Friday the 13th brings to mind bad luck and black cats less and less as Jason Voorhies becomes more popular.
Coming to theaters tomorrow is Friday the 13th, a brand new addition to the Jason saga. The film will be screened at the Regal Davis Holiday 6 at 101 F St.
Ever since the release of the first Friday the 13th movie in 1980, audiences have begun to associate the date with machetes, obnoxiously obvious dialogue, young hypersexual vacationers, camp counselors and brutally creative murder scenes. The Friday the 13th franchise includes 12 movies, a television series as well as countless trinkets and movie paraphernalia, including comic books and video games.
UC Davis English professor Timothy Morton commented on the appeal of the continual production of the movies.
“There’s horror in repetition – it’s the un-death drive to keep going and going with no reason,” Morton said. “Jason has to keep on doing it; he’s stuck in routine. The most strange things are often the most familiar, and the more movies there are, the more the effect keeps going.“
The newest installment, produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller has no subtitle and is said to incorporate elements of the first four Friday the 13th movies.
On the new movie’s official website, Fuller commented that the film’s producers were trying to please the old fan base as well as new audiences by adding new content but incorporating “iconic moments from the original films.“
What has made this franchise so successful and has kept audiences coming back for more after over 20 years?
“As much as people say they want to watch something new, most people want to know what they are getting into when they go to the movies,“ said Jordan Harris, an independent filmmaker based in Southern California, in an e-mail interview. “They want to see something gory and jump at some loud sounds – that’s why they go see Jason.“
The original Friday the 13th film introduces Jason Voorhies, a young boy who drowned at Camp Crystal lake in 1957. The camp closes a year later after the mysterious deaths of two camp counselors. When the camp reopens, counselors start dropping like flies at the hands of an unseen figure, which is revealed at the end of the film to be Jason’s vengeful mother.
The next three movies follow roughly the same formula, except that Jason himself is introduced as the killer seeking vengeance on the lust-driven characters (with his mother often urging him on in his head). Lake cabin parties replace summer camps in the third and fourth films, but the motives are still the same – Jason still walks at inhuman speed and he still manages to escape death.
With the past success and popularity of the franchise, the producers of the new remake have large shoes to fill. Cult horror movies like Friday the 13th continue to be wildly successful, giving audiences the classic scary situations and the rampant gore and sex that they’ve come to expect.
“Pretty much the only way they can mess it up is if they try to get tricky with the story and don’t deliver the basic promise of a Friday movie: Dumb kids, boobs, dead people swinging down from trees, banisters, etc.,” Harris said.
When considering the outcome of the new movie, Harris noted, “It’s less about the movies and more about how Jason is a modern icon of terror that most of us grew up fearing because we thought we were supposed to.“
ELENA BUCKLEY can be reached at email@example.com.