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By Michael Cidoni, The Associated Press
October 24, 2005

UNIVERSAL CITY -- For some 50 cast and crew members of the "Friday the 13th" films, it was a class reunion in more than one way.

Alumni of the long-running horror-flick series gathered at Universal Studios Saturday night for closing night of the ScreamFest Horror Film Festival and a 25th-anniversary party celebrating all things Jason Voorhees -- that hockey-mask wearing, machete-wielding, mass-murdering central character of the 11 low-budget "Friday the 13th" feature films.

The night also marked the unveiling of the sort of item usually reserved for a higher-brow Hollywood party: a glossy, lavishly illustrated, hardcover coffee-table book, "Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th" by entertainment reporter Peter M. Bracke.

Series producer Sean S. Cunningham was present as well, noting, "It's 25 years later, and it's wonderful."

With a young actress on his arm -- screaming, of course -- an actor in a Jason costume made the scene and was treated to a rendition of "Happy Birthday."

After being asked to cut the first piece of his birthday cake, "Jason" whipped out his machete and hacked it to pieces, much to the delight of dozens of cheering fans.

As alumni signed copies of Bracke's book, they reminisced about their work on the series.

Actress Diana Barrows appeared in "Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood" 17 years ago, and said she still gets fan response from all over the globe. "I was in Poland two weeks ago, and I met these kids that love 'Friday the 13th,' and asked me for autographs," she said. "Fan mail from Japan. Fan mail from Australia. (I'm amazed by) the fact that it's so international."

ScreamFest's Rudy Scalese observed, "We love to hate Jason because he's one of those characters that everyone can connect with. In the beginning, at least, he was truly scary. But then he sort of became a little bit more of an icon people can cheer and root for, the same way you root for villains in one of the James Bond movies, or you clap for villains in one of those 'Fantastic Four' movies. Same thing."

And it seems Jason isn't done killing yet.

"Well, you know, it's no surprise they're actually planning another film," revealed author Bracke. "It's going to be another team-up film, with Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael Myers, which makes sense. And then they're talking about remaking the first movie and starting all over again.

"They'll just keep makin' them," Bracke continued. "Why stop at 25 years?"
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