Monday, August 16, 2010

Friday The 13th: A New Beginning (1985) / Friday The 13th: Jason Lives (1986)

f13thpart5.jpg picture by sikomike
Welcome back to Crystal Lake, the place where care free teens screw and get screwed. With a machete that is!  Poor Tommy Jarvis. It's been tough on his psyche with what happened so long ago. Sounds like a new beginning....  Of a Friday The 13th so unlucky that even the big guy in the hockey mask decided to sit this one out.
  On a stormy night, young Tommy Jarvis walks in the rain to the local grave yard. He watches from a close distance as two dumbasses decide that it is actually a great idea to dig up Jason Voorhees.  Being that it is Jason Voorhees, he kills the two yokels and begins coming towards Tommy, raising his machete as Tommy screams.   GOTCHA! It was just a nightmare and we see that a now teenage Tommy is being taken to a mental halfway house for disturbed youths.  This mental halfway house consists of annoying as hell kids named Joey, Violet, Robin, Jake, Tina, Eddie, and Vick.  That same day, the annoying fat kid Joey annoys Vick so much that Vick snaps and chops up Joey with an axe over a candy bar like five minutes into the movie. The ambulance comes and takes the body. Soon, a killer begins to murder anyone in the area leading to the halfway house where Tommy is. This causes Tommy to relapse and begin slipping further and further into insanity. Too bad the killer ain't Jason and all of the characters for the most part are annoying. New Beginnings in this case are Apocalyptic.
   In 1984, Paramount Pictures released Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter, which was the fourth and at the time going to be the last film in this loving horror/slasher franchise. Unfortunately for us, but very fortunate for Paramount Pictures, Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter was a huge hit at the box office opening weekend and beat out the grossing of the first three movies. This meant what? To make a sequel. Who gives a fuck if they killed off Jason in The Final Chapter? So what if The Final Chapter was going to be our last Jason film? The hockey masked slasher makes money from these kids who want more,  then baby, let's give em' more! So, Paramount Pictures released the fifth installment in the popular horror saga titled Friday The 13th: A New Beginning just a year later in 1985. And you want to know something? It sucked. It sucked real hard.
     Friday The 13th: A New Beginning is one of those horror sequels that actually has an interesting idea going on, but fails to execute it properly.  Now, I know what most of you are probably thinking. That I hate this movie so much because it turns out that Jason is not the killer. Am I right? Well truthfully, that is not exactly why I hate A New Beginning.  Sure, I wish that they had brought Jason back because I fucking love the character just as much as any fan of this franchise does.  My issue is that the identity of the imposter Jason is so predictable. I mean seriously, you can literally guess who it is like twenty minutes into the movie.  They actually spell it out for us, which leaves the rest of the movie with no suspense at all. I'm sure many Friday fans left that theater pissed off and cheated on opening night back in 1985. I know that I would have if I was a teenager back then.  Getting back to what I was saying about the film actually having a good idea going for it, I liked the whole angle with Tommy Jarvis. What happened to him in the last movie has left him very on the edge of sanity. This guy looks like he could snap any minute. Then, someone begins killing everyone around him disguised as the same maniac that he is trying to forget, causing him to slip even further into madness. I also liked the whole idea at the end that he might actually take up the mantle for Jason because of the murders. Those memories are uncontrollably coming back to haunt him. He begins to see Jason standing at the foot of his bed, in the mirror, outside the window, and so on.  Too bad that the suspense was killed when the filmmakers spelled out exactly who the imposter Jason was and why they were killing in the first place.
      The biggest issue I have with this film aside from the weak suspense are the very annoying characters. Basically every character in this movie to some degree annoyed me and was just unlikeable.   We got the usual sexually active couple Eddie and Tina.  The fat annoying kid with a chocolate bar fetish named Joey, who thankfully gets chopped to pieces in the first like ten minutes. Vick, who is the badass who kills Joey and ends up going off to jail.  Robin, the... What the fuck did she do again?  The annoying robot dance challenged wannabe Punk/Goth chick Violet.  If I wanted to see a chick that acts like a robot in a Friday The 13th film, then I would watch Jason X thank you very much. At least that robot chick had removable nipples and was a badass!  There's a dude who stutters named Jake, who obviously has the hots for Robin and weirdly tells her that he wants to make love to her. That would be like walking up to some random girl at the mall and asking if I could lick her pussy. Dumbass!   We also get some other characters too like Matt and Pam who run this halfway house for mentally disturbed teens and some annoying kid named Reggie who's grandpa works at this place.
   Speaking of mentally disturbed teens, the teens in this house don't have ANY symptoms of being disturbed, well aside from obviously Tommy.  Stuttering is a sign of being disturbed?  So, if I dance like a robot horribly, then I'm a sick and dangerous person? Actually, probably yes, but that's beside the point.  I didn't know having sex qualifies for being sent off to the looney bin. If that's the case, then I better register at Smith's Grove or Craven Asylum. If I wanted to see all of the victims in a mental institute then I would simply watch the awesome A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.  Anyways, there's also a crazy redneck woman named Ethel and her retarded son Junior. This lady is fucking hilarious and is somebody I really needed to make me laugh instead of wanting to strangle most of the characters in this movie.  I loved it when she calls her son a big dildo.  All in all, the characters are pretty annoying for the most part and definitely forgettable.
    The screenplay written by Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen, and Danny Steinmann is pretty bad. I truthfully wish that this film centered solely on Tommy and what he is dealing with. That would have been a far more interesting story and film.  This film just didn't work for me as a fan of the franchise. I will admit to liking the idea of Tommy slipping into madness because of someone starting the murders back up in Crystal Lake, but it just didn't come together well.  I've seen many horror sequels that brought good ideas to the table, but just didn't know how to execute them well to make a good movie. Rob Zombie's Halloween II is the best example of this. There was some really interesting ideas going on with the Michael Myers/Laurie Strode story that had Laurie slightly falling into the evil that she was trying so hard to repress, but it just didn't come together right. In this film, I like where they were trying to go, but like Halloween II (2009), it just didn't get there.
     In case you don't notice, the killer turns out to be Roy the ambulance driver, who also just so happens to be Joey's father.  I'm just not going to worry about spoiling it since the film itself is basically a spoiler alert.   Speaking of Roy aka imposter Jason, I love how his hockey mask has blue marks instead of red like the REAL Jason's hockey mask. Looks like he got it for a buck or two at K-Mart. I also love how his wardrobe looks EXACTLY like Michael Myers's outfit from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Nice, not only is this guy a Jason imposter, but he's also a Michael Myers imposter too!
    And now for what is USUALLY the highlight of this franchise: the Kills! The kills in Friday The 13th: A New Beginning are pretty tame by Friday The 13th standards. A guy gets a flare shoved in his mouth, which is actually the best kill in this movie. Another guy gets some kinda belt wrapped around his head and is tightened so much that it cuts into his eyes. There's a girl who gets her eyeballs plucked out with garden shears. Okay, this is supposed to be Jason, not Cropsy.  The rest just consists of meat cleavers, decapitations, stabbings, slit throats, and more removal of eyeballs. Okay, so this fake Jason is a mix of Jacob Goodnight from See No Evil and Agnes from that bad Black Christmas remake.  All in all, pretty lame kills.
I see that they tried to pay homage to Part 2 & 3 by having Pam come at fake Jason with a chainsaw and that the final act takes place in a barn. That just makes me want to go back and watch Part 2 & 3 again to get this film out of my head.
    The music by Harry Manfredini is okay here. It's my least favorite of his musical themes in this franchise, but it ain't bad.
   Danny Steinmann is pretty tame with the directing.  It's nothing special, but it ain't the worst I've seen either from a director.
 The acting is pretty meh and awful for the most part. It's probably because of the lame screenplay I'm guessing.  John Shepherd is okay as teenage Tommy Jarvis. He actually convinced me that he was on the edge about to snap. He is not my favorite portrayal of Tommy though. That goes to the next sequel, Jason Lives. Melanie Kinnaman was pretty uninteresting as Pam as well as Richard Young as Matt. Juliet Cummins was pretty forgettable as Robin. John Robert Dixon was annoying as Eddie and got his ass kicked by Tommy. Tiffany Helm was horrible as Violet aka Robot Girl. I saw in the His Name Is Jason documentary where she was supposed to get stabbed between the legs, but the scene was cut and reshot because it would have been rated X. Damn MPAA, fuck you! Another fun fact is that the actress's mother played Kristen's mom in A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.  Jerry Pavlon was annoying as the stuttering dude Jake. Mark Venturini was awesome as Vick for the simple fact that he hacked up annoying Joey. Dominick Brascia was annoying as Joey. Debi Sue Voorhees was pretty hot and had NICE boobs as Tina. Carol Locatell was fucking awesome as Ethel. Definitely the best character of the movie as the comic relief. I did enjoy the small cameo by Corey Feldman as 12 year old Tommy in the beginning of the movie.  This film did the Rob Zombie's Halloween II deal where the best part of the film was at the beginning and it all turned out to be a nightmare. Shavar Ross was pretty annoying as Reggie. And  Dick Wieand looked guilty as hell as Roy the ambulance drive aka fake Jason.  All in all, the cast was pretty forgettable.
Before I conclude this review, I have to mention three things that I noticed. There's a scene where the Sheriff is talking to the Mayor about the possibility that Jason Voorhees is doing the killing. The Mayor tells the Sheriff that Jason Voorhees is dead, that he was cremated and nothing but a handful of ash. Well, then why the hell is he in a coffin and has a tomb stone in the next movie? I'm guessing that they just wanted to forget this film ever happened when they did Jason Lives. The other is at the end when the Sheriff is talking to Pam , explaining Roy's backstory and is showing newspaper clippings dealing with Jason. There's a crystal clear picture of Jason taken by a photographer. It shows how much the Crystal Lake press really care about their photographers. I wonder what poor and sorry soul lost their life just for the clearest picture of our favorite hockey masked slasher. And lastly, what the fuck is up with the box cover for this movie? That's not even the same mask that the real or fake Jason would wear. That's Trevor Moorehouse from that lame Bloody Murder movie that bluntly ripped off Friday The 13th!
Overall, Friday The 13th: A New Beginning was a huge let down for me as a  fan of this franchise. In my opinion, it is the worst of the series. Sure, the eighth installment Jason Takes Manhattan was pretty bad, but at least they had Kane Hodder being a badass as Jason and a few cool kills.  Jason Goes To Hell had Jason body switching, yes, but was at least interesting and had some over the top and very sweet kills. Jason X is just a guilty pleasure of mine. Sure, it is ridiculous, but was a little fun. And even the 2009 remake as bland and generic as that was at least had Jason in it and added new elements to him as a character.  This film just didn't feel totally like a part of the franchise. In fact, it is the black sheep of this saga and the sequels following it ignore it's very existence.  Yup, that definitely sounds like a new beginning to me. I just look at this film as a nightmare given to us by Freddy Krueger because he's just pissed that Jason is killing more teens than him. I always knew that dude was an evil bastard.
     WHAT! No Jason Voorhees! I'm crushed! I'll sue! I'll rip their lungs out and make them breathe in their own blood! No matter, the next film Jason Lives brings back our favorite hockey masked fiend for some more slashing and bashing. So, scroll down the lake to read the regrue for Friday The 13th: Jason Lives. It's going to be a killer!
0.5/4  STABS
 FRIDAYTHE13THPART6-1.jpg picture by sikomike
    He's Alive! He's Alive! Jason Voorhees is back from beyond the grave and ready to return to Camp Crystal Lake to show these care free teens that last year's trip was just a nightmare.  Gosh, even Mr. Voorhees wouldn't touch that thing called A New Beginning.  This year, Jason lives and is stronger than ever!
   Tommy Jarvis and his friend Hawes have escaped from the mental institute to head on over to the Crystal Lake cemetery to make sure that Jason Voorhees is still dead. Actually, more so to torch the body so that Jason will never come back to life.  The two guys dig up Jason to discover that Jason is definitely dead since he is a rotting corpse. Tommy, who apparently has never seen Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, decides to unleash his anger by breaking off a rod from the fence and begins to stab Jason's corpse with it. Since this is a horror film and these events just so happen to be occurring during a thunder storm, lightening strikes down, hitting the fence rod that's still sticking into Jason and lights him up like a Christmas tree. Surprisingly, Jason pops out of the casket, kills Tommy's buddy Hawes, and puts on his iconic hockey mask as Tommy runs away.  Tommy hurries to the local Police station and tells Sheriff Garris what happened. Naturally, the Sheriff thinks that Tommy is nuts and locks him up. Meanwhile, Sheriff Garris's sexy daughter Megan and her friends Cort, Sissy, Paula, Darren, and Elizabeth are camp counselors at Camp Forest Green (used to be Camp Crystal Lake) where Jason plans to make a return and kill them all.  Tommy and Megan must find a way to defeat Jason one last time.
   In 1985, Paramount Pictures released its fifth installment in the popular horror/slasher franchise, Friday The 13th: A New Beginning. Unfortunately, the film backfired and pissed off a lot of Jason fans.  Paramount had originally wanted Tommy to take up the mantle for Jason since Jason was now dead, but the failure of A New Beginning changed the future of the franchise.  So, Paramount Pictures decided to do the daring move of bringing Jason back from the dead and make him stronger than he had ever been before.  They hired old school horror fan Tom McLoughlin to write the screenplay and direct this sixth installment. McLoughlin wanted to do something that had never been done before in the previous Friday The 13th films, which was to not make the films creepy but to give the victims a sense of humor. Now, this could really backfire massively in a horror film.   Just look at Return To Horror High or Cheerleader Camp!  There have been good horror films though that used humor with the victims that worked such as Hatchet, Shaun of the Dead, Zombie Land, and Return of the Living Dead.  Does McLoughlin's more comical approach work for Friday The 13th: Jason Lives? Yes, indeed it does. Not only did McLoughlin create a really needed improvement of A New Beginning (the worst of the franchise), but he just so happened to make in my opinion the best installment of the franchise with Jason Lives.
     I fucking love McLoughlin's screenplay for Jason Lives.  You can tell that he is a horror fan because he pays homage to classic horror and really knows how to make horror fun.  The way Jason is brought back is obviously taken right from the classic story of Frankenstein.  I was also digging the little name references such as Cunningham Road ( Sean S. Cunningham who directed the original Friday The 13th), Carpenter (John Carpenter, director of the original classic Halloween), and Karloff's General Store (Boris Karloff who played the original Frankenstein).  Also, I really like that they changed the name of Crystal Lake to Forrest Green to try to get people to forget Jason and that it comes back to haunt them. Man, I so wish that something like this had happened in the Halloween franchise. They should like ban trick or treating in Haddonfield to try to repress the memory of Michael and then he comes back to wreck havoc. You can change the title of something, but that isn't going to change where it is and what happened there.   The characters were a delight to watch.  Tommy is fucking awesome in this film and definitely my personal favorite portrayal of that character. He's like the Laurie Strode or Nancy Thompson of the Friday The 13th franchise. I do love that they had a guy be the hero for a change instead of the usual final girl.  Megan is hot and the hero's love interest. And she's a smartass! My kinda girl!  Cort is pretty funny and I just love his wardrobe with holes in his jeans. Gotta love the '80s style!  Sheriff Garris is the typical Police officer who doesn't believe the kid's story until it is too late type and also an over protective father.  Nikki is Cort's girlfriend and likes to have sex during 10 minute songs and won't allow him to "finish" until the song is done. Plus, she's pretty hot.  Paula, Sissy, Darren, and Elizabeth are basically the cannon fodder to be killed.  The grave yard Caretaker was probably my favorite character of the cannon fodder. That guy was hysterical.
    I have to talk about the comedy. I dug it a lot. That whole paintball scene was hilarious.   Also, I really liked the homage to the American Express card commercial.  The best part of this film aside from obviously the kills was the characters' dialogue. We get lines such as...
  " So, what were you going to be when you grew up?"
   "  Why did they have to go dig up Jason? Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment."
"  I've seen enough horror movies to know that any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly."
" Wherever the red dot goes, ya BANG!"
   And now for the best part of the Friday The 13th franchise: the kills! I was really loving the kills in this installment. This was the beginning of zombie Jason, so now he can do more with his bare hands than just stabbing people. We get a head being TWISTED off the body. A girl gets her face rammed through the wall of an RV bathroom and you can see the imprint on the other side.  There's a triple decapitation. I also love it when Jason rips this dude's arm off with his bare hands and then throws him into a tree with the branch going through the dude's head, his body falls sideways to reveal a smiley face carved into the tree now smeared in blood. Then, Jason looks at the arm like, "Wow, did I just do that?"  My favorite kill would have to be the back cracking of the Sheriff, where Jason totally bends the guy backwards and you hear his back crack. Very cringeworthy kill. All in all, loving the kills. I think that these are probably my favorites of the franchise.
     The soundtrack to this movie is all kinds of '80s fucking awesome rock music. My favorite is Alice Cooper's Teenage Frankenstein, which is played in the RV while Jason is killing Nikki in the bathroom, while Cort is driving and rocking out.  I also loved the usual Friday The 13th music by Harry Manfredini too. Great soundtrack to a great Friday The 13th movie!
  The direction by Tom McLoughlin was fucking great. I loved his homage to classic horror as well as his new take on Jason.  That 007 like opening title sequence was really great.  McLoughlin delivers an awesome Jason movie that I have watched again and again. It holds up pretty well, even today. Great direction.
The acting is fantastic too. Thom Matthews is absolutely great as an adult Tommy Jarvis. Matthews is my favorite actor to play Tommy.  Jennifer Cooke is equally fantastic and very sexy as Megan. Definitely the type of girl that I would date.  Plus, she lets Tommy go down on her while she drives. I wouldn't have any complaints hehehe.  David Kagen played the sheriff and overly protective father really well.  Tom Fridley was awesome as Cort. Darcy DeMoss was hot as Nikki. Gotta love '80s chicks!  Bob Larkin was absolutely hilarious as Martin, the caretaker. All of the other actors were alright, but these are the ones who really stuck out. And C.J. Graham was awesome as Jason. This is the first time we see zombie Jason and Graham definitely made Jason more vicious. I guess being undead gives you super abilities. What was up with the yellow gloves though? I guess Jason wants to keep his hands clean while mutilating these care free trespassers. Although, I still prefer Kane Hodder's version of zombie Jason in the rest of the franchise, but Graham was also fantastic.  All in all, pretty great cast.
Overall, Friday The 13th: Jason Lives is a great and much needed addition to this iconic slasher saga.  It got rid of that dumb fake Jason plot and brought the REAL hockey masked killer back to Crystal Lake.  I do have one question though that I forgot to mention in the last review. What the hell happened to Tommy's sister Trish after The Final Chapter? They don't ever mention her again. Weird. Anyways, Jason Lives is a great Friday The 13th film and should definitely get the credibility that it truly deserves!
  Well, looks like ol' Jason is an anchor in the bay. HEHEHEHAHAHAHA!  Oh, you think that just because he is chained down at the bottom of the lake means that it's over? Then think again!  And no, a lady in the lake doesn't release him. I guess that you're just going to have to wait until next time for Friday The 13th:  The New Blood.  Until the next slashing, have a nice fright!



Fred [The Wolf] said...

Great reviews. You already know how I feel about A New Beginning. Or what, I still have no clue. That film is absolutely terrible. So terrible in fact that they completely ignore it, and rightfully so. Definitely the worst in the franchise.

Jason Lives is my absolute favorite. Funny and clever, with a badass zombified Jason killing more idiots. And Thom Matthews definitely rocked it as Tommy. Just a fantastic sequel that had no right being this good.

Look forward to The New Blood and Jason Takes Manhattan.

Trick or Treat Pete said...

A New Beginning....sigh...fake Jason, lame kills, lame cast, lame movie...just ugh! Glad I waited for it to come to cable in the 80's so I could see it for free, lol. I did get to see part 3 when it was released, not my favorite, but still great...better than a New Beginning, that's for sure. One thing I did like, however slightly, is showing Tommy as having some serious issues since his encounter with Jason, I'm sure I would.
Jason Lives...HE KILLED HORSHACK!!! Alas, poor Horshack! I knew him, Mike: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
Much better Tommy in this one, but needing to dig up your old nemesis, well, that shows Tommy still has some issues to deal with, lol. Better kills, better characters, better movie, and zombie Jason to boot!
Great reviews!
and BTW, I really hope you never approach females at the mall to ask that question...while you may get slapped several times, I shudder to think the type of girl would say may have a 100 Tears chick on your hands, or worse, Frankenhooker!
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

JennyB said...

I love you're "Friday The 13th" reviews their really good. Jason lives was my favorite Jason movie, It made me smile a way the other ones didn't. Great job.