Monday, December 08, 2008
Yes, Virginia,there is a new Jason Voorhees
One of the current Winter 2009 movie trailers making the rounds is for Friday The 13th,a brand spanking remake/revision/update of that funky little slasher series will be hitting multiplexes with a vengeance on February 13 of '09(guess what day of the week that is and your first two answers don't count).
Michael Bay is the big man behind the curtain here,and the movie stars Jared Padalecki,one of the stars of Supernatural(better known to many as Dean,Rory's first boyfriend from Gilmore Girls)as a young man searching for his missing sister who happened to vanish near a certain summer camp with a bunch of partying teens,go figure!:
Let me state right up front that I am not a fan of Friday The 13th movies;my main reason being that I prefer my villains to have more of a personality.
Jason,along with Michael Myers,always stuck me as old school zombies(not the Romero brain eating type,the 1950s hypnotized version)who instead of lurching toward folks with their arms outstretched,carried huge chopping knives to hack you up with.
That doesn't mean,however,that I am willing to disrespect the franchise. I am a Freddy Krueger girl(so dreading the Billy Bob Thornton remake coming my way like a trip to the dentist that can't be put off any longer)and like other fear film folk who still enjoy some of the cheesy thrills of the eighties,my sympathies lie with the faithful fan base,old and new generation.
Two major indicators that this remake may be a disastrous disappointment come straight from the trailer. First,the countdown gimmick used to heighten the tension-seems fresh and exciting,doesn't it? Think again,gang. Watch this trailer for the original Friday the 13th and try to notice the connection between it and the newer teaser:
Yep,they took the same count down routine from the original marketing campaign and reworked it for the remake-shameless pandering or an homage to the first film? You can debate that amongst yourselves,but a bigger concern needs to be addressed.
The remake trailer shows clips of Jason in a hockey mask wandering about and seems to hint that audiences will be dealing with him directly. The only problem with that is that the origin story clearly states that Mrs. Voorhees is the killer in the first film,out to avenge the death of her misfit son due to horny teenager neglect.
Jason and his hockey mask don't show up until Part Two. As I've said,I'm not fully into the mythos of this series but I did see the second movie on cable and dimly recall that Jason came back from the dead to avenge his mother's death at the hands of the Last Girl Left Standing. Kind of a vicious circle there,if you think about it.
There's nothing wrong with adding your own spin to familiar material,yet when it comes to an origin story,certain elements can not and should not be altered.
Comic book adaptations are a good example;no matter how many times they bring Batman back to the big screen,Bruce Wayne has to witness his parents' murder in a back alley. Superman arrives to earth from the dying planet Krypton. Peter Parker gets bitten by a laboratory test subject spider. Otherwise,the basic thread of the premise is quickly unwound and falls apart at the center.
Also,why is it every time someone remakes a slasher flick from the seventies or the eighties,the new bunch of film makers insist on increasing the back story of the characters? Don't get me wrong,I like to care enough about the potential slashees to have a rooting interest in their survival but it comes across more like a pilot for a CW show than an actual movie plot. Not to mention that character development is far from being a major selling point here-they don't call them red meat movies for nothing,folks!
I did actually pay to see a Friday the 13th movie once. It was Part Seven,subtitled "The New Blood"-the gimmick here was that one of Jason's intended slaughterettes had telekinesis which made the movie sort of a "Jason Vs. Carrie" deal.
I believe that I was the only person in the audience who was rooting for Jason to be defeated(pretty much the norm for movies like this at the time). My ire was particularly aroused when the scheming psychiatrist and the psychic girl's mom were confronted by Jason bearing a buzzing hedge trimmer and the good doctor did the chivalrous thing by throwing Mom in front of him.
The poor lady took it right in the chest and I was FURIOUS with that guy! I couldn't wait to see that jerk get what was coming to him,which shows you that even a written by the numbers sequel can give you a "You killed Kenny!" moment.
The other memorable bit of business I took away from the film was a trailer for yet another horror movie sequel,Leatherface:Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3. It's more of a teaser but very subtle in it's approach. The crowd I was with that night loved it and those who make movie trailers today could really take a lesson or two from some of the old school style of cinema hype:
So,good luck to you Jason people out there. Hopefully,this remake won't drag down your love of the genre and make a bad impression on future fans. Then again,Michael Bay is running the show,just like he did for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre,so be afraid,very afraid!
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