CLASSIC HORROR: FRIDAY THE 13TH
Only a year away from its 40th anniversary, the Friday the 13th franchise stands alongside other film series like Halloween, Evil Dead, and Child’s Play as a classic, acquiring unwatchable sequels, a considerable cult following, a surefire reboot and a killer whose powers are irritatingly vague. But what is it about this hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding star that sets him apart from the roster of synonymous slashers that almost seem to be the same character?
If there’s one thing to be said about the Friday the 13th franchise, it’s that its main character never stays the same. While contributing to the plot’s convolution over the course of the series, Jason’s changes are partially responsible for what helps shape his overall character. He goes from a muddy lake-child in the series kickoff to a space villain in Jason X over the course of nearly forty years. This is partially due to the constantly shifting property and studio rights, writing, and direction changes and the need for something new to invigorate the next chapter.
His changes in wardrobe are almost constant; he goes from his first actual appearance in Part II, wearing a feed-bag mask, to the classic hockey look and ultimately turning to a metallic, space-age fit that looks like it belongs to a different series entirely. Things across the series change up a bit beyond outfits, though. There are almost no constant characters outside of the killer (who even changes up from time to time) constantly leading the audience to a misunderstanding of what’s happening. The only thing that’s constantly original is the violence, which never seems to disappoint in any of the movies.
The problem with a constantly evolving character is the set around him trying to evolve at the same rate. The concept of a summer-camp slasher doesn’t exactly carry well over the decades, but sequels still need to be made. The first bit of convolution comes at the end of the first movie with one of the greatest plot twists of the 1980s with the death of Jason’s mother and Jason’s first appearance as a child out of the lake. He then goes on in the sequel as a fully-grown man--taking place mere months after the first film--killing the happy camp counselors of Crystal Lake once again. It becomes even harder to understand as the series carries on after Jason is miraculously resurrected from multiple deaths and even changes personalities (i.e. Roy Burns, who pretended to be Jason in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning). Things like this ultimately kill the character and make the plot-lines even laughable for the following audiences.
While plot and story-development may not be the franchise’s strong suit, creative brutality is what seems to be constantly bringing people back. From people being stabbed through beds to being staked to doors to being thrown down flights of stairs in a wheelchair, the series never fails to deliver in violence. The writers and set designers continually find new ways to kill teenagers in the franchise, even going so far as to making Jason X (a space adventure that’s arguably the worst film in the franchise) a copy of the Ridley Scott classic, Alien. Comical, but creative.
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Overall, the Friday-franchise is a campy, facetious series of films that draws in the viewer through nostalgia, mainstream pop-culture, and the classic cheesiness of the 80s that made it as unwatchably watchable as it is. If you’re a viewer looking for serious scares and unsettlement, look elsewhere; Friday the 13th is a classic revisited for the laughs and a silly 80s funk that never fails to deliver in an age that’s so stuck to billion-dollar budgets and special effects so real, you can’t separate them from reality. It’s nice to know that these films are still around to keep us grounded in a world where horror has become too real and too watered down.
Consider the following:
Is this "art"? The general consensus for this question isn't clear.
Everybody loves memes. However, they're not always given the honor of being considered art. For some, that distinction is reserved for more traditional forms of creative expression such as painting, sculpting, literature, cinema and the like. On the other hand, some are open to recognizing more contemporary art forms like video games. It's entirely subjective.
I asked our staff to weigh in on the discussion. Here's what they had to say:
Should memes be considered art? Why or why not?
"Memes should be considered art because they convey meaning through the use of visual stimuli and they normally contain things that are universally relatable and human. Some art conveys sadness, some frustration, and some exists for the sake of existing, and I can find a meme to represent each of these concepts." – Katherine Kaczmarski
"Yes. Memes are a creative outlet for whoever makes them. Whilst they aren’t traditional in a modern art sense, they still follow the theme of art." – Hannah Skinner
"This is simple, art imitates life. Therefore, when we see memes that highlight humanity and therefore imitates life, it is 100% art. This can also be turned around in saying that memes are also life." – Madison Wakefield
"Memes should definitely be considered art. They're made to invoke emotion, which is pretty much the sole purpose of art." – Davis White
"Memes should be considered art! This topic has been on the art world radar and is discussed quite frequently. I believe that we are entering a new age of Dadaism/Surrealism through these memes." – Hannah Rivers
As you can see, the consensus among our staff is pretty clear: memes are absolutely art. And now that we've settled that, feel free to submit your best (original) memes to The Chronicle for a chance to be featured in our next magazine! I happily await them.
XAVIER CHARLOT- BLOG EDITOR
“La Haine” is a film about life at the bottom of the socioeconomic totem pole. The story goes as such: In a neighborhood of impoverished housing projects on the outskirts of Paris, riots broke out the previous night in response to the vicious beating and hospitalization of a neighborhood resident by police officers. Our protagonists—a trio of friends named Saïd, Vinz and Hubert—spend the following day bouncing around different locales in the neighborhood, observing the aftermath of the riots as well as engaging in their usual shenanigans.
Through each protagonist, we are shown a different mindset held by people living a lower-class life. Vinz leans towards aggression and violence; he participated in the riots and yearns for the chance to violently resist the system. Hubert, on the other hand, wants to put his past of criminal activity behind him; he wants to escape the projects and live in peace. These two are often at odds as Vinz tries to escalate things and cause conflict while Hubert tries to reign him in.
Saïd doesn’t much care for either side; he prefers to go with the flow. For example, he objected to participating in the riots, not because he thought it was morally wrong, but because they interrupted a drug sale he was trying to make. Saïd is often tasked with keeping his two friends from fighting each other. He epitomizes a repeating theme of the film: “so far, so good”, the idea that people in the projects are just biding their time until disaster eventually strikes.
All three main characters are done fantastically. They each have a lot of depth. When they clash over their differences, they play off each other in such a way that each perspective is explored thoroughly. The actors do a great job bringing them to life, displaying a wide range of emotions and coming off as completely authentic. Most importantly, you can tell that, at the heart of all their interactions, there is an unbreakable bond of friendship. They’ve always got each other’s backs. Even at their lowest points, you can still tell that they care very much for one another.
Another area in which the film shines is its ability to completely immerse you in the setting. The trio’s adventures take them all around the neighborhood and beyond, giving you a large scope of the environment. This point is well exemplified in one of my favorite scenes: A DJ is blaring music out of his fourth-story window for the whole neighborhood to hear. The song is a remix of 90’s American hip hop and the classic French song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf. The camera slowly retreats from the window and pans downward to the residents below, giving a bird’s-eye view. Children are running around playing on the playground. Then the camera rises, showing a vast array of drab, uniform apartment buildings stretching across the horizon. This scene truly made me feel like I was there.
This movie made me feel a lot of different things: joy, laughter, sorrow, anger, and every possible combination therein. I’ve watched it several times and each time, I’ve found something new to appreciate about it. It’s truly a masterpiece in my eyes and I think everybody should see it.
XAVIER CHARLOT- BLOG EDITOR