Home

Jason Voorhees might as well be a Macabre Brother. The man in the hockey mask has been with us since we were wee lads, slashing and hacking away at sex-starved camp counselors late into the night (Voorhees did, not us). In an ode to Friday the 13th, Phil wades through all 10 original series installments for the umpteenth time to find four — just four — that prove why Jason is still one badass motherfucker.

In the age of instant streaming everything, midnight double features have gone the way of pagers and 16mm film. Don’t fret, horror fanatics: the Macabre Bros. fill the grimy, dilapidated gap left by abandoned indie theaters with Midnight Marathons. Each entry is a lovingly curated tour through several hours of horror, inspired by our pre-teen Friday the 13th marathons and the digitization of, whelp, the world. Now grab the Jiffy Pop and get comfy with friends — let’s embrace this horror coma.

| 8 p.m.

Friday the 13th (1980)
Runtime: 95 min

Friday the 13th wasn’t always the lowest common denominator of horror films. Long before Jason Voorhees devolved into a slasher version of Terminator, the 1980 original had more or less perfected a new and shamelessly entertaining genre.

It didn’t invent the slasher — that title belongs to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), or maybe even Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) — but it gave audiences exactly what they wanted: blood, horny teens, an All-American backdrop and a relatively clever twist ending. And Kevin Bacon.

But even as a crowd-pleasing stab-festthis isn’t a shoddy film. The counselors at Camp Crystal Lake truly seem like innocent kids caught skinny dipping in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the filmmakers manage to build mounds of tension through little more than POV camerawork and unpretentious editing, both trademarks of primordial ’70s slashers like HalloweenFriday the 13th simply tweaked the formula by adding more, more, more. Horror, welcome to the ’80s.

Watch it: Streaming on Netflix Instant.

jason2| 10 p.m.

Friday the 13th: Part II (1981)
Runtime: 87 min

By this point, just about everyone with a passing interest in horror knows who mutilated all those dirty counselors in the first Friday the 13th. Hell, Drew Barrymore’s boyfriend even gets gutted over the killer’s not-so-secret identity during the first few frames of Scream.

That’s all the more reason to watch Part II. It marks Jason’s first appearance with his trademark ax and lumbering gait, although he doesn’t adopt the hockey mask until the utterly boring Part III. The kills are already grislier and more inventive than the original — a sick brand of “keeping up with the Joneses” most horror movies just can’t deny — and stars one of the genre’s most endearing Sole Female Survivor types in Ginny (Amy Steel), a quiet blonde who somehow reminds me of Ellen Ripley in Alien.

Part II also touts one of the genre’s finest sex/death scenes (not involving Kevin Bacon, of course). When a pair of doe-eyed lovebirds finally do the dirty, Jason rams a massive spear through them both, mid-coitus. Lesson learned: Don’t invite Voorhees to a threesome.

Watch it: Streaming on Netflix Instant.

freddy5| Midnight

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
Runtime: 92 min

A vast majority of avid Friday the 13th scholars claim Friday the 13th Part Vi: Jason Lives is the finest of the mid-series Fridays, but I respectfully disagree, and instead proffer Part V as one hell of a guilty pleasure.

For starters, it comes after a Jason film titled, and I quote, “The Final Chapter,” which everyone knew was a joke, even back before the series grew into an unwieldy Medusa of mediocrity. That installment began with a recap of the previous three films and featured a young Corey Feldman, so the standard was already pretty low.

See, there’s nothing particularly incredible about Part V. The kills are hit or miss, and the mental asylum milieu becomes a predictable way of showing how Jason’s “nemesis,” Tommy Jarvis, is all growed up and still severely damaged.

It’s just that I really, really enjoy this flick. I’m not sure why…maybe it’s the ridiculous overacting from just about everyone involved, or maybe it’s the 6-plus disposable sex fiends who serve no other purpose than to strip down, bone for a bit, then get hacked to pieces inside of cars and mobile homes. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Watch it: Sadly, not currently streaming on Netflix. DVD or ripping are the only options.

jason8| 2 a.m.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Runtime: 100 min

Part VIII is here for one reason and one reason only: Jason punches a dude’s fucking head off.

Sure, it comes in the final 30 minutes of a middling, obnoxious, drawn-out sequel set primarily on a house boat, not in Manhattan. And sure, the boat is populated by a stunning array of the most obnoxious ’80s stereotypes ever assembled. And yes, that’s saying something for a Voorhees film.

But fuck it, I don’t care — fast-forward to the end, just for the glorious and completely unexpected money shot. (You even catch a glimpse of NYC, which is a privilege only about four characters enjoy.) It’s what I do, and believe me, watching the Token Black Jock literally lose his head via right hook is worth it.

And with a 100-minute shitfest reduced to maybe 5 decent minutes, everyone who’s got the yawns can grab their jammies, curl up with a blankie and judge away. The rest of us will move on to…

Watch it: Streaming on Netflix Instant.

jasonx| 2:13 a.m.

Jason X (2001)
Runtime: 93 min

Not that Jason X is any better than Part VIII, but at least when Jason embarks on another field trip with yet another group of annoying students, he’s in outer space. And in the future. And a mutant. That’s way cooler than a house boat to ’80s New York, especially when the Champ of Crystal Lake squares off against a cyborg in the finale.

Plus, we wrote a Jason X drinking game to glorify the campiest film from one of the campiest series in the slasher canon. Time to get tipsy.

Watch it: Not on Netflix Instant either, dammit.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s