07 October 2015

October 7th

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985) directed by Danny Steinmann
Tom Morga as Pseudo-Jason
22 Mar 1985
Freddy vs. Jason, Part VI: Jason's Still Dead
So Part  IV made a ton of money and clearly the fans want more. But, darn, it was called "The Final Chapter" and Jason is dead. What to do? Apparently, rather than take a page from their own book (Jason drowned as kid... but, no he didn't), the filmmakers figured they'd have to stick to their guns and go somewhere else with the series. I guess that's admirable: to sleep in the bed they made and try out something new. It just doesn't work, though.

My main issue with the movie isn't even Pseudo-Jason; it's the censorship. After the gore-fest that was Part IV, this film feels incredibly tame. I'm relatively confident that V could be shown on an American TV network with only the nudity censored and no one would be shocked. Every single kill cuts away immediately. Some even happen off screen and are simply implied. For a slasher fan, this is pure frustration. I know there's some awesome footage sitting in a can somewhere that the MPAA forced out of the movie in exchange for its R rating.

As for Pseudo-Jason... this is not a horrible idea. Jason is just a big, unstoppable dude in a hockey mask without too much personality. The problem with making him a regular guy who's upset about his son's death, however, is that it humanizes Jason far too much. Instead of a deformed man who lived alone in the woods for decades, surviving however he could -- perhaps more beast than man -- we've got a grieving parent who has snapped. I'm just not going to be as scared of crazy Roy as I am of a mutant man-mountain with a machete.

The implied path for Part VI shown at the end of this one, where Tommy assumes the mantle of Jason, is even lamer. Now the kid who killed Jason goes nuts and.... starts killing people just like Jason? It doesn't make any sense. How about this? Pseudo-Jason severely disfigures Tommy in an attack -- like eyeball hanging out, half his face messed up -- before Tommy throws him out of the hayloft. Looking into the mirror, Tommy can now only see Jason staring back. Now he truly snaps and starts killing people, but in a slightly different way than Jason used to. Using his karate skills and lean body, he's a quicker, sharper Jason. Think Bruce Lee in a hockey mask. There, there's "a new beginning."

Favorite Character
Demon (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.): the Jheri-curled, too-cool goofball who apparently lives in the back of his piled-high-with-trash van... yet is so smooth that he still has a girlfriend.

Favorite Sin
Demon's entire life, as represented by a van filled with junk food, pot, beer, and a friendly woman.

Favorite Kill
Eddie (John Robert Dixon), whose head is crushed when Roy wraps a leather garrote around both his face and a tree and then twists it so tightly the strap breaks. One of the most memorable kills in the entire series, I've always thought.

Jason's Mood

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) directed by Jack Sholder
Robert Englund as Freddy
1 Nov 1985
Freddy vs. Jason, Part VII: There's Something Inside of Me
How do you follow up Part 1, one of the most successful horror movies of all time? Apparently, you take the nightmares mentioned in the title almost all the way out and have the main villain possess a high schooler in a manner that is sort of a hybrid of The Exorcist and a werewolf movie. Huh?

What is Freddy's plan, anyway? He appears to want to possess Jessie's body like a ghost and walk around in the real world. Why? Is he tired of having limitless power in the dreamworld, with the added ability to cause real deaths there? Did he just want to check out a high school pool party? And, is attempting to frame Jessie for murdering his coach and best friend wise? How will Freddy have any fun if the body he controls is locked in prison? The subtitle of the movie is "Freddy's Revenge," but that was already what he was up to in the previous movie, anyway. The guy has no apparent motivation here.

I used to be a fan of this sequel, arguing with the naysayers that there's a lot of cool stuff in the film and at least Freddy's isn't too jokey yet. I take it back. This is definitely the second-worst of the series, only surpassed by the very disappointing 6. The main character whimpers like a baby most of the movie -- admittedly, Mark Patton sells this effectively -- and needs his girlfriend to defeat the villain via smooching. Freddy's makeup looks odd; I hate the gigantic cro-magnon brow they gave him. Those dogs with baby heads just don't work. Parakeet attacks. Worst of all: there's almost no dreaming. The very thing that made the first movie special is nearly absent in this one. What were they thinking?

There are bits that I love. The dream at beginning is very nice. The idea of being trapped in a school bus balanced precariously over a giant pit with Freddy coming after you is very effective. Christopher Young's score -- no surprise here -- is excellent. The shot of Freddy (above) at the pool party declaring "you are all my children now" is one of the best of the series. Freddy emerging from Jessie in Ron's bedroom -- with Freddy's eyeball looking out of Jessie's mouth -- is very cool. I though the theme of heat -- from presumably Freddy's death, or his boiler room -- was a neat touch to illustrate the weirdness going on in the house.

Still, I'm glad they went back to what worked in the original for Part 3.

Favorite Character
Ron Grady (Robert Rusler): A total bro, ever-forgiving of his new friend's increasing grumpiness and weirdness.

Favorite Sin
The entirety of Don's Place, Coach Schneider's favorite hangout.

Favorite Kill
Coach Schneider (Marshall Bell), who has one of the weirdest deaths in slasher history when Freddy/Jessie ties him up in a locker room shower, strips him nude, whips his ass with a towel, and then slices up his back.

Freddy's Mood
A man on a mission.

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