FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Feb 1, 2006

OK, OK..."uncle"! Now stop!

Well, you knew it had to happen, right? I mean, weren't we all just sort of waiting for this announcement? According to (who got the tip via Variety), there's a new Friday the 13th flick in the works. Apparently this movie, the 12th in the series if you count 'em all, will follow the lead of the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie and tell the story of the origin of Jason Voorhees.

Yes, Jason, we see you there. Now just go away.

I've been thinking about this idea...musing...ruminating if you will. We can all agree, I think, that the series should've ended a long time ago- most logically after Part IV: The Final Chapter when l'il Tommy Jarvis got Jason to slide his face down a machete, then proceeded to flip out and hack up the psycho into little pieces. I mean, "The Final Chapter", y'all- you feel me? Since then, at the bequest of film companies reaching for the movie-watching public's almighty dollar, Jason has been killed and resurrected and drowned in toxic sewage and sent to hell and sent to space and fought ol' crusty-faced Freddy Krueger. He certainly knows how to Carpe Diem, but he knows not when to let go gracefully.

Wait, where was I? Ah yes- ruminating. I'm wondering- would it be possible, at this point, to make a decent 12th Friday the 13th movie? It's wholly unnecessary, of course, but is it possible? Let's pretend we care. I suppose the most logical path to take would be to tell the origin of Jason- what else can you do with the property at this point? Still, the movie is completely superfluous, but we're ruminating here, people.

If the task somehow fell to me to write this movie, I'd most likely continue the idea presented in Part II, or as I like to call it, "The Ginny Theory". The Ginny Theory proposes that Jason never died, never drowned in the lake all those years ago. He got out of the water and spent his days in the woods around Camp Crystal Lake, decorating his lean-to, foraging for nuts and berries, and eventually watching his mom's head get lopped off by counselor Alice. He became crazy backwoods man, running around in a series of mask-and-coverall ensembles until Tommy Jarvis shaved himself bald and went to town with the machete. The new movie would focus on Jason's early years, falling somewhere between getting out of the lake and the happenings in Part II. We'd see Jason building his lean-to, foraging for nuts and berries, and becoming a man- finding hair where there was no hair before. Maybe he'd meet a crazy, backwoods'd be just like some twisted version of The Blue Lagoon! Yeah, that'd be awesome! It'd be all- no, wait. That would be terrible.

OK, here's an alternative plan. Rather than focusing on Jason, why not focus on his mother, Pamela? Who's Jason's father? Where did he end up? What did Pamela do in the years after Jason drowned, as she thought he did? She killed the counselors directly responsible for the accident, then killed a whole bunch more when Steve Christy tried to re-open Camp Crystal Lake- but what about all the years in-between? What if there were 2 stories happening concurrently, following both Jason and his mother in that lost time? Sounds a bit interesting to me. But that would never fly- it would be too different. Audiences just want to be little baby birds, opening their mouths wide to be fed the same old worms time and time again. Give us oozy, corpse-y Jason in a hockey mask, killing faceless, obnoxious teens! Yay! We'll complain about it later, because, well, it has to suck, doesn't it? It's simply a tired idea. So we'll complain about it, but it's what we want. Anything really fresh or really different, so long as it had a "Friday the 13th" slapped on it, would be treated with as much scorn as the old re-treads precisely because it wouldn't be the same old re-treads. 'Tis a conundrum.

My prediction is they'll tie Origins in with Part IX somehow- you know, even though we all thought that Jason was basically a normal person underneath it all (at least at one point), it turns out that if you eat Jason's heart, you kinda turn into Jason, and Jason is really like some demon spirit that looks like an alien-penis-thing. Now that's the way to go, right? Sigh. Oh well. The fact that we've heard precious little about this proposed movie but they're shooting for an October release date speaks volumes about what we're going to get on-screen.

You know what, New Line? Make a movie about Jason Voorhees that's something like this and I'll be the first in line:

Fuck Freddy Krueger. I want Jason vs. little Italian stereotype plumber vs. hedgehog. Until that comes along, I ain't holding my breath!


Anonymous said...

Oh no, say it ain't so . . .

Now, I have some love for the Friday the 13th flicks, but . . . but this just crosses the line a bit, doesn't it? I mean, we already kinda/sorta know the origin of Jason, don't we? I mean, what else IS there to know?

Do we NEED to de-myth-ify the man behind the mask? Part of what makes Jason (or what USED to make Jason) so damned intense is that he just WAS, you know?

Sigh . . . gotta love the Hollywood horror factory, don't ya'?

Anonymous said...

Having read Peter Bracke's wonderful, excellent, glorious, and classic (plus a whole bunch of other praise words) book Crystal Lake Memories, I have to say that...I'm psyched. So is my son, who, at the tender age of 11, now thinks that Jason Voorhees is the coolest thing since toast. (Wait, toast is technically warm, isn't it?) Anywho, consider how every other film in the series was, by and large, slapped together fast, cheap, and sloppy, it is nice to see that things haven't really changed all that much. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood was put together in only six months, so nine seems like a rather comfy stroll to me. Hey, if the production isn't a rush to meet the deadline marathon of pain and suffering for the cast and crew, then it ain't a Friday the 13th shoot. Know what I'm saying?

To quote Old Monty, "Come on, bring it!" Then again, I'm just a pushing forty slasher fan that wants the magic of his 80s horror youth back. :-(

Stacie Ponder said...

I've had that damn book on order from Amazon since early November! Grr! It was supposed to ship a few days ago, and I just know I'm gonna get a notice telling me it's not coming anytime soon. Again, grr, I say! Stupid lousy limited editions. Me covet!

I agree, there's a part of me that's so fond of the early Friday movies that I still get a glimmer of excitement at the prospect of a new flick. But for me Part VII was the last fairly decent Friday, and since then the franchise has hit rock bottom. Jason X is actually sort of fun, if you treat it like the ludicrous B-movie it is. But I absolutely loathed F vs J and Part IX. Recent takes on the major horror franchises (Friday, Nightmare, Halloween) make me feel like such an old coot, totally out of touch with 'these kids today'and yearning for the good ol' days. The modern slasher just feels so...mean and ugly for lack of a better term. Writers need to remember how to make interesting, somewhat developed characters- characters for whom we might feel a little something when they're killed. Now it's just all about the body count, which shouldn't be the point.

John Barleycorn said...

A few points:

1. I have nothing to do at work today. Hence the posts.

2. Don't you think eleven is a little young to be watching grisly horror flicks? I craved those movies when I was ten and eleven but they scared the shit out of me and I was plagued with nightmares. Maybe wait a while. Just a suggestion...

3. Stacie, you make an excellent point saying "Writers need to remember how to make interesting, somewhat developed characters- characters for whom we might feel a little something when they're killed." I explored a similar theme in my review of Audition, which you can read here. (I know - it's total self-promotion, but I wrote the exact same thing and even linked it to the Friday the 13th movies. If we care, it matters. If we don't, it's boring. That's a basic principle for any type of movie. If the characters in Chinatown were two-dimensional, do you think it'd be a modern classic? Do you think Jack Nicholson would even have a career?

4. Freddy vs. Jason absolutely did not suck. It was brilliant. It took all the trashy elements of both series and cluster-fucked them together, forming this mutant hybrid slasher flick with zero character and maximum humor and gore. No, of course, you didn't care about the characters, but whatever, right? You get two horror movie icons slashing at each other like a bunch of sex crazed Christian teenagers ripping at each other's clothes before Sister Mary returns from her potty break.

5. This comment is very long.

6. The newest F13 flick will inevitably suck, but I'll see it anyway. They won't add characters. They won't bring Ginny back for some revenge. I mean, seriously - fuck that Tommy character. He was a vagina. Ginny is where's it's at. She was tough, mean, intelligent, cunning; she was a survivor. Except she totally fell off the face of the Earth and nobody has heard from her since. Or have they....?

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think 11 is too young. He is going to be 12 in a few (very) short months and I was the same age when I saw Alien, Halloween and countless other horror pics. His introduction to the mythos came via the Freddy Vs Jason in 30 seconds...with bunnies short. Then the movie itself...afterwards he became obsessed with Jason's backstory. I think it's the allure of this huge monster having been an "innocent" - albeit psychologically unbalanced - child at one point that did it. He "relates" to the teased and abused portion of Jason. (Perhaps there'a little Jason in all of us.)

I also show him the making of documentaries, tell him who Kane Hodder is, and we talk about the story aspects and the difference between fantasy and reality.

Besides, both he and I have far more real (and personal) tragedies to inspire nightmares than some hulking stuntman in a cheesy costume.

John Barleycorn said...

I don't know your son, but I don't think he relates to the "tortured human element" of Jason Voorhees. I think he likes blood and tits. Well, at least he's straight, huh?

Stacie Ponder said...

Hey Ghost, how were they planning on bringing back Alice? I assumed she died after, you know, getting an icepick through the temple... :D

Brennon, I kinda see what you're saying with the whole 'too young' thing, but I think the decision should be made by the parents on a case-by-case, or kid-by-kid basis. I was going to horror movies with my parents before I was 11! While I did, of course, get scared, I wasn't tortured by what I saw, or far as I can tell. I'm sure if I wasn't able to handle the first horror movie I saw, I wouldn't have seen another until I was old enough to do it on my own. I mean, I saw Friday the 13th in it's original run, and I must've been only 8 or 9. They did, however, draw the line at the Romero zombie movies, figuring they were way too much for me- and they were right.
We talked about what's real and what's not, I knew right from wrong, blah blah blah. While I did turn into a horror fan, I'm not desensitized to violence in the least...and actually I like gore alot less than most horror fans do.

Some kids are really smart, you know, and can handle those sorts of movies, or can talk to their parents if they CAN'T handle them. And some kids shouldn't be allowed to see horror movies until they're old enough to do it on their own. Kid by kid basis.

John Barleycorn said...

You're right, Stacie. I was being glib.

Anonymous said...

I don't know your son, but I don't think he relates to the "tortured human element" of Jason Voorhees. I think he likes blood and tits. Well, at least he's straight, huh?

As far as I can tell, he is. ;-)

The only reason I thought of that "tortured human element" was because the one scene in Freddy Vs Jason he talked about the most was the dream sequence where the child Jason is teased and pushed into the lake. He was just fascinated with it. Probably because he's teased at school.

Not surprising, he wants a hockey mask now. I'd be concerned, but last Halloween there were about six or seven Jason's in the school parade (and one Freddy, but that might have been in 04 - there are at least several every year.). These were third and fourth graders! (My son is in fifth.) They may not know the movies, but they know the monster.

How this relates to the topic, I don't know. Just sharing random trivia.

Anonymous said...

As for the parents-letting-their-kids-watch-horror-flicks-thing: like Stacie started getting out, it's up to the parents, you know? As for this:

I think he likes blood and tits. Well, at least he's straight, huh?

What does THAT matter?

Anyway, back to the subject on hand - yeah, the continuity of the Friday the 13th films kind of fell apart once New Line got a hold of the franchise, but, then again, what REALLY could have been done after the ending of Jason Takes Manhattan? Ugh.

There are some fun moments in the 9th and 10th installments, and while F. vs. J tries REAL hard to tap the Friday the 13th mythos, it does seem to fall a little short, with New Line letting their home-grown icon - Freddy - steal the show.

As for retelling Jason's origin, we pretty much already know what we need to know, don't we? Overexplaining his motivations and such is just going to take some of the "scare" out of Jason, isn't it? We know the basics . . . We know ENOUGH to be scared of him . . .

. . . or, at least, we should.

Stacie Ponder said...

Brennan, you shall now be known as Glibby.

Sorry, Ghost- when you said "Alice" I assumed you were referring to the heroine from Friday the 13th. I stopped watching Nightmare movies after 3! :D I liked 1 and 3 way back, but I've never been much of a Freddy fan. He was too 'funny'...or should I say 'punny'- and he was really only scary, to me, in Part 1. The scene where his arms get really long and scrape the walls and his face is hidden...classic. Freddy on TV? Meh. And what does a Freddy 'reality' series mean?!

Brotha, yeah, you're right that we DO pretty much know Jason's story...of course there are several to choose from, so pick which one you like best. Personally, I don't think there's much to de-mystify regardless...Jason, to me, is just a guy (Michael Myers, on the other hand...). Once Part VI rolled around and he began coming back from the dead, well, then it all got sillier.

I think if they focused on his mother they could make something interesting and fresh. BUt they wouldn't do that. But I'm always the optimist!

Anonymous said...

My super-psychic prediction concerning a key plot-point in Jason's detha/rebirth cycle can be summed-up in two words:


We all know that mom was a loon... but perhaps Jay had a father who dabbled in black magic, eh?

Anonymous said...

THe series definitely took a different turn with the sixth installment. Throughout the first four films, Jason was pretty much . . . well . . . a guy in a mask (burlap or hockey, take your pick). (And, yes, I realize he wasn't really the main (knife) thrust of the first film.) Getting hanged in Part Three's climax aside, he really didn't DIE until the end of The Final Chapter. Bringing him back kind of took it from a big hulking brute of a man, to something a bit more supernatural which, while I still kind of like, wasn't quite the same thing, you know? (Am I rambling here?)

I'd be interested in seeing a little of Jason's childhood, but . . . I don't know . . . I keep thinking back to that Exorcist prequel with Henry Thomas and having a hard time thinking that's the best of ideas, you know?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just read it isn't a's a remake. Which explains all the "origins of Jason" talk.