My Horror Confession

Friday the 13th image

@TigersMS78 opens up a can of worms with his horror confession…

From a young age I loved horror. Films, books, games or whatever it may have been but if it was horror you name it, I loved it. I still remember when I was about 10 or 11 years old, getting a book through the school book club that was an anthology horror book called Creepy Creatures that had stories in it that I still remember today. As I got older and like all horror fans, I watched the classic films Halloween, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Exorcist and the like. All these films are quite rightly lauded as touchstone moments in horror cinema, however there is one film series that gets a lot of praise but despite this praise and absolute all-consuming fanboy & fangirl LOVE that this film and its subsequent sequels get, I can’t get into or even remotely like it.

This is my confession: I hate the Friday the 13th films.

I know I should probably hand in my horror badge at the desk and keep right on walking, I get it. I understand it’s loved and even revered in some cases. I absolutely love some films that others would class as terrible but in the cold light of day with even the slightest analytical thought I can categorically say that to me, every Friday The 13th film is just plain bad, not OK, or average but bad. From the 1980s original through to the most recent reboot, there is not a good film in amongst that lot. Now I am sure I can already hear the chorus of ‘C’mon they aren’t that bad’ – sorry fans but yes, they are.

A lot of people credit this film along with Halloween for being the beginning of the slasher craze and whilst some of that maybe somewhat accurate, the methods used were certainly not new. Going back to 1960 with Peeping Tom used the killer’s P.O.V as a device which well pre-dates both Halloween and Friday the 13th. The mother as the killer was a well-worn device and was clearly an inverted riff on Psycho.

I think my biggest issue with the Friday the 13th films aside from the direction, acting and writing is that people treat the film like it’s the Citizen Kane of slasher films yet it is wildly inferior to its closest competitor Halloween. The Friday the 13th series has the dubious honour of commercialising horror films to its detriment. From the get go Sean S. Cunningham wanted the kids in the films to look like they were from a Pepsi commercial – so it began there, now there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit but the original film seemed to be a bunch of terrible scenes, featuring good looking kids spaced around some (and the films best part and only saving grace) graphic kills. Having good looking things maimed and killed does not a storyline make, yet the sequels all followed this format, just occasionally in different locations. The film gets credited as being often imitated, which is interesting because of those films that ‘imitated’ Friday the 13th just how many of them were actually good? One percent? Maybe.

Now with the knowledge that yet another film is on the way, can anyone truly say they actually expect it to be any good? Is a mediocre Friday the 13th film now the acceptable median? It appears so. The 2009 reboot was mediocre at best and was reviewed thusly. Yes it makes money but these films traditionally do regardless of quality but if you consider glancing briefly at history it points you to the fact that unless there is a change somewhere or the studio is willing to take a chance then nothing will be different and mediocre is all that you will get.

Yes I acknowledge the film and its many, many terrible sequels do have their place in horror lore and that yes, Jason Voorhees is indeed an iconic villain despite his own origin making absolutely no sense in the context of the first film. Of course in writing this, I am sure the question will be raised – Does this guy actually like horror films? Writing this I even asked myself – But the answer is and always will be hell yes. As laid out in my opening lines – I love horror and always will – but I believe that the Friday the 13th series should not be fervently slobbered over slasher pinnacle that many people would have you believe.

Agree or disagree? Hit the comments section!

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

Twitter: @TigersMS78


Leave a Reply

Up ↑