The blood sure as hell spilled with our last Original Vs. Remake
centering on The Evil Dead. The remake took the contest by a nose (or a hand?) and then the bullet spitting section exploded! Many blasted the outcome big time with their boomsticks. Those peeps couldn't stand the idea of an old school classic being bested by a flashy newbie. However, some agreed with what I was saying, especially the ones that got that Bruce Campbell didn't fully emerge into awesome, ass-kciking Ash until part 2.
For today's O vs. R, we are throwing another very well known franchise up at you. Seeing as how there's talk of yet another remake/sequel coming to us soon (as a possible POV camera flick?!), now seemed like as good a time as any to breakdown Friday the 13th! So grab a machete and hold onto your mommy issues because here we go!
Simplicity is key here with the very first Friday. You've got the initial killer set up, a bunch of young camp counselors return to fix up a camp where something horrific happened long ago. Drinking, sex, and murder ensues! However, the beauty of this story is that it is a mystery as to who exactly is doing the killing. We are hit with a nice twist upon discovering who the killer actually is and then an outstanding final scare that no one ever saw coming!
I will commend the remake for finding a way to basically combine the first three original Fridays into one flick because who the f*ck was going to want to see a Jason remake where they already knew that Jason wasn't the original hockey-masked killer. And if this was being graded on the flick's first 15 minutes, we'd have a winner. However, from that point on, we just get what feels like another average, kinda dull Friday sequel.
Tom Savini was still at the beginning of his career when he brought his magic to Camp Crystal Lake. Because of this, we got some fantastically realistic looking kills! And the best part? It was all practical effects! No CGI blood bullshit! Although nearly all the kills had to take place from a point of view perspective so as not to reveal who the killer was, you still get a visceral thrill out of the execution. And the arrow through the bed into Kevin Bacon is a classic.
Thankfully, the bloody effects in the remake do stay close to the practical end. There is a cool head slash with a machete and a tough toss of an axe. From there, we actually don't get many gratifyingly gory occurrences. Really, with all the violence that Jason is supposed to bring about? A lot of the kills consist of fast cutaways without a chance for much grue to spill.
This was a low budget flick, so it's not like they could afford top actors. Because of that, there are a few goofy performances prevalent like the stylings of Crazy Ralph. However, Adrienne King and a few of the other counselors completely rock it in terms of emoting fear. And no one can do crazy better than Miss Betsy Palmer! "Kill her, Mommy."
All the actors involved with the remake definitely do a fine job conveying their prospective statuses, be it jerk, hunk, dumbass, nerd, hero, hottie, slut, or stoner. A few do it better than others, but a professional job is handed in by all involved. And Derek Mears definitely knocks it out of the park as Jason.
The use of POV shots really increases the heart-pounding factor. In fact, once nights falls and the bodies begin to pile up, you are hangin off the edge of your seat. The shrieking chords of Harry Manfredini's score certainly helps induce jumps. And your nerves hit a fever pitch at the end when Alice is being chased by Mama Voorhees.
Again, if this was being judged solely by the first 15 minutes, the remake would have a shot at the W. When Jason attacks a group of campers in the woods for the first time, it's a slash-happy screamfest. However, from that point on, we aren't really treated to a single, good scare. It's kinda sad.
Adrienne King has a sweetness about her as our scream queen survivor chick. And Jeannine Taylor definitely turned some heads while boning Kevin Bacon. Basically, all the women in the original Friday definitely have that early 80's cuteness factor going, but I wouldn't consider any of them really hot, especially when compared with the women in all of the sequels.
Now, here is one of the few things that the remake got completely right! Julianna Guill!!! There has rarely been a more perfect horror hottie specimen! Her face! Her ass! And, oh, those boobs! Even the guy she's boning can't help but spout how stupendous they are (I bet that line wasn't scripted). She alone would win this category, but we ALSO get Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, America Olivo, and Willa Ford! Remake wins in a massacre.
Sean S. Cunningham definitely had a game plan when he set out to make Friday the 13th. Keep it fast, deliver the gore, and continuously shock and scare. I say he did an outstanding job carrying out his vision and in fact, is the main reason the film was such a huge hit. Sure, he may have borrowed a tad from Carpenter's Halloween, but the simple elements of surprise were uniquely his own. For a low budget movie, Cunningham handled the direction with the highest regard.
Marcus Nispel did a pretty nice job giving the Texas Chainsaw Massacre a harsh, hardcore update, so I suppose he was an obvious choice to re-birth Jason. Unfortunately, his pacing went completely off track after the first fifteen minutes. There is just this discomforting flow that the remake gives out for the remainder of its running time. It just sort of lags and somewhat bores. That is absolutely unacceptable for a Friday the 13th movie, remake or otherwise.
Friday the 13th ('80)
I don't think the verdict of this O vs. R will cause too much objection. It's just shocking to believe that almost thirty years later, a little low budget slasher could not be improved upon. Actually, I don't even hate the Friday remake. But clearly, it does bother me that it was not realized to its fullest potential. I've gotta hear your thoughts on this below, so please, load them bullets and let 'em fly! And if you have any flicks you'd like to see in this column, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org