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Friday, 13 March 2015

A Fact about each of the Friday the 13th Films

It's Friday the 13th and what better way to celebrate the unluckiest day of the year by looking at the famous film series. As a horror fan I have seen these films and they are my guilty pleasure. They are no masterpiece like Halloween or The Exorcist but they such fun films, (although I hate two of them and three I have to be in the mood for). Nevertheless each film contains some interesting trivia and so let's talk about them. As there are 12 films in the series, (a thirteenth should be coming out in 2016), so I'll do a fact on each individual film. Now let's grab a machete and put on a hockey mask for the most recent film...

Warning: Contains Spoilers

Friday the 13th (2009)- The Producer Michael Bay walked out of the premiere 
Michael Bay had produced the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003 and although it was not a patch on the original it was still a creative and relatively good homage to the classic. Bay then decided to do the same for Friday the 13th and give Jason Voorhees a new origin story as he did with Leatherface. However he was not directing; he was only a producer so did not see the full film until the premiere. The remake of Friday the 13th contains the most sex and sexual content in any of the series and normally in past films Jason's kills overshadow the scenes which normally remain brief. This film however had nudity and sex crammed into every other scene and to make matters worse the kills were not even impressive! (You might be able to tell that this is the one that I hate although the acting and plot was bad even for Friday the 13th standards) Michael Bay was so angry at this that he refused to watch the entire film and walked out in disgust. Although he might have stayed if a few CGI explosions were thrown in.

Freddy vs. Jason- A three way crossover 
At the start of the 1990s New Line Cinema bought the rights to Friday the 13th and after Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday they decided not to make another film, (this lasted eight years). However the company also made the Nightmare on Elm Street films and an idea to pit Jason Voorhees against Freddy Krueger came about. In 2003 Freddy vs. Jason was released. The plot involved Freddy Krueger being unable to stalk the dreams of Springwood's teenagers because the adults have never mentioned him so Freddy has been forgotten. With Freddy relying on the teens knowing him he is doomed to remain in hell until he thinks of a way to make them remember and that is where Jason comes in... Freddy tricks Jason into going to Springwood, kill a few people so would get the residents talking about Freddy again thus giving him back his power. This works until Jason starts killing too many people, making people talk about Jason giving him more power, so an angry Freddy fights Jason. This is quite an interesting concept as you can easily imagine Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees being urban legends whose popularity rises and falls with each generation. Similar to how some urban legends of the 1990s and pennydreadfuls of the 19th Century have been reinvented and became even more popular with Creepypastas. However the original idea for an ending was to have a third character cross over into the fight. The idea was to have Jason and Freddy fight to the death in Crystal Lake which becomes a fiery whirlpool and drags them to hell. The next day the main character and her father would walk on the now dry lake and the dad would pick up Freddy's glove. That is until Freddy's hand bursts from the ground and drags him under. The camera would pan to Freddy putting on his glove ready to fight Jason until hooks burst from the wall and impales them. Then from the shadows this figure would appear...
Yes Pinhead from the Hellraiser films would come out of the shadows and then say: 'Gentlemen, what seems to be the problem?'. New Line scrapped the idea though knowing that getting rights to Pinhead would be just too difficult.

Jason X- The screenwriter based it off Alien
In this film Jason goes to space, (you read that correctly). As you get your head around the fact that New Line's first idea when bringing back the series was taking Jason to space you might be surprised that screenwriter, Todd Farmer, based the idea for Jason X off of Alien and the Alien franchise. It is unsurprising with Alien being much like a slasher film with a solitary figure kills off the cast one by one in a dark and claustrophobic scenario until the lone survivor manages to fend the killer off. Alien today remains one of the most critically acclaimed horror films of all time. Certain plot points bear a striking resemblance to Alien such as how they find both killers, (a frozen Jason and a facehugger), take them on board who then kills the first people they see and slowly hunt down the ship's crew while at one part changing form, (the Alien going from a chestburster to the adult Alien and Jason becoming a cyborg). Both are eventually defeated by being forced into space, (Sigourney Weaver's Ripley firing the Alien out of an airlock to a character maneuvering Jason into a planet's atmosphere burning him up). Although Jason X does contain one of the greatest kills in the series: Jason submerging someones face in liquid nitrogen and then smashing it against a worktop.

Jason goes to Hell: The Final Friday- The Necronomicon makes has a cameo
The Necronomicon made its appearance in the works of H.P. Lovecraft but in cinema it is famous for being the book that resurrected the dead as the zombie like Deadites in the Evil Dead films. In Jason goes to Hell the same prop used in The Evil Dead and The Evil Dead II makes a quick cameo with one of the character's briefly holding the book. This is fitting with the premise of the film being Jason trying to resurrect himself. The prop creator Tom Sullivan was very upset though that his prop was used without his permission and has refused to let any of his props to be lent out without his say so. This film contains another few curious fact pieces though. At the start of the film Jason is blown apart and his heart is eaten by a coroner, (it is a strange film), but the heart prop would later be used in Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk till Dawn as the heart of the character Monkey Man. The other little piece comes through context. This was the first Friday film made by New Line, who also owned Nightmare on Elm Street. At the end of the film a dog digs a small hole to find Jason's mask but Freddy Krueger's arm comes out the ground and drags it under! Freddy was played by Kane Hodder who also played Jason in four of the films making him the only actor to play both Freddy and Jason in an official film.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason takes Manhattan- Only 36 minutes happens in New York
Despite it being called Jason takes Manhattan the film does not take place in New York City until 1 hour 4 minutes, in a runtime of 1 hour 40 minutes, but instead takes place on a party boat for most of the film. The reason for this was cost. Despite having the highest budget yet at $5 million filming in New York was just too expensive and they cut costs by filming in Canada and cutting out most of the scenes in New York. They did not even have enough money to bring back Lar Park Lincoln to reprise her role from the previous film. Originally the script had Jason going to all the famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building but costs forced them to abandon this idea. One scene where a boxer continuously punches Jason, (for almost two minutes), before Jason uppercuts his head off was originally going to happen in Madison Square Garden but had to be rewrote to happen on a miscellaneous rooftop. One scene which remained in the film was Jason standing in Times Square and during filming Kane Hodder who played Jason refused to break character and would delight fans by staring at them all of a sudden giving the appearance that he was actually Jason.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood- It was originally going to be Freddy vs. Jason
By 1988 Paramount Studios wanted to breathe new life into the series and thought that a crossover was in order. Part VII was going to have Freddy Krueger battle Jason Voorhees in the ultimate battle. Considering that the film was going to be released in the 1980s when both series were at their height of their popularity so it was going to be a big hit although problems arose with copyright. Paramount had problem gaining the rights to Nightmare so the script was rewritten to have Jason battle a mentally scarred teenager called Tina Shepard with telekinetic powers. Although this sounds stupid they pulled it off very well with some fantastic special effects. This film also saw stuntman Kane Hodder don the hockey mask which was perfect seen as how much Jason is beaten up and thrown about in this entry. The director described it as 'the Terminator vs. Carrie' and it is an accurate description.

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI- It contains countless movie references
This is my personal favorite of the series and contains many movie references. For one the title credits come over a James Bond parody where Jason walks across the screen and flicks blood at the camera! The film contains though countless of horror references. The hardware store is called Karloff's after the famous actor Boris Karloff who played Ihmotep the mummy in Universal's The Mummy and more famously the Frankenstein's Monster in Frankenstein. A character mentions a Cunningham Road which is a reference to Sean Cunningham who directed the first film while another character is called Sissy, a reference to Sissy Spacek who played Carrie in the film adapted from Stephen King's novel. Director Tom McLoughlin wanted to honor the Universal horrors and even said that he wanted the film to suit being in black and white. Unlike the previous entries which recapped on prior installments this one starts off in a graveyard during a thunder storm which sets the mood; almost like a classic horror like Dracula or Frankenstein. The opening of the lead Tommy Jarvis unearthing Jason's grave and accidentally bringing him back to life through a lightning strike is also similar to Frankenstein meets the Wolfman where the Wolfman is resurrected by a bolt of lightning after his grave is unearthed. In this sense Jason is much like the Frankenstein Monster, a giant undead hulk who never stops...

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning- A chocolate bar sets the plot into motion
At the end of Part IV Jason Voorhees is killed and this new film had a novel concept; to have a new killer in each film. This, if done correctly, could have made the series much more interesting and could have turned it into a murder mystery. With Jason being in the sequels you can guess what happened. The basic problem of this is that they didn't want Tommy Jarvis to straight up be the killer as the previous film had implied. The first kill in the film is not by the Jason copycat but rather by an angry man who kills another with an ax, (the victim is pictured above), because he offered him a chocolate bar. Someone was paid to write that. Anyhow Jason seemingly back from the dead starts killing people off and eventually after a showdown the killer is revealed to be a paramedic who take away the ax victim but plot twist. It turns out he was secretly the ax victim's father and was inspired by Jason Voorhees to get revenge. Out of everyone he was the least likely culprit because he was in two scenes and not even center in one of them! What I find strange though that this film had the highest body count until Jason Lives. This man killed more people than the real Jason!

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter- The cast hated the director Joseph Zito
The Final Chapter. How naive. Despite this the director Joseph Zito was hated by multiple cast members. Due to a tight budget Zito wanted to cut corners on safety which included making Judie Aronson stay in a near-freezing lake between shots and Peter Barton to actually be slammed into a shower wall during his death scene. Corey Feldman, (famous for The Goonies and The Lost Boys), became bratty on set because of Zito and when he had to hack at Jason at the end of the film he imagined the sandbags that he was hacking to be Zito. Ironically it was the actor who played Jason, Ted White, who campaigned for better treatment and managed to get a mat for Barton's death scene. White was so angry with Zito that he refused to have his name in the credits.

Friday the 13th Part III- It was intended to be the final film
Part III was the first film in the series to be in 3-D and was the first film to feature Jason's hockey mask. It was also intended to be the last. At the end of the film the last survivor manages to embed an ax into Jason's head and after stumbling around for a few seconds he fell down, seemingly dead. They made references to the first film thanks to this such as the end where the corpse of Mrs Voorhees rising from the water making reference to the corpse of Jason doing the same in the first film. Also a character reads a copy of the horror magazine Fangoria but if you look quickly you can see an article about Tom Savini, the make-up and special effects artist who made realistic special effects for the first film. On a side note the place where the ax hit Jason can be seen in every film, the original mask was recast for each film to keep continuity.

Friday the 13th Part II- Betsy Palmer forgot that she was in it
The films show us that Jason is devoted to his mother, even keeping her jumper and severed head in his cabin in the woods. During the film the main female lead notices how she resembles Jason's mother, played by Betsy Palmer, and puts on her jumper and pretends to be her. Jason is fooled by this and Betsy Palmer's face is edited over the actresses' to make it look like that we are looking through Jason's eyes. However Palmer forgot she even appeared in the film! During a horror convention in 2003 when talking about why she didn't reprise her role as Pamela Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason she said that she hadn't appeared in one of the films since the first one. With her scene being filmed in one day in front of a black screen she didn't consider it acting and even forgot about shooting it completely.

Friday the 13th- The final scene has been rated one of cinema's scariest
It may come to a surprise but Jason isn't the killer in the first film. The killer is not revealed until the last twenty minutes where it turns out to be Pamela Voorhees who has been driven mad by the drowning of her son Jason in 1958 so has blamed the camp counselors and the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake caused her to have another relapse. After the last survivor Alice manages to decapitate Mrs Voorhees with her own machete she takes a canoe to the lake and sets sail only for the next morning for the decaying corpse of Jason to burst out and drag her under. The complete shock of this has allowed it to terrify audience after audience, even earning the film spot 31 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Even if you know about what is going to happen the anticipation of it is terrifying and definitely allows Friday the 13th to stick in the mind.

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