If he's enjoyed being the centerpiece of this blog, then today is Jason's unlucky day, because we're going to wrap this one up with this final post about the long running movie series.
For four years, Jason lay in his unmarked cinematic grave, moldering. While this was happening, I started to think about writing a Friday the 13th movie, as I thought I had a fairly good idea for what would have been the ninth in the series. And since this is my blog and about my experiences with Friday the 13th - here's my pitch:
Friday the 13th Part IX: Jason Goes to College
And if you really don't care about this and want to get back to the real movies - scroll for a while until you see the next movie poster. I'll meet you there. Otherwise, here we go...
Okay, at the end of Part 8, Jason - chasing a couple of die hards in the sewers of New York City - has been washed away by those well-known pre-scheduled toxic waste flushes that the city has every night. So, my movie picks up a short time later. After a precredits montage of moments from the series culminating in that silly sewer demise - which I refused to ignore - picking up the gauntlet like the writers of the later Universal Studios Monster movies would - I don't care how crazy the previous movie's demise, I will find a way to pick up the story right there and move forward.
|Time for some generic pix to disguise my wordy movie pitch!|
|Fake rural college aerial shot|
Back at the university, the professor forces the class to stay around for the weekend through some kind of deception. While they are off grumbling, he starts a preliminary examination of the body. He notices that the body is already in better shape than it was out in the woods, and that there is some kind of regeneration going on. By the way, this plot point that I came up with - someone in science discovering Jason's regenerative abilities and studying them - predates a similar plot in Jason X by about a decade. Nice, right?
Well, of course, shortly after Jason gets up and takes off across the college campus. He breaks into the sports facility for a brand new hockey mask and a couple of other items, and spends the rest of the movie getting back to business as usual; namely killing off the cast one by one with a variety of implements. I feel now as I did then - a Ft13 movie lives and dies by its death scenes - I put the rest of my effort into coming up with several setpiece deaths using college implements. This is as far as I ever got with this whole script idea, by the way, so we're almost done with this side trip and we'll be back to the real movies shortly.
In any case, here are the death scenes I had in mind - with the last few movies showing Jason's increased strength and abilities since his demise - my stuff ran with that:
|Look! A computer, circa 1990!|
A student researching Jason on a computer - yes, I even invented the internet in my movie script from decades ago, just like I invented Photoshop in my script Roommates I wrote in 1986. But I digress. Anyhoo, the student finds articles that show Jason's history, including his supposed presence in the sewers of New York, revealing him to be the body they found out in the woods. As the student is about to go tell his classmates, Jason is suddenly standing behind his chair and shoves his face into the computer screen, wiping out the student and the information on the screen in a shower of sparks and some good zappy electricity sound effects.
In a shadowy student center billiards room - a security guard finds a figure standing beside a pool table. The light, coming from a fixture over the table, cuts sharply across the figure, lighting up everything from mid-chest down, but keeping the head and shoulders in pitch blackness. The guard challenges Jason. Jason suddenly reveals a pool cue in his hands, He bends quickly and reveals his hockey masked face in the cutting light as he draws back and slams the cue into the white cue ball, which shoots across the table, hitting the bumper and popping up, slamming deep into the forehead of the guard, who falls dead across the pool table. Jason tosses the cue stick down beside him and wanders off.
A female jock practices pole vaulting. As she goes up we see from her moving point of view Jason suddenly standing beside the landing mat. She can do nothing as she flips up and over the bar - and sees Jason yanking the mat away. The student can't get turned around and lands in a pile of bloody limbs with a wet snap sound.
|"No! Not the mat! AIIIEEE!!!!"|
And finally, my piece de resistance - there was a maintenance and utility vehicle in use on my college campus, a kind of beefed up golf cart called a Cushman.
|Cushman of the 1980's|
Well, another security guard, now alerted to the presence of an intruder on the campus, is patrolling in a Cushman and sees Jason standing and looking up at a dorm from down the street. He guns the tiny engine and slams into Voorhees. An unfazed Jason turns, picks up the Cushman and shakes the vehicle until the guard falls out onto the ground. Jason then slams the Cushman down onto him several times, beating him to death with the vehicle. This was my showstopper.
That was as far as I got, unfortunately. A short time later the Ghoulies stole my thunder a bit with their third flick Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College. I never ended up writing the whole script. I still think it was a pretty good idea, and it would have made a better movie than some that were still to come, quite frankly. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Back in the real world, and behind the scenes, Paramount wrangled around with New Line Cinema, finally selling the character of Jason Voorhees to the Studio that Freddy Built. This allowed development to finally really begin on a movie pitting Jason against Freddy Krueger.
But before they could even really get up a head of steam, someone decided they needed to get some singular Jason and Freddy action out to theaters to bring the horror icons back to the forefront of what they believed to be notoriously short memoried movie audiences. So, Friday creator Sean Cunningham was contacted to get something going with Jason (but not a new Friday the 13th movie, as the franchise title remained Paramount's, even though they weren't planning to use it for anything new.) At the same time New Line honcho Robert Shaye was wheedling A Nightmare on Elm Street creator Wes Craven into writing and directing a new movie for Freddy as well.
This plan put the actual "vs" movie on the back burner while these other two movies were sheperded through production. As it turned out, it would be simmering on that back burner for almost ten years.
The story of how the series got back into production has been well told - particularly in the books Crystal Lake Memories by Peter Bracken and in Making Friday the 13th by David Grove.
It felt good after so many years to sit down to a Jason movie. The opening was a very funny over-the-top setpiece, with the FBI (!) - out to bring down America's Most Notorious Serial Killer - coming after a now particularly squishy looking Jason with choppers and rocket launchers.
Then they hit him with the rocket launchers. And as various and sundry Jason bits rain down on the forest, the movie promptly derailed. Having been given free rein by a not-particularly-caring-about-the-series-right-then Sean Cunningham, writer/director Adam Marcus for some reason decides at this late date in the series to mythologize ol' Jason - and ends up with a mess more convoluted than that Thorn in Michael Myers's side.
|"I hate Thorn."|
Who was that guy?
Okay, as quickly as I can - during Jason's autopsy, the coroner (my old buddy Richard Gant) is suddenly compelled to eat Jason's foul, black, stinking heart. (?) This somehow transfers all of Jason's murderous Voorhees-ocity to the coroner, (??) who now becomes an unstoppable killing machine. (???) And most of the time, this is done in the new body, which is not bald, facially messed up, or sporting sports equipment on its head. When the body is used up - due to damage from authorities, or melting from within from trying to carrying Jason's fabulous essence inside a mere human shell - then it's only a matter of puking into a new body's mouth to transfer there and continue the quest.
Oh, did I forget to mention the quest? Yeah, it seems that despite a family tree that has always measured exactly two - Pamela and Jason, mother and son - suddenly there are Voorhees relatives falling out of the woodwork - and that is convenient for the new Jason as he has some masterplan (!) to get reborn through one of his female relatives. (?)
If you think that all sounds like a particularly terrible and cheesy mishmash of Friday the 13th, the later Freddy sequels, and The Hidden...you're exactly right. It plays out about that well too. I probably have a copy of the Encore review I wrote stashed away out in the shed - but it wouldn't be worth it - for me, that is, to go get it - you would have just kept reading - suffice to say I savaged it pretty good - I don't mind every attempt to veer a series off in a weird new direction - as will be seen shortly...(foreshadowing again...) but this thing just did not work in the context of being the next movie in the Friday the 13th series (no matter what they were calling them at this point.)
|Kane Hodder, back for a three-peat. See how deep the mask straps have sunk in|
to his ever-more-squishy head? Ewwww....
Hodder does another fine job, albeit with extremely limited screen time this outing. So limited, in fact that he is not seen unmasked in this movie - but he was going to be, as this test makeup pic shows -
Apparently the filmmakers were moving forward with the idea that the toxic waste kind of melted the hockey mask to him, and some of his face has just plain slid off. What would have been put on what appears to be the remaining open bits of Kane Hodder's face I'm not sure.
|Yes, but it does not come with a toy comb, obviously.|
I revisit this one even less than Part 5 - I think I've seen it almost 3 times. However, there are a couple of moments - kind of injokes - that do spark this movie up a bit...
Firstly, an old book figures in the complex overplotting - and when it appears - horror fans will get a giggle at just what book it is...
|It's the Necronomicon from The Evil Dead movies. Nice!|
And right at the end of the movie, after the weird demony creatures have pulled Jason down to Hell - per the title - his hockey mask lies forlornly on the ground. Did I forget to mention that one of the host bodies inexplicably transformed back into Kane Hodder for the climax? Well, one of the host bodies inexplicably transformed back into Kane Hodder for the climax. So Jason - Hell - hockey mask - ground. Then this happens:
Wow - with no knowledge of New Line's plans to put the terror titans together - that moment at the end of the film was a complete shock to me - and I have to admit I liked that moment - but still didn't like The Final Friday.
I don't think many other people did either - though the movie has its defenders now - and the box office returns for this did not prompt New Line to get another in the pipeline right away.
In fact, while New Line Cinema went to work feverishly on bringing Jason vs Freddy to the screen, the movie proved to be a tough nut to crack and the project slipped into development hell. Again, this post is already long, and there are other sources - such as those aforementioned books - that will tell you the whole story on those years in great and informative detail.
For us, seven years went by. Then a new Jason movie was announced for release Halloween 2000. That didn't happen. A new release date in 2001 became several release dates in 2001, and they were all missed.
Finally, on April 26th, 2002 - just in time for my birthday! Thanks guys! -
I saw this one at the Carmike 8 theater in High Point, NC. It was wild to be sitting down to a Jason movie more than 20 years after the first - in a new century, in fact.
|Carmike 8 Theater|
High Point NC
For the tenth movie they cleverly go with the title Jason X - with X of course the Roman numeral for ten. Ft13 creator and now producer again Sean Cunningham, a little more interested in the series, decides if New Line can't bring Jason and Freddy together, then he's going to farm out a new solitary Jason flick to another young filmmaker. This time director James Isaacs is handed the reins; however, Cunningham doesn't want to impede the incredibly long battle to get the other movie made, so he tells Isaacs they must do something with the tenth film that will not in any way shape or form interfere with any possible Jason and Freddy story.
The movie is set in the year 2455 (!), as a cryogenically frozen Jason and his final victim - the scientist who froze him and got frozen herself - are found by a team of space archaeologists searching the ruins of the Earth. How the cryogenic freeze occured is covered in the movie's opening minutes - but I'm trying to cut the word count on this post. So: the scientist finds herself awakened in her future on a spaceship heading away from Earth and back to their far-flung colony world. Jason's final attack should have killed her, but thanks to special medical nanites she's even been healed. The space archaeologists are intrigued by this woman out of time...and also that other flash frozen figure they found. The scientist immediately starts warning them about the dangers of keeping even a flash frozen Jason around - no one listens - there is a thawing out - and soon the spaceship finds itself more a slaughtership as Mr. Voorhees finds all new ways to mash people into hamburger. Ain't technology grand?
As incredibly silly as this was, I had a good time with it. This is the kind of thinking-out-of-the-box plot development I can enjoy: don't add mythology; don't change the character; just move them to a crazy new location - and time, in this case - and get back to business as usual.
Oh, and did I say don't change the character? Well, actually, they do here - but this was again a really goofy and fun change. After a long knock-down-drag-out with a battle-modified android, Jason is left in the sorriest shape of the series - well-nigh dead - and might finally have suffered more damage than he can bounce back from. Too bad this fight left him lying on that medical table, where those previously mentioned medical nanites go to work on him - eventually replacing his damaged parts with metal, since this body can handle it...and yes, moments later the survivors of the crew find themselves facing...
Kane Hodder comes back again, scoring his fourth and final appearance as Jason, and he's still a great hockey masked goon, let me tell you!
You betcha, one for each incarnation in the flick!
And here's a crappy smartphone picture of one of the strangest bits of movie memorabilia I own:
I have been through this movie a few times, and it grows on me a little more with each subsequent viewing. So, I was ready for more Jason movies - and would have been fine had they been Uber Jason flicks.
But that's not what New Line gave me.
It was once again only a little over a year later - and they finally got all those script problems ironed out - so on August 15, 2003...it finally showed up at the theater:
Now, I am a complete sucker for anything the crosses over different shows or books or characters - even if I'm not an aficionado of both sides of the crossover. So, here are some things I greatly enjoyed:
So to finally have a movie that brings together two of the horror titans of the 80's - from series I had not missed a frame of - and lets them duke it out - oh yeah. I was so there.
This was my third time seeing two consecutive movies in this series in the same theater - 1 and 2, 7 and 8, and 10 and 11 - so I was again attending the Carmike 8 theater in High Point, NC for this show. It's a small pic, so here it is again:
I had a bang-up time with this flick - which did almost everything right in bringing these characters together: there's a plausible reason for Freddy to drag Jason over to his side of things; and a plausible reason for Freddy's plan to go awry and for the two monsters to get a hankering to do harm to each other.
They then cleverly let the battle take place in two rounds - with the first in Freddy's dream world, where he is the champ, and the second in the real world at Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason rules the roost. The writers do fear the audience will not be able to follow their admittedly slightly complicated plotline, so they do have the characters hash out the plot verbally three times in full, which is two too many; but that is a quibble in a movie that finally settles one of the eternal questions kids on playgrounds have been asking for decades - who would win in a fight: (insert fictional character name) or (insert other fictional character name)? It even settles the matter with a victor - although some will tell you it leaves the finale up in the air. But remakes/reboots aside, only one of these two movie maniacs has a sequel whose storyline takes place after the events in this one, even though the movie was made before this one. Pretty clever, right?
For this outing, and apparently for a variety of reasons ranging from height and weight to his alleged propensity to argue with directors, 6'2'' Kane Hodder finished his hockey mask run in Jason X. 6'5'' Ken Kirzinger takes over here, and he is a massive and very effective Jason Voorhees.
If you want the Big Guy by himself - albeit with "exclusive Freddy head" in hand - you can get that too.
This flick did boffo box office, but the only sequel anyone wanted to make would have brought in a third antagonist - suggestions included Michael Myers and Leatherface; and they actually made some headway towards Hellraiser's Pinhead - there were rumors of the original ending of this movie featuring Freddy and Jason's battle carrying them down to Hell, where they would be separated from their scuffle by chains, whereupon Pinhead would have appeared and said "Boys, boys...what seems to be the trouble?" and there was also a serious effort made towards putting the boys up against Ash (Bruce Campbell's character from The Evil Dead movies) but in the end nothing came of it. Well, nothing cinematic, anyway:
|Here are the three variant covers for one of the comic book miniseries that went where Hollywood couldn't. |
This is the more stylized "cartoony" version.
|Here's the same deal - three covers put together - but done in a more "realistic" style.|
And in case you wonder what a comic like this would be like - here's a four page preview courtesy the fine folks over at IGN.com:
One note here - until recently, I always vocalized Harry Manfredini's cool Friday the 13th theme much like the title page up there - as "Ch-Ch-Ch-Ha-Ha-Ha!" It was only after hearing Mr. Manfredini on one DVD special feature or another indicate that the theme is supposed to be Ki-Ki-Ki-Ma-Ma-Ma because it's supposed to be a stylized sound approximating Kill-Kill-Kill-Ma-Ma-Ma which is what he supposed Pamela Voorhees was hearing in her looney looney head that I finally gave in, and in deference started putting it up his way in this blog post. In case you cared.
But I digress.
With both movie series having now been rebooted, there's zero chance of going back to pick up this movie sequel thread now.
Did I say reboot?
Well, that's exactly what happened, though it took another several year gap before it finally came about.
But they got it back to the right date - Friday, February 13th, 2009:
I waffled about seeing this one in the theater - at first I said "I haven't missed a single one of these things in the theater in 29 years!" But I kept waffling, and when I heard there was almost no ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma music in the movie - I skipped it. It's the little details like that which can make or break it for me. So let's amend that poster up there to this:
So I finally saw this in my living room several months after it was released to home video. But I did buy it as a used Blu-Ray from a closing video store - so I do own it and did see it in a pretty good presentation.
|I do love this teaser photo. That is some creepy stuff right there.|
I didn't hate the movie. It's not exactly my Friday the 13th, but then they didn't make it for me. It has some very cool moments, but overall was just okay. They pulled storylines and elements from the first four Ft13 movies though, so at times this plays a bit like an extended trailer for a new series of films.
Derek Mears becomes the eleventh Jason Voorhees in this flick - and that's counting stunt guys and fake Jasons too - he's not the biggest Jason - but he's not small by any means - and he gets to be a wee bit craftier, a fair amount meaner, and a whole lot faster than the last few JVs. Points off, though, for no long loving closeups at what was lurking under this hockey mask.
But that doesn't mean we won't take a look - so they did a full makeup on him - but in the end the film really never shows it for some reason.
|Indeed, our current reigning Jason is well represented in plastic.|
And that turned out to be that. The movie made money, but once again, for some reason no one rushed a sequel into the pipeline, so the reboot ended up giving the series the boot. For now, anyway.
The original series lives on, released on DVD four times - bare bones editions (thanks, Paramount!); a box set of the first 8 with some special features; ultimate editions of the first 8 with more and different special features, and just recently a new set that collects those ultimate editions into one box with prop hockey mask. Thankfully I only went for the middle two. And there is still a clear dividing line between the first 8 movies as made by Paramount, and the last four as made by New Line Cinema. I'm not sure if one or the other will ever sell theirs to the other company for one big massive megaset - but it'll probably happen one day and I'll probably end up getting that one too.
|The newest edition. If you haven't purchased any of the movies and want to - these are nice editions and|
you can get the whole shmear for around $40.
These days, the actors from all of the movies run hither and yon across the country and around the world making convention appearances - taking pictures with and signing autographs for the fans. Here are a few pics of some of that - and here's where I'll make sure to feature every Jason sans costume at least once:
|Dana Kimmell, Richard Brooker, Larry Zerner, and Paul Kratka |
from Friday the 13th Part 3 have a reunion.
|A meeting of some Jasons: CJ Graham (Part 6), Kane Hodder (Parts 7-10) and Warrington Gillette (Part 2)|
|One lucky fan gets to be flanked by Friday beauties Amy Steel (Ginny - Part 2) and Adrienne King (Alice - the original)!|
|More Jason-y goodness: Ted White (Part 4), Dick Wieand ("fake" Jason Part 5), Tom Morga ("real" Jason Part 5),|
Warrington Gillette (Part 2), CJ Graham (Part 6) and Derek Mears (2009 remake).
|Amy Steel, Lar Park Lincoln, Adrienne King, and Ari Lehman|
represent series chapters 2, 7, and 1 for another lucky fan.
|Steve Daskawicz - masked Jason from Part 2 holding something he never got to "sport"|
|Ken Kirzinger maintains a solid hold on his friendships with Friday the 13th|
creator Sean Cunningham and Freddy vs Jason director Ronny Yu.
|I can name every person in this picture. After this mega three part post, |
maybe you can too!
I love this movie series - even at its worst. I hope you've enjoyed taking a look back at it with me for the last three days - we're in the Halloween Homestretch now! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!