Friday the 13th: Rekindling my love for the series
Ever since I watched The Final Girls last month, it has rekindled my love for camp slashers. The guys and I who used to spend entire Fridays afternoons watching these films (yes, we’re still friends to this day!), have been recalling those times, and especially —like every fan of this franchise out there— how we used to love and cheer at every kill on a Friday the 13th film. We even used to have a magazine that depicted every single kill in detail up until Part VIII, before it could all be found on the internet, of course.
As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up watching Friday the 13th films and have always loved the series. I’ve been wondering, what is it about a slasher whose entire premise is based on stalking and killing camp counselors and visitors that makes it so entertaining?
A lot of our fascination with Friday the 13th comes from how ridiculous the films sometimes are, the woods setting, the drive-in gritty quality and, of course, how predictable they are. But in the end, it comes back to the body count and the fact that Jason doesn’t stick to a single weapon like killers from other slashers do.
When I started to really get into it, it’s all about the series’ increasingly bizarre and creative kills. This is a premise that just works tremendously well in the genre, the whole Final Destination franchise has been very successful using this same principle. Just take a look at these wonderful Friday the 13th deaths to see what I mean.
I have mixed feelings about Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X being left out of the list, especially the latter. Jason X may very well be the crappiest in the series, but it’s the one entry in the franchise that just doesn’t give a damn. It’s just a vehicle for Jason to kill a bunch of people. Here’s Jason in space (what?), on a ship full of people he can kill in the most insane ways. In my opinion, that movie’s face frozen in liquid nitrogen kill deserves a special mention and can’t be left out solely based on its awesomeness.
Another great thing that I love about these films, that has been more prominently exposed in recent years with the whole ‘Final Girl’ concept and the new meta-horror wave, is the fact that slasher films are in reality, an amazing vehicle for feminism. They are not, as some people think, aimed at male viewers who sadistically enjoy watching the predicaments and deaths of female victims.
Behind all those great deaths, there’s the underlying psychological appeal of the suffering heroine who rises to triumph. We empathize with the girl and cheer for her success. The Final Girls worked great in showing that, as did Cabin in the Woods and the seminal meta-horror film Scream. This subject is more prominently discussed and studied in Carol J. Clover’s wonderful book Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film.
Take a look at the great Infographic courtesy of the fine folks at BuyCustomes to see why Friday the 13th films have one of the largest body counts in horror film history. After, go to the comments and let me know your opinion of this series and what’s your favorite death.
[Top Thirteen Friday The 13th Deaths Video: Classic Halloween]
[Friday The 13th Body Count Infographic: Buy Customes]
Tags: horror, movies