There's a remake/reboot of the seminal slasher film, Friday the 13th, coming to theaters on Friday the 13th (coincidentally enough), and to tie-in with that new theatrical release, Paramount is issuing new editions of the first three films in the franchise this week. I was sent copies for review, and my review will be posted sometime today in my bi-weekly column at Forces of Geek.
Because my review is over there, this post is more about some of the thoughts I had, while immersed in the genre over the weekend. Between Friday evening and Monday night, I watched Friday the 13th parts 1 through 3 (in 3-D!), Jason X, and a non-Friday slasher flick, the Norwegian production Cold Prey (a/k/a Fritt vilt, and also reviewed in this week's column).
Now, I've been into horror films since I was a teenager, but I was never a big fan of splatter or slasher flicks. I never saw a Friday the 13th until the late 90's, when I was in my Thirties, and that was one of the later, New Line-produced entries that most fans of the franchise despise. And it's not because gore bothers me – as a teen I read Fangoria almost as religiously as Starlog, and I liked the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks... and friggin' loved George Romero's zombie movies and Raimi's first two Evil Deads – it's just that I prefer my horror to have a strong fantasy element; I prefer monsters over psychos. (Of course, Jason Voorhees is a supernatural monster – at least he becomes one eventually – but I didn't know it.) I'm still not much of a fan of straight slasher (or torture) flicks, which is why I have no interest in stuff like Saw or Hostel, although I have come to appreciate some of the older movies in the genre, such as the first couple Halloweens.
So, what I'm getting to here is that I'd never actually seen these movies until this past weekend. My first reaction was that they didn't quite live up to their reputation – especially the initial installment – but by the time I got to Part 3 – and actually watched it in 3-D! – I was really having fun with the flicks. They aren't high art, but they are fun, and I can begin to see why the franchise has lasted as long as it has.
Anchor Bay Entertainment also sent me a Friday the 13th tie-in: a feature-length documentary retrospective of the entire series called His Name Was Jason, made up of interviews with nearly every actor, writer and director to work on the series. I have to admit that I now want to check out the entries I haven't yet seen. Part 4 looks bugnuts insane, and Part 7, which is the one with the telekinetic girl, looks like a hoot.
I don't think I'm going to suddenly start seeking out all the 80's slasher flicks I missed the first time around, but I'm certainly not going to shy away from opportunities to view the more highly-regarded ones. I remember being told that the original My Bloody Valentine (a remake of which is also coming out right away if it's not out already) is pretty good, so I'm planning to Netflix it soon.
I'm definitely open to suggestions from true aficionados, too.