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Monday, September 30, 2013

End Call Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: A group of friends call a mysterious phone number said to grant your wishes in exchange for a portion of your life.

Review: Oh no, it's never a good sign when there's not even a wikipedia page for a movie! I've said it a hundred times at this point, but here's 101: this film wasted its potential. The plot isn't anything revolutionary, but there were some good ideas with a terrible execution; actually, at this point, anything having to do with cell phones is almost standard fare in Japan, but they tried to work with it. Where things went wrong was by never exploring the mythos behind the plot and instead focusing on the drama regarding the friends and their little love interests. In fact, so little of the premise is explained, you tend to forget you're supposed to be watching a horror movie.

The story is that there is some urban legend about calling a phone number and making a deal with the devil to have your wish come true. In exchange for your wish being granted, you lose life equal to the amount of time you remain on the line. Okay, right from the offset this is stupid because the phone calls are like a minute or two at most. Oh shit, I lost 2 minutes of my life! Fuck, I lost 90 minutes watching this movie! I suppose they claim your cell phone becomes permanently connected to the hotline or something as your life ticks away, but, still, wouldn't you have to be on the phone for years? None of this matters because there's a secondary condition anyway; apparently the devil can send out phone bills, and if you can't pay the bill you die. So with your life hanging in the balance, surely these girls are making life altering wishes that would benefit humanity, right? Of course not! They just want boyfriends! It gets dumber though--two of them want the same loser dude; seriously, you're fucking killing me here...the lovelorn Japan phenomenon strikes again. The format of the film's presentation is sort of all over the place as we jump in time often but to sum things up: the girls start off happy with their wishes until their lives fall apart from the phone bills. When the first girl dies it kind of sets off a chain reaction that leads to the demise of all the other girls. Along the way, we only have a few, faint hints at the supernatural aspect of the phone number such as a shadowy figure that appears on the screen, people forced against their will to do things, and some books move on their own; unfortunately, that's about it. There's random background chatter about the same thing happening at another school that some how connects to one of the girls' stepsister, but it's brushed over seriously without proper development; they act like this is some big twist, but if it is never explained, what is the audience supposed to be shocked by? Basically the film ends with all the girls dead, the love interests are dead, and it feels like everything was pointless. This could have easily been salvaged by changing the wishes to be less stupid, take away all the drama with the girls that eats up most of the scenes, have more to do with the creepy number, add some kind of antagonist even if it's just the shadowy figure (maybe lurking in the background), and, finally, do something--anything--to spice up the horror elements even if we have a damn, long-haired ghost woman.

The movie sounds much worse than it is, but I can't deny that I was disappointed when there was a lot to work with. It would have been cool if you had multiple wishes but the cost kept going up the bigger the wishes became, and the girls became corrupted by getting everything they wanted. Like have one wish for the idiotic boyfriend but then ask for their molesting teacher to die and so on and so forth until they end up unable to pay for their crimes, so to speak, and turning on each other. There definitely should have been a scene of this so-called devil coming to collect when one of the girls couldn't pay the bill. Oh well. I liked some of the ideas and the girls are dorky-cute, but little is explained, the direction of the story is misplaced, and the overall quality of production feels low. I'd say pass, but I would give a sequel a try if they decide to explore the tale of this stepsister or at least deal more with the phone number in general.

Notable Moment: When Mako commits suicide but inadvertently kills Mai by landing on her when Mako jumps from atop a hospital roof.

Final Rating: 5/10

Segunda Mano (aka Second Hand) Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: A woman with a troubled past believes she is being haunted by the ghost of her boyfriend's ex-wife.

Review: So this is yet another Kris Aquino horror movie which means you can expect a shit load of cheesiness. Coming right off the undeserved success of "Dalaw," this film became even more successful while managing to be even more stupid. This shouldn't have even been advertised as a horror film, because it lacks almost any horror elements. I mean, this film was produced by the same company and it's almost the same exact plotline of "Dalaw" except with more emphasis on soap opera elements accompanied by one contrivance after another. I can overlook the soap opera moments for a second if this were at least a unique story, or, even if it's a ripoff, don't make it a ripoff of the movie you just made the year before! Plus, a haunted handbag? Are you fucking kidding me?! This is why I always bring up "Sukob" because that's like the best Filipino horror movie with real scares, actual horror elements, and a ton of creativity and imagination. Why can't more films strive for that type of formula even if bordering on cliched?

The plotline of "Dalaw" was something to the nature of Ms. Aquino thinks she's being haunted by her dead husband but is actually being haunted by her current boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. The plotline of "Segunda Mano" is Ms. Aquino believes she's being haunted by her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, which she is, but the ghost is actually her sister. It's not exact, but it's too close and they play out similarly enough to be frustrating. Honestly, I wouldn't have minded this too much if it weren't for how much time is spent going over the relationship drama of Ms. Aquino, named Mabel, and her boyfriend, Ivan. What's worse is that we also deal with the relationship of Mabel and Ivan's (somewhat understandably) bratty daughter, Ivan and his troubled childhood, Mabel and her goofball friends, and, of course, Mabel and her momma drama over the alleged death of the sister, Marie. There was too much going on that it became a distraction and the horror elements faded into the background needlessly. It really felt like a lame TV show; I could even see it now: "Will Ivan and Mabel get together?! Find out on the next exciting episode of "Segunda fucking Mano!" Even if I could overlook all of this clutter and appreciate this as a drama with light horror elements, it's hard to ignore that the drama is so weak, unoriginal, and beyond contrived. The main twist, that the ghost, Mariella, is, in fact, the thought to be dead sister, Marie, is hilariously predictable. Hmm, could Mariella be Marie? That's a tough one, I mean their names are exactly alike, they look the same, and the film claims a ghost can only interact with someone if they touch something or someone close to them. Hmm, could it be the idiotic handbag or perhaps Mabel? Surely, it's the fucking handbag, right? What, it's Mabel? Oh noooos! Grrr, and how the hell did Marie survive anyway? She was swept out to sea and looked to have been drowned already the last time Mabel saw her. So, let me get this straight--Marie, as a little girl mind you, miraculously survives being drowned after being pulled into the ocean current, is found some time later (by mermaids perhaps), has amnesia or is a retard because she doesn't simply go back home, is adopted by some family without ever realizing her own family thinks she's dead, changes her name a little bit (you know, just for shits and giggles), lives her life until she runs into Ivan, cheats on him, and gets killed because Ivan really hates cheaters. Then by the most ridiculous of contrivances, her sister dates the same man? Sounds perfectly plausible to me. There's suspension of disbelief and then there's begging me to punch you in the face. If this isn't already pushing it, you discover Ivan was the one killing everyone in the movie. Ugh..."Segunda fucking Mano..."

I don't get it--a pretty cool Filipino movie like "The Road" gets universally panned and a piece of shit like this is one of the highest grossing movies of all time in the Philippines?! Well, at least this film had that shitty film quality I love so much that makes every film look ten to twenty years older than it really is...so there's that. Man, at least "The Road" looked good and made the landscape look beautiful. What can I say? The story was stupid, contrived, and tried to tackle too much while forgetting what genre it was occupying. The acting is okay, the effects were tolerable, and some decent looking girls in the background. Other than this, all you need to know is that this is more of a supernatural drama with little originality while spending too much time dealing with characters that do not contribute to the overall story. I'd say this is an easy pass unless you're a fan of the actors involved and even then they have done better work than this.

Notable Moment: When Ivan throws Mabel and Adela down the stairs at the same time. Oh god, so unintentionally hilarious!

Final Rating: 4.5/10

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blood: The Last Vampire Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: A half human/half vampire, named Saya, must do battle against legions of demons infesting 1970s Japan.

Review: Oh, what a mess. This is actually a remake of an anime that, while short, is superior in almost every regard; the original was also titled "Blood: The Last Vampire." I can understand why they would deviate from the original material in order to flesh out a full length feature, but the padding was too apparent and unnecessary when you factor in that the original film inspired an awesome TV show, "Blood+," in comparison. Between the original, the TV show, and even the manga source, how could you not incorporate any of those ideas and, in turn, produce a film this stupid? There were even discrepancies in the acting because you have some decent actors like our lead, Saya, played well by Ji-hyun Jun (cute enough, but she looks so much better on the poster), and her so-called handlers, Michael and Luke. But then you have totally abysmal acting from the likes of the co-lead, Alice, her father, and the first two demons. Oddly enough, you have actors that could have been pretty good if they had more than two scenes to work with like the main villainess, Onigen, played by Koyuki Kato of "The Last Samurai" fame.

I don't know who to blame here, because the editing is a major factor in why this movie sucks; every scene feels random, out of place, and nonsensical. At the same time, this film was either brutalized during the editing process or there was never a flowing continuity to begin with. Was there even a storyboarding phase in production? Despite all of this, there was still some potential, but, unfortunately, the more interesting ideas were wasted because they are never explained or end up simply mashed together incoherently. Saya's thunder is weakened with this friend plotline with Alice; honestly, Alice probably has more lines and more scenes than Saya and she's a made up character! Michael and Luke were kind of cool but should be replaced with the David character who is in both the original film and TV show. There is never clarification of what the hell Saya is fighting because they keep calling them demons yet they were supposed to be more primitive vampires called "chiropteran." This is further perplexing as Saya's creation conflicts with the notion that she and all the others are descended from this Onigen villain; what I mean to say is that if Saya was born from this Onigen, why is she so different from the so-called demons? Onigen herself is not explained except that she is an extremely loose interpretation of the Diva character from the TV show. The whole point of the story is that Saya wants to kill Onigen because she killed Saya's father and she works with her handlers, dubbed "The Council," in an effort to rid the world of these demons and track down Onigen; unbeknownst to Saya, although plainly obvious to the audience, Onigen is Saya's mother. A lot of this would be well and good if it weren't for one stupid subplot after another to spoil the story as a whole. You have shit with Luke mindlessly betraying Michael for no discernible reason, drama with Alice and her dad, Alice's dad trying to find out who Michael and Luke are, the demons running around Japan, Onigen's main crony having a backstory with Saya, Saya's upbringing with some old man, Saya's dad being some demon slayer, and this is pretty much how the whole movie rolls! There was no focus or sense of direction and the result is that the audience no longer gives a shit about what's going on. If this weren't bad enough, the special effects and CGI are atrocious to the point of embarrassment! No wonder this movie was delayed for at least a year!

Even if you ignore the TV show, how hard is it to recreate the basic principles of the original movie in live-action form? You can pretty much sum the original up as follows: vampire-esque, Japanese schoolgirl kills other vampires at US military base while under direction of a mysterious organization. The plot is so simple it almost writes itself yet retains enough room for growth or to turn into one hell of an action/horror helmed gloriously by some hot chick in the classic schoolgirl outfit! How could you go wrong with that formula?! Hell, Saya has absolutely no mystique this time around as all we do is hear about her past. In the original, the audience is suddenly caught up in a battle we can assume had been waging for centuries given by the ending when you see a photo of Saya from the 1800s. Here, Saya is borderline emo because she wants Onigen dead and has no reason to live beyond that until she pointlessly befriends Alice even though the two have no chemistry or connection; oh wait, was the lone scene of Alice defending Saya from an insult about her being Japanese (even though she's not) supposed to be character development?! There was actually way more chemistry between Michael questioning Saya's motives, the hint of his care for her, and even the look of hesitation and reflection by Saya as a reaction. Ugh. Obviously I don't recommend this movie unless you are a diehard fan of the original or TV show. Overall, this film is mediocre through and through with every good element counterbalanced by a terrible film aspect. I wanted and expected more, but, alas, there is no depth to be found.

Notable Moment: Probably when Saya has to mop up an entire bar worth of demons. It was a decent fight sequence, but it was still hindered by too many crappy effects shots.

Final Rating: 5/10

Friday, September 20, 2013

Insidious: Chapter 2 Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: The Lambert family continues to be haunted as they uncover Josh's past relationship with the old woman and attempt to reunite him with his body.

Review: So after waiting all year for this film to come out, I hate to admit it, but my initial reaction is that of disappointment. This is not to say that this movie isn't good, because it is, it's just nowhere near as memorable or scary as the first one which you'll remember I even ranked in my top 10 scariest of all time. Now the critics are ripping this sequel to shreds, however, it's nowhere near as bad as some make it out to be, but I understand their complaints; I have quite a few gripes myself. While some of the criticism is not entirely fair, I feel the main problems lie in the weak and unnecessary explanation of the ghost, paradoxical time traveling (which I can't stand as I mentioned with "The Grudge" franchise), a continued lack of understanding of "the further," and a general lack of scares. Before I go into detail of why I was let down, I feel this film was still worthy of a lot of praise which I will discuss.

The first thing I noticed when going into this followup was how beautifully it was shot. The lighting is near perfect for creating an unsettling atmosphere with red and green lights purposely thrown into the mix for effect; can't say I've ever had a red light at my house though. Certain props are positioned in conjunction with various camera angles to masterfully add tension with the audience second guessing their own vision as the occasional background ghost will blend in with said props. You don't even know how much I love these kind of details, and thankfully this attention to detail and tiny nuances are strewn throughout the entirety of the film. The sets, designs, and overall cinematography are excellent and most certainly the strongest part of the film. Beyond this, I would say there is an overwhelmingly powerful sense of production quality that is rare in horror films these days especially when they're low-budget, and, all hype aside, this film still had a relatively small budget. Furthermore, the music is just as excellent as the original and maybe even applied a little better this time with that gothic-themed style. The ghosts mostly look better this time around with a noticeable increase in makeup effects rather than the normal, human-looking ghosts from part one (Darth Maul demons not included). The scares, while substantially decreased, were still pretty good with a fantastic standout moment that had me on edge and a little jumpy. The film feels short, which is a good thing, because it means you're so engrossed in the story that time appears to be passing by quickly; there was some captivating intrigue that will keep you guessing as to the direction of the plot even if it's not exactly where I wanted things to go. Lastly, as for the acting, I felt it was decent enough with some strong performances from the likes of  mega-milf, Rose Byrne, and a few others; I especially liked Jocelin Donahue, of "The House of the Devil" fame, as the young Lorraine. The only reason I bring this up is because I've heard a lot of criticism of the actors, especially Patrick Wilson, and I don't really understand the basis for this claim; I thought he did a good job, and, as I've said before, I want Mr. Wilson in more horror films!

Okay, now let's address the multiple moments that left myself and others disappointed when walking out of the theater. First and foremost, I could not stand the reason why the ghost attached itself to Josh to begin with nor could I tolerate the asinine backstory for the ghost. Oh okay, so Josh, as a child, randomly goes to visit his mom at work one day, since she's a nurse at a hospital, and the ghost, Parker, still very much alive, all of a sudden starts screaming at Josh and that's it?! Wouldn't it make more sense for a ghost to attach itself to someone connected to them, or, if you make it random, can we at least have the individual already dead when they choose who to haunt?! That's like saying I see some random kid tomorrow, I die, then I decide to haunt that kid for no inexplicable reason. It would have made more sense if the mom was Parker's caregiver, he died, then he haunted the mother, then sensing Josh's predisposition for astral projection, attempted to take over his body. No matter how you look at it, this was a wasted opportunity to create a connection between the ghost and Josh and instead it is random and makes no sense since Parker was alive when he met Josh and he only saw him for what, like 30 seconds? As for Parker's backstory, it feels too cookie-cutter for me to accept; of course he had to be a serial killer because all ghosts have to be super evil and can't just be everyday assholes? Plus, why even make Parker a man? So what if a guy is playing a female ghost, keep her female! I'll admit, there were some awesome moments connected to uncovering Parker's past like when we see his chapel of dead bodies, but I still did not like explaining away his origin. Wouldn't it have been so much creepier if Josh simply attracted a malevolent spirit from "the further" when astral projecting, and we have no idea what this being is except some twisted evil force, taking on the guise of an undead bride, desiring nothing more than escape from its torturous eternity? Eh, maybe it's me; maybe I want something too specific of a taste that the general public wouldn't be satisfied with?

As for the time traveling shenanigans: how do you haunt yourself without creating a paradoxical loop? I tried to make sense of it in "The Grudge" films and it simply does not add up. If I, as a ghost, time traveled to talk to my past self, could I not simply tell myself "do such and such differently" and would that not alter reality and the very circumstances that led to my death?! And if time is set, and I already performed these actions, then that is a paradox because how did the events unfold the first time to begin with? You see what I'm saying here? This part was incredibly frustrating, because I am open to the idea that what we believe are ghosts are glimpses of other times, dimensional rifts, or whatever, but I am not understanding how one could haunt themselves. And don't even give me that "Josh wasn't dead" cop out excuse; the same principles apply and Elise was dead anyway and could have easily talked to her past self if she so desired. Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of this than needed? Well, the other major problem lies with "the further" and a continued lack of proper presentation. Is "the further" hell or what because Elise mentions hell and the demon's place in the story makes less sense since he is absent from this film. In my mind "the further" makes more sense than I believe the writers are intending or they are not getting their point across strongly enough and need to emphasize certain ideas. There are people who claim to have had near-death experiences and what they saw was a place of pure darkness where there is nothing but other dead people pulling, scratching, biting, etc. at you and you have no means of escape. I'm assuming this is what the basis for "the further" is or maybe it's merely what it should be. I want the writers to emphasize that "the further" is this miserable plane of existence where there is absolutely no light and you are surrounded by other tortured souls who relive their worst memories forever and would do just about anything to desperately escape which is why they try so hard to latch onto those who can astral project. It's hard to explain, but I want more focus on why "the further" is such a horrible place, but, then again, there was some line about it being an intermediate place so I guess they're going more for a purgatory-esque approach? The other thing that doesn't make sense is the degree to which these memories of the ghosts exist. Josh and crew appear to be inside Parker's mind, but I kind of got the impression that Parker's mom's ghost was her own entity. But this can't be if Elise stresses that she is a memory Parker himself can overcome. Speaking of which, Parker's childhood-self is somehow a separate entity independent of his adult ghost-self? Oh fuck it, I should have just said this: too many moments are needlessly confusing and make no sense even if you brush them off with the belief that "the further" works differently than our reality. The last thing I'll say is that the final shot of Elise looking scared of something was a wasted opportunity to insert our beloved Darth Maul demon. Imagine how much better of an ending it would have been if we see the demon has moved on to another family and it already has a vendetta against Elise!

Despite how harsh I was on this film, I actually did like this sequel for what it was. The only reason why I am so overly critical is because my expectations were really high, and I was even hoping against hope it could surpass the original since there was a lot of room to expand. Obviously I have my gripes that I have outlined in great detail (and even that is a toned down version), but I can't ignore the incredible production quality and overall excellent presentation. The scares, tension, and atmosphere are still good, better than most really, and I can't let my disappointment overshadow these accomplishments. The story and mythos are expanded upon with some cool ideas while entrancing the audience with the unfolding events surrounded by an intriguing mystery. I would still highly recommend this film, but don't expect it to be as good as part one or at least lower your expectations a bit and maybe you will come out happily surprised. There is even more room than before to continue with a chapter 3, and I can safely say I would still be excited about further installments beyond one more film.

Notable Moment: When Dalton is speaking to the ghost inside the closet and then he is surrounded by a horde of crazy ghosts vying for his body. It was a great setup and most certainly the scariest moment in the film.

Final Rating: 7/10

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday the 13th (remake) Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: The disfigured Jason Voorhess kills anyone who comes near the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake after the death of his mother.

Review: So now we finally come to the most recent entry in the franchise, but it's more of a retelling or reboot than a true remake. I actually really liked this movie especially when compared to the laughably bad "Halloween" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" remakes; those movies did not stay true to what their stories were all about and changed too much. This remake was true to what the franchise has always been about and uses a ton of plot elements from F13 part 1-4 to help build the story. For some reason a lot of fans loathe this installment, but I can't figure out why except for the fact that the fodder are noticeably annoying. I've heard whining about Jason being different, but he hasn't been changed; he's who he always was except that they emphasized certain aspects of his character that were downplayed in the main franchise. I would think more so-called fans would appreciate the many nuances and nods that went into constructing the story, but I guess I'm in the minority. I will say this though, what kind of respectable remake wouldn't include a Crazy Ralph reference?! Come on, his character was in two movies, he narrated the opening to one, and he has two wannabe brothers in two movies!

The movie starts off in 1980 much like the original with a character that, I guess, is supposed to be Alice beheading Mrs. Voorhees. This time Jason is alive from the start or something since his drowning is never addressed, and he watches his mom die. I think this is where people are annoyed, because Jason has more motivation for killing since he wants revenge, but how is any of this different than before? Isn't that what Paul says about Jason in part 2? Didn't Ginny try and empathize with Jason in part 2 as well? I mean, look at the lengths Jason went to, to kill Alice; he has never put that much effort into killing someone since. The only difference between this movie's interpretation and the Jason of yesteryear is that we see Jason getting angry here and the main franchise focused on his transition into a mindless, zombie killing machine--so much so that people forget his more humble human origin. This film's representation of Jason, with actual thoughts and feelings, bothers people, but it did not reach beyond the already established lure of the character so it works for me; this is nowhere near as ridiculous as when the "Halloween" remake tried to make Michael Myers a little emo bitch boy! Anyway, Jason's look has been tweaked a little as he's more lean and a lot faster, but he's still a large guy and his speed makes him even more imposing; this made more sense because the whole Jason walks while the victims run charade was reaching comedic levels. At first Jason starts off with the sack he had in part 2, but then he stumbles upon the hockey mask a little less casually than part 3.

The wide array of fodder in this movie is admittedly annoying and is a big reason why I have the rating for this film where it's at. The thing about most of the early entries was that they tried to make their characters somewhat likable or personable and not wholeheartedly deserving of death. It was only with part 7 did we see the introduction of a bitchy or douchebag character. Unfortunately, this film decided to make nearly every character a bitch, douchebag, or so stupid they rival Jar Jar in annoyance; that fucking Chewie character needed to die so much earlier! Thankfully we are introduced to the awesome Clay character, played by Jared Padalecki (Saaaaaaam!!!), better known for his role on "Supernatural." Essentially he is the Rob character from part 4 except he is significantly more pivotal to the main story which is what I wish part 4 had focused on. There are a few other decent characters like Jenna and the sheriff, but for the most part the fodder were the weakest aspect to the movie. The kills are excellent and varied a good degree in how Jason dispatched of all these idiots; I want to give a little extra credit for keeping things interesting considering this is the eleventh entry! The heart of the story is that Clay is trying to find his sister, Whitney, but unbeknownst to him, she is being held captive by Jason because he thinks she looks like the mom I guess. Once everyone is sliced and diced, Clay and Whitney must fight Jason who is chasing them all over a rundown Camp Crystal Lake. The defeat for Jason is surprisingly devastating as he has his head ripped open by a wood chipper, he's strangled by a chain, and he has a machete plunged through his chest. Later, Clay and Whitney dump Jason's body in Crystal Lake, but he comes ripping up through the dock and grabs Whitney in classic slow motion. Not sure how he took that much abuse and lived, but if we ever see a sequel I guess they will be going right for the zombie-Jason route.

I can completely understand criticism of this film, but I do not agree with most complaints as they're unfounded and show a lack of understanding of the evolution of Jason from film to film. Now if people were expecting a straight up remake of the original with a new Mrs. Voorhees running around, that's a fair argument, but what would have been the point? I will agree with fans that the characters were stupid and maybe even the most annoying in the whole franchise, Jason's look and feel could be a turnoff, and they did not really add anything we hadn't seen before. On the other end of the spectrum, I liked the exploration of Jason's character and the emphasis that was placed on him killing because of the mom's death; it's just important that people remember that that was always Jason's reason for killing. The deaths were great, the girls are hot, the music was a decent addition, the pacing worked nicely considering this is the longest F13 film, and there were enough references to the past films and nuances to create a faithful update to the series. And there you have it, another franchise down, and the poetic end of the F13 reviews on Friday the 13th. Hope you can do a marathon or something to celebrate!

Notable Moment: When Jenna is killed, because you think she will be one of the main survivors and her death comes so unexpectedly.

Final Rating: 6/10

Jason X Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After being cryogenically frozen, Jason is awakened in the distant future to once again wreak havoc.

Review: I still remember the first time I read the plot for this film and thinking it was some kind of joke. Well, it's a joke alright, but not entirely intentional. So the Jason franchise lingers off due to the stupidity of part 8, then is brought to an end by the stupidity of part 9, only to come back nearly a decade later in fucking space?! How the hell do you even pitch this to the studio? "Well Pinhead and the Leprechaun went to space...why can't Jason?" Grrr! You want to know the worst part? The sketch comedy show, "MadTV," came up with an eerily similar concept years before called "Apollo the 13th: Jason Takes Nasa." I wonder if this truly was the inspiration? Well, despite the ridiculous concept and leap into the realm of implausibility, this movie isn't that bad; realistically, it's on par with part 9 and much better than part 5 and 8. I did like the humor since it kind of reminded me of part 6, but I can see why it would annoy hardcore fans. Also, this entry has the privilege of starring the best looking chick in the entire franchise, Lexa Doig, playing the main character, Rowan; although I have a special place in my heart for the '80s babes in part 4 and the remake's girls are insanely hot as well. Lastly, I want to mention I'll have a little rant at the end of the review in vague reference to this film's release.

As for the timeline issues, they sort of acknowledge it by stating Jason was probably captured by the government in 2008 which would fit what I've been thinking, but would that be enough time to build an underground facility at Crystal Lake? The idea is that since Jason's resurrection is, once again, not explained, people believe that the "Freddy vs. Jason" resurrection is the bridge between this and part 9. I suppose it could fit the timeline, but that Jason looks nothing like "Jason X's" version. Speaking of which, this movie starts off on the wrong foot the moment you see Jason; he looks way too human and almost no zombification if any at all. They're either going to have to make another entry of some sort to explain this away or it will forever be left as a continuity error. By the way, how did they capture Jason to begin with? There are too many unanswered questions going on here, but none of it matters because it's all an excuse to skip exposition and get Jason into space as fast as possible. So Rowan works at this facility storing Jason as he, of course, escapes since there's like 5 people guarding the place. She lures Jason to a cryogenics chamber that had been prepared for him since they couldn't figure out a way to permanently kill him; hmm, people seemed to do just fine in part 4, 8, and 9! Unfortunately for Rowan, she is trapped with Jason in the cryogenics chamber after he stabs her and ruptures the coolant. We then jump ahead to the year 2465 with some group of research students stumbling upon Rowan and Jason; uh okay, so no one from the government ever came by to check up on the facility? In this future, Earth is in shambles and humans live throughout space and on a different planet, idiotically named Earth 2.

The students bring Rowan and Jason onboard their spaceship and successfully resurrect Rowan through advanced technology, of which, we will see a lot of throughout the film as one of the better highlights. The fodder this time are a mixed bag as some are over the top stupid while others are kind of cool. I liked the guy with his cyborg girlfriend and the wannabe space marines were interesting especially the badass Brodski. Big shock, when Jason awakens, he rampages and kills just about everyone onboard the spaceship. For the most part the kills are decent with a ton of victims, but I'd say they are less graphic than part 9; I think a lot of people like the girl who has her face frozen and then smashed. I should probably note that the scenes of CGI are especially bad and look to be on the level of sci-fi originals. Eventually, the cyborg girl is given a combat upgrade and she obliterates Jason until he has been reduced to pieces similarly to part 9. Instead of staying dead, Jason is regenerated and modified by these things called nanites that helped repair and resurrect Rowan. Now Jason has become what the film regards as "Uber Jason" as he has robotic limbs, a metal mask, and looks even more unstoppable despite the fact that we never really see him do anything different; in fact, Jason came out swinging much harder in part 6. By the end, everyone is dead except Rowan, the guy and his cyborg girlfriend's head, and Brodski who sacrifices himself to pull Jason into Earth 2's atmosphere. Jason is shown burning up into nothing except his metal mask that lands in a new lake nearby horny teens. I wonder how that will go?

They claim this film was made in order to keep Jason relevant in the public's mind before finally finishing "Freddy vs. Jason," but that makes so little sense. How would making a movie that has nothing to do with another movie, except for the titular character, help in any way? If anything, this would deter viewers because this movie was so over the top it would cast doubt in the audience's mind on your capability to produce a decent film. Everything about Jason's look is way off, taking a classic villain into space and the future is moronic, and the tone was to the point of self-mockery that many fans disliked. On the other hand, somehow it didn't turn out nearly as bad as one would think. Sure, it's stupid and too humorous, but there are some interesting moments, a few creative ideas, Jason was represented decently, and there were enough references to the state of the franchise to make it watchable. I'm kind of glad they rebooted the franchise, because I really don't think I could have tolerated a "Jason XI" that's for sure!

Notable Moment: When Jason is distracted by the hologram simulation and the two hot chicks. It's amusing, but the original idea to have a hologram of Mrs. Voorhees would have been a million times better.

Final Rating: 5/10

Ms. Doig:

Bonus Rant: So once upon a time, when I was maybe 14 or 15 and before "Jason X" came out, I actually wrote scripts for F13 part 10-13. I'm not going to say these were all that good, but I believe they provided a more fitting and epic end to Jason and the franchise as a whole. I don't even fully remember a lot of what they were about except certain aspects like in my part 10 I tried to continue off of what part 9 was going for with the stupid possession shit. I had it where Jason's mask at the end was found many years later and it still somehow retained the essence of Jason to possess someone. From there, it played out sort of like part 1 with you guessing who the killer was since the person did not realize they were possessed by Jason. Toward the end, Jason's spirit had spilled enough blood to regenerate his body and that was how that one ended...with Jason winning; I felt that was a nice change of pace for the franchise. For my part 11 I introduced some kind of proteges of Creighton Duke trying to hunt down Jason since they were the only ones who believed he was still out there. I invented these characters based on the fact that they said Mr. Duke had a training compound, and I tried to explain how he came to the knowledge he had about Jason. I can't recall completely, but I think this one ended with Jason beheaded and the only surviving protege kept the mask and head thinking that was the source of what was allowing Jason to return--obviously it wasn't. For my part 12, I honestly can't remember a thing except that it had some kind of cliffhanger to segway into the last entry. And then for my conclusion to the franchise, F13 part 13, I had it so that all the survivors from all the films returned to fight Jason while being led by Tommy and the guy from my part 11. Throughout the script each survivor has a chance to deal Jason some damage before most died. I can't remember who lived or even how the hell Jason died, which sucks, but I just remember having a lot of fun writing the final showdown and Jason's soul being destroyed by some means. I'm pretty sure it made reference to the spellbook in part 9 and the means in which Jason was resurrected was reversed. The last thing I'll say is that I would have gladly uploaded these scripts if they weren't deleted long ago by a crazy bitch who erased my entire computer and all my stories and writing. Thanks bitch!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After Jason's body is blown up, his spirit jumps from body to body in order to be resurrected through the body of a relative.

Review: Did New Line learn nothing from the travesty that was "Freddy's Dead?" Final Friday my ass! Like we haven't heard that one before. And you can forget all about any form of continuity at this point because almost everything has been disregarded in favor of reinventing Jason from the ground up; however, for those keeping track, the film does imply to be following the timeline I've laid out making the timeframe roughly 2005 or so. It's like no one even watched the other movies and just winged it based on what they thought they knew about the franchise. Oh, you want to know how on earth Jason was resurrected after his absolute destruction in part 8? Well tough shit, because the writers couldn't think up a way so they simply declared him alive again! The dumbest part of this movie is the fact that this very premise is a contradiction of the previous events to begin with. The majority of this stupid film revolves around Jason trying to regain a body and yet we are shown in the opening scene that the film's plot is full of shit since here is Jason alive and well after part 8! If it's so complicated in order to come back, then how did he come back after part 8 you fucking idiots?! Besides, how did he come back originally? Or in part 3? Or in part 4? Or in part 6? I mean, seriously?! Oh forget it, this is what I get for watching part 9 in a franchise about a guy in a hockey mask killing horny teens.

One thing I really do like about this film though is that the main character, Steven, is played by John D. LeMay, who was the best character from "Friday the 13th: The Series." For those of you unfamiliar with that show, definitely check it out; you most certainly won't regret it. It has nothing to do with Jason or anything like that, but it's about cursed antiques that wreak havoc when in the hands of evil people and the few people that try to recover the cursed objects before they do too much harm. There was also the rumor that the final cursed object of the series would be Jason's hockey mask, but it was nothing more than just that--a rumor (although it would have been pure awesome!). Anyway, the film starts off kind of cool with the government or something setting Jason up to be killed at long last as they unload a barrage of bullets and blow him up. I have to say, Jason looks terrible! The design for the character is way off and makes no sense given the previous films, and why the fuck does he have hair again? It doesn't even matter because Jason is in the movie for maybe a total of 15-20 minutes at best. So this time when Jason dies, apparently it is revealed he's a demon of some sort, and the little demon looks moronic to say the least. I'm not even going to acknowledge this with an explanation, because, honestly, it's too stupid to tolerate. Through sheer shenanigans, Jason is able to possess the medical examiner and continues to kill anyone that gets in his way. To the film's credit, the kills are pretty good this time around and much more graphic compared to the last couple of entries. It is explained by a plot device character, Creighton Duke, that Jason needs a body to live in until he can resurrect fully. Yeah, just like how he was possessing people in part 2-8, right?! Speaking of Mr. Duke, how the hell does he know so much about Jason anyway? He knows shit that no one else in the whole franchise ever knew. You can't introduce a character like this during part 9! Why didn't they simply have this role filled by Tommy since he's the most obsessed with Jason, and he's an established character from 3 films? By the way, where has Tommy been anyway? I'll buy he didn't show up for part 7 because he thought Jason was still trapped, in part 8 he would have been worried because Jason's whereabouts were unknown, but by part 9 he should definitely be seeking Jason out again. Whatever.

Well, introducing long lost relatives worked so well for Freddy, might as well do it for Jason. Surely this won't create more continuity problems! We discover that Jason had a half-sister or something like that, named Diana, Diana's daughter, Jessica, and Jessica's daughter, Stephanie; Steven is the father of Stephanie. This little family drama is severely glossed over, but according to Mr. Duke, Jason can only resurrect fully by possessing a family member and can only be killed for good by a family member. Oh, you mean like when Tommy killed Jason for good in part 4 and electricity resurrected him in part 6?! Makes sense to me. It's also implied that Jason was first resurrected by a spellbook that looks suspiciously like the one from "Evil Dead 2" as shown at the Voorhees' home. But wait, if Jason had a home in the woods, why was he squatting in some cabin with the head of Mrs. Voorhess in part 2? Oh the consistency is killing me. Basically, Jason jumps from body to body as he slowly murders a large chunk of Crystal Lake's inhabitants trying to get close enough to a family member; although he does eventually kill Diana. The background characters are somewhat entertaining, even if underdeveloped, but at least there is that on the positive side. After a significant amount of mayhem, and Jason finally resurrects himself through possessing Diana's corpse, the only people alive are Steven, Jessica, and Stephanie. So after all that work to get a new body, Jessica stabs Jason with some magic dagger that Mr. Duke pulled out of his ass before he died. In a way, it doesn't even really kill Jason because all that happens is it opens up a portal of some kind as giant, stone hands pull Jason down to hell presumably. The film then ends with Jason's mask, lying in the dirt, being pulled underground by Freddy's clawed hand. Interesting finale, but it doesn't change the fact that this installment made for a pitiful ending to the franchise.

They simply changed up too many elements from the past while adding too many new, stupid plot points that are both inconsistent and contradictory to the continuity. Jason is hardly in this film technically, so that further emphasized how stupid of a conclusion this would have been. Adding in family members gave the vibe that the writers were scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas and essentially giving up. Jason looks stupid and feels so out of character when possessing people. Making Jason some kind of demon was not only idiotic, but did not fit what we know about the character at all. Overall, this film was a debacle from start to finish. With that said, there's just something entertaining about this movie that made it better than the likes of part 5 or 8. The kills are really good with perhaps the most gruesome death in the franchise when Jason rips the one girl in half. Some of the ideas were acceptable, and I might have even liked them if they weren't presented so thoughtlessly. In the end, this entry is merely so-so but loses extra points for trying to end the franchise on such a lackluster and miserable note.

Notable Moment: When Freddy's claw comes out from under the ground to pull Jason's mask down to hell. It was a nice surprise that had fans excited for a crossover for over a decade. Sadly, this was also the only thing anyone remembers about this movie.

Final Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After being set free from his chains, Jason decides to attack a high school graduation party aboard a ship.

Review: This is by far, the best Jason movie--and by best I mean fucking sucks ass! It's so hard to chose which one is the worst between this and part 5, but, the way I see it, at least this entry had the real Jason so that's why it is slightly better. But don't let that tiny victory mask the fact that this movie is terrible and caused the franchise to die off for a few years. The saddest thing about this film was that it was intended to be much grander in scale with way more emphasis on the contrast between Jason in the woods versus Jason running amok in the cityscape. Unfortunately, this was part 8 in a franchise known for smaller budgets so Jason's time in the actual city became significantly reduced until it turned into a handful of scenes toward the end. I mean, just imagine the potential there could have been if the whole movie were genuinely about Jason in Manhattan killing idiots left and right. Well, anyway, since there is little mention of the events of part 7, we can assume the film takes place the following year putting this installment in 2004 at the earliest. Although, isn't it strange how the New York City of 2004 looks coincidentally like NYC of 1989?!

The thing about Jason's defeat in part 6 was that it was part magical, and the chains were meant to hold him because Crystal Lake was the place of his death; this is further emphasized in part 7 when we see Jason held captive for 8 or more years. But even though this film implies the binding still works, apparently reinvigorating Jason with electricity once more gives him the ability to finally just rip the chains off?! Oh whatever, we know this franchise hates continuity anyway. Conveniently, the couple who brought Jason back had a hockey mask onboard their boat that Jason could take. If this weren't bad enough, Jason seemingly drives the boat to some random dock, I guess, in the Crystal Lake area. For the love of fuck, how big is this lake?! The only person that even spots this oddity is some guy I'm gonna believe is Crazy Ralph's second crazy brother: Crazy Ronny. I mean, if you wanted so many characters to act like Crazy Ralph, why did you kill him off?! We are introduced to our timid leads who are a couple of sorts, Rennie and Sean, who have some family drama that is supposed to make them likable but, in actuality, makes them more annoying; Rennie has a controlling uncle and Sean has a demanding dad. For some reason they're having this graduation party on a cruise ship or whatever and Rennie is nervous because she's afraid of the water. As for the fodder, they're better than they were in the previous film, but some died too early when they had potential to be memorable. I especially liked Kelly Hu with her '80s sexiness and the Julius character should have put up a better fight. Surprisingly, there are a ton of background characters that are sort of written out of the script or, I guess, Jason spares them...WHAT?! Beyond the typical bullshit you expect from these films, there is this nonsensical subplot regarding Rennie having visions of Jason as a child. It turns out Rennie is afraid of the water, because the ghost of Jason as a boy nearly drowned her. Uh, Houston, we have a problem here. Jason hasn't been a boy since the '60s, at best, bitch! It doesn't matter anyway because when you were a kid, my dear Rennie, Jason was already running around killing people! More so, if you were attacked by Jason during his time of being bound by the chains, why the hell would he take the form of the boy-version? Ugh, it makes no fucking sense!

One of the biggest problems with this film is that it's called "Jason Takes Manhattan" and he's spending all his time on this fucking little boaty. Get your ass to Mars--I mean, Manhattan, and kill someone, fool! Plus, instead of censoring the kills, they decided to simply make the kills tame right from the start; Jason has been reduced to the likes of merely strangling and drowning characters to death! Ugh...no. Hell, one of the main characters is even accidentally killed by Rennie rather than Jason; this is just embarrassing at this point. After a decent number of lame kills, a few survivors manage to get to a lifeboat and row their way into NYC. Guess who somehow swam after them? Yeah, Jason fucking Vorhees--you know, that guy who died from drowning because he can't fucking swim! How many eye roll moments is this film trying to squeeze in?! Oh, you want the immediate scene to involve two thugs trying to drug and rape Rennie with Jason to the rescue? Grr...for the love of Rika, I'm going to burst a fucking blood vessel! So after a few scenes that are clearly a set and a few real scenes of Times Square, Rennie and Sean, as the last two survivors, find themselves roaming the sewers that are about to be flooded with toxic waste (I don't think that happens in real life). Rennie conveniently finds a container of toxic waste and throws it in Jason's face leaving him injured long enough for him to be hit with the full brunt of the toxic flood that burns Jason back into the ghost of his child-self.  Wait, what? So Jason has finally taken a defeat so devastating he has no body left to regenerate, and yet this means he turns back into a kid? I don't get it. And why is this fact never addressed by Rennie or Sean who simply leave Jason's childhood body in the sewer? Did any thought go into this film? And then the movie just ends with Rennie's little doggie, that survived somehow, finding his way back to her.

Good lord. Well, I'll admit this, the defeat for Jason was kind of final...so there's that. Jason looks okay for what it's worth despite not following the excellent design from part 7. At least they understood that rather than going to the trouble to make elaborate kills and have them mindlessly censored, they would tone things down on their end hoping to let a few deaths sneak by. Um, uh...they had a doggie and a Crazy Ralph wannabe. I honestly don't know what else to say positively about this piece of shit. There are so many stupid and inconsistent moments in this film that it borders on unbearable. I know I said I hate part 5 the most, but damn, the more I think about it the more I am given pause to reconsider. Virtually every choice in the decision to take the script was retarded and the script itself is laughably bad. They even had Jason talking indirectly although it is the childhood version, but come on! Ahhh, no wonder Paramount sold the rights after this!

Notable Moment: When Jason scares the wannabe gang members after he kicks over their stereo. Funny, but they could have had more kills in the actual city.

Final Rating: 4/10

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Years after part 6, a girl with psychic powers accidentally releases Jason from his watery grave.

Review: It was going to be virtually impossible to top the awesomeness of part 6, but I will give this film some credit for trying something different. The main problems are that Jason comes off more as a nuisance than a full-fledged threat, the deaths are heavily censored, and this is probably the weirdest defeat for Jason in the whole series. This is not to say that this entry didn't contribute some fantastic moments such as the badass intro narrated by Crazy Ralph, the main character, Tina, able to fight Jason evenly, and this is maybe the most menacing Jason ever looks in the entire franchise. Before we get more into it, let's talk about the newest changes to the convoluted timeline. So the last entry we are guessing took place in 1995 at the earliest, and we will give this film the benefit of the doubt and say it opens one year later in 1996; realistically, I feel that this film's beginning takes place more than a year later but oh well. We see a young Tina accidentally kill her father with her psychic powers causing him to drown after being trapped by a collapsed dock. The film then jumps 7 more years into the future putting the majority of this film at 2003. Lastly, I should mention that they pointlessly renamed the town Crystal Lake again.

The premise this time around is that Tina, her mother, and her psychiatrist, Dr. Crews, are returning to the home where the father died, which is conveniently near Crystal Lake, in order to help Tina alleviate the guilt she feels over killing her father. Unbeknownst to the others, Dr. Crews hopes to enhance Tina's emotions in order to fully realize her psychic abilities so he can, I guess, become famous or something? This little subplot could have used more exploration and serves so little purpose to the plot. Later, when Tina is feeling erratic, she senses a presence in the lake, and, believing it to be her father, inadvertently unleashes Jason from his chains. Jason, now played by Kane Hodder for the rest of the main series, looks waterlogged and there are some impressive details to his design like the visible spinal column. But what would Jason be without fodder to slay and we have a brand new group gathering for a birthday party at the house next door. Hmm, where would you like to spend your birthday party? Some place you've always wanted to go? A quiet evening at home with close friends? Or some fucking cabin in the woods at a town where like 100 or so people have been murdered?! Bingo. The fodder characters had some promise when introduced, but, for the most part, they are pointless and maybe do one or two things before dying. The only likable one is Nick and that's because he's supposed to be Tina's love interest and all around cliched nice guy. It's probably worth noting that this is the first entry to introduce a character the audience is anticipating to die which would become a regular occurrence for the rest of the franchise.

Despite the audience begging for some characters to bite the big one, none of the deaths are all that creative and, as I said, censored pointlessly--maybe worse than part 5. Plus, Jason uses a lot more varied weapons so it was annoying to see all the kills so toned down. As with all the previous installments, everyone is massacred until only Tina and Nick are left alive to face off against the big boy. This is when this film really shines and steps its game up as Tina uses her telekinesis to fight Jason excessively. I must say, Jason takes quite a pounding as he's lit on fire, electrocuted, hung, falls a great distance, has objects thrown at and through him, and has his mask crushed. Unfortunately for Tina, nothing keeps the man behind the mask down except perhaps a deus ex machina. After fighting their way out toward Crystal Lake, Tina is about to die when the ghost of her father magically comes out of the water and binds Jason with the chains again. Huh? I know they were trying to continue with the near-invincibility of Jason presented in part 6, but what the hell happened? Tina is psychic, but now she can summon ghosts too? Or did the dad seriously come back to life to save the daughter? A little explanation is due here I believe. Fuck, why not have the ghost of Alice or Crazy Ralph show up and save the day while you're at it?!

I know this entry seems to be toward the top of many fans' list of worst F13 movies, but I think this is more in the middle for me. Yes, the ending is over the top and borderline ridiculous, but this franchise is beyond farfetched to begin with. I was never bothered by Tina being psychic and fighting Jason with her powers, and, in fact, I kind of liked it and felt it was the highlight that sets this entry apart from the rest. I can't, however, overlook the censored kills so easily nor can I ignore how far into the background Jason has gone for this installment. The characters are mostly bland with little likability or personality, and there were too many of them considering the story's emphasis on Tina, her treatment, and the whole drama with whatever the hell Dr. Crews was up to. On the other hand, Jason looks great, the action is strong, and there are some interesting effects and scenes. If you can accept or appreciate Tina being psychic and using those powers to fight Jason, I don't see why anyone would have any major problem liking this entry.

Notable Moment: When Tina is fighting Jason with her telekinetic powers. It was cool to see someone give Jason some trouble for once.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After Jason is resurrected through zany hijinks, he returns to the renamed Camp Crystal Lake to satiate his thirst for blood.

Review: He's back! The man behind the mask...as we finally come to my favorite entry. I know some fans feel this was the point where the franchise officially lost its way, but, seriously, would you prefer we go with the idiocy of part 5?! This installment marked a lot of firsts for the series such as the first time the film takes place at Camp Crystal Lake since the original, we finally see some little kids at camp, the only entry with no nudity, the fourth wall is broken and there are movie-related gags, and this is the beginning of zombie Jason. There is also a theme song based around the film, by Alice Cooper, in classic '80s fashion. Oh but wait, this isn't technically the '80s in the film universe now is it? We've established that part 5 was probably set in 1994, and, even though I'd say quite a few years are meant to have passed between 5 and 6, let's humor the notion that this film takes place only one year later, okay? So, best case scenario, we will put this film at 1995 which will become important since part 7 takes another huge ass jump in time.

The film begins with a third actor playing Tommy who just can't seem to escape Jason drama; Tommy is played by Thom Mathews who is easily recognized from his roles in the "Return of the Living Dead" series. Everything about part 5 is thrown out the window with little to no acknowledgement as we have no idea what became of Pam or Reggie in the same manner we never knew what became of Trish (although they claim she's dead in passing). There was going to be a plotline about Jason's dad making sure Jason was never cremated in order for him to come back, but instead there is a mere throwaway line explaining that no one saw Jason cremated; it's kind of a weak excuse, but at least it's better than creating a plot hole. Anyway, Tommy and a friend attempt to burn Jason's body, after stabbing it with a metal pole, when it's struck by lightning and Jason is resurrected similarly to Frankenstein's monster. It's so lame and over the top, but if you can get past the ease to which Jason returns, the film becomes much, much more enjoyable from then on out. Jason adorns a hockey mask that Tommy conveniently brought him after Jason disposes of the friend Tommy also brought, and, realizing that Jason is significantly stronger than he was before, Tommy runs to the police for help. Tommy is subsequently arrested for getting a little too rowdy as he tries to worn the sheriff of the Jason threat; also, the town has been renamed Forest Green to escape the memory of Jason.

Something I really love about this film is that the fodder is much more varied than the previous installments. You still have your typical teen counselors, but you have business people on some kind of team-building retreat, the cemetery caretaker, the police, and a random couple taking a nice, romantic picnic at night in the middle of the woods (because that's a good idea). Don't forget that there are still little kids to contend with even though none of them bite the big one. The characters aren't completely fleshed out, but they are likable and have some great dialogue for what it's worth; they aren't as good as the characters of part 3 or 4, but they're better than part 2 if that gives you any indication. Also, after a two film hiatus, we have a main character as Tommy finally steps up as the undeniable lead and does a good job as a guy obsessed with killing Jason; they even give Tommy a love interest in the form of the sheriff's daughter, Megan, who is '80s hot enough. This film declares Jason was always supernatural and did, in fact, die when he drowned in 1957. Tommy realizes they need to deal with Jason in a less conventional way so he devises a plan that if they trap Jason back in Crystal Lake, where he originally drowned, it should contain his spirit or whatever. With help from Megan, Tommy escapes jail, and the two proceed to gather the supplies in order to lure Jason back into the lake.

All the while Tommy and Megan run amok in town, Jason is carving out a trail of blood as he finally makes his way back to the former Camp Crystal Lake. The kills are pretty good in this entry as people are torn to pieces and the deaths are way more graphic; the police even put up a decent fight as we see how invincible Jason has become absorbing bullets. Eventually everyone is killed except Tommy, Megan, and the kids staying at the camp which was great that they took the time to make the little kids a part of the story. Tommy goes out onto the lake with a large boulder and a chain with a noose as Jason follows after-- eventually becoming ensnared by this noose. I've read others claiming this to be a plot hole as Jason should be more than strong enough to either break the chain, lift the rock, or both, but they are missing one fundamental plot point: this is supposed to be a sort of magic ritual that is binding Jason's spirit back to the lake; this is why he cannot simply break free. Besides, if you want to bitch, why not point out the fact that Jason kills a lot of people in the water, and this is an asshole that can't swim and died from drowning! If that weren't enough, Megan uses a boat propeller to slit Jason's throat after she saves Tommy from being nearly drowned by Jason. With everyone seemingly safe, Jason is shown trapped in his watery grave but still very much alive.

I can understand why people wouldn't like this film if they're fans of part 1-4 (screw part 5), but this film changes up the formula so much that you have to appreciate a little originality in a franchise simply about a guy in a hockey mask killing people. More so, this is essentially the modern image of Jason as the zombie--not wearing the sack or alive.  But other than changing things up and somewhat mocking the horror genre through little winks, nods, and nuances, there wasn't much they did wrong. The characters are cool, the deaths are among the best in the franchise, lots of interesting plot elements like the introduction of actual campers, the film is funny with many fantastic moments, and Jason's defeat felt satisfying and could have doubled for a final conclusion if needed. As someone who originally watched all these movies in no particular order over the years, this one always stood out with me and continues to be the best entry with the most positive ideas supporting it.

Notable Moment: The entire resurrection sequence is amusing in its over the top presentation, but I especially like the moment when Tommy is about to light Jason on fire and the rain puts out the match. Jason just stands there like, "What now?!"

Final Rating: 7/10

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Ten years after the events of part four, Tommy struggles with his fear of Jason as more teens are murdered around him.

Review: Well, you knew the last movie wasn't going to be the last, so here is a new fucking beginning! Each of these big slasher franchises have some black sheep (Halloween 3, Nightmare 2), and this is that movie for the F13 universe. It's not to say this film has absolutely nothing to do with the other films, it's simply that it breaks up the flow of events between the sequels. On top of that, this is a shitty movie that feels more like a cheap ripoff than a true followup to the previous installment despite its attempt to be innovative. I should also mention the fact that this is where the timeline of this franchise becomes unnecessarily convoluted. Okay, let's establish Jason drowned in 1957, and Mrs. Voorhees killed the two counselors in '58. In part 1 the characters refer to the incidents as "20 years ago" which means the first film may take place in 1977 or '78. But since it's more likely they were saying 20 years because it sounds more solid, let's assume the first film does, in fact, take place in 1980. Oh, but wait, the gravestone said Mrs. Voorhees died in '79 damn it! In part 2 they say that Alice disappeared 5 years ago so that puts parts 2-4 all taking place in 1984 I guess. And now, we are another ten years in the future putting this film roughly in the futuristic setting of 1994! And what a beautifully slimy and grimy vision of the future it is.

The film opens with promise as we see Tommy back from part 4, still played by Corey Feldman, trying to find Jason's grave in the middle of the woods. Eventually he finds it, but some goofballs get there first, dig Jason up, and then Jason kills those idiots. But right before Tommy is about to die, he wakes up and has transformed into some actor named John Sheperd as the 22 year old version of Tommy. Apparently Tommy is moving into some mental rehabilitation clinic in the middle of nowhere, and, from this point onward, the film goes downhill with one stupid scene after another. The story this time around is that someone is killing people while pretending to be Jason just as Tommy is having visions of Jason. Like part 4, there is no definitive main character since Tommy slowly fades into the background and only has a handful of lines all movie long; to be fair, he was meant to be the primary red herring in regard to the identity of the killer. In fact, we are given quite a few red herrings like the sheriff, the director of the clinic, etc., but it's not too hard to guess who the killer is; actually, you may be wondering why the hell they went this direction so much that you don't even pick up on who the killer is. Since the killer isn't really Jason, I'm going to refer to him as Rason as it will make sense later and so you know the difference.

We are introduced to another group of teen fodder as well as a ridiculous slew of random characters who either serve to bolster the body count or to be red herrings. Essentially this film wanted to mirror the approach of the first film but falls into the same pitfalls as the original without that shocking of a twist to the killer. If you thought the characters were one dimensional in the original F13, these people are even less developed and some only have like one or two lines before dying...and there are a shitload of characters to keep track of. I'll give you an idea of how this film rolls: some dude who looks like Duckie from "Pretty in Pink" says maybe two lines early in the film, then has maybe three more toward the end, then just dies. Simply brilliant, is it not? Oh but I thought Duckie was surely the killer! Hey, at least Duckie was meant to be more of a secondary character, but there are like tertiary characters who pop up to die out of the blue such as these "greasers"--yeah, apparently the greaser image will (did) make a comeback in 1994! Were these guys supposed to be going to a Halloween party or something? Alright, so there's a million characters and they're stupid, we get it Ryan, but do they die satisfyingly? Nope. This is one of, if not, the most heavily edited of all the F13 films. Aww, you don't like that? Tough...it's a new beginning!

In the end, the last people alive are Tommy, some chick named Pam, and some little kid named Reggie. I have to say, Rason takes one hell of a beating without even so much as a peep as he is stabbed. Comically, the way they kill Rason is by making him fall onto a spike bed. Seriously, a spike bed?! Oh yeah, I always keep one around on the off chance I have to throw some guy pretending to be Jason into it! It turns out Rason was some guy named Roy who wanted to mask his kills by posing as Jason. We see Roy a few times throughout the film as one of the ambulance drivers or he's an EMT or whatever. Roy's motive was that, at the beginning of the film, we see some kid get killed at the clinic and apparently it was his son. So he went berserk and killed random strangers around town rather than focusing on those he felt genuinely were responsible...uhh...okay. That's the best they could come up with? It's a new beginning! The film ends with Tommy at the hospital somehow thinking he is Jason, and, since some kind nurse left him a hockey mask, he poises to attack Pam as the credits roll.

I hate this movie. It tried so hard to capitalize on what made the original work, but repeated the same mistakes and added new problems. Sure, the mystery angle was decent and it was somewhat refreshing to go back to the atmosphere of the first movie, but this isn't what the F13 franchise was all about at that point. You've established a character that drives this franchise and that's, for better or worse, what the audience wants. Plus, if you're going to try something new, you have to do better than making the killer just some random dude in two scenes! The characters are even more bland than the original, the kills are weak even though there are an abundance of deaths, Tommy would have made for a better killer or even Pam (even Reggie or Duckie!), Rason's motive was stupid and contrived as was Rason himself, and just about nothing worked. It's definitely the worst F13 entry for me.

Notable Moment: When Rason is finally killed by falling onto the spike bed. I just can't get over how ridiculous of a defeat this was.

Final Rating: 4/10

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Jason magically resurrects himself only to continue his rampage of killing unsuspecting teens.

Review: Final chapter my ass! I guess it was just another marketing gimmick to try and top the 3-D aspect from the last entry. Realistically, they knew this was not going to be the last movie no matter what bullshit Paramount tries to claim. If they were so prepared to end the franchise then why did it continue after how stupid part 5 was? Why continue up to part 8 under Paramount's banner? And even then, this franchise kept going and is as hard to kill as Jason himself! Like Chris said, "can't be alive!" Speaking of which, at the end of part 3, like Ginny before her, Chris was simply wheeled off and never heard from again as Jason keeps on trucking no matter what. You need to keep in mind, the timeframe between 2-4 is just a few days apart so you'd think it would be at least somewhat difficult for Jason to slice and dice up the countryside, but, alas, it is not. Essentially, this film mirrors part 3's format pretty closely except it tries to tackle more plotlines while never coming off quite as entertaining as part 3.

I'm not sure if this counts as the official introduction of zombie Jason or are we supposed to believe he survived the beating he took after part 3? I honestly don't know because they don't explain how Jason is alive, considering the coroner states he's dead multiple times, but he isn't invincible yet like he is after part 6 with the official zombie Jason. He looks dead though...eh, it doesn't really matter because it's Jason! Yippee! Once again we have another group of horny teens staying in the vague Crystal Lake area; I mean, seriously, how big is this fucking town?! These kids are hit and miss with some on the level of part 2 and some closer to the likability of part 3. Obviously my favorite is Jimmy who is complaining about being a "dead fuck," played by Crispin Glover right before he did "Back to the Future;" he looks so much younger in this movie too. There are a lot of 80's hot chicks, and the most nudity in the series up to this point, to dazzle the senses; they even added twins! But since this is the "final" chapter, we need even more characters so they added a family that lives right next door to the teens. Amongst the family members are, I guess, the main character, Tommy, played notably by Corey Feldman or is it the sister, Trish? That's one thing that bothered me about this entry: we don't have a true main character to follow. If that weren't enough, we have a bonus character, Rob, who is looking for Jason to avenge his sister, Sandra, who died in part 2. This guy should have been the main character and this should have been the focus of the movie itself! This wasted plotline would later be the central idea of the remake which is one of the main reasons I actually liked that film.

So after killing some random background characters to bolster the already ridiculous body count, Jason, for some reason, heads directly to the group of teens. Does Jason have a sixth sense that detects people in the area or does he smell pheromones or something? Go back to fucking Camp Crystal Lake, asshole! This is also the first entry where Jason seems to know where everyone is and what they're doing at all times; he sort of did this in the other movies, but it comes off more as a noticeable contrivance in this installment. The deaths are mostly good and spaced out nicely, but there were some that were weak like the one twin falling, what, 15 feet at best to her death, and Rob died far too easily. By the end, only Tommy and Trish remain alive as Tommy devises a plan to trick Jason similarly to part 2. Trish, realistically, should have died considering she jumped out a window higher up than the one twin and went head first through glass but okay. Tommy shaves his head and puts on some makeup, I think, to try and look more like Jason as a child. Jason is, of course, mesmerized by the visage and allows Trish to strike him with a machete. Since Jason doesn't take too kindly to being hit by his own trademark weapon, he turns to Trish allowing Tommy his chance to jam the machete deep into Jason's skull. As Jason attempts to twitch himself back to life, or something like that, Tommy goes berserk and wails away on Jason with the machete until he's dead...for good. The two are later taken to a hospital as we see Tommy with a creepy gleam in his eye...uh oh, I smell sequel!

If the franchise had ended at this entry it wouldn't have been too bad of a place to call it quits. It has most of the strong points from the previous entries while improving in a few aspects. The characters are mostly entertaining, the deaths were decent and you even had 13 victims, the pacing and acting were good, and there was an attempt to bring in many different plotlines to spice up the already tired formula. On the other hand, they tried and failed to execute these new ideas not realizing a mere F13 can't handle this when you're spending too much time piling up the bodies; seriously, Rob was so wasted considering he should have been fleshed out more. Not even attempting to address Jason's return was lazy as hell, and, sadly, this franchise cops out in this regard multiple times. And finally, who is supposed to be the main character here, because if it were Trish and/or Tommy, they don't get that much attention compared to a lot of the fodder. Overall, this is one of the better installments in this franchise even if it feels weaker when following part 3.

Notable Moment: When Rob pretty much sacrifices himself to save Trish when she could have easily helped him fight Jason. Not only does she not help but then she comes right back and cries as if Jason isn't sitting right there! You fucking idiot!

Final Rating: 6/10

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Friday the 13th Part III Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Jason is back as he dons the infamous hockey mask and kills people in eye-popping 3-D!

Review: After establishing Jason as the permanent antagonist of the series, this is the entry that instilled the "true" form of Jason as pop culture would perceive him. I think this is also the film casual viewers imagine as the first film or, if they watched "Scream" and know Jason wasn't in part 1, they typically believe this film is part 2. It's funny because the only reason they used the hockey mask to begin with was because they didn't want to have makeup on the actor playing Jason during a production test, and the rest is history; it also helped that Jason appeared much more intimidating than the previous film. Another reason why this entry in particular is the one a lot of people remember more is due to the cheesy 3-D gimmick. It has its moments, I suppose, but the shots are so spread out and pointless; it's no "Avatar" that's for sure!

The story sort of picks up where the last film ended but not really. Like I said in the review for part 2, Paul is written out of the script since his whereabouts go unexplained. Ginny is taken away and Jason is shown limping away in his cabin, which would imply that Ginny perhaps imagined it all. However, if it were all a dream, what the hell happened to Paul? Likewise, if it weren't a dream, how the fuck did Ginny survive? So Paul, what, fought Jason off, disappeared off the face of the planet, and then Jason just gave up on Ginny?! Oh forget it, we already know continuity is almost meaningless to this franchise. Jason decides to pick off some townies because he wants a new set of clothes, and he's a fashionable kind of guy. We are then introduced to our new set of fodder and our lead, Chris, who is female by the way, as they head to some farmhouse near Crystal Lake. You know what, why do all the characters have the most fucking generic of American names in these movies and repeat all the time?! Anyway, the characters are as personable as the last batch but, surprisingly, more likable. Once again, we have '80s hot chicks which helps (me) a lot, and the banter is funny like the Deb character saying, "I'm taking a shower. You should try it sometime." Although, how the hell would this group be friends since they have almost nothing in common? Even Chris' boyfriend-ish guy, Rick, says something along the lines about why does she hang out with these people.

So the group runs into some guy who is supposed to take the place of Crazy Ralph--I'm going to call him Crazy Randy since I have no clue who the fuck he is. Later the more annoying character, Shelly, insights the anger of random gang members who simply exist to bolster Jason's bodycount during the slower periods of the film. We learn that Chris has been on edge, because she was afraid to come back to this farmhouse because she was attacked, unknowingly, by Jason two years earlier; through this visit, she hopes to alleviate the fear. Chris describes the attack by Jason as almost dreamlike, and, idiotically, Jason is wearing the same clothes he's wearing in this film during the flashback. I don't know what to make of this nonsense since Jason should have killed her if it really happened, but if it were a dream...eh, I think I'm trying too hard to give meaning to these movies. While Chris regales us with this whimsical tale, all the other characters are being shredded by Jason. Now, I said Jason would top the lowly killing of a guy in a wheelchair--well, Deb was pregnant and she dies with the best of 'em. To be fair, Jason didn't know this nor was she physically showing it, but would he have given a shit anyway? All the deaths are pretty good here except the one hippy who was electrocuted since he got off easy. In fact, the gore had to be toned down for this entry since everyone was brutally butchered compared to the last two installments. Eventually everyone is dead except Chris who faces off against Jason; hmm, one lone girl fighting Jason...sound familiar? To Chris' credit, she does fuck Jason up a lot as he relentlessly pursues her and realizes he was the man from her nightmare. After hanging him and plunging an ax into his skull, Jason appears to be dead as Chris takes a little canoe ride for some inexplicable reason. She has a crazy vision of Jason still being alive followed by the hallucination that the ghost of Mrs. Voorhees comes out of the water and pulls her in. The film ends with Chris, raving and screaming, taken away by the police as we zoom in on Jason's seemingly dead body.

For the most part, this is one of the best Jason movies in the series and easily on par with the original; this film and part 6 are definitely the highlight entries besides the original. Even though it had no awesome twist, there was a general sense of improvement in almost every avenue including solidifying the Jason character as a pop culture icon. The deaths are better and more imaginative, the characters are more interesting, the 3-D gimmick didn't hurt, and the tone and feel were more concise as this film knew what it was trying to accomplish. I understand these films are just about Jason killing people, so it's not 10/10 worthy material by any means, but this film successfully created an entertaining experience.

Notable Moment: Obviously when Jason first puts on the hockey mask. I know there isn't a dramatic scene or anything, but you can easily tell why they decided to make that his permanent appearance. Plus, he opens with a harpoon shot to Vera's eye!

Final Rating: 6.5/10

Monday, September 2, 2013

Friday the 13th Part 2 Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Five years after the events of part one, a new killer is lurking nearby Camp Crystal Lake.

Review: So after the success of the first F13, it didn't come as a surprise that they would pursue a sequel. But without that shock value at the revelation of Mrs. Voorhees as the killer, what direction could they take the story? Well, they decided to create one of the most infamous and legendary horror icons in film history with the inception of Jason. Sure, Jason was mentioned quite a bit in the first movie and even briefly appeared in Alice's nightmare, but that's not the Jason we all know and love; hell, even this version of Jason is not the true image the icon has taken on...at least, not yet. It's kind of weird too because there is still that whole mysterious angle to the killer's identity as if the audience would once again suspect red herrings. I mean, yeah, it would have been cool if the killer really weren't Jason, but it was explained right from the start it was him.

The movie gets right down to business as we see Jason dispense with Alice in the opening scene. Shouldn't that have sort of been the end of it all? And I thought Jason stayed at the Crystal Lake area? And seriously, who the fuck did that head belong to in her fridge?! We then cut to five years later for some odd reason. I really don't understand this, because it's so unnecessary and it wasn't even needed for exposition purposes either. At a glance it appears we are right back at Camp Crystal Lake, but in fact the setting is some counselor training center in the same area. As my friend would say, "yeah, sure, whatever." We are introduced to a larger cast than the original and yet this film manages to give them more personality than part one; even though we don't get any major backstories, it did help that the kids are more personable and feel more real. Another improvement is that we finally have a few decent looking chicks with emphasis on the Terry character and "dat ass." The main character is a wannabe child psychologist in the making named Ginny, and I guess she's alright. Honestly, the Paul character, who runs the training center, was more interesting as he's really laid back, appears cool, and it is inferred that he's helping a lot of the kids out. But all these clowns are overshadowed by the return of my boy Crazy Ralph!

Later on, Paul explains the mythos behind Jason with the implication that Jason never died from the drowning but grew up alone in the woods becoming more crazy. I know it makes absolutely no sense given what we were told by Mrs. Voorhees, but this franchise is most certainly not known for its accuracy in continuity. Once the story gets rolling, the first one to die turns out to be Crazy Ralph...wait, WHAT?! You killed off Crazy Ralph?! No! They said he had a wife, what does Mrs. Ralph think of all this? Then we have a little bait and switch as half the characters stay at a bar all night while the rest remain at the training center to be chopped into tiny pieces. Unfortunately even Terry dies, but I'm more bothered by Jason killing some dude in a wheelchair. I mean, really, Jason?! I guess because he was set up to be a strong guy it made it a fair fight? Well, don't get too bent out of shape because Jason manages tops himself in the very next movie with a lowly kill. Once all the fodder is taken care of, Ginny and Paul are the last two standing as they must contend with Jason who is wearing a sack to cover his hideous disfigurement. First we have the plot device that Ginny is learning to be a child psychologist, then we have the contrivance that she instantly figures out Jason's psyche, and finally the car she's been having trouble with all film long conveniently breaks down in her moment of need. There's only so much bullshit I can take, movie! Ginny eventually stumbles upon, what I guess is supposed to be, Jason's home in the middle of the woods. He has set up a makeshift altar with Mrs. Voorhees head at the center and some of her clothing. This idea really should have come back more in the franchise since it was an interesting idea, and, as far we know, it's still there. Ginny puts on Mrs. Voorhees' sweater and tricks Jason into believing that she is in fact the mom; Betsy Palmer reprises her role as Jason hallucinates that Ginny is her. The ruse does not last long as Jason snaps out of the trance and attacks Ginny who is saved by Paul. Ginny chops a machete deeply into Jason's shoulder which should have practically cut his arm off but okay. Believing Jason is dead, the couple later hear a noise only to discover it's a little doggie we thought was dead. But come on, this a slasher movie...so Jason comes crashing through the window in his fully, unmasked glory. Somehow Ginny wakes up in the morning, alive obviously, and being wheeled away in an ambulance; we have no idea what happened to Paul, and given the events of part 3, it's safe to say Paul was written out of existence for no good reason.

As a whole, this is actually a slightly better film than the first one, but it lacks that x-factor that the original twist provided. The characters are better and more interesting, Jason is obviously the superior killer since he is fucking Jason, the kills are better, and the story is more fleshed out with some decent ideas. But there were plenty of contrivances, they annoyingly killed off Crazy Ralph, Jason's origin changed, and the film suffers from the problem most of the entries in this franchise have: it's just about a dude killing people and not much else going on. The twist from the original compensated for a lot of this, but thankfully the later entries would try various methods to spice the films up beyond just a guy with a mask killing people.

Notable Moment: When the counselors are sitting around the campfire and Paul tells them the legend of Jason. This scene not only sets the tone well but would become a great setup to other entries.

Final Rating: 6/10

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Friday the 13th (original) Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After closing due to a series of murders over twenty years ago, a summer camp is about to be reopened when the murders begin anew.

Review: I've been waiting like all year to get into this franchise since I already knocked out "Halloween" and the Nightmare films. Well, we finally have a month with a Friday the 13th so you know what that means! Let me begin by saying I will often refer to this series as the "Jason" movies or shorten things to "F13" for practical reasons. Actually, of the main slasher franchises, this is probably my least favorite because of how repetitive the sequels are with so little to set them apart considering there are 11 of these bad boys (not counting "Freddy vs. Jason" since I already reviewed that). Besides this, the original was an obvious and blatant "Halloween" ripoff only made famous by the iconic twist to the identity of the killer. Honestly, if you take away the coolness of the twist, I can almost guarantee you this film would have faded into obscurity. But, it has the twist, so it doesn't matter. Now, let us delve into the depths of this ridiculous franchise!

The story is nothing to write home about that's for sure. Once upon a time...at Camp Crystal Lake twenty years or so ago, some kid drowned and then the following summer two camp counselors were murdered. In present day (which looks too much like the '70s) the camp is about to be reopened by the son of the owner as he has brought his counselors in two weeks early to finish the final repairs. The characters represent the typical fodder that would become a staple for the franchise: pot heads, horny couple, good girl, etc. Thankfully no one is so annoying you can't wait for them to die, but, at the same time, no character is that interesting that you will be invested in their well being; you hardly even come to know the lead, Alice. Modern audiences should take notice of Kevin Bacon in an early role that I'm sure he'd love to forget, although I don't know why. There is an attempt to present the killer's identity mysteriously as we are given red herrings pointlessly, but this is a complete failure because every single cast member's whereabouts can be accounted for during multiple kills! The kills are decent enough but nothing spectacular as a few are off screen. By the end, everyone is dead except Alice which would pretty much rule out every suspect anyway besides Crazy Ralph. Wait, you're telling me you don't know who Crazy Ralph is?! Well he's just the best character in the whole damn franchise! First name: Crazy. Last name: Ralph. Fuck "Freddy vs. Jason" it should have been called "Crazy Ralph vs. Jason!"

Okay, let's just get into it. After tremendous buildup, it is revealed that the killer is actually a woman named Mrs. Voorhees, played excellently by Betsy Palmer. A woman...no, it can't be?! She was never really a character in the film so if you were trying to guess the identity of the killer, you just wasted you're time, fool! Yes, she's not the first female killer out there, but she is the first of her kind in this sense. Considering her strength, or lack thereof, when fighting Alice, I really don't know how she killed everyone and hid their bodies, but okay. Her motive, if you will, is that she continues to blame camp counselors for the death of her son, Jason, who drowned all those years ago while the counselors were fucking around. What makes her so iconic though, besides the fact that no one was expecting a female killer, is her crazed personality as she believes she is talking to Jason's spirit; she expresses this by saying things like "Get her mommy!" in a creepy, high pitched voice. Going one step further, Mrs. Voorhees' defeat is awesome with a slow-motion beheading and then the final scare of Alice dreaming that Jason's ghost jumps out of the lake and pulls her under. In other words, the last 20 minutes or so completely make up for the mediocre setup with a memorable payoff. Finally, this should go without saying, but Jason is not the original killer and what makes him look deformed and mentally disabled is supposedly hydrocephalus.

So what do we really have here? For the most part, this film plays out merely as a mediocre "who done it" film except that you can't actually guess the killer which is somewhat disappointing. The characters are forgettable and as one dimensional as they come; Alice gets the most attention and we don't know a single thing about the girl except that she likes to draw. Even the deaths lacked creativity and are mostly sparse until they all come at once. The acting, pacing, and cinematography all could have used some major polishing, but I can forgive most of this due to the low budget. But what made this film become so successful and turn into one of the biggest franchises with a shitload of sequels? Well, the musical score, as simplistic as it was, added to the atmosphere just as it worked so successfully for "Halloween." I mean, seriously, who hasn't imitated that breathing-like sound the music makes? Even though the red herrings are useless, any kind of guessing game with the identity of a killer keeps an audience interested in the story. And, of course, the revelation that not only was the killer a woman, but that she was completely nuts in the best of ways, transformed this film into an instant classic. Undoubtedly, if it's your first time viewing this film, you will be surprised by discovering Mrs. Voorhees is the killer, and the final scenes are cool and close the film out strongly. Obviously I recommend this film since it's slasher 101 and essential horror viewing, but unlike "Halloween" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street," I don't feel the first entry is the strongest in the franchise. I would have given this movie a 6/10, but I had to give bonus points for my friend Ralphie!

Notable Moment: Virtually any scene with Crazy Ralph since he pretty much stole the show. Gotta love after telling everyone "you're all doomed" repeatedly, he casually rides off on his bike. Pure shenanigans at work.

Final Rating: 6.5/10