List-O-Mania: Friday the 13th Movies

Posted: July 12, 2012 in Lists, Movies
Tags: , , , , ,

One list to slay them, One list to flay them, One list to kill them all

Jason Voorhees is undoubtedly one of the top movie slashers of all time, sitting comfortably in a triumvirate of terror with his good friends Mike Myers and Frederick Krueger.  The films chronicling the wacky misadventures of the sometimes living, sometimes dead Voorhes, like those of his compatriots in carnage, are a mixed bag to be sure.  But if you like movies where stupid people are dispatched of in increasingly ridiculous and creative ways, well…there’s definitely some gold in them thar hills.

To wit, I present to you my favorite Friday the 13th movies.

5.  Jason Lives:  Friday the 13th Part VI

This was the second of the series that I saw in the theater.  I was 15 so I had to sneak in.  Wasn’t the first time (that was Beverly Hills Cop) and it wouldn’t be the last.  The film wisely chooses to ignore the events of the fifth movie, the conclusion of which sees Tommy Jarvis poised to inherit the mantle of the man he killed in the fourth movie.  Here, Tommy had decided that a dead Jason is simply not enough.  Never mind the fact that the guys been dead like 10 years.  Tommy decides the best time to dig up and burn the body is during a thunderstorm.  Said thunder brings the lightning that strikes the metal rod Tommy has angrily jammed into dead Jason’s cadaverous chest.  Tommy’s misfortune is our gain as said lightning revives Jason, setting him upon an undead murderous rampage that lasts another 5 movies.

4. Friday the 13th (2009)

The reboot/remake that attempted to restart the franchise back in 2009 is a divisive film for Jason faithfuls.  I rather like it if I’m being honest.  It’s got everything you could possibly want in a slasher pic about a dude with a hockey mask.  Creative, bloody kills.  Boobs.  A likable hero and two possible survivor chicks.  It even deftly references the very first film in the franchise.  The movie made a fair enough amount of money and was certainly the best, or at least enjoyable, of the Platinum Dunes ‘remakes’ that come out from time to time.  It was primed for a sequel and there was a lot of talk of it being in development.  But here we are three years later and there hasn’t been a peep about it in a long time.  The only comfort, and it’s a cold one, is that Jason like all good slashers won’t stay dead.  He’ll be back.

3.  Jason X

A three word tagline is all you need to know about this movie:  Jason…..in…..SPAAAAAAAACEEEE!  The film opens with Jason in the present at his old stomping grounds. mysteriously returned from his unfortunate and misguided trip to Hell.  He is quickly taken down by paramilitary forces and put into suspended animation only to be revived on a spaceship in the far future.  With cybernetic parts.  Yeah.  It’s patently ridiculous but adeptly pulled off.  There’s a likable crew of soon to be dead victims serving on the deep space vehicle and there is a brilliant holodeck type sequence that harkens back to the good old days of Camp Crystal Lake.  Great fun is to be had here if one just merely allows it.

2.  Friday the 13th Part VIII:  Jason Takes Manhattan

 I’ll admit that I wasn’t particularly fond of it at the time.  But its place and worth in the series’ history has only grown in the decades since I first saw it.  Jason’s chilling and chained at the bottom of Crystal Lake after being dragged underwater by the spectral father of some psychic chick.  Don’t ask.  That’s Part VII:  The New Blood.  And it’s a mess.  Anyway, there he is just waiting for some party boat filled with late 80’s tragedies to come sailing by pulling up an exposed underwater power line that will spark him back to murderous consciousness.  Good thing that exact thing happens.  Said boat is headed for Manhattan.  There’s a great boxing match and at the end Jason reverts to his childhood form before dissolving in a pool of New York sludge.  It’s the perfect analogy for the American dream.

1.  Friday the 13th:  The Final Chapter

It may be the most inappropriately named movie in the history of cinema, but the perfect storm of Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman help elevate the fourth film in the series to the top of the heap.  Set just a few days after the carnage of the 3D offering, another group of incredibly intelligent young adults throw caution to the wind and rent a cabin on Crystal Lake situated about 20 feet from the fresh, fly ridden corpses Jason recently left behind.  Their cabin is located next to that of the Jarvis family, a mother with her teenage daughter and younger son who evidently don’t get out much or read the newspaper in those days where the internet was just a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.  Feldman plays the boy who is obsessed with horror films.  He’s wicked handy with a machete and a knife as Jason soon discovers after laying waste to all those other poor unfortunate souls.  This would have served as a fine ending to the series.  But I’m glad it didn’t.

Enjoy your Friday the 13ths, dear readers, whenever they might occur.  They, like blonde haired flat-chested murder camp counselors, are few and far between.

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