Tag Archives: I love Jason

“Jason” lives


3.5 Stars  1985/18/87m

“If Jason still haunts you… You’re not alone.”

Director: Danny Steinmann / Writers: David Cohen, Martin Kitrosser & Danny Steinmann / Cast: Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Marco St. John, Corey Feldman, Carol Locatell, Jerry Pavlon, Juliette Cummins, Tiffany Helm, John Robert Dixon, Debisue Voorhees, Vernon Washington, Tom Morga.

Body Count: 22

The parallel universe in which Friday the 13th exists is a place where ones build, height and entire facial structure can change over a single day, and where knowledge of current events is so minimal that folks vacation in the same spot where dozens of murders have taken place a matter of hours earlier. Time jumps along at a merry old pace as well, as shown here. Boy-hero of The Final Chapter Tommy Jarvis sprouts from a weedy 12-year-old into a super-buff teen of no determinable age, but I’d guess between 16 and 18 – and only one year in real time since his last outing!

A New Beginning is just that (unless you count the presence of old characters); Tommy is carted off to the Pinehurst Institute for troubled teens with bad hair:


Naturally, Pinehurst is in the middle of the woods (pine, I guess), affording many a place for a masked, unhinged psycho to stalk mentally unstable kids.

No sooner does Tommy arrive then a particularly angry resident embeds an axe into the back of a porky fellow inmate. Shortly after, locals begin falling victim to a psycho killer: An utterly surreal couple of leather-clad boys are first, then the requisite horny couple, local rednecks, and eventually the Pinehurst kids.

Is it Jason, who Tommy seems to keep seeing all over the show? The Sheriff seems to think so too, much to the chagrin of the dreadful actor who plays the mayor.


Murders continue and when only staff member Pam and cook’s grandson Reggie remain, the killer is revealed to be the hockey masked, machete bearing legend that is JV. Can Tommy save them and stop his arch-enemy all over again? And here comes the spoiler



Because it’s not Jason, just some schmuck donning a hockey mask (complete with different design), taking revenge on Pinehurst and all who dwell there for the axe-murder…of his son!!!

This is flawed for many reasons: if Dad was so local, why was there no relationship between them? Porky’s killer was already arrested and carted off – why kill everyone but the assailant? Why have a random photo of yourself in your wallet? Oh right, in case the audience are so fucking stupid they can’t put it together.


A New Beginning is commonly known as the worst of the Friday crop; which is a fair assessment on some levels – it’s one of the laziest films, with a body count so stupidly high (including dream sequences) that the killer virtually teleports his way around town, perfecting the chess game of slasher movie killers’ ability to always be hiding behind the right tree or picking the right bedroom to stalk a victim into…


According to the wonderful Crystal Lake Memories book, ex-porno director Steinmann’s intense paranoid moodswings made for a tense set and some questionable sequences: Are the leather boys supposed to be gay? One of them does get a phallic road flare rammed into his mouth… There’s a vicious streak to some of the homicidal dénouements, which personify abject cruelty as the troubled teens are brutally wasted without any care for their individual stories. They’re just wastable problem kids.

As with most of the earlier instalments, the MPAA insisted on several cuts, with the BBFC advising further shots removed.

It also has the worst score out of all the movies, a swirling attack of strings that belongs in a made-for-TV hurricane movie.


In the ‘for’ arena, Friday V showed a jump forward in terms of production quality; much of the grainy, underlit scenes of The Final Chapter have been replaced by clearer visuals. The pure 80s-ness of it all is irresistibly amusing and Kinnaman makes for a gutsy heroine with the help of Ross, of Diff’rent Strokes, and Shepherd is suitably traumatised as Tommy, even if he only utters about 20 words the whole 87 minutes.


Probably the cheesiest Jason venture (in spite of his absence) but definitely a fun ride if you don’t care about that minor fact.

Blurbs-of-interest: Juliette Cummins appeared in Deadly Dreams, Slumber Party Massacre II and Psycho III; Debisue Voorhees was in Innocent Prey and Appointment with Fear; Tiffany Helm is the daughter of Brooke Bundy, who was in A Nightmare on Elm Streets 3 and 4; Dominick Brascia was in Rush Week and directed Evil Laugh; Mark Venturini (Victor) was in Mikey in 1992. Bob DeSimone (Billy) is the brother of Tom DeSimone, who directed Hell Night. Danny Steinmann directed The Unseen under the pseudonym Peter Foleg.

Jason and the Astronauts



3 Stars  2001/15/93m

“Evil gets an upgrade.”

A.k.a. Friday the 13th Part X

Director: James Isaac / Writer: Todd Farmer / Cast: Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Peter Mensah, Kane Hodder, Jonathan Potts, Melyssa Ade, Derwin Jordan, Melody Johnson, Kristi Angus, Dov Tiefenbach, Phillip Williams, David Cronenberg.

Body Count: 24 (+4 virtual reality kills and a load of people in a space station…)

Dire-logue: “Hey, do you want a beer? Or do you wanna smoke some pot? Or we can have pre-marital sex? We love pre-marital sex!”

Cinema’s apex-predator returned after an eight year absence (nine, if you count the delay in releasing the film) and renaissance of the genre he ruled throughout the 1980s. Evidently, the ‘final’ trick used (for the second time) in Jason Goes To Hell cannot be believed again and thus here comes the dumbest hack n’ slash film to emerge in thirty years!


In 2010, at the convenient ‘Crystal Lake Research Center’, Jason is chained up, having survived various attempts to kill him (heroine Rowan notes they tried to electrocute, gas, shoot and hang him) and his “amazing ability to regenerate damaged tissue” has attracted sleazy government types who want to exploit it. Naturally, several grunts fail to do the job and, along with David Cronenberg’s doctor, end up dead. Rowan manages to shut Jason in the cryogenic chamber that was being prepped as the next crack at disabling him, but Jay’s machete is powerful enough to rupture the casing, putting them both into stasis…

455 years later, intergalactic explorers happen upon the site and take both Jason and Rowan back to their ship. Led by Professor Lowe, who is keen to benefit financially from Jason’s fame, there’s a healthy number of nubile teenage ‘students’ along for the ride. Rowan is brought out of stasis by the crew, who believe Jason is beyond saving and before she can convince them to dump his body into outer space, he’s up and hewing his way through the crew.


With evident debts to Alien, Jason X smartly goes down the comedic route, making the most of the Scream crowd’s awareness and playing up to the cliches. Meanwhile, cartoon-level violence sees a face cryogenically frozen and then shattered on a table, people chopped in half, impaled on giant screws plus the usual throat cuttings, impalings and decaps.

The onboard military personnel all fail to survive (let alone stop Jason) and so it’s down to the other crew members, who call upon droid Kay-Em 14 to do some damage and she takes him on Buffy style, eventually blowing him into several pieces. The damage sustained by the ship inadvertently releases the regenerative ‘bugs’ that repair injuries and rebuild Jason with synthetic extra parts. Yes – it’s Super-Jason!


Weird to think back to the sack-headead B-movie axe-murderer from 1981.

Uber-Jay proves more of a match for the dwindling crew members than his previous incarnation and things go from silly to ridiculous in the final few minutes, but it is punctuated by the film’s best scene, where Kay-Em ‘builds’ a virtual reality around Jason of Camp Crystal Lake in 1980, complete with chirping cicadas, the gentle lake, a full moon and a couple of easy campers (see Dire-logue) and a recreation of Kane Hodder’s favourite kill from Friday VII.


Jason X is a real contender for the “least good” entry in the series (I don’t say worst as I like all 12 films). It’s a step too far down Cheesy Street; Freddy vs. Jason may have been equally as daft but made up for it with some nostalgic setpieces and a respect for the roots of the series that are (the a fore mentioned scene aside) all but absent here. This opinion was accentuated by virtue of the fact that it’s also the poorest performing Friday film so far, barely breaking even; the producers later admitted that they chose the wrong script. In this sense, the 2009 ‘reboot‘ is helpful, the origins having been re-set, rumours of that sought-after Crystal Lake in the snow scenario becoming a reality and back-to-basics stalking and slashing instead of gimmicks and in-jokes.

Blurbs-of-interest: Sean S. Cunningham produced; his son, Noel, co-produced and was one of the campfire kids in the original 1980 film. James Isaac also directed The Horror Show (a.k.a. House III); Todd Farmer later wrote My Bloody Valentine 3D and the 2012 Halloween III. Harry Manfredini once again contributed the score. This was Kane Hodder’s fourth and final turn as Jason.

Here, there and everywhere



3 Stars  1984/18/88m

“This is the one you’ve been screaming for.”

Director: Joseph Zito / Writers: Barney Cohen & Bruce Hidemi Sakow / Cast: Kimberly Beck, E. Erich Anderson, Corey Feldman, Joan Freeman, Peter Barton, Crispin Glover, Barbara Howard, Alan Hayes, Judie Aronson, Lawrence Monoson, Camilla More, Carey More, Ted White.

Body Count: 14

Dire-logue: “What happens if a psycho wanders in?”

Beginning with an awesome “Jason’s Greatest Hits” quick overview of the events from parts 1 to 3, The Final Chapter takes a rare turn for this series and picks up where the last film left off, with police and meat wagons clearing up the bodies from the ranch and taking them to the morgue – including Jason’s. Of course, it transpires that Mr V. isn’t so dead after all and he quickly does away with a couple of hospital employees before making the long walk back to Crystal Lake… A superb opening section.

At this point, rather than continuing the story in any way, it opts to repeat the events of the former by having a van full of kids – wait, it’s a car, they changed that! – vacationing at a house at Crystal Lake for the J-man to slaughter anew. As before, amongst the naive youth there is next to no mention of Jason, the recent murders, local paranoia, fear – just girly chats for the lovely females and sex for the horny guys, who include a pre-George McFly Crispin Glover and post-Hell Night Peter Barton.


Next door to the vacation house is a cabin inhabited by the Jarvis family: Mom, teen daughter Trish and 12-year-old Tommy (a pre-everything Corey Feldman), who has a thing for making scary monster masks. Also new to the area is Rob, who tells Trish he’s bear hunting in the locale. The other teens meet a couple of sexy twin sisters and invite them and Trish over for a party, which is interrupted when Jason comes a-callin’, quite possibly bummed out that they didn’t invite him too.


Teens start dropping all over the show: knife through the neck, cleaver in the face, axe in the chest and, most painfully, speargun in the balls! Meanwhile, Rob confides in Trish that his sister was one of the victims from Part 2 (although he doesn’t refer to it as that, which would’ve been cool) and he’s trying to find Jason for some good old fashioned revenge.


fc7Rob’s efforts prove futile when Jason swats him into the next realm like a fly and it’s down to Trish and Tommy to save themselves, which is doubtlessly aided by Tommy’s knowledge of all things scary and some handy newspaper clippings about Jason, again, posing the question why nobody local seems to be aware of what’s been happening on the very same lake!



The Final Chapter was the last Friday I saw out of the first nine films when I was first introduced to them in the mid-90s. Having crammed all of them in in less than a month, the form was a bit predictable and stale by the time I watched it and so it’s never ranked highly for me in the series. Zito’s technical direction is good but the film can only pale next to Parts 1 and 2 and, as in his earlier slasher film, The Prowler, there’s a streak of misogyny evident in the treatment and violent murders allotted to the girls in the film, notably only one of the two Fridays where female victims outnumber males. Bizarrely, according to Crystal Lake Memories, the casting process called for more ‘likeable’ victims in this outing, something that almost seemed to have achieved the exact opposite effect – I wasn’t fussed about any of them much.


Feldman’s presence is welcome as the first involved pre-teen in the series but in being so, Kimberly Beck’s turn as the heroine is made kind of redundant. In spite of throwing herself through second-floor windows, finding body after body and taking on Jason singlehandedly with a machete, she plays second fiddle to Tommy’s eventual ruse that distracts Jason for long enough for them to kill him. And kill him they do, in sensational style where Tom Savini’s excellent effects work is flaunted to maximum force, a highlight of this entry in a scene that was heavily cut in the UK until its 2001 DVD release.


Ultimately a bit of a non-event as far as I was concerned; the film holds up better than most slasher films from the same period but the summer camp setting of the first two films is missed, as are the goofy disco-antics of Part 3, the lighting in the final twenty or so minutes is abyssmally dark and the scenes jumble as Trish goes next door, comes back, goes next door, comes back… Jason does the same – kills someone inside, then seemingly goes outside, scales the side of the house to do the next one, and back to the scene of the previous murder to get a knife. And Gordon the dog? What the hell was going on there? Though I wonder if the rumour that one die-hard fan committed suicide (“If Jason dies…I die!”) is true…

Blurbs-of-interest: other than those mentioned, Crispin Glover played a set of twins in Simon Says.


friday33.5 Stars  1982/18/91m

“A new dimension in terror!”

A.k.a. Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D

Director: Steve Miner / Writers: Martin Kitrosser & Carol Watson / Cast: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Richard Brooker, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Larry Zerner, Rachel Howard, David Katims.

Bodycount: 12

Dire-logue: “You get on top of me…or I could get on top of you?”

To everything there is a season blah, blah, blah… By the summer of ’82, the slasher cycle had peaked commercially and the critics were getting pissed at the veritable tidal wave of cheap-ass flicks trying to emulate the success of the original set. Friday the 13th Part 2 raked in a huge amount of cash for its tiny budget, opening up the prospect of a Jason-led franchise to huge profits. Thus, it begat the third entry, which was given the added bonus of being shot in 3D, the form of the moment…


Directed again by Steve Miner, this was where things started to get just a little bit silly. Continuity was launched out of the window by relocating from New England to California, where Crystal Lake now appears less green and lush, more yellowy-brown and muddy. This does not stop a group of teenage friends from driving out to a ranch on the lake for a weekend. There’s pregnant couple Debbie and Andy, stoners Chili and Chuck, chubby prankster Shelly, his blind date Vera, and finally Chris, who is returning to the ranch for the first time in years after “something happened to her.”


At the ranch is Rick, Chris’s horny hook-up for the weekend, who wants nothing more than to jump her bones. The group seem oblivious to what happened at Camp Packanack and the deaths of a shopkeeper and his wife the previous evening but Chris keeps seeing things, barn doors that swing closed and stuff, while a shady stalker hangs about at the side of the frame (in place of the point of view shots used in the first two films).


Shelly and Vera take a trip into town and end up crossing swords with a trio of leather-clad, chain-swingin’ bikers, who follow them back to the ranch where they intend to burn down the barn but are intercepted by Jason, who gets them first. As night falls, Chris and Rick take off for some alone time and Shelly tries to connect with a reluctant Vera, who resists his come-on and so becomes the victim of another practical joke involving a hockey mask…


“You want fame? Well this is where you start paying…in pitchforks.”

After all manner of things are thrust towards the camera (spliffs, juggling balls, a yo-yo…), Jason acquires the mask by forces unseen (for now) and begins stalking and killing the friends in cheesy 3D-ized fashion, using a speargun, a poker, electricity and his soon-to-be inseperable machete. Blood gushes in amounts limited by imposed cuts (more so for the UK until the DVD release restored them) and an eyeball is popped until Chris is the only one left alive and must go up against Jason, who turns out to be the same man who attacked her at the lake a couple of years earlier, all on her own.


Friday the 13th Part III shows a definite drop in the quality of its storytelling than the previous films, probably since it was clear the low-budget would allow for a huge return, less creative effort was invested than before. The story, therefore, suffers in the face of this and the requirements of the 3D effects, with evidently took precedence over any plot turns and acting. It’s like open-mic night as the teen cast struggle with making their dialogue believable.

There’s also a reliance on recycling motifs from 1 and 2; Kevin Bacon’s infamous murder is re-staged, bodies fly through windows and fall out of trees and the ‘shock ending’ is practically a shot-for-shot retread of the canoe gag. An alternate ending that involved a dream-decapitation was, for some reason, done away with. The existing ending does house a decent scare as Jason appears at a window without his mask, hissing at Chris. That part wigged me out for a few years… Jason’s make-up is so different from the Farmer Ted get-up of Part 2, as is his alleged escape from the cabin (removing the machete from his shoulder before the shock ending, where it was still firmly embedded there) that it looks like nobody involved could even remember the preceding film!


Even in the throes of terror, Dana never forgot the dance moves to ‘Tragedy’…

Friday 3 is still fun; it’s cheesy and funny with enough of its own charm to raise a smile, serving as the first in the series that didn’t seem bothered by everything that went before it. Curiously, although it pairs nicely with the fourth film, The Final Chapter, that film used almost the same plot again, sans the reliance of 3D trickery. It’s gotta be seen, it’s Jason after all and everyone should see how he originally got his hockey mask!


Blurbs-of-interest: Dana Kimmell was also in Sweet Sixteen; Steve Miner later directed Halloween H20Twisted Nightmare was shot at the same location.


friday2aFRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2

5 Stars  1981/18/84m

“The bodycount continues…”

Director: Steve Miner / Writer: Ron Kurz / Cast: Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Marta Kober, Bill Randolph, Tom McBride, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Kirsten Baker, Russell Todd, Stu Charno, Walt Gorney, Steve Daskawicz.

Body Count: 10

Dire-logue: “Axes, knives, saws – they can all be dangerous…”

This is a big one. For me, the best slasher movie in existence. Prepare thyself, I may become emotional…

So, after the mega box office ring-a-ding-ding that Friday the 13th made during the summer of 1980, ’twas not a surprise that a sequel was rushed into production. The budget went up, the script stayed almost exactly the same and cinema’s most prolific mass murderer was born. Ja. Son. Voor. Hees.


Storywise, we begin pre-credits on the street outside the home of sole survivor Alice (Adrienne King returning), where a creepy pair o’ legs skulks through puddles towards her abode… Upstairs on the bed, Alice has a convenient flashback dream that recaps the end of the first film (complete with blurry screen), Mrs Voorhees’ insane revenge plot and her subsequent beheading la-de-dah… Soon after Alice awakes, she grabs the world’s shortest shower and gets scared by her cat before finding Mrs V’s severed head in the refrigerator and getting an ice-pick in the temple. Cut to credits.


We learn that it’s been “five long years” since the Camp Crystal Lake massacre and a counsellor training center nearby opens up to a bunch of nubile teens, all flirtation and pranks. Head counsellor Paul (Furey) tries to keep things together, all the while carrying on with his assistant Ginny (the legend of Amy Steel). Second assistant Ted is the uber-geek, then there are the main trainees: Vickie, Scott, Terry, Sandra, Jeff and wheelchair-bound Mark…

The legend of Camp Crystal Lake is told around the campfire by Paul, who mentions that little Jason’s body was never found and it is said he killed Alice and that now he stalks the forest, ready to avenge his mother’s death! A great little scene, is this, my very first memory of anything Friday the 13th related when I caught it on TV in Florida around Halloween ’89 (when I was 11 and nervy).


While the youngsters continue to amble around the area exercising little caution, Crazy Ralph returns for no particular reason other than to supply Jason with a mid-point kill. He wears exactly the same outfit as he did five years before and learns the hard way that perving on Ginny and Paul is a fatal error.

The next day, Sandra and Jeff opt to hike into the woods and explore Camp Crystal Lake, but are intercepted by a toupee-haired cop, who duly becomes another victim. Their punishment for getting caught is to stay behind that night while everyone else goes out for one last night on the town, save for the other four we all knew would die… Terry goes skinny-dipping, Jeff and Mark have an arm-wrestling contest and a shady figure who we’ve not yet had a good look at appears in the camp.


One by one, the teens are offed in a variety of now textbook MO’s, with excellent make up effects courtesy of Carl Fullerton, most of which got cut before release due to the MPAA’s clampdown on gore flicks. Said material has never been seen beyond a few stills – right there, look…look down! Nevertheless, these missing scenes do not rob the film of its pure stalk n’ slash integrity, B-movie spookiness and sense of the filmmakers really putting effort into making a quality horrorfest. Jason himself finally appears beyond the lower-body shots. There was no hockey mask back in ’81, but that burlap sack is pretty damn scary in a banjo-strummin’ backwoods hick sorta way!


Then there are the ejector seat moments, executed with perfect timing, the kind of things most films screw up by telegraphing the shocks too early with fragmented shots rather than the long, lingering scenarios here as Ginny becomes the last one standing after she and Paul return to camp early. The stringy high-note that refuses to let up as she holds the door closed in the bathroom, unsure whether or not she should move towards the open window…


And Amy Steel. The odds-on favourite heroine of the entire series plays psych-major Ginny perfectly, a mix of vulnerability and agility, she has sex with Paul and still survives the nightmare, screams amazingly and gives Jason a better run for his money than all of the ensuing final girls of later films combined. Her final showdown with Jason at his woodland shack is great, as is the extra value shock ending and the question mark that hangs over the fate of another character…

There’s absolutely nothing dull about Friday the 13th Part 2, it has everything I want in a slasher film: competent production, likeable characters, great heroine, liberal body count and good use of the camp setting. I love it and always will.


Blurbs-of-interest: Amy took the final girl role again in April Fool’s Day; Marta Kober had a cameo as the pizza girl in Slumber Party Massacre III; Russell Todd had previously appeared fleetingly in He Knows You’re Alone; Lauren-Marie Taylor played Sheila in Girls Nite Out; Steve Dash (Jason) has a small role in Alone in the Dark; Walt Gorney supplied the prologue voiceover at the beginning of Friday VII. Steve Miner directed the next Friday film and also Halloween H20.

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