In other words, it’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiiiime of the yeeeeeaaaaaar.
The Friday the 13th movies were never anything less than despised by film critics. They routinely featured piss-poor acting, terrible dialogue, nonexistent plots, a complete lack of character development, and a staunch, some might even say intransigent, policy of making sure their villain remained incomprehensible.
So why are their 12 of them? As the legend Joe Bob Briggs would say, it’s because of the 3 B’s – blood, breasts, and beasts. The “beast” in this case was Jason Voorhees, the poor retarded boy who drowned in Crystal Lake, only to emerge as a deformed mountain man who stalked the woods and slaughtered anyone he possibly could.
Friday the 13th found a successful formula, and worked it like a boss for 30 years. Not a bad run for something with so little depth.
I poke fun at the Friday movies, but few people have as deep and abiding an affection for them as I do. I must have watched them dozens of times. I’m a bit of a purist – the first four films are the best, then it gets a little iffy before entering blasphemous territory with the last couple. (Seriously, Jason is possessed by a demonic alien body-hopping slug? Jason get infected with nanites and becomes a cyborg? Just get back to killing promiscuous teenagers, please and thank you.)
We all have our favorite moments from the Friday movies. But my list, I’m willing to bet cash money, is better than yours.
(For the sake of clarity, this is NOT a countdown. These are my favorite moments, in no particular order.)
1. Safety in numbers be damned! Jason drops out of a tree in front of some work-retreat paintballers and decapitates three of them with one swing of the machete! What incredible upper body strength you have, Jason! (Part 6)
2. “Give me a milk… chocolate!” Crispin Glover spent a little time in Crystal Lake before going back to the future, and it didn’t end well for him. Not only did he get a corkscrew through the hand and a meat cleaver to the kisser, then he gets nailed to a doorframe. (Part 4)
3. Freddy vs. Jason was a silly movie. But sitting through that ridiculous story was all worth it when you get to the pay-off. The final throw down between cinema’s two most notorious serial killers was a thing of beauty, an epic concerto of supernatural violence that left me completely satisfied. (Freddy vs. Jason)
4. One of the greatest visuals the series has produced, Jason shows that he is an equal-opportunity butcher when he gives a paraplegic a chop to the face and then rolls him and his wheelchair down some steps that are definitely not approved by the ADA. (Part 2)
5. Have you ever seen what Kevin Bacon looks like with a knife sticking out of his neck? He looks good. But then, he always looks good. (Part 1)
6. Jason has established himself over the years as the innovator of violence (no offense to Tommy Dreamer) and one of his most original ideas was Death by Sleeping Bag. When an unruly teen has the audacity to go to sleep in the woods, Jason zips her up in the bag and smashes it against the tree a bunch of times. (Part 7, then later re-used in Jason X and in the Friday the 13th remake)
7. Little Corey Feldman was such a cute kid. And he was never cuter then when he planted that machete in the side of Jason’s ugly mug. But what sets the scene off is the Tom Savini effects of Jason sliding down the length of the blade, his deformed face twitching. It’s totally disgusting. Fun fact – some years later Feldman used the same technique to murder Corey Haim. (Part 4)
8. In a post-coital glow, it used to be fairly common for men to walk around on their hands. But that all changed after the scene where Jason bisects a hand-walker from crotch to neck with a downward slice. Jason killed the trend just like he killed this idiot. (Part 3)
9. Head squeezin’ and eyeball-poppin’ IN 3D! Take that James Cameron. (Part 3)
10. First, Jason kills someone with a Winnebago (by smashing her face into the metal wall so hard it leaves a faceprint on the outside). Then he kills someone in the Winnebago. Still not content, Jason KILLS THE WINNEBAGO! The shot of him standing atop the wrecked vehicle is like a caveman standing over a fallen Mastodon. In a series not known for memorable cinematography, that one shot may be the high point of the series. (Part 6)
11. Jason does not approve of pre-marital canoodling, this much is apparent. But never has he made his point so forcefully as when he takes a spear a shish-ke-bobs two lovers engaged in the style of the missionary. The guy never saw it coming, so you could say he got off easy. But then again, guys usually do. Hey-yo! (Part 2)
12. You ever seen someone get their face dipped in liquid nitrogen and frozen solid, and then smashed against a sink? It’s actually pretty cool. It’s like an ice cube filled with brains! (Jason X)
13. And finally, a moment that always makes me chuckle and I don’t know why. When Alice, sole survivor of Part 1, is making some hot tea she finds the severed head of Pamela Voorhees in her fridge. She doesn’t even have time to freak out before Jason jams an ice pick into her temple. And then, for no reason fathomable based on anything that happens in the entire series, he takes the whistling kettle off the stove. (Part 2)
And there you have it. My 13 favorite Friday the 13th moments. Which of your favorites did I omit? Speargun to the groin? Toy horn to the eye? Crowbar to the belly through the outhouse wall? I want to hear your opinion.
(This blog had been brought to you by a grant from the American Council on Desensitization)