The first time I watched Friday the 13th, I laughed at the scared Alice barricading the door of the window-filled cabin against her unknown assailant. I was fourteen but even I knew that the killer could just as easily come through any of the multiple windows in the room. As you might guess, I wasn’t a fan of the franchise.
I always considered myself more a Elm Street girl–I loved how Nancy studied up on traps and booby trapped her house to catch Freddy. This was someone I could admire. Not scared Alice running around aimlessly. Which is why growing up I’d only see random scenes from the various Friday the 13th movies. I’d never sat down and tried to watch any more from the franchise.
Until this week. After reading an article in Fangoria about Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, I decided to give Jason and his final girls one last shot. I sat and watch the entire franchise–the good and the very bad. And yes, there were a few that I enjoyed, like Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
To my surprise, similar to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, there was a story line pulled through several of the movies–they weren’t just standalone hack ‘em and slash ‘em flicks. Yes, at times there were inconsistencies with the story (like the sudden appearance of Jason’s sister), but it was there: Jason was a child that almost drown at a summer camp and his mother set out to punish the camp counselors who weren’t paying attention. After his mother is killed, Jason grows up in the wilderness all alone, though haunted by his mother. When campers fail to learn from their predecessors and return to Camp Crystal lake, Jason starts killing in revenge and then what I deemed must be for pleasure.
While the story is at times silly, Jason is always creepy (kudos to Kane Hodder for his portrayal of Jason). If I encountered Jason in the forest, I’m pretty sure I’d lose it. However, I never felt like I was given a final girl I could appreciate. For the most part, they were weak and/or annoying characters. But at least now I see value in the Friday the 13th franchise. I understand why it has such a fan base.
However, I will always be an Elm Street girl.