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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Jason on the Lam

    Okay, so the change in Jason's look in each FRIDAY THE 13TH film has always bothered me, particularly the transition from PART 2 to PART 3. The second sequel is supposed to take place immediately after 2 ends, as Ginny is wheeled away in an ambulance in the very last scene of that first sequel. I recently watched PART 2 again on blu-ray, and I noticed something I'd never noticed before. Right before the opening credits of PART 3, we see Jason still lying on the floor of his lair, pulling out the machete Ginny struck him with. Jason is still dressed in the plaid shirt and overalls he sported in PART 2, right?

     But then after the funky opening credits, we see Jason immediately creeping the general store. But what I had never realized watching the film a thousand times before on dreary VHS was that Jason is standing by the clothesline behind the general store right after the opening credits of 3 still in his outfit from PART 2- except he's now bald again.

      I had always assumed he was already wearing the green jacket and khaki pants, but he was obviously at the general store to get a change of clothes, as we see him standing at the clothes line. Was Jason eluding the authorities by changing clothes? Is that why he shaved his head? Would Jason even have the mental capacity to know to run from the law? This all sort of blew my mind as it was so obvious to me suddenly. I've literally watched this movie a million and one times and never did I once think of this.

     Now remember in PART 2, Ginny had never actually seen Jason until the very end when she and Paul pull the bag back to see his face. WE the audience never see his face, until he jumps through the window and grabs Ginny back at the camp. When we finally do see Jason, he's sporting a rather shocking head of long, red hair. Now when Jason drowns as a child in the original, we see him bald. So is the hairy Jason who bursts through that window just a figment of Ginny's imagination? He would have to be, as we plainly see Jason at the beginning of PART 3 still back in his lair in the woods pulling the machete out of him. Or is it though?

     The ending of the first two FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels both have a dreamlike, ambiguous feel to them, much like the ending of the original. Did Jason really jump out of the lake at the end of the first movie and drag Alice down into Camp Crystal Lake, or was it all just a dream? Did Jason really crash through that window and grab Ginny at the end of PART 2? Where is Paul when they whisk Ginny away- did he become a victim of Jason? We see Paul leave Jason's shack with Ginny, but Ginny is deliriously asking "Where's Paul?" on the stretcher, so it's all somewhat confusing. Was Paul killed in Jason's shack or back at the cabin?  We may never know, kids.

Monday, January 9, 2017


    Remember back in the 1980's when you'd go into your local video store,  looking for that perfect horror movie to rent on a Friday night?  I sure do, and there was always a particular VHS that stood out, taunting me with its lurid and catchy cover art. That film was THE NESTING, and for some reason I never rented it, or even caught it on HBO. I have no idea why I never saw this film. Well kids, I finally broke down and watched it recently- and you know what?  I actually loved it. Largely ignored and dismissed upon its initial release in 1981 due to the slasher craze going on at the time, THE NESTING is actually a solid and very entertaining ghost story that offers up a plucky-yet-unstable heroine, a kinky back story, and some stylish directing.

     THE NESTING  tells the tale of big city thriller novelist Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves) who suffers from anxiety attacks and is diagnosed with agoraphobia. Lauren decides a country retreat to finish working on her new novel is just what the doctor ordered, and begins house hunting. She mysteriously finds herself drawn to a house identical to the one she's currently writing about in her new novel "The Nesting", a strange, octagonal mansion that used to be a brothel and was the site of a horrible bloodbath years ago. How does plucky author Lauren Cochran know this?  Well see, she immediately begins having dreams and visions of the house- and being a horror movie, everyone around her starts dying mysterious and horrible deaths, of course. What does the house want with her? Will she escape the evil clutches of the house, or become a permanent and ghostly fixture there?

     While watching THE NESTING, several other films immediately sprung to mind, as it's basically a mish-mash of THE SENTINEL, THE CHANGELING,and THE HAUNTING OF JULIA. And that's what makes it so much fun to watch.  The film has acquired a rather negative reputation over the years, and I'm gonna chalk most of that up to the downright dreadful VHS transfer we were all stuck with in the 80's and 90's- dark, muddy, cropped, and distorted, very much like the original VHS transfers of  HUMOUNGOUS, THE FINAL TERROR and CURTAINS where you truly couldn't tell what was going on in half the movie. THE NESTING looks sensational on blu-ray, kids.

    It's somewhat bumpy in parts,but overall it's a solid little shocker from 1981, and surprisingly holds up rather well today. I really enjoyed the kinetic and somewhat-unhinged musical score, and genre favorites John Carradine and Gloria Grahame pop up in memorable cameos.  Robin Groves is a very likeable heroine, the house itself is genuinely creepy, and the whole thing has a deliciously lurid context to it, as the film was directed by adult filmmaker Armand Weston.  Contrived and familiar? Sure. But still a lot of fun to watch.

   THE NESTING was part of that whole supernatural shocker craze permeating the late 70's and early 80's, especially after the success of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR in 1979.  I'm glad I finally gave in and watched it, and really enjoyed this one for what it was, and although I wouldn't go as far to say I discovered a lost classic here, I've seen far worse and I'll definitely be adding this blu-ray to my collection. Indeed.

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