What if I were to tell you that one of the all time jump scares came from an episode of Only Fools and Horses? And further more, what if I told you that Only Fools and Horses parodied Friday the 13th in their own creepy tale of a 'psycho' axe murderer escaping from a mental hospital in the vicinity of the Trotter's Cornish fishing retreat. You may be surprised, but in an almost perfect sitcom episode with twists and turns aplenty, Del boy and family navigate the odd world of the 'slasher movie'.
If you're into horror films and a fan of Only Fools and Horses I can tell you now that this is your favourite episode.
Released less than 3 years after Friday the 13th , writer John Sullivan, aware of the horror film trope for crazed slashers on the loose, put to pen to paper on his very own cabin in the woods tale.
Del Boy, Rodney and Grandad en route to a family poaching trip, get stopped at a police road block, an insane axe murderer is on loose and they best have their wits about them. The night is stormy, rain and lightning lash down as they arrive at their cabin but someone is watching them - a hand moves the branches of a tree to see them better. Inside, after a fraught game of monopoly, Rodney pulls back the curtain to look out of the window just as a flash of lightning illuminates a gruesome face staring in at them. I've never been able to open a curtain at night quite the same. Then an inspector calls... but if you haven't seen it or only briefly remember the glorious setup please rewatch, available in the UK on Netflix.
Furthermore to the parody, dear old Grandad had surely been watching Hitchcock as upon being asked what a psycho was he replies “he's a geezer that dresses up in his mother's clothes." Well, he's not wrong, but it's maybe not the current Oxford dictionary definition.
Starring alongside David Jason, Nicolas Lyndhurst and Lennerd Pearce as the crazed axe murderer Charles ‘Chopper’ Winters was actor Christopher Malcolm. Malcolm had appeared in a number of box office successes including The Empire Strikes Back, The Dogs of War, Superman III and Labyrinth, before co-producing the hit musical Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1990. Malcolm died of cancer in 2014 and, although, this may not be his crowning glory on screen, it's definitely our favourite. A truly great performance!
The 30 minute episode is a compact tale of horror, parody and comedy and if one were to pop a no.9 on the door it wouldn't look out of place in the excellent Reece Shearmith and Steve Pemberton series. High praise and deservedly so.
Watch Only Fools and Horses Friday the 13th on Netflix now but maybe not if you're in a cabin this weekend because the weather looks a tad stormy!