Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Blogtrospective Part 2!

Well, after releasing Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter on April 13th, 1984, Paramount really stuck to their guns and kept the series dormant. Dead and buried.

For exactly 344 days.

On March 22, 1985, the series sprang back to life:

I saw this one in Mt. Vernon Illinois again, but at a different theater about three blocks away: The Granada.
My movie pal Richard went with me. We were not enamored of this one, especially after the wonderfully goofy time we had seeing Part 4. This entry was more a mystery - who was doing the killing? A resurrected Jason? Tommy, the boy who killed Jason and had mental issues from it? Someone else? - well, the killer turns out to be an extremely minor character trying to use Jason's rep to pull off a lengthy mass murder spree that is as illogically acted out as it murkily motivated; this inspired Richard to term the movie "Scooby Doo - with eye gougings!" That remains one of the greatest cinematic summations I've ever heard!

The Granada Theater
Mt. Vernon Illinois

This one I revisit less often than the others. It seems that no matter how many times I see it, for every good thing I find, there are two bad that cannot be overlooked. One thing that really torked off Richard was director Danny Steinmann letting nearly every supporting actor chew the scenery no matter how much time they had onscreen. Sometimes over the top is fun; here it is all too often simply annoying.


Okay, thanks to the onscreen shenanigans involving ol' Hockey Mask, let's see if we can break this down.

This is stunt guy Tom Morga as the real Jason, who only appears in
Part 5 in one nightmare and a couple of hallucinations.

This is stunt guy Tom Morga as the fake Jason, who looks an awful lot like the
real thing except for a few small details...

And this is actor Dick Wieand the only time he appears in the Jason gear -
the death scene.


Not a real, officially licensed one, no - seems no company is interested in putting out a pseudo Jason figure - but that isn't going to stop the film's cadre of dedicated fans (all eleven of them!) from cobbling their own custom figures together!

For some reason, when this one was released on VHS, it got the WORST cover ever in the series.

What the hell is that?

And again, this was after the VHS cover for The Final Chapter took it to the stratosphere with a brand new image not used on the original movie poster:

Dude, that rocks. Even if the axe chop is on the
wrong side for some reason.


That would be correct, but maybe they felt bad
having the knife sticking in his bad eye or something.

It just seems A New Beginning is destined to live in The Final Chapter's shadow, forever and ever amen.

After this one, I wasn't really all that gung ho to see another if they were going to continue in this vein (pun intended).

Despite my possible lack of interest, Paramount didn't stop.

They did, however, take more than a year to get the next one to theaters - so it wasn't until August 1st, 1986 that the screen featured the familiar ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma again...

I knew this one was coming because of a blurb in Fangoria magazine; when it came out I was visiting my long distance girlfriend near Detroit Michigan. The Friday night I was there we went to see Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part 6 paired with Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It was at the Galaxy Drive-In in Madison Heights Michigan, and it must have been one of the last shows there as the online sites all indicate the Galaxy closed in 1986.

The Galaxy Drive-In
Madison Heights, Michigan

It turned out horror films were not this girlfriend's cup of tea - there was more cuddling in the backseat going on than movie watching...


I digress.

Having returned to Southern Illinois a few days later, I went to actually see the movie at the Stadium Theater in Mt. Vernon  - the second time I saw two different Fridays in the same theater - though in this case not back to back - and it wasn't the last time it happened either. You see what I did there? My English teacher used to call that 'foreshadowing.'

One of the many things I enjoyed about this movie was the music - in addition to the usual ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma stuff from the mind of Harry Manfredini, there was also a pretty terrific hard rock song - "He's Back: The Man Behind the Mask" by Alice Cooper. Good stuff, and we got some funny promo photos out of the deal too:

What the heck? Let's throw in the music video for the song:

Director Tom McLoughlin's an interesting guy. He was a professional mime; had been one of the performers inside the mutant bear costume for the movie Prophecy (1979); and had directed a horror flick called One Dark Night (that I still haven't seen) when he got the job helming the sixth Friday. His main stipulation - bringing some kind of sense of humor to the proceedings.

Excellent call, and just what the doctor ordered, especially after the turgid part 5. Part 6 is my other favorite of the series - 1, 4, 6. Not really a discernable pattern there, but those are my faves. So far.


Back from the grave and ready to party.

Wow, that's a cool shot. Wish there was a toy of this...

You don't get to see Jason unmasked clearly in this one. But the close shot
of the maggots around his eye when it opens in the grave tells you all that
you need to know...

For everything night time - Jason is C.J. Graham, a former Marine and bouncer.

However, for the film's one daytime Jason sequence - in which he slaughters some company executives in the woods for some paintball team building - a sequence shot in the first few days of production -

Dan Bradley was in the Jason gear. His overall JQ (Jason Quality) was apparently pretty low and the executives in charge of the film had him fired and replaced with Graham for the rest of the shoot. The Bradley footage that ended up in the film seems fine, but rumor has it that it took some champeen editing to whip him into scary shape.

Don't feel bad for ol' Dan though - he went on to work as a stuntman with me on some TV movie he doesn't even list on his resume - I can't remember which one it was - and my main memory of him is that he was more concerned with getting meal penalty money for a late lunch than he was with being on set and doing stunts. But that hasn't stopped him from becoming the go-to guy as stunt coordinator and second unit director using the shakycam stunt technique that prevents me from enjoying the Bourne movies and pretty much sunk Quantum of Solace for me. Actually, you know what, Dan? I'm glad you got fired as Jason, you jackwagon!

I digress.

And I kid. I'm a kidder.


Oh yes, and this one's got the choicest selection of weapons!
I love me some devil darts!

But this is the collectible I'd like to own - if it wasn't sold out at $200 a pop:

They warn you this can't go in an aquarium - it will kill fish (no, not Jason killing them, the paint or something)
Screw the fish! Who needs fish? I'd have an empty aquarium just to display this!

C.J. Graham is one hell of a great Jason, and director McLoughlin speaks very highly of him on the DVD extras. I really like Hodder for his longevity and affection for the role; but I think Graham's my favorite. Not only does he move well - but his Jason gets to do some danged cool stuff - that underwater shot up there - and this:

Yeah, Jason Lives all right - in my DVD player a lot - because this movie truly rocks.

Meanwhile, later, back at the ranch - having dispensed with the whole pretense of ever ending the series while the money was rolling in, Paramount bankrolled the next one but to throw us fans off the scent, they took 1987 off, and it wasn't until Friday, May 13th, 1988 that theater screens were once more graced by Mr. Voorhee's presence...

Apparently, this was the first time the newest picture had been pitched to be Jason meets Freddy - the killer from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies - but as they were owned by different studios - Jason by Paramount and Freddy by New Line Cinema, a deal could not be reached.

But the idea of Jason battling someone remained, and eventually someone must have said "Jason vs Carrie" in the script meetings, as the final film does indeed pit Mr. Voorhees against a telekinetic teen girl.

I saw this one at the University 8 theater in Carbondale, Illinois, where I was attending college at Southern Illinois University.

Formerly the University 8 theater
Carbondale, Illinois

Director John Carl Buechler grew up in my neck of the woods - southern Illinois - and may have gone to my college - Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - or possibly the other one - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. In any case, he brought a lot of verve to his role as director, and his special effects makeup company was handling the effects for Ft13P7TNB - but something had put the MPAA on the warpath again, and the very gory effects provided by Buechler and co. for this flick seemed to really tork them off - so they demanded cuts. Lots of cuts. In fact what was probably the goriest Ft13 movie in its initial cut ended up being one of the lightest on the red stuff.

And although I was already less of a gorehound in my movie watching, I did still want to see the crazy effects produced, so having to watch the movie in a gutted form was not nearly as much fun. It must also be stated that in those halcyon days before the internet and DVD special features I wasn't aware the movie was cut - I thought it had been produced as a fairly pale and bloodless affair. Combine the lack of gore with what I considered at the time a fairly silly premise - undead zombie slasher vs telekinetic teen - and this one didn't work well for me at all. So I chalked it up as a misfire and went on with my life.


Undeniaby well cast is Kane Hodder - who brings a really ferocious energy to the role of a particularly active member of the undead. No, he doesn't run, but he whips around with ferocious speed, and stalks at the fastest pace ol' Jason has ever managed. Good thing too, as Hodder begins here the series's longest run behind the hockey mask.

Kane Hodder is truly a Jason to behold, and when the mask splits off his head thanks to Tina's telekinetic tampering, wow - a face (?) from your nightmares, with more sadistic evil glee in the countenance than ever before. Credit director and makeup effects supervisor Buechler for coming up with the Jason face that actually scares me...and credit Hodder for acting the crap out of the makeup! Thank you gentlemen!


Still wearing the chain from his time under Crystal Lake, and now
sporting some wicked protruding bones - NICE.

Over time my appreciation of this entry has grown - just like it has with Part 2. I like it just fine now - having Jason battle someone - as opposed to just wandering around looking for someone to kill - was probably the best idea for a seventh entry in the series, and since he's a zombie it's not exactly taking the movie out of the realm of possiblility having that someone have psychic powers - also, I now know they tried to show me the bloody - it was just the mean ol' MPAA lording it over them for the Golden R rating.

Several months later - a teaser poster appeared in theaters across the country - and no matter what malaise I might have been feeling at the time about this movie series - this poster got my heart racing!

Sure enough, just like the poster indicated - Paramount rolled another entry out onto America's movies screens on July 28th, 1989...

I again went to the University 8 theater to see this one, with almost exactly the same group of friends again. I adored the teaser poster for this one, and then that got followed up with one of the best teaser trailers I've ever seen...

I was totally thinking the idea of Jason in New York City a particularly marvelous one, so imagine my disappointment when 80% of the movie takes place on a cruise ship travelling to New York City, and that Jason only finally stalks the Big Apple in the last twenty minutes.

Back in the day, I pictured writer/director Rob Hedden pitching the story to the producers as "Jason on a Cruise Ship" or "Jason in New York City;" and the producers being unable to decide and telling Hedden to go with both stories. I know now that the movie was conceived in Headen's hed...er, Hedden's head as having a lot more Manhattan in it for Jason to take, but that Paramount's money crunching kept pushing the amount of location shooting in New York down and down and down, and not even replacing it with more supplemental city shooting in Toronto to stand in for NY, NY. So, Hedden kept adding more and more to the boat stuff, and eventually Jason barely got to taste Manhattan, let alone actually take it.

I also saw one of those fabled "Movie Mistakes" people now take great joy in cataloguing...in fact I have a terrible picture of the scene that won't show it off as well as any viewing will. So, in the movie, Jason has slaughtered most of a boatload of teens before the boat got to New York City. For some reason, the ship made its way up some kind of river that we never knew was connected to Crystal Lake, then ventured out into the open sea on the way to the Big Apple. The last handful of survivors now realize some kind of hulking goon is wiping them out, so, with the city just a short distance away from the ship, they head for the lifeboats during a fierce rainstorm. While going down the ladder into the small boat, one guy looks back up to see Jason standing at the top of the ladder looking down at them. Well, in the theater I saw something in what should have been the night sky over Jason's head: it was a sprinkler, spinning on the studio roof and spraying the rain onto Kane Hodder standing on the mockup of the ship's deck.

This was still visible when the film was put onto VHS, so I took great delight in showing this to all my friends. I think it's also there on the DVD, though the opportunity to erase the sprinkler with CGI certainly exists.


Kane Hodder becomes the first Jason performer to encore with this one.


Once again, the toy manufacturers have decided there shall be no love for Part 8. And once again, the film's fans have taken it upon themselves to make their own. That's one of at least a dozen custom figures that have been available at one time or another. I think Part 8 gets a lot of play from these customizing artists because unlike part 5 and "Roy", this is the real Jason.

A couple of nice moments and a fun if typically on the nose bad guy role for Peter Mark Richman give this one a little pep here and there, but by the time we get to the ending in the sewers of New York City, with an unmasked Jason who looks like this:

the movie is more than wearing thin, and the series looks more tired than it ever has. When the next few minutes bring us a pre-scheduled nightly toxic waste flush through the NYC sewer system (!) that turns Jason into not only his child self (?) but a child self unafflicted by developmental disabilities...well, I had had all the Friday the 13th I cared for. Turned out, so had Paramount, as they put the series into hiatus mode after this movie's lackluster box office returns.

So no more Jason Voorhees. At least for that decade.

And for this post.

Don't worry, sweetie! I'm sure they'll all come back for the next post. Big strong boy!

Come back tomorrow, as we'll wrap this one up with four more movies - but only one Friday the 13th...

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Scooby-Doo!

    Still, I do like Violet's pre-getting-murdered dance...

  2. This is awesome! I loved Part 6 myself as I could not abide 5,7 or even NYC. I mean how he got to NYC was really dumb. Jason lost his er, charm outside of Crystal Lake. I went to see this at the ol' Hoosier theater for a dollar and was mad I paid even that much. The second time I saw this on VHS was pure awesome sauce as I was stoned. Watching Jason kill when you're high is wicked cool.

  3. RBR - yes, Violet's robotic antics are a high point for part 5 for sure!

    MB - I haven't seen any of the Ft13s in an altered state - may have to give that a try!

  4. as much as fans may digress "Manhattan" as the worst, I for one accept it...as a cheesy, tedious run-I mean cruise- to hell that got the ball roll to nowhere that's at least entertainingly painful.

    also, answering your question for the poster in "A new beginning", it's none other than...

    Trevor Milhouse's -I mean- Moorhouse's mask! haha, just kidding. It sucked...