Reviews

Srigala (1981)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

Did Jason Vorhees ever drive a speedboat?

Srigala is an Indonesian rip-off of Friday the 13th. But instead of a killer exacting revenge on campers, this movie has a killer exacting revenge on treasure hunters. Three men explore a river, which might have a treasure in it. Soon, two women and a guy start sunbathing and scuba diving. The women break into a kung-fu fight. There are also zombies that rise from the river at night. Meanwhile, a figure in a ski mask lurks around. This person gets involved in a speedboat chase, which ends in an explosion. Eventually, everyone ends up in a cabin. The slaughter begins! Is the Indonesian Mrs. Vorhees doing the killing? Will we get a shot-for-shot replica of the final jump-scare from Friday The 13th? And will the Indonesian Freddy Krueger from Khooni Murdaa sit on a toilet and tell jokes?

Yes, yes, and goddamn it, no.

Aside from the last thirty minutes, Srigala is nothing like Sean Cunningham’s trend-setting slasher. But really, who cares? The point is that an Indonesian producer saw the original and thought, “I can do this so much better.” So he added speedboats and zombies and kung-fu. Traces of Friday The 13th lingered. At the end of Srigala, we get to see Indonesian Jason leap out of the water and grab a girl in a boat. Just like Friday The 13th! The Indonesian Mrs. Voorhees spends much of the movie trying to keep the characters away from her buried treasure. She also kills everyone during a rainstorm. Also just like Friday The 13th! However, there’s no connection with Jason and no reason for his appearance during the film’s conclusion. Is this a Friday rip-off with speedboats, or a speedboat movie that happens to have Jason in it?

Srigala works just like Korkusuz (the Turkish Rambo) or any number of rip-offs from overseas. Occasionally, these films are boring. But most of the time, they’re fascinating. They weren’t made to attain beauty or break new ground. They were made to ingratiate themselves with an audience that was already familiar with the subject matter. And of course, they were made to make shitloads of money. Today, we devour films like Srigala out of sheer intrigue. We want to see how icons of American cinema were interpreted by another culture, often with hilarious results. For instance, take Mrs. Voorhees. In the original Friday, her presence in the movie made sense. She was justifying the batshit crazy killings. In Srigala, Mrs. Voorhees’ appearance makes zero sense. Mrs. Voorhees is protecting her treasure. But the people she kills at the end were never after her treasure. There’s no reason for them to die. That is, except for the fact that everyone died at the end of Friday the 13th. What’s good enough for Indonesia is good enough for me.

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