McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Countdown to Halloween | Watching “Friday the 13th” feels like being stuck in a time loop that gets progressively worse

While this series is renowned worldwide, does it deserve a reputation of being a good film series
Gabe Santos
“Friday the 13th” is one of the most famous horror franchises, but the quality of the movies has varied over the years in some dramatic ways.

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers from this famous movie franchise 

“Friday the 13th,” is a series almost everyone on the planet has at least heard of. Is it because the series drastically changed horror and thriller movies to this day? Good marketing and the iconic hockey mask? Or, is it because of how infamously bad the movies got as they continued?

I watched all of the “Friday the 13th” movies and I experienced what any person would while watching them. The many different emotions from fear to incredulity, and the focus in the times of high anxiety. While I still enjoyed these movies, after a while the plot felt over done and some of the scenes felt reused. 

The best movie is the first one, “Friday the 13th,” followed closely by the second one, “Friday the 13th Part Two” because they originated the story of Mrs Voorhees and her famous son Jason. Then the seventh installment, “Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood”, in which the main character, Tina Shepherd, has telepathic powers, added a change in the original story. “Friday The 13th Part 3”, “The Final Chapter”, “A New Beginning” and “Jason Lives” (parts 3-6 respectively) were the ones that felt like they were trying too hard to copy the first two without directly saying. Lastly, the eighth, “Jason Takes Manhattan” and ninth, “Jason Goes To Hell” are their own type of bad and make no sense at all.

The first film, “Friday The 13th” has some originality to it, and a twist ending, with the revelation that the killer is Mrs. Voorhees. Then “Part 2” just feels like a repeat of the first, it feels like nothing changed between the two. The similarities between the two are uncanny, both are at Camp Crystal Lake, and both have scenes that show a form of talking to Jason as his mother. However, “Part 2” does have variation in production quality, and killer, with Jason Voorhees taking his rightful place as the stories villain.

As the series progresses into the 4th, 5th, and 6th movies things just get plain confusing. While they still follow the same plot (Jason finds a group of teens that goes to stay at a house in the woods that happens to be on the Camp Crystal Lake property) these installments all follow the same person, Tommy Jarvis, who ‘kills’ Jason in the 4th movie (The “Final” Chapter). In the 5th, “A New Beginning”, Jarvis faces off with a Jason copy-cat killer, and in the 6th, aptly named “Jason Lives” we get our first official encounter of the undead Jason that would follow in installments thereafter. Despite few variations in character in the “Jarvis Trilogy,” these films all follow the same story structure as usual. 

After the 7th movie, “The New Blood”, none of the plot makes sense. The creators pull random plot points out of nowhere. For example, they say that the property of Camp Crystal Lake connects to New York City, when in previous movies it shows that there is an obvious cut off to the lake. Also in the 9th movie “Jason Goes To Hell” they start making stuff up about Jason and his family not mentioned in previous movies. According to the movie the only way to kill Jason is by the hand of a family member and with a specific knife, and Jason can apparently possess people? It became abundantly clear that the writers were throwing whatever they could at the wall to see what would stick, and none of it was saving the series as they hoped. By the 10th installment, “Jason X” where Jason goes to space, the films lost all credibility they might have had.

While people say to just appreciate the movies for what they are– campy and fun– It is hard to ignore how much things changed but still feel like the same movie, and how the movies just kept getting more ridiculous over the years. Diamonds in the rough include parts 1, and 2 for their originality, parts 4, 5, and 6 for their story, and 7 for its interesting twist on the “Friday The 13th” formula. Any others you may watch at your own discretion.

The campy series will test your endurance if you choose to watch them all, so watch the movies and see how far into them you can make it. That being said, these films are not meant to be “art”. They are goofy, they do not make sense, and that is okay. They are meant to be watched and laughed at with friends, not analyzed for their artisanal quality, and if you do choose to watch them, perhaps it is best to take them with a grain of salt.

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