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The Good and Bad of Death Curse: A Friday the 13th Fan Film

March 19, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Death Curse: A Friday the 13th Fan Film

The Good and Bad of Death Curse: A Friday the 13th Fan Film


Death Curse: A Friday the 13th Fan Film, also known as Friday the 13th: Death Curse, is a Friday the 13th fan film from South Africa. Written by, directed by, and starring Johnny Styles, the 22 minute short was released in mid-December 2019. The short was produced by “YoutubersHorrorDomain,” which, I assume is Johnny Styles, but you will find Death Curse under that YouTube handle.

Basically, Death Curse is about a young man named Michael (Styles) who, after being warned by his Aunt Ginny (her name isn’t listed in the credits) not to go to the wooded area known as Camp Crystal Lake, decides to go there anyway because, I guess, he’s super curious about the place. When he gets there, Michael meets up with his uncle Lewis (Mark Lenard), and as they get ready to explore the area, Lewis is attacked by the legendary masked killer Jason Voorhees (Brendon Peter). Jason then goes after Michael.

Now, as we see at the very beginning of the short, Jason, while a legend, is still very active and killing people who show up at the camp to fuck around and whatnot. We see Jason waste multiple people right after the credits, which is proof positive that Jason is real here. We also see Jason interact with the spirit of his dead mother Pamela Voorhees (Charlotte Green), who is still apparently kicking around, inspiring her son to kill people.

So Michael goes on the run, avoiding Jason as best he can as Jason gives chase. We see Michael engage in multiple hand-to-hand fights with Jason and survive, something you don’t see that often in Friday the 13th/Jason movies. The short ends with Michael, wounded and terrified, concocting a big plan to take out Jason, a plan that ends up working. Of course, we all know that Jason is never really dead and only momentarily incapacitated, and the end of the short implies that there very well could be a sequel. Michael may escape with his life, but how long will it take for Jason to find him and take him out?

I’m just going to assume that the Aunt Ginny that appears is meant to be Ginny from Friday the 13th Part 2 or is somehow related to her, which then makes Michael related to her. I mean, that’s what I think is going on. I could be wrong. Michael carries around a locket with Amy Steel’s picture inside of it. Why else would he have that kind of thing?

And so, without any further what have you, what’s Good and what’s Bad about Death Curse: A Friday the 13th Fan Film?

The Good

It was made in South Africa: Jason and Friday the 13th are an ongoing global phenomenon, and while I think fans in general know that, they sometimes need a tangible reminder of how Jason’s white hockey mask is known around the world as a symbol of true blue cinematic menace. Death Curse is a fine example of showing everyone just how popular Jason is. Who knew someone in South Africa wanted to make a Jason movie? And the fact that this exists makes me wonder just how many “international” Jason/Friday the 13th fan movies there are out there, both on YouTube and other social media video sites. There could be hundreds of them. That’s cool.

The movie doesn’t overstay its welcome: At 22 minutes long, Death Curse tells its story quickly and doesn’t waste any time. Could the short stand a moment or two where someone, like maybe Michael, explains what precisely is going on? Sure, because I think I’m misunderstanding something about the plot and I hate that. But, in the big scheme of things, I understand enough about the short to enjoy it. Michael goes out to the woods, gets chased by Jason Voorhees, and violence ensues. The short tells a complete story, or, really, a complete enough story, and it’s fun to watch. Sometimes that’s all you really need for something like this. And if Styles and company want to make another one/a sequel/whatever? I’ll watch it.

The story ties itself to Friday the 13th Part 2: Friday the 13th Part 2 seems to have grown in stature the last few years and I’m not entirely sure why. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good slasher movie and a fine Jason flick (baghead Jason isn’t as creepy as hockey mask Jason to me but that doesn’t mean baghead Jason isn’t scary because he is), but I rarely saw it on anyone’s “best of” Jason movies list. As I said, that seems to have changed recently, and it’s cool to see a fan movie that ties itself to the events of that particular movie. Amy Steel rocked in that movie.

Jason looks scary: Jason, as portrayed by Brendon Peter, is an imposing presence, which is exactly what you want in your Jason in your Jason movie. He’s a big bruiser and he’s terrifying. It’s interesting how, while the story connects to Friday the 13th Part 2, Jason comes off as a riff on Richard Brooker’s Jason from Friday the 13th Part 3. Jason has a darkish coat and blue pants, which is what Brooker was rocking back in 1982. Peter doesn’t have the same neck and back hump that Brooker “had” back then, though. Peter seems to be a bit stockier (in that sense he resembles both CJ Graham from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives! and Kane Hodder in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood). So, this Jason is an amalgamation of various Jasons, and, for the movie, it’s a good choice.

The movie tries to create a body count: Friday the 13th/Jason movies are known the world over for having body counts, but very few of the fan movies I’ve seen (so far) seem to make an effort at that. Death Curse, despite being 22 minutes long, is different and actually goes for a body count. Are all of the kill scenes memorable? Not really, no. But the fact that the short has Jason kill a bunch of people puts it in the upper echelon of Jason/Friday the 13th fan movies.

Is this lack of a body count in some of these fan movies ultimately a function of the moviemakers just not having enough friends willing to die in a movie? I know that some fan movies try to create a mood and are more interested in suspense and dread, which is cool and all, but is that what Jason/Friday the 13th movies are all about? How often do you hear fans talking about mood and suspense in Jason movies?

The soundtrack is fabulous: The movie’s music, also done by Johnny Styles, is perfect. It’s moody, it riffs on the iconic music we all know and love, and it actually enhances the movie watching experience. And the song that plays over the end credits is both modern and the kind of rock song you would have heard in a horror movie back in the day. The movie’s sound design is also excellent. So few mega low budget movies pay attention to that. Sound is important.

Jason blows up: Michael’s final confrontation with Jason finds Michael creating a trap for Jason, loading up a shed filled with flammable and explosive materials and getting the killer inside of the structure. Michael then drops a lighter on a gasoline trail and “kills” Jason in a huge explosion. It’s a great way to neutralize an unstoppable killer like Jason, and it provides a thrilling visual for the end of the movie (an explosion). Jason, of course, isn’t completely dead, but the “bomb” does enough damage to allow Michael to flee and fight again another day. I personally prefer that kind of ending as opposed to the “the killer really isn’t dead and he kills the final survivor in the last frame of the movie after doing one of those jump scare things,” which far too many horror movies do. There’s nothing wrong with a small sense of hope at the end of a horror movie, especially when we all know that the monster isn’t finished, just paused for a moment.


The Bad

The South African accents of the characters is never explained: I wasn’t going to include this because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with fans from any part of the world making a movie about Jason, but I figured I’d mention this as the character accents may throw some people off. Does the story take place in America, or has Crystal Lake somehow relocated itself to South Africa? In the end, it really doesn’t matter, but, again, you may discover the short on YouTube and wonder why no one in the movie sounds like an American (or a Canadian). The movie probably should have included something in the end credits telling its audience where it’s from.

The editing is a bit too choppy: The first half of the short is filled with odd editing choices that, sometimes, make the viewer think YouTube is shorting out or about to freeze or that the video has been pulled right in the middle of you watching it. I think I get why those choices were made (to make the viewer uncomfortable and provide a sense of unpredictability to the movie), but after the third time you see it it becomes annoying and off putting. The second half of the movie plays much better/is much smoother and is scarier than the first half.

The head crushing scene is terrible: If you’re going to have Jason crush a guy’s head with his bare hands then there had better be, at least, some gushing blood. Death Curse has a head crushing scene that just doesn’t work because there’s no gushing blood. I mean, yes, the head crushing involves Jason crushing a guy’s head while the guy is wearing a mask, which allows for an easyish special effect (just put the mask over a watermelon or whatever and have the Jason actor squeeze the bejesus out of the mask), but, again, where’s the blood? And where’s the nasty “crack” sound from the head crushing? Shouldn’t we get that in a horror movie where a guy gets his head crushed via someone’s bare hands?

Blood can’t cost that much, can it?

There’s no Crazy Ralph type character in the movie, which makes no sense: Yes, Aunt Ginny says that Crystal Lake has a “death curse,” but, for me, that just isn’t enough. If you’re doing a Friday the 13th fan movie and you’re riffing a bit on Friday the 13th Part 2 you should have a Crazy Ralph type character front and center in your movie. It makes no sense not to do it. Or, if you can’t exactly get a Ralph, perhaps get a character you’ve already got flipping out and saying “Death curse!” It should be a big deal when, again, your Friday the 13th fan movie is titled Death Curse.


I really liked Death Curse: A Friday the 13th Fan Film. It’s not perfect, it has its issues, but it works more than it doesn’t and it shows that Johnny Styles and company have what it takes to make a movie. Now what the heck will we get with a Death Curse 2? Will Michael venture back into the woods to take on Jason, or perhaps find out what happened to Jason/sort of look at the monster’s remains? Or will a part 2 feature a different set of characters running into Jason in the woods?

Please check out the YouTube page where this fan film and other movies currently reside: YoutubersHorrorDomain.

Why doesn’t this YouTube channel also have a social media presence, or does it and I’m just not seeing it/finding it? What the heck is going on here?

Rating: 7.5/10.0



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