I recently did a four-night stand of the first four Friday the 13th films. Up until this point I hadn't seen them all in their entirety. I only saw parts of part one, part two I didn't see it all, part three I did see but I didn't remember it and part four I did see and I remembered quite a bit of it.
So in considering the above, I decided to watch them. I only watched the first four in the franchise because to my recollection after part four things get pretty stupid and characters changed or original characters didn't reprise the roles and all in all it just seemed like a giant mess. So I stuck with the first four films throughout four nights.
The original idea for Friday the 13th was that every year a film would be put out. Each film would be about a different topic and it would be centered around the whole idea of Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. Here we are like 40 years later and that is not the case. The guy in the hockey mask has entertained us for many many decades. Friday the 13th kind of took on a life of its own and has been in pop culture for a very long time.
In the original Friday the 13th you do not know who the killer is until damn near the very end of the movie. It turns out the killer is Pamela Voorhees and she has returned to Crystal lake to avenge her son's drowning. According to the timeline Jason died in the late 50s by drowning in Crystal Lake. The camp counselors were there but they were too busy having sex and doing other stupid things, subsequently, Jason drowned in the lake while swimming. After Jason drowned, Pamela Voorhees ( his mom ) decided to kill the counselors. So we fast forward to the present day, it is some 30 years later and the camp is being reopened and she has returned to wreak havoc upon those poor souls.
Friday the 13th is a good movie. The kills are pretty good in this movie considering it only had a budget of $550,000 and the storyline is pretty good. It's a lot like Jaws. You know that there is a killer on the loose but you don't see the killer, you just see the kills. This recipe adds a certain mystique and conjures up a certain fear in people. The same mystique that was created in the original Friday the 13th would lose out to pop culture in the coming years in the form of Jason's popularity with fans.
It was neat to see Kevin Bacon in one of his earlier roles and to see him get killed with an arrow through the neck by Miss Pamela Voorhees. This of course is before Kevin Bacon became big with Footloose. Kevin Bacon is the only one who went on to become a big superstar so to speak. The other actors and actresses did play in other movies but none of them reached the success that he did. I wish Kevin Bacon would consider playing Freddy Krueger in a reboot of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Robert Englund has said as much in interviews and I agree with him. Kevin Bacon would make a fantastic Freddy Krueger but that's another article.
See the original trailer below:
Part II had a little bit bigger of a budget but not that much bigger. The opening prologue takes place immediately after the events of Friday the 13th and since Pamela Voorhees is now deceased, we see her son Jason take over the role as the killer.
Like I said it's some 30 years later and Jason is a grown man who has been living in the woods and surviving off of dead animals and other things. This is where the continuity issues start because according to the original story Jason drowned in crystal lake. If you are like me you hate continuity issues crystal in movies but with different directors, producers, different writers and all sorts of shit going on while a movie is trying to get made, sometimes it is hard to keep that continuity. They needed a villain for part two and it seemed natural that he would take over the role as the villain.
When the movie starts it opens with Jason stalking the final girl from Friday the 13th played by Trish Jarvis who subsequently killed his mom by beheading. He immediately kills her and it happens rather quickly. She had zero chance of survival. With her kill out of the way and his mother's death avenged, Jason returns to Crystal lake to lay dormant for 5 years until the next set of counselors comes along and he can kill all of them. When we do see Jason in Part II we do not see him in a hockey mask. The hockey mask does not show up until Part III so what we get is a big bad man with a bag over his head with one eye cut out. You have to give it to Jason because he sure has some accuracy killing people considering he can only see out of one eye.
Friday the 13th Part II was shot in Connecticut whereas Friday the 13th was shot in New Jersey. You wouldn't know that by looking at the films because of movie magic. All four of the first films were all filmed in four different locations. That's an interesting tidbit.
Part II would start the recipe for many horror movies to come in its wake. You have a villain or a bad guy and he is going to kill everything and there will always be a final girl (because girls are sexy) and guys aren't. The final girl will always kill the villain this would be the recipe that many movies would follow. Some say that Friday the 13th is a rip off of the Halloween movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis. I can see the similarities but I don't feel that it is a direct rip-off. I feel it's another take on the same story from a different angle. You have a villain and the villain kills people. Halloween has a little bit more of a storyline or backstory. Friday the 13th has a good backstory but the villain is somebody that you would not expect whereas you see the villain pretty much right away in Halloween. At least Jason didn't end up driving cars as Michael Myers did!
One of the things I didn't care for in Part II was the final scare scene. It was just a rehashing of the Friday the 13th final scare scene. Maybe they could have come up with something a little bit different? Now that I think about it while I'm writing this, yes they should have done a different final scare scene.
See the original trailer below:
Part III's events take place directly following Part II. There's no dormant season for Jason he is just a killing machine now and there are more people to kill. Part III is when we are introduced to the beloved hockey mask for the first time. This would go on to become a staple in American pop culture. If you see a hockey mask anywhere, you think of Friday the 13th. That mask has been branded with that franchise and that will never die.
Part III was shot in 3D which personally, I think was a mistake but they were trying to capitalize on 3D popularity. Being shot in 3D also adds another angle for advertising. Considering the recipe is the same as Part II, you have a bunch of camp counselors and they are all going to die at the hands of one big bad man who now wears a hockey mask, you kind of have to give an incentive for people to go see it. So Part III was shot in 3D.
At first I wasn't very excited about the musical score. It seemed tacky to me and took out the element of scary. Throughout the movie, though I did come around to liking the music a little bit and I did feel that it had a small place in the movie. But if I was to make a horror movie I would not recommend that kind of music.
There is a substory line in this one which is the final girl was stalked by Jason just two years before the events in this movie. This means Jason was stalking this girl and trying to kill her while he was killing everybody else from Part II. Jason's a very busy man, so many people need to die and so little time.
Friday the 13th was filmed in New Jersey, Part II was filmed in Connecticut and Part III was filmed in California. Again you wouldn't know this because of movie magic but it is true. I thought Part III was good once I got past the music. I thought the kills were creative and there were many. At this point in the series my favorite kill is after Jason dawn's the hockey mask and gets the harpoon gun, walks out onto the dock, aims it at the girl, and shoots it into her eye. What I like about that scene is that Jason just strolls out takes aim and kills that chick with no emotion whatsoever. He then walks off as almost as if he's tired of killing people and he just wishes people would go the hell away.
See the original trailer below:
The Final Chapter would see the return of Jason and his hockey mask and it would also introduce us to a little boy named Tommy Jarvis played by Corey Feldman. I don't know about you but I do not care for Corey Feldman. Yes he has played in some iconic movies and at times he has played a decent character but for the most part I find him whiny, bitchy and I find his acting to be subpar at best. Nonetheless an adolescent Corey Feldman is in this movie.
The Final Chapter has Jason throwing people out of windows, nailing dead bodies up in doorways (which I love) but it also has a final girl and a final kid. It's the final girl played by Kimberly Beck and Corey Feldman aka the final kid who kills Jason in this one. The Final Chapter has my favorite killing of Jason. Corey Feldman loses his shit picks up the machete and buries it deep into the side of Jason's head. Jason then falls onto the machete and the machete pushes its way through his brains and scalp via the floor. That is my favorite killing of Jason in the whole series. I think it's real, it's honest and I love how it was shot. Remember the budget on these movies is not very large although the budgets have been growing with each one released they still want to keep money down to a minimum and because of what they are filming. This kill was done well and the movie magic they use to make it happen was creative.
We also see Crispin Glover in The Final Chapter. He goes on to play in some other good movies such as Willard and he also plays the dad in the Blockbuster series Back to the Future. His career wasn't as big as Kevin's Bacons but he did get pretty popular.
The Final Chapter I think is my favorite of the series, with Part III being a close second just because it gets away from the whole camp counselor idea for a minute. It's focused on random people and a family. The only part I thought was tacky was when Corey Feldman shaved his head to look like Jason to get Jason's attention. It worked but I feel that there was a better way this could have been done. It just tacky to me but that's what we're left with and it is still a good movie.
See the original trailer below:
So if you're going to watch the Friday the 13th movies watch Friday the 13th, Part II, Part III, and The Final Chapter. After those four, Part V and beyond things become redundant and there are no storylines at this point. They are good to watch for the kills because let's be honest at this point you're rooting for Jason to win so the kills get so good and creative but the storyline is the same. I think my favorite kill out of the whole franchise is the sleeping bag kill. Jason picks up a sleeping bag with a girl in it and smacks it up against a tree. She falls lifeless to the ground with a thud and again he almost looks exhausted like he's thinking Jesus would these people just leave so I can stop all this killing.
I think Friday the 13th, Part II, Part III, and The Final Chapter good movies and they tell a good story. The continuity issues are evident if you pay attention but they a good series to watch. So if you need something to do on a weekend maybe riday the 13th, Part II, Part III, and The Final Chapter are a good option.