Two And Eight: Sack vs Sacs

Before I had you over to Darrell’s introduction to Friday The 13th Part 2 and 8, here’s some info on events that might interest Fringes fans over the next few weeks. 

Our Friends over at Satori Screen are going horror for the month of October with a rare cinema double bill of Korean zombie horror Train To Busan and the anime prequel Seoul Station. Tickets on sale here.

For family fright fans, Cinekids will be showing the wonderful sixties stopmotion animation Mad Monster Party? Do yourself a favour and introduce yourself or a loved one to this charming monster gem. Tickets on sale here

Then at the end of the month, we’ll be getting curled up snug as a bug in a rug for the annual all night marathon of horror films Dead And Breakfast. This year’s line up sees us start with The Omen, then new Brit horror B&B, Brian Yuzna’s horror satire Society, Dario Argento’s mesmeric Inferno, the Denholm Elliot starring television classic The Signalman before ending with the dawn chorus of Hitchcock’s The Birds. Tickets on sale here

Here is the transcribed introduction from Cult Film Historian Darrell Buxton for last Friday’s Friday the 13th Double Bill (Parts 2 and 8).

Hello and welcome to QUAD for tonight’s Fright Club double bill. And welcome to a Fright Club tradition – yes, every time there’s a Friday the 13th on the calendar, we do the obvious – and show movies from the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise. As well as making our programming job nice and easy, this also gives us the chance to put these classic slashers up on the big screen where they truly belong.

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We’ve screened most of the Friday titles by now, and last offered the memorable pairing of parts 4 and 5 back in November 2015. That’s the one featuring Corey Feldman, followed by the other one featuring Corey Feldman but not featuring Jason. But tonight gives us the opportunity to fill in some of the gaps. We’ve never screened part 2 or part 8, so here they are for your enjoyment this evening. As regular fans will be aware, the FRIDAY THE 13TH series is often so absurd that it doesn’t necessarily matter that you’ll be seeing these two out of order – who knows, they may even make more sense this way!

FRIDAY part 2 picks up where the first kill-crazy instalment left off. To refresh your memories, the story so far… Camp Crystal Lake had been the site of a massacre of teenage camp counsellors, attempting to reopen the facility despite its history as the place where a young boy named Jason Voorhees had drowned in 1957. The excessive slaughterthon is revealed as the unlikely handiwork of Jason’s middle-aged, sweater-clad mum, only for her to be spectacularly decapitated by the lone survivor and ‘final girl’ Alice, played by Adrienne King.

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So, part two begins with our plucky heroine in her apartment, fully recovered from her ordeal and from the vision – or was it? – of Jason himself impossibly leaping out of the lake to grab her in the first film’s tremendous shock ending. You’re going to see Mrs. Voorhees again too, despite the fact that her head and shoulders have parted company. FRIDAY part 2 is typical of the cheap, cost-cutting sequel concept – not only is it a mere 87 minutes long, but a substantial portion of that running time is made up of huge chunks of footage from the first movie in flashback scenes. It was rushed into cinemas less than a year after the first film, and of course led on to the extensive series.

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As David Lynch’s THE ELEPHANT MAN had been one of the big attractions of the previous year, Jason stole a few fashion tips from John Merrick, affecting a similar ‘burlap sack over the head’ image. In 1981 we were right in the middle of the New Romantic era, where it seemed that Spandau Ballet were throwing their mums’ tea towels over their shoulders and Adam Ant was raiding the stationery cupboard to paint Tippex stripes across his face, but strangely the ‘potato bag on head’ look never quite caught on with the stylemakers of the day, and even Jason ditched it fairly quickly, in favour of wearing you-know-what item of iconic sporting equipment…

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The kills are what FRIDAY THE 13TH is all about, and FRIDAY part 2 doesn’t stint on them. We’ve issued you with a Kill List handout tonight, so you can tick off the deaths as they happen – and in part 2 they include a wheelchair-bound hunk, a couple having sex, and even Crazy Ralph from part one. What a shame it is that Ralph gets it here – a colossal mistake, as he’d have made a fantastic continuing series regular. Maybe if they get around to making any fresh sequels he could come back as a ghost or something equally stupid…

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Talking of ‘stupid’, hey, we’re showing FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 8: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN later on too, after a short break. What a concept! The masked, hulking, unstoppable psycho, Jason Voorhees, rampaging his way through the Big Apple, putting the fear into Fifth Avenue, leaving a bloody trail at Bloomingdale’s, causing havoc in Harlem, turning Central Park into a cemetery!! Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Well, don’t get too excited. None of that happens. Instead of fulfilling the promise of having the FRIDAY franchise hitting the bustling streets of the City That Never Sleeps, we get Jason on a boat. Yes, you heard right. Jason on a boat. This entry in the series contains most of its suspense in the question ‘so, will Jason ever get to New York or what?’. As the song says, if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere – so stick with this one to find out if the savage Mr. V finally hits the Hudson River docks and takes his machete to Macy’s.

Jason8In the meantime, and I hope I’m not giving away too much of the plot here, he butchers a dozen or so passengers on board a rickety sea-going tub. I don’t know if American law has an equivalent to our Trades Descriptions Act, but this is like Martin Scorsese setting NEW YORK, NEW YORK in Boulder, Colorado, or indeed like Sean Cunningham deciding ‘hey, why don’t I make a movie called FRIDAY THE 13TH?!’ and then having all the action take place on Wednesday the 11th.

Despite the outright lie of the title, however, JASON TAKES MANHATTAN is a bucket-load of watery fun. Just pretend it’s called ‘Jason Goes Boating’ and you’ll appreciate it all the more. There’s not a lot I can say – Jason gets on a rusty barge, kills everyone, the end. But what an end! Please, please, please stay in your seats for the finale of Part 8. Even by the ridiculous standards set by the previous FRIDAYs, this takes the biscuit. You will simply not believe what you are watching in the final couple of minutes here, a blatant act of writing the franchise into a corner from which it cannot possibly emerge. Naturally, when the time came around to make a ninth FRIDAY THE 13TH, they seem to have simply ignored this one, almost as if it had all been some insane dream fizzing its way through Jason’s kinked synapses. Don’t ask too many questions, don’t try to fit this into the series chronology, don’t trust the evidence of your own eyes. Just sit back and enjoy the cruise.

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That’s all for later. For the time being, we hope that you’ve decided upon your allegiance for tonight – are you part of Team Bag Over The Head, or are you supporting Team Boat To The Big Apple? Remember to count and tick off the parade of murders as they come thick and fast at you, wear your free hockey masks with pride, and have a grisly, gruesome, gory Friday the 13th of October. We’re in a right ‘two and eight’ tonight, as Cockney rhyming slang might have it. Figure out for yourselves whether that means we’re in the State of New York, a state of panic while running through the woods at Crystal Lake, or a state of utter confusion as you try to piece together the lunatic events of these two outrageous movies.

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