October 2, 2009

Lucky Number 13

When I was 13 years old, I thought that the Friday the 13th films were about the coolest thing in the world. My greatest hope was that each and every year they would release yet another sequel - which frankly could have just been a loose re-hashing of the previous installment, and often was - until they ultimately got to Friday the 13th Part XIII, which, fittingly, would be the final chapter in the adventures of Jason Voorhees.

For a stretch in the 1980's, this wish seemed like it was easily achievable. Between 1980 and 1989, Paramount Pictures released eight (mostly lousy) Friday the 13th films. The eighth entry, which saw Jason head to Manhattan (which looked suspiciously like Vancouver) was the lowest earning entry in the franchise, and ultimately Paramount felt they had finally wrung the last dollar out of Crystal Lake and scrapped any plans for future sequels. New Line Cinema, the studio behind the Nightmare on Elm Street films, purchased the rights to the series with an eye toward making a Freddy vs. Jason movie. While that movie took over a decade to get to theatres, New Line churned out two more Jason flicks, starting with the awful Jason Goes To Hell and followed by the even worse Jason X. In 2003, they finally made Freddy vs. Jason, which, after years of diminishing returns, made Jason Voorhees a box-office draw again for the first time since the mid-1980's. That, in turn, brought us last year's Friday the 13th remake.
Today, Warner Brothers, the new studio in charge of the series, announced that Friday, August 13th Jason will slash his way back into theatres with the ingeniously titled Friday the 13th Part 2, which, will see my childhood wish achieved. Amazingly, it will be the thirteenth installment in the seemingly unstoppable Friday the 13th series. What a long, strange road it's been.

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