Halloween Scene: Jason X (2002)

jason-x-poster I should have solid, deep, fond memories for the first time I saw Jason X, but I’m sad to say I don’t. I remember enjoying the movie, thinking it was more tongue in cheek and funny than straight-ahead scary, but I can’t recall the specifics around actually seeing it. Usually none of this would be a big deal, but I’m fairly certain that Jason X was the first old school slasher film I saw on the big screen. It came out in April of 2002, so I would have been down at Ohio Wesleyan towards the end of my freshman year of college. A lot was going on, but I know I saw it in theaters. As a horror fan, my timing is pretty crappy because I was a young kid for most of the good slasher movies in the 80s and was only able to see entries like this one, Freddy Vs. Jason and some of the remakes in theaters. To be fair, though, there was a nice little horror revival that kicked off around the time I turned 16, so that was good timing.

Anyway, I know a lot of people don’t like this film, but I’m not one of them. I completely get being disappointed by the movie’s tone after waiting nearly 10 years between Friday The 13th films and getting this one. Add in the fact that the previous entry was the terrible Jason Goes To Hell and that the entry before that was a let down by not living up to its title and you’ve got a fanbase that was itching for some classic Jason and didn’t feel like they got it.

Jason X also fell into that strange subcategory of horror sequels that take a lead character and inexplicably put them into space. It happened with Hellraiser and with Leprechaun and then it happened with Jason. Luckily for me at the time, I hadn’t seen any of those other movies and probably wasn’t all that familiar with the Alien films either, so a lot of this stuff was relatively new to me. I’d also probably only gone through a few of the original Jason films once, maybe twice each, so I didn’t even have that good of a Jason knowledge or fandom to disappoint. Basically, when I watched Jason X in 2002, it was the perfect storm of what I thought was a fun movie with pretty great kills mixed with an almost complete ignorance of what this movie was following, referencing and commenting on.

Even today, though, after seeing a lot of those movies, I can still enjoy this film and not on a completely nostalgic level either. I love that this movie actually pits Jason against soldiers and shows that he can take out even well-trained people and not just half naked teenagers. I also enjoy how they get him on the ship even if the initial escape makes little to no sense. Hell, I love that there’s a friggin’ warrior robot in this movie! Oh, and cyborg Jason? Yeah, I like that too. Before he got his upgrade you actually thought they might be able to kill him forever by shooting him into the sun or something, but now the already scary guy who can’t die has technology working on his side which makes him even more difficult to defeat!

Again, though, I get why people don’t like this movie. Even though it’s set in the future, everyone looks super 2001. The sets are fairly well done, but still look like something out of a Si-Fi show from that era. While Jason is portrayed perfectly by Kane Hodder, there’s not much more in the way of depth when it comes to the rest of the cast. Uneven dialog delivered by so-so actors does not a great film make.

I’ll tell you what, though. There’s still some pretty great moments like anytime Jason appears in a corridor and the kids scatter. There’s just something about that presence bursting into a well lit room that still gets under my skin a little bit. It almost makes it more realistic. And how can you not love that bit with Jason smashing the sleeping bag against the tree in the VR room? I laughed pretty hard at that the first time (maybe I do have some memories ratting around in my head) and I didn’t even get the specific reference at the time. I’ve since watched Part VII several times including once in the past few weeks and like that gag even more.

At the end of the day, I know that Jason X isn’t a good movie and yet, I can look past the bad and just enjoy the good. Plus, this movie has one of my all time favorite kill scenes and it comes pretty soon after Jason wakes up on the ship. That bit with the head in the super cold water or ice or whatever still gets me! Plus, even for a guy with a faulty memory bank, there’s still a lot to be said for nostalgia.

Friday Night Fights: Freddy Vs. Jason

*Friday Night Fights presents crazy fight and battle scenes from movies with little-to-no context. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll probably want to skip the clip. *

 Freddy-vs-Jason

In honor of Friday the 13th, it seemed ridiculously appropriate to present the epic throw-down between two of horror’s biggest icons from the 2003 flick Freddy Vs. Jason. This fight is pretty much what we wanted the entire movie to be, but apparently you need scared teenagers for these kinds of things to work and not mutilated monsters trying to murder each other for 90 minutes.

Casting Internets

Whew, it’s good to be back, but I do admit, I skipped a lot of the news I missed while on our journey to Ohio. I’ve gotten mostly caught up, but here’s the things I saw today that interested me.

First up, some self promotion. I did a piece for Marvel.com about giant collectibles called Muckle Mannequins.

There’s a new teaser for Wimpy Kid 2! (via /Film)

I am very excited about this collection of Carl Banks Disney duck comics I read about on Robot 6. I’ve never read any of that stuff, but have heard great things.

Robot 6 also informed me that Stan Lee got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Congrats to him!
Stacie Ponder recaps Friday the 13th parts one and two. Great stuff.

It’s about damn time.

CliqueClack noticed a 50 to 1 countdown on last night’s How I Met Your Mother which had one of the saddest moments I’ve seen on TV in a long time. I didn’t notice the number aspect of the show whatsoever. (via Pop Candy)

Go check out the custom Medusa over on The Fwoosh. You won’t be disappointed.

Commercial Commentary: Dr. Dre Looks Kind Of Like Jason X & Mr. Terrific

The missus actually noticed that Dr. Dre looked kind of like the JSA’s Mr. Terrific in this HP Beats laptop commercial. Good call, I say, but I think he looks like a cross between Mr. Terrific and Jason X, what do you think?

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Halloween Scene: Friday The 13th Part VI Jason Lives (1986)

As faithful readers might remember from my review of Friday The 13th Part VII, I’d never seen Part VI even though I’d seen the next two and the previous installments. I can’t really account for this occurrence aside from guessing that my local Family Video didn’t have all the movies (I’ve also never seen Jason Goes To Hell, but that’s on the Netflix list for when I finish what’s in the box set).

Anyway, I remedied this embarrassing oversight last night after realizing the copy of Near Dark I got from Netflix was cracked (it looked like someone hit it with a ball peen hammer) and Battle Royale only came with subtitles (I can’t write and read a movie at the same time, so back it went). I really dug this installment in the F13 franchise. It starts off with TV’s Horshack which is already a step in the right direction (Welcome Back Kotter is one of my all time favorite sitcoms). We then get a series of kills that don’t really matter because they’re just random people who happen to be hanging out in the woods for the most part, many of which take place during the day which is kind of a nice change of pace.

Story wise, we’re back at Crystal Lake, though it’s been renamed to try and put the Camp Blood era in the past. There’s a lot of people hanging around without fear. Jason’s been dead for a while, but the timing for these movies has always been really wonky, so I’m not sure exactly how long it’s been. Horshack and Tommy Jarvis head to the graveyard to make sure Jason is dead and inadvertently bring him back to life (which is kind of a classic part of a hero’s journey). Jarvis spends the rest of the movie trying to warn the cops who don’t take him seriously (you’d think they would considering the kid has put Jason down more times than anyone else). The plot revolves around the newly opened camp (not a good idea) and the counselors there trying to make things work even though the bosses haven’t shown up (Jason killed them in an awesome scene early on). For the most part, they’re a very likable group who doesn’t completely treat the campers (yes, there’s actually campers in this one) like a disease. I especially like Cort, a dude who’s never without his walkman and ripped jeans (unless he’s having sex in a camper–the vehicle). His explanation of Native American tracking methods is hilarious. Sure he’s vapid and stupid, but in a likable way.

Though I dug the movie overall, I guess it could have been more violent. I read that there were some more violent scenes filmed but not put into the movie (or at least the box set version I have). Does anyone know if the latest Jason Lives DVD has those scenes added back in? That could make an already solid slasher even better.

Crossovers I Want To See: Jason Vs. Wolverine

I’ve only done one of these before, but have been meaning to do more. Frankly, this is the kind of stuff geek dreams are made of right? And even when the long awaited crossovers do happen they’re either lopsided towards one franchise (Freddy vs. Jason) or depending on fan votes for fight results (DC Vs. Marvel) or just not good at all (Alien Vs. Predator). I’ve been pitting slashers against superheroes in my head for a surprisingly short period of time considering how long I’ve been a fan of both (just the last year or two, really). The idea of pitting two seemingly indestructable killing machines against each other actually came from a figure pairing on my desk when I still worked at the old ToyFare offices. Here you have a 3 3/4-inch Hasbro Wolverine in Jacket from the Wolverine: Origins line and a 3 3/4-inch Jason Voorhees from Mezco’s Cinema Of Fear series facing off on my kitchen tables. On my desk, they went from fighting to riding the bulldog that came with the DCUC Lobo SDCC figure from a few years back. In my imagined crossover, though, they would spend the entire comic or movie just slashing the shit out of each other getting angrier and angrier the entire time. Here’s how I see it going down. Wolverine’s on one of his many cross country trips when he finds himself in Crystal Lake. After a day or so of fishing and hunting, Jason shows up to politely ask Wolverine to leave. The pair throw down, but Wolverine doesn’t know what he’s dealing with, so he assumes Jason dies at the end of the battle and heads back to New York. Of course, it’s not nearly that simple, as Jason heals and goes on a trip to New York to exact his revenge using those crazy tracking skills he used to hunt down and kill the Final Girl from the first Friday The 13th in the first sequel (continuity!). Bam, huge fight in NYC between two crazy men with healing abilities. If it’s a comic book, it would only make sense for the rest of the NYC local heroes to get involved and help put a stop to Jason (shouldn’t be a problem for the Avengers–especially if Thor’s around, how friggin’ cool of a few panels would that be? Mallet for machete!–or Fantastic Four). But, if it’s a movie (a boy can dream), they’d continue their fight until the X-Men finally show up to help and probably drop Jason in some freshly poured concrete. Marvel and WildStorm, feel free to contact me. I can easily flesh this story out or come up with a brand spanking new one.

Halloween Scene: Jason On The Arsenio Hall Show

I have no idea how much this has made the rounds, but I stumbled across it today and just had to share it with you guys. Jason went on the Arsenio Hall Show to help promote Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and here’s what happened.

 

What I’m Thankful For: My Parents (and TV!)

2008-11-20
12:17:57 am

Okay, so one of the reasons that I haven’t been posting as much the past five days or so is because my parents came in for a visit on Friday and left Sunday. I had asked my dad to root through the boxes in their basement and bring some of my oldest action figures and he responded in spaces with boxes full of He-Man, Batman, Silverhawks, Star Wars, Ghostbusters and plenty of other random toys from my childhood. So, first of all, a huge thanks for that, Dad’s awesome.

But that’s not all, for not real reason, Mom and Dad also took Em and I to Best Buy where they treated us to a brand new flat screen TV as well as a new DVD/VCR player (which is great, because, as regular readers know, I’ve been watching DVDs on my PS2 and our old TV SUCKED). So, again, they’re awesome and not just because they bring and buy me/us stuff. This isn’t really the forum to get into all the great things they’ve done, but, according to Rickey, they’ve got to be in the top 3 sets of parents of all time. I’ve got to agree.

The TV is freaking mind blowingly awesome. After setting it up we watched Kung Fu Panda and it looked AMAZING. I kept giggling throughout the movie because it looked so good. I was astonished both by the quality and my parents’ generosity. Aside from all that, though, the movie is awesome. The voice acting is spot on (Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross even Angelina Jolie and more) and the action scenes are SICK. It’s great to see filmmakers who realize you can do all kinds of things with CGI and not be shackled down by the physical world that real movies are. It’s also just a lot of fun, Jack Black’s funny without being TOO Blackian. I recommend everyone check it out.

I ended up staying up late after everyone else went to bed just to watch Friday the 13th 5 (I wanted to see how it looked on the new TV), there will be a Halloween Scene review soon. I wasn’t quite tired after that, still, so I popped Star Wars Battlefront II into the PS2 and had some fun with that for a while, but I wasn’t quite done so I watched some TV just to see how it looked. I eventually tapped out around 3.

On Saturday Dad and I watched college football, bouncing between the Notre Dame game (my team) and his team, Ohio State. But we weren’t just sitting there as Dad and I (but mostly him) built these frames with shrink wrap on them to place in our windows to help keep the cold out this winter. Meanwhile Mom and Em made Christmas cookies all day. And mind you, they got in around 5 on Friday and took of Sunday morning. I think Rickey’s right (though I’ve known this for a while), they’re the best. Thanks a lot Mom and Dad!

Halloween Scene: Friday the 13th Part III (1982) & The Final Chapter (1984)

2008-11-04
7:56:28 pm

As I mentioned before F13 is a weird series. Not until Part 3 do we get the world famous hockey mask, picked off the body of a dead jokester, no less! Three also doesn’t take place on a camp (nor does 4, but they’re all around Crystal Lake still).

As many of you probably know, part 3 was originally shown in 3-D, which makes me totally jealous that I haven’t gotten to see a horror movie in 3-D (I can’t wait for My Bloody Valentine 3-D!). I also wish they would have released the DVD in 3-D because it’s very clearly shot with the 3-D audience in mind (the yo-yo dropping down towards the camera, TWO eye balls jumping out at you and countless ends of farming tools sticking out at the audience). The shots just look kind of strange without being in 3-D.

The basic idea is that a group of friends go to a cabin the day after the events of F13 Part 2. They run afoul of a trio of bikers and Jason and start getting killed off one by one. There’s a few interesting characters. One of which is the main girl who had a run in with Jason in the woods a few years ago when she and her parents still lived in the house. She ran away from home and fell asleep in the woods only to be dragged away by Jason and end up in her own bed (?). Not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but it was kinda cool to see Jason post Part 1 and pre 2. There’s also the fat kid with low self esteem who keeps playing tricks on people to get a scare and (hopefully) a laugh. He’s really freaking annoying. We’ve all known people like this in real life. And not only is his character annoying, but his antics and the fake-out scares that come along with them get real old real quick. And why the heck does he have a working harpoon gun? Or a hockey mask? Oh well, his one positive contribution is that hockey mask. So I guess that’s cool.

The kills are fun, and the creative team really had fun with the kills, especially everything that happened in the barn. There’s a scene towards the end where the main girl gets the upper hand and actually hangs Jason. She thinks everything is cool and opens the door to see Jason hanging just inches off the ground. He seems dead at first, but then he pulls himself up (and shows off his mutilated face) and continues to attack her. Great stuff.

It even looks like Jason might be done for as he’s lying there at the end and the beginning of Part 4. Of course that doesn’t last as he wakes up in the morgue as a dude’s trying to make out with a girl. Creepy. From there we move to another group of kids renting a house, but with this flick we also get a mother and her two kids (one of which is horror mask and computer obsessed Corey Feldman) AND a hunter/woodsman who turns out to be avenging his sister who died in Part 2. Oh and a pair of twins who just happen to show up in the woods.

One of the soon-to-be-murdered kids is a young Crispen Glover! I love playing spot the future star in horror movies. And you get TWO in this one, which kind of makes up for the lack of big names in 2 and 3. Instead of the low self esteem guy you get the over confident smooth guy who never gets the girl. In this flick he ends up watching a stag film for the last 20 minutes of the movie while his friends get killed throughout the house. Until, of course, he dies.

What I like about this one is that you’re not really sure who’s going to survive. There’s about three candidates towards the end and one of the potential survivors doesn’t make which kind of surprised me (even though this is the F13 flick I remember most clearly, probably because it was the last one that Rickey and I watched when we lived together). The actual ending’s pretty crazy as Corey Feldman’s sister keeps running back and forth between her house the other one while Corey’s up in his bathroom shaving his head (which he must have done at super speed) all in an attempt to distract Jason by dressing up like a young Jason. Make sense? I guess the inhuman killing machine is actually pretty dumb (he got tricked by a girl who put on his dead mother’s sweater and pushed her hair behind her ears in 2). Anyway, it works for just enough time so that sis can stab Jason in his maskless (and gross) face with a machete which he then falls forward on and we see it carve through his face. Whew, glad that’s over. BUT WAIT, his finger twitches and Corey goes bizonkers smashing him in the head with the machete. Awesome, thanks again to Tom Savini.

As you can probably tell from the title this was supposed to be the last flick in the Jason storyline, but they do end it with a weird freeze frame focusing on Corey as he looks creepily at the camera. I’m not sure what the plan was supposed to be for him, but I do remember the character comes back in a later flick. Oh, also, sidenote, no more kids in horror movies named Tommy please. I’m psyched to watch the rest of this box set. Yeah!

Halloween Scene: Friday the 13th 1 (1980) and 2 (1981)

2008-11-02
6:26:01 am

I know, I know, Halloween was yesterday (or two days ago, technically, I guess by now), but I’m not done with my favorite holiday. In fact, I’ll probably keep the Halloween Scene reviews coming all year. I’m also thinking about giving November a “What I’m Thankful For” theme, but we’ll get there when we get there.

For now, I’m gonna talk about the first two Friday the 13th movies, which I’ve been watching over the past few days. I’ve found that I’m able to stay up less late every night, so it actually took me three freaking days to watch Part 2. It’s embarrassing. Anyway, F13 is, I think Rickey’s favorite slasher series partly because of his love of camp movies. Halloween’s still my personal favorite but that doesn’t mean I don’t love me some Jason. In fact, this year I picked up the F13 box set used on Amazon on a lark. So let’s get into it.

As Scream should have taught those of you who didn’t already know, Jason’s mom Pamela Voorhees is the killer. What really blows me away about the F13 series is that the creators really just set out to make one kind of movie and then it morphed into this completely different thing. The original has a mom killing slutty camp instructors because her son died due to irresponsible counselors years before. It’s not a good reason by any means, but it makes sense. There’s not even any mystical stuff until the very end when Jason comes leaping out of the water looking like a too-cooked hot dog. And from there they ran with it. Two’s got a Jason who still seems like a regular dude, just a real angry one. Heck, he doesn’t even have the hockey mask until 3. How crazy is that? Think about it, it’d be like Michael Myers not getting the Shatner mask until part 3…er 4 I guess.

So, again, Part 1 features a young dude trying to restart Camp Crystal Lake, or Camp Blood as some people refer to it. As usual, we’re not dealing with camps full of kids, but only older counselors getting things ready ahead of time (cause it would just be weird of those Voorhees folks were killing under agers). Mrs. V is killing people at the very camp that her son Jason died at many years ago because…um…she’s not a fan of forgiving and forgetting. Anyway, the only counselor of note is one Kevin Bacon who dies a pretty rad death thanks to Dawn of the Dead effects master Tom Savini (a personal favorite of mine). Tom’s deft hand offers up good looking death scenes all around.

What really gets me about F13 is the idea of this old broad being the killer. Who’d think of that now? I mean, it’s fairly implausible as she takes down a number of young, nubile teenagers. Good show Ms. Voorhees.

Part 2 doesn’t have any famous faces (outside of the horror world at least), but it does feature Jason as an adult. It’s interesting because this one takes place five years after the original which really came out one year apart. I’m guessing they did it that way so that Jason could be a teenager by now and ready to kill people on his own. And how does he start out? By hunting down the one that got away from the original and icing her in her house. But, like I mentioned above, this isn’t the Jason you’ve come to know and love as he sports a pair of overalls, a blue checkered shirt and a bag over his head with only one eyehole cut out. Come on Jason, I bet you’d be able to aim that pitchfork a little better if you cut yourself a second.

This time around the story revolves around a guy setting up a camp on Crystal Lake, but not in the exact same spot as the infamous Camp Blood. But, hey, that’s Jason’s hood (no pun intended), so he’s not too happy about it and starts killing teenagers. This time, instead of the campers sneaking off to go make out and what not (which still happens), they get split up as half go into town to a bar and the other half stay the camp. The ones at the camp buy it first and then the ones who come home. It’s a nice way to split things up and at least it doesn’t completely mimic the first one. The kills are pretty good in this one too.

Man, I really do love these old school horror franchises. As you know I had a problem with the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakeTexas Chainsaw Massacre remake, but kind of liked it’s sequel. But what really bugs me about the remakes is that they cut off the possibilities for future sequels. I’m actually excited about the F13 remake or reboot or whatever they’re calling it, but I’m bummed that I won’t get a F13 part 11 in the same old continuity. Sure, some of the movies start to suck, but there’s something cool about being in a long line of movies. It’s probably the comic book fan in me that just loves continuity and all that. Ah well, I’m still excited about the remake rolling the first three movies into one and making Jason more of a fast outdoorsman. And, let’s be adult about this, I can always go back and watch the originals. I’m not one of these people who considers my childhood movies sacred. Get over yourselves. Just because they made a Lost Boys 2 or an Indiana Jones sequel you didn’t like, doesn’t do anything to the other movies you love. You can always go back and enjoy the originals no matter what anyone does to the franchises down the road, that’s why we’ve got DVD players folks.