Archive for AWESOME-tober-fest 2012

AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Topps’ Jason vs Leatherface comic book (1995)

Posted in comic books, Friday the 13th, Halloween, holiday, Jason Vorhees, Leatherface, movies, pop culture, Texas Chainsaw Massacre with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by Paxton

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In 1993, Topps acquired the Friday the 13th comic book license. Their first release was a comic adaptation of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Then, in 1995, Topps released a crossover comic called Jason vs Leatherface.

JvL 01

The three issue miniseries featured the first meeting between Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The book was written by Nancy Collins and drawn by Jeff Butler.

JvL 02 JvL 03

The story is a little weird, as is how this comic is supposed to fit into the established chronology of either series. The story begins with Jason chained to the bottom of Crystal Lake where he was left after Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.  Jason is liberated by someone dredging the lake with the intent to drain it and build a corporate headquarters.  The lake has been polluted with toxic waste by the company so the lake water is collected in giant steel containers and shipped by train to some disposal facility.  However, en route, Jason escapes, gets off the train and starts killing people.  He meets up with one of the members of the chainsaw family and is taken back to their house.  At the house he joins the family for dinner and becomes friends with Leatherface.  It’s a dysfunctional good time, but as always happens, there’s a disagreement, then a misunderstanding and so Jason and Leatherface actually fight.  Jason winds up leaving and returning to Crystal Lake.

J v L

Like I said, it’s an odd story.  And, also like I said, it doesn’t fit continuity.  Since Jason begins this comic where he ended up at the end of Jason Lives, then the story should take place in the 90s.  However, two of the family members Jason meets in Texas are “Hitchhiker” and “Cook”.  The character “Hitchhiker” died in the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre which takes place in the 70s.  The “Cook” character dies in the second Texas Chainsaw Massacre which happened in the 80s.  Neither family member should have been alive when this comic happened.  Another problem involves a flashback to Jason’s childhood.  We see his father, Elias, who has only been mentioned in the Part VI novelization.  We see Elias beat Jason and then Jason’s mother kills Elias to protect the child.  That’s fine, I guess, but Elias calls Jason’s mother Doris for some reason when her name has been established since the first movie in 1980 as PAMELA.  Weird.  But I guess that just goes to prove that this is a horror “Elseworlds” tale.

I enjoyed this comic.  The art was over the top and funny.  Perfect for the story.  The covers are really good, as you can see.  It’s definitely a fun, interesting read.  Give it a shot, but be prepared, because it’s a little on the goofy and weird side.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives by Simon Hawke (1986)

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Paxton

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Today, we are going to look at a novelization for one of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th franchise, Part VI: Jason Lives.

F13 VI: jason lives

This novelization was written by Simon Hawke and published during the original release of the movie in 1986. Hawke would go on to write novelizations of the first three Friday the 13th movies in 1987 and 1988.  Hawke’s novelization of Part III would be the second novelization for that film.  I reviewed both novelizations in yesterday’s article.  And I don’t know about you, but that book cover is AWFUL.  I don’t know why they didn’t just use the awesome poster for the movie.

Jason Lives poster
This would have been a much better book cover.

This particular novelization, like many of the other F13 and Nightmare books, has become very hard to find.  Again, I want to thank my friend Jason for loaning me them for the purpose of this review.

This novelization is a very good adaptation of the movie.  Not much new in so far as cut scenes.  However, what Hawke does here that he would carry over into his novelizations of Parts I-III is to go into the heads of not only the main characters, but also Jason himself.  There are many passages in which Jason questions his undying existence and wonders about his constant blood lust.  It makes the story more interesting and adds an extra depth to the mute Jason.  These inner monologues are used to fill in backstories for many of the other characters as well like Sheriff Garris and Tommy Jarvis.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Review of two Friday the 13th Part 3 novelizations

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by Paxton

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And so continues our second week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2012.  Last week was Norman Bates/Psycho week.  This week is Jason Vorhees/Friday the 13th week.  Let’s start off this week with TWO novelizations written for the same movie; Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D.

Yes, there were two novelizations written for Friday the 13th Part 3.  The first was by Michael Avallone and published the same year as the movie’s release in 1982. This particular novelization was the first published for any of the Jason movies.

F13 Pt 3

Right away, the cover for this novelization is pretty awesome.  First of all, the hockey mask isn’t the standard Jason mask.  However, Jason didn’t actually get the mask until Part 3, so the Jason hockey mask was not the iconic symbol when this book was published that it is today.  Also, I love that they included the 3-D moniker in the title.  Like the book is actually written in 3-D (IT SHOULD TOTALLY BE WRITTEN IN 3-D!!!).

For most of the book, the story sticks pretty close to the movie.  A few deviations here and there, nothing really to mention.  However, that is, until the end.  This novelization is interesting in that it features an alternate ending from the one used in the actual movie.  In this ending, Chris, who is in the canoe in the lake, hears her boyfriend’s voice back at the lake house.  She gets out of the lake and runs back up to the house and opens the door only to have Jason decapitate her.  This is vastly different than the “it was all a nightmare” ending that was actually used.

This novelization would go out of print and become fairly hard to find until Paramount decided to publish Friday the 13th novelizations for the release of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Fangoria magazines featuring Jason Voorhees

Posted in Friday the 13th, Jason Vorhees, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by Paxton

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I was a big fan of Fangoria in the mid-to-late 80s. I still have most of my issues I bought back in the day.  So I went into the archives here at the Cavalcade HDQ and found issues of Fangoria that featured the movie maniacs I’m talking about this month.  I was able to find issues featuring all of them.  So, today, I’m looking at Fangoria #68 from 1987.  It featured a cover story about Jason Voorhees.

Fangoria #68 cover

This is also the issue which featured the movie maniac beach party comic strip I posted on Day 1 of AWESOME-tober-fest.

The Jason cover story is an investigative interview with the actors who portrayed Jason in the first six installments of the Friday the 13th franchise.  It’s called The Six Faces of Jason and features some cool behind the scenes pics of the making of the franchise up to that point.

Here are the first 4 pages of the article.  You can click these images to see them BIGGER on Flickr.

Six Faces of Jason 1 Six Faces of Jason 2

Six Faces of Jason 3 Six Faces of Jason 4

Unfortunately, this is a two part article so they only cover the first three movies in this issue.  I assume Parts 4-6 are covered in the next issue, which I don’t have.

The actors interviewed in this particular issue are:
1. Ari Lehman who played the child Jason in the original Friday the 13th.
2. Warrington Gillette who played the unmasked Jason at the end of Part 2.  However, this article doesn’t mention that Steve Daskewisz played “bag head” Jason throughout the rest of the movie.
3. Richard Brooker who played the first Jason to get the hockey mask in Part III.

Presumably, in the second part of this article in the next issue, they would interview:
4. Ted White who played Jason in The Final Chapter.
5. Tom Morga who played Jason in a hallucination in Part 5.
6. CJ Graham who played Jason in Jason Lives.

The most famous Jason, Kane Hodder, wasn’t a part of this article because he didn’t play Jason until 1988’s Part VII: The New Blood.  The article is an interesting look back at the previous movies and gives small insight into actor experiences and casting.  One piece of trivia I learned from this article was that only one of these six men were offered the chance to play Jason a second time.  And he refused.   The article in this issue didn’t mention who specifically, so I have to assume it’s one of the last three guys.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Gus Van Sant’s Psycho remake (1998)

Posted in Alfred Hitchock, movies, Norman Bates, pop culture, Psycho, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2012 by Paxton

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In 1998, Gus Van Sant set out to film a remake of Hitchcock’s classsic, Psycho. Van Sant used a shooting script from the original movie which included notes from Hitchcock himself.

Psycho remake

I saw this remake when it hit video for the first time. Being a huge fan of the original, of course, I was set to not like it from the beginning. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t hate it, it just felt superfluous. Like why even bother? So I filed it away and really never thought of it again.

So now that I’ve decided to have this Psycho week, I decided to rewatch this remake (as well as the original). I still feel the same. Even more so after watching this right after the original. Why bother, Van Sant? It’s so close to the original there is literally NO NEED to watch this movie. Sure, Julianne Moore tries to bring a little different to the Crane sister character and Vince Vaughn definitely plays Bates a little different, but not enough to warrant watching this. Anne Heche does NOTHING different with Marion Crane which makes her performance even less.  You not only get nothing new out of this you are also watching an almost literal copy of the dialogue and scenes from the 1960 original.  SO WHY NOT JUST WATCH THE ORIGINAL?

Like I said, I don’t hate this remake. It just makes me sad.  It has to be one of the most useless movies ever made.  When Van Sant was asked why he did it, he just said that he did it so no one else would have to.  NO ONE ELSE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF DOING IT, DUDE.  He must have been high off his big 1997 hit Good Will Hunting and thought he was invincible.  Apparently not.

Here’s the trailer:

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Bates Motel TV movie (1987)

Posted in 80s, Alfred Hitchock, movies, pop culture, Psycho, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2012 by Paxton

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In 1987, Universal commissioned a 2 hour television movie called Bates Motel as a spin-off of Psycho.

Bates Motel TV series

The TV movie was also a “backdoor pilot” for a possible television series. However, the ratings were so low that Universal scrapped the idea of the ongoing TV series.

The plot of the movie was about a mentally disturbed youth, Alex West, who is committed to an asylum for murdering his step father. While inside, Alex befriends a rehabilitated Norman Bates. They remain friends for 20 years and after Bates’ death, Alex discovers that he has inherited Bates Motel, which has been vacant since Bates’ arrest many, many years ago. With the help of a teenage runaway, Willie, Alex attempts to reopen the Motel.  Shortly before opening, the occupants experience several strange occurances which leads Alex to wonder if the hotel is haunted by Norma Bates.

The show starred Bud Cort as the adult Alex West.  It also starred Lori Petty as the teen runaway, Willie. Other stars include Jason Bateman and Robert Picardo. Anthony Perkins did not return to play Norman Bates for this movie. Bates was instead played by Kurt Paul who was Perkins’ stunt double in Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV.

Perkins was upset with this series as it interferred with the timeline of Perkins’ Psycho III movie from the previous year.  Psycho III was about Bates after he was released from the asylum while the TV series said Bates died while still inside.

Bates Motel NEW

Like I said, the show received dismal ratings and was scrapped.  However, Universal recently announced that they have changed their minds. There will be a brand new TV series called Bates Motel. It will star Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates and feature the formative years of a young Norman Bates and how his mother shaped and molded Norman into the man he would become in Hitchcock’s classic movie.  This TV series is coming due to Universal’s happiness with the big screen movie Hitchcock starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the titular director.  The movie is about all the behind the scenes machinations in getting Psycho made back in 1960.  I personally am looking forward to both of these projects.

The 1987 Bates Motel movie was never officially released on DVD in the US.  But you can watch the show in it’s entirety on YouTube.

Here are the first three parts (of ten) of Bates Motel:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Psycho by Robert Bloch (1959)

Posted in Alfred Hitchock, movies, pop culture, Psycho with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by Paxton

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Robert Bloch’s seminal thriller, Psycho, was published in 1959. While viewed as dime store schlock at the time, Alfred Hitchcock recognized the great story within and bought up the movie rights as well as however many copies of the book he could find so no one could read it.

Psycho hardback Psycho by Robert Bloch

While Hitchcock’s movie based on the book would become a smash hit and essentially begin the slasher genre, the book itself would mostly become lost in the shuffle.  I am a huge fan of Hitchcock.  I am also a huge fan of Hitchcock’s Psycho.  Particularly the performance by Anthony Perkins.  He is so Mayberry, boy next door in the beginning and then switches to bat sh*t crazy in a heartbeat.  Psycho is such a great movie and I love it so much that I’m surprised I’d never gone back to read Bloch’s original novel.  So I did.

I was surprised how faithful in story the movie was to this book.  The story is essentially the same, Mary Crane (Marion in the movie) steals $4,000 from her boss to help pay her boyfriend’s debts and travels to see him.  She gets detoured along the way at the Bates Motel.  Mary meets Norman Bates and spends the night at the hotel.  When she essentially disappears for a week, Mary’s sister travels to see her boyfriend and they both go looking for her.  A private detective shows up as well, all asking questions of Norman Bates.  What actually happened and who is to blame?

Honestly, like I said the story beats are the same.  The main differences involve Norman Bates himself.  The book makes him the focus.  The book begins with a discussion between Bates and his mother Norma.  We see the abuse she piles on top of him.  It’s almost uncomfortable.  We don’t meet Mary until the end of Chapter 1, beginning of Chapter 2.  In the movie, we begin with the Mary character (or Marion).  I like that this book fleshes out the inner workings of Bates’ mind.  We come to understand how he reasons and what happens when he becomes “mother”.  Reading it this way, you see the signs much earlier that there is something wrong with Bates.

Not only is Bates more the focus in the novel, his appearance is completely different.  In the novel he’s short, overweight, balding and wears glasses.  This is the polar opposite of Anthony Perkins who is tall and lanky.  I like Hitchcock’s choice of the unassuming “boy next door”.  Casting to the description in the book would have just screamed, “this guy is creepy”.  Perkins does a great job of hiding the creepy until the very end.

Norman Bates

Before I read, I was concerned this book was going to be too slow and noir-y.  I tend to think a lot of Hitchcock and that he elevated a lot of the material he brought to the screen.  So I was essentially thinking this book would be a boring schlocky crapfest that Hitchcock recognized the potential of and molded it into the classic movie we now have.  I was wrong.  This book is well written, moves along very swiftly and wraps up nicely at the end.  The building blocks of the movie were there, Hitchcock really only had to change a few things and add a few classic visuals (like the shower scene) to get his movie.  I should read the book The Birds was based on to see if it’s as good.

Psycho II Psycho House

Bloch would write two sequels to Psycho. Psycho II would be published in 1982 and the third book in the trilogy, Psycho House, would be published in 1990.  Neither of the book sequels were adapted into the movie sequels.  Psycho II the novel would follow Norman Bates as he escapes from the mental institution and travels to Hollywood to visit the set of the movie based on the original Bates Motel murders.  Psycho House would see the Bates Motel become a tourist attraction in which murders begin happening again.

The second book sounds a little bit like Scream 3.  I wonder if Psycho II the book is where Kevin Williamson got his inspiration for that movie.  It sounds pretty good and I can see why Hollywood didn’t want to make that movie.  Psycho House also sounds familiar.  Maybe Halloween Resurrection or even Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2?  Considering how much I enjoyed the first book, I’ll definitely read these sequels.

But those are tales for another Halloween…

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