31 Days of Halloween 8 – People hate Friday the 13th

friday7Critics hate the Friday the 13th movies.  They really are sick over how much money these bad movies make.  I’ve found that people in general also dislike the Friday movies, or are embarrassed to say that they like them.  Much like the Saw franchise, filmmakers have run Friday the 13th into the ground, making it the poster child for every bad horror movie ever produced and every bad cliche ever seen in horror movies.  When some horror movie comes out that is bad, it is often compared to Friday the 13th or its sequels.  “At least it’s not as bad as Jason X,” was the themesong of many horror movies back in the day.

I think the problem with Jason is that the Friday sequels show him as a nameless, faceless serial killer with little to no personality.  Compare the Friday series to the Nightmare on Elm Street series and you’ll see my point.  Robert Englund can actually act and has promoted the movies in the past, two things the Jason actors have never managed to do in any significant way.  There have also been so many men behind the hockey mask, the actors have become as interchangeable as parts. 

friday8That’s not to say the Nightmare series is filled with awesomeness.  It isn’t.  It just seems to be easier to lampoon Jason in a way, as he’s little more than a mute, cardboard killer.  Freddy is a man with a personality.  Robert Englund himself is likable and still appears today.  Jason has no comparable defender.  Maybe he shouldn’t be defended, but even Freddy didn’t go to space.

I’ve always wondered why the producers and filmmakers created a series with as much schlock as possible.  They put Jason in space.  They made him a hulking brute.  They gave him a strange origin like Michael, then wiped it away with no explanation.  They rebooted him using the same, tired, old origin that he’s had for many years.  The Friday series never went anywhere.

friday9The original Friday the 13th did not have a hulking Jason, so I don’t need to ramble on anymore about him.  Even without him, the movie is still average at best.  All of the teenagers act as wooden as an oak tree and have no depth.  A bigger problem is that Pamela Voorhees also has no character and she is the killer, the big surprise reveal.  Although depicted as a villain and serial killer, this type of character has been done with more depth, such as in Silence of the Lambs and Psycho.

It seems to me that the formula used by Friday the 13th is easy to do.  It was done by many sequels to prove this point.  A movie like Psycho is harder to pull off, and created with a layered presentation.  An examination of the madness of Pamela Voorhees could be a good subject to tackle, but instead, she’s simply thrown in at the end to take the blame.   

No matter how bad Friday the 13th is, all of the sequels are worse, with the reboot taking up the very bottom spot.  And yet, I still watch Friday the 13th occasionally, as it is entertaining enough to waste time with.  That’s pretty much what the Friday movies are.  Indulgences and time wasters, meant to entertain here and there.  I think a fear of the woods works well in many horrors movies, and it is successful in Friday the 13th for the most part.  Other movies haven’t been as successful with such a setting.  

Jason is as iconic as The Mummy or The Wolf-Man.  In the case of the original Friday, it was successful because it stole from the best, from Halloween and from other, more successful movies, trimming the fat to present a no-frills slasher flick.  The special effects are arguably better and more memorable, which put it on the map in the first place.  

31 Days of Halloween Movie Marathon

1 – Frankenstein and the Monster from HELL (1974)
2 – Dracula has risen from the grave (1968)
3 – The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
4 – Evil Dead II (1987)
5 – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
6 – Les Diaboliques (1955)
7 – The Howling (1981)
8 – Friday the 13th (1980)
9 – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
10 – Hellraiser (1987)
11 – Let the Right One in (2008)
12 – Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1984)
13 – House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
14 – The Strangers (2008)
15 – The House of the Devil (2009)
16 – Psycho (1960)
17 – The Orphanage (2007)
18 – The Amityville Horror (1979)
19 – The Raven (1963)
20 – Blue Velvet (1986)
21 – Repulsion (1965)
22 – Dementia 13 (1963)
23 – The Vanishing (2008)
24 – Halloween (1978)
25 – Shaun of the Dead (2004)
26 – The Silence of the Lambs (1988)
27 – An American Werewolf in London (1981)
28 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
29 – The Exorcist (1973)
30 – The Ring (2002)
31 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)