Odd coincidence or a twisted joke? You decide.
The Friday The 13th movies are awash with violence. Since Sean S. Cunningham’s first instalment back in 1980, countless teenage victims have been hacked, slashed, stabbed, squished, eviscerated and chopped to pieces with a variety of machetes, knives, chainsaws, axes, fence posts… basically whatever implement came readily to Jason Voorhees’s hand. Despite all this carnage, the sickest moment of the entire franchise might just be a poorly timed credit near the beginning of the 2009 Michael Bay-produced remake.
The opening scene of the new Friday The 13th re-stages the closing scenes of the original 1980 film in which Pamela Voorhees, played this time by Star Trek‘s Nana Visitor, is decapitated by the surviving camp counsellor (Stephanie Rhodes). As the camera pans up the body to show the severed head of Pamela Voorhees, the film cuts to the credit for Director Of Photography, Daniel C. Pearl, ASC. The first time I saw this I literally gasped, but I’ve yet to find anyone else who has spotted the significance of how these two moments were juxtaposed.
The film was directed by Marcus Nispel, but Daniel Pearl’s contribution is the more significant credit for horror aficionados as he was the DP on Tobe Hooper’s classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974. In an unusual move, Pearl would return three decades later to photograph the remake, which was also Nispel’s début feature as a director, but he and Pearl had actually been collaborating for the previous ten years on a huge number of commercials and music videos having first worked together on the black & white video for Amy Grant & Vince Gill’s song House Of Love. On the face of it, the credit is innocuous but Daniel Pearl was also the name of the journalist who was abducted and murdered by Islamic terrorists in Karachi back in 2002. He was beheaded and the video of the murder was posted on the internet.
So a sick joke or an unintentional coincidence overlooked by everyone involved with the film? Decide for yourself.
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