Category Archives: Editorials

“Jason Takes Manhattan” Is The PROPER Ending To The “Friday The 13th” Franchise

What a time to be alive. Growing up alongside the slasher horror movies in the 80s’ was certainly peaking moments for many adolescent horror fans in the decade. As the villains’ became pop-culture phenomenons appearing on lunch boxes and bootleg toys, our special boy Jason Voorhees was no exception to the horror synthwave of the 80s’. Friday the 13th was the ONLY series of films to release one movie every single year from 1980-1989 with every one bearing some charm, gore, and new angle to bring Jason back onto the scene for more murderous rampages on teenagers. After 1989, they tried to resurrect him again, but people like me just weren’t buying it. Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan was the true and final ending to a decade long franchise of the Crystal Lake Killer.

Fight me.

Let’s rewind a bit: In The Final Chapter, Corey Feldman’s Tommy Jarvis successfully accomplished what everyone was trying to do for 4 years- kill Jason. While technically, this right here would have been a dignifying sendoff for our special, special boy, fans clamored for more and the studios pulled a 180 by bringing him back in A New Beginning… Well sort of. We all THOUGHT we were watching Voorhees torment a now teenage Tommy laying low in a camp for troubled teens- mass murder from a guy in a hockey mask in a Friday the 13th film, who else would it have been ? The twist that it was actually paramedic Roy Burns who, like Pamela before him, went into a homicidal rage after the death of his kid. Jason was still dead and the murders were done by a copycat. This kind of pissed off audiences and they felt cheated. While I always thought that was a clever route to go down by refreshing the storyline, much like with Halloween III, fans wanted the REAL Jason.

Bending to the fans who can make or break the studios, Paramount begged for forgiveness with Jason Lives. A more focused, and determined Jarvis returns to Jason’s grave to ensure he truly is dead. And he is, until Jarvis and a friend open the casket for a Frankenstein resurrection moment to happen with Voorhees. And we’re off to the races again with a more powerful zombie Jason in predator mode- until he gets trapped at the bottom of the lake not once, but TWICE. The first time when Jarvis sends him back to his watery grave from which he was formed in Part 6, and again with Tina’s telekinetic powers in Part 7. I mean, if it didn’t work the first time what made anyone think it would a second? Now, let’s get to where Jason takes a boat, I mean Manhattan and the true and final ending to Voorhees.

I honestly don’t give a shit what anyone says. Jason Takes Manhattan is probably the most fun Friday movie given to us in the 80s’. It almost becomes such a parody of itself in the process of the film that you just can’t help but overlook the cop-out of him only spending about the last 20 minutes of the movie in New York; which as the time, had quite the reputation of being a dangerous place indeed full of crime and sketchy individuals. Jason fits right into the mold.

Jason’s final confrontation with main characters Rennie and Sean has them ending up in the city subway system, where it’s coincidentally revealed that a river of toxic waste is released every single night. In pursuit, Jason gets trapped inside the toxic waste, and reverts to a child-like state- and HE SPEAKS! This is blasphemy! Jsaon never uttered one word throughout the whole franchise, yet while his face is melting away and sees a river of more sewer waste pounding towards him, he cries for “mommy”. It’s actually sort of gut-wrenching and a stern reminder that Jason really just has the mind of a child. Which is only validated further when Reenie sees Jason’s child self, at peace in death among the waters.

Ok who’s cutting onions in here!

I truly feel as if this was the proper send-off to an otherwise tragic character. Not this Jason Goes To Hell garbage that made him a demon-body-hopper. I don’t know, maybe I’m too sentimental; but I believe an icon as important to the genre such as this deserves a fitting ending if we’re gonna give him one.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

Friday the 13th Collection [Blu-ray]

The Psychology Of The Scare: Gerontophobia In Horror Films

I’ve always been under the impression horror is what you make of it. Stories and films relay on our innermost fears and phobias to make an impression with the viewer, hence the art of the scare. I don’t care if you’re badass Kurt Russell or Samuel L. Jackson, everyone has one thing or another that makes them uncomfortable.

Horror films have utilized a wide-range of phobias to attract audiences to give them the “safe” scare adrenaline rush. Sub-genre horror movies with the focus on clowns, kids, psychological warfare are some of the most popular among fanfare. However personally speaking, the use of older folks in horror films as the core of fears is some of the most powerful I’ve seen – and most effective. GERONTOPHOBIA, which means the fear of elders or aging, is actually a fairly common fear amongst the populous. We associate looking at our elders with our own mortality and it can be a hard pill to swallow- so we place a heavy fear on it. As authoritarian as it sounds to place our once care-givers who have aged in years at the center of what we fear most sounds inhuman at best, in horror cinema it works to a degree; and all too well.

I mean, who WOULDN’T be horrified of this?!

The first film I saw as a young girl with an elder in a terrifying role was that of Julian Beck’s portrayal of the malevolent Henry Kane in Poltergiest II. That being said, I’m fairly certain I wasn’t the only one his performance affected in a unfavorable manner. To this very day I get very anxious when an elder comes knocking on my door mostly thanks to his frightening exchange with Craig T. Nielson in front of the Freeling home. Knowing later in my older years, Beck was suffering from pancreatic cancer and basically dying at the time of filming haunts me in waves of periodic guilt trips for being so petrified of the man; who literally giving a dying performance and the one most people remember him by. Whether that was his intention, and I’m sure it was to give it his all, I still can’t help but feel horrible that I myself associated his deathly appearance with such fear; and still kind of do. Little Heather O’ Rourke was so afraid of her on-screen antagonist that she cried and ran away from him on set upon first seeing him. I’m not sure if the mall scene in the movie IS the actual first time she saw him as I can’t confirm it at this time, but knowing that it did indeed happen as stated by crew members, makes this scene all the more believable.

That had to have stung.

Four years later came a more prominent display of gerontophobia in film in the form of William Peter Blatty’s TRUE sequel to The Exorcist, The Exorcist III based off Blatty’s PHENOMINAL novel Legion. Most of the story is set in the gloomy atmosphere of a hospital, particularly in the disturbed wards and of those suffering from dementia and catatonics. The demon this time around, James Venamun, ‘The Gemini Killer” has possessed a once-thought deceased Damian Karras and is tormenting both the fallen priest and old friend Kinderman (George C. Scott) as a revenge tactic on behalf of “friends” for the McNeill incident 15 years prior. If that couldn’t get any more fucked up, the Gemini hops from body to body in the wards possessing the older dementia victims and feeble-minded to carry out murderous acts; hammering home how vulnerable and horrifying it can be to age. Because now we have to worry about getting possessed by demons to boot.

Fantastic.

A more recent film by Adam Robitel, The Taking of Deborah Logan works on the same concept as The Exorcist III except the entire film is focused on this matter and not just an excerpt. Miss Deborah Logan (Jill Larson) is slowly slipping away with Alzheimer’s but something is obviously more sinister afoot with an actual possession going on here. This one really leans into the fears of mortality within us all and what happens when we have reached that bridge in our life span. The pain and the suffering can be tremendous and not only affects us as individuals, but our loved ones as well. The reality of the matter at hand is, if we so happen to live beyond our 70’s and 80’s, it is most likely to come with some painful challenges such as a degenerative disease as terrifying as that of Alzheimer’s- which mind you is displayed pretty accurately in this movie. If one has never suffered from good ol’ gerontophobia prior to seeing this one, chances are you’ll at least be thinking about it soon after.

There are many other film I could list here, some notable ones like The Visit or Ghost Story, but I think you guys are smart and get the point here. Old age in itself can be a source of true horror and is obviously an effective tactic as plot point in the genre. However, it can also be very damning unfortunately and further put a damper on our views of aging. The human experience is one hell of a ride isn’t it? Let’s just hope we don’t piss off any demonic entities’ along the way as we grow into our twilight years.

In Memory of Richard Donner – Who Made A Man Fly And The Devil Smile.

Richard Donner passed away at the age of 91 this past week (July 5, 2021). He left behind a legacy of awe, laughter, inspiration, and horror. Few men are able to become legends in multiple fields of various film genres, but our dearly departed Donner achieved just that. 

He Made Us All Believe A Man Could Fly

via the Guardian

Today we are glutted on superhero movies, but this wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until Dick Donner was brought on board a little project that looked absolutely impossible to do. Someone had to achieve the impossible, bring Superman, the world’s greatest superhero, to life and make it the world’s greatest superhero film of all time.

via Warner Bros

It was nothing short of a master-class work of pure cinematic alchemy that came together. From the actors (after all not just anyone could play both Clark and Kal El), the music, the cinematography, and, most importantly, the man in the director’s chair. 

via Warner Bros

One of the things that really stands out about the movie is John William’s immortal score. Originally, Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen) was brought on to score this legendary undertaking. However, and despite already working with Goldsmith, Dick heard a sample of what Williams had to bring to the film, and, in Donner’s own words, the soundtrack literally shouted SUP-ER-MAN! And that sold him on the idea. Williams took charge of the music and we can all be thankful for that crucial decision. 

And it’s simply a given fact. If it wasn’t for the groundbreaking success of Donner’s legendary Superman there wouldn’t be a Marvel Studios today. Superman was groundbreaking and a pioneer of the superhero film.

Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League via HBO Max

We wouldn’t have Batman, the Dark Knight Trilogy, or JokerWonder Woman, or Zack Snyder’s imperial Justice League. Dick Donner showed the world comic books were more than worthy to become blockbuster franchises. 

The Day the Devil Grinned

Via Fox

Not a single soul in Hollywood wanted to touch a little film project about a 5 y/o Antichrist. It had been turned down by some of the best-named directors in Hollywood. Fox Studios brought the script to Donner and told him no one wanted it. 

“Why are you bringing it to me then?” he asked with a chuckle. They told him there was a lot of potential in this project. So he gave it a look, saw something in it, called them back, and agreed to take it on with one exception, “Get all that devil stuff out of it.” He wanted it to feel like the worst day of bad luck a man could ever have to deal with. 

via Fox

He wanted audiences to decide for themselves if this was all a coincidence or was Satan really in the background orchestrating events? The original script had satanic images, covens, and cloven hooves in the audience’s face the whole time. By removing this stuff it not only elevated the film from B level to A standard, but he created a horror sensation that flooded across the world and made people believe End Time prophecies were fulfilling in the ‘70s. The subtlety wormed into people’s minds and drove them nuts!

Suddenly people’s asses were going back to church and the Antichrist was a red hot topic. Parents looked at their own children and wondered if they’d given birth to a Hellspawn.

via Fox

It was fucking great!  

Donner was also involved in casting Damien Thorn, the child of Satan. The casting was pretty straightforward. Each kid brought in to audition was given very specific instructions, “I want you to fight me,” he’d tell them. This was crucial to the role because of the freak-out scene involving Damien Thorn not wanting to enter a church. 

In came little Harvey Spencer, a blonde-haired angelic-looking kid. Donner told Harvey to fight him and right off the bat Harvey punched Dick right in the balls and they could not get the kid off him. He was throwing punches like he was auditioning for Fight Club. Once his parents pulled him away Dick’s mind was made up. “Dye his hair black. We’ve found the Antichrist.”

via Fox

There are plenty of moments that stand out in this apocalyptic horror classic. The beheading by glass, the hellhounds in the graveyard, the nanny’s hanging. But the ending seals it. Like the frosting atop a cake, the finale really sells the story and it was by complete accident. 

Due to the chemistry between Donner and Spencer, the moment worked like (black) magic. The scene was supposed to have little Damien turn and look morosely at the audience. So Donner is behind the camera and telling little Harvey, “Harvey, now don’t you smile. Look serious. If you smile I won’t be your friend ever again. Don’t you dare smile.”

image via Fox

The scene became a moment of satanic victory as audiences watch the Antichrist turn and give us a devilish grin. He’s won! Evil triumphed! The little bastard is victorious. That’s not how a movie is supposed to end! It shocked the fuck out of people.

Not at all bad for an accident. Realizing the potential of the moment (and having great taste) Donner used the scene to tremendous effect. 

Donner’s satanic movie made so much money for the studio that they were able to support a little struggling project called Star Wars that was being made at the time. 

Dick Donner’s contribution to our childhoods is limitless. Who didn’t grow up loving Goonies? And Scrooged is my favorite Christmas movie. And know what? Fuck it, I’m gonna say it. I like The Toy with Richard Pryor. But there’s also Lethal Weapon to the man’s credit.

Really, if there’s one man’s career that defined my generation it’s Donner’s. He will be missed but he lives on by his films. 

Let us know which of Donner’s films have the most impact on you.

Be sure to not miss out on our latest about the scares and shocks that got us from the Friday the 13th franchise.

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