Horror Ten Spot: Happy Friday the 13th! My Favorite Friday the 13th Kills!
Fuck yes, it's upon us again friends, the most ominous unofficial horror holiday. A few weeks ago Ammon and I chopped up the entire FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise on the AITH podcast, so I thought it only made sense to expound on the conversation by feting the handy-work of my main man Jason Voorhees. As I've mentioned on more than one occasion, I grew up watching Jason evolve (or devolve) from a hideously deformed man-child into a hulking hero of homicide...even going as far as rocking full-fledged marathons with friends every time the calendar read Friday the 13th. As you know, today fits the bill, so in honor of one of the best cinematic villains, why not share with you my favorite all-time kills, or at least one from each film, done by the hands and many weapons of Mr. Voorhees (and others). Happy Friday the 13th y'all!
I usually hate the cutaway type kills in horror movies, but there's something about Jason lopping off three bitchy heads in JASON LIVES that has always stood out to me. Perhaps it's the swath of blood that paints the camera lens. Maybe it's the inherent humor therein. Or is it simply the idea? Either way, when that lame-ass bickering trio of paint-ballers happens upon Voorhees in the woods, the jarring triple decapitation hikes the body count in a single lope. I've said it before, but I believe JASON LIVES is the most underrated F13TH movie. Jason wrecks mofos at an unparalleled clip.
Sure, A NEW BEGINNING is often treated as the redheaded stepchild if the franchise, but like HALLOWEEN 3, I've come to appreciate it more and more over the years. First off, the Jason wannabe f*cks people up...full stop. And one such instance that rivals the best of what the rest of the series has to offer, is when homeboy gets his eyes gouged to gory sockets by tightened belt wrapped around a tree. Besides being a fresh touch, it's the held shot of the killer's hands behind the tree, twisting, shaking and tightening the belt harder and harder until we eventually see the victim's pupils melt into a deep red.
While I'm not a particular fan of FREDDY VS. JASON, there's no denying one of Voorhees' most vicious kills takes place in the first reel of the much anticipated mash-up. As if jousting the largest machete blade ever made into the back of a prone teenager...many times over...wasn't brutal enough, my man Voorhees finishes the f*cker off by rising up and snapping the bed in half, with the kid in it, in essence folding his spine like a pressed shirt in a suitcase. The enfeebled whine let out by the kid always musters a smile. Shite's rough, rugged and raw!
The eighth entry in the franchise, JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, has few redeeming qualities outside a young Kelly Hu getting choked out and dropped to the disco dance floor. That said, I think most would agree that one of the most outlandish, even cartoonish death scenes in the entire canon comes atop a skyscraper in NYC. You know what's up, the hip pugilist goes basic and decides to use his jabs and crosses to put a stop to Voorhees. Toying with him, Jason lets the dude punch himself dead tired, then with one quick hook, knocks homey's head clean off...into a garbage shoot some 5 stories below.
All cheap 3D gimmicks aside, one instance used admirably in FRIDAY THE 13TH 3D occurs at the same time Jason dons the hockey mask for the very first time. You know the deal. Voorhees strolls up the dock to find a hottie wading in the water after a lost wallet. Unimpressed, Jason palms the steel and lets an arrow go...which pierces straight into the frame and ultimately through the girl's pretty little eye. She plops into the drink, and in a touch I'll never forget, Jason throws the harpoon gun down and sadly saunters off, head down, demoralized. Compunctious? No. Sad? Yes!
Of the hundreds of grisly deaths Voorhees has incurred over the years, few stand out more than when he, in THE NEW BLOOD, finds a victim hiding in a sleeping bag, drags the fucker across the campsite, picking him up, and in one fell swoop, bonking the living shite out of the dude against a tree-trunk. Both hilarious and frightening at once, the death was so good the late Jim Isaac felt impelled to virtual recreate the moment in JASON X. Even more interesting, the original cut had Jason slamming the bag multiple times, but in the end, doing it once proved most effective.
For THE FINAL CHAPTER, my favorite sequel in the series, I could have just as easily gone with Crispin Glover catching a cork-screw to the hand and a meat clever to the face (great FX), but I've long been a fan of the death of the sleazy doctor. Early in the flick, before Jason escapes the hospital, he finds himself a gnarly hacksaw and puts the blade to the doc's neck, graphically slicing his throat into a bloody pulp. Not done however, Jason angrily twists the dude's neck something fierce, basically going Linda Blair on dude's head...tearing it plum off his spine. Nasty, nasty bit of biz!
Although JASON X is as goofy a franchise entry as they come, seeing it in an empty theater with two friends on my 19th birthday will always hold a nostalgic place in my ever blackened heart. One of the main reasons? When Homegirl in the beginning gets her pretty little face violently grabbed, pulled across the room, dipped in liquid nitrogen, frozen, then for good measure slammed down hard on a countertop...completely shattering into thousands of corpuscle smithereens. So simple, so effective, yet remains one of the most inventive kills in Voorhees' entire oeuvre. I love it!
Man hands and improbable precision aside, the marvel of Kevin Bacon catching an arrow straight through both sides of his throat never fails to amuse. Not just the graphic nature of the great Tom Savini FX, replete with the burble of choking blood, but the startling nature of it as well. In a post-coital respite, Bacon's character is as oblivious to his fateful demise as we are watching it. Suddenly, that masculine arm shoots up from under the bed, straps Bacon's head to the pillow and WHAM...an arrow tip pierces through the bed, through the back of Bacon's nape, and pops through his trachea. Six degrees of nerve separation, no doubt!
When my man in the wheelchair is unceremoniously dispatched in FRIDAY THE 13TH 2...by having a machete planted in his face with such force he wheels down a flight of stairs backwards in the rain...my heart is always a bit sunken. The technical suspense - the slow push in, the portentous score - is met by the equally adept narrative of killing a character we actually kind of root for. If not to survive, to certainly get laid, as it appeared he would in the lead-up scene. We feel for the kid, hope he gets lucky, but nope...Jason ain't having any of that shite. Extra props to flash to white freeze frame!