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Stacie Ponder – Small Screen Career Jumpstarts for Norman Bates, Leatherface and Jason Voorhees


Blogger Stacie Ponder’s horror columns appear every Wednesday.

TV-lovin’ horror nerds everywhere will have cause to rejoice this week when the first season of Friday the 13th: The Series (1987-1990) is finally released on DVD. Despite its title, the show never had anything to do with the Friday movie series or its star, Jason Voorhees. Rather, it involved an antique shop specializing in cursed items and the efforts of the shop’s proprietors to get the items back before they inflict the pain and suffering that, you know, cursed items tend to inflict. Initial backlash against a Jason-less Friday eventually died when 1) the show turned out to be entertaining regardless, and 2) the show featured an actress who was so cool she only needed to go by one name: I’m talkin’ bout Robey, y’all, she of the massive (like, epic-proportions massive) ’80s hair.

My love for the show aside, I do still question the decision to call the show Friday the 13th: The Series, as that would seem to indicate some tie to the movies, when there was none. In contrast, when Freddy’s Nightmares appeared on the scene in 1988, the creators had the good sense to include the movie character audiences wanted to see: Freddy Krueger. Freddy cracked wise as host on his eponymous show, introducing Tales From the Darkside-style stories set in and around his Elm Street stomping grounds. Had Friday the 13th tried to follow the same formula in its silver screen-to-TV screen transition, I’ll be the first to admit: It probably would have been a failure. Jason, for all his imposing presence in the films, just doesn’t have the same wacky attitude Freddy does. But does this mean there’s no place for Jason on television? Bah, I say! What about other familiar faces from horror? Is there no place for them? Double bah, I say! People need to think outside the box, that’s all. To wit:

Wilderness Survival With Jason Voorhees
He survived
a near-drowning as a child and grew up on his own in the woods
surrounding Camp Crystal Lake; the dude obviously knows something about
staying alive on your own in the wild. He survived on animals and
non-poisonous berries! He built a lean-to! He constructed a shrine to
his dead mom! I’d certainly tune in every week to garner tips and
tricks I can use should I ever find myself alone in the woods,
semi-deformed and psychopathic. Mom shrines don’t build themselves, you
know.

Make Believe! Starring Norman Bates
Norman is the Mr. Rogers of horror. He’s got a calm demeanor, a
soothing voice, comfy sweaters… and a good portion of his day is
spent in the Land of Make Believe. Sure, he’s pretending to be his
long-dead mother and he tends to make with the stab-stab when pretty
girls come around, but these are minor details. If he can don a wig and
play Mama Bates, can’t he don a wig and play a clown? Or a pirate? Or
Shelley Winters? OK, that’s probably equally, if not more weird than
dressing up as his elderly mom- not to mention the fact that I
obviously have no clue regarding what kids are into these days.

Dracula’s Dollars
Step aside, Suze Orman! Take a hike Donald Trump! Should this show hit
the air, Dracula will become my one and only source for financial and
investment advice. Take a look at the facts: Dracula is several hundred
years old, yes? He’s seen a lot of fluctuations in the economy in that
amount of time, and as an immortal he’s bound to see many more. Somehow
he’s managed to accumulate (and hold on to) a vast amount of wealth. He
travels the globe, he owns castles, he employs servants, his wardrobe
is natty and obviously not cheap… he must be doing something right to
maintain a high standard of living for centuries on end. I’d love to
know his secrets; I can’t hang on to five bucks for more than twenty
minutes without “investing” in comic books or gum.

The Leatherface Show
If Norman Bates is the Mr. Rogers of horror, then surely Leatherface is the genre’s Martha Stewart. Anyone who’s seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
knows that the ‘face can give the domestic goddess a run for her money.
He does all the chores around the house. He keeps the homestead
decorated, creatively, with chicken bones and corpses. He prepares
extravagant meals from scratch, even making his own sausage. He’s a
tailor to boot, fashioning clothing and masks; at the end of the day,
when all is said and done, he still goes the extra mile and gets
dressed up for dinner — now that’s dedication to home and family. He’s
a cook, a crafter…c’mon Kmart, where’s “The Leatherface Collection”?

They Won’t Stay Dead!

George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead
would make a fantastic reality show. Seven strangers… trapped in a
house… that’s surrounded by zombies. Find out what happens when
people stop being polite…and start getting eaten. The production
costs would be low, and the show could be on for numerous seasons
before it gets old… at least for me. In fact, I think a Night of the Living Dead / America’s Next Top Model hybrid show sounds like a dream come true!

I have to admit, I’m excited to check out Friday the 13th: The Series
to see if it holds up after all these years, if I still enjoy it as
much as I did when it was on every week, if Robey’s hair is really as
insane as I remember it being. It’s my fervent hope too that one day,
I’ll be writing a column about the forthcoming DVD release of The Leatherface Show. Is that too much to ask?

sp.jpgA fan of horror movies and scary stuff, Stacie Ponder started her blog Final Girl so she’d have a platform from which she could tell everyone that, say, Friday the 13th, Part 2 rules. She leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.


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