This past Halloween season I took advantage of a few different sales and ended the year with a stack of brand new movies to go through. One I couldn’t help but buy was a DVD four pack of Slither, Sssssss, Tremors and Tremors 2. It was under $10 and I already knew I liked the first and third flicks, so I rolled the dice. In an effort to go through said stack, I popped this disc in and gave Tremors another view.
It’s very rare that the missus and I can decide on a movie from the instant queue to watch. It’s not that our general movie tastes are so wildly different, but that the queue is full of movies I chose, mostly horror and action movies. Well recently Footloose became available for instant watching and I added it because I had never seen it. As it turned out, neither had she, so we watched it last night while a perfectly good, brand new episode of SNL was on with Jon Hamm. Ah well, we both really enjoyed the movie, so it was worth it.
I’m sure everyone already knows the plot: Kevin Bacon moves into a small town where dancing has been outlawed thanks in part to Jon Lithgow’s Reverend Moore whose daughter is kind of a slutbag. As you might expect, Bacon falls for her and has to deal with small-minded country folk while also making some friends in the form of a young and thing Chris Penn. I was surprised with how emotionally invested I got in the movie. It’s clearly meant to play on every young person’s sense of helplessness at the hands of adult overlords, but then flips the script and gives them power to do something as simple as dancing. I’ve also got to give it to Lithgow for playing his role very evenly, not making his character too one-sided. You can understand why a man would try and outlaw the thing that contributed to the death of his son, but he at least listens to Bacon and reason and, of course, the movie ends with a dance (and a very cathartic fight right before that). The script by Dean Pitchford was written very well, leaving room where it was necessary to and creating some wonderful characters and director Herbet Ross directs the whole thing very masterfully, getting very real performances from a cast that could have easily veered into campiness. And, of course, you can’t talk about Footloose without talking about the awesome theme song played by Kenny Loggins, the master of 80s movie theme songs. I was actually dancing around the room after the movie finished, playing the song on my iTunes (I bought his greatest hits last year and it was worth every penny). The alcohol may have contributed to all that, but I’m pretty sure I’d be dancing even if hooch wasn’t involved.
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.