“Friday the 13th” is, in many ways, the quintessential slasher franchise, and slashers are arguably the quintessential subgenre in the horror landscape. While “Halloween” is arguably the best slasher movie we have, what was accomplished in the “Friday the 13th” films is truly unique and, above all, totally entertaining for those who enjoy this kind of cinematic pleasures.
The point is, “Friday the 13th” started out in 1980 as a sort of number slasher movie with a twist that had almost none of the signature elements that casual moviegoers would come to associate with it down the road. Jason doesn’t show up until the very end, and even when he arrives in the sequel, it’s without his hockey mask. Financial success has allowed this series to grow from year to year, but unlike so many other franchises, it’s almost like continuity doesn’t matter every time Jason returns. New characters to kill. New weird elements are added to the mix. Like essentially pitting Jason against an X-Men-esque mutant in “The New Blood”, or (and this one is all in the title) “Jason Goes to Hell”. And let’s not forget “Jason X”, who brought the killer to space in the distant future, a true polar star for those who revere at the altar of the lost cinema. Even at its “worst”, these movies are still entertaining. The same cannot be said of so many other franchises. A bad “Paranormal Activity” movie leaves a lot to be desired. A lower quality movie “Friday the 13th” always offers a good time.
Let’s leave it to this; try to imagine a world of horror movies without Jason Voorhees. Then try to imagine one without the demons of the week of “Paranormal Activity”. The choice is clear. We need that hockey mask and that machete, damn it. (Ryan Scott)