Survival of the Outcasts

As Friday the 13th gets a reboot on the big screen, out film critic and Friday the 13th expert Peter M. Bracke takes a look back on Jason Voorhees.

BY Harrison Pierce

February 13 2009 12:00 AM ET

Jason Voorhees is
back on the big screen in an all-new remake/reboot of
Friday the 13th that’s sure to make a
killing at the box office. In honor of the
film’s big opening, Advocate.com sat down with
out film critic and historian Peter M. Bracke, author of
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of
"Friday the 13th,"
to discuss why the time is right
to revive the 30-year-old franchise and why the gays
aren’t exactly afraid of getting lost in the
woods with the hockey-masked, machete-wielding bad
boy. 

Why is the time right to re-launch the Friday series? Well, for two reasons. One, I think the original
series had more or less exhausted itself out with its
11 sequels -- you know, Jason going to Manhattan,
Jason going to space, and then fighting Freddy. Basically,
30 years is a long time for any franchise. The second
reason, the big reason, is: They’re remaking
everything! 

Whenever the studios announce one of these
high-profile horror remakes, some fans cry sacrilege.
But money does the talking in this town, so until
the remakes start bombing (or the companies run
out of unoriginal ideas), the trend will continue. What
are your feelings about the horror remake craze?
Well, I think it all started with TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre remake in ’03.
People were really up in arms about that film, saying,
you know, “Oh, my God, you can’t remake
classics!” Then the film turned out to be
pretty good and it made money. So that really opened
the floodgates. Fans are just accepting it --
everything’s being remade. Clearly, the cries
of sacrilege don’t matter to the producers, so
we’ve just given up at this point
[laughs]. 

Is any horror classic untouchable? The only one I can think of is The
Exorcist
, but I think they’ll remake that
eventually. I don’t think anything’s too
sacred. I mean, they remade Psycho

A few years ago you wrote Crystal Lake Memories: The
Complete History of "Friday the 13th,"

which may be the most insanely comprehensive book
about a film franchise ever created. Talk a bit about
the genesis of that project.
I started that book in 2002, and at that time,
Scream had come out, but the remakes hadn’t
started. I thought, Wow, this is kind of exciting:
There’s this whole era of slasher films
that isn’t really regarded or analyzed or
discussed much.
I know the Friday films
aren’t the greatest movies ever, but they mean
a lot to a lot of people and they really influenced the
evolution of the exploitation film. I mean, Friday
the 13th
was the first "B" movie that was picked up
by a major studio and treated like an A-list one, with
a big marketing campaign and a wide opening in over
1,000 theaters. That was unheard of at the time. Now,
it’s totally acceptable for Warner Bros. to make and
market a brutal slasher movie. Before that, it was purely a
drive-in, grindhouse kind of thing.

Tags: film

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