Monday, January 25, 2010
The term ‘jump the shark’ referrers to an episode on Happy Days when Fonzie attempted a jump over a shark after a challenge against his bravery. The term often describes when a TV show has reached a point where the story spins off into absurd story lines, adding new and weird characters or twisted the story. It often marks when a TV show reached its prime and the show continues despite low ratings and viewership. It often marks when a TV show is nearing the end of its run. The same can be said for horror movies too… when a franchise has reached it’s prime but the greedy studios want to dish out even more to keep the franchise thriving. I found that the ‘jump the shark’ moment in most horror movies is when the franchise goes to space.
The more infamous franchise that has gone to space was the Friday the 13th franchise when Jason is frozen at Crystal Lake Research Facility and makes his way to space and slays everybody aboard. Why is this movie ‘jumping the shark?’ Because Jason went from a psychopathic killer at a camp in the middle of nowhere to goddamn “Uber Jason” in space! Plus, one of the corniest moments is when one of the people aboard the ship states, “What is this hockey?” C’mon! Now that is stupid. The story is pushed to space, which doesn’t make sense, and then they change the look and the character of the killer… two indications of when a franchise is dying out. However, the series was jumping the shark in Friday the 13th Part V and so on.
I can’t really say much for Critters 4 because I haven’t seen it in a while but it’s not really complain worthy because they did start off in space. The only thing that is ‘jump’ worthy is the idea that they returned back to space. The movie was great because it took place in a small town but in a dramatic turn of events they end up back in space. They couldn’t just leave it alone after taking over New York.
Another notorious franchise that went to space was the Leprechaun series. Now, the second and third and fourth one were all pretty bad and cheesy but to see the Leprechaun running around in a space station was just comedic and not even horror. It was nice to see Davis reprise is role as Leprechaun but this movie swerves into the world of DNA, mutations and computers… three things that never needed to be in the Leprechaun movies at all. However, they didn’t stop there… they went ahead and jumped the megalodon with Leprechaun: In The Hood.
It seems as though space is the final frontier in horror, when the series has become boring in landscape and more and more ridiculous in plot… so they move to space because there is so much to play with in space and a chance of landscape. What they don’t understand is that space is probably one of the cheesiest place for a killer to wind up. How can you explain a killer, who originated in Podunk, Iowa, end up in space without creating an absurd plot turn? You can’t! When a franchise goes to space, it normally means that they are running out of ideas and can’t keep the franchise alive that long.
What we can expect for future films? Well, thank God Nightmare on Elm Street, Phantasm and Texas Chainsaw have not gone to space but I am sure we can expect Saw eventually leading to space. It honestly won’t surprise me. However, I think the Power Glove scene in Nightmare on Elm Street was the jump the shark moment.
I still hang on the idea that they should make A Nightmare on Elm Street 8: Nightmares In Space; when Freddy goes to space in the Bernal Sphere Space Colony where Elm Street has moved. Then he kills all the teenagers of the people who work on the space colony because their ancestors were the kids of the kids of the kids of the kids of Elm Street. That is cinematic gold!!
Note: I think the Freddy In Space image is actually from the Freddy In Space blog.