Fortress of Horror 03 - Friday the 13th Parts 1-4

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Fortress of Horror 03 - Friday the 13th Parts 1-4
There Will Be Games

Ki ki ma ma


Four movies in one review?  I must be crazy.  Not really.  Look, these movies are all essentially the same thing.  We all know the formula, a bunch of teenagers keep going to that damned Camp Crystal Lake and Jason Voorhees (most the time) will pick them all off one by one.  Only one girl will be left at the end and she'll manage to take him out only for one last scare to hit the audience before the credits roll.  Oops.  Spoilers.

While these movies are all pretty much the same thing, they do manage to vary in quality.  The first movie is, surprisingly enough, not my favorite.  Most people know at this point that Jason is not the killer and that does kind of set it apart.  It doesn't do a whole lot to build the tension though, it tends to fall into this thing where teens are going about, doing what teens do and suddenly they're dead.  None of that delightful playing with the audience that better slasher movies do, like in Alien or Halloween.  The second entry in the series does fix that for the most part, and it's the first one with Jason as the killer.  No hockey mask yet, however, instead he wears a bag over his head with one eyehole cut out in it.  It's actually pretty creepy, but that could be the long lasting effects of playing so much Resident Evil 4 since he reminds me of those chainsaw guys.  Scarred for life by those bastards.  The third one is in 3D (of course!) and that's how I watched it.  I'm glad I did since that's what the movie is about when you get down to it.  Absolutely nothing else going for it, and even the 3D wears thin as you could imagine, though I do kind of dig the intro theme.  Then you have The Final Chapter, which as we all know, isn't.  It's actually pretty fun.  It's the most 80's of the bunch, which scores points with me by default, it's got Tom Savini doing the effects, and it has Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman in it.  Man, would I love to watch a buddy cop movie staring the two them.

So why am I just talking about the first four movies and not the whole series?  Well, those are the ones that were in the DVD set I picked up for next to nothing.  Simple as that.  See, I never saw these in their entirety up until recently.  I caught the end of the first movie on TV one Halloween night many, many years ago, and at that point I hadn't seen a whole lot of horror movies to have come out past the 60's.  At that point in my life, yes, it creeped me out.  Watching it now though...nothing.  Which makes sense, these were made for teenagers.  That's not to say that they aren't entertaining in their own completely shallow way, but they really are terrible.  Yet Jason Voorhees is a legitimate cultural juggernaut at this point.  Personally, I credit it entirely to being at the right place at the right time.

SCARE RATING:  1/5 (a 2 for the end of the first movie though, that part does kind of rule)

OVERALL RATING:  2 (with a couple 3s in there, but even then I'm sort of embarrassed to be giving them)



There Will Be Games
Josh Look (He/Him)
Staff Podcaster

One night during the summer of 1997, Josh Look's cool uncle who owned a comic shop taught him how to play Magic the Gathering. The game set off his imagination in a way that he could not sleep that night, and he's been fascinated by games ever since. He spent many afternoons during his high school years skipping homework to play Dungeons & Dragons and paint Warhammer minatures, going on to discover hobby board games in his early 20s. He's been a writer for Fortress Ameritrash and is the creator and co-host of the geek culture podcast, The Wolfman's Lounge. He enjoys games that encourage a heavy amount of table talk and those that explore their themes beyond just their settings.

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Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #211701 01 Oct 2015 11:52
Never seen a single Friday the 13th film.

I have, however, read the novelization of the first film...I picked it up when I was a kid at the grocery store...
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #211705 01 Oct 2015 12:12
I know I've said it elsewhere, but you're not missing out. They're cheaply made, poorly paced, poorly acted, etc, etc. Yet I cannot explain my fascination with them.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #211709 01 Oct 2015 12:21
No discussion of the b00bage in these movies??

I think I've only seen the first two and the last two Friday the 13th movies. THey're not great at all.
bfkiller's Avatar
bfkiller replied the topic: #211714 01 Oct 2015 13:01
I adore Friday the 13th part IV -- it would be in my top-5 guilty pleasures -- and have a soft spot in my heart for most of the series.

The first time I watched Part IV was when I was 11 at a friend's birthday sleepover. His dad wanted to treat us with R-rated movies so rented this and The Kentucky Fried Movie (speaking of b00bage). This was my first horror movie. I think it was the first one for all of us. We were terrified. Wide-eyed and shaking. It was getting quite late (though, at that age, it was probably only about 10:00) and we were about an hour into the movie -- so had already witnessed plenty of death and bloodshed -- when his dad jumped into the room screaming incoherently, wearing a hockey mask and brandishing a machete. I'm still surprised I didn't piss myself.
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Egg Shen replied the topic: #211723 01 Oct 2015 13:45
I think for horror fans that grew up in late 80s early 90s the slasher genre was your introduction to gory/R rated horror. When I was 8 or 9 I knew who Freddy, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees and Chucky all were. All of my friends did too. This is in part due to success of the films and that they made tons of them. My introduction to these films was actually getting scared by the VHS box covers at our local video store. Actually, I lied. My first time experiencing anything F13 related was the NES videogame which scare me shitless when I was little!

Naturally, when I was a little older my friends and I would rent these movies or catch them on HBO. Watching them at 12 years old or so was probably just right. To be honest slasher films are intended for teenagers and people who really don't dive deep into the horror genre. They're great when you start off getting into horror, but most fans will quickly move past them. I was always more of a monster fan or "creature feature" stuff like Gremlins and Critters were required viewing before F13.

Friday the 13th is odd because of the big slasher villains, this series is the only one where most people don't consider the first film the best. If you ask a Friday the 13th fan what their favorite in the franchise're likely to get 4 or 5 different answers. That's probably because they all follow the same formula of cheap scares, gore, boobs and blood.

For me I go back and forth on the series. I re-watched all of them a few years ago and I found many of the early, more grounded (by F13 standards) to be kind of boring. Part IV is where it gets good. However, I tend to like the series from VI onward where they just stopped giving a fuck and made fun films that killed brain cells as much as campers. Jason X is so damn bad, but it's such a great guilty pleasure flick. I also like Jason Goes to Hell, because it's such an abomination. Also, I don't give two fucks that Jason technically isn't in most of the film. It's far more interesting than the boring ass formula they used in the beginning.

I think the films get by because Jason is a cultural icon and horror fans feel like these films are required viewing. People gravitate towards them because they're the quintessential body count films. They don't inundate with plot, they get to the point with kills and boobs, plus each film has one or two camper that is so borderline dumb that they're hilarious. No they aren't scary, but if you've got a crowd of non horror fans over and you they want to watch a "SCARY MOVIE" you could do ALOT worse than one of the F13 films. They're mostly good for a few laughs.

bfkiller - That story is great! I can imagine uptight parents of today suing the dad that pulled that stunt. "You put my son through a traumatic experience! You'll be hearing from my lawyer you sicko!" LOL.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #211726 01 Oct 2015 14:03
omg dat NES game... that scared the HELL out of me when I played it.

It's great hearing that other people got freaked out by VHS covers. That, for years, was my only experience with horror movies. I would look at the covers for The Driller Killer, Sleepaway Camp, Alien, The Stuff (man did that scare me), Chopping Mall, Happy Birthday to Me, Pirahna II, Howling.... man, i was fascinated by that video store section. There was another one, I can't remember the name, but the guy has boils all over his face, it was called Scasms or Scisms or something like that. That cover haunted me.

First horror movie I ever saw was Friday the 13th II. The first kill involved a screwdriver into the temple and it's not particularly gruesome, but I remember not understanding exactly what just happened (ah, the death of innocence). Then later when that guy is caught in a rope trap and Jason comes behind him, and he sees the mechete go up to his neck and all that blood just pours out. That did it. I knew what was going on. I don't think i liked it. But it didn't scare me much.

I was fine with horror until I saw The Raft (from Creepshow II) at some friend's house. I didn't sleep for weeks.
Columbob's Avatar
Columbob replied the topic: #211729 01 Oct 2015 14:18
This series was extremely popular when I was in primary school, even if I never watched a single one back then (first one might have been X or Goes to Hell, can't remember, you see Freddy's glove pick up the mask at the end).

We did come up with a pretty fun game at recess, one of the kids would be Jason and secretly come up with a unique way to get killed, and we roleplayed trying to do him in before he got to us all, so part hide-and-seek, part live RPG. It must have lasted a few weeks' time around October/Nov.
bfkiller's Avatar
bfkiller replied the topic: #211734 01 Oct 2015 15:15
Another of my most vivid movie watching experiences also comes from the F13 series. I went to Freddy Vs Jason on opening night to a sell-out crowd. Pretty much all weridos in their 30s. First scene in the movie, a buxom female camper pulls off her top to enjoy some moonlit skinny dipping. A guy sitting two rows behind me yells out a celebratory, "OH, YEAH!" at the top of his lungs. That set the stage for what is still up there with the most fun I've had at the cinema. I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard a smattering of applause as a movie ends and the credits start to roll. This is the only one I've seen receive a standing ovation from the entire audience.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #211735 01 Oct 2015 15:21
bfkiller's Avatar
bfkiller replied the topic: #211736 01 Oct 2015 15:23

Black Barney wrote: Mississippi?

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Black Barney replied the topic: #211737 01 Oct 2015 15:31
i knew i shouldn't have moved out of Saskatoon :(

Sounds like a fun crowd. I've NEVER seen a standing-O in a movie theatre. See applause once a year or two. I think the best crowd-into-it movie I ever saw was that Batman movie with Drew Barrymore and Two-Face. People clapped at each name coming out on the screen at the beginning credits. People went nuts for Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey but only me and 2 other guys went nuts when Drew's name came up. It was funny.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #211738 01 Oct 2015 16:24
Freddy vs Jason is so bad but so, so much fun.
ChristopherMD's Avatar
ChristopherMD replied the topic: #211758 01 Oct 2015 22:37
I've never seen any of the F13 films except Jason X (if that's the space one), which I saw in the theater. The concept was so ridiculous it made it like a slasher/comedy.
ChristopherMD's Avatar
ChristopherMD replied the topic: #211759 01 Oct 2015 22:49
One of my best theater experiences was seeing The Dark Knight for the second time with friends. Sold out large theater. Pretty quiet most of the movie. Then the scene where Gordon reveals he's alive as he captures the Joker. The whole theater uproars with applause. I'd never heard such thrilled applause in the middle of a movie like that before. Probably never will again.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #211777 02 Oct 2015 10:55
I am not a fan of the films. They seemed like a cheap way to show teens fucking so that younger teens could masturbate while rewinding those scenes repeatedly. Or at least, that's what I did LOL

They just aren't scary, to me. The only good thing that ever came out of them, IMO, is the "tch tch tch tch aah aah aah aah" music.
Columbob's Avatar
Columbob replied the topic: #211778 02 Oct 2015 11:00
Phantom Menace opening weekend was pretty wild at the cinema. Or was it when they rereleased the OT and we went to see ANH special edition on opening night? I remember yelling STAR WARS at the top of my lungs right before the movie started and lots of people applauding and generally being pretty giddy.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #211832 03 Oct 2015 18:54

SuperflyTNT wrote: They just aren't scary, to me. The only good thing that ever came out of them, IMO, is the "tch tch tch tch aah aah aah aah" music.

You know, I have no idea what's going on with that score, but the guy who did it swears it's "Ki ki ki ma ma ma," and is meant to reference the "Kill her, mommy" line. Pretty sure every one hears "Ch ch ch ah ah ah" though.