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

FRIDAY THE 13TH Jason (DEREK MEARS, right) crashes through a window and grabs Clay (JARED PADALECKI, left) X390 (WARNER BROS.) | ADVOCATE.COM
       

Do you think it’s a little scary that some
audience members root for Jason?
As the sequels went on, the filmmakers were more
and more aware of that, so they created characters
that were intentionally stupid so you would cheer when
they died, but by the end, you cheer when the heroine picks
up the machete and goes after Jason. The audience kind
of goes back and forth. You realize these are
cardboard characters you’re not supposed to
take too seriously. This isn’t Ordinary
People
where the parents get decapitated at the
end. 

Well, too bad, because that mother was a bit of a monster… Well, purposefully the characters [in these
films] are types. They’re people you recognize
and can laugh at: the nerdy guy, the pot smoker.
It’s kind of darkly comic. I think for the viewer,
who understands and gets it, we’re not really
championing people getting killed. It’s more
the game, the cat-and-mouse aspect. The best movies in the
series really used the foreground and the background,
and the characters kept going in and out of dark
places and Jason would pop out. We enjoy the haunted
house aspect -- that’s the fun of it. 

Some horror movie franchises are hot messes in
terms of continuity. What are the biggest continuity
complaints about the Friday series?
First of all, the whole idea that groups of
campers and counselors keep dying and disappearing in
this one area is preposterous. The FBI would close
that place down! The other thing is Jason’s look. In
Part 2 he has long hair. In Part 3,
he’s suddenly bald and gains 30 pounds and six
inches of height. Jason’s makeup was always changing
too, and the way he runs and moves doesn’t
match from film to film. Luckily, Kane Hodder came
along in Part 7 and played Jason four times. That
gave the series some continuity, but even then, he always
looked different and wore different masks. 

Now, besides writing the book, you’ve also had
some involvement in the recently re-released super
spruced-up DVD editions of Friday the 13th
and Friday the 13th Part 2. Can you talk a bit about that?
Paramount contacted me about contributing to the
DVD and Blu-ray reissues of the first two movies.
There’s a commentary on the first that I’m a
part of, and there’s a featurette about the book on
the second one. I also wrote a trivia track for
Part 2. Also, Anchor Bay produced a
90-minute documentary called His Name Was Jason:
Thirty Years of "Friday the 13th."
I was interviewed
for that. 

So, back to the remake, which I assume you’ve
seen, are there any cool homages to the original you can
talk about without giving too much away?
The film’s really a remake of the first
four Fridays. There are plot elements of each of them
in it. There’s a character coming back to rescue
his sister, which was in part 4. There are also
allusions to the stoner characters in Part 3.
You know, they definitely pulled the recognizable
types from the series, and there are little things
die-hard fans will notice -- certain situations and
locations are used in different ways. 

Finally, how does it feel having sexy DILF Richard
Burgi play a character named after you in the remake?
It’s cool! I feel like I’m the
only person name-checked in the remake. They were
supposed to have cameos by Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer,
but none of that made it. I guess I’m an IMDb
trivia question now. Oh, and he dies pretty cool
too! 

Tags: film

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