(Regular DHD readers know I don’t do geek. But frequent LA Weekly film reviewer and comic book expert Luke Y Thompson does. He spends all year waiting for Comic-Con and this time he’s covering it for me. Here’s his latest report.)  

Sometimes, I just cannot predict what panels will and won’t draw crowds. Like, the HAROLD AND KUMAR DVD panel filled up Ballroom 20. I would not have called that one. Got in at the very tail end, just in time to hear Kal Penn say that if he hadn’t gotten the role of Kumar, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Fareed Zacaria would have had to fight it out between themselves.

I was there for the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake panel, and much as I resent that they didn’t keep the numbered sequels going till 13, I have to admit that this could be the best Jason movie yet. Looking to have a budget about the size of the first five movies combined, and lots of gore effects, it certainly can’t be any worse than some of the existing movies, and has a good shot at kicking certain amounts of ass.

I’m not crazy about the way the producers went on and on about how this is a “realistic” Jason. Because zombie Jason was always my favorite version, and isn’t his defining characteristic the fact that he keeps coming back? That said, a Jason who runs, thinks, and sets traps could be scary. Star Jared Padalecki compared the difference between new and old Jason to the difference between being attacked by a hippo versus a lion. Both could kill you, but the faster one is more dangerous. Dunno if I buy that; it’s like arguing that zombies aren’t scary unless they can run, and while i’m no James Gunn basher, I think there’s something to be said for a slow yet relentless adversary. Remember that the tortoise beat the hare.

The footage shows Jason discovering the hockey mask for the first time, and a candlelit shrine with Momma’s corpse. Though we have been promised that this won’t be as origin-heavy as Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN, you will get to see glimpses of what made Jason the way he is. Also, the trademark “ki,ki,ki, ma,ma,ma” is still on the soundtrack. And actor Derek Mears, who plays him, certainly looks intimidating, despite the fact that facially he resembles Mr. Clean.

Anyway, the hall was barely half full for Jason. Horror is a real niche thing here, not as much crossover appeal as one might think. I’ve been to horror conventions; hardcore gorehounds look like bikers. And I don’t see many here who resemble that remark.