The hype selling the latest Friday the 13th film as a franchise reboot starring a more humanized version of killer Jason Voorhees is mostly bullshit. In comparison to earlier Fridays, the new film features immaculate acting and uncompromising production values (and that’s not saying much of anything worthwhile), but Jason remains mythic, an unkillable but unbelievable boogeyman, and the film is mostly an unfrightening disappointment.
But that’s just one, admittedly uninformed, opinion. I’m woefully inexperienced in killing, and the entire Current staff combined has murdered an unimpressive number of people (three).
So, with that in mind, we’ve assembled a panel of real-life American mass murderers to evaluate the evolution of Jason as a psychopathic killer, in terms of believability and creative style. Let’s briefly introduce our celebrity judges, listed by body count. We remind you to please hold your applause until every name’s been called.
Albert Hamilton Fish: killed and cannibalized six(ish) children and confessed to abducting and molesting many more between the 1870s and the 1920s.
David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz: murdered six people and wounded seven others in eight shootings between 1976 and 1977.
Charles Manson: ordered his disciples to kill seven people in 1969, possibly either to get revenge for his inability to obtain a record deal, or to spark an international race war prophesied by the Beatles.
John Wayne Gacy: raped and killed 33 men and boys between the ages of 14 and 21 (and buried their bodies in his basement) in the 1970s.
President Andrew Jackson: signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which led to the Trail of Tears, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 Cherokees and 2,500 Choctaws.
All right fellas, without further ado, let’s bring on the blood!
Friday the 13th (1980)
Kevin Bacon, reclining on a mattress, enjoys a post-coital cigarette. From beneath the bed, a hand emerges to pin Bacon’s head back. An arrow pushes up through his throat, followed by a bloody geyser.
Charles Manson: I can’t judge any of you. I have no malice against you and no ribbons for you. Judge not lest ye find weevils in thy sugared breakfast cereal.
Son of Sam: All right, pal, whatevah you say. This kill ain’t bad considerin’ it’s one of, ya know, the kid’s first efforts. It’s nice to see Jason avoids the most common rookie mistake — killing some guy you actually know, for some kind of (makes air quotes) reason. You’d be surprised how quick the police pick up on that type of thing.
Albert Fish: Though you certainly realize, of course, that it isn’t Jason we see here, but his mother. She is actually the murderer in this moving picture. Naturally, that makes it all the more impressive that she managed to hold a young, virile man down with one hand while shoving an arrow through several inches of foam, flesh, and bone with the other.
SOS: Wait. What? You’re telling me that’s some middle-aged chick killing all these kids?
AF: Indeed. Toward the end, we’re made aware that (trails off). You’re not saying you haven’t seen this, are you? It’s nearly 30 years old, for goodness sake.
SOS: A simple spoiler alert would’ve been nice, ya freakin’ jag-off. Jesus, show a guy some consideration, will ya?
AF: Well you didn’t miss much. It’s really just an unimaginative inversion of the plot twist from Psycho. Oh, don’t tell me —
SOS: Nice. Freakin’ beautiful, this guy here.
John Wayne Gacy: Ooh, somebody’s getting a Netflix membership for Christmas.
Friday the 13th Part III
A teenage boy does a handstand in an upstairs hallway. Jason Voorhees, machete at the ready, steps toward the boy and hacks at his crotch, briefly embedding the machete in his taint.
JWG: (winces) Oh, I hate to see that. Such a waste. That boy might’ve been good for several days before rigor mortis set in.
AF: I concur. Any dimwit knows you have to cut the meat against the grain.
JWG: Yeah, I (pause) … hang on. Meat? What the hell are you talking about, wacko?
AF: What are you talking about?
CM: I say unto you the whole world is tainted. And the universe is gooched. And our children’s chodes are forfeit.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
A man fights Jason on the rooftops of New York City. The man takes a boxer’s stance and punches Jason repeatedly in the chest and face. The blows make a hollow thumping against his hockey mask. Jason waits calmly for his victim to tire, clearly toying with him. When he’s worn out, Jason lands an uppercut that knocks the man’s head off his neck. It falls into a trash bin in the alley below.
SOS: Now that, I gotta say, is pretty implausible. Takes me right outta the movie.
JWG: Jason has been brought back to life by a bolt of lightning on two separate occasions, and this is what you have problems with?
AF: I’m still perplexed as to how he rode on a boat from Crystal Lake to the Atlantic Ocean.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
After the coroner performing an autopsy on Jason eats his heart, Jason’s black, twisted spirit possesses him and a series of other people, forcing them to commit murder. In the form of a tiny demonic lizard being, he pops out of a decapitated body and crawls into a dead woman’s vagina, from which he emerges as a grown man, dressed in a hockey mask and jumpsuit.
CM: Hot diggity dog! Now you’re speaking my language, Jack.
Andrew Jackson: I must strongly object to your associating me, an American hero and former leader of the free world, with the likes of these murdering scum. I but gave an order that was carried out by others. How could I be held accountable for that?
CM: That’s exactly what I’m saying, man.
Friday the 13th (2009)
A teenage boy runs through the woods toward his girlfriend’s screams for help. At the campsite, he finds her stuffed in a sleeping bag, hanging suspended over the campfire, being roasted alive. He runs to her, triggering a wild-animal trap, which crushes his leg.
SOS: Ha ha, a motherlovin’ bear trap! Classic. It’s like I’m a guitar player hearing Hendrix for the first time.
AF: Now that’s how you make a Hot Pocket.
AJ: I am deeply scandalized, sir. The majority of this gentleman’s victims are white, and many appear to be property owners. •