‘A New Beginning’ Is A Perfect Love Letter To Slasher Films

Jon Lajoie has crafted a loving tribute to one of the Friday the 13th series' most beleaguered entries

As an avowed fan of slasher films, nothing has dismayed me more than the wave of "slasher throwback" type movies made by people who clearly missed what we love about these movies (primarily the ones of the '80s, emphasis on the first half of the decade). If anything it seems like many of them are paying homage to the CRITIQUES of such films, by (over)loading them with horrible characters you want to see die, actors who act bad on purpose, etc. - I often walk away feeling that the filmmakers hated those films, if they ever actually saw them at all.  So when I heard there was a musical tribute to Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, I feared the worst - this is one of the least-loved entries in the series (but my 5th favorite overall), and the singer was Jon Lajoie from The League. My mental image was a guy sing-laughing his way through a "Nature Trail to Hell" type parody song at best; at worst it'd just infuriate me by mocking a film that's taken enough undeserved shit over the years.

Well, I've never been happier to be wrong. The song (attributed to Wolfie's Just Fine, the name for Lajoie's band that doubles as a pretty great T2 reference*) is actually a semi-serious bit of nostalgia about the fact that slasher films probably played a part in the sexual development of many a young man (including yours truly; thank you, Dream Warriors nurse!). The song directly references Friday V in its title as well as a chorus of "Here comes Jason", but otherwise paints a picture of any old slasher scene, that of a young man and woman fooling around, then splitting up for whatever reason, at which point the killer murders one and then waits until the other comes back and sees their lover's corpse, before killing them too. Thanks to the title we know he's specifically referring to Tina and Eddie (he leaves the drifter's role in the proceedings out of it), but that's for the Friday faithful to appreciate - the general idea could apply to any slasher movie and how it affects a young mind. You're titillated, you're scared, you're jealous of the boyfriend (but not sure why) and then yelling at the TV to try to save him... it's a universal reaction for a stock slasher moment, one that even the film's biggest hater can appreciate and likely identify with as well.

The music video, however, doubles down on its cinematic inspiration, depicting a period setting where the song's narrator and his two pals pop a French-Canadian (!) copy of the film into the VCR and watch a recreated version of the sequence, albeit with Jon's younger self transported into the scene (but not seen by the other characters). Lajoie, who directed along with Brandon Dermer, clearly did his homework, aping Danny Steinmann's framing and editing perfectly, save for the obvious reduction of nudity (the video is technically safe for work, whereas the film version bordered on soft-core porno). He even retains the notorious continuity error during Eddie's death, where he suddenly twists the strap in the opposite direction to get the kill (which should have loosened the strap, not tightened it further). Likewise, the actors do a fine job of subbing in for Debisue Voorhees and John Robert Dixon, for what had to have been the weirdest casting call they ever got as actors ("Hey, I need you to recreate a kill scene from a 30 year old slasher movie..."). But my favorite part had nothing to do with Friday the 13th at all - it was how Lajoie and Dermer depicted the silly way we react to slasher films when seen with impressionable minds: running through our perfectly safe homes up to the safety of our beds, imagining the killer following at our heels every step of the way. 

(And yes, when we see Jason, he's got the blue triangles on the mask. I definitely want Lajoie on my trivia team if we ever need another player - his attention to the sort of details that would piss fans like me off is very admirable.)

So sit back and enjoy five minutes' worth of slasher homage perfection. The Mumford and Sons-y vibe of the song might not exactly be your favorite part about it, but when coupled with the terrific video it should go down a lot easier if you're more of a Pseudo Echo fan. As far as I can tell, it's the only horror movie homage on Wolfie's Just Fine's album (titled I Remembered But Then I Forgot), but that's fine - a whole album of such things would probably wear thing. Better to have just this one little slice of love for a film that doesn't get enough of it, and for a genre that deserves better tributes than it usually gets.

*Just as good as "A New Beginning" is "Todd and Janelle", a song that imagines how happy John Connor's doomed foster parents probably were before they took John in and his bratty nature turned them against each other. It's rather heartbreaking, and will inform my next T2 viewing for sure.