Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Friday the 13th: The Lost Tales of Camp Blood

Hey gang. Quick question. What do you know about Friday the 13th? Now I am sure most of you know about the undead, mongoloid hillbilly, Jason Vorhees but what do you know of Crystal Lake? For more than 3 decades we have stories linked directly to this small body of water and the Jason murders but did Jason just start right after Part 1? Many writers that love the slasher subgenre speculated since they went with him witnessing his mommy's death, that he just roamed the forest, living off vegetation and animals but what about any witnesses to his existence?

In 2009, Paramount Productions released the 8 films of the franchise on what they called the Ultimate Collection with statistics on the victims, body count, whether the kids were getting drunk, high or just sexing it up, trivia facts and even weapons used. What interested me overall of this set was a series of short stories and links to the original source material. This is Lost Tales from Camp Blood.

This chiropractor is very hands on.

Starting as a special feature, these stories are all based around the news clippings referenced around all the latter films giving an air of eerie to this region of the country...when logically the townsfolk should just move and get the Ghostfinders in to exorcise the hell out of that lake. These tales of dread are suppose to happen prior to the second or possibly the third film but the clothes, sets, haircuts really don't reflect that well enough. Harry Manfreni's theme and original scores are heard throughout the six-part story arc and the film looks like it was shot on Hi-Def camcorder. The Cannon XLH1 mini 35 with the Optar Super-Speed Prime Lenses giving it almost 35mm look translated from HDV. So for the sake of everyone's sanity let's put this around th 7th film, The New Blood so Telekinetic Tina can have a business moving furniture.

Bleh, no more whiskey shots and darts again!

Our first part of the series is simply a couple sleeping peacefully in a cabin around the region only to get visited by a be-jumpsuited psycho that disembowels them and just wanders out of said home. Not a lot of dialogue needed written there aside from, "Is someone there?" "Billy, what was that noise?" and popular trope "This isn't funny". Our horrific assailant's face is never shown and kept in the shadows but exhibits terrifying amounts of almost supernatural strength. Hmm, Michael Myers perhaps? Nah, that would mean having to leave Illinois/California. Our second story catches right up with the previous the next morning with blood spatters all over the walls and puddles of the victims' fluids drained into the carpet. Camp Counselors Sarah and Eric try calling Mark and Amy but no answer. They're dead tired, kids. Yeah I slapped myself for the bad joke.

Naturally since the car was McGuffined, we have to go hiking to Mark and Amy's place. That's just common sense. No need to backtrack down the road you were driving from, hit a gas station, get the car towed and looked at. Nosirree. That's just crazy talk! Hell I was just stunned California still had payphones. Our actors play the parts and offer a decent performance of the type cast cookie cutter personifications of humans because...well that is all they are usually given in a slasher flick. Quality production from blocking to practical FX. Well done from cast and crew.

The theme continues the anthology of the Killer chasing after the Survivor story that has been in the slasher subgenre since it was conceived. I think the slight drawback to this is you can pretty much predict when the Killer will strike and it does throw off your viewing a bit but if you just allow yourself to view it as though you have never seen a slasher flick then you will enjoy it.

Your six-parter got so much love from the fan base that Ceperley cut it as a full-length short film in case you didn't want the original Paramount special edition collection with the two pairs of 3-D glasses (Screw your other friends and family I guess) and detailed 8 page booklet explaining nuances about the films.

Written and directed by Andrew Ceperley (known primarly as a cinematographer and visual effects supervisor for Football Is a Way of Life: The Making of Varsity Blues, Villains of Star Trek, Bing Crosby Christmas Crooner, The Crystal Lake Massacre Revisted and Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy) puts him in the path as a research nut for Horror and makes him a prime candidate to directing short stories of Jason's mayhem. An amusing bit of trivia here. Principal photography was in a canyon above Pasadena California but most of it was shot in Palo Verdes and then to Redono Beach for the practical makeup FX shots.

It's bloody, no ridiculous amounts of jiggly girl nudity and really meshes well with the Vorhees mythos establishing kills the locals don't even know about...presumably Jason discards their collective clothes and hides the vehicles they travel in. Like a one man Wrong Turn super mutant inbred hillbilly. Sorry Wrong Turn, but Jason is the original undead mongoloid hillbilly.

Miss, you dropped your keys a mile back.