Original Vs. Remake – Friday the 13th (2009)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the horror classic, Friday the 13th.  After all, today is Friday the 13th!!

Usually, I include Catie’s Homemade Summary that applies to both films.  But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:

A group of young adults is terrorized by a killer at Crystal Lake and the nearby deserted summer camp.

Before I begin, let me first mention that I love Friday the 13th—not just the movie franchise—but the actual date itself.  But when I think about it, maybe I love it when a Friday lands on the thirteenth of a month because I automatically associate the day as a scary day because of the horror movie and its subsequent sequels.  Regardless, I’m a fan…  When I see that a particular Friday actually falls on the thirteenth, I hit the television and search immediately for a Friday the 13th marathon.  Sadly, not many stations actually take the opportunity to air an all-day and all-night marathon of Jason Voorhees movies; and if I ever run a TV station, this will be one of my first orders of business.

Friday the 13th is a classic and Catie said it best in her blog post discussing the original—if anyone considers themselves to be a horror buff and they have not seen this movie, shame on them.  Because of this movie, there have been many instances in real life where I have felt uncomfortable.  Take for instance when I stayed at a week-long Athletic Training Camp at Prude Ranch in high school… I heard noises outside my cabin… and I really didn’t want to shower out there (or anytime I go to a lake – one never knows what or who’s lurking in that dirty water).  Or when I camped overnight at Palo Duro Canyon in college… I heard noises in the dry, dead brush all around us the entire time.

Thanks a lot, Jason.

See. Now you’re stuck out in the water with a crazy man wearing a mask on the shoreline. What are you going to do now? Die.

One might ask, if the 1980 film is so great, why remake it?  Well, I don’t feel Friday the 13th (2009) is an actual remake… it’s more a re-envisioning of the first few films in the franchise.  The writers did a fantastic job creating a somewhat new story all its own, while still incorporating many elements of the other films and the classic horror movie “rules.”

Let’s talk about the similarities—elements that are required in order to make a Friday the 13th movie complete:

The Curse of Camp Crystal Lake:

It all started in 1980, when innocent camp counselors worked to open an old camp site; a camp that had been closed after a young boy, Jason Voorhees, drowned in the lake.  How did Jason drown?  Two camp counselors that were supposed to watch him decided to have sex instead. Devastated by her son’s death, Jason’s mother took matters into her own hands to ensure the camp didn’t open again—to protect other children from counselors who were more interested in their summer shenanigans than watching the children.  One by one, she stalked the unaware teenagers, placing blame on each of them for her son’s death.  Mrs. Voorhees managed to brutally murder each counselor—all except for one.   Alice managed to escape Mrs. Voorhees’ murderous rampage and turned the tables on the crazed mother.  In what began the true Friday the 13th style, Alice decapitated Mrs. Voorhees with a machete. Thus, we have the Curse of Camp Crystal Lake.

Jason, the mask, and the machete:

Jason Voorhees remains one of the most frightening characters today.  He’s gigantic, has super strength, obtains supernatural abilities, and isn’t afraid to kill.  He always has his machete, but he will also never shy away from bows and arrows, spears, pitchforks, or chainsaws—anything that will cut right through his victims.

The music:

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma – The dreadful, eerie, creepy music.  There have been many debates over what the actual sounds of the Jason music are.  The ‘ki’ sound comes from the word ‘kill’ and the ‘ma’ sound from ’mommy’—a line in the original movie spoken by Mrs. Voorhees in her child’s voice: “Kill her mommy!”

The killings:

Even the murders mirror classic Jason killings from a few of the earlier movies:  a machete chop through the head; a machete stab through the chest and into a tree; an arrow through the head; a metal hook through the throat; a towel rack and an ax through the back; and a fireplace stoker through the eye.  Okay; it’s been a while since I’ve seen all of the Jason movies, but all of these kills at least seemed familiar… since today is Friday the 13th, hopefully I’ll find a marathon so I can confirm that all of these tactics have indeed previously taken the lives of other teenagers standing in Jason’s way.

The re-envisioning also incorporates a few of the franchise’s key moments: a shrine to Jason’s mother with her decapitated head as the centerpiece, showing his love and dedication to her, and also Jason’s finding an old hockey mask to cover his disfigured face.  We also see the classic horror elements that Catie listed in her post: the prior “evil” events at Camp Crystal Lake in 1980, and the fact that help is not coming.

Party… and Die. Jason’s Rules.

Next, let’s go over the horror movie “rules” present in Friday the 13th (2009) just in case someone isn’t quite familiar:

  1. Don’t show your breasts.  Show your breasts, and die.
  2. Don’t have sex.  Everyone knows that the second a couple fornicates, they die.
  3. Don’t drink or do drugs.  Intoxicate yourself in any way, and die.

Now, let’s switch gears and discuss cast and characterization.

Catie mentioned that the cast of the original was primarily a group of relatively unknown actors.  One of Jason’s victims back in 1980 may not have been well known then, but he’s a huge Hollywood star today—Kevin Bacon.  How many times have we seen someone’s starring role in a slasher film actually launch their career?  But I digress…

Unlike the original, the 2009 version stars many familiar faces: Jared Padalecki (Supernatural), Danielle Panabaker (Shark), Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist), Travis Van Winkle (Transformers), and Willa Ford (ex-wife to hockey super-star, Mike Modano and former Dancing with the Stars contestant).  Each of these actors and actresses can be described as easy on the eyes, or eye candy—a feature that doesn’t hurt when deciding which movie to go see…

And while the casting can affect whether or not I’m interested in seeing the movie, the characterization determines whether or not I enjoy the movie—usually.  In the case of horror films and slashers, I usually can’t empathize with many of the characters.  In other words, I don’t mind the fact that I know each and every one of them are about to be hacked into pieces.  However, I can list four characters in Friday the 13th (2009) that I actually liked:

  • Clay, the hero—the good guy on a mission to find his missing sister and protect as many as he can in the meantime.
  • Jenna, the nice girl—the girl with substance, unlike her partying friends, who wants to help others and not only protect herself.
  • Whitney, the damsel—the girl who, even though held captive, plays her captor like a fiddle to prolong her survival.
  • Jason, the killer—the poor, lost soul who wants to follow his mother’s orders (“Kill for mother”), protect his land (“They must be punished, Jason”), and be left alone (“We just want to be left alone, and so does he”).  He may be a serial killer, but viewers see a side of Jason we’ve never seen before… more of a “why” he does what he does.

As usual, Michael Bay’s production does not disappoint.  That’s right—Michael Bay.  Many associate his name with major motion picture action and drama masterpieces (Transformers, Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, etc…), but he also co-owns the production house responsible for so many of our favorite remakes  (A Nightmare on Elm Street, and a previous Original versus Remake feature, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).  Mr. Bay may be one of my favorite producers in Hollywood now simply for this reason.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of the crazed, movie-goers that attended the premiere of Friday the 13th on Friday, February 13, 2009.  How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to see a Friday the 13th film on Friday the 13th?  I couldn’t… so I coaxed my guy into taking me by playing the Valentine/birthday card.  While he tolerated it (he’s not into slashers and horror like I am), the film didn’t disappoint this Friday fan.  I enjoyed all of the classic elements of the older versions, as mentioned above, but especially and most recognizably the ending—Jason’s resurrection after being buried in the water, from which he rises and grabs a survivor before the screen fades to black…

Did you jump?  I sure did!  Now that’s my kind of ending…

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the “remake” of Friday the 13th?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Happy Friday the 13th!  And remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

Friday FabOoolousness – Kill for Mother (Friday the 13th)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and I to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the horror classic, Friday the 13th.

Usually, I include Catie’s Homeade Summary that applies to both films.  But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:

A group of young adults is terrorized by a killer at Crystal Lake and the nearby deserted summer camp.

Before I begin, let me first mention that I love Friday the 13th—not just the movie franchise—but the actual date itself.  But when I think about it, maybe I love it when a Friday lands on the thirteenth of a month because I automatically associate the day as a scary day because of the horror movie and its subsequent sequels.  Regardless, I’m a fan…  When I see that a particular Friday actually falls on the thirteenth, I hit the television and search immediately for a Friday the 13th marathon.  Sadly, not many stations actually take the opportunity to air an all-day and all-night marathon of Jason Voorhees movies; and if I ever run a TV station, this will be one of my first orders of business.

Friday the 13th is a classic and Catie said it best in her blog post discussing the original—if anyone considers themselves to be a horror buff and they have not seen this movie, shame on them.  Because of this movie, there have been many instances in real life where I have felt uncomfortable—like when I stayed at a week-long Athletic Training Camp at Prude Ranch in high school; I heard noises outside my cabin… and I really didn’t want to shower out there—or anytime I go to a lake; one never knows what or who’s lurking in that dirty water—or when I camped overnight at Palo Duro Canyon in college; I heard noises in the dry, dead brush all around us the entire time.  Thanks a lot, Jason.

One might ask, if the 1980 film is so great, why remake it?  Well, I don’t feel Friday the 13th (2009) is an actual remake… it’s more a re-envisioning of the first few films in the franchise.  The writers did a fantastic job creating somewhat of a new story all its own, while still incorporating many elements of the other films and the classic horror movie rules.

Let’s talk about the similarities—things that if were missing from the film would not make a Friday the 13th movie complete:

The Curse of Camp Crystal Lake:

It all started in 1980, when innocent camp counselors worked to open an old camp site; a camp that had been closed after a young boy, Jason Voorhees, drowned in the lake.  How did Jason drown?  Two camp counselors that were supposed to watch him decided to have sex instead.  Devastated by her son’s death, Jason’s mother took matters into her own hands to ensure the camp didn’t open again—to protect other children from counselors who were more interested in their summer shenanigans than watching the children.  One by one, she stalked the unaware teenagers, placing blame on each of them for her son’s death.  Mrs. Voorhees managed to brutally murder each counselor—all except for one.   Alice managed to escape Mrs. Voorhees’ murderous rampage and turned the tables on the crazed mother.  In what began the true Friday the 13th style, Alice decapitated Mrs. Voorhees’ with a machete.  Thus, we have the Curse of Camp Crystal Lake.

Jason, the mask, and the machete:

Jason Voorhees remains one of the most frightening characters today.  He’s gigantic, has super strength, obtains supernatural abilities, and isn’t afraid to kill.  He always has his machete, but he will also never shy away from bows and arrows, spears, pitchforks or chainsaws—anything that will cut right through his victims.

Yeah, I’d run if I saw him coming…

The music:

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma – The dreadful, eerie, creepy music.  There have been many debates over what the actual sounds of the Jason music are.  The ‘ki’ sound comes from the word ‘kill’ and the ‘ma’ sound from ‘mommy’—a line in the original movie spoken by Mrs. Voorhees in her child’s voice: “Kill her mommy!”

The killings:

Even the murders mirror classic Jason killings from a few of the earlier movies:  a machete chop through the head; a machete stab through the chest and into a tree; an arrow through the head; a metal hook through the throat; a towel rack and an ax through the back; and a fireplace stoker through the eye.  Okay; it’s been a while since I’ve seen all of the Jason movies, but all of these kills at least seemed familiar… next Friday the 13th, hopefully I’ll find a marathon so that I can confirm that all of these tactics have indeed previously taken the lives of a few other teenagers in Jason’s way.

The re-envisioning also incorporates a few of the franchise’s key moments: a shrine to Jason’s mother with her decapitated head as the centerpiece, showing his love and dedication to her, and also Jason’s finding an old hockey mask to cover his disfigured face.  We also see the classic horror elements Catie listed in her post: the prior “evil” events at Camp Crystal Lake in 1980, and the fact that help is not coming.

Next, let’s go over the horror movie rules present in Friday the 13th (2009) just in case someone isn’t quite familiar:

  1. Don’t show your breasts.  Show your breasts, and die.
  2. Don’t have sex.  Everyone knows that the second a couple fornicates, they die.
  3. Don’t drink or do drugs.  Intoxicate yourself in any way, and die.

Now, let’s switch gears and discuss cast and characterization.

Catie mentioned that the cast of the original was primarily a group of relatively unknown actors.  One of Jason’s victims back in 1980 may not have been well known then, but he’s a huge Hollywood star today—Kevin Bacon.  How many times have we seen someone’s starring in a slasher film actually launch their career?  But I digress…

Unlike the original, the 2009 version stars many familiar faces: Jared Padalecki (Supernatural), Danielle Panabaker (Shark), Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist), Travis Van Winkle (Transformers), and Willa Ford (ex-wife to hockey super-star, Mike Modano and former Dancing with the Stars contestant).  Each of these actors and actresses can be described as easy on the eyes, or eye candy—a feature that doesn’t hurt when deciding which movie to go see…

Clay will do anything to protect his sister… much like Mr. Padelecki’s Supernatural character will do anything to protect the world… He’s awesome.

And where the casting can affect whether or not I’m interested in seeing the movie, the characterization determines whether or not I enjoy the movie—usually.  In the case of horror films and slashers, I usually can’t empathize with many of the characters.  In other words, I don’t mind the fact that I know each and every one of them are about to be hacked into pieces.  However, I can list four characters in Friday the 13th (2009) that I actually liked:

  • Clay, the hero—the good guy on a mission to find his missing sister and protect as many as he can in the meantime.
  • Jenna, the nice girl—the girl with substance, unlike her partying friends, who wants to help others and not only protect herself.
  • Whitney, the damsel—the girl that even though held captive, plays her captor like a fiddle to prolong her survival.
  • Jason, the killer—the poor, lost soul who wants to follow his mother’s orders (“Kill for mother.”), protect his land (“They must be punished, Jason.”), and be left alone (“We just want to be left alone, and so does he.”).  He may be a serial killer, but viewers see a side of Jason we’ve never seen before… more of a “why” he does what he does.

As usual, Michael Bay’s production does not disappoint.  That’s right—Michael Bay.  Many associate his name with major motion picture action and drama masterpieces (Transformers, Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, etc…), but he also co-owns the production house responsible for so many of our favorite remakes  (A Nightmare on Elm Street, and last month’s feature, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).  Mr. Bay may be one of my favorite producers in Hollywood now simply for this reason.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of the crazed, movie-goers that attended the premiere of Friday the 13th on Friday, February 13, 2009.  How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to see a Friday the 13th film on Friday the 13th?  I couldn’t… so I coaxed my guy into taking me by playing the Valentine/birthday card.  While he tolerated it (he’s not into slashers and horror like I am), the film didn’t disappoint this Friday fan.  I enjoyed all of the classic elements of the older versions, as mentioned above, but especially and most recognizably the ending—Jason’s resurrection after being buried in the water, from which he rises and grabs a survivor before the screen fades to black…  Did you jump?  I sure did!  Now that’s my kind of ending…

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the “remake” of Friday the 13th?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

And while it may not  be horror, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!

Friday FabOoolousness –The Hunger Games… Leaving Us Hungry for More

Last week, I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling all that well and listed a few of the movies that I would like to see while curled up in my chair.  Well, would anyone be surprised if I said I didn’t get around to watching any of them?  I did watch something though…

I wanted to see The Hunger Games in the theater, but for whatever reason we never made it.  And last Friday when I was listing all of the movies that I wanted to see while recuperating in the comfort of my home, I completely overlooked the upcoming release of The Hunger Games.

How is that possible?  I don’t know… but I corrected that mistake as soon as I realized it was available via OnDemand Saturday night.

For those that still haven’t read Suzanne Collins’ trilogy or seen the film adaptation, I’ll try not to give anything away.  But, honestly, I feel like my house was in this minority grouping up until this past weekend and I wouldn’t be ruining anything for a lot of people.  But regardless, I’ll stay away from any spoilers.

However, what I do want to mention is the fact that I couldn’t help but compare The Hunger Games to another Young Adult franchise that has practically taken over the world these past few years—The Twilight Saga.

And let me begin with… The Hunger Games wins.

I’m not a Twilight hater; really, I’m not.  I own all four books and I have seen all four movies to date.  I do enjoy the love triangle, the werewolf pack, and the Cullen clan; but, I prefer my vampires to have more bite.  I want to see vamps do what they’re supposed to do—feed on humans.  It may be bloody, but there is something about it that is as hot as all get out.  Vampires are probably the most seductive and sexy of all the supernatural, and that’s what I like to see.  Even Vampire Jerry from Fright Night (2012) was one bad vamp, but what girl sitting in the theater still didn’t wish he was her neighbor?

Now, with The Hunger Games, I expected violence, and violence is exactly what I got—PG style, anyway.   I never expected the tributes to survive the Games without bloodshed.  But thankfully, the scenes were not gory or over-the-top; they portrayed just enough to leave the worst parts to the viewer’s imaginations and leave us clinging to the edge of our seats.

Now let’s switch to another comparison—the female protagonists.

First, there’s Bella… perhaps if anyone besides Kristen Stewart had played the beloved Bella in the movies, I’d have a different opinion.  But she did, and I don’t.  It’s hard to sit through a series and love it when you can’t stand the protagonist—and I’m speaking of the character here, not the actress; but because the actress lacks a certain emotional range and rarely smiles when in character, it’s hard to empathize with her.  Maybe Miss Stewart played the role just as Stephenie Meyer intended, and she’s certainly earned millions because of the franchise, but for me personally, let me just say she’s not the reason I see the films.

But Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) on the other hand, now that’s a strong, female lead.  Wow!  I fell in love with Katniss from the very beginning.  She has purpose; she’s caring; she provides; and most importantly, she volunteers herself to save another—she is amazing.   Never once did I think the character of Katniss felt sorry for herself (and if anyone was allowed to feel sorry for themselves, it would be Katniss).  I was ready to watch Miss Lawrence kick some serious booty when the tributes from each district joined at the Cornucopia.  Heck, I was even ready to watch her take down Peeta.  I was one-hundred percent enamored with Katniss Everdeen, and Jennifer Lawrence nailed the role.

I could keep going; heck, I haven’t even listed the guys/eye candy in the films or the other supporting actors yet.  But I’m done.  These two aspects alone launch The Hunger Games way ahead of Twilight where I’m concerned.  A part of me is a bit shocked to say this… I do love the supernatural; however, this time, fantasy wins as far as I’m concerned.

What do you think?  Have you watched The Hunger Games?  Do you prefer it over the Twilight Saga or Katniss over Bella?  I’d love to hear from you!

And while it may not be supernatural or fantasy, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!

Friday FabOoolousness – “We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes”

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and I to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  But this time we switched things up a little—Catie reviews the remake and I take on the original.  I know, crazy…   Anyway, this month we discuss Psycho.

First, let’s check in with Catie’s Homemade Summary that applies to both the 1960 and 1998 versions:

Marian Crane steals a large sum of money from her employer with plans of using it to help her and her boyfriend start a new life together.  Her plans go awry when she checks into the Bates Motel and is killed in the shower.

Marian’s sister and a private investigator trace Marian to the Bates Motel.  Will they find out what happened to Marian before the same thing happens to them?

Today, Psycho is known as one of the best Alfred Hitchcock films of all time, or at least one of the most popular.  Everyone knows about Psycho.  Everyone recognizes the names the Bates Motel and Norman Bates.  Everyone thinks twice about taking showers in motel rooms.  Everyone shivers just a bit when they see a motel vacancy sign.  Right?  Or is it just me?

Still creepy today…

Adapted from Robert Bloch’s novel and loosely based on the true crimes of Ed Gein (see Catie’s Freaky Friday post today!), Psycho received mixed reviews but eventually earned Academy Award nominations—that doesn’t happen for the thriller genre all that often.  So what makes Psycho special?

As with any cinematic success, Psycho first attracts an audience with its cast, starring all young and beautiful actors: Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, Janet Leigh as Marian Crane, Vera Miles as Lila Crane, and John Gavin as Sam Loomis.  Next, we have the score—haunting and suspenseful music by Bernard Herrmann that raises the movie’s tension and impending violence.  Just listen as we play the trailer:

Along with the score, Psycho raised the bar and was a bit ahead of its time with its heightened sexual element and violence.  Heck, in watching the film again for the purpose of this post, I was shocked to hear the characters use the term “transvestite” when talking about Norman’s personalities.  Today “transvestite” is socially acceptable, at least in the form of everyday conversation, but in 1960?

Before jumping into the most obvious reason as to why Psycho is and was such a successful suspense and horror film, let’s pay homage to some of the film’s fabOoolous dialogue—dialogue that not only left viewers on the edge of their seats, but specific lines with insight into the classic element of foreshadowing.

“Mother isn’t quite herself today.”

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

“A son is a poor substitute for a lover.”

“We all go a little mad sometimes.”

“We’re all in our private traps.”

Think about the overall story arc of Psycho, and then re-read these lines—all shared between Norman and Marian before the famous shower scene.  Every single piece of the above dialogue hints at what viewers learn at the end of the film when the psychologist shares his findings with the rest of the characters following his interrogation of Norman.

And since we brought up the famous shower scene, this might be the number one reason why the 1960 version of Psycho is still relevant today.  Queue Herrmann’s orchestra…

Viewers never see the knife actually stab Marian; the scene grabs a hold of the audience by the music, the screams, and the blood washing down the drain.  Hitchcock adds dramatization by Marian’s pulling at the shower curtain and it ripping off ring by ring, and uses excellent cinematography, flashing from the bathtub drain to the close up of Marian’s lifeless eye.  The movie may be over forty years old, but I truly appreciate the genius behind this scene—one little old scene.

The Original “Scream Queen”

Psycho is dark, literally and figuratively.  Not only is the film black and white, the lighting scheme oftentimes shades the characters faces to where viewers only see their silhouettes and shadows.  But this darkness launched Hitchcock’s film into the franchise world, with three sequels (Psycho II, Psycho III, and Psycho IV: The Beginning) all starring Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the 1998 remake directed by Gus Van Sant that Catie reviewed earlier this week, as well as other television and documentary pieces.

Norman is CREEPY!!

Speaking of the franchise, Anthony Perkins is just as recognizable today as the creepy Bates Motel and the two-story residence located behind it.  He had a very successful career before his death in the ‘90s, was even nominated for an Academy Award for a different role, but he will forever be remembered as Norman Bates.

And before we go, let’s talk about the original “Scream Queen” Janet Leigh.  Man, was she beautiful and not afraid to show off her sexuality.  It wasn’t until watching Psycho for the I-don’t-know-what-time preparing for this post, that I recognized the similarities between Ms. Leigh and her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis.  The two practically mirror each other with their tight-lipped grins and expressions.  It’s no wonder Jamie Lee took to slasher movies as well and followed in her mother’s footsteps as the modern-day “Scream Queen.”

Hello, Mother…

If anyone hasn’t seen Hitchcock’s masterpiece, check it out at least once.  For any AT&T U-verse customers, Psycho (1960) is currently available on Movieplex’s OnDemand films until August 1st.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of Psycho?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.