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Jim has just had sex for the very first time. His pal, Ted, has teased him about his lack of sex appeal and loser status throughout the entire vacation out to the country cabin. Now Jim was THE MAN! He just bedded a beautiful girl named Tina, a virtual stranger, who seemed to just pick him out of all the other guys at the party. He had sex! Hot, raunchy, no-strings attached sex! Sure, Tina had done most of the work, but she said Jim was incredible!
He never felt so proud, so strong, more satisfied this night than he had ever felt in his young 18 years on the planet. Time to celebrate! He flaunted his conquest to Ted, alone and stoned on the couch, and watching a stag loop film from the 1940s. He wanted to toast his amazing experience with a bottle of wine. His life was going to change. He felt confidence, new pride, and realized that he would never again be the butt of anyone’s jokes, if he could only find that corkscrew. This would be a grand start, a life changing moment… where’s that corkscrew? He could bring two glasses of wine up to share with Tina, naked and warm back up in bed. Damn it, where’s the damn corkscrew?
PAIN suddenly flooded over him… Images flashed before him…his hand, impaled on the cutting board by the missing corkscrew, blood, HIS BLOOD gushing all over the countertop… A man standing before him with a hockey goalie’s mask on, eyes burning with hatred and fury…why? What had he done to this man? He could smell his own blood, and feel his heart race, but oddly realized he had made no sound…shock had silenced him…he thought of Tina, his pal Ted just in the next room…and saw the goalie raise a meat cleaver up and bring it toward him with incredible force… Why? What had he done? All he did was have sex for the very first ti-…
There was a time when hockey masks meant only one thing, a game of hockey. Now, of course, American pop culture has imprinted us with another thought when we see a hockey mask. Jason Voorhees. The maniacal killer from the FRIDAY THE 13TH series who took to wearing this stylish mask after slitting the throat of an overweight, practical joking, teen named Shelly in his third film appearance and taking the famous face covering from him.
I have been a fan of this famous (and infamous) series from the original film (seen from the hood of a station wagon at the McLendon Triple Drive-in Theatre in Houston, Texas circa 1980) to the FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot (seen with a sold-out crowd of a midnight show at the Metropolitan Theatre, Austin, Texas 2009). Most people don’t understand why I like the series so much. I think it has to do with timing, angst, puberty, and growing up when I did.
When I was first exposed to the films, during the 1980s, I was growing from boy into man. There was also something altogether cool to a kid about being the first one to see the newest gross-out horror film and gleefully report all the gory details to shocked and jealous friends on the playground (I have very liberal parents). I recall playground gatherings, where I, like a shamanistic storyteller, would describe and even act out the gruesome events of the latest FRIDAY THE 13TH. These were morality plays, even though the public and the critics never understood them. Like the Grand Guignol Theatre of Horrors, these films dared you to watch, be titillated and then shocked. I was a fan from the beginning and have gone along for the ride ever since.
The FRIDAY THE 13TH series began as a murder-mystery set in a closed down summer camp. The film begins with ominous warnings of a death after the “tragedies” that occurred there. The mood of the film is sustained by eerie sounds of the forest, and one of the most frightening, effective and instantly recognizable musical themes in horror. As the film builds to a tension-filled climax, a violent thunderstorm erupts, making the murders even more effective in the lightning flashes and the thunder peals. Earth-shattering thunderstorms become a mainstay of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series, as if nature itself is reacting to the horrors.
The main thrill of the series was of course the incredible gore FX (the film finally made Tom Savini a major player) as one by one teenagers were gutted, shot with arrows, cleaved in the face with axes, etc. The murders were gruesome and graphic and left nothing to the imagination. The killer was eventually revealed as a middle aged woman named Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), who had lost her only son, Jason, when he drowned at the same camp. Jason was supposed to be watched, every minute, because he was a “special” child. Born a mongoloid, Jason needed extra special care and attention. The counselors who were supposed to be watching Mrs. Voorhees’ pride and joy were off having sex, instead of paying attention to her precious, special, brave boy, who just loved to swim.
Now, enraged beyond any sane sense of right or wrong, Pamela Voorhees vowed that Camp Crystal Lake would NEVER EVER open again. With her bloodlust and rage insatiable, she keeps her bloody promise to Jason on his birthday (Friday the 13th). They must pay. It wasn’t fair that special little Jason should die while teenage sinners filled with lust, drugs and alcohol, who were responsible for his death, should live on without a care in the world. Mrs. Voorhees would MAKE them care.
Mrs. Voorhees’ blood-rage finally ended when a brave young counselor beheaded her with a machete in a climatic showdown on the shores of Crystal Lake.
Rest in peace Pamela Voorhees.
I don’t want to scare anybody, but I’m gonna give it to you straight about Jason. His body was never recovered from the lake after he “drowned.” The girl that survived that night at Camp Blood, that Friday the 13th? She disappeared a year later. Blood was everywhere. Rumor has it that Jason saw his mother beheaded that night and took his revenge. A revenge he will continue to take if anyone dares to enter his woods. Jason’s out there.
-Paul from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2.
JASON Voorhees appeared at the end of FRIDAY THE 13TH in a jump out of your seat (or in my case, the station wagon hood) shock ending, but made his first appearance as a killer in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2.
Jason, (played by Warrington Gillette and Steve Dash) now a grown man, takes his revenge on Alice (Adrienne King), the survivor of the original film, and returns to his home in the woods of Crystal Lake. The camp next to the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake (now called Camp Blood by the locals) is opening and Jason is driven by the same motivation as his insane mother. These people hurt my mommy, now I have to hurt them. It’s important to note that Jason DID NOT drown in Crystal Lake. He has been living in the woods as a “wild man,” taking food where he can, stealing clothes off of clothes-lines and living in a run-down shack deep in the woods. Jason is a confused monster. “A child trapped in a man’s body” as Ginny (Amy Steele) says. But he is mortal.
Jason keeps his mother’s head on an altar surrounded by candles and bodies of his victims. He idolizes her, worships her, and follows her example. Revenge is still the factor, for his mother’s death and against the people who let him ALMOST drown. The mongoloid child has grown up to be a fierce killer.
As an aside, I’d like to take this time to theorize on the age of Jason Voorhees. He was born in 1946 (according to JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY) and he “drowned” in 1957. Some 22 years later, the events of the first film take place, and a year later he begins his killing spree. At 34, Jason is probably the late-bloomer when it comes to killers. I mean, Michael Myers started at 6!
Jason is every bit as brutal as his mother was…and for a “special” man-child, he’s pretty clever. Setting spring traps, standing on a chair to fool the victim he knows is under the bed and can see his feet and even finding the address of Alice from the first film.
Jason’s “look” wasn’t perfected yet, as he was wearing a plaid shirt, overalls and a pillowcase over his head with one eyehole cut out. (He’s lucky the Elephant Man didn’t sue!)
In Jason’s debut as a killer, he piles up 10 bodies using various methods. An ice pick, barbed wire, a hammer, a spear and a good old-fashioned butcher’s knife, all were put to bloody use and the screen flowed red for the first time at the hands of Jason Voorhees.
Jason himself received a few battle wounds during the film, the most lethal being a machete hacking him deep at the shoulder. At the conclusion, Jason crashes through a window, sans mask, for one final scare. Jason looks very much like the same boy that we remember from the original, but he sports half a beard and half a head of long unruly matted hair. Quite a difference from the Jason we know today.
I saw FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 at my neighborhood cinema, the Northshore theater in Houston, Texas. It was actually more of a grindhouse, a one-screen relic that played first run features but always doubled with second runs to get people in. The double feature I saw that night, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 and HALLOWEEN II, was unforgettable, and the walk home was full of shadows and night, with wind through the trees and strange noises that made me believe someone was following us. Perhaps someone with a pillowcase on his head, a bad attitude and an ax!
TO BE CONTINUED
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