Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ki Ki Ki...Ma Ma Ma...

You know you're from the eighties when you automatically check the movie listings every Friday the 13th.

Buck superstitions, bad luck days happen on any given day as do good ones. Throughout my teens, Friday the 13th ended up being the day I was on the phone or knocking on doors gathering buddies to go catch the latest red doings of ol' Hockeyhead Jason Voorhees. Each film we'd go to (at least until most of the guys grew up by the seventh film, unlike me), we'd act like hooligans in the theater and later come out both bitching and cheering. Was there enough blood this time around? Enough nudity? Were the chicks hot? Was Jason moving fast or slow? Was the ending lame as usual?

The answer to the latter query was always an affirmative, for the record. Lord, did those films know how to queef. Only the original Friday the 13th from 1980 ended spectacularly and really, how do you even attempt to outdo the double entendre of a beheading and then a subsequent ghoul attack from underwater? The bar was set and the Friday franchise, no matter how many films they've done since, never got their scaly nails within reach of that bar. I'm convinced Sean S. Cunningham and his crews weren't even interested in trying.

Really, though, we're talking about Friday the 13th. These aren't films for the intellectual horror buff. You go to The Shining or The Serpent and the Rainbow if you want to think on top of having your spine pricked. The blueprint for the Friday series is so brain dead any hack can come to it so long as they abide by the rules: fill the cast with attractive though pitiless cannon fodder, get half of them nekked, don't show Jason for a few frames but hint he's lurking about, then let him loose and rip 'em all apart. One or two get to survive, usually a boy-girl pairing (and the only two who didn't have sex together or toke up, of course) and they kick Jason's tail so he can take a powder until the next flick. No caveats needed. Follow and obey, just like the Friday the 13th reboot film did to a tee a couple years ago and will assuredly repeat the same method on its reported "sequel remake." Only thing differentiating the new Friday is that the sex is far more gratuitous and convincing. How many young male actors begged their agents to submit their profiles for the upcoming Friday the 13th Part 2 (redux, natch)?

Criminey, can you imagine if they try and reach the same number in remakes as the original series did? Today's generation can mark their calendars as Friday film day like we Gen X'ers did. On the other hand, if we have to stomach Jason tearing up New York City and outer space a second time...

There's a reason those folks in Blairstown, New Jersey are difficult to corner in convo about Friday the 13th. I know by experience having been on assignment there and at Camp No-Be-Bos-Co. It was amazing I found a couple of townies who would talk outside of the cheerful camp administrator, but they didn't have much to offer other than Voorhees was a common name throughout Jersey. I guess when your burg is affiliated with all that crimson slop and teen poon, you don't have much you care to talk about. Truly, I'm positive their kids don't go around whispering ki ki ki...ma ma ma at each other up there. The repercussions are no doubt worse than anything Jason can dish out.

Luckily I lived in a place where we did it all the time (especially at girls who thought we were dumb and pretended to be scared just to amuse themselves) and we smile about it today. There's hardly a Norman Rockwell feelgood ethos behind Friday the 13th, but you take your happy pills wherever they're still stashed.

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