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The A - Zed of Things : Friday the 13th Movie Franchise

I know what you're thinking: "Lili, you've only done 'A' - this is an 'F'." I'm fully aware of this, minions. However, Friday the 13th (the day) doesn't come around all that often, so one must be flexible when these things arise. Besides, there was going to be an F eventually anyway!

The movie franchise of Friday the 13th is remarkable. Not because the movies themselves are some of the best movies ever made, but because of the pop cultural inroads it helped to create for the horror genre - specifically for slasher films. The franchise alone has 12 total movies, a score of comics, novellas, video games, too much merchandise to even list and there were even a couple of documentaries made about it. Not bad for a franchise based on a movie that started its life as a bloodier, more violent "roller coaster ride" than the Halloween franchise it was trying to take on. The franchise also led to the creation of many copycat, cheesy, over-the-top slasher flicks, like Nightmare on Elm Street, Hatchet, Slumber Party Massacre, and Sleepaway Camp, just to name a few.

But its influence hasn't been limited to horror cinema. Friday the 13th movies have become so ingrained in our popular culture that the date Friday the 13th has become a pseudo-holiday. Seriously, minions, you can't go on social media on normal days without seeing some Jason reference, let alone on Friday the 13th. He's EVERYWHERE - and so are repeats of the movies on cable TV.

Let's face it: the movie franchise has not only made Jason Voorhees into a household name, but into a cinematic legend. For better or worse, Jason has become the ultimate supernatural killing machine, only surpassed in revenue by the Halloween franchise and Michael Myers. Though personally, I think Jason is more popular with fans than Michael. (I would love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments.) One reason I think I'm correct in saying this is that when you type "Jason" into Google, Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th movies come up on most of the first page. When you Google "Michael," Micahel Myers is NOWHERE to be found on the first page. Hmm, does that mean we are all on a first name basis with a supernatural serial killer? And if so is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I suppose it's all right as long as we aren't 20-somethings having sex in the woods, near a lake, at camp, in Manhattan, or in outer space.

Here's something else that was crossing my mind when I was thinking about Jason Voorhees (tell me what you think): I was thinking that Jason Voorhees is so stuck in our pop culture subconscious that even television writers have based characters loosely on him. Case in point: The Walking Dead's "Beta" character. He could be Jason's apocalyptic brother, minus the never-speaking and being supernatural. But can you see where I'm getting this idea?

Of course, there are so many other pop culture references, too many to list. Even the films' music has slipped into the popular consciousness.: We all know the music that plays when Jason appears in the films or is about to. I bet it just popped into your head. Ch Ch Ch Ah Ah Ah. But I've got news for you: that's incorrect. I know, I know. You're thinking I'm wrong, but I'm not. It's actually: ki ki ki ma ma ma. Henry Manfredini actually created this sound based on the phrase:  "Kill her, mommy" from a scene from the movie. He was inspired to create it by the music that was always played when Jaws showed up in a scene to build anticipation and anxiety.

If the Friday the 13th movie franchise is so incredibly popular you may be wondering why there haven't been more movies since 2009, especially now, since 2020 is the franchise's 40th anniversary. It's certainly NOT because the franchise doesn't turn a profit. Nope, it's strictly due to BS legal issues concerning the rights to the franchise. This legal battle is between Victor Miller, who wrote the screenplay for the original Jason film, and its producer, Sean S. Cunningham. Miller invoked a loophole of the U.S. copyright law that allows the original author of a written work the right to revoke a copyright agreement, even 35 years after it was originally agreed to. Cunningham argued that Miller's script was per a work-for-hire agreement and therefore belongs to Miller's employer, Cunningham's Horror, Inc. Miller won the case at one point, and, of course, Cunningham appealed. Rumours say by June of this year the case will have a final decision. Until then, deviants, it looks like a landmark opportunity for a 40th anniversary movie is in the toilet. I guess we fans will just have to wait and see how things shake out.

In the meantime, we have 12 nudity filled, action-packed, blood-soaked, machete-laden Jason adventures we can binge anytime of the year. For more in depth otaku info with dates and everything, Wikipedia has it all. Cheese out to your heart's content!

If you're interested in even more Friday the 13th (the day) goodness, I have a delectable interview with John D. LeMay of Friday the 13th: The Series (you can also catch him in Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday), as well as a post about the origins of the fear of Friday the 13th.

Well, minions, be careful out there today. You never know when Jason Voorhees might sneak up behind you. Oh, that's right: you will know because of ki ki ki ma ma ma (NOT ch ch ch ah ah ah)!