EDITORIAL // 3 Great 'Friday the 13th' Fan Films you might have missed
Ah, what can I say about Friday the 13th? There are those who believe this franchise is so gravely in need of a cosy pair of slippers and a comfortable armchair it’s unreal. Yet, here we are, a gaggle of insatiable, stalwart fans who keep on coming back for more. Just like the countless Halloween sequels that followed John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece (some not altogether awful), Friday the 13th’s many iterations since Sean S. Cunningham’s 1980 offering have brought a familiar psychopath back to our screens over and again. It’s been nearly a decade, though, since Jason Voorhees paid a visit to a cinema near us, offering one hellscape after another, and slaying every dumb teen that falls into his bloody path. Yup, 2009 was the last time we got to munch our way through a tasty bag of all those predictable slasher film tropes we’ve come to love over our horror-binging years. Cunningham’s original was developed on the back of Carpenter’s success, so I’ll eat my hat if David Gordon Green’s 2018 Halloween doesn’t inspire a revival of our favourite hockey-mask-clad nutcase. The reports of a return are unconfirmed to date, but fingers crossed, huh?
In the meantime, all hope isn’t lost. There’s a plethora of Friday the 13th fan films kicking around out there. I know what you’re thinking. And the answer is no, fan films aren’t just a load of gory trash thrown together by a bunch of self-indulgent, so-called creatives wielding expensive cameras their parents bought them. Sure, the odd few are less than a rewarding experience at best, but most are pretty damn watchable, fan-made efforts that either reboot or reimagine the versatile narratives of well-known titles. If you’ve never dipped your toe in the expansive sea of horror fan films, I suggest that you get on it without delay. In advance: you’re very welcome my friends. To get you started, why don’t you scope out my top three Friday the 13th fan films? Here they are.
Friday the 13th - The Storm
I’ve dropped this one in first for a reason. And that’s because this belter, both written and directed by Joe Patnaud, is totally worthy of a bit of shameless exaltation. Based on some crappy reviews of The Storm, which I’ve been unfortunate enough to stumble across on my intrepid internet travels, a few heathens out there would call my praise highly subjective aggrandizement. Pfft. That’s what I say to them. This stylish neck-snap of a flick is a gleaming example of how raw talent and creativity can be harnessed to produce something monumental with limited resources. I’ve got some semi-professional film-making buddies, and some of the stuff they’ve knocked out over the past few years isn’t a patch on The Storm. Shhh. Don’t tell them I said that.
Friday the 13th – A New Wake
This sexy French beast – written and directed by (and starring) Adam Benichou, Guillaume Benichou and Kilian Fragu – is a showcase of true cinematographic flair. Thanks to my French partner, I wasn’t forced to trawl the net for a version with English subtitles. Phew. The dark and portentously gloomy tone of A New Wake is deliciously horrifying, while the dishy male leads represent an unexpected yet welcome departure from the usual busty babes that get hacked up across the slasher subgenre. Although a hugely entertaining, eight-minute Gothic expedition, this short’s scriptwriting is what holds it back from absolute brilliance. Luckily, the somewhat puzzling story is rescued by a host of yummy shots that, collectively, fall nothing short of a spectacle.
Friday the 13th – Hike to Higgins Haven
Written and directed by Cliff Gouthro, Cory Laffin and Colin Capstick, Hike to Higgins Haven is undoubtedly the most basic of the three films. “What’s it doing here then?” you ask. Well, this romp in a sandbox that belongs to others – as the creators call it – is more than just a toothless tribute to the franchise, but rather an articulate and credible labour of love. A shiny feat of cinematographic prowess this definitely ain’t, but this gruesome contribution is so fricking…erm…Jasony that I want to marry it and have its babies. And don’t even get me started on the lovably goofy, Hitchcockian, Psycho-esque score. Just watch it – you’ll see what I mean.
And there you have it. Three of the best Friday the 13th shorts you’ll find anywhere. There are plenty more, but you’ll have to discover those yourself. Come on - I can’t be expected to do everything for you, can I? Happy viewing peeps.
Check out more from contributing writer Steven Allison at www.writerfox.co.uk/blog