Thursday, December 5, 2013

Movie Review: Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter

This was the movie that made Jason a star, a true slasher icon of the 80's and I love every second of it! Likeable characters, disturbing kills, a badass heroine. All those in one would make one kickass movie. I know I said this movie was cheesy in my last review but what 80's movie wasn't? even the good ones had their moments.
This was also the start of the Tommy Jarvis chronicles which starts out his humble beginnings  as an artistic 11 year old to an accomplished survivalist and foil to Jason Voorhees.
So here's the story: The Jarvis family has just moved into their idyllic vacation home.

After going through a tough divorce, Mrs. Jarvis thinks this will be a good stress reliever for her kids, Trish and Tommy. Along the way, a group of teenagers are vacationing next door for little R+R. Little do they know that someone used to live around these parts and he's not too keen on strangers. His name is Jason Voorhees, who is set out to clean house on those who invaded his territory.

The cast is a likeable, charismatic bunch that bring realism to their characters. Everyone seems molded into their own personality and did I mention the cast is more hotter this time around? Okay, let's round up then.

In this corner, you have Paul, the tall handsome jock with a heart of gold. Just look at those bedroom eyes. Just look at them.

and in this corner, you have the sensitive blond Jim, a shy cute nerd with a quirky sense of humor.

And then you have Doug, a gorgeous hunk with soft blue eyes. He's so good he's the type of guy you want to take home to mom. No wonder Sarah had to get in the shower with him.

Then in this corner, you have cool, smooth Ted, a wise-cracking stud with a really nice ass:

And last but least, we have the hunkiest of them all, our false hero(yes, I said false and we'll talk about that later). A strong woodsman who is on the prowl. Woof! Even our main girl Trish couldn't keep her eyes off him!

Now that we got that out of my system. Let's get to our real main characters, Tommy and Trish. But first let's take insight on the red herrings.

First, you have Sarah, who seems like the potential candidate for the final girl role. She is doe-eyed, wears pink sweaters and pastels, bookish, shy, and sweet. but in the heat of the moment, she falls for the very handsome Doug and her desires take over for a love session in the shower.

Well, you know what happens...

Then you have Rob, the strong woodsman who is out to avenge his sister's death(Sandra from Part 2) and has the high potential of being our main hero. But just like the character of Rick in Part 3, he goes out pretty easily.

So finally we get to Trish, who is seen as a substitute parent for Tommy since their parents divorced. But what so cool and interesting about this character is how much she puts up a fight and boy does she. Just see for yourself:

She literally crashed through a window, gets up and proceeds to fight Jason with the machete.

If that's not badass I don't know what is.

But through it all, the true hero of the story is Tommy. It is basically a coming of age story for him as he realizes his true talent, discovering girls, and ultimately facing his fears and overcoming them. He suddenly becomes a man by saving his sister from the monster.

Though by the end, he will become a broken young man with an emotional baggage.

The special effects are truly amazing. And finally they brought in Tom Savini for his artistic license. The aesthetic he puts into these effects are just simply brutal and hard-edged than the first one. The kills are disturbingly real and cringe-worthy and it really freaked me out when I was a kid.

Now, Jason in this movie is full on vicious. He is much more stronger and tougher than he was in the previous films. And furthermore, much more scarier. Thanks to Ted White for putting such a strong force and malice to the Jason character. He claimed he only did it for the money(Oh yes, Ted White, play the money card like Betsy Palmer did) and he's not really a big fan of the Friday films. I understand that it isn't a film for everyone and he was just a humble guy doing his job. And he did it pretty well I might add.
according to the cast + crew, the happenings on the set was a real life horror movie of it's own. Over and over the actors had to re-do scenes, not to mention shooting outdoors in the dead of fall and winter. It was so excruciating that Judie Aronson(Sam) was almost in tears because she had to stand inside the water under the almost 20 degree weather. Ted White got so pissed to the point where he threaten to quit because of this. Once I hear what goes on behind the scenes from this film, it makes me feel kind of bad that this was what the actors had to go through for the sake of entertaining the audience. But in a horror movie, you always don't know what you're getting yourself into.
There was alternate ending involving Trish finding her dead mother in the bathtub. Finally the missing reel can be found on the 2009/2010 DVD box set, since most of these missing alternate endings wound up disappearing. Here's the Clip:

This was a great time. This is possibly one of the best slasher sequels of the early 80's. It was so successful in fact, that it even beat out A Nightmare On Elm Street the same year. Even back then Freddy and Jason was duking it out.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter has the special ingredients of a slasher: Likeable Characters, A scary villain, and gruesome kills. It is an instant fan favorite and one of the memorable Friday films.
Last word: Watch it, you'll have a great time.
P.S. Here's Crispin Glover's goofy dance. It's a hoot:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Movie Review: Friday The 13th Part 3

Now the moment you've been waiting for....Jason finally puts on his iconic hockey mask. This was a more of a fun addition to the series, that dosen't have to take itself too seriously. Some say this was the more dumber of the series but I generally liked this one. It has funny and likeable characters, good special effects and quite a few suspenseful moments. Jason is much more gusto in this one, showing his superhuman strength to many levels (I guess it's the power of the hockey mask). This is the movie that made Jason popular, though I think he still has a long way to go.
So here's the story: After the events of part 2, Chris Higgins and her group of friends go to her family lodge, just a corner near by Crystal Lake. She goes to face a dark past and rekindle her first love, but little do Chris and her friends know that something menacing is lurking. and that something is a product of Chris's haunted past....
The cast is quite the quirky bunch in this one.

We have the innocent, resourceful heroine Chirs

Her muscular love interest Rick

A sexy, young couple(whom are expecting) which consists of loveable jock Andy and nice cheerleader Debbie

Spicy Latina Vera

Insecure goofball Shelly

And The Stoner Couple, who looks too old for their age, while spending the rest of the movie getting high off their asses.
I liked how the actors blended into their roles, especially Larry Zerner as Shelly, who actually had character development than your usual prankster in a horror film. And the actors seemed to have fun in their roles, almost like they're playing themselves. But I guess the most challening parts to play were the biker gang, who didn't seem that all convincing really. Then there's false hero Rick, who seems like a tall, big strong guy who could take on Jason, right? unfortanately no. Jason gets him pretty easily, which will result in one of the coolest deaths in the movie. Now, let's talk about Chris. She is one of the first few heronies to have a history with Jason and it's a implication that she may have come back to her summer vacation home to face her demons.

Chris also inhabits the classic final girls tropes: She has a girl-next-door charm, She is resourceful, and she also has a sense of paranoia that something's not right. It was actually Dana Kimmel's suggestion to make the character should be in the purer side of things. And it works. It makes us feel scared for the character, since Jason is veering towards being indesctructible.

And yes, let's get to Jason. He is much more stronger and broader than the klutz he was in the second film. And he seems to be much more intense with his kills:

The highlight of this is the scene where Jason crushes one of his victim's head until his eye pops out into the camera:

This movie is also memorable for having Jason don his hockey mask for the first time:

It is Pure Awesome!
It really brings out Jason's character and it has been a staple of many slasher films that ripped it off from time and time again.
From what I remember, this was actually one of the more conterversial of the Friday films. There is a scene where one of the character mentions that she is at least three months pregnant. So technically, Jason just killed a soon-to-be teen mom and a soon-to-be teen dad. Just to be honest, I wouldn't be so non-chalant about being pregnant in college. Then there is the implication that Jason might of raped Chris but it's never disclosed during her monolouge. The mystery of the whole thing just makes it more disturbing and makes Jason more like this wild animal/caveman.
There was an alternate ending used at the last minute but due to creative differences it was cut out for a re-shoot. Here's a little snapshot:

A Rumor was speculated that Dana Kimmel called foul on the ending because she felt her character shouldn't deserve the treatment she recieved after what she'd been through. But in reality, it was all a dream. So her character would still be alive then, right? So instead, we have a retread of the first movie's ending but not with much impact:


Now to put some thought into this, I really thought the ending would be more scarier and definitely more original. It would actually have more impact than you're usual jump scare in an 80's slasher.
Again, I think this is quite an enjoybale addition to the Friday the 13th series. Although, it can be cheesy in some moments, it makes up for it by making Jason this ferocious madman, along with some pretty suspenseful sequences.
My Last Word: a definite favorite for all slasher fans.

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!