Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Friday the 13th part 1

Friday The 13th. Directed By Sean S. Cunningham, Starring Ari Lehman (1980).

This review is a special request from Brandon Hendrix a Deep Red devotee and brilliant writer (who should be writing for us). When I was growing up in South Florida, this movie was constantly on TV on the Miami station WDZL along with Shock Waves and Nightmare on Elm Street. I had seen the Tom Savini book beforehand, so I knew how all the kills were orchestrated, using dummies squibs and real weapons cut down to create the illusion that they were being inserted into head cavities. In the make-up book Grand Illusions or Bizarro which was it's alternate title at the library, there were full color spreads of gore for The Burning, Martin and Dawn of the Dead. The Savini book was a major spoiler for me because other than Dawn, I had yet to view all of the films. This didn't matter to me and yet another reason why I don't give a shit about giving away what happens in a film, it's all about the experience. I obsessively watched Nightmare on Elm Street, though and that became a problem with my Mom, she was worried about my psyche. I was pretty fixated on Freddy (as someone still today who owns a replica of the sweater, glove and a plush doll it's safe to say I still have a major problem but whatever, I take medication so don't fucking judge me)!

No judgement here, time for your meds.

As much as I like the other Friday sequels, this one stands on its own as a fun slasher movie. I remember when I was pretty young, I went over to this guy Dave's house in New York and during the scene where pre-teen Jason jumps out of the water and scares the shit out of the last girl. His Dad kind of scrambled to turn the dial (no remote control at the time) but it was too late! 
I wasn’t really traumatized however, this was also the first time I had discovered the cartoon Heavy Metal, which at the time was only available to watch on cable and no one had the rights yet.Sometimes you could catch it at a midnight screening but only bootlegs existed.

I'm backstrokin' my ass outta this hillbilly swamp.

As for that scene in Friday the 13th, I couldn’t figure out what was going on, but I thought it was pretty funny that a little skeleton kid covered in mud and grass pops up out of the water. I always crack up in the beginning when Irwin Keyes show up at the country diner, sadly he doesn’t even have any lines. I knew this lunkhead from The Exterminator 1 & 2 even though he died in the first movie, also from The Warriors and other cameos, he’s kind of made a career as a fun character actor on the Michael Berryman level. I had no idea until he passed away that he was a reoccurring character on The Jeffersons.

R.I.P. HUGO (aka Irwin Keyes)

Everybody in the town keeps trying to warn the smiley runty camp counselor girl played by Robbi Morgan (whose the third victim, after the two counselors who die before the credits). I like the Tom Bosley looking guy who drives her around saying "Camp Crystal Lake is jinxed!" That actor Rex Everhart voiced a TV special about Gnomes and Trolls that scared the bejeesus out of me as a youngster. At the time--because my parents were Christian hippies, any kind of satanic looking creatures repelled and also attracted me. Not much has changed as an adult obviously with me.

That Crazy "Motherfucker" Ralph, I never noticed before and I've seen this flick about 20 times that the characters mention his wife is worried about him, which is so strange to think that he's married! I guess even Hitler had a dog and girlfriend. Everyone in this movie has a catch phrase seemingly, "You're Doomed, Doomed" is one that's been copied in many other films. Most of the characters die in the sequel, which Tom Savini always bitches about with good reason. I don't care I love part 2 as well.

By today’s standards the nubile teen girls are pretty fugly looking. The cutest one in my estimation is the last surviving girl played by Adrienne King, she has that bowl haircut Vicki Lawrence has on the cover of "The Lights Went Out in Georgia". When I re-watch this movie all I can think about is Mrs. Voorhees behind the camera driving people around and then murdering them. Her scene is still one of my favorite parts.

Yay it's picture day at the yarn barn!

The difference between the uncut version and this is really slight, I mean just a couple of extra seconds of blood splatter or an open wound, that wouldn't have convinced me to plunk down the $25 to get a dub from Chas. I saw this on a double feature at the Castro theater with my pal goat. They played a really shitty washed out print of The Burning which is one of my all-time favorite slashers. It’s sort of follows the pattern of this one, except it’s more fun in an awkward nihilistic way. Even though Cropsey gets his head split open towards the end, I can't imagine they'd still bring him back for a sequel, probably in an alternate universe there's a run of Burning sequels with Fisher Stevens and Mark Ratner reprising their roles ala Corey Feldman and Kane Hodder. The most confusing thing to me was how they played the raft massacre scene after the flick ended because it was excised from the existing print.

The girl that gets an ax planted in her face doesn’t wear a bra and you can see every bump on her nipples. Betsy Palmer with that itchy thick sweater (she's wearing in the humid summer too) is the best character in the whole film to me at least. Her geriatric teeth clench as she hisses "Kill Her Mommy" is pretty chilling. There are so many elements used from Bay of Blood that I discussed in an early review like the itchy sweater wearing maniac hiding behind trees and deaths that were recreated against the 80's teens stolen from the Bava 60's.

The eerie piano of Harry Manfredini during the placid water as the credits float by always strikes me as a mysteriously ambiguous ending, what does it mean and will that damn ghost boy pop up out of the water again? He never does again in this first movie at least, but I always expect him to for the second time!

I'm not going to break down each sequel and only will cover the first one. There have been some wacky moments in practically every Friday sequel. For instance, Mrs. Voorhees' decapitation is usually a crowd pleaser and one reason I created a scratchy video moment from repeatedly re-winding that climax! If you look real close you can see the stunt guy's hairy knuckles reaching up to feel for the missing noggin. Later on in part 3, Mrs. Voorhees re-attaches her own head and pops up out of the water, leech infested sweater slopping around, like part one, as entertaining as it pans out, it makes no sense whatsoever. Part one triggered an avalanche of copycats and lame sequels but I have a special place in my heart for this genre and dig all the rip offs and foreign copies. Go buy a headshot from the original Jason kid Ari Lehman who's seemingly still out there.
See you next time when I feel like writing again, which might be just in time for USA UP ALL NIGHT week in MAY. Stay Tuned.

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