So, I saved Throwback Thursday, because I knew what today was (and because I caught the Itis something nasty after dinner). Everyone has their reasons for believing that crazy-turned-unfortunate things happen in bulk — pop culture (with a bit of history sprinkled in) has made Friday the 13th a date the superstitious mark every year. The worst offender? Movie producer Sean Cunningham, maker of “The Last House on the Left” and “The New Kids” (starring a very young Lori Loughlin and James Spader). But, it was the story of a young boy who drowned in Crystal Lake that made our skin crawl.
Oh, and the impending machete death afterward. If you were hot, at least.
“Friday the 13th” was a terribly low-budget movie that came to be after the the success of Mike Myers and “Halloween.” Critics didn’t care for it, but the people loved it, turning a $39 million profit. The cast is generally unknown, with the exception of a young Kevin Bacon, making his fifth movie appearance.
Six Degrees was a hell of a lot harder then.
Jason Voorhees’s killing spree spawned seven (!) sequels, one random off-the-wall “sequel” (or whatever the hell you want to classify “Jason X” as), a mashup with everyone’s favorite horror movie douchebag, Freddie Krueger, and a series reboot. As it turns out, the series was meant to end three times — the public’s love of cheesy slashers never seems to go away, though. Despite the overall knowledge and popularity of the film series, it was accomplished with only a short list of acting names recognizable to us now — Corey Feldman, Shavar Ross (Dudley on Diff’rent Strokes…ya know, the one that got felt up by The Gooch), Peter Mensah (well before “300” and “Spartacus”), and maybe a couple others, depending on your TV habits. Is it just the general cheapness of horror movies? Do we not want to see our favorite stars potentially die a gruesome death? Does it really matter, as long as SOMEONE dies in the worst way possible? I’m gonna go with the last one.
Worst. Orgasm. Ever.
But, in a time where people have become quite desensitized to violence and death, the nightmare-inducing movies of my childhood have become fodder for parodies such as the “Scary Movie” franchise. I mean, we all knew how bad they were, and we knew the girl getting chased was due to trip and sprain her ankle, and we knew that every minority in the movie would be dead in under 30 minutes. But damned if we weren’t ready to see who Jason Voorhees would kill next, and if he could ever really die (Answer — hell to the no). So, while today might not carry as much weight as the pre-gore (the visuals, not the former VP) days, it will always serve as a time when we test our luck against fate, and hope that we make it to the 14th in one piece. Modern mainstream media has created the societal stigmas of black cats, breaking mirrors, and walking under ladders as symbols of bad luck; from the superstitious standpoint, Friday the 13th not only escalates the significance of events like these, but also an increased fear of unfortunate events. It may all just be a mental thing, but we’ve had it drilled into our heads for years that a hockey-mask wearing, machete/spear/chainsaw swinging deformed kid with a mommy complex will come and kill us if we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And since Mother Nature decided to rain holy everything on us after a couple weeks of sun, tonight might not be any different. Sleep tight!
- The Compartmentalist
P.S. — Oh, and what would ANY 80’s movie worth its weight be without it’s very own NES game?
Never mind how turrible it was…you got to kill Jason without the risk of being impaled or decapitated in real life! And isn’t that what every kid who was absolutely terrified to go to summer camp wished for?