Horror. Worldview. Faith.

Friday the 13th Part 7 – Review

Friday the 13th Part 7 – Review

Jan 13, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by John Carl Buechler, 1988.
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The 7th entry into the popular Friday the 13th franchise welcomes the appearance of Kane Hodder as Jason Vorhees.  Hodder is today recognized as the definitive Jason, thanks in part to his portrayal of the masked killer in this film.

Friday the 13th Part 7 features a girl named Tina who is continuing to cope with the death of her father, a death she caused by telekinetic activity.  Years later, after failed attempts to understand her strange abilities in a mental institution, Tina is taken back to the place of her father’s death at Crystal Lake.  She is accompanied by her mom and doctor played by Terry Kiser (who unfortunately will always been seen now as the dead guy in Weekend At Bernie’s).  Right across the road, of course, is a group of college students throwing a big birthday party for their friend.  That is super lucky  – the body count would not be near as impressive in this film if not for that party.  In a moment of rage, Tina tries to resurrect her dad from the lake using her special powers (they never lifted his body from the lake?) but accidentally raises Jason instead.  Oops.  From there it is kill after kill until Tina really does resurrect her dad who drags Jason back into the depths of Crystal Lake.

Part 7 was supposed to pit Jason Vorhees against Freddy Krueger, an idea that went down in flames because Paramount Pictures and New Line Cinema could not reach an agreement – big shock there.  Instead, they came up with this beauty of a plot.  The movie does have some memorable kill scenes, including the famous sleeping bag against a tree kill that ranks as the best death of the series for many fans.  Interestingly, the movie was heavily cut and many kill scenes were not what the director initially intended.  Even when the movie was released to video, additional edits were made.  For example, the aforementioned sleeping bag scene featured 6 whacks against the tree in the theatrical release, but only one whack in the video release.  Weird.

I do have to give the film credit for one incredible scene, perhaps the best scene in the entire franchise.  At one point a guy named David, one of the party goers, ventures into the kitchen for a late night snack, armed only with his flashlight (the power was off) and the occasional strike of lightning.  Little does he know that Jason is standing in the corner, just watching and waiting for his next victim.  The viewer gets a quick glimpse of Jason when the lightning flashes again.  This is truly a great scare, is incredibly creepy, and is an act of subtlety that the franchise is certainly not known for.  The movie is worth the viewing just for those 5 seconds.

Overall I am indifferent to part 7.  I think it is silly and screams of the writers running out of clever ideas (which unfortunately continues to escalate, as in the next installment we see Jason stalking New York and then later he ends up in space.  Oh boy).  But, it is still campy, visually fun, scary at parts, and does feature a terrific Jason Vorhees.  Those are good enough reasons for me to give it a somewhat positive review.  But by this point, you either love these movies or hate them.  If the former, then this is right up your alley.  If the latter, then move on.

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Friday the 13th Part 6 – Review

Friday the 13th Part 6 – Review

Oct 1, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Tom McLoughlin, 1986
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I am determined to finish my Friday the 13th series before the end of the year, so I am keeping them coming at a faster rate.  To read my other series reviews, simply click on “Friday the 13th Series” on the categories at the right hand side of the screen.

Friday the 13th Part 6 – Jason Lives, is actually a pretty darn good horror flick.  There are two elements that clearly are emphasized in a greater capacity with part 6:  First, Jason is given his superhuman strength that is he is most known by today.  Second, comedy becomes an important part of the series.

The story continues to follow Tommy Jarvis, that beloved kid (played by Corey Feldman in part 4) who stabbed Jason about 3 million times.  Jason is currently in a mental institution and grown up, but he escapes (with a friend) to make sure Jason is really dead.  The only way to do that of course is to dig up his body.  Which they do.  Unfortunately, just as Tommy flips out and sticks a metal fence post into Jason’s heart, lighting strikes it and “energizes” Jason, giving him more strength than every.  Tommy’s friend meets a very ugly end and Tommy runs away.  Form there, the movie is about Tommy trying to convince the sheriff of “Forest Green”, which is the new name of Crystal Lake to try and avoid the association of the city name and Jason, that Jason is at large.  The sheriff thinks Tommy is the one doing the killing, so he locks him up.  Thankfully, the Sheriff’s daughter, Megan, knows Tommy is not the killer and lets him loose.  One by one folks start dying until Tommy lures Jason into the lake, throws a big chain net over him, and drowns him.  Of course, Jason is not really dead and just waiting for part 7.

This movie follows a similar path as Halloween, at least in the way that one character knows the carnage that is about to ensue while the others are in disbelief.  Tommy, similar to Dr. Loomis, is warning everyone he can come in contact with, especially the sheriff, about the destructive nature of Jason.  In this movie, Tommy is to blame for Jason’s rampage.  In Halloween, everyone blames Loomis for Myer’s escape.  Also, I like the way the filmmakers are at least trying to think through the series logically, changing the name to Forest Green is a nice touch and gives credence to the earlier films.  Some of the kill scenes are pretty gruesome, while others are just ridiculous.  Jason keeps finding longer and longer tools to impale people with.  We also see an increase in the comedic element with part 6.  McLoughlin admits to using comedy as a means to engage the viewer, doing things like following an American Express card down a watery path after Jason slaughters a victim.  For some, this a great addition while others hate the comedy.  I don’t a bit of laughter here and there, just so long as the film doesn’t completely turn on itself and makes the series its own satire.  I don’t think that happens here.

A review of part 6 would be incomplete without mentioning the great Alice Cooper soundtrack, including the title track “The Man Behind the Mask.”  If you have seen the movie, then right now you are humming “He’s Back!  He’s the man behind the mask and he’s out of control. . .”  So, if slasher flicks are your thing, then this is a pretty decent one and worth a look.

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Friday the 13th Part 5 – A New Beginning

Friday the 13th Part 5 – A New Beginning

Sep 20, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Danny Steinmann, 1985
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The Jason Voorhees mania is in full effect by the time we reach part 5 of the series and so is the stereotypical method and approach to each film.  The franchise by this point has fully become a caricature of itself and no one in the world cares; well, except maybe film critics who take things too seriously.  The movies are fun, entertaining, and provide some nice kill scenes here and there.  In the horror genre, sometimes that is all we need to say, “well done.”  This one is directed by Danny Steinmann (his very last time behind the camera I might add) and it at least attempts to move the story in a little different direction.

Part 5 follows the story of Tommy Jarvis, the young boy we fell in love with in the previous film (played by a young Corey Feldman).  For five years he has been stationed in psychiatric hospitals and is now placed in a halfway house with some other troubled residents.   He continues to struggle with nightmares about Jason returning and killing him.  After a brutal murder of a resident by a fellow resident, folks start getting knocked off one by one.  One of the highlights of the film is a guy named “Demon” who Tommy and Pam, one of the halfway house’s managers, goes to visit.  He sings this incredibly awful song while sitting in an outhouse (yes, an outhouse), but for some reason it has always stuck with me.  Click here to listen to the song he sings just before meeting his end.

By the end of the movie we discover that Jason has not been killing all these people after all, but rather it has been the father of the resident who was brutally murdered at the beginning of the film.  He was actually one of the paramedics who came to the halfway house and when he saw that it was his son who had been killed, he snapped and decided to “mimic” Jason.  The film ends by suggesting that Tommy himself could be now trapped in the mind of Jason and ready to kill – not unlike the ending of Halloween 4.

I give the movie credit for attempting something new with the “fake” Jason idea.  Still, it is just another Friday the 13th movie with young people getting killed for no apparent reason.  With a budget of just over 2 million and a domestic gross of over 22 million, you better believe more Jason movies are on their way.  And we will review them right here on The Blackest Eyes.

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Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – Review

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – Review

Aug 21, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Joseph Zito, 1984
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The formula for a successful Friday the 13th film had been firmly established by the time part 4 (The Final Chapter) graced the silver screen in 1984.  It was established so well that the film, intending to be the last in the series, grossed enough money to make Paramount Pictures rethink killing the franchise.  Obviously, they decided to bring Jason back – time and time and time again.

So, The Final Chapter is a classic Friday the 13th film, filled with a bunch of silly young people who get knocked off one-by-one by the maniacal and revengeful Jason Vorhees.  The fun part of this particular film is a young Corey Feldman playing Tommy Jarvis, a character that will be reprised in two more films.  The character and personality of Tommy Jarvis fit the style of Corey Feldman quite well and the character is actually believable, unlike virtually every other character in the film who simply exists to be creatively killed.  Death scenes include a corkscrew to the forehead (of Crispin Glove, AKA George McFly), a couple of impalements, a harpoon to a crotch, a nasty collision with some shower tile, a finger through the eye, and an axe to the head.  Nice.

The ending of the film is the best since the original.  Tommy Jarvis ends up shaving his head to resemble a young Jason Vorhees.  The ploy works long enough to distract Jason so that Tommy’s sister, Trish, can get the upper hand.  Tommy eventually flips out and ends up taking a machete to the corpse of a presumed dead Jason about fifty times.  It is actually a pretty freaky little scene to see Tommy with a shaved head going crazy on Jason yelling “Die Die Die” the entire time.  This whacked out ending will be used in part 5 to explain the thrust of that film’s plot.

This one is probably the best since the original or at least a close tie with part 2.  That, of course, is a relative statement and remains a pretty bad horror movie.  But as I have said all along through this series of reviews, if you like slasher films and don’t mind the same, tired formula, then it is hard to go wrong with a Friday the 13th film.  This one is no different.

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Friday the 13th Part 3 – Review

Friday the 13th Part 3 – Review

Jun 27, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Steve Miner, 1982
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This review is part of my ongoing Friday the 13th series.  You can read my reviews of the other films by clicking the “Friday the 13th Series” category link on the right hand side of your screen.

The last time we saw Jason Vorheers, he was in a big time fight with Paul and Ginny from part 2.  Friday the 13th Part 3 picks up closely after the events of part 2 and Jason steals some new clothes from a seriously run down shop and, of course, kills the shop owners.  He then makes his way to “Higgins Haven”, a lakefront property, to hide out in the barn and recover a bit from his romp in part 2.  Cue a van load of young people making their way to Higgins Haven in order to give Chris, the lead actress in the movie, a chance to confront the demons in her past, including being assaulted by a deformed person.  One of these future victims is named Shelly (Larry Zerner), an overweight and highly annoying guy who holds a special place in my heart for being one of the more memorable characters throughout the entire FTT series.   Shelly has a love for the grotesque and keeps scaring his friends by putting on masks and utilizing fake blood.  He also has a hockey mask that he uses at one point to scare the wits out of folks.  That hockey mask of Shelly’s will make Jason Vorhees one of the most recognizable monsters in horror history.

Attempting to elaborate on the plot is pretty pointless.  One by one, people start getting knocked off.  A group of bikers join the scene for a while also getting killed.  The various methods of murder include shooting a girl in the eye with a speargun, slicing a boy in half with a machete, electrocution by way of being thrown on a fuse box, and the squeezing of a guy’s head so hard that his eyes pop out.   The final confrontation ultimately comes down to Jason and Chris, who after taking his mask off reveals himself to be the one who had attacked her previously.  She ends up hanging Jason, but that of course is pointless.  Finally, after Jason is distracted, Chris puts a machete into his head, apparently killing Jason (and creating the famous cut in the hockey mask).

The movie ends with a nod to the original.  Chris gets in a boat and sets a drift in the lake, falling asleep.  When she awakes, she realizes she hasn’t gone very far and she is still near the dreaded barn where the carnage took place.  Jason is seen looking out the window and runs outside to get her.  At this point, in a complete rip off of the final scene in part 1, Mrs. Voorhees comes out of the lake and pulls Chris in.  Of course, it ends up being all a dream and Jason is finally seen in the barn, presumably dead.  Until part 4!

The film was released in 3-D, being the first Paramount Pictures 3-D release.  By this point, the series has established its formula of making sure a bunch of young people are at a secluded place so Jason can kill them.  Interestingly, from this point on, the series will build on people who have mental issues finding themselves at odds with Jason.  This movie is only notable for the introduction of Jason’s hockey mask and a few fun scenes.  Other than that, not too much here to hang your hat on.

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Friday the 13th Part 2 – Review

Friday the 13th Part 2 – Review

May 3, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Steve Miner, 1981
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Steve Miner has the honor of being one of the few directors who I consider to have created a memorable and important remake with his 2008 Day of the Dead film.  Unfortunately, he also has Halloween H20 on his resume.  Thankfully, he rebounded strong after the debacle of H20 with the classic Lake Placid.  So, for the most part, Miner is a name we can trust and it all started with a sequel to one of the most influential horror films of all time, Friday the 13th.  This review is an ongoing set as I attempt to review the entire series.

Friday the 13th Part 2 is actually a pretty creepy film.  Contra to the first movie, which provides a terrific performance by Betsy Palmer as the sadistic killer Mrs. Vorhees, the sequel gives us Jason doing his thing that will spark on “Jason mania” that lives to this day.  However, only true horror fans might know that Jason is missing a vital part of his “pop culture” fame – no hockey mask in part 2.  That comes later in the third entry.  Instead, we have simple brown bag tied over Jason’s head with one eye hole cut out – like I said, pretty creepy stuff.

The movie is about a program where soon-to-be-camp-counselors can attend and learn how to be even better counselors.  The location for the learning experience is a cabin just a little ways from the dreaded Camp Crystal Lake.  Although Paul (John Furey), who is the program coordinator, warns the attendees to stay away from “Camp Blood”, the warning just elicits a greater desire to go check it out.  Jason doesn’t really care where the teenagers are held up, he is just seriously ticked off after watching his mom get beheaded by Alice in the first film (consequently, Alice meets her end at the very beginning of the film).  So, in what is now classic horror style, the counselors start getting knocked off one by one.  Already by the second film we see the film makers attempting to become more and more creative with how the victims meet their demise.  This will ultimately lead to the franchise becoming a characature if itself, but it is still manageable in part 2.  We begin to notice that Ginny has a rather disturbing obsession with Jason, which we learn is prompted by her own study in child psychology.  Jason is actually now fully grown, but the film and the viewers assume, correctly, that he still has the mind of a child.  All of this comes into play when. . .

It finally comes down to just Jason and Alice.  By the end of the film, Alice has managed to stumble across Jason’s deteriorated living quarters where he has a whacked out shrine to his mom, complete with her severed head.  When it appears that all is lost for Alice, she turns on the child psychology, puts on his mother’s blood stained sweater (which is difficult to watch) and pretends to be Jason’ mom.  One of the more disturbing parts of this scene is that in order for Alice to get her hair just right, she gets about 2 inches from the severed head and studies how Jason’s mom wore her hair, trying to make herself look the same.  When it is all said and done, Paul saves the day, tragically (we assume) by giving up his life to save Alice.

This review, and the many to follow suit, simply comes down to this – – do you enjoy campy, cheesy slasher flicks where sexually minded teenagers are getting mutilated one by one?  If so, then this is a pretty good one.  If you are looking for a more intelligent, crafty, thought provoking film that might actually have something to say, then the rest of this series isn’t really for you.  Having said that, there is a reason why this series is so long running.  Jason is a fun, and at times scary, killer to be afraid of.  The setting of the films always lend themselves to a minimum of a good feel and a few decent scares.  And part 2 at least attempted to work off the concept of Jason being a helpless child trapped inside a raging, adult body.  At this point we do not see the “indestructible” Jason.  Again, that will come in part 3 in a very big way, where many of the cliched aspects of the series are poured in concrete.

So, I give this a positive review and certainly find myself enjoying the film every time it finds its way into my dvd player.  Haven’t seen it yet?  Give it a try.

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