And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Jason X (2002)
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Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

You all know the story, right? Friday the 13th Part VIII was both the most expensive and least profitable film of the franchise. Gee, I wonder if those two facts are connected somehow? Even if they aren’t, Paramount spent the late-80s and early-90s “restructuring” itself after a string of flops (like Friday the 13th Part VIII) drove newly hired managers to do what managers love to anyway and sell everything that wasn’t nailed down. Including Jason Voorhees.

So New Line Cinema bought Jason up for cheap and promptly sat on him until Freddy died his “last” death in 1991. While Final Nightmare had the highest opening of its series, there was no getting around the sad fact that it sucked. So New Line spent 1992 proving they hadn’t learned a damn thing, making a Final Friday film that sucks even more…in a completely different way. Continue reading



Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
"Round 1: FIGHT!"

"Round 1: FIGHT!" Portrait of a film critic and this godforsaken franchise.

Or, The One Everyone Hates. And I mean really, really, really hates. That’d be Part V for me, but I understand why everyone pretends that false start of A New Beginning never happened. And I understand the hatred of this…thing.

Seriously, this is Friday the 13th Lite, a cringing, half-hearted attempt to shift the series toward (of all things) respectability. It ended up disappointing everyone from casual movie watchers to the stuffed suits at the top of Paramount’s food chain by exceeding even the most cynical critic’s lowest expectations. Bucking a trend for the series, turned out to be derivative and dull. How did this happen? How did one of the most iconic horror franchises in history sink so low? Continue reading



Supplementary viewing: Gilligan’s Friday the 13th
May 12, 2011, 9:23 am
Filed under: Housekeeping, Videos | Tags:

Insomnia and the hole in my head’s allowed me plenty of time to screw around this week. So here’s a little something-something I cut together, mostly just to see if I could and (hopefully) get a few laughs from you fine people. Consider it a video supplement for tomorrow’s review.



Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
The Eyes have it!

The Eyes have it!

In my Part V review I called that film

the point where the series stopped taking itself so dang seriously, signing its own aesthetic death certificate.

I stand by that, as I stand by every other half-coherent statement I’ve ever made, sensible or otherwise. But I’d be remiss not to confess that the very thing I criticized about Part V lies at the root of my appreciation for Part VI. I’d always liked Jason Lives, but now I fucking love it. If it were a woman, I’d shower its path with rose petals and cake. We’d go back to my place and I’d make Jason Lives fried potatoes and onions for breakfast the next morning. I see a healthy and long-lasting relationship in our future…just as long as we avoid her eleven electrical socket-licking siblings. Continue reading



Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
"I think I'll just stand here until you drop dead. Ya'all okay with that?"

"I think I'll just stand here until you drop dead. Ya'all okay with that?"

A New Beginning is bad…but there’s more to it than that. Yes, it’s The One Without Jason, but it’s also the one without standards, any regard for pace, storytelling, or even its own audience expectations. It’s the one that threw the series over a bridge. The point where casts and crews stopped even pretending to care about quality and settled for last place in the Generic Slasher Movie Olympics.

It’s the kind of film you don’t review so much as describe, like the scene of a horrible industrial accident. It could be a nuclear meltdown, or a poison gas leak on a day when the wind blew the wrong way, annihilating a major American movie franchise. It’s the point where the series stopped taking itself so dang seriously, signing its own aesthetic death certificate. It’s a film that circles back around the loop in the my critical scale and becomes so unforgivably awful…it’s actually rather fun. At times. Continue reading



Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
At least the ax wound is well-done.

At least the ax wound's a nice touch.

The presumptively-named Final Chapter opens with a highlights reel, reminding you (by which I mean me) of an editor’s power to twist truth into previously unthinkable of geometries. Intercutting Paul’s campfire recap of series’ mythology from Part 2 with shots from Jason Voorhees’ Greatest Murders might give the uninitiated a false impression of this series’ quality.

That could be dangerous, so let me state plain: Quality has to scrape Friday the 13th off its shoes every time it visits its aging parents. Don’t want to track things across the “family” room carpet, now do we? Continue reading