Friday, February 13, 2015


The "Friday the 13th" Franchise (1980-1988)
(Parts I through VII)
   Jason Vorhees is my favorite slasher. I have seen and own every "Friday the 13th" film. Some are better than others, but even the weaker ones still entertain me.
   The first time that I saw these films were in the 80's, when I was a kid. Hearing about Jason from the other children at school made me so envious of those who had actually seen these films. By the time I had heard of Jason, a collection of his movies had already been out. I had to catch up somehow. But how? One magical month in the year 1985, television offered me a gift.
   1985 was the year that "Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning" was released. Cable TV had an amazing way to promote the premier of this film. Starting Monday, some channel that I no longer remember, would show every Jason film (uncut in all it's R rated glory) in order, once a night, every day until Friday. Friday ended with the premiere of Part 5. I was excited, but still young enough to be a little scared. Having never actually seen Jason before, I had no idea how scary he would be.
   I watched each film every night that week, armed with a pillow. If things got too scary, I was prepared to hide my face in my pillow. I'm proud of myself for never using that  pillow. How could I? These films were too exciting to take my eyes off the screen. By weeks end, I had caught up with the franchise and felt like I had accomplished something important.
   Going into this series for the first time, I was already familiar with the image of Jason's hockey mask. No one had told me anything about Jason not being the killer in Part One or that he did not get the hockey mask until Part 3. All of this was new to me.
   By the time "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives" had come out, I was a full-fledged fan. Seeing Alice Cooper's "He's Back: The Man Behind the Mask" music video on MTV got me SO EXCITED about Part 6. I desperately wanted to see it in the theater. I recall that the summer that this film had come out, my family and I were on vacation. We were visiting an aunt in another state. I found out what theater was showing Part 6 and then begged to be taken to see it. That didn't work. My aunt told me that this theater that was showing the film was really far away. It did not dawn on me until years later, that this might have been a white lie. Perhaps Aunt did not want to see a Jason film. I did not see Part 6 until it came out on cable. When I did, I loved it.
   It was not until 1988, before Jason returned to haunt movie screens. I asked my mom to take me to see "Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood". It was playing at a Drive-In, near our house. It took a lot of begging, but guess what?
She said yes.
   For the first time in my life, I saw Jason Vorhees on the Big Screen! It was glorious.
Thank you, Mom. I know that you hated every second of it, but you took me anyway.
I love you.
I promise not to put your head on a table, surrounded by candles and your sweater.

(Paper Doll by Isaac Keith Martinez)


Brandon Early said...

I love that your posts are couched in the details of your own experience with the movies discussed. It surprises me that I don't see more bloggers take that route when so many movie blogs are one man shows. Your unique artwork continues the theme. You're doing a great job giving your blog its own personality.

I'm about to sit down to Jason X tonight (mostly that one just because I haven't seen it as many times). I had the good fortune to come of age at the height of the slasher boom, so I've seen the first five chapters of the franchise in proper theaters/drive-ins. For years I had the FT13 poster from part VIII - the one with Jason slashing through the "I Love New York" poster. All the Friday The 13th movies are definitely cinematic comfort food now.

Given your familiarity with the franchise, I have to ask: what's your ranking for the original eight, best to worst?

I like the "Town That Dreaded Sundown" Jason look in Part II, followed very closely by The Final Chapter. Then the original - which is still a remarkably effective "scary movie" after all these years. I'd say Jason Lives rounds out the essentials, leaving the remaining four movies to duke it out for the coveted title of "Not The Worst Of The Franchise".

Isaac's Haunted Beard said...

My ranking of the original 8:
1: My favorite is The Final Chapter. It captures the feel of everything I like in a Friday film. Plus, it introduces the very significant Tommy Jarvis.

2:Part 6: It's funny on purpose and it works. It's like the Friday franchise celebrating itself.

3:Part 2: I dig the different mask as well. I usually refer to it as his "Elephant Man" mask. The "Trick Jason into thinking he's talking to his mother" ending is memorable.

4: Part 7: I dig seeing Jason have someone that can fight back. It's almost like Jason vs Carrie.

5: The Original. Plays like a mystery. Who are killing these camp counselors? A fine time capsule that gets better with age.

6: Part 5: Believe it or not, I think this film is better than it's reputation. It's very violent and fun. Plus, I dig Demon & Reggie the Reckless.

7: Part 3: I must be one of the few fans who does not adore Part 3. The introduction of the hockey mask is the most significant element of the film. I find this particular batch of victims to be rather unlikeable.

8: Jason Takes Manhattan. This entry deserves it's reputation. I wish it was so bad that it was good, but it's not. It's just bad. I love that it shares the same title as a "Muppets" film.

There ya go! For the record, I dig "Jason Goes To Hell", Hate "Jason X", except for that ONE SCENE (you know the one), LOVE "Freddy vs Jason" a lot and actually enjoy the remake.

Thank you for the kind words. I hope you check out my YouTube show. I talk about Horror Films in a much more spirited way on the show!

Brandon Early said...

You're not alone on Part III. It mostly only gets a pass from me for the 3-D opening credit sequence backed by the disco FT13 theme. I was always intrigued by the dangling narrative thread that seemed to suggest Jason might be a rapist, too, but of course it never went anywhere.

I like your association of FT13 Part VIII with the Muppets. I had a mental image of Jason guest hosting the old Muppet Show, with Kermit giving him an awkward and very one-sided interview. Then they could do a mash-up of Jason X and the old Pigs In Space routine.

Incidentally, I ended up watching Jason Vs Freddy instead of Jason X last night. Probably for the best. I'll be sure to check out your YouTube show!

Isaac's Haunted Beard said...

I no longer hate JASON X.

Brandon Early said...

So what prompted the reassessment? I've always kind of enjoyed it on its own terms. Cronenberg cameo, busting the frozen head, the holodeck sleeping bag bit - there's some pretty solid entertainment there. Not a masterpiece, but damn sure not the worst Jason vehicle.