Can we reclaim Friday the 13th (happening yesterday) from its association with horror movies to an association with justice asks Jess Peacock in Religion Dispatches:
Despite its possible roots in Christian lore (the death of Jesus having occurred on a Friday) or the phenomenon of triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13), the happenstance of the thirteenth day of the month falling on a Friday will be forever associated with Jason Voorhees, an icon of cinematic horror first spotted leaping out of Crystal Lake at the conclusion of the 1980 low-budget horror film Friday the 13th.
After thirty-five years and twelve movies (including a journey into space, a battle with fellow ’80s icon Freddy Krueger, and a 2009 remake), the murderous Jason is dyed into the wool of American popular culture, familiar even to those who avoid horror films—and, as I’d argue, can easily be read as something of a crusader for conservative Judeo-Christian morality….
While in most fright films or literature the horror is a result of an inversion of the natural or sacred order (e.g. Dracula’s blood communion, Dr. Frankenstein creating life, etc.), Jason’s role is to preserve that order. In a culture that will only give up its moral judgment when you pry it from its cold dead fingers, the use of conservative religion as a blunt weapon against sex education in public schools, reproductive choice for women and families, or even drug legalization, seems to me to embody that same spirit of death and oppression that the demented killer Jason Voorhees represents.
Read more here
From our son, Matt, who loves horror genre:
I think it’s important to remember that the moralism of slasher movies is being used in the most cynical possible manner. Unlike real Puritanism or other religiously-motivated moralism, it’s purely commercial, purely designed to appeal to the basest human instincts, and the people who made it would be very up-front about that. I’m not sure it actually changes the meaning, but it is interesting to think about: obviously people want to hear these things, often accompanied by fantasizing about or carrying out violence against the people they disagree with/don’t like. Probably better to have that in movies than in real life.
Image: from Friday the 13th retrospective
posted by Ann Fontaine