Friday The 13th is such a peculiar series. Its entries feature incredibly weird tonal shifts, and the original received a total of ten sequels and one remake, which is absurd to think about when you look back at it’s incredibly humble roots. The series starts out with a simple slasher story of a mother taking revenge on a camp of counselors after the tragic death of her son, then shifts to said son coming back to avenge his mother, all the way to that son being eventually shot into space. The series gets weird, but it never loses its charm, in a very strange way. Even when the series hits the lowest of lows (Jason Goes To Hell, for me), you’re still intrigued to continue just to see what batshit crazy ideas the creators concocted for the next one. If you’ve never seen any of the Friday The 13th films then it’s really easy to get lost. Obviously, you can start at the beginning, but if you want a simple crash course into the different Jasons and the types of tones of the films provides, then it’s best to cherry pick two Friday films: one to show the earlier, more terrifying Jason, and one with the much later zombie like, unstoppable monster Jason. Luckily, the Coolidge After Midnight film series made it a lot easier, showcasing two very different tales centered around everyone’s favorite hockey-masked killer with their Friday The 13th outdoor double feature at Rocky Woods Reservation: the terrifying Friday The 13th: Part 2 and the hilariously epic and over the top Friday The 13th: Part 7: The New Blood.
Fun fact for Friday The 13th newbies: Jason doesn’t even come into the picture until Part 2 (unless you wan’t to count the very end of the first one, but you get what I mean). Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s heartbroken and overprotective mom, is the real killer in the first one. At the end, it should all be over, with the final girl taking her assailant’s head off– that is, until Part 2, where the audience realizes that, shocker, Jason was never dead and he’s back for revenge! While the sequels all do continue from the last one, Part 2 truly does feel like a well constructed continuation of the first, right down to Alice (Adrienne King), the survivor from the first film, being killed right at the beginning by Jason. This kick starts the film into high gear, as a new round of doomed counselors move into Camp Crystal Lake, obviously not learning from the past. One by one, and in more gruesome ways than the first, the counselors are picked off by a bag headed, overall wearing Jason.
Part 2 is easily the most slasher-esque film in the series, taking more notes from the original Halloween than anything. From the masked killer to the group of stereotypical teens, this is a classic formula perfected just a bit more for future films to copy and paste, and since this is a newly made batch of horror, Part 2 ends up being actually scary! The jump scares are indeed warranted, and the kills are brutal in their own rights. On top of all this, Jason was actually a terrifying sight to behold. Running with weapon in hand, not stopping or slowing down for anything or anyone, Jason’s only goal was to pick off these innocent and not-so-innocent camp counselors as they hid and ran as fast as possible. It’s absolutely terrifying. Part 2 will always reign supreme as my favorite of the series, as it achieves everything it’s going for. From being an incredibly scary film, to a well constructed sequel to an already perfect horror classic, and introducing Jason to the world of cinema, Part 2 is near perfection. A sequel to a cheap slasher film had no right to be this good.
7 years later and deep into 1988, cheap slashers and horror films reign supreme, and this is now the year of the 7th, yes 7th, Friday The 13th film. At this point, Jason has been given a hockey mask, killed, and resurrected, (there has even been a copy cat Jason!). Having done everything possible under the sun at this point for Jason, the producers decided to get creative for this next one: instead of having a “final girl” run away or simply survive, what if she fought back and eventually beat Jason? One thing the series never really touched up on, with the exception of Part 4, is the idea of someone simply “beating” Jason and winning a fight through brute force. Entitled Friday The 13th: Part 7: The New Blood, this entry into the series follows a girl named Tina (Played by Lar Park-Lincoln) with telekinetic powers, much like (and borderline ripping off) Stephen King’s Carrie. Years after accidentally murdering her abusive father as a child, Tina and her mother (Susan Blu), along with the weird and sketchy Doctor Crews (Terry Kiser) revisit their old family home they abandoned years ago on, get this, Crystal Lake! After experiencing a freak out after a session with Doctor Crews, Tina accidentally awakens a submerged Jason, who escapes his chains and does what does best, both against Tina’s family and a group of unsuspecting teenagers next door who are all there for a good time.
The New blood is ridiculous and asinine, but is the best film of the whole “zombie” era of Jason films. Never is it scary, but never is it boring as well. Most of the film runs like your stereotypical Friday film, with a now awakened, zombie looking Jason (played by Kane Hodder, by the way, who is arguably the most recognizable Jason) rounding out a pretty hefty body count filled with promiscuous teenagers. It gets interesting during the last half hour, though, as Jason is met with his first piece of resistance in the film series’ history. Tina, now in control of her powers, utilizes them to try and take the almighty behemoth out through any means necessary. Whether that is tightening the mask on his head to try and suffocate him, to setting him on fire, all the way to awakening her dead father to fight Jason, it gets nuts in the best way possible. It’s easily the most entertaining of the Friday sequels, with the characters at their most stereotypical and the kills being the most brutal, which unfortunately we aren’t shown much of thanks to the dreaded MPAA heavily cutting the film. So if any of the sequels are perfect to showcase the silly Zombie Jason perfectly, The New Blood is the one to watch.
We should be ever so lucky that there is a Friday the 13th in October this year. It’s perfect, and literally warrants a Friday The 13th marathon! I mean come on, this isn’t going to happen for a while (not sure on this one), so take it in while it lasts. Big shout out to Coolidge Corner Theatre for putting this double feature together, which is already sick in its own right, but the fact that they’re showing this in the middle of the woods on Friday The 13th in October is literally a dream come true! Any Friday fan could tell you how perfect this double feature pairing is too; not only do you get the scary and terrifying Jason of Part 2, but you get the silly and mummified movie monster Jason that is The New Blood. If you have the night off, buy a camp site at the Rocky Woods Reservation, and spend the night with everyone’s favorite ’80s slasher icon. Thank you Coolidge! Chi Chi Chi, Ma Ma Ma!
Friday The 13th: Part 2
dir. Steve Miner
Friday The 13th: Part 7: The New Blood
dir. John Carl Buechler
Double feature begins at 8:00pm @ Rocky Woods Reservation in Medfield– click here for details!
Presented by Coolidge Corner Theatre