What Do All Part 5's in Horror Series Have in Common?
Five days ago a few friends and I went to the locally-deemed “ghettoplex” movie theater near my campus to check out the latest installment in the Saw series. To sum up my review as usual, for being the fifth installment it wasn’t a bad movie. While the first hour was cursed with late-installment cliches (bad acting/one-liners) the last half hour near-fully redeemed itself. My main problem was that like Saw 2, the film detracted from how the torture devices were structured - they weren’t individually based, but communal. Something about having a group of characters in a house and embarking on a journey towards new Jigsaw technologies just didn’t do it for me, and the same thing happened in Saw 5. Five individuals go through another house (or warehouse I should say) and have to deal with the traps as a group. My opinion is that its just creepier when its one or two people trying to overcome the circumstances. And it only works with two people when its a battle to the death (e.g. opening scene in Saw 4). Regardless, the movie didn’t fair out as horribly as one might think. So I ask myself, “Why is this?” Part one of this article will go through the other “fifth films” in horror franchises leading to part two's conclusions and theories.
First up we have...
I group the movies comprising Friday the 13th into three groups. I deem one through three as The Same Cakes since they’re pretty much all the same movie, yet with different “frosting.” Four through six I deem The Farley’s since theyre all continuations of story lines involving a boy named Tommy (yes, i know its a clever name). And seven through ten I deem as The Leftovers since they’re just a bunch of random attempts to redeem the series, and just like leftover food they get worse through time.
Friday the 13th part five is where Tommy is granted leave from a mental institution on the basis that he must enter a halfway house. Regretfully Corey Feldman doesn’t completely reprise his role, but he does make a great cameo in the introduction. Although I haven’t seen this film in about two years, looking back at wikipedia’s plot summary does make me appreciate the movie. First off, it has a Scream-type of quality in that Jason is a real person for the majority of the film. Secondly, this film kicks off the “new” Jason through the incarnation of Jason’s spirit into Tommy’s body. Yet the killer known as Jason is never reassigned the new alias of Tommy - which could have been kind of cute.
What’s the point? Well, Friday the 13th V involves a new person adopting the Jason persona and thats pretty rad.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 - The Dream Child
I tried developing some sort of categorical system to group these films into, but its clear that the goal of producer Robert Shayne was to find anybody from the previous installments that was willing to be in another sequel. As I’m writing this I realize I need to rewatch this film so I will do that before I go on.
Damn, I had completely forgotten how much I enjoyed number five. This is one of the greatest late-term sequels of any horror series. That comic book sequence, man that is some badass shit! And for some reason I always vividly remember the scene when Alice’s friend arrives at the mental institution, having been scared to death of it when I was around twelve years old. Why this movie has a 4.6 on imdb is beyond me, though I’ll easily attribute it to being like a good wine that gets better with age. And how about the inclusion of some M.C. Escher inspired set pieces?! Damn! And by the way, this fact ain't on imdb so please check the website for my soon-to-be-infamous addition to Nightmare on Elm Street 5 trivia! For anyone who wants an autograph of mine leave your address in the comment sections.
Anyway, the movie involves Alice from the previous Nightmare movie (I don’t have the slightest clue what it was about) having just graduated high school, getting pregnant sometime before this. She starts having nightmares about the child, naming him Jacob after encountering a child in her dreams who is actually the creepy looking kid Dr. Grant scares in Jurassic Park. Side note: it must suck to be a child who’s sole acting quality is to look like an adolescent serial killer. And holy shit, even if you think the movie sucks stay tuned in for the credits playing a great song by Doctor Ice entitled Word Up Doc! Back to the movie though, bottom line Freddy is defeated, yet she has a kid who could be cursed with Freddy’s spirit...
What’s the point? Well, the potential for a new Freddy reincarnated into Alice’s baby seems to be the next move.
Halloween 6 - The Curse of Michael Meyers
I know what you’re thinking, Halloween six is not number five. Well no shit sherlock, but Halloween three has absolutely nothing to do with Michael Meyers so the true Halloween five is actually The Curse of Michael Meyers.
First off, there is something about this movie that is truly amazing. I have yet to see the producer’s cut, but I am willing to marry any woman who buys it for me off ebay. Supposedly it makes sense! That’s the problem with six, you feel like it could be more coherent but its just terribly assembled.
The basic premise is that Tommy, from the first Halloween, has returned and is now sporting a pretty advanced spy system in order to monitor the Meyer's house. This is along with developing an in depth research project dedicated to finding the origin of the Meyer’s curse. This whole movie is like an extremely bloody episode of Dawson’s Creek considering all of the drama and plot twists. There is suddenly a new mysterious insignia on Michael, the man in black is revealed as Dr. Wynn from the FIRST movie, and so on. Regretfully though, the ending sucks.
But hey, wikipedia thankfully has the alternate ending synopsis which makes me want to see it all the more so. And what do we find out?! That Michael originally ditched his outfit and adopts the clothing of the Man in Black!
What’s the point? Well, Micheal has gone through a transformation.
So let me recap
Friday the 13th pt. 5: Tommy becomes new Jason
A Nightmare on Elm Street pt. 5: Baby could be new Freddy
Halloween pt. 5: Micheal adopts a new persona
and Saw 5?
Officer Mark Hoffman is the new Jigsaw!
Conclusion: Number fives in horror series all seem to introduce new killers. But...the fun doesn’t end there and in part two of this research project I’ll theorize as to why this is. Check back!