea Monster,” come to think of it), the old serial killer is back in action.
As disastrous as Tommy’s attempt to seal Jason in his grave turns out to be, at least it does something that few FRIDAY films do: it sets up an actual plot. Instead of gathering together a bunch of ignorant boobs who get killed off one by one until the Final Girl faces off with Jason, JASON LIVES focuses on Tommy’s attempts to warn the police and put an end to the reborn killer. You know, it’s almost like a real movie, with a protagonist pursuing a clearly defined goal!
This is both good news and bad news. McLoughlin can go only so far in overturning the cliches. This remains a FRIDAY THE 13TH movie striving to be something different but only partially succeeding. The gore is toned way down; the nudity is non-existant, and the only sex scene is so tame it feels like its inclusion was the result of a contractual obligation. In place of the grim and gritty exploitation of the earlier films, McLoughlin offers mild scares that undercut the series’ main strength. Some of them are amusing (with a single swing of a machete, Jason takes out a trio of victims standing side by side; he also takes out one foolish weekend warrior who shoots him with a paintball), but they lack the shock value of the graphic deaths in earlier films.
The problem is that, without the threat of horrendous carnage at every opporutinty, there is only so much you can do to make Jason scary; he’s just not a particularly spooky character whose mere presence can make your skin crawl. McLouglin tries to compensate with tongue-in-cheek humor and an old-fashioned monster movie approach to the material (two elements that combine in “Karloff’s General Store” – a reference to the actor who starred as the monster in the 1931 FRANKENSTEIN). Some of the sight gags and one-liners are amusing: when one pretty female victim is yanked right out of her cute little bunny slippers, the incongruous juxtaposition of her footwear and her horrible death is worth a chuckle; when two young kids are hiding in the dark from Jason, their future survival by no means certain, one asks the other, “So, what were you planning to be when you grew up?”
Jokes like these, along with the fact that many of the potential victims are not sexually active teens but prepubescent children (who we know will never be in any real jeopardy, let alone killed), lowers the horror level way down into the tolerable level instead of pushing the envelope. Consequently, if you never much liked the FRIDAY movies, you can comfortably sit back enjoy this one as a sort of self-spoof, but if you’re a hardcore fan, you’re likely to be just pissed off and disappointed.
Or put another way, this is the FRIDAY THE 13TH film for viewers who do not like FRIDAY THE 13TH films. But even if you’re a fan who finds the film disappointing, you have to give it credit for putting Jason back behind the mask and setting up the series for future sequels. The legacy of JASON LIVES for the rest of the franchise was that it let the filmmakers off the hook from having to end each new film on an ambiguous note regarding Jason’s survival. From this point on, Jason could be satisfactorily killed off at the conclusion because, being dead, he could easily be revived for the next sequel.

He's back - the Man Behind the Mask
He's back - the Man Behind the Mask

The previous FRIDAY films were one-note affairs; this time out, a slightly new tune is being played (this is literally the case: composer Henry Manfredini’s familiar theme music is augmented with a couple songs performed by Alice Cooper (including “He’s Back: The Man Behind the Mask”). Whatever its weaknesses, JASON LIVES is a reasonably fun attempt at remaking the franchise into an old-fashioned monster movie, and fans of Frankenstein, the Mummy, and other creatures of the walking dead may find it appealing.
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6: JASON LIVES(1986). Written and directed by Tom McLoughlin. Cast: Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Kerry Noonan, Renee Jones, Tom Fridley, C. J. Graham, Darcy DeMoss, Vincent Guastaferro, Tony Goldwyn.

  • It is just barely possible to rationalize a continuity between the fifth and sixth FRIDAY THE 13TH movies. JASON LIVES tells us that Tommy has been in therapy since offing Jason back in Part 4, and the motivation for his trip to Jason’s grave is to put an end to the hallucinations and nightmares that have plagued him during the intervening years. One could charitably assume that the events of A NEW BEGINNING were part of one long nightmare in Tommy’s mind.


Friday the 13th, Part 3 in 3-D – Retrospective Review

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If FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 is the A SHOT IN THE DARK of the franchise, then this second sequel is the GOLDFINGER – the one that established the template for the rest of the series. Serial killer Jason transforms from furtive figure striking mostly from the shadows into an unstoppable killing machine unafraid to show his face…er, mask. Speaking of which, this is the film in which he first donned the hockey mask that became his trademark for the rest of the series. Thus a horror icon came to fruition.
The movie itself shows severe signs of creative desperation. After the first FRIDAY THE 13TH (which revealed Mrs. Voorhees as the killer) and PART 2 (which passed the machete to her son, Jason), there was not much more to do except think up some new excuse to get another gang of horny, drug-smoking teenagers into the woods around Crystal Lake. PART 3 is a rehash with a vengeance, relying heavily on the 3-D effect to lend some novelty to the proceedings.
Even by the lax standards of slasher films in general, and FRIDAY THE 13TH films in particular, the screenplay is almost plotless. Some ultra-lame characters arrive in a cabin, smoke pot, have sex, and die one by one, only belatedly realizing what is happening. To fill up the running time and provide more deaths, a bad-ass biker gang is on hand to threaten the dweebs and then get killed by Jason.
The closest thing to a plot development involves this installment’s Final Girl, Chris (Dana Kimmell), who has memories of being assaulted by a deformed man in the woods two years ago. This unpleasant recollection from her past makes her afraid of the woods, but if you think FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 is going to waste time on unraveling her psychological trauma and showing her overcome her fear (a la Roy Scheider’s fear of the water in JAWS), you’re watching the wrong movie, baby.
The funny thing is: as lame as the story and characters are, the movie actually works as a crowd-pleasing piece of junk entertainment. We don’t care about any of the victims, so audience identification shifts to Jason, and we get a kick out of watching him perpetrate graphic atrocities on all these idiots. Even if you have a distaste for violence, you will find the film too absurd to take the gore seriously, which makes it enjoyable in a camp kind of way. Highlights include popping an eyeball out of someone’s head and (apparently) slitting some guy in half through the crotch as he walks upside down on his hands.
One should also acknowledge that, as predictable as FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 is, it occasionally works as a genuinely scary horror film. The long opening sequence, in which a camera follows a woman as she takes the laundry down from the clothes line, will put you on edge no matter how hard you try to resist. Those sheets, blowing in the wind, flap marvelous in 3-D; their rustling in the dark creates an unnerving sense that Jason could attack at any minute. Likewise, the last-minute CARRIE-rip-off dream sequence, in which the body of Mrs. Voorhees leaps out of Crystal Lake (an inversion of the first film’s ending, which had Jason leaping out of the lake), is an effective shocker, even though you see it coming a mile away.
The 3-D effect is about standard for its era – which is to say, effective but flawed. The camera is able to create the illusion of depth and of objects projecting out of the screen, but the phtography is often dark and dingy, and the overlapped left and right images (one for each eye) are never fully integrated; the result makes you feel cross-eyed, leading to eyestrain and/or headaches.
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 is not a good movie by any reasonable standard, but the weak story, bad dialogue, and silly characters all become part of the experience. Call it camp or call it a guilty pleasure, but this sequel provides more entertainment value than either of its predecessors.


Actress Tracy Savage, who plays the victim named Debbie (the one who gets impaled from beneath the hammock), left acting and became a successful television news reporter in the Los Angeles area.
Shelly (Larry Zerner), the obnoxiously unfunny comic comic relief character, is one Jason’s few victims to die off-screen. The reason for this is to set up a “surprise” – which likely will fool no one. Shelly is a prankster, one of whose jokes consists of putting on a hockey mask  and scaring someone. Shortly thereafter, we see a figure in a hockey mask walking toward another victim, who thinks she is seeing Shelly pull another prank. Presumably, the audience is also supposed to be fooled (why else hide the fact that Shelly has been killed?), but the difference in body size is too obvious, clearly telegraphing that it is now Jason behind the mask. This also means that we never see the moment when Jason decides to don the mask for the first time, cheating the audience of seeing a significant mment in the character’s development.
3-D supervisor Martin Sadoff explained the origin of the hockey mask in a cast and crew reunion at the 2007 Screamfest in Hollywood:

I’m from Buffalo, New York, and [producer] Frank Mancuso Jr. is my neighbor, and we’re hockey fanatics. The day of the makeup test, we didn’t really know what Jason should really look like, but we had to come up with some kind of makeup test in 3D. I had a hockey mask there, and I said, ‘Why don’t we put it on and see what it looks like?”

Jason reveals the reason he likes to hide his face behind a mask.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 IN 3-D(1982). Directed by Steve Miner. Screenplay by Martin Kitrosser, based on characters created by Victor Miller and Ron Kurz. Cast: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Nick Savage, Rachel Howard, David Katims, Larry zerner, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Richard Brooker.

Friday the 13th (2009): Jason Voorhees, call your agent

Friday the 13th (2009)Less a remake than just another tired sequel, the new film puts Jason through the same old moves with all the finese of a blind choreographer directing an arthritic dancer.

Jason, what the hell happened to you? You seemed poised on the verge of a monumental comeback, a chance to step back into the ring and reclaim your crown. Instead, your new FRIDAY THE 13TH movie makes you look like a washed-up old has-been, a former champion bulked up on steroids and hyped up on amphetamines who still can’t swing a machete like he used to. But I don’t blame you – at least, not totally. You’re just a victim of your handlers. That’s why I’m telling you – you gotta call your agent and dump those clowns before you even think of making another movie.
Seriously, Jason, listen to me. I mean, I know we’ve never been particularly close. Your first two movies looked like gory rip-offs of HALLOWEEN and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, so I didn’t even bother to see them in theatres; catching up with them on cable was more than enough for me. I did check out your 3-D flick on the big screen; it was ridiculous, but I had to admit it was scary in parts. I still wasn’t a fan, but eventually your longevity won me over with all those crazy things you did in later movies: coming back from the dead, duking it out with that psychic girl, taking a trip to the Big Apple, blasting off into outer space, meeting up with that bastard son of a hundred maniacs.
It didn’t matter that the films were never very good; when you make that many, there are bound to be a few good moments here and there and, eventually, enough to fill one good movie – sort of like a great mental montage that eclipses the lame dialogue, dumb-ass characters, and insipid story-lines that were just an excuse to string together all those kills.
That’s why a FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot seemed like a good idea: it was a chance to take all those good moments – the best of the best – and put them into one great movie. And the great thing was: unlike remaking something like DAWN OF THE DEAD, in your case, the original film is not so all-fired great that the new one would automatically pale in comparison.
Yes, the new FRIDAY should have been a kick-ass crowd pleaser, but let’s face it: something went wrong. A lot of somethings, really. Let’s get down to it, if you dare face the truth with your big ugly face…
First off, the very worst thing about the old movies was that stupid story about how your mother killed those camp counselors because she was mad at some other camp counselors who let you drown because they were making out or something instead of watching you. Well, we all know you didn’t drown, so that’s one dumb thing the new film could have done without.
But what do we get? A prologue where your mom is trying to kill a camp counselor in order to avenge your death by drowning. And when the counselor beheads your mom, we actually see you do something only suggested in the earlier films, picking over mommy’s corpse immediately afterward. So apparently you were nearby the whole time and never bothered to wave your hand and get your mother’s attention to let her know you were all right and she didn’t have to engage in a life-or-death battle that would wind up leaving her headless. Nice move, Jace. Come to think of it, you’re about as dumb as those victims your skewer on a regular basis.
I do have to give the prologue credit for being set on June 13, 1980 – the year that the original FRIDAY THE 13TH came out. That’s not quite the last clever thing in the new film, but it is the last reference to the infamous unlucky day, making me wonder why they even retained it in the title if they weren’t going to use it for anything more.
After that, it becomes clear pretty quickly that this new FRIDAY will have much more in common with PART 2 than with the original. I guess that was expected; no one, including me, wants to see another movie in which your mother turns out to be the killer, and it is kind of nice that the “remake” of the first FRIDAY is condensed down to a couple minutes before the opening credits.
But this leads to some problems. In the old films, you could grow and mature over time; you didn’t even get your hockey mask till halfway through PART 3. Now, however, the audience is three steps ahead of you, expecting all this stuff to happen, so your handlers – the writers and directors and producers – are in a such big rush to squeeze everything in that they forget to make it seem important. It just happens because it’s gotta be there somehow, like having you kill some inconsequential peripheral character who just happens to have a hockey mask in his attic. Lame, dude, real lame.
And what was up with the marijuana growing in your forest? Were your screenwriters really that desperate for an excuse to get some victims onto your turf? Were you supposedly growing it to lure suckers in, or was it grown by the hillbilly who offers to sell some pot to our hero? If the latter, why were you letting him walk through your forest with impunity for so long? Why did you wait until this particular time to take him out?
But forget all that. One of the amusing absurdities of the old movies was that someone was trying to reopen Camp Crystal Lake even though lots of people had died there years ago and no one in his right mind would ever send their kid there again. This was stupid, but it set the tone for the films, which were all about hacking up a bunch of characters who were obviously too stupid to live; otherwise, they wouldn’t be part of such a hare-brained scheme. By removing this element, your new film pretends to be serious and more believable, but that’s not what anyone wants to see in your work
In any case, the attempt at believability is unconvincing, and the serious tone only drains the fun out of the picture. Big mistake. I mean, FRIDAY THE 13TH IN 3-D is an atrociously awful film, but it is entertaining. The new one is just dull.
Sure it was a bit unexpected to see you mow through the first five kids in about a half-hour, and it was clever the way they flashed the title right after that – as if to say, “What you thought was going to be the whole movie is really just a really long prologue.” It was as if that prologue with your mother was really a pro-prologue, followed by another twenty-minute sequence before the movie really got started. You don’t expect the FRIDAY THE 13 franchise to play around with cinematic structure, so my hat’s off to you for that.
But this cute little ploy is not enough to forgive the lame stuff like pretending to kill someone who later turns out to be alive. What are you – going soft in your old age? And why the hell are you suddenly running around like a defensive end chasing down a wide receiver? Back in the old days, you could stride after your victims in full confidence that no matter how fast they ran, they would never escape you. Seeing your hurry now is supposed to make you seem more threatening, but it just reveals your new-found insecurity.
And while we’re at it, what’s with the lame-ass kills? Sticking the blade up through the floor boards was good for a little bit of prickly fun, but as painful as it looks, no one believes it could be deadly – it’s just too easy to get away after the initial surprise is over. And once or twice I thought I detected a trace of computer-generated imagery. What’s the matter? Can’t swing that machete like you used to? Need a computer to compensate for you inadequacy?
I also didn’t get what was up with the bear trap and dangling the girl over the fire. Since when do you use protracted techniques that extend the agony of your victims? Back in the good old days, you were a ruthless, efficient executioner – your victims barely had time to let out a scream before they were dead. Now you’re carrying on like you’re auditioning for a role in the next torture porn film.
This brings us to another problem. You were never an original, but you did manage to carve out your own niche. Unfortunately, your new film reduces you to something more generic. I think the problem is that kids who grew up watching your films are now making films, but they weren’t just watching your films; they were also watching stuff like CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and when they get their chance to work with you, they forget what makes you the horror icon you are, so they churn out a generic remake in which you just happen to be a character. In fact, Marcus Nispel directed a CHAINSAW remake a few years ago, and at times he seems to think he is still making that movie, just with you instead of Leatherface.
That much I can blame on them instead of you, but you’ve got to take your lumps, too, Jason. You’re slow and stupid in this film. We all know the victims in your movies just want to have sex and/or do drugs, and we love to see the women take off their clothes, but did you have to let so many of their antics go on for so long before killing them? It started to feel like Russ Meyers was directing – which would normally be a good thing, but why let that obnoxious ass – the one who invited everyone to his family’s cabin and then kept telling them not to touch anything or get anything dirty – why let him live long enough to have sex with a beautiful woman when he obviously deserved to be gutted as soon as possible?
As if that were not bad enough, Jace old pal, you let some know-nothing Final Girl outwit you with a ploy from the second film – only here it is handled really badly. In PART 2, Ginny was studying child psychology, and you were an unsophsticated, demented man-child, so it was easy to believe that she could get the better of you by exploiting your idolization of your mother. This time out, you let this girl live just because she looks like a picture of your mother, and then you fall for the trick when she pretends to be your mother, telling you to drop your guard. Leaving aside the question of how she figured out that this trick would work, I just have to ask: What’s wrong with you, Jason? This is no psychology student using specialized knowledge and training to pull the wool over your hockey mask; she’s just a chick improvising on the spur of the moment. And you let her get away with it. Pathetic.
Sorry to come down so hard on you, Jason, but I had to do it, for your own good. You see, you’ve fallen in with a bad lot; they pretend to be your friends, but they really aren’t. They’re just using you to get a paycheck. They don’t care. If they did care, they would have come up with a reboot that recharged your batteries and returned you to more than your former glory. Instead, they stuck you in a tired old rehash that might almost be called anti-post-modern.
Instead of showing an awareness of all that came before, they just put you through the same old moves with all the finese of a blind choreographer directing an arthritic dancer. They don’t play with the formula. They don’t manipulate audience expectations to create suspense. They don’t overturn the cliches or reimagine them. We all know the black guy is gonna die, and so are all the chicks who expose their breasts. Okay, there are two girls who don’t go topless, so it seems like either of them could be the Final Girl, but we really know it has to be the one who looks like mother. So sad, so predictable.
The idea of a remake is that you can go back to the beginning and start fresh. Superficially, the 2009 edition of FRIDAY THE 13TH appears like a return to form, but this is merely a disguise. By simply coming up with a new excuse or two to lure a bunch of machete fodder into the woods for a mostly plotless series of set-pieces, your new film comes across less like remake and more like just another uninspired sequel. It’s the kind of thing that ran the franchise into the ground, but at least those old sequels provided some gimmicks to spice things up (3-D, a telekinetic adversary, sending you into space). Omitting the gimmicks can only take your partway toward credible horror; you also need some inspiration, some imagination, or at least a litle renewed enthusiasm – none of which is much on display here.
That’s why I’m telling you Jason: call your agent and get some new help if you plan to star in any more movies. 

FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009). Directed by Marcus Nispel. Screenplay by Damian Shannon & Mark Swift, from a story by Shannon & Swift and Mark Wheaton, based on characters created by Victor Miller. Cast: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Rightetti, Travis Van Winkle, Aaron Yoo, Derek Mears, Jonathan Sadowski, Julianna Guill, Ben Feldman, Arlen Escarpeta, Ryan Hansen, Willa Ford.