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Let’s just jump into it! Here are some interesting ideas for future installments in the Friday the 13th franchise.  Obviously, I could have come up with 13 ideas, but I’m not a gimmicky bastard.  I repeat:  Here are 7 ideas, not 13.  You’ll read them and you’ll like them, damn it.  

1.  Give Jason’s Mom More Screentime!

The original Friday the 13th film’s character of Mrs. Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) certainly made an impact.  In fact, in that film, she was actually the big splash, with Jason largely being a mere ripple, or at most a dream.  Still, an argument can be made that, perhaps, Jason has stolen the show a bit too much.  
Sure, we have caught brief glimpses of Jason’s mom here and there, with her being played and voiced by different people in brief scenes (Marilyn Poucher, Paula Shaw, Nana Visitor, Kathleen Garrett, etc.), but Pamela Voorhees could probably return.  Hey, if they put Jason in space, why not find creative ways to bring back his mom?  

2.  Expand on the Concepts In ‘Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday’ (1993)

Not everyone likes this movie, and it’s not too difficult to understand why.  It definitely has some baffling moments and the Jason myth is expanded in some weird-ass ways.  Still, this movie does have its fans, and there was a lot of “retconning” going on with this installment, leaving plenty of gaps between ideas in previous films and this one.  Of course, Jason returned from Hell to fight Freddy Krueger, but even that could obviously be retconned.  

The point is, this might be a bad idea, but some really adventurous writer might try to do a special follow-up to this story.  In fact, this film has an odd moment with the Necronomicon, which I always assumed was somehow linked to Jason’s powers.  Were Mr. and/or Mrs. Voorhees involved in “Evil Dead”-style spells, somehow invoking a special curse involving Jason?  A film exploring this concept would probably be terrible, but there’s still something bold about someone willing to explore this greater Voorhees universe.  

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3.  Humanizing Jason (and Piss Off Certain Fans?)

Yes, Jason has already been humanized at various points in the Friday the 13th franchise.  In fact, in Part 2 he almost seems like an ordinary guy, and possibly even some deranged redneck.  Also, in the 2009 reboot, Jason sort of went back to those roots, even setting up boobytraps and such.  However, I like the idea of being bold, even if it might piss off the fans.  I’m talking about an almost genre-defying, intelligent, deliberative Jason, who might even be capable of talking and stuff!

I know, I know, this will instantly piss off many fans.  However, it’s not as crazy as you might think.  In the first film, you know what is strongly implied several times?  Jason could talk!  Yes, I am not imagining things.  Pamela Voorhees repeatedly flashes back to a young Jason calling out for help.  Now, maybe she was being crazy and just fantasizing about Jason’s ability to speak, but I don’t know.  She might have been crazy, but it seems like she wouldn’t randomly attribute speaking ability to her mute son.  Also, if you think I’m full of shit, go ahead and remind yourself about this moment with this clip:

So, interestingly, when people tell you the filmmakers flopped in Jason Goes to Hell” for making Jason speak, you can actually correct them and say, “Well, actually, Jason had spoken before that” (you don’t have to say, in a stewing rage, “Jason actually cried for help, you ignorant sonofabitch!”)  On that note, it would be interesting to witness the moment Jason vowed to make sure no one would survive Camp Crystal Lake ever again.  While a talkative Jason might not represent the Jason most people know, smarty-pants fans like myself can have the added bonus of saying “Well, actually…”

4.  Final Girls Team Up with Tommy Jarvis to Take on Jason

This one seems like a no-brainer, especially when more fans would be on board with it than some of the crappier ideas I’ve presented here.  In the final encounter between Jason and these various survivors, who would doubt that Jason would have a serious fight on his hands?  Hell, you could even through in a few new survivors, if you wish to keep things fresh.  The potential seems inherent.  Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman/John Shepherd/Thom Mathews) has sort of been the John Connor of the Friday the 13th franchise.  At the very least, imagine if he teamed up with the series’ Carrie character, Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln)!  

5.  A More Water-Based Jason

This idea isn’t entirely new.  Obviously, Jason has spent plenty of time in the water.  We’ve seen him jump out of the water, pull people under the water, emerge from the lake while clasping Fred Krueger’s (Robert Englund) severed head, and oddly get melted into a non-deformed little boy in swim trunks (Timothy Burr Mirkovich) by toxic waste.  However, I think a daring writer could get even more creative with it.  I mean obnoxiously and stupidly so.  

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What if Jason becomes more of a water elemental/ghost-like entity?  Bad idea city, right?  Maybe so, but it’s really no worse (and possibly better) than sending Jason Voorhees into goddamn outer space!  The point is, the story element is already there, with Jason already around the lake hoping to drive the surviving campers out.  Imagine if he wasn’t even trying to swim across to them, but basically was the water.  It’s not so different from “Jason attacks from the water.”  It also makes him more spectral.  It may be a bad idea in most hands, but it seems like something that could work…but probably wouldn’t.  

6.  Jason Takes Manhattan…But More This Time?

I like Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, but people often complain about it being “Jason on a boat” more than Jason in Manhattan.  Obviously, the excuse for the limited time in Manhattan was a limited budget.  While we do get some memorable NYC moments, it was not enough to pacify everyone.  What if that were to change, and Jason was retconned back into Manhattan?  Maybe they could have him be captured, much like they do in “Jason X,” and transported to a special research lab in Manhattan?  

Hell, the remake could even have nods to the original.  Maybe you could have Rennie (Jensen Daggett) return, just so Jason can take her under the water and try to drown her again.  After all, such a premise could never get old, right?  Maybe she got knocked on the head, received amnesia, and decides to go swimming to revitalize her memory…and then WHAMMO!, Jason’s got her by the leg and that old romantic just won’t let go!  Then she breaks free and decides to go to Manhattan to see a broadway show and Jason, that old rapscallion, happened to score some tickets and is ready to join her there, too.  (Obviously, I am making light of tragic situations, but you get the idea.)

7.  The Psychological Angle

Remember Part 5, which doesn’t even have a real Jason in it?  Of course, you do!  By that point, it seemed some people were fine with leaving the actual Jason hacked up, at the bottom of the lake, or wherever.  In fact, some people thought even the second Friday the 13th film was a bit out there.  A drowned kid returning for revenge?  How?  Well, part of the reason parts 1, 2, and 5 sort of work is obvious:  They all have a psychological angle to them, so people are less likely to sweat the small stuff like “Does this story and timeline really make sense?”  

 By applying just a bit of a psychological twist, one can make just about any idea seem somewhat deeper, even if only superficially.  Hell, even Part 7 has some of that going on.  The point is, some skilled craftsmen could perhaps get to work on a deeper, more psychologically rooted depiction of Jason Voorhees.  Maybe it’s good to avoid stereotypical Freudian stuff, but who knows?  Maybe that cigar isn’t just a cigar.  There are plenty of bizarre, twisted twists and turns to be made here.  

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Also, with how polished and refined some people are trying to be nowadays, the climate is perhaps just right to (even lazily) deliver freakish shocks and remind people what deeply disturbing stuff is actually buried beneath that hockey mask.  Was Jason abused as a child and made too psychologically dependent on his mother?  There’s a little bit of room to explore there, in the dark corners of the Voorheesian revenge motif.   Of course, you can always have Jason fight someone other than Freddy, like Mike Myers (and I don’t mean Austin Powers — though, after seeing Jason in space, having him actually fight Austin Powers wouldn’t be much of a stretch.  After all, in “Jason X” he did literally take on a fembot).

What are your thoughts on this list?  Would they help or ruin the Friday the 13th franchise?  Wouldn’t you see these movies either way?  Admit it:  You probably would, you hapless fool!  Jason has you by the non-literal balls and you don’t even want him to let go, do you?

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ashley

    April 12, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Water elemental Jason is needed like yesterday. Go out! Go crazy. Worst case is you piss off fans (oh noooooooo) or you have something incredible.

    • Wade Wainio

      April 23, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      It would be interesting, and possibly even scary.

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Movies n TV

The Beach House, a Film Review

The Beach House (2019) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, and Jake Weber.

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The Beach House (2020) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown. This film stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel. As of this review, this film is only available on Shudder.

Desperate to rekindle their strained love, Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) escape to a beach getaway. They soon learn to find that family friends of Randall’s father, Mitch (Jake Weber), and Jane (Maryann Nagel), also had a similar idea. After getting used to each other, a mysterious fog engulfs the town. Unfortunately, they realize too late the danger they find themselves in.

A woman with her mouth agape. Behind her is a dark background. Next to her reads, "The Beach House." Below is a scenic beach with a mountain in the distance.
The Beach House Alternative Cover Art

What I Like

Body horror gets under my skin, and The Beach House certainly lives up to the standard. There’s something magical about creatures terraforming your body to their preferred environment, turning humans into nothing more than conscious prisoners in their own flesh. While I wouldn’t consider this film the most traumatic or unsettling example, it utilizes wonderfully grotesque scenes.

Aside from the body horror, the film drops a few Cosmic Horror–or Lovecraftian–vibes that go together perfectly. Another favored genre of mine, this combination ensures the odds are overwhelmingly against our human leads.

Beyond the grotesque, visuals might not overwhelm but certainly succeed in their goal. Several scenes provide an intentionally tranquil experience that contrasts with the grotesques and improves their effectiveness.

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In terms of performance, each actor hits their mark. While some roles require less effort, each contributes to the plot as intended. The standout performance goes to Liana Liberato’s Emily, who acts as co-lead. She simply has the most to work with and lives up to the part.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

As “body horror” should indicate, this film will hit hard for the more squeamish viewer. While horror by nature has some amount of grotesque, body horror brings that grotesque to the next level. While I don’t particularly find The Beach House hitting harder than its competition, it certainly respects its chosen genre.

Woman looks shocked or horrified. Bushes or trees make up the background.
Liana Liberato as Emily

What I Dislike or Considerations

A few scenic montages may hit or miss depending on your interpretation. While I have my own theories, that speculation goes beyond the scope of this review. Many of these scenes overlap more philosophical conversations and musings that may annoy or add layers. This strategy seems a common practice in Cosmic Horror, which forces characters to rationalize the irrational.

It’s hard for me to understand how secretive or known this event is supposed to be in the film’s world. Individuals know something outside of the town, with evidence implying governmental knowledge. This information creates a contrivance–perhaps, even a plot hole–because the characters had to reach this isolated town without any opposition.

One of the visuals didn’t exactly grab me. While I won’t go into too much detail, an effect looked too visually similar to a common animal that barely survives rain. It’s hard to be threatened by that. It also doesn’t exactly match up with some of the other visuals. Even the creatures that look similar to it still look different enough to provide a more alien assumption.

There are moments when the infected chase our main characters by crawling at them. While the context works, with injured characters helping to sell them, I can’t help but find these scenes amusing as opposed to frightening. Yes, it’s certainly visually different from the plethora of zombies out there, but it’s also less frightening than zombies that leisurely walk to their targets.

Final Thoughts

The Beach House combines cosmic and body horror to create an uncomfortable film that tests its characters. For those who enjoy these genres, it will certainly entertain you, but I doubt it will frighten you. I imagine the mood to watch it again might strike me, but I’m not entirely certain it will stand the test of time. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

If this movie suits your fancy and you want more, Honeymoon seems an appropriate recommendation.

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Movies n TV

Every Secret Thing, a Film Review

Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, based on Laura Lippman’s novel.

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Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener. This R-rated film stars Diane Lane, Danielle Macdonald, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks. Based on Laura Lippman’s novel of the same name, the film adaptation is accessible through MAX and DirecTV.

When a little girl goes missing, Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) spirals into an all too familiar tale. As pressure mounts, Alice Manning (Danielle Macdonald) and Ronnie Fuller (Dakota Fanning) become the leading suspects. The strained frenemies unravel under the attention and reminders of their shared past.

Laura Lippman stands out at the top of the cover, over a black background. Every Secret Thing appearing over a pool
Every Secret Thing Book Cover

What I Like

The film unravels in a non-chronological structure but makes it easy for the viewer to follow. It helps that the age difference clearly divides the younger actors, who change actors. One casting choice resembles their older counterpart, and the acting reflects a strong direction for their shared role.

Unreliable narration remains expertly communicated with scenes that change perspectives depending on whose perspective we view them from. This choice adds a reason to view the film twice, providing extra ambiguity for some of these events.

The camera gets up close and personal to an uncomfortable degree, which almost certainly presses the actors’ performances. This choice places the viewer in the character’s perspective and limits us from others’ perspectives to add extra credence to these biases.

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Every Secret Thing provides a spiraling mystery that unravels with several twists and turns. Assuming the novel provided the outline, this film executes these points and keeps a consistently engaging experience throughout the runtime.

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Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Child abuse and neglect remain the central plot points of Every Secret Thing. Little of this abuse appears in scenes, but there is no escaping the danger children are in throughout the film.

Self-harm and suicide are shown throughout the film (once in the case of suicide) through one specific character. It isn’t glorified or romanticized nor addressed with particular sensitivity. For those sensitive to these subjects, it might be triggering.

Racism, the assumed motive for the bi-racial victims, plays a small role in the film’s narrative. However, character motives remain more complex, but going further spoils some elements. This film decision does create the reality that bi-racial children are the victims of child neglect and abuse in the film with little additional context. It does invite uncomfortable speculation, but speculation it would be.

Sexual assault is another concern for viewers, specifically statutory rape. This issue seems particularly mismanaged, considering the survivor remains an antagonist. One can be both survivor of assault and an antagonist of a film without needing to discredit the assault. While little appears of this issue, and the manipulation angle can indicate a perspective shift, it’s hard to refute how the film wants to represent this attack.

Daughter resting on her mother's shoulder. Both are in the back of a car.
Diane Lane as Helen and Danielle Macdonald as Alice

What I Dislike

Loosely tied to the above point, one character seems mentally off and purposely so. This point doesn’t inherently create an issue, but there seems to be a choice to make this character a mastermind. Perhaps this is better addressed in the book, but the execution is far from perfect here.

A newspaper montage reveals essential information which feels oddly misplaced. Practically the entire setup for the film appears through this montage, which creates the necessity to read these headlines in the minimal time given.

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As a horror, nothing but the events are haunting. Children being abused or kidnapped always haunts, but the terror of this remains secondary to the mystery. While the mystery is nice, this film won’t particularly scare the seasoned horror fan.

Final Thoughts

Every Secret Thing unravels a mystery of opportunism, selfishness, and deception. While the movie won’t haunt the viewer, it certainly unravels a mystery that shocks them. The nuanced and deceptive characters add a layer of engagement that creates a unique experience, but I doubt this movie will linger in my mind.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Quid Pro Woe

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We’ve now reached episode six of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And after the last episode, this one did not disappoint.

We start with Wednesday attempting to contact Goody Addams. Last episode, if you’ll recall, Morticia explained the difference between a psychic dove and a raven. Since Goody Addams was the last raven psychic in the family line, it’s got to be her that trains Wednesday. 

But her seance is a failure, and Wednesday is interrupted by a magazine note shoved under the door. It says to meet someone at a crypt for answers. 

When she gets there, it turns out that her friends have put together a surprise birthday party for her. Before she can cut the cake, however, she has a vision.

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Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

Goody Addams tells her that she must find a specific gate. After some investigation, Wednesday discovers it’s the gate to the old Gates house. 

Wednesday goes to investigate, but she isn’t the only one. She is nearly discovered by Mayor Walker. He is also investigating the Gates family, even though they’re all reported to be dead. He leaves a message for Sheriff Galpin and is almost immediately run over by a car.

This incident is enough to get Wednesday’s town villages revoked. Though this seems like an empty punishment since the whole school is on lockdown. Someone burned Fire Will Rain on their front lawn. 

Wednesday isn’t one for believing the rules apply to her. She has it in her head that she’s meant to save Nevermore Academy, probably from whatever descendent of Crackstone who’s still around. So she has no problem lying to Enid and Tyler and convincing them to help her sneak off campus and explore the Gates house further.

This, of course, is an incredibly informative trip. The kids find a hidden altar to Crackstone, as well as the missing body parts from the monster’s victims. They also find evidence that someone’s been staying in the house. Someone who’s staying in what looks like a little girl’s room.

Before they can find anything more, the monster finds them. They barely escape, and go to the sheriff with what they find. 

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Of course, the house has been cleared out by the time Sheriff Galpin arrives. Furious that his son was almost killed, he tells Wednesday to stay away from him.

Because that always works, right?

Galpin isn’t the only one angry. Enid is fed up with the way Wednesday has been treating her. And so she leaves their room to bunk with someone else, leaving Wednesday alone. 

This episode was well done. The discoveries at the house were exciting, and I’m almost sure I know who’s behind the murders at this point. Overall, this was a good ramp-up to the season finale. 

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday.

Finally, this episode did something I was worried just wasn’t going to happen. And for that alone, it deserves praise.

Wednesday has been incredibly selfish and inconsiderate since the first episode. She’s been rude and demanding towards Thing. She’s ignored her friends’ needs and emotions while insisting they put themselves in danger for her investigation. She has respected no one’s boundaries, even while other people have at least tried to respect hers.

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And now, it’s finally come back to bite her. All of the people who have been doing their best to show her kindness and support are finally done with her bullshit.

Yes, this is a good thing! Characters are best when they’re allowed to learn and grow. When they don’t come to us flawless. When they mess up and learn from it. Especially for a show aimed at kids, this is essential.

If you’d asked me at the beginning of the season if this character was going to experience honest character growth, I’d have assured you it would never happen. Much to my surprise, it’s happening. I hope that Wednesday is going to come out of this a better person. With two episodes left in the season, there’s plenty of time for that.  4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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