Have you ever been at a restaurant where someone comes around with a pepper mill and asks if you would like some? For the sake of my point, you say yes, they grind some pepper, you thank them and they move on. Now, how about the Italian places that have the Parmesan cheese and they tell you to say when and you give them your impression of Vincent D’Onofrio in the First Men in Black movie as you keep saying “more” until they finally walk away because your plate is now mostly Cheese? Okay, now that that concept and apply it to sequels. Most commonly this is a trope of the horror genre, which is what this article is about, but I think we all pictured Vin Diesel just now. However, that’s not the genre I’m talking about, and writing about them would mean I would have to watch them, and I’m not about that life. For now, though, I’m talking about horror movies that kept coming back, way after they were dead. The rating for this series goes on a scale of 1 to 5, twice, the Lower the Peppermill count, the better to rate the lows, and the higher the cheese grating rating, to calculate the highs. With further adieu, lets dive in with Friday the 13th!
Let’s talk about Friday the 13th. I’m kicking off this little series with my all-time favorite horror franchise. In my opinion, Jason “The Unstoppable Killing Machine” Voorhees is the scariest thing from New Jersey. Now that includes the Jersey Devil and even the fabled Snooki. Okay, to be fair, the first movie was meant to be a cash-in on the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween. It was a simple premise that teens/young adults are preparing a summer camp to be reopened after a tragedy had happened years ago and then suddenly they start dying off in a gruesome manner. This ended up being a misguided act of revenge by the camp cook, Pamela Voorhees. Skip to the end, she gets a taste of her own medicine and takes a machete to the neck, sending her head rolling. End of film. The next movie is where we are introduced to our beloved Jason and the franchise gets rolling. Part 2 picks up after the events of the first movie where Jason tracks down survivor Alice and gets revenge for his Mother’s demise. Bickity-bam, end of franchise!… Right… Right? Nope, this is just the beginning. So Jason goes back home and wears a burlap sack on his head and lives in a shack in the woods and waits for his sequel.
Things are quiet for about five more years until Packanack Lodge hosts a camp counselor training weekend on the other side of the lake. Which, I remind you is Jason’s lake and he took that personally. Past the opening scene of the second film, parts 2, 3-D, and 4: The Final Friday takes place over a week and I feel like they make the perfect self-contained story along with the original. You got the origin to start everything off, then and you have the meaty goodness of the series. Now, this being a total opinion piece, I’ll say that I love the gore and effects of Part 5, but hate the Scooby-Doo aspect of the fake-out Jason that is Roy Barnes. most of his reveal as the killer barely makes sense and the fact that he’s supposed to just be a regular ol’ guy kind of takes away from the magic that is the J man. Moving on to Part 6, which in my opinion should have been the end of the series, has a now-adult Tommy Jarvis who has to make sure that he really-really killed Jason in part 4. He then goes on to accidentally pull a Doctor Frankenstein and revives the corpse of what we, the fans, call Zombie Jason and kicks off the supernatural leg of the franchise. So to recap, you got the Pamela movie to start, next is the living Jason quadrilogy which then Venn Diagrams into the Tommy Jarvis Trilogy which in turn creates another Venn Diagram into the Zombie Jason era.
So Zombie Jason is where things get nuts. Part 6 ends with Tommy Jarvis tricking Jason into a chain noose, attached to a giant rock where he gets left at the bottom of the lake. At this point Jason should have hypothetically been dead for good but, you know… money. So next we have Part 7 where Jason fights a Carrie White rip-off. Part 8 where Jason somehow hitches a boat ride to New York that launches off from Crystal Lake, in the least believable move of the franchise, and does what he does best in the Big Apple. After that, behind the scenes, Jason was sold to New Line Cinema and lost the Friday the 13th title. I’ve personally heard with my own two ears the next movie referred to as “Jason takes a Shit” by Kane Hodder, the man who played Jason the most and my personal favorite to wear the Hockey Mask, so I continue to call it that. I can say a lot about this film where Jason not only jumps from body to body looking for a host like a parasite and is revealed to be a Deadite but instead I’ll take a second to talk about the best part of the movie, Creighton Duke. They took a turd of a movie and made at least one likable character. Even though he dies in the movie, fans have been asking for a solo outing for years, even if it wouldn’t make sense. Lastly, the swan song movie in the franchise, Jason X. Now, this is the one that usually gets the most hate by the casual fans but in my eyes is the big redemption of the main series timeline. Everything about it says “We’ve done goofed and we’re sorry”. I’m sure a lot of you disagree with me and that’s what the comment section is for and I stand by my opinion. It jumps the shark in ways that make jumping a shark look like an elegant dance. Extra points for the Sleeping bag scene in the holo-deck and the ending perfectly set up for a whole new era of Jason, even if it didn’t happen.
I’ll end this rundown of the Friday the 13th Franchise by stating that I categorize Freddy vs Jason as a Nightmare on Elm Street film and even though Jason arguably wins, that’s definitely Freddy’s movie and I will save my words on that for that article. I also wanted to state that for the point that I’m making here, the Remake doesn’t count. Derek Mears did a great job at playing an All-new, All-different Jason Voorhees but this is a Michael Bay movie and I hate that guy. Now before I give my rating of the whole franchise, I just want to remind you that this is my favorite horror franchise and it holds a warm place in my heart.
3 out of 5 Pepper Mill grindings – Watch with the knowledge that it gets pretty bad at the end.
5 out of 5 Cheese Graters- This series is so fun, even at its worst, I feel like its the best!
Next time I will tackle one of these franchises, so let me know what you think of the candidates and which one you want to see next! : Wrong Turn, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hell Raiser, Child’s Play, Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Paranormal Activity, Leprechaun, Halloween, The Exorcist, Final Destination, The Purge, Puppet Master, and Tremors.