Horror History

Daily Horror History: ‘Braindead’ Comes Home; ‘Friday the 13th’ Opens on its Namesake

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A guy walks into a room full of zombies carrying a push mower with the blade facing out. This guy–you’re gonna love this–he walks into the throng of zombies with that mower on and the blade spinning and man, he just chews them up into a slippery shower of blood that has to be seen to be believed. He makes it all the way across the room, and I know, you think this is where the joke ends, but actually…heh heh… actually he turns around to see he’s not even half-finished!

Braindead, aka Dead Alive, is the ultimate “splatstick” movie (apologies to Evil Dead 2; I still love you baby, I swear). This is a movie where a martial artist / man of the cloth “sweeps the leg” in the most comedically brutal (and well-choreographed!) way possible before punting a zombie’s head into the night sky. It’s a movie with the aforementioned lawnmower scene, which is partly interrupted so we can see the upper half of a zombie’s head get kitchen blendered into soup. It’s insane. I’m not really even a “gorehound” but I still find it an unbelievably impressive display. It’s a thoroughly disgusting, very well-made, sometimes creepy, more often humorous full tilt indulgence.

Peter Jackson’s brilliant slice of hyper-violence opened in its native New Zealand on August 13th, 1992.

Ten years prior, Friday the 13th Part III became the first movie in the series to actually open on a Friday the 13th, along with being the first movie in the series in which Jason Voorhees dons his signature hockey mask.

It’s also probably the best of the early 80’s 3D horror flicks, a low bar to clear to be sure, but another notch in its belt to go along with being the highest grossing sequel in the original series (no, I’m not counting Freddy vs. Jason as canonical).

The final sequel in the original series–and one of the lowest grossing movie to bear any relation to the series whatsoever–was also released on August 13th; 1993’s Jason Goes to Hell. 

More remembered these days for Jason-hunter Creighton Duke, possibly the film’s lone bright spot save for the infamous cameo at the very, very end, Jason Goes to Hell is one of the least regarded Friday movies. I mean for one thing, Craig is nowhere to be found and with each new movie it becomes apparent how much Smokey is missed and… wait (checks notes)… wrong Friday series. Although now I wouldn’t mind seeing the franchises mashed together; Jason vs. Deebo & Big Worm couldn’t be any worse than Jason Takes Manhattan.