Friday the 13th

Pan

Most horror films fall apart in the third act. This is an indisputable fact. Think about how good Insidious was up until they point that they showed the goofy Darth Maul wannabe demon. Remember how stupid it was in The Happening when it turned out the trees were killing people? These are not outliers. A lot can hinge on the reveal of the monster (even if it’s not a monster-monster) in a horror movie. If a film can’t deliver on its antagonist, it’s going to end on a ridiculous note instead of a scary one, letting us walk out of the theater laughing in urine-free pants. So here are some monster reveals that aren’t crappy! (But they are spoilerific. Beware.)

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New Line Cinema

Recent Friday the 13th-related rumor mongering has been centered around the possibility that the next film in the franchise might be going the found footage route — hopefully involving Jason with a GoPro camera attached to his hockey mask — but the first solid piece of actual news has turned things in an unexpected direction. Jason Voorhees is heading to the small screen. Again. For the first time. Fans will recall the late ’80s syndicated television series that kept the “Friday the 13th” name while ignoring Jason and his questionable hobbies all together. Basically producers wanted to extend the brand but knew they’d never get a show about teens being slashed on a weekly basis past the censors, so instead they created a story about a pair of siblings searching for cursed antique items. Yes, it was usually as hokey and bad as it sounds, and not even directors like David Cronenberg or Atom Egoyan could change that. But the television landscape is far more forgiving these days, so producer Sean S. Cunningham (who also helmed the first film) is crafting a new show that puts Jason front and center where he belongs. It’s early and little is known as to the details, but Deadline’s announcement features some odd claims that already have us worried.

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slashertruth-2

Ever since the slasher genre took off in the 80s, masked killers hacking up young co-eds has been a horror movie staple. While psychotic killers existed in movies for years (like Peeping Tom and Psycho), it was John Carpenter 1978 thriller Halloween that really popularized the concept and started a chain reaction of copy-cat films. Since then, notable slasher anti-heroes like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees have become synonymous with horror movies in general. These franchises became extremely popular with the moviegoing audiences, but they were also the target by many various groups (including this classic Sneak Previews episode with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert bemoaning this “disturbing new trend”) for being too violent. Here at Film School Rejects, we love our horror movies, and we love our slasher films. However, we are also interested in reality, and that got us thinking: Just how realistic are kills in slasher movies?

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f13 mommy issues

When the original Friday the 13th hit theaters in 1980 it was expected by most everyone to be nothing more than a profitable blip on the genre landscape, but thirty three years later it sits as one of the longest running U.S. horror franchises in history. It was meant to be little more than a riff on John Carpenter’s Halloween, but while that series capped off at ten theatrical installments F13 reached twelve including both Freddy vs Jason and the 2009 reboot. While 1980 may be the most important year for fans of the series, 2013 has quickly become the best thanks to two recent home video releases. First up is Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection which collects all twelve films (across nine Blu-rays) plus an additional DVD of bonus material in a very cool tin case. The lid is heavily embossed with an image of Jason and his machete, while the discs are housed in book sleeves. It’s a controversial move to use the sleeve format instead of plastic trays, but it’s far from the only questionable choice made here by Paramount and WB. The second release is Crystal Lake Memories, a whopping 400 minute-long making-of documentary that explores all twelve movies in depth. Filled with candid interviews, behind the scenes photos, and clips (both theatrical and cut scenes), this is an entertaining and informational doc that should delight both die-hard and casual fans.

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Naturally, Showgirls is the scariest movie of all time, but there are no masks involved. Which means that trying to come up with the scariest horror movie mask feels a bit neutered. Still, there’s no denying the pants-wetting power of 1) hiding your face 2) sometimes with someone else’s face. To determine the worst of the best, we turned to FSR writers to nominate their favorites and fight for them with words. Oddly enough, no one chose Ghostface from Scream (where I stole that awesome Showgirls joke from), so if it terrifies you the most, please feel free to tell us how dumb we are in the comments section. Now, who’s facial seams reign supreme?

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commentary friday the 13th

The original Friday the 13th caught a lot of critical heat back in 1980, and now many people see it as little more than another in a long line of generic slasher films, but it actually deserves a lot more credit than that. It obviously wasn’t the first of the genre, that honor would probably go to films like Black Christmas and A Bay of Blood, but it (along with Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street) began a long, three-way race for horror franchise supremacy that affected the genre for decades. This week sees a new Friday the 13th release hitting shelves, appropriately enough on Friday the 13th, consisting of all twelve films in the series (including the 2009 reboot) in a Complete Collection. It’s not actually as complete as it could or should have been, but one special feature it does include is a commentary track for the very first film. It’s not screen-specific and instead consists of edited together snippets from interviews, but there are still some interesting tidbits to be found. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for Sean S. Cunningham‘s Friday the 13th.

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discs death force and vampire hookers

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Drive-In Collection: Death Force / Vampire Hookers In Death Force, Doug Russell (James Iglehart) is a soldier on the way home to his wife and infant son, but when he runs afoul of two supposed friends he’s left for dead in the middle of the ocean. Luckily he washes up on an island beach where he’s found, nursed back to health, and trained in the way of the samurai by two Japanese soldiers unaware that their war (WWII) ended years prior. Vampire Hookers doesn’t really need a synopsis, does it? Vinegar Syndrome’s latest double feature of obscure drive-in favorites is one of the good ones thanks mostly to the first feature. At its core it’s a revenge flick, but the story touches and fight choreography make it a surprisingly good time. In its uncut incarnation, aka Vengeance Is Mine!, it does for decapitations and gut slashings what Olympus Has Fallen did for head shots. Better, the numerous fight scenes are actually pretty great. And best? The ending! Vampire Hookers meanwhile comes from the same director (Cirio H. Santiago) but is a completely different beast tone-wise. It’s a comedy through and through, complete with physical gags, bats on strings, and a very vampy John Carradine. The seven minute-long (but relatively tame) sex scene stands out though. [DVD extras: Trailer]

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Jason X The End

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Jason X (2001) Set 400-plus years in the future the notorious, seemingly indestructible Jason Vorhees has been in a cryogenic frozen state for around 400-plus years after several unsuccessful attempts to be killed for nearly 20 years of profitable cinema. In this future Earth has been abandoned by humans due to pollution (yes, this did inspire Wall-E) and we’ve moved onto another planet called Earth Two set in another, distant solar system. A small group of students travel back to abandoned Earth on a field trip with their professor and locate the 400-year-old frozen Jason Vorhees (yes, this did inspire Futurama) in the Camp Crystal Lake facility and decide to return back to Earth Two with the infamous killer. Knowing full-well that Vorhees was a killer they decide to thaw him out along with the other frozen scientist they obtained on-site. Obviously they have no clue what the significance of a giant dressed in rags and wearing a hockey mask means to the livelihood of people under the age of 24 (no, contrary to popular belief this […]

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Boiling Point

In doing a quick bit of research for this article, I came across an article from none other than our own publisher, Neil Miller. Now, I didn’t bother to read the entire article, because I got what I needed and wouldn’t want to be swayed by facts or reason or anything, but his opening felt perfect for this topic, so I’m going to use it here: “Expectations are a funny thing. For a critic, they are the worst thing to have. Going into a film with any kind of expectations, good or bad, can color one’s ultimate perception of a film and sway a review one way or another.” I hope that now Neil feels good knowing that I think he has a really good point there, because in a minute, I’m going to use him as an example of what the fuck is wrong with this world. His point is relevant though, because expectations definitely influence how we view movies. If you go into a movie with super high expectations, you may feel let down. If you go in with low expectations, you can be pleasantly surprised. The best thing to do would be to go in with no expectations and just feel the movie slip inside you, deep and raw. But the modern world doesn’t allow this. Everyone is vying for the top spot when it comes to the final word on a film. To be noticed, we shout out the following words: amazing, funniest, greatest, best, of […]

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: After Warren inherits a nice slice of wilderness, he and a few friends head out on a camping trip to check it out. Unfortunately for Warren and his friends, there are a couple of residents who already call the land home – and a few of them are ready to kill to keep it. Also, they kill for fun.

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Since it’s number 13, and we’ve all been infected with the Horror virus around these parts, this week’s column will be bloody and terribly scary. Well, not scary exactly (though I’m sure it could give Wes Craven’s decidedly non-trouser-messing recent stuff a good run for its money), but, like, dedicated to Halloween. Next week, with it being the last column before All Hallow’s Eve, I’ll be looking at some costumes you can pick up from the world of horror movies, so this week it’s all about murderous merch. Scary swag. Ghoulish goodies. And loads of other not-funny, but pleasant alliterative phrases in the same mold…

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When I was talking with some friends a while back about how much my wife and I enjoyed Insidious (probably one of the first genuinely well-made horror films in ages), I started thinking about how they’re almost sure to greenlight a sequel any day now (still waiting on that) for some studio to run into the ground like James Wan and Leigh Whannel’s previous collaboration, the Saw series. Saw got dumber and shittier as it went on, probably due to the fact that by fourth film or so the plot was incomprehensibly stupid. What’s the point of all this again? And Jigsaw had how many apprentices now? By the end of the series, I was expecting him to have solved the financial crisis by employing the majority of Americans to set moronic traps for each other. But the thing that’s easy to forget is that the first Saw movie was actually a pretty damn good movie. It wasn’t unique by any means. It owes a lot to Dario Argento and his fellow Italian Giallo filmmakers, but that’s not the point. The point is, Wan and Whannel paid attention. They actually put forth an effort to make a film that wasn’t a remake or a sequel or a cheap knockoff. They showed their hand as far as influences go, but fuck, so does Quentin Tarantino. Hell, even Saw II and Saw III weren’t bad. So maybe that’s the secret to making a horror film that’s not ball-crushingly idiotic. Maybe it just […]

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For those not keeping up with the times, it’s October. Which means that everyone has horror fever. Scary movies are being played in dark rooms, nubile coeds are being given manly arms upon which they can grasp when the brown note kicks in, and people like Brian Salisbury are busting out VHS copies of Demons 2 in a ritual that is as old as evil itself. For some — many of you, I would venture — it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And while I’m slightly more inclined to celebrate the beginning of bikini season, who am I to rob you of your fun? With that in mind, I browsed on over to Yahoo Movies today to find this fancy new infographic. I’m told these are all the rage in Europe. This one pits three of cinema’s most prolific slashers together in a good ole fashioned kill-off. Who killed more in their cinematic careers, asks the graphic, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees or Freddy? According to this, it’s Jason by a landslide victory. More impressive is his victory when you consider the fact that he took his first movie off, letting Mama Voorhees do all the slicing. So here’s my question, horror lovers: are there any more prolific killers out there? Also, which of these fine hellions had the most interesting series of kills? Check out the full infographic after the jump if you need a reminder as to which movies these kills came from.

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Boiling Point

This rant is entitled “Hey, Horror Movie Characters” for three reasons. One, 31 Days of Horror is in full effect and we’re talking horror every day. Two, it’s directed at characters in a horror movie. Three, I can’t put “Kill the Mother Fucker” in the subject header. I love horror movies. This much is true and obvious. That doesn’t mean I give them a blank check written out to idiocy. There are plenty of bad things in horror movies, even in good ones. Primarily, people making bad decisions. Granted our victims are almost always young teenagers, unwise in the ways of the world, potentially inebriated, and often thinking with their sex organs rather than their central nervous system. Still, even in my most obliterated of states I know that I’m not going to fit through the doggy door in the garage. So hey, horror movie characters. Quit making dumb decisions and kill the mother fucker.

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When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: When young Whitney Miller goes missing with a group of friends, thanks to the violent tendencies of homicidal hillbilly Jason Voorhees, her brother Clay goes searching for her in the woods surrounding the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. With some newfound cannon fodder, his luck doesn’t hold out long as the machete wielding, hockey faced killer gets his slash on in this Platinum Dunes reboot. Killer Scene: With thirteen or fourteen people brutally dispatched, there are plenty of scenes of note. In fact, with lots of boobies exposed, there are even more I could note. My favorite scene combines both boobies and blood – the feisty Amanda shows off her breasts and then retreats to her tent with her boytoy. When he goes in search of a noise (big mistake), she gets stuffed in a sleeping bag and hung over a roaring campfire. Boo and Yah.

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Every so often, a film emerges from the fray to prove its popularity and warrant a sequel. More and more, franchises are planned out in advance, but when one film turns into a franchise, a cash register sound goes off in the ears of the studio. Even though the kid stays in the picture, sometimes the director does not. Maybe the director is done working with the material. Maybe the producers want a more seasoned hand. Maybe a simple schedule conflict keeps him or her out of the chair for the next round up. But the show must go on, so the producers find another director to fill the slot – a director who ostensibly inherits all the strengths and weaknesses of a franchise birthed by someone else. Cinematic sloppy seconds that could have easily turned into sloppy sequels if it weren’t for a steady, talented director guiding the ship. Here’s a list of the ten best.

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Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; eat up while it’s still free! If you are unfamiliar with this column, congratulations on retaining all of your IQ points. Junkfood Cinema is where, every week, I bring the cinematic pain in the form of some truly bad films. While these movies lack a certain…everything, there are aspects of each of them that I can’t help but enjoy.

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With a heavy hit at the box office, we might be seeing a glove full of knives coming at us in 3D soon.

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Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Tolerate 3D.

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Yesterday, horror remake producer Brad Fuller (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) engaged in a bit of conversation with one of his fans on Twitter regarding the possibility of a Friday the 13th sequel…

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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