The next flailing attempt at a “Friday the 13th” reboot looks to be a decidedly family affair. It will offer a look at the Voorhees clan before the name became synonymous with a serial killer who seems to have the same moral convictions of a fire-and-brimstone preacher, butchering teenagers who engage in premarital sex and do the devil’s drugs.
The franchise tries to revive the stinking corpse of Jason Voorhees in 2009— this time without lightning—by making him some sort of survivalist weirdo with a secret underground tunnel system to capture women who look like his mommy dearest. Basically, he was your typical Donald Trump supporter.
Next year’s “Friday The 13th” will reportedly include not just the famed and eventually beheaded Pamela Voorhees, but Jason’s never-before-seen papa will be along for the ride this time. The franchise could be on its way down the disastrous rabbit hole that the “Halloween” franchise tumbled down a decade ago, when Rob Zombie took pains to explain exactly why Michael Myers became evil. Michael’s mom was an exotic dancer with a heart of gold, his step dad was an alcoholic monster, and his older sister, Judith, was so awful to her little brother that you didn’t really care that he murders her in an exceedingly sad and horribly realistic scene.
Michael’s evil, in the original movies, was barely touched upon. For that, we should be ever grateful, however bad the movies were. Evil exists. It’s here. There’s nothing we can do about it. No one’s going to a slasher flick to better understand the moral failings of humanity, and how it creates evil people doing evil deeds.
I’ve spent a humiliating number of hours watching “Friday the 13th” movies, so excuse me while I push these glasses up the bridge of my nose and suggest a few ways to make the next installment something less than horrible.
Indulge in nostalgia:
Don’t make this movie for today’s 15-year-olds. Make them for the 15-year-olds of 1986. People watch 80s’ horror movies, not for the high art, but for the memories. We want to feel nostalgic. Don’t listen to anyone who says they want something new in this movie. They don’t.
Pour on the 80s’ garbage. Shoehorn popular 80s’ music into every scene that doesn’t take place during Jason’s childhood, which would presumably be sometime in the 1950s.
Get pop culture references into the film. Have the brainy teenager make a crack about Ronald Reagan or Walter Mondale.
And please, remember the following: everyone was ugly in the 80s. Hairstyles were an atrocity, clothing could often be considered a crime against humanity, and no one was a cut-up gym freak with a rippling eight pack and Pecs that could serve as a bulletproof vest. Everyone was weak and spindly in the 80s’. The 2009 Friday film was bursting with hard bodies. Stop that. Make everyone ugly as hell in the 2017 flick and you’ll be true to the era.
Don’t be sad:
Horror flicks today are oppressively realistic. The kills are horrendous and crushingly sad. I don’t want to be emotionally devastated while I’m half drunk (read: hammered) and watching a movie about a kid who emerged from Crystal Lake like a water zombie and proceeded to do the bidding of the Religious Right. Make the kills fun.
Take a page from the otherwise inferior “Nightmare on Elm Street” series and don’t take yourself so seriously. Be irreverent. Make people laugh like idiots while someone’s life ends on screen. But don’t make me feel like I’m watching an ISIS hostage tape starring a hulking maniac wearing a hockey mask. I’m begging you.
Side note: if you must do some explaining of why Jason grows up to be some sort of devil in the woods, don’t use abusive parents as a crutch. Don’t make Mr. Voorhees a hopeless alcoholic, beating up on his subservient wife and cognitively impaired son. Just writing that turns my stomach. Make the kids the reason Jason becomes the reaper for camp counselors years later. Make them awful. Have them call Jason names, have them kick and punch him and degrade him in various ways. Make them irredeemable. When their flesh opens and their guts spill, we can smile a guiltless smile.
Try not to be misogynistic monsters:
I know this might be an impossible request since horror movie writers’ rooms are the adult equivalent of No Girls Allowed tree houses, but I think it’s possible to create a script that doesn’t denigrate women at every turn. Create a hypersexual female character who isn’t shamed by anyone and maybe—just maybe—is the final survivor of Jason’s inevitable massacre. “Friday The 13th” movies are brimming with weak, stupid, female characters—with a couple exceptions—and big, brawny men who know what’s best. Let’s have a kick-ass woman character whose sexual conquests don’t put her in mortal danger. Let’s turn down the misogyny from 11 to, oh, somewhere around zero.