Remake wasteland: Friday the 13th vs Friday the 13th


Friday the 13th is a viable franchise that proves Jason can still rack up both box office revenue and the body count, equally.

Friday the 13th (1980)

At the time of writing this, we’re a year away from the next Friday the 13th and probably more than twice that for a new entry in the popular film franchise. In the meantime, we have 12 films, documentaries and a whole lot of discussion to keep us occupied.

Although director Sean S. Cunningham cited John Carpenter’s Halloween as the inspiration for the film, it’s quite obvious the writer, Victor Miller, was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it helps that Betsy Palmer’s portrayal of a grief-stricken killer is done beautifully.

Set up as a whodunit, the film gives us very little information or clues. I almost prefer this method as opposed to making virtually every character in the situation suspicious. The false lead is the look-a-like Jeeps of Mrs. Voorhees and the Steve Christy character.

Of course, when a promotional ad reads, “Starring Betsy Palmer”, and you watch the movie and she’s nowhere to be seen in act one or two, I think it can be easily put together.

Friday the 13th – Mrs. Voorhees – Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Notwithstanding its many, many flaws, Friday the 13th is a well crafted piece of American horror cinema; most notably for the contributions of score composer Harry Manfredini and special makeup effects artist, Tom Savini.

Although the 1980’s proved to be quite the Renaissance for the slasher sub-genre, it wasn’t particularly avant-garde or innovative in either its construction or its delivery. There’s not a patent on holiday-themed horror or masked serial killers, but most of the 80’s slashers seem focused on finding creative ways to kill off its cast and less on fleshing out characters, in a developmental, storytelling sense.

Adrienne King does a terrific job as our first ever Friday final girl, even though she turns off lights when Pamela turns them on and vice versa. She also tends to stare at dead bodies for moments at a time before running.

I can’t truly fault her for any of it, because people react differently in every situation. For a movie that swears by the premarital sex warning, did Annie or Brenda have to die?

It’s a decent slasher film and it has some truly memorable moments. Just the look of the campground imbues a sort of damp, musty and moldy ambiance.

Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th – 2009- Courtesy of New Line Cinema, Platinum Dunes

Marcus Nispel, director of the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, went over to Crystal Lake and, in doing so, has left a bit of a mess. Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, also involved with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (and the original), gives this movie a fighting chance, right out of the gate. The daytime scenes are subtle in their moodiness and don’t pervade the slightest hint of foreboding, which works to the film’s advantage.

Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (who also wrote Freddy Vs Jason) have filled most of their script with cheap wisecracks that don’t exactly work. Friday the 13th part 6: Jason Lives managed to balance comedy and horror well. This, however, fails to.

Virtually every character we’re introduced to is obnoxious, skanky and one dimensional. This movie focuses so much on reliving the first four films that it forgets to do anything new, which is a crying shame. Derek Mears is an absolutely magnificent Jason Voorhees and it would be smart to keep him in the role for a long while.

Steve Jablonsky’s composition for this film could’ve worked better with his The Texas Chainsaw Massacre score, but for what this movie is, it kind of works, even though it’s underwhelming for a film with Friday’s legacy. Hardly any of the music utilized here is decent.

I feel like the shaky cam thing in horror movies is terrible and takes the audience out of the experience. We’re barely given Jason a clear look in the first fifteen minutes, which sucks because that’s when he’s wearing the pillowcase or sack on his head. Strangely, the first fifteen minutes is the most dark and almost intense part of this movie. It never truly gets back to that level later on.

Most of the time is spent with airhead characters in what’s supposed to be a fancy, richie-rich house. Why couldn’t they just place Jason at a camp for the entire film? So the house is still on Crystal Lake, fine, whatever, but it’s been a long while since we’ve seen him stalk cabins.

It doesn’t help that the ending was predictable, uninspired and just flat out stupid for a number of reasons. (Spoilers) You mean to tell me the siblings carried or dragged Jason to the Lake and waited until daylight to push him into the water?

Why did they stick around? They had him chained up and everything, just go, get out!, leave!

This movie was marketed more as a reboot than a remake (yes, they are two separate things). Even still, had this been completely sold as a remake, I’d still look at it as some sort of sequel.

There’s little to no continuity in this franchise anyway, so if this was treated more as a Friday the 13th part 9, I’d shrug off some of my issues with it, because virtually everyone who has written one of these films or directed them, has molded the mythology in little ways to fit their vision.

Next. In Comparison: The Fog (1980) vs The Fog (2005). dark

There’s a lot they can do with Friday the 13th, and now that Victor Miller has reportedly won the lawsuit, they’re going to have to be inventive with how they bring the “Hockey masked killer” back. Here’s hoping something incredible is announced sooner than later.

Which do you prefer, Friday the 13th 1980 or Friday the 13th 2009? Let us know in the comments section below.