On Jack-in-the-Box Slasher Movies

I mentioned last week that I’ve been making my way through horror mainstays. At this point, I’ve now seen the first three Friday the 13th movies, and despite my initial thought that I’d watch them all . . .

There’s no way I’m going to.

Perhaps if the movies were anything other than what they are, I would give them a shot, but in practice, watching them so closely together, the formula becomes blatantly clear. These aren’t films. They’re 90 minute jack-in-the-box games. The characters have absolutely no real way to do anything about their plights, typically because they have no idea they’re in trouble in the first place. Instead, we follow them around, one by one, knowing they’re in danger even though they don’t. And then we wait (and wait) for them to be attacked in some ((hopefully) new, as yet unseen manner. Once they’re dead, Jason moves on to the next victim.

This continues until we’re down to one last victim (a girl), who also doesn’t really have anything special about her other than she’s not dead yet. This is where the bad guy’s string of good luck ends, and he meets his demise. (Or does he?)

That’s it. Or at least, that’s all I’ve seen from this franchise so far. (I’m trying Nightmare on Elm Street next). With this little in the way of plot, I don”t see any need to actually continue onward. For one thing, I don’t enjoy them at all. Watching a series of decapitations and impalings of unsuspecting dupes just isn’t a story. I get that a lot of the entertainment likely comes from the ick factor, but I don’t really need to see more of that in this format. I like movies with more . . . depth? Characters who actually can be resourceful. Whose choices matter.

On a parting note, I was also disappointed in Jason in general. I’d never seen one of the films, but somehow in my head he was much more dangerous. The Jason we see is lumbering and doesn’t appear to be all that bright. I see no evidence that he’s particularly good at killing random campers. He just happens to always be in the right place at the right time. (And he attacks people who have absolutely no idea how to defend themselves at all. If I ever get jumped by a hockey mask wearing fiend, and I manage to hit him in the head and knock him to the ground, I’m going to keep hitting until he’s not getting up ever again.)

Anyway. If anyone has any words to defend the franchise, I’m open to hearing them. Maybe it gets different later on? But for now, I’m moving on.

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