Slashers are what we turn to in order to get our sadomasochistic rocks off. The genre is so successful at this because our killers and our victims are rarely given enough time to develop, keeping those we hurt and are hurt by at a distance. This is especially true of the killer. In most slashers, the killer gets a shoed-in backstory, told either through flashback or in murmured expositional dialogue. The Friday the 13th series stands out from other slashers because its villain, Jason Voorhees, is the rare exception. Michael Meyers and Freddy Krueger came premade, but we got to watch Jason grow and develop.
Originally intended to be a tetralogy, the series evolved to be longer and more convoluted (a natural progression for any horror series). The fourth film was originally meant to serve as the final entry but because we watch Jason Voorhees’ character growth, it is hard to easily identify with any one character in the fourth film. Although one does feel sorry for the nubile visitors of Camp Crystal Lake, after watching Jason become the hockey-mask-wearing and machete-wielding killer in the first three films, it’s hard to walk into a film called The Final Chapter and not feel like you’re losing a longtime friend.
Fortunately, thanks to the wonder of film, it’s easy to go back and revisit long-lost friends.
In part, the legend of Jason is vital to the easy identification with a vicious serial killer. As a child, he’s a loner at Camp Crystal Lake, made fun of by campers and counselors alike until his untimely death, which the counselors failed to prevent because they were too busy having sex or just being generally incompetent. All grown up, Jason decides to exact his revenge on a new group of beautiful, sex-having teenagers. Repeatedly.
But whom would most of us relate to better, the sexy teenagers or the shy loner? Everyone dreams of revenge, but Friday the 13th functions on two levels. We get to be afraid of Jason, and we also get to live out our darkest fantasies of revenge: you can be sadist or masochist. Of course, our identification with either Jason or the teens can shift depending on the time in our lives or even the location. For instance, who would you relate to when watching the films in the middle of the woods?
Thanks to Coolidge Corner and the Trustee of Reservations, now’s the time to find out.
Presented at the Rocky Woods in Medfield, MA, Coolidge Corner and the Trustee of Reservations are partnering for a double feature screening of Friday the 13th Part 3D and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter on, and get this, Friday the 13th. The film will be presented on the big screen next to a pond in the woods (a la Camp Crystal Lake itself), and viewers will have the opportunity to camp overnight.
Venue aside, the films alone are a big draw. Friday the 13th Part 3D and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter are pivotal moments in the Friday the 13th series, the former the introduction of Jason’s hockey mask and the latter the first of Jason’s many deaths. But more so than the chance to watch some dope films, what’s being offered is such a unique experience, and it would be no surprise if every visitor ODs on the meta aspects of the screening, as well as the pure cinema of it (to which perhaps only a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show can compare).
Between the films and the venue, you have to take a trip to the middle of the woods with a bunch of strangers to watch these scary films.
More than anything though, it’s time to find out who you are, sadist or masochist?
Friday the 13th: Part 3D
dir. Steve Miner
Friday the 13th: The Final Cahpter
dir. Joseph Zito
190 minutes (for both films)
Movies play at Rocky Woods on May 13th, starting at 8:00pm. Tickets are $25.00 and parking is $5.00.