Director – Deborah Voorhees, Screenplay/Producers – John Paul Reisig & Deborah Voorhees, Photography – Ben Meredith, Music – Tamer Ciray, Visual Effects – Black Tie Films (Supervisor – Riley C. Morris) & Miner Media (Supervisor – C.T. Miner), Special Effects Supervisor – Nora Hewitt. Production Company – Voorhees Films.
Dee Wallace (Herself), Haley Reece Greenbauer (Kelsie Voorhees), Corey Fledman (Mike Merryan), Judie Aronson (Herself), Tracie Savage (Herself), Kane Hodder (Himself), Lar Park Lincoln (Herself), Andrew Leighty (Christopher Bartha), Ron Sloan (Himself), C.J. Graham (Himself), Jennifer Banko (Herself), Deborah Voorhees (Herself), Vincent DiSanti (Himself), Debra Sullivan (Detective Lori G. Evans)y
Somebody is killing the actresses who appeared in the Friday the 13th films. Kelsie Voorhees, the granddaughter of Debbie Voorhees, one of the actresses who is killed, is a MMA instructor and horror film actress. Kelsie and well-known horror actress Dee Wallace becomes concerned for the lives of the other actresses as they started to go missing.
Ever since Scream (1996), the Slasher Film has undergone a process of deconstruction and frequent self-parody. The period since Scream has resulted in some clever and original takes on the genre with the likes of Cherry Falls (2000), Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006), The Final Girls (2015) and Last Girl Standing (2015), along with other works that pay homage to the era.
Among these deconstructions and parodies, 13 Fanboy comes with a unique take that is hard to beat. A masked maniac is stalking and killing actresses from the Friday the 13th film series where the victims are a number of the actual actresses who appeared in the original Friday the 13th films. It becomes an example of Real-Life People in Fiction and the premise becomes appealingly meta, not to mention an extensive Genre Homage. The nearest we had to this before was the extraordinary meta-fiction of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) where the fictional Freddy Krueger emerged into the real world to threaten the actors and crew from the A Nightmare on Elm Street films.
Present in the film are Tracie Savage from Friday the13th Part III in 3D (1982), Judie Aronson from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Lar Park Lincoln who was the psychically powered Tina in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) and Jennifer Banko who played the younger Tina, while Ron Sloan who was the dim-witted Junior in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985) plays Dee Wallace’s husband. Present are also two different actors who played Jason, the most well-known being Kane Hodder, who played the part from The New Blood onwards, who gets scenes demonstrating he is really a regular family man before dying, and C.J. Graham who was Jason in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986). In addition, there is now a grown-up Corey Feldman, who was the kid Tommy in The Final Chapter, who plays a sleazy film producer, while Vincent DiSanti, who has directed and produced a number of Friday the 13th fan films, has a role as a film director.
The most interesting of the names present on the credits is that of Deborah Voorhees, Under the name Debisue Voorhees, she had a memorable role as the really well stacked girl who gets killed on a blanket while topless in A New Beginning. Voorhees has had an interestingly varied career since then working as a teacher and journalist, one where her Friday the 13th role came back to bite her when her students distributed photocopies of her topless scenes around the school. She triumphed over this, went away and learned to become a filmmaker, first appearing as a director with Billy Shakespeare (2014), a modernised telling of the life of William Shakespeare, before making 13 Fanboy. In addition to directing and co-writing 13 Fanboy, she plays herself on screen and is killed in the opening scenes.
13 Fanboy is a great idea but not a particularly great film. The premise carries it with some fascination but I don’t think Deborah Voorhees does a particularly good job either as director or when it comes to the story. I, for instance, had difficulty following the denouement when it came to the revelation of the killer and why they were doing things.
Nor does 13 Fanboy do the deconstruction and digging beneath the clichés and tropes of the genre with the same cleverness that the other abovementioned films have done. The script is more shaped around the various actresses coming on and doing their thing rather than any snappy wit or poking fun at the clichés of the genre that you get in these other films. The most amusing part is the scene where the killer plays the What’s Your Favourite Horror Movie game from Scream with an imprisoned Tracie Savage but uses Friday the 13th trivia.
The other noticeable aspect is that it is now 30+ years after the actresses made their initial appearance in the Friday the 13th films. Most of them are now in their fifties – in the case of Deborah Voorhees, she turns sixty the year the film comes out – the youngest of these comes in at Jennifer Banko who was a child actor in the original and is now age 43. The oldest is the lead Dee Wallace, who never actually appeared in any of the Friday the 13th films, who is 73 this year. That would appear to be why the action scenes are inherited by the younger Haley Reece Greenbauer playing Voorhees’s fictional granddaughter.
With the actresses being middle-aged, they are no longer quite the same slasher movie nubiles they were back in original films. Moreover, with this being a women-fronted film, we get far more sympathetic and proactive victims than the characters they played in the originals tended to be. What is also noticeable is the lack of gratuitous screen nudity, which was one of the staple fixtures of the Friday the 13th series but is something films these days tend to regard as sexist. However, in pushing more female empowerment, you cannot help but feel that this ends up being a betrayal of one of the core aspects that endeared the series to fans and in particular one that gave many of these actresses their fanbases.