Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Movie Review: Friday The 13th Part 2

Here is Jason's first appearance in the movie and I must say it's worth a watch. I loved, loved, loved this movie when I was a kid and it really put archetypical slasher tropes into motion before everybody copied the hell out of it. I really liked how they use Jason as campfire legend which will slowly have him becoming a pop culture icon in the works. Now this movie is not perfect and it will set many logical questions further but who cares, this is Jason's first movie!
So here's the story: Five years(let's just say two in my opinon) after the events of the first movie, camp owner Paul decides to re-open camp crystal lake YET AGAIN with the help of his spunky assistant/girlfriend Ginny, bringing along yet another hot group of teens as their camp counslers. But little do they know that something menacing is afoot and sooner or later, they will soon learn that (newly reborn) Jason is out there waiting for them.

Most of the cast is a mixed bag for me. Some are good with what little roles they are given and on the other hand, I was too distracted of how hot they are, especially wheel-chair bound Mark.

Boy Howdy! is he a stud or what! Such a beautiful man! Then there was that one scene where one of the female counslers is hitting on him. I mean yeah, he is a goregeous guy but it goes beyond that. It's like she has some fetish for the handicap. Weird.
So lets get to the true star of the movie:

The beautiful Ms. Amy Steel. What I like most about her is that she brought much more personality to the role than most final girls in that era. She's spunky, intelligent, and likeable. She also gets to understand the history and backstory of Jason by using her pyschology knowledge. Very clever girl.

Ginny is one of those memorable horror movie heroines, alongside Laurie Strode, Ripley, and Nancy Thompson. She is badass. Enough Said.

Let me just squeeze in Paul for moment. I mean he did fill out the expostion for Jason and he is sort of the dad of the group with Ginny being the mom, So that would make him the hero, right?.....I'll get to him later.
Now the special effects are quite different than the first movie. That's because Tom Savini felt a little weird about the filmmakers bringing back Jason, since you know Jason was well....dead. So he quietly backed out of the project because it just didn't make any sense to him. Which brings us to that million dollar question: Did Jason really drown in Crystal Lake? Again, I'll get to that later.

I really didn't like how they just killed off Alice. It was like her character wasn't important. According to the behind the scenes scoop, all of Alice's scenes were improv. I mean the nightmare she had, her taking a shower, her conversation with her mom. All of it was improv. It was all thrown in there just to get rid of her quickly.

Oh well, At least Jason got his revenge and it did set up the story well. Now let's get back to the special effects. It's actually pretty good. It may not be ultra bloody like Tom Savini's effects were but it's still quite burtal.

The most famous death in the movie is when the teen couple is impaled whilst making love. Some giallo fans weren't too happy with that saying the flilmmakers ripped off the scene from the italian horror film Twitch Of The Death Nerve.

This was unknowbest to the filmmakers since they haven't even seen the film. But as a kid, I really thought that was a cool, original kill. I also heard that some of the additonal sequence of this particular scene was cut out due to being so graphic. Here's a snapshot:

The reel is still missing til this day....
So let me get to the topic at hand. Which is how on earth did Jason suddenly resurface?

My answer is....I honestly don't know. It was sort of an idea the creator's cooked up when they thought of making the sequel. and trust me, after the ending of Friday The 13th, it had to have a sequel (therefore, many sequels to come). So here's my theory, even there is no sense in logic for an 11 year boy to survive his own drowing, maybe Jason did survive. Somewhere deep in the woods, he was some wild woodsman protecting his turf. But hell I don't know, this movie was set for at least two, or according to the movie, five years, so he might've been reborn somehow, I don't know. So apparently, Jason's resurrection will remain until the movie Jason Goes To Hell clears it up but will get to that later. Now let's get talk about Paul, another debate that's on everybody's mind. Again, in my theory, Paul is ding dong dead. There was probably another scenario where he supposedly lived but since the actor arubptly left the set, well there's nothing I can say, Paul is dead.

And possibly that annoying redhead guy but who cares.

So again, the suspense is just as good as the first. It also shows that Jason is kind of klutz. He's not the hulking over-powering presence that he will soon become.
I love this movie. Heck, I grew up with this movie. Not only because it's Jason's first movie but it stands as one of the few classics in the golden age of the slasher genre. To me, the Friday the 13th series is like a continuation of a story and this is the one that surely opened Jason's first chapter.
My last word: A must see!




Monday, November 25, 2013

Friday The 13th (1980)

This movie is a true slasher classic. What was supposed to be a cash-in on the highly-successful Halloween, became a american hit, spawning at least 12 sequels along the way. It's also one of the few slasher films to highlight the archetypical tropes that have many other slasher films done to death til this day: an attractive young cast, a setting in an anbandoned, isolated area, the old man who knows the truth, the truth behind the killer's motive, etc. And although Halloween was the first slasher and kicked-started the craze, Friday The 13th paved the way for many slasher movies in 1980's. Yes, some were pale comparisons but at least it was a cultrual trend of that decade. Friday The 13th stands high on one of my favorite horror films, along side Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street.
Now Let's begin The Story: In 1957, an 11 year old(supposely) drowned in the waters of Camp Crystal Crystal Lake.

The blame is quickly falled upon two careless camp counslers who were making love during the fatal incident. One year later, the same (alleged) two camp counslers were found brutally murdered.

So 21 years, after many attempts of opening and closing down the camp, Steve Christie heir to Camp Crystal Lake decides to re-open the camp, once again, bringing in a new nublie group of teens to fill in as camp counslers. As the night get darker and full moon rises, things get more intense, when an unknown on-looker terrorize the group where they all disappear one by one.

I thought the acting was mostly good. The majority of the cast is pretty likeable and relatable and just to put this out, although Annie is set up to be the main protangist, it could easily be any of the three main girls. You have future housewife Annie, sweet girl-next-door Marcie, motherly-level-headed Brenda, and The shy, creative Alice. And that's what's so effective about it. You never know who lives or dies. You never know who will be the hero or the heroine. This was way before certain horror films define the main characters based on thier stereotypical personality traits( the jock, the cheerleader, the prankster, the nerd, the virgin, etc.). In this the teens are not protrayed as stereotypical. They are seen as realistic people of that era. Just check out the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the First Halloween. They may not be fleshed out in terms of character development but there is a likeable and charming quality about these characters that when you see them die in such horrific ways, it's still shocking.

Clearly the strongest actor is Besty Palmer. She really brought on chilling performance and it was pretty ballsy for the filmmakers to have a female serial killer in american slasher film. I know it's been done before then, but not quite like this. I really felt that Ms. Palmer gave it her all and gave such a malicious approach to the character that actually came off as beliveable. And to only think she took the role to rent a car. Wow. Just wow.
Now what I heard about the behind the scenes casting is pretty suprising. I couldn't believe that filmmakers once considered.....

Sally Field as Alice. Sally Field (although come to think of it, Adrienne King does kind of look like a blond Sally Field). It's quite jarring to have an oscar-winning actress in a low budget slasher film. People might even say 'how she/he would be in such a repulsive movie'. it would often question the actor/actress credibilty into being in such a film. During some time, the career of that actress or actor would've fallen downhill in the middle somehwere. Now back then this wasn't a favorite genre for the critics. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had bad reviews when it came out and even Halloween opened to poor reviews before word of mouth regained it's success, which ultimately happened to Friday the 13th. This is why it is a best bet to cast a group of unknowns. Sure it's okay to shove in a few hollywood vetrans by the tail but it's only because they had their heydey in the spotlight way back when. It's a way for the filmmakers to play it safe....and probably it would cost less money for them anyway. But oh, Here is the casting of Ms. Voorhees, boy it is a hoot! The original actress to play Ms. Voorhees was.....

Estelle Parsons. It's pretty funny considering the fact that she's known for playing Roseanne's Mom but get this, not only would have Roseanne's sister (Laurie Metcalf) killing a bunch of college students in Scream 2, before that, you would have Roseanne's Mom killing a bunch of camp counslers in Friday The 13th. Roseanne's Family would be even more fucked up! lol.

Now let's get to the special effects, which are pure gold in this movie. It shows that Tom Savini is the master here. Behind The Scenes, the make-up were used of simple contractions without making it too fake-looking. Yes, less is more. And it's a shame that these filmmakers are so lazy these days that they would have CGI blood instead of using practical effects. And the killings are quite realistic. They are never shown to be over-the-top or cartoony-looking. It's quite cringe-worthy.
The suspense is top-notch. I know it takes a while for something to happen already, But I think the build-up to those moments work. The movie is also known for it's point-of-view camera shot, which are popular with films like Black Christmas and Halloween. In the golden age of slashers, this particular camera shot works becuase it makes it look like were inside the mind of that killer. Very effective.

The cinematography is beautiful, capturing the peaceful, quiet scenery of Camp Crystal Lake but also the dark and ominus. It definitely blended in well in the climax. But oh let me get to the climax.....

This is pretty much the moment that started it all, including the surprise ending that will set Jason up for the rest of the series....

Now before I end this review, let's place two scenarios in both Friday The 13th and Halloween. In Halloween, it is set in a suburban neighborhood. Yes, I know, It's the scarier movie but in any given situation, Laurie could've been helped and in the end, she was saved by Doctor Loomis anyway. Whereas in Friday The 13th, it is set in the middle of the woods where no one can hear you scream and in the end, Alice saves herself. In real life, Friday The 13th's situation would be the more scarier.
Oh and just to put this out.....Kevin Bacon in a speedo.

So those are my thoughts, it may not be up to anybody's standards, but at least it holds up as a slasher classic til this day.
My Last Word: Yes, Watch it!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Nightmare On Friday The 13th

Now the time has come to review one of my two favorite horror movies, Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm St. I know it's a little late in the game to do these reviews now since Halloween is way past over but i think it's the perfect time considering there about 18 films all together. Now that's a lot of work! I know I've worked on these reviews on my 80's movie reviews but I never really put any much thought or emphasis on them. So, I'm going to stretch out a little history, including copying information from the docoumentaries, such as Never Sleep Again and Crystal Lake Memories, Which I both enjoyed.
I will not. I will repeat NOT re-review the remakes. The Friday The 13th remake was shit and The Nightmare On Elm Street remake was shit. Maybe in the future I might but for right now, no. Just no.
And finally, I would like to inform you all that these special artists work nail to bone on these films and trust me, it's a hell of a lot better than the computerized CGI piece of shit we get these days.
P.S. I am proud to say my birthday was on FRIDAY THE 13TH!