Saturday, February 14, 2009


i love my wife. have i mentioned that i love my wife? i love my wife. the lady is sassy, beautiful, curved in my favorite places, and totally nuts for her husband. the last part still shocks me messless on a regular basis. as mentioned in a previous post, for valentine's day my wife bought me tickets to see the new FRIDAY THE 13TH on friday the 13th at 11:55 pm. (she bought tickets for the latest showing possible because she knows how i despise sharing theaters with the middle schoolers. sure, i want to teach middle schoolers, but that doesn't mean i want to share a theater with the little buggers.) after the film, latonya confessed that she had her eyes closed for nearly half the showing. "but you could still hear so much," she said. unfortunately, there was no warning that the one dude was going to take the arrow through the head; then, latonya thought that jason had already disposed of the one girl and opened her eyes just in time to see her impaled on deer antlers. these were unfortunate moments in slasher-flicking for my wife. we may not share many horror movies in the future. 

(speaking of sharing horror movies, after two jason vorhees films in a single week, i think my bodycount quota has been hit and exceeded. i need a break from the violence. y'all maybe reading a lot of disney and john hughes from me for awhile after this. nevertheless, we must trudge through and speak of the FRIDAY at hand.)

first off, let me just answer your most pressing question right away by saying that i really liked this FRIDAY THE 13th remake. michael bay and them folks over at platinum dunes have an intense eye for keeping the integrity of classic horror films intact while re-envisioning fresh possibilities in these age-old stories. not to mention, bay knows what the fans want: high energy, high tension, high volumes of blood - and bay wastes no surplus supplying all three. with this in mind, i find it interesting that platinum dunes is responsible for two remakes of the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. having seen both remakes, i think i know why: the 2003 version was pitiful. zero energy. zero tension. zero original integrity. zero solid wood chase scenes. what the un-horror film populace does not understand about these early horror films is that they truly were revolutionary. modern horror filmmakers (bigtime and indie) still look at tobe hopper's original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) as a blueprint for cinematic intensity. hopper's low-budget saga of texas carnage influenced phenomenal changes in the horror and thriller film industry. for michael bay to remake hopper's leatherface legacy nearly 30 years later is a daunting task. and, honestly, bay flopped. however, instead of apologizing for his mistakes and moving on to a different franchise, bay gathered as much fan criticism as he could find and made THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING (2006), the only film to date that actually nauseated me. everything that bay missed in the 2003 version, he gave audiences in excess with the 2006 version. and, in my opinion, the 2006 CHAINSAW film was a large enough story prequel to actually stand alongside the 1974 original.

bay's attention to classic film integrity and fan expectations also made this FRIDAY THE 13TH remake a total success. the film begins directly at the end of the first FRIDAY, establishing an instant connection to the vorhees' legacy while assuring audiences that this is not a reframing of the 1980 original. however, the first 30 minutes of this retelling showcase several classic jason kills and moves that also reconnect us directly to the legacy. as a fan of the franchise, it's fun to sit back and name the various films alluded to in this murderous montage. also, and this is just blazeningly brilliant, jason gets four out of six people in the beginning before we ever actually see him. the grand entrance this remake offers our age-old anti-hero is electrifying, and the entire audience raucously responded to jason's first on-screen appearance. oh yeah, and then, thirty minutes into the film, the first credits roll up. the wife leaned over to me and said, "you mean, all that was only the beginning?" precisely. 

rolling through scenes (the barn from part 3), landscapes (the POV embankment shots from part 1), prop sets (flood lights and archery targets from part 1), family heilooms (pamela vorhees' head and accessories from part 2), and plot allusions (a brother in search of a missing sister guided in his search by a beautiful girl in a short skirt from part 4) reminiscent of the first four FRIDAY THE 13th films allows this remake to work brilliantly as a cinematic collage of horror geek fandom. part of the draw of this film was spotting all the references to the originals. there may have even been a crazy ralph type old coot at one point, but he never spoke the word "doom" so i couldn't be certain.

honestly, i could have used a lot less gratuitous sex, drug references, and nudity. i realize that a major part of the slasher film ethos revolves around establishing the moral waywardness of the teenagers before imparting unrighteous judgement on them. regardless, this remake took the glorification of teenage rebellion ("you kids gonna going out in the woods and drink a little beer, smoke a little pot, and have some premarital sex?" - steve freeman/part 9) to the level of sheer silliness as if michael bay needed to bait frat boys and sorority girls to play his film on their clubhouse walls. i realize that harping on overexposure of immorality in a slasher flick is downright preposterous, but i found it all a bit distracting after awhile. i'm allowed my conundrums. in fact, my wife paid $4 for me to experience my conundrums.

also, i was very disappointed that the film glossed over jason acquiring the hockey mask. the mask is the iconic symbol of this franchise. and while jason holds no significant ethereal relationship to his mask the way michael myers or leatherface did theirs, we fans still came to see the hockey mask dude do his thing. i appreciated that the film did show jason switch from the burlap sack mask (from part 2 & 3) to the hockey mask (part 3), but there should have been a bit more pomp and circumstance about the whole thing. i don't know what exactly. maybe some fireworks or a hockey mask chorus number. who knows?

all in all, i give the new FRIDAY THE 13th remake 4 machetes out of 5. the grandiose immorality and half-assed mask acquisition cost platinum dunes an entire point on my scale. FRIDAY is a great franchise with a looming icon not easily disposed of or forgotten. also, i give my wife 5 chocolate covered strawberries out of 5 for enduring the midnight massacre with me. she is my beloved prize. i'm going to stop writing now so i can go flirt with her. 


John Barber said...

Can I pay for a plane ticket to have Latonya come up here to Knoxville and go see it with me?

Nice review, hamster. I've heard similar complaints about the excess of immorality in this one. It's nice to know that even guys like us have limits...

the hamster said...

i'm glad you thought this was a nice review. this is the first review i actually worked to a pristine craft since the early days of Hockey Mask, Inc. my little hamsterian sensibilities were feeling un-wheeled with no comments yet. i thrive on attention.

as to us having limits, i heard marilyn manson one time say about his refusing to call smashmouth musicians, "i mean, even i have morals." that about sums it up right there.

myleswerntz said...

yeah, I thought for sure that the sex scene was going to be "cut short", as it were. but instead, gratuity.

4 Oedipal complexes out of 5.

Also, I could have written the script to this given a long afternoon and a six-pack of Shiner. Sheesh.

the hamster said...

myles - actually, sir, i think we have written this script a few times over in our chats and giggles at the franchise. it doesn't take much to say: a bunch of horndog teens go in the woods, the boys get drunk, the girls get naked, they all get killed, end credits.

we should be filthy rich.

myleswerntz said...

get it? 'cut short'? as in FTT, pt. 4?