When Does a Horror Icon Start to Hit the Skids? – By Danny Runion

When does a horror icon start to hit the skids? Many website articles have listed the typical answers that every fan knows by heart. Chucky arguing with a wrestler counts. Most fans will point out the third movie, the fourth movie, the movie that has the killer going into outer space, the "final" movie, or when Freddy raps with Will Smith.

Jason has had quite a number of those skid marks from the 3-D from the early 80s, Friday the 13th movies didn’t have him as the killer and featured people impersonating him, and Jason in Space sort of like Pigs in Space crossed with Apollo 13. The late 80s saw the Friday the 13th: the Series appear in syndication which had absolutely no connection to our favorite hockey-masked psychopath. The mid 90s had Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday. How to continue the franchise after having the villain dragged away to Hell? Well, Jason in space would be a great way to bring him back. After years and years of negotiating, the proposed Freddy versus Jason movie is finally released.

Who would seem to be a perfect singer for a theme song for the end credits to the movie and a video that would generate some publicity for the movie? Alice Cooper is one of the first shock rockers. A number of his songs have horror elements from having Vincent Price perform the opening monologue in "Black Widow" to songs like "Feed my Frankenstein." He has had quite a number of strange movies and television appearances. How else could anyone go from Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band to Sexette to an episode of the Muppet Show to his cameo in Wayne’s World? The mid 80s saw another Jump the Shark moment for him.

In 1986, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives was released. Alice Cooper sang "He’s Back – The Man Behind the Mask", a song tribute to the world’s favorite teenage-camp-counselor-killing-pseudo-zombie, Jason Voorhees. The song is mostly about a guy and his girl on a date at a secluded spot for a little somethin’ somethin’. I can only assume the couple is camp counselors. While parked and taking a late night swim, they seem to hear something. What could be causing a noise? Could it be Jason Voorhees? That should be an easy answer to question. Voorhees completists will be relieved to know that no musical tribute to Jason Voorhees would be complete without the classic Mancini "ki-ki-ki…ma-ma-ma"

The video concerns this teenager and his date get to the theater and watch Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives with an a theater full of people that somehow make a Rocky Horror Picture Show crowd seem normal. I am talking about an almost Return of the Living Dead variety of victims. Various shots of Alice Cooper singing the song are peppered throughout the video. I’m sure the audience is more scared of Alice dancing around in leather pants than Jason stalking and killing.

The video has enough sense to not take itself too seriously. They have couple of faked pseudo 3-D shots. The theater screen is ripped apart when Jason swings out of the screen and unmasks only to reveal Alice Cooper! The audience seems more terrified of Alice Cooper than Jason. The teen couple runs out of the theater scared inadvertently into the Alice Cooper set. He traps them in a bamboo cage while a number of 80s video tramps dance around badly enough to make you almost want to watch a Pat Benetar video. The 80s normal couple escapes back into the theater.

Finally Jason drags Alice away.

Yes, Jason drags Alice away almost like every scene from the movies when Jason pops up from the lake to grab someone in the movies. The video ends with a shocker ending that makes less sense than the revelation of who the killer is Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning.

With even as hokey as parts of the video are, it still is light years away ahead of the typical soundtrack song video. Most videos just show random scene clips while the band performs. "He’s Back – The Man Behind the Mask" actually fits the movie and the story of Jason. Even with the basest motive of just generating publicity for the movie, it still doesn’t embarrass the subject like the Fat Boys "Are You Ready for Freddy?"