Monday, December 8, 2008

Betsy Palmer Does Fantasmo

Just received word from Jim Blanton of Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion, the Chesapeake Central Library heroes keeping the area safe for free, hard-R genre screenings in public buildings. In January, they will be running a double feature of Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part 2, the enormous hit that captured America's heart by answering some of nagging questions left open at the end of the original, while raising some tantalizing enigmas of its own. Anyway, turns out its Jason in Part 2 (as is also the case in 3-4,6-X, and Freddy vs. Jason, which was far more entertaining than Kramer vs. Kramer and far less entertaining than Ali vs. Frazier).

The exciting bonus feature for this event will be a live phone interview with Betsy Palmer, who in her quest to shoot a few days on a low budget slasher film to finance a used car, wound up stealing the movie with her inspired and deranged performance as Jason's mom. It was either Betsy Palmer for Friday the 13th or Sissy Spacek for Coal Miner's Daughter who won the Academy Award for Best Actress that year, I forget which. The last time I saw a phone interview at Fantasmo, I had the pleasure of listening to insightful, hilarious internet film scholar and Seagology expert Vern offer detailed analysis of the themes in Steven Seagal's filmic canon through one of those voice changers you saw in Scream.

This is perhaps an important local event for anybody who needs a cathartic requiem for the Friday the 13th series. In February, the franchise will undergo the most dire fate any horror movie can go through, having an unneccesary remake produced by Michael Bay. I don't have the same affection for Friday the 13th as some of the other movies Bay has already ruined such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I honestly don't see how his ultrahack touch can improve these early entries, which bear their own cheap, handmade charm. Trivia-wise, I believe the first two Fridays are the only ones not to feature a hockey mask, which is apparently all over the remake.

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