Happy Friday the 13th, Everybody!
by Ben Bussey
Yes, it’s the 80s horror fan’s favourite day which isn’t an actual recognised holiday that falls according to any strict and easily notable pattern (unless, I dunno, you’re really good at maths, unlike me); the day we all like to kick back at a lakeside cabin, disregard our duties as camp counsellors, sip some beer, toke some reefer, indulge in pre-marital and most likely unprotected sexual relations, and whisper “ki-ki-ki, ma-ma-ma.”
Hard to believe it’s been more than three years since Jason Voorhees last took to the screen to hack up some young fools. While I’ve more or less gotten over my initial disgust with the Marcus Nispel reboot, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little disappointed it didn’t lead to further Fridays. Sure, we’ve already got twelve of the damn things (assuming you count Freddy Vs Jason, which I do) and they’re all practically the same film anyway, but surely this is one series that really needs to make it a baker’s dozen…? Just to be in line with its title? I mean, wouldn’t it be fitting to see the 13th Friday the 13th in 2013…?! (Yes, that blaring in your ear is the nerd alert.)
Here’s how I see Friday the 13th in the pantheon of horror. Mick Garris has often remarked – and I’m sure he’s not the only one – that horror is to the movies as rock ‘n’ roll is to music. I’m in agreement (after all, if you can’t trust the word of the man who directed Critters 2, who can you trust?) This being the case, the slasher subgenre clearly correlates with punk rock. The parallels are many: both formats came to full bloom in the late 70s, both were fuelled by rage and contempt for mainstream society, both had a back-to-basics DIY ethos. Let’s push the analogy that bit further and say The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is The Stooges; where it really began, in many respects never surpassed, but still carrying enough 60s fallout atmosphere to straddle the fence culturally. Then maybe we’d say Black Christmas is The New York Dolls, an intermediate step less widely celebrated but still highly regarded by those in the know.
Anyway – to my mind Friday the 13th is The Ramones of slasher movies. They found a formula early on and fine-tuned it time and again until they got through the entire set in twenty five minutes. Those movies are the cinematic equivalent of three chords thrashed out at full volume, with blood, boobs and blades in the place of guitar, bass and drums. No, there isn’t much variety, but that isn’t what you’re looking for. You want something that speaks to the anti-social aggression within; something that screams “fuck you” to the world at large, rips apart all that world holds dear, and has great fun doing it. (Hmm… just realised I haven’t really found a place for Halloween in this analogy, but what can I say, I’m making it up as I go…)
Okay, I may be over-romanticising just a touch, but what the hell. I love the Friday the 13th films, and I always make a point of giving at least one of them a spin whenever the day falls. And what better way to mark the occasion than to check out every single one of Jason’s kills? Here’s a neat little compilation from someone calling him/herself The Springwood Slasher, showcasing each and every one of Jason’s kills (Parts 1,5 and 9 omitted for not featuring the real Jason), and in a suitably punk rock fashion it all comes in at about 2 mins. Enjoy.
Also, it would be remiss on this particular Friday the 13th not to give a mention to Jim Isaacs, the director of Jason X, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Opinion seems to be divided on his entry, but it’s one of my personal favourite Friday the 13ths, not least for the classic (and in this instance unfortunately censored) moment below. So while we open our bottles, roll up our joints and wait for Jason to come, I propose we raise the first glass to Jim. Rest in peace, and happy Friday the 13th.
Now, where’s the damn corkscrew…