If it’s Halloween season, it’s time to revisit old “friends” like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers.
The unholy trinity of slasher movie characters gets a close-up each October. And it’s understandable. For better or worse each is a part of pop culture, not to mention the horror movie genre.
That certainly holds true for Jigsaw, the serial killer from the blood-drenched “Saw” franchise. That saga returns this Halloween with “Jigsaw,” an attempt to bring the series corpse back from the dead.
Only not all horror franchises are created equal. Here are four film series which don’t deserve a fraction of the buzz they routinely receive.
“Friday the 13th”
Say what you will about the “Halloween” franchise. No matter how bad it gets, the story began with an iconic horror classic. John Carpenter’s 1978 original is a stunner, then and now. It hasn’t aged a second, even if Jamie Lee Curtis’ wardrobe has.
The “Friday” series, by comparison, epitomizes some of the worst traits of ’80s era Hollywood. Indifferent acting. A parade of directors who don’t share an artistic vision to speak of. And a story which makes precious little sense.
Worst of all? The first film in the series is good only as seen through nostalgia-covered glasses.
Yes, Jason’s signature hockey mask is a bravura touch. Otherwise? This depressing franchise is for gore hounds only.
We’ve already seen three films in this hardcore franchise. We’re still waiting for a good installment, let alone a great one. The concept behind the series is intriguing. What if all the laws were swept aside for one day each year, letting citizens purge themselves of their worst instincts?
We’re on board, so far. Only the three “Purge” films have been mediocre at best. The most recent chapter, “Purge: Election Night,” devolved into some ugly attacks on faith.
The first “Scream” film arrived just when we needed it. The film skewered not just a group of attractive students but horror tropes as well. It was smart, satisfying … and the narrative ran out of steam in the final moments. The sequels offered up diminishing returns, with flickers of wit keeping things interesting. Barely. It’s still a better concept than franchise, and the constant praise heaped upon the series isn’t justified.
The 2004 original caught the culture by surprise. It also kick-started the happily brief “torture porn” genre. Yet the saga went on … and on … until the series felt like the most inevitable, and desperate, Halloween tradition.
That first installment gave the saga its cache. So did actor Tobin Bell, a truly haunting premise in the series. Only keeping his character part of the story long after his demise proved just one of the franchise’s recurring problems.
Can “Jigsaw” rediscover the original film’s sense of mayhem? We’ll see soon enough.