Ode To A Classic: A Parody of Murderous Proportions
By: Chris Darkes - May 27, 2016
This morning I fell victim to looking at the calendar, realizing the month was already half over. The weeks have been packed with professional accomplishments, and a few leisure activities that have been added to the moleskin list of writings topics. Due to these events though, I wasn’t able to capitalize on a few stories that would have fit this month like the perfect puzzle piece. We’ll catch up with those, but thankfully I didn’t miss out today. Today is Tuesday the 17th. Inevitably this date falls after Friday the 13th (no surprise). I wanted to write about one of the classic horror movies everyone on the planet (barring pop culture deficiency) is aware of. But before writing anything further on that, I’d like to get a hold of Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th. So that brings me to this date. Why do I keep mentioning it? The title is from a classic Psych episode that plays the horror cliche to a “T,” but with the innocence, fun, and sincerity only Psychcan bring you. Let’s catch you up to speed and see if we can spot the nods to their origins…
The show begins with Jason, one of Shawn and Gus’ old buddies deciding to reopen a camp all three attended when they were growing up. Only one issue. One of the counselors has now gone missing. After Shawn and Gus try to persuade him to contact the authorities, he steadfastly refuses citing that Camp Tikihama would receive negative press, and possibly delay the opening. He hires them to investigate, and they cautiously drive to the campgrounds.
On the way up there, they run into a creepy old man on a bike telling them they’re both “doomed.” Shawn wants to head back, but Gus convinces him their friend needs help. After arriving, the counselors they meet immediately begin acting evasive and distance. They enter the camp house, the last known place of Annie the missing counselor. While touring the grounds, Shawn and Gus begin reminiscing about why the camp closed. Shawn cites it was due to an electrician drowning in the swimming pool.
They hear a noise coming from the laundry room, and Gus grabs hold of the dryer to reveal Annie’s bloody clothes and shoes. Gus freaks out and wipes the blood all over his pants. Shawn is now convinced it’s the creepy bike guy they saw earlier. As the counselors pool in they realize the dryer cycle had just started, so the killer must be close. Shawn feels it’s best to stay put and wait for the police to arrive, but in typical “horror” fashion the rest of them fan out on their own. After leaving, one of them falls into a trap set by an unseen man with a machete.
Juliet the detective they often work with, finds Shawn hiding in the laundry room. Everyone left alive reconvenes in the camp house. Jason enters, and is furious with Shawn that he told the police about what’s happening, before storming back out. Shawn chases after him, but finds Annie dead in the laundry shack. As Shawn turns around, a hooded man with a machete blocks the doorway, sending Shawn running for the exit.
As he runs, he begins piecing back all the clues. He suddenly stops and let’s the masked man catch up to him. He now knows it to be Jason. Jason takes off his masked and reveals everything has been staged to get the spooky factor raised. Annie and Billy (who “fell” into the trap) come out of hiding as Jason tells Shawn he wants to open the camp as a Murder Camp. A who-done-it camp experience. When asked how he figured it out, Shawn explains Gus, who hates blood, wiped it on his pants knowing it was fake. Gus was in on it too, getting Shawn back for a lifetime of pranks. It begins to rain, so they head back inside for celebratory champagne.
The party is short-lived though as they spot the man on the bike floating dead in the lake. Juliet tries to call for help, but the storm has knocked out all communication. She tells everyone not to go near the body until forensics making sure there aren’t signs of foul play. Shawn expresses suspicion to Juliet, and together they examine the body. He sees a mark on the side of the body’s neck. Meanwhile, Annie sees a masked man standing in the doorway, who again thinks it’s Jason taking the prank too far. She’s dead wrong.
Shawn figures out that the mark is from one of the counselor’s rings and that he’s the real killer. The story’s climax has Shawn and Gus cornering the counselor in an empty pool, and in a murderous rage, he confesses his dad was the electrician who lost his life, and states he’ll do anything to keep the camp from becoming a joke.
Juliet catches up to them and shoots the machete out of his hand, before he can harm Shawn. The show ends with an incredible shot to finish the episode.
So we have a plethora of nods from the episode. The ones I caught were:
- In the beginning Annie is on the phone and a mysterious person continues to call her. Possible reference to Scream or When a Stranger Calls.
- Camp Tikihama, the paddle boat at the end, and the motif are all references to Friday the 13th.
- The creepy guy on the bike is a possible reference to Saw.
- By their own admission Shawn states that the plot was not Friday the 13th, but actually April Fool’s Day. “Same plot, different formula…with a killer twist ending.” A great reference to the underrated April Fool’s Day.
- The burlap hood the counselor wears (Friday the 13th Part 2) and the counselor’s name Jason Cunningham are both references to Jason Vorhees and the director of the first Friday the 13th, Sean S. Cunningham.
- The counselor’s names of Sissy (taken from Carrie), Annie (possibly fromHalloween or Misery), Billy (The main villain in Scream).
They even make a foreshadowing mention to the next episode of Ying and Yang. Finally, in fitting format the episode premiered on Friday the 13th, 2009. It’s a great parody to watch on Friday the 13th or Tuesday the 17th for that matter. Give it a play, and let me know if you catch any references I may have missed. Enjoy your Tuesday the 17th everybody!
Also published on Medium.