Gear up, campers! This week, we salute the ominous convergence of the summer holidays and a real live Friday the 13th. If you are striking out into the wild with your pack and lantern, don’t forget to throw in a snakebite kit, a guitar to ward off bad vibes, and a working knowledge of the following films. Knowing the paths to avoid may save your life. You’ll be fine, of course. Just count your tent stakes and pitchforks before going to bed. And if you were planning for a weekend of fooling around in the woods with someone special, you may want to reconsider. Abstinence and meditation might be better ways of keeping your head attached.
More prolific than Halloween or Hellraiser, or even A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th originated one of the longest-running film series in popular horror. Much credit is due to the creation of Jason Voorhees, an undisputed icon among movie killers. Another probable reason for its longevity is that among well-known movie franchises, its content is the cheapest and easiest kind to mass produce.
Friday The 13th (1980)
directed by Sean S. Cunningham
The “untold” war story is a fertile soil for any number of enterprising screenwriters, from the visionary to the hack… and everyone else in between, it seems. From the sublime heights of the The Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare to the laughable dregs of Red Zone Cuba, fictional yarns about soldiers working behind the lines have always been easy to sell.
Near the end of the Second World War, a motley task force of Soviet infantry pushes into the scorched German countryside, drawn by an alleged distress signal from captured brethren. Wading through various scenes of battle carnage, they come at last upon a seemingly abandoned factory. Venturing inside, they soon encounter a series of walking, murderous abominations that bear faint human traces, but seem to straddle a line between mechanized warfare and the living dead. Somewhere in these dank, blood-caked corridors is a mad doctor (Karel Roden) sewing Nazi insignia on these horrors, who must be found and exposed.
by Dan Fields
First published August 13, 2011 by the California Literary Review
A Big Pot of Honey
To begin with, the makers of Final Destination 5 want to impress upon you the advantages of seeing the film in 3D. The opening titles feature a series of large objects hurled through plate glass directly at the screen — lumber, fire extinguishers, iron poles — as if to tell us “last chance for 3D glasses!” The sequence runs on to an absurd length, dispelling illusions that this film will be about anything besides flying objects and the nasty things they can do to people. Just as we begin to enjoy the credits as free-standing abstract art, the actual movie begins.
A young man on a crowded bus witnesses a horrifying chain of accidents, in which he and many others die violently on a collapsing bridge. But thank goodness! It was all a premonition, and he has time to save a handful of his friends and co-workers before the disaster happens in real life. Which it does. Continue reading →