Friday the 13th (1980)


Friday the 13th: B

You already know what this one is all about: Some teens (including young Kevin Bacon) who like to bang each other get together in the woods to spruce up Camp Crystal Lake and they are systematically slaughtered while they try to bang each other. This is (arguably) the father of modern teen cut-em-ups and it’s full of too short cut-off jeans, games of strip-Monopoly, and first-person POV stalking. When people think of corny slashers, the images that come to mind are straight out of this movie, no doubt.

Just because it is one of the originals doesn’t mean it is perfect. I see people going easy on this movie all the time and this has resulted in an inflated collective memory we all have of this not-too-special movie. It’s understandable that this happened; this is a movie that sort of sucks objectively, but has been emulated for 30 years. It is a bad movie that people have used to direct and create good movies. If you don’t consider the “implications” of this movie, you aren’t left with much to praise. It is pretty fun, but not that good. When is the last time you actually watched it?

Mrs. Pam Voorhees is the killer in this one and she is creepy for sure. She’s wearing an adorable sweater that there is a 100% chance your grandma owns as she butchers the shit out of these kids. She isn’t revealed until the end; there’s some misdirection here so you think that, because of all the brutal first-person and the campfire stories, Jason is killing everyone. Nope. It’s Jason’s mom, who is punishing these teens who like to bang each other because some other teens who liked to bang each other were supposed to be watching her son who drowned. She has this split personality tick that makes her talk like her son. “Kill her mommy! Kill her!” It is disturbing.

The murders look alright. Savini was on effects but, again, nothing to stop the presses over. There’s a lot of stabbing here. Stomach stabbing, neck stabbing, chest stabbing. Pam stabs Kevin Bacon with an arrow. It looks slightly better than what other slasher movies were doing around that time, but for the most part, it hasn’t aged well. There is a scene where one of the teens is crucified and impaled with arrows. It looks above average.

There’s a scene at the beginning of the movie where the teens find a snake under a bed and they hack it with a machete (killing the snake IRL, fucking assholes). I took a film class in which the instructor insisted this was an important scene and he offered a cornucopia of take-aways: Maybe this is a clever scene that exists to introduce the violent atmosphere of the film. Maybe this is foreshadowing of Mrs. Voorhees’s death by machete. Maybe this scene is supposed to show that these teens are the type to take action and they will fight back. Or (here’s what I think) maybe it’s supposed to be a cheap jump-scare. I don’t really know. It’s not my job to interpret everything for you. But let me know what to make of that snake scene (fucking assholes).

The acting is terrible, not that anyone could possibly care. The teens who like to bang each other are all pretty and look like they belong in a Levis jeans commercial, but their acting would be at home in any grindhouse midnight-movie garbage. They only exist to look physically perfect while banging/dying.

Alice, the “final girl” chops off Mrs. Voorhees’s head with a machete. Jason famously wields a machete for the rest of the franchise. That’s poetic justice I guess. The movie wraps up with Alice waking up in a canoe and one of the most famous jump-scares of all time.

It is sacrilegious in some horror circles to criticize the “13th” franchise at all, so I’m sure someone is crying right now because I didn’t give this movie an A++. Boo-hoo. I also cannot get past the fact that this movie came out shortly after Halloween (which is a good horror movie and a good movie-movie) and the director admits he just wanted to ride the wave of that movie’s success.

I don’t know. I’m a philistine I guess.

REVIEW: Friday the 13th (2009)


Friday the 13th (2009): D-

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought the purpose of movie reboots was to do a “fresh” retelling of a familiar story/franchise. You take the mythology and characters and tweak or “reboot” them using up-to-date special effects, relevant actors, and modern filmmaking conventions. The product is a re-imagined take on an old favorite, right?


The 2009 turd titled Friday the 13th did not do this. It’s a reboot for the sake of making a reboot and selling products. Nothing “fresh” is really brought to the story. Jason is in the woods and he kills teenagers who are just trying to have unprotected sex, swear, and drink beer (only the brand-partners for the movie, of course). No Mrs. Voorhees. No exploration of supernatural origins/powers. The movie sucks out anything unique about Jason and leaves us with a hollow murder machine you could find in any slasher-in-the-woods movie.

I love Jason mindlessly murdering people, but why reboot the franchise to show ONLY that? There’s the same ol’ gang of teens humping and drinking light beer right up until Jason hacks them up one by one. This film has a cast of physically flawless androgynous teens (and some of the most ridiculous hair I have ever seen). They don’t bother making them camp counselors which would, you know, make sense. They’re just dipshits who go to one of the kid’s parents’ lake house. I wonder how long the parents have owned the house and if Jason has ever attacked it before or if he’s just doing this on a whim. Seems like quite a coincidence.

Every “actress” is totally gorgeous even after getting a machete to the neck or harpoon in the face which, I guess is an achievement in the film? I don’t know.

The product placement in the film is off the hook! This happened:
BRO 1: Hey bro did you bring the Heineken?
BRO 2: What Heineken?
BRO 1: I told you to bring the Heineken! Where’s my Heineken?
BRO 2: Sorry bro.
BRO 1: What’s this: Pabst Blue Ribbon?
BRO 2: Have you never had a Pabst Blue Ribbon?
BRO 1: What the fuck is Pabst Blue Ribbon?
BRO 2: Dude, you can drink all the Pabst Blue Ribbon that you want!

And, this seriously happened:
BRO 1: Crystal Lake? Sounds like a water bottle. Like ‘Crystal Geyser.’ Every water bottle has ‘crystal’ in the name. Bet you can’t name one that doesn’t.
BRO 2: Aquafina. I win.

No one wins with this movie. Avoid it if possible.

REVIEW: Freddy vs. Jason (2003)



Freddy vs. Jason: C-

Welcome to a movie that attempts to take the famous chemistry from the Godzilla vs. films and transfer it to the 11th installment in the Friday the 13th (or 8th Nightmare on Elm Street) series. If you sit down expecting to see something revolutionary that doesn’t shamelessly cash in on ideas from the past 25 years, you will be very disappointed.

I remember salivating over the marketing for this film; two of my favorite horror characters were going to face off in mortal combat. It was a horror version of Santa vs. the Easter Bunny. This was when I was really into WWE, so I was basically destined to see this in the theater. The director manages to cram everything Freddy/Jason fans love about Freddy/Jason movies into 95 minutes and the results are anti-climactic. Think about it: Just because I like avocado, toffee, and roast beef, doesn’t mean dumping them down the chute of a juicer is going to make nectar. If you are like me and are a fan of both franchises, you’ll suck it down and believe you love it no matter what while others will be understandably perplexed and bored.

There are plenty of decent looking teenagers misbehaving before they are killed, foggy boiler room dream-murders, “chh-chh, chaa-chaa” Jason noises, and a plot that you could read the newspaper through. There isn’t a minute of this movie that goes out on a limb that isn’t immediately rendered as CGI and lopped off.

At the beginning of the film, fans are already all riled up from the dick-tease ending of Jason Goes to Hell. Freddy is trapped in Dream World because parents of Elm Street have gone to near-Orwellian pains to remove his killing sprees from the newspaper archives and minds of the town. Apparently, Freddy requires mass paranoia and terror in order to operate, both of which have been abolished by the town’s seemingly well-meaning helicopter parents; no sniveling, horrified teens means Freddy has no power. Freddy resurrects Jason and sets him loose on Elm Street, knowing that his murders will result in a renaissance of Freddy-fear, allowing Freddy to kill, kill, kill.

Just like Greek mythology, logical questions about the story have no place here. While some “rules” are set in stone, others are made of Silly Putty. Freddy is weak and can’t kill kids in their dreams, but he can summon dead people from Hell. How can Freddy go to Hell, but not Earth? He is confined to the dream world except when convenient for particular scenes. How is Jason, after so many decades, still so damn quiet and why is his machete five feet long?

The “vs.” part of the film comes in when the movie has about 15 minutes left; a rejuvenated Freddy attempts to eliminate Jason so he can have all the carnage to himself. I won’t ruin it for you, but the fight scenes are what a toddler playing with action figures probably imagines, full of flying jump-kicks, projectiles, and one-liners. Imagine Freddy and Jason as Power Ranger villains and you’ll have the aesthetic of the film correctly pictured.

Objectively, the movie is terrible. But you know what? It is the only movie I have ever seen twice in the theater on the same day. Maybe that means I’m a loser, but maybe it means fuck you, I’m not a loser: C-!