Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baghead,Conversations, and Jason Voorhees

John, I LOVED Baghead! I often give small-budget films a handicap of sorts when I analyze them- you have to view them more for potential and solid ideas than the actual quality of the film. But Baghead stands really well on its own as an example of a film that knows its limits and tells a unique story within them. And a "horror" story at that! I thought it was very impressive.

Brandon, I've only seen Smiles of a Summer Night from your '55 list- but it was a real winner. I appreciated seeing the lighter side of Bergman. It makes me respect him that much more.

Sorry I couldn't make it to the Dryden in your stead the other night, John. Amy had to work late so Ethan was at his aunt's. To a man who has 5 children, need I say more? Couple time is a rare and precious commodity. Short notice, unfortunately, doesn't work so well for me these days. It's been quite an adjustment in the year and a half I've been married... But the offer stands. Find something good and give a fair amount of notice, and you're welcome to stay. And as your host, the first round of beers afterwards is on me. How can you refuse an offer like that?

I finally watched Friday the 13th: part 2 last night. I'd seen the first several years ago, and parts 3 through 9 more recently, but was missing this crucial second installment. It's surprisingly good. It may be the second FtT film, but it's the first Jason film. He's an unknown quantity here: he's got no hockey mask, and his lack of gloves reveals two very normal-looking human hands. He's less sure of himself, and waits and watches through the trees more. We get to see the hovel he lives in, and we can almost imagine him, in a more quiet and reflective moment, staring out the window watching the wind rustle the leaves in the trees, or sitting in a chair, picking meat off the bones of some wild animal he's captured for his supper.

The scene at the end where Ginny puts on Mrs. Voorhee's sweater and momentarily confuses Jason is really quite beautifully done. We only see Jason pause before killing a few times throughout the series, and it's in these pauses that we can see glimpses of his former humanity- and that his motivations may not be as simple and straightforward as we'd like to believe. It's a telling moment, and one that leaves the door open, if only a crack, for the audience to sympathize with his character. The world took away from him the only one who truly cared for him. Why shouldn't the world pay?

I used to think that part three was my favorite- the combination of the cheesy 3-D stylized cinematography and, of course, the birth of Jason proper, mask and all. Really, it's the beginning of Jason, the cultural icon. But this first sequel stands apart in the FtT canon- he's no longer the helpless drowning child of part one. But he is also not the fully realized supernatural superhuman killing machine that exacts his revenge on all who would defile his territory.

Like Britney Spears, Jason in Friday the Thirteenth, part 2 is not a girl, and not yet a woman. All he needs is time, a moment that is his, while he's in between.

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