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My Old Pal Jason Vorhees

  • Mar 18, 2009
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  I hung out with an old friend for a few hours this afternoon.  The last time he and I really hung out was about 20 years ago.  Sure, we saw each other briefly throughout the years, there was the time he was turned into a parasitic worm, the time he was shot into space, and let's not forget entertaining but ultimately unsatisfying attempt to introduce him to another friend of mine in 2003.  This meeting went how it usually goes when you see an old friend, it was nice to see Jason, but ultimately we just don't have very much in common anymore.
   I don't know what the hell happened to the current generation, I really don't.  Horror movies nowadays are joyless fare, dominated by torture porn franchises like Saw and Hostel.  Maybe it was the fact that they were raised on shitty Japanese cartoons, or because Internet has allowed them to see the world's really horrors at an early age.  I guess in the age when videos of teenagers beating their cats or killing homeless people with screwdrivers, a guy in the woods with a hockey mask isn't particularly scary.
    But here's the thing, it wasn't scary when I grew up either.  Sure, the first time my 5-year-old self stumbled onto Friday the 13th Part 3 on TV, I thought Jason was in my closet for the next year. But as I got older, I realized that with all the scares there was an element of joy in these movies. I didn't watch these movies to root for the heroes to get away; I wanted to see how Jason would do away with them.  The kills were bloody, sure, but someone getting their head squashed down to pea size isn't exactly something out of a snuff film.  
    But that was 80s cinema, a drastic departure from the film renaissance of the 70s, where stark seriousness gave way to lighthearted escapist fare.   Fun slasher movies replaced the relentlessly gritty, brutal films like Last House on the Left.  But, the market became oversaturated.  The Big 3:  Jason, Freddy, Michael, gave way to low budget copycats and inexplicably bad franchise decisions (nothing with Druids is ever good. Ever.) So the market swung the other way.  The old horror directors gave way to new horror directors, guys who worked at the video stores in their teens, who had access to stuff like Cannibal Holocaust, Guinea Pig and Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS.  And when given the chance to save the fledgling horror industry, they invoked the spirit of the gore filled grind house.
   For a while, my friend Bob and I would spend almost every night watching the worst of the worst.  If it was from Italy or Japan or Germany and had Zombies, Cannibals or Zombies fighting Cannibals, we saw it.   This was probably the darkest period of my life; we were both devastated by this experience, ruined. There was no joy in these movies whatsoever; they made me hate life. After seeing castrations, naked women being cut open and turned into ovens on which to cook their own flesh, and real footage of animals being killed, enough was enough.   But it seemed I couldn't get away, because shortly after that dark period, Hostel hit theaters, and I got to see some of the exact scenes from these movies re-created on the big screen for new audiences.
  It didn't stop there.  We had Hostel 2, 4 more Saw movies, Captivity, Turitistas, and the list goes on.  Even Leatherface was brought back for two joyless, torture filled remakes.  Michael Myers went from a cold phantom killer to an abused child who kills because his step dad called him a faggot.  Even James Bond was changed from a suave, cultured secret agent to a tortured assassin.  I had no hope that things would turn around.  I didn't want to see Jason become what I hated so much. I spat venom at the very idea of a remake. I groaned when I saw the first trailers, and set my expectations extremely low.
   Well, his return wasn't as bad as I expected, but the problems were there.  No, it's not Torture porn, thankfully.  Jason isn't raised by rednecks or bullied as a kid, his mythology is in tact; but he doesn't seem to be enjoying what he does nearly as much as he used to, and neither did I.  The kills are quick, dirty and not very inventive.  There are no one liners, no ridiculous acts of superhuman strength, no rapping black guys getting killed on the toilet. People want realism these days, and this was as realistic as a hockey masked clad killer can get.
    I didn't hate it.  If it wasn't Jason, it'd be a mediocre horror film.  The fact that it's a Friday movie helped it a lot.  Was it better than Jason Goes to Hell or Jason X? Absolutely.  Does it even crack the top 8 when compared to the others in the series? Nope, but it serves it's purpose, it re-introduces a character that we haven't seen in a long time.  Remakes and reboots, like physicians, should do no harm. While they're never as good as the original (with a few exceptions), they shouldn't detract from it.  Rob Zombie's Halloween, and the mind numbingly bad Omen remake broke this rule, but thankfully Friday the 13th adheres to it.  While it's different, it doesn't take away from the rest of the series at all; in fact, it could easily be Part 11 (or part 9).
    I can't fault anyone for bringing Jason back.  Jason, Freddy and the rest of the gang are my generation's Universal Monsters.  If they could keep brining back Dracula, they could bring back Jason.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the franchise remade again in 20 years. It's just the nature of the beast. I'm sure once I see my favorite book of all time get pissed on in slow motion on March 6, and after Stephen Sommers puts the final touches on raping my childhood Caligula-style in August, I'll like this movie a whole lot more simply because it doesn't destroy the franchise that came before it.
    I do hope that sooner or later we learn to lighten up and can move away from "realism" again.  I'd rather go to the movies to enter a fantasy world, not think "Well shit, not only am I broke but now there's a dude with an axe out there."  But, I'd like to see Jason again. Right now, we've drifting.  He's adapting and trying to fit in, but I miss my old friend, the one who let us mix in a few laughs with our screams.  Hopefully I can see that guy again.

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Member Since: Mar 18, 2009
Last Login: Nov 4, 2009 08:04 PM UTC
About this movie


Friday the 13th is a 2009 American horror film directed by Marcus Nispel, and written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. It is a reboot of the Friday the 13th film series, which began in 1980.

It stars Derek Mears as Jason Voorhees, with Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti and Danielle Panabaker portraying the male and female leads. The film follows Clay Miller (Padalecki) as he searches for his missing sister, Whitney (Righetti), who was taken by Jason while she was camping in the woods at Crystal Lake.

Originally starting out as an origin story, the film ultimately became a re-imagining of the first four Friday the 13th films. Along with bringing the film back to its roots, Jason was designed as a leaner and faster killer, with a backstory that could provide a little sympathy for the character but not enough that he would lose his menace. Although this film reboots the continuity, Jason's iconic hockey mask, which was not introduced until the third film in the series, is acquired through the progression of the film. In keeping with the tone of the film, Jason's mask was also brought back to its roots, created from a mold of the original mask from Part III, though subtle changes were made to keep it unique to the new film. Friday the 13th also incorporated some of Harry Manfredini's music score from the original Friday film series, as the producers recognized the iconic status it held.

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