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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fifty Years of PSYCHO

WARNING: this article assumes the reader has seen PSYCHO and therefore it contains spoilers. If you have not seen PSYCHO, where the fuck have you been for the last five decades? Living under a rock in the tiny republic of Togo? See it immediately, damn you!

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Alfred Hitchcock’s landmark film, PSYCHO, one of the all-time classics of horror and suspense, and the film that can arguably be considered the granddaddy of the “slasher” genre. Can you believe it? Fifty years! When I told my mom about that, she couldn’t believe it had been so long since she’d seen it during its original run, and she once again regaled me with the tale of how after seeing that movie, she refused to shower in the house unless another person was around.

To me, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time when PSYCHO wasn’t around. I’m forty-five years old and during my lifetime PSYCHO has gone on to become a part of world cinema’s DNA and has been a point of reference and jokes more times than I can possibly count, such was its impact. Yet somehow there are still people out there who have managed to reach adulthood without having seen it, and one of those people is my toothsome girlfriend, "She Who Cannot Be Named." Having devoted much of her growing-up years to being a diligent student (unlike me, who loathed virtually every moment of my organized schooling), She Who Cannot Be Named has missed innumerable classic (and not-so-classic) films that you or I would take it as a given that the average person would have experienced, so you can imagine how I’m champing at the bit to fill her head with a literal cornucopia of cinema from all genres and decades. With that goal in mind, when I heard that Manhattan’s Film Forum was running a screening of PSYCHO in honor of its golden anniversary, I fairly leapt at the chance to finally see it projected and haul She Who Cannot Be Named along.

Once I’d procured tickets, I made sure to advise She Who Cannot Be Named about not letting anyone spoil any of the film’s particulars for her, and things were going well in that department until one of her grad school courses ran footage from the sequence where Norman sinks Marian Crane’s car into the marsh behind the Bates Motel. When She Who Cannot Be Named told me that she’d seen that bit, I was a little annoyed but not as much as I could have been because when taken out of context that scene reveals nothing. Also, when the segment was about to be discussed in class, one of her classmates was kind enough to stand up and announce to the class that out of kindness to those who had never seen PSYCHO, they should keep mum on the details of the story. That was very gentlemanly of him, but I soon reached a state of apoplexy when She Who Cannot Be Named told me that right after that guy’s consideration of the few PSYCHO newbies in the class, some galloping asshat stated flat-out that Norman was the killer. When She Who Cannot Be Named told me that during our pre-screening dinner, I nearly hit the roof.

Undaunted, we made our way to the Film Forum and met up with my pal Suzi. As the girls hit the ladies’ room, I stood up and asked the audience if there was anyone in attendance that had not yet seen the film, and when a few hands shot ceilingward, I asked the audience not to give anything away. They all nodded in knowing agreement, and when the girls got back I settled in and absorbed PSYCHO on the (relatively) big screen for the first time. (I have seen the film many, many times since the late 1970’s and know it inside and out, but I was genuinely excited to see it projected and with an eager audience.)

If you’ve read this far despite the spoiler warning, then it’s safe to assume that you’ve already seen the movie, so I won’t bother to recount the plot. Instead, I’ll just make some observations.
  • PSYCHO hit the screen barely three years after the real-life horrors discovered at the Wisconsin home of one Ed Gein, so that brain-meltingly awful event was still fresh in the shocked and disbelieving minds of the American public, thus lending the film an extra visceral mule kick to the guts.
Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for Norman Bates (among others), being led to the crime lab.

For those not in the know (and making a very long, complex and downright fucking horrible story short), Ed Gein was the textbook example of the town "quiet soul" that everyone knew and thought was a little odd but harmless, only to have it revealed that he was not only bullmoose crazy, but also capable of acts of such outright stomach-churning blackness that even hardened homicide detectives found his acts literally nauseating. Among other elements lifted from the Gein case for author Robert Bloch's source novel of PSYCHO can be found a grown man's very serious mother issues, questionable hobbies and handicrafts, and a marked gender-confusion, so the moviegoing audience no doubt remembered those details as they watched Hitchcock's creepy low-budget flick unspool across the nation.
  • The sheer genius of letting us get to know and care about Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) only to kill her off about a third of the way through the narrative is still staggering and must have been a real kick in the head to the 1960 audience.
And think about this: fifty years later, Marion Crane is still the most famous murder victim in screen history.
  • Though he's creepy from the moment when we meet him, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is so awkward and childlike, we find it easy to believe he's not the killer.
Instead, it seems like he's covering for his crazy mother, so the big reveal in the fruit cellar leaves one gobsmacked, a feeling that's compounded when Norman's pathology is outlined in detail during the epilogue.
  • My favorite scary moment in the film is when Arbogast (Martin Balsam) is murdered on the stairway while snooping at the Bates house.
The shower sequence is rightly hailed as a classic, but there's something so BANG! about when Arbogast is slashed across the face and sent tumbling off-balance, backwards, down the stairs, arms flailing, only to have "Mrs. Bates" land atop him and go to work with that chef's knife. Marion was naked and in a shower, so she had pretty much no chance to defend herself, but Arbogast might have had a chance had he not been expecting to be able to nose about in the home of a presumed invalid, so the audience really feels it when he meets his grim fate. When that moment came, I could have sworn my girlfriend jumped out of her skin.
  • The legacy of PSYCHO is vast and the funny thing is that its sequels are actually pretty good, unlike the majority of proper slasher flick sequels. Especially of interest are PSYCHO II (1983), which chronicles what happens when Norman is released after having spent twenty-two years in a mental institution, and PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING, in which Norman relates his disturbing origin story. Both are well worth checking out.
  • In recent years a number of classic films containing creepy and visceral material have been given ratings for their current releases on DVD, and PSYCHO has been slapped with an "R." The same rating has been applied to ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) and considering the admittedly arbitrary criteria by which the MPAA determines what does or does not deserve a "restricted" label, I find it baffling that both films now bear that distinction. There's more "adult" material in ROSEMARY'S BABY, but nothing that would not garner a PG-13 were it to come out today, and other than the two murders, neither of which is gory, there is no content in PSYCHO that deserves any rating harder than a PG. And I'm willing to bet that the ratings on the DVDs serve no purpose anyway, because both are acknowledged classics and have both been run on non-cable television for ages in versions that were damned near uncut, so I very much doubt that any garden variety ten-year-old would be denied their purchase.
And with that I wish PSYCHO a happy 50th and urge you to watch it again, simply to be reminded of how they just don't make 'em like they used to.
Poster from the 1960 theatrical release.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Once the excellent KUNG FU PANDA made its way to DVD, the film's creators saw fit to supplement it with an additional disc featuring the motivational origin stories of the Furious Five. Now I don't know about your own personal experience with straight-to-video sequels and add-ons to hit animated flicks, but I can tell you that the vast majority of them — mostly from the Disney greed machine — are pieces of shit designed to rip off parents who buy them at the behest of their kids, a cruelly-exploited audience whose critical capacity is satisfied by bright colors, bouncy tunes and familiar characters. These cynical "product" features are well aware of this and little if any effort is put into actually creating a story of any worth, and in my opinion it's downright criminal to give children a story that isn't worthy of their dreams and imaginations. Apparently the people behind KUNG FU PANDA feel the same way I do, because the supplementary DVD that comes with the source movie is nearly every bit as involving and magical as the original.

At some unspecified time after the events of the first film, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) enlists "Dragon Warrior" hero Po (Jack Black) for a mission of utmost hardship: instructing a class of very young beginner kung fu students, each of whom is an adorable little bunny. Having not even the slightest clue about teaching the martial arts, Po is somewhat daunted by his task and the class' foaming-at-the-mouth desire to learn all there is to know about kicking ass, but once he's gotten the kids to settle down he appeals to their interest by detailing the hitherto unrevealed origin stories of his martial seniors, the Furious Five. Once he's got their attention, Po imparts the value of patience, confidence, courage, control and compassion to his charges, and they absolutely get what he's laying down. The back-stories of Viper, Mantis, Crane, Tigress and Monkey each have their merits — although, to be frank, Monkey's is by far the weakest — and having studied martial arts much of it really spoke to me, and in the cases of Viper and Tigress I was actually moved to tears.

SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE is simply excellent, and at a running time of around a half hour it's a model of storytelling economy that holds the viewer riveted from start to finish. But while it's short and sweet, the brevity only left me wanting more; there was so much going on here that I feel it could have gone on for another hour and still retained its high level of quality, but maybe the filmmakers knew exactly what they were doing and are stoking the fires of anticipation for the first of several big-screen sequels. If they can keep up the quality established in the first film and continued here I will be very happy indeed, so I just hope the KUNG FU PANDA franchise doesn't end up crashing and burning like the horrendous SHREK sequels. Let's keep our fingers crossed.


After churning out mostly mediocre or rubbish animated films for years (SHARK TALE, the SHREK sequels, MADAGASCAR, BEE MOVIE), Dreamworks finally manages to release a piece that gets everything right from start to finish. It's apparent from the film's opening frame that a lot of care and thought went into the making of the delightful KUNG FU PANDA, and while the story is certainly nothing new — especially to those of us who live and breathe martial arts flicks — it tells a familiar tale with a great deal of heart, enthusiasm, and respect for the viewer's intelligence while completely eschewing the anachronistic and largely inappropriate pop culture jokes that worked in the first SHREK and nowhere else since.

Po (voiced by Jack Black) is the fat son of a noodle chef who, though being groomed to take over the family business, has dreams of one day becoming a great kung fu master and hero of the people, but while quite game and enthusiastic, he's lazy, clumsy, and has no martial skills whatsoever. This unlikely wannabe gets his shot at glory when the prophesied escape of the villainous and incredibly skilled Tai Lung (DEADWOOD's Ian McShane) looms imminent and a martial arts master must be named as the sacred Dragon Warrior in order to handle the threat. Po, quite by accident, finds himself awarded the vaunted title, much to the horror and dismay of the diminutive Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and his balls-out badassed students, the Furious Five, each representing an embodiment of a classical animal-based kung fu style (specifically tiger, mantis, crane, snake, and monkey). All are dumbfounded that a fat load like Po could be the Dragon Warrior and all are at first determined to make sure that he gives up and leaves the temple, but they didn't expect Po's genuine love of what they do to fuel him to give it his best shot. While he's pretty much a washout, Po's girth and enjoyment of his training work to his advantage and Master Shifu figures out just how to motivate his unwanted new student to greatness, all while his adopted daughter, Master Tigress (Angelina Jolie), seethes at the role that should have gone to her being usurped by one she feels is completely unworthy. As Tai Lung approaches and Po leaves the temple to accompany his father as the local villagers evacuate before the coming martial apocalypse, the Furious Five advance to stop him, but are unceremoniously handed their asses in a butt-kicking of painfully disheartening proportions. When Master Shifu, no slouch himself, proves unable to defeat Tai Lung — who, by the way, is also his adoptive child, one in whom he is deeply disappointed because he turned to evil — , Po returns to save the day after reaching a philosophical epiphany unwittingly provided by his noodle chef dad, providing the ages-old lesson of "believe in yourself, and you can achieve miracles" for a new generation of moviegoing little ones.

I would have had a great time with KUNG FU PANDA even had I not been a devotee to the martial arts, so I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fun "hero's journey" or training film, as well as advising lovers of quality animation to see this on the big screen, if it pops up again, in order to get the full effect of its visual grandeur. As for the individual points of note:
  • The one element of the film that I feared would make or break the film turned out to be quite praiseworthy, namely Jack Black's voice acting. I loved Black in the excellent SCHOOL OF ROCK, but find him mostly annoying in just about everything else he's been in because his approach to comedy often strikes me like he's both trying too hard and is attempting to convince everyone watching that he's as funny as he thinks he is. This time, though, he gives a genuine performance that is full of heart and charm, and the viewer definitely comes to love and root for his character.
  • Dustin Hoffman was the last person I would have expected to be able to pull of playing that mainstay of kung fu movies, the seasoned master, but he's absolutely perfect as Shifu, a character whose triumphant martial abilities are reflected in Tai Lung's misuse of his teachings, and Master Tigress' feelings of resentment at being passed over as the Dragon Warrior. Shifu conveys a weary exasperation and sadness seldom seen in a character of this type, and I find him much more interesting than many of the master types found in the literally hundreds of martial arts films that I've seen. He's no Simon Yuen, or even Keye Luke for that matter, but he's nonetheless terrific.
  • And speaking of terrific master types, Randall Duk Kim's ancient Master Oogway is the finest of this breed since Yoda first showed up in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980), before his mystery and wonder were flushed down the toilet in the cinematic Montezuma's Revenge that was STAR WARS: EPISODES I-III. This centered, contemplative figure is a tortoise whose every slow movement conveys both his advanced age and now effortless mastery of his art, as well as his wisdom and connection with the natural world around him. He's even Shifu's master, and Shifu defers to his decree when Oogway pronounces Po to be the Dragon Warrior; Shifu has his doubts about that, but in the end Oogway is proven right beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Shifu and Master Oogway.

Truly beautiful in every way, I wish Oogway had more screen time.
  • The Furious Five are a load of fun and a formidable group of warriors if ever I saw some. Viper (a perfectly cast Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Crane (David Cross), Monkey (Jackie Chan), and especially Tigress (Angelina Jolie) are a joy to watch, and I demand to see more of them in the inevitable sequel. That goes most strongly for Jackie Chan's Monkey, a brilliant bit of casting that unfortunately went nowhere because the character has perhaps five lines of dialog.
  • Don't skip the end credits because they are a triumph or design and amusing character art vignettes, as well as having a sweet, silent coda at the very end.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Crazy. Just plain balls-out crazy. That's about the only way to describe the sheer insanity and wholesale carnage on display in Jo Beom-jin's AACHI & SSIPAK, a South Korean exercise in unbridled animated mayhem and humorous bad taste. I saw a free screening of it in Tribeca last night and I'm completely blown away.

At an unspecified point in the future, the only renewable energy resource is human excrement, so the government anally implants citizens with an identity ring that takes note of when they drop a deuce, and the citizen's contribution to the fuel supply is rewarded with a narcotic Juicy Bar, an addictive taste treat that looks like a popsicle made from Windex. Unfortunately, a side-effect of Juicy Bars is that they can turn those who eat them into borderline-retarded blue mutants who can now only metabolize Juicy Bars for nourishment, and when the government cuts off distribution of the bars to the mutants, they band together under the leadership of the Diaper King and ravage armed Juicy Bar shipments as the ultra-violent Diaper Gang. In the aptly-named Shit City, Juicy Bars are abundant, so the gang has plenty to plunder.

Highway robbery: the Diaper Gang hijacks a shipment of Juicy Bars.

But the government isn't having that, so their resident very mad scientist, Dr. Strange, creates Geko, an inhumanly agile, motorbike-riding super-cyborg who's equipped with enough ordnance to overthrow a small country. Geko regularly annihilates droves of the Diapers, but their numbers seem limitless so his fight goes on and on.

Geko, the cybernetic one-man army, in action.

Into this maelstrom of violence ride the diminutive Aachi and his bald, shirtless friend, Ssipak, two biker punks who make a living by hanging around public lavatories and ripping off Juicy Bars from citizens while they're still on the bowl and selling the bars on the lucrative black market. After getting beaten up by prison-based gangsters whose territory they've horned in on, the pair find Jimmy the Freak, a flamboyant pornographer who's making an "artistic" film about a girl whose anus saves the world (don't ask), and the two get him Carlos Castaneda-level fucked-up on Juicy Bars in order to remote control his body and wreak vengeance upon the the crime boss whose boys had earlier assaulted them and made off with their ill-gotten loot. As the Diaper Gang also zeroes in on the crime boss and his Juicy Bar ring, all hell breaks loose, landing Jimmy in the clutches of the Diaper King, while the boys meet Beautiful, an avaricious porn actress who sought the lead in Jimmy's new film (and turned up her nose at his anally-oriented film concept, instead suggesting he focus on her world-saving tits).

Beautiful makes her pitch.

During the Juicy Bar-spurred madness, Jimmy explains to the Diaper King that all he needs to do to get all the Juicy Bars he and his people need is to find someone who takes exceptional dumps and implant them with several of those anal identification rings. In theory that would cause a decent dump to yield vast amounts of the bars, so Jimmy points the Diaper Gang in the direction of the perfect subject, namely Beautiful. Once kidnapped by the gang, Beautiful is unwillingly stuffed with the identity rings, only to be rescued in the nick of time by our heroes (at the insistence of the smitten Ssipak).

Beautiful, getting anally stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, just as our heroes arrive to literally save her ass.

With Beautiful now amounting to the goose that laid the golden eggs, the trio turn her defacatory yield into an avalanche of Juicy Bars ready for black market distribution and in no time the crew find themselves Tony Montana-level wealthy, which allows them to live out their dreams of tacky opulence.

Our newly rich heroes, stylin' and profilin'.

But such a state of affairs was not meant to last and the forces of the government, the Diaper Gang and the utterly mad Dr. Strange each converge to claim Beautiful (who has plans of her own for her cash cow ass) and shut down the crew's operation. While a cornucopia of mayhem and violence erupts from every conceivable direction, it's a race against time to save Beautiful from a horrid existence of rectal slavery as Aachi and Ssapik must simultaneously contend with the legion of Diaper Gang mutants, the guns-a-blazin' fury of Geko, evil government officials, and some special threats dreamed up by the psycho doctor.

The battle for Beautiful.

AACHI & SSIPAK is a delirious, beautifully-designed and colorful head-on collision of a NATIONAL LAMPOON sensibility, a HEAVY METAL-style anarchic and dystopian future, and the kind of wild sci-fi fun to be found in 2000 AD magazine during its classic period. It's also a real treat for film buffs because it references and pays homage to many of the films that it was influenced by, but, unlike a Quentin Tarantino crib-fest like KILL BILL VOL. 1, it never becomes a feature-length checklist of the filmmaker's sources.

Beautiful borrows a page from Uma Thurman during the film's "wealth" montage.

By far the best and most entertaining Asian animated movie I've seen in ages, I cannot recommend this highly enough for those of a mind to check it out. The only problem with doing so is that AACHI & SSIPAK is not yet legally available on DVD here in the States, obtainable only via "gray market" DVD if you know where to look, and on YouTube. At last night's screening, the show's host stated that the film is supposedly slated for legitimate release on DVD next year, so keep your eyes open. Until then, go here for the first fourteen minutes of the film. You will NOT be disappointed, so make sure to watch this as large as possible. (I would have embedded it, but embedding of this material was disabled by request.)

Aachi, shamelessly grooving on the profits garnered from Beautiful's bountiful turds.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

FRIDAY THE 13th (2009)

Here we go again...

It's funny, but just by existing this reboot of the quintessential slasher movie series is automatically far superior to its predecessors, but that's not really saying much.

The never-ending FRIDAY THE 13TH series had its occasional moments, but overall the lot of them were amateurishly made, substituted mostly-tepid gore for actual scares, starred no one of note — unless you count Corey Feldman, so that alone speaks for itself — and repeated almost the exact same "story" in each of its installments, so there was no reason to expect a series relaunch to vary the tried-and-true formula in any significant way. Not surprisingly, the filmmakers did not alter the template that much, but the film does offer a greater degree of cinematic competence than any previous FRIDAY THE 13TH flick, so at least that's a start. But even with that in mind, a FRIDAY THE 13TH movie is more or less review-proof since those who dig them will see them anyway, no matter how much the critics may warn them off, but any film reviewer (or fan, for that matter) who goes to one of these expecting Kurosawa is a fucking idiot.

Since its inception in the summer of 1980, the FRIDAY THE 13TH template has gone a little something like this: a pack of horny/drunk teenagers go to the secluded woodland site of Camp Crystal Lake for a number of perfunctory reasons, always resulting in their gory deaths at the hands of unkillable, silent and murderous juggernaut in a hockey mask Jason Voorhees (or in the case of the first movie, his insane mother). Other than the possible involvement of local yokels, hick cops, cheesy 3-D effects, an outer space setting or Freddy Kreuger, that's all you need to know. It's the classic campfire story about a mad slasher and his escalating body count brought to the screen ad infinitum, so here are the pertinent facts about the new version:
  • If you've seen even one FRIDAY THE 13TH movie, you've pretty much seen 'em all, and that goes for the new one too.
  • Shockingly, filmmakers who are capable of more than merely aiming the lens at some actors are behind the camera, so this counts as the best-made and best-looking FRIDAY entry by a landslide.
  • The cast of unknowns acquit themselves quite well for this kind of thing, especially Travis Van Winkle as Trent, a rich-kid asshole of incredible magnitude. It's not a hard role to pull off, but Van Winkle renders Trent an asshole's asshole and I salute him for it.
Travis Van Winkle, delivering a tour de assholism performance as the loathsome Trent.
  • A couple of the obligatory topless girls in the film sport what are among the most incredibly fake tits I've ever seen, but luckily there's the stunning Julianna Guill as Bree on hand, who rocks a set of the most mouth-watering all-natural dairies it has ever been my considerable pleasure to behold. Needless to say, she gets horribly murdered.
Julinna Guill loses that annoying top. I know her jubblies might look slightly too gravity-defying here, but when she leans over there is no doubt in my mind as to their all-natural status.
  • The screenwriters took the disparate elements of the first three FRIDAY THE 13TH films and fused the aspects of the Jason legend found in those into a coherent whole, the first time that's been done in the whole run of the series. The shit ain't James Joyce or anything, but it's nice to see Jason's origin solidly codified.
  • In the film's opening flashback that kinda/sorta re-stages the ending of the 1980 original film, Jason's mother is firmly convinced that Jason had drowned thanks to counselor negligence, hence her murderous rampage in his name. That's all well and good, but once she's decapitated by the sole surviving camp counselor, we see a young and clearly living Jason living feral on the campgrounds. Whaaa???
  • When we see Jason again as an adult, he's a hulking and silent grownup who resides on the long-abandoned Crystal Lake campgrounds, living off the land and wearing a bag over his head (a la FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2). The locals all know to leave well enough alone when it comes to Jason's territory, but for some reason there's a hick who lives right next door to Jason and operates some kind of wood-chipping barn where he sells and smokes weed while reading issues of HUSTLER. The weed this guy sells is apparently growing wild in great and potent abundance and not, as some earlier reviewers have noted, because Jason is now a pot-farmer.
  • Legends of that fabulous pot windfall attract five horny teens during the film's first twenty-four minutes, thus providing an excuse for what would have been the events of an entire old school Jason movie to happen before even a half-hour in, so if you choose to give up on it after that you miss nothing (other than Julianna Guill's truly spectacular breasts).
  • The main plot — Ha! — kicks in six months after the massacre of the aforementioned teens and finds the brother of one of them looking for his missing sister. The paths of that guy and another batch of horny teens intersect first at a local general store and later at the rich asshole kid's folks' luxury cabin near Camp Crystal Lake. You do the math.
  • Jason himself remains the implacable killing-machine he always was, but now his abilities as a hunter make sense (there's an impressive kill made in broad daylight involving Jason's apparently Olympic-level archery skills), although he still comes off as rather superhuman at times. After being quite decisively killed, he of course returns at the end to wreak havoc on the story's survivors (like you didn't know that was coming), so I guess he's still some sort of monster. Who knows?
  • The gore is occasionally creative, but sometimes shot in such a way as to render the action visually confusing. And when compared to the film that started it all twenty-nine years ago, the bloodletting in this one is quite tame. Fuck those pussies at the MPAA!!!
  • There is not one single actual scare or an iota of suspense to be found in the entire film, and since this is supposedly a horror film that's a big problem. While a great deal of attention was paid to actually making a well-crafted and briskly-paced FRIDAY THE 13TH MOVIE, they somehow forgot to bring the fright, and no amount of shameless cribbing from THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE can make one overlook that alarming aspect.
  • The version of the film that I saw was the extended "killer cut" on DVD and it's nine minutes longer than its theatrical incarnation, so at a running time of 106 minutes it's almost twenty minutes over-long by my estimation. It's paced well, but there's just not enough going on here to warrant nearly two hours of any viewer's time, not even that of a die-hard Jason groupie.
The DVD's extras are nothing to write home about but the "making of" documentary proves the entire cast and crew were game and totally aware of exactly what movie they were making, treating it as a lark and not taking themselves too seriously. The deleted scenes are best given a miss since they were deleted for a reason, and as a whole I'd say the DVD was merely passable if not for the novelty of actually seeing one of these movies made by people who genuinely set out to make something good and not just another cash-in/"re-imagining." Not that it turned out all that much different from what came before and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and all that, but they certainly get points for not turning out a piece of outright shit.

The last point I'd like to make about this and damned near every other FRIDAY THE 13TH flick is that they are best enjoyed with an audience. Even if the film itself is kinda lame, it can still be enjoyed when seen with people who are easily scared or with moviegoers who are into "audience participation" (aka most inner-city audiences), so in the case of this particular entry I suggest watching it with a roomful of friends and a handy abundance of liquor or illegal pharmaceuticals.