In honor of Friday the 13th falling in October, I rightfully marathoned a few of the Friday the 13th movies
this last weekend (took a week to post this). I managed to make my way through the first 3 movies before I needed to give myself a break. This isn’t the first time I’ve watched these movies, but it’s the first time I watched them without commercial interruptions and with my full attention. Luckily they were a lot better than I remembered.
This movie starts off slow… so slow… so very slow…. You have teenage pranks, strip monopoly, and Kevin Bacon. At least half the run-time I felt was filler since the main reason to watch these movies is for the kills. Sadly, the kills weren’t too memorable for me as the only one that stuck out in my mind was seeing someone get stabbed through the neck and seeing the very obvious skin tone change of the neck prosthetic. Great characters can be a compelling reason to watch a horror movie, but I didn’t really like any of the characters and I’m struggling to even remember their names so that didn’t hit the right note for me either.
Based on the last paragraph, it probably sounds like I didn’t like this movie, but I actually really think it deserves its place in horror history. Most of the problems I have with it are just because of its age and the fact that I’ve seen a lot of modern horror movies that have just done things bigger and better. This movie was one of the ones that started it all and that in itself is an accomplishment.The thing that really brings this movie home for me is the fact that Jason’s mom is the killer. This gives the movie a lot more depth, and makes it feel like more than just your average psychopath slasher movie. There is motivation for the murders and creates a much more compelling story.
Having the mom be the killer and actually die at the end without some supernatural reincarnation is what will leave this as a classic in my mind forever.
I’m not a huge fan of sequels since, for the most part and especially for horror movies, they tend to be cash grabs. Friday the 13th Part 2 however feels like a true part 2 and not just a sequel. It’s hard for me to actually write about this movie because I felt like this movie’s plot was a logical continuation of the story, but then my brain keeps telling me that Jason died in the first movie so it’s completely illogical that he’s back for part 2. In this case however, I’m willing to ignore my brain and just go with my gut. I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would. Jason was the new killer, but he was still mortal. He bled, limped and got hurt just like a real human would. There is a great scene when you can see Jason running up to the shack through the window and that scares the shit out of me every time. He didn’t just suddenly appear in the shack behind the girl with a loud jump scare sound like you’d normally see these days in horror movies. The girl sees him coming and to me that is a whole lot scarier. This leads me in to my favorite part of the movie which is the final girl’s idea to pretend to be Jason’s mom. She psychoanalyzed Jason while she was in the bar, saying how he must be doing it to avenge the death of his mother. That was a nice little set up for the ending because her knowing about his mother didn’t just come up out of nowhere.
This one was nearly as good as the original and truly deserving of being called a Part 2.
Now for the last movie of my mini-binge, the one where they decided they should really be using roman numerals–continuity be damned! This movie is one of the reasons why I feel like most sequels are a cash grab. There wasn’t too much that was new and fresh in this movie. We have another group of stupid teenagers going to the woods to have sex and die. There were a lot of really annoying characters in this one, like Shelly and that gang he meets at the store. The store scene was just a reason for more people to end up at the cabin to be killed before the main cast has to start dying. It could’ve been the fact that I’ve been marathoning these movies and was getting tired of the same old thing, but I do think that this is the movie where the franchise started going down the wrong path. Jason becomes almost supernatural in this one and impossible to kill. He gets stabbed in the leg, jumped on, takes a shovel to the head, is hung in such a way that I’m pretty sure his neck snapped, and to top it all off he gets axed in the face. None of this ever seems to slow him down because he will not stop chasing this girl. When the killer can never die, I feel like the movie has no point to it and no real suspense. I’m not content with just watching people die, I want to have great characters to root for and feel that suspense wondering whether they’ll live or die. In this movie, I knew every time Jason was knocked down that he would get back up and no matter where she runs he will always find her.
Not terrible, but definitely falling into the boring, invincible, supernatural slasher rut that the movies are in now.
Overall, I have a small place in my heart for the Friday the 13th franchise. I grew up watching horror movies late at night and these movies are dripping with nostalgia. I’m not a giant baby or anything, but after watching them at 1am it put me a little on edge. I slept on my back cause I was scared to turn around and I turned on all the lights when I went to the bathroom. They aren’t the best movies of all time, and it’s weird that I give the first one an 8 since it’s not the same caliber as some of my other 8s. For horror movies though, these movies stand out in the genre and are worthy of an October rewatch every year.