Tuesday, December 18, 2012

RIP FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 5 Director Danny Steinmann

It's never fun to comment on somebody's passing and it particularly sucks to have to do so around the holidays. As seems to happen too frequently these days I was scanning through social media yesterday afternoon during a break from work and saw that another veteran of the trash trenches was gone – director Danny Steinmann had passed away at the age of 70.

Steinmann isn't exactly a household name with horror buffs and despite meeting him at Cinema Wasteland a few years ago, up until yesterday I could only tell you one movie he made – 1985's FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING.

Longtime ER readers can tell you that I'm a big time FRIDAY THE 13TH series fan and it's probably my favorite of the long-running, multi-installment horror franchises like HALLOWEEN, ELM STREET, HELLRAISER, etc.

But up until a few years ago I always regarded PART V (which Steinmann also wrote) as one of the series' lesser efforts, a bottom-feeder like PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD or PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. That opinion changed back at the aforementioned Cinema Wasteland when we all piled into a screening of the flick attended by Steinmann. (I believe the evening's Q&A was hosted by ULTRA VIOLENT's Art Ettinger but I may be wrong.)

Good pal and TOUGH TO KILL/TOMB IT MAY CONCERN scribe David Zuzelo encouraged me to keep an open mind and forget my decades old biases towards the flick. (SPOILER ALERT: It doesn't have the real Jason in it. Which seems like a stupid bone to pick now but as a follow-up to the genius of PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER it was a real sticking point with me back in the 80s.)

Not sure if it was the crowd of like-minded miscreants, Steinmann's insights into the making of the flick, the boobier, bloodier uncut version (which I'd never seen) and/or the liberal application of adult beverages we enjoyed throughout the show, but I left the room with a newfound sense of appreciation for the flick.

Steinmann also directed 1980's THE UNSEEN (with Barbara Bach and an uncredited Stephen Furst as "Junior") and the Linda Blair revengeploitationer SAVAGE STREETS (1984), neither of which I've ever seen but have gone on my 2013 Required Viewing List.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V (available in a deluxe edition with commentary by the director is available from Amazon) turned out to be Steinmann's cinematic swan song.

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