|Release: 1994, Pages: 186|
I feel like I'm reliving my childhood all over again, by reading these young adult novels. Except now, I can burn though them faster than you can say "disturbing childhood". Friday the 13th: Mother's Day, is the first book in a series of four, subtitled "Tales from Camp Crystal Lake" and it's surprisingly well written, grown up and does a great service to the loveable hockey mask wearing, machete wielding, crazy psycho, Jason Voorhees. So, let's get on with this review and slice n' dice our way through it...
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: Once there was a boy named Jason Voorhees who drowned at a summer camp when the counselors weren't watching. First, his mother got revenge. Then, Jason rose from the grave. And now, everyone knows you can't kill a legend... but a legend can kill you. Billy Boone and his friends were fearless. Why else would they go camping at Crystal Lake? They had heard all the gruesome stories about Jason. And they knew why Jason wore a hockey mask-Jason had a face only a mother could love. But there are a few things Boone and his friends don't know about Jason. Like whatever happened to his mother's decapitated head? How did his hockey mask get into the hands of a local hunter? And why is the hunter trying to kill every teenager at the camp? Because it's Mother's Day. And Jason's mom doesn't want flowers or candy...She wants corpses.
The "Tales from Camp Crystal Lake" books are quite a bit different than the Freddy books, as in the Crystal Lake ones are actually about Jason Voorhees and exist squarely in the same universe, albeit a universe which is quite a bit more supernatural (I'll explain more later). The first book, Mother's Day, establishes that the story is taking place after Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and even mentions that Jason was sucked down into the ground, by demons (no mention of Freddy grabbing his mask though). The story has a group of teens heading out for a camping trip at the old campgrounds of Crystal Lake (wait, I thought Jason Goes to Hell said the camps were torn down?). The group consists of Carly, a virgin girl who is just now growing into her body and is all sexy-like, Boone, the rebel without a cause, Paul Sexton, a blond-haired Greek god of a man, Albert, the chubby nerdy guy who is guaranteed to die, Monique, the sexy french foreign exchange student and finally Suzanne and Kyle, two hippies. (Now that I realize it, the group in this book are pretty much the same as the group of teens in Friday the 13th: Part III.)
Meanwhile at Camp Crystal Lake, a local hunter, while out pouching deer, stumbles upon an unmarked grave, which houses a mysterious box, with some strange contents. The contents (which I'll keep a secret) start possessing the hunter and tell him to seek out the mask of Jason Voorhees. The hunter does as told and puts on the mask and is taken over, by what I assume is the spirit of Jason Voorhees.
Carly and her group arrive at Crystal Lake and immediately start partying and doing everything that a young adult novel will allow them do, which is mainly making out and drinking beer, while avoiding mentioning sex. It isn't long before the hunter/Jason finds the group of teens and starts systematically picking them off one at time, until there is only one person left to fight for their life.
Mother's Day does a good job at replicating the feeling of watching a Friday the 13th movie, even though the actual physical body of Jason Voorhees is nowhere to be found. Still, all we really love about Jason, is the hockey mask and the means of which he dispatches his victims and Mother's Day does a great job of doing just that and being surprisingly graphic as well. I'm not saying the pages are drenched in blood or anything, but you do get a good amount of cut throats and heads being blown off with shotguns. The writer, Eric Morse (real name William Pattison), also does an admirable job of making the campgrounds of Crystal Lake seem truly cursed, with hints of weirdness all around, such as the strange white bugs that are all over the place, or a creepy skeleton hand reaching up from a grave, to grab at a victim, as they're being chased by the hunter/Jason (or was the hand really just a twig?) My only real complaint comes near the end, where the supernatural stuff starts to go into high overdrive and we get some real farfetched shit happening. I don't want to spoil anything, so all I can say is that something talks out loud, when really it should just be a voice inside a person's head. (Tatlock, the master of subtle).
Unlike the Freddy books, the Jason Voorhees' ones are off to great start with Mother's Day. Besides the overly fantastical ending, Mother's Day is a special gift for any fans of Jason Voorhees. You might scoff at the idea of a haunted hockey mask possessing people, but in the end, it really is the true spirit of Jason Voorhees that's doing all the killing and boy does he get the job done. It's a quick, tight read, that can be devoured in a sitting or two and it never lets up that wonderful feeling of nostalgia from beginning to end.