Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Horrors 2011 #10 and #11 Friday The 13th Series

Ah yes, the Friday the 13th series. It is like the bagel at breakfast time. I've had 'em a bunch of times and enjoyed the flavors and when I need something to fill my horror needs, this series is always a splattery treat.  I could not resist the incredibly cheap collection of DVDs that was just released (with a nifty little Jason mask to boot)-and I'm tired of waiting for Blu Ray.  I'm glad I made the jump, because each of these films offers not just a fun watch, but a step back into when the series was new and I would sneak in (or just buy a ticket since it ran long enough for me to be of age) to see them.

Halloween Horrors #10 -- Friday The 13th Part 2
What is instantly recognizable about the 1st sequel is that it stays tight with the formula of the first film, but the "legend of Jason" makes it feel very different.  Especially since we see the original Final Girl dispatched in the opening sequence by Jason, who packs up mom's head to drive the point (of a screwdriver) into the skull of the sole survivor of the original film.  Jumping ahead 5 years (seriously, Jason X seems about right if you time line these out) another merry band of camp counselors hook up, party and die in gruesome fashion. There is something to be said for staying to formula here, because just as with the first film, the counselors and red herrings are all fun to watch, especially the antics of the girl that wants to hook up with the wheel chair bound arm wrestler. 
Jason is also fun, and interesting in retrospect.  With his bag head and lumbering gait, he is a lot less Ghost Monster and more Ed Lee backwoods marauder.  He stumbles around a lot more, but his sense of "I'm gonna scare the shit out of you before I kill you" is already in place.  I love the scene with him getting kicked in the groin near the end of the film as the truly excellent Amy Steel sprints through her Final Girl paces.
So, is this just a clone of the original?  Well, with the same basic plot being converted from a murder mystery to a monster movie, I find it satisfying as a unique film not just compared to the original, but in the overall series.  Jason is unique, his legend is clearly outlined and he feels much more limited-as if the survivors ALMOST have a chance against him.  Later on, we know that they don't...
Also, I have to thank the costume designer of this film. The women all wear these tiny little outfits and while it isn't my particular taste, the guys do as well.  The only film that has tighter pants on the guys is Sleepaway Camp-where I swear they were trying to be funny with the itty bitty man package poppers.  Extra points for my young self popping out to remember that skinny dipping sequence. It holds up and stays up.

My 2011 viewing of F13 pt. 2 was a lot of fun, with so much being made (by me, to myself) of getting these on Blu Ray I think I glossed over just how cut up this installment in the series is.  There is not a lot of gore, and the set ups tend to not pay out the way they would later on.  Too bad, but it still stands tall in the running, name yelling and machete to the face down the stairs backwards in a wheelchair sweepstakes! 

Halloween Horrors #11  Friday the 13th Part 3 3-D

Well, nothing beats sitting in my home with a pair of 3-D glasses on and watching Jason shoot implements out of my TV at me!  This entry is a favorite even when shown without the glasses for mostly nostalgic reasons. Jason gets his hockey mask, the BARN OF DEATH is featured and you have one of the goofiest "gangs" I've ever seen. They make Ripper and crew from Demons look like The Warriors! 
Jason is back, and before we even get to the smallish group of counselors he is running amok and making his presence known.  As I mentioned about part 2, Jason likes to play with his victims, and the 3-D use really plays this angle up as we run through hanging sheets and layered Whack A Victim scenarios as Jason lurks about in the backgrounds of shots before delivering his special brand of slasher mayhem.
Then it goes to formula for a bit as our counselors / carnage fodder are introduced 
Shelly is one of my favorite SlashNerds of all time, he is the doofy guy that is here to make his pals look good, even though they are really generic compared to earlier films in the series.  Instead of having a big band of campers to crush, this entry adds in a gang that isn't going to take Jason's shit lying down.  If they are ineffective and funny as "toughs" it is another fun element that makes the movie breeze along. 
But are we here for characters?  Nope! This is a 3-D fun ride and it lives up to the idea with style!
I love this film, and if you do as well then I suggest a revisit.  In the age of bigger (and wider) televisions for many of us, it was great to sit down with the red/greens and marvel at the depth while wondering exactly what color pants anyone was really wearing while filming.  My favorite bit is the speargun shot, and this time I couldn't stop chuckling at watching Jason line up where the speargun would be in a few separate shots so that the wire and the gun would be aligned correctly in the center of the screen!  Watch it again and you'll see what I mean. 
The DVD also contains a flat version, which I watched through to check out the clothing as well as some of the highlights.  The image is clean, but the 3-D doesn't always work for me--it was fun to watch Jason's first appearance as the hockey mask ghoul in 2-D and I recommend it.  I was really surprised to see that one of the girls was wearing red pants when I assumed that she couldn't possibly be doing that in the 3-D print. 

Viva Jason!!  Halloween wouldn't be the same without him / it!

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