Happy Holidays from all of us at Death Ensemble. In my quest to save you from your 27,000th retrospective of the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT franchise on a horror blog, I’ve put together a retrospective to celebrate another calendar event. Because everyone could use a little FRIDAY THE 13TH on Christmas.
I wrote the review for the first FRIDAY THE 13TH years ago, and questioned why so many consider it a classic. Last October, I tackled PART III, which is a gem because of Shelly, and THE FINAL CHAPTER, which stars Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, and lots of T&A. When Amazon and Hulu both dropped the entire eight entries from Paramount earlier this month, I dedicated myself to giving them all a review.
This was a grind at points, for two polar opposite reasons. First, as I mentioned in my Voorhees with Fries piece, this has to be the most repetitive franchise in all of horror. There’s no character development (except if you consider Jason becoming a walking corpse to qualify as development); in its place, each film offers a new group of teens for the slaughter. Even a lot of the kills and fights are repetitive (I applauded Pam’s chainsaw attack on Jason, forgetting that just three flicks earlier, Ginny used the same weapon). Just how many times can a machete to the head excite fans, when they can’t top the wheelchair rolling backward down the stairs in PART 2? These flicks are solidly aimed at people who eat a double cheeseburger from McVoorhees every lunch of the week. Watching a marathon of these flicks gets dull quickly, especially considering the shoddy quality of most of them.
The other part that adds to the grind is how these flicks distinguish themselves, just to make the same flick. Jason dies in the fourth flick; gets replaced in the fifth; gets resurrected in the sixth; fights a telekinetic in the seventh; and winds up in NYC in the eighth. The plight of the franchise gets even weirder once New Line takes over. Through all those weirdo changes, it’s still Jason Voorhees whacking people with a machete. Given the grandiose battleground of NYC in JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, the franchise squanders the final fight in the sewers, taking it out of the hands of the heroine and hero, and placing it in those of NYC municipal policy. It’s a strange, disappointing ending for the Paramount series, and a frustrating end after the grind of watching all eight.
I loved the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise when I was a kid. Jason was tops on my slasher list, and the first few flicks creeped me out in my formative years (and I’m convinced Jason still stalks the woods behind the house where I grew up). But I matured, and my tastes evolved. With a few exceptions, these flicks are no longer the fun they were when I first saw them on cable. If this retrospective of reviews served any purpose for me, it at least proved that.
As for the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT franchise… that one has its own weirdo issues. From the controversy that caused its removal from theatres almost immediately, to the second one which is about 2/3 made up of clips from the first flick, all the way up to Joe Petto and his toys… That series certainly isn’t repetitive, but it’s also not watchable. But hey, IT’S GARBAGE DAY!
As you settle in with family for the Christmas weekend and the start of Hanukkah, set yourself up with a cup of hot cocoa (I prefer marshmallows) and enjoy Death Ensemble’s FRIDAY THE 13TH retrospective, as we take you all the way from Crystal Lake to Manhattan.
Merry Christmas the 13th to all, and to all a night surviving Camp Blood!
Click on each title to go straight to the review.
I’m still trying to figure out why anyone would consider this flick a classic.
The high water mark of the series. The only entry to ask why Jason kills. It’s got creepy atmosphere, likable counselors, and Jason’s potato sack look.
3D, Shelly and a hockey mask. All you need out of this flick.
Joe Zito and Paramount tried to put Jason and the franchise to rest. It didn’t work out…
Is it Jason, or not? After the lame answer, I didn’t care.
Undead Jason, Thom Mathews as Tommy Jarvis and one awesome sheriff. Watch this one.
Jason finally gets a worthy opponent for a final fight. And he looks awesome.
No, he doesn’t. Not even when he gets to Vancouver.
One more thing, before I head out for Christmas festivities. On the subject of subtitles…
THE FINAL CHAPTER is not the final chapter, not by four movies.
A NEW BEGINNING is also an ending for that beginning, as the franchise reverts back to Crystal Lake.
Jason doesn’t live in JASON LIVES. He’s a resurrected corpse. But I guess the clunkier JASON IS UNDEAD didn’t really push the message that he’s back in this one.
89% of THE NEW BLOOD gets spilled, as 16 of its 18 characters die horribly.
JASON TAKES MANHATTAN? Screw you, misleading bs lying cheating subtitle! Jason takes a cruise ship and Vancouver.