Friday the 13th
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Written by: Victor Miller
Weapon of Choice: Axe
Based upon: Original
Other movies in this series:
Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
"That camp has a death curse!"
I remember the first time I saw this modern classic. It was in my childhood living room with my old man, and it was the TV version with all the good parts cut out. Even so, two things really stayed with me: the thought of a strip version of Monopoly, and the image of a waterlogged mongoloid rising out of a placid lake. I had nightmares that night, and not of strip board games.
Tyranist and I have found that, since we began this website, our tolerance for bad Horror has greatly increased. We have seen movies that were so bad, they actually skewed our views on what was right and wrong. At least, that's what our lawyers convinced the jury, heh, heh.
But what I'm saying here is, because we've seen truly terrible horror films, we are able to appreciate the good ones (and the good qualities of bad ones) like we never could before. When I first reviewed Friday the 13th, I wrote:
"This film, while not particularly scary, original, or well-done, really led the way for all the 80's Slasher movies. All of the conventions are here: the stupid, horny teens, the faceless murderer who is all places at once and acts as a sort of deranged moralist, bumping off anyone who dares use drugs, get drunk, or--gasp!--have sex. There was the obligatory sequel set-up (is little Jason Vorhees really out there?), and enough fake scares and moronic activity to fill two other movies."
I was able to appreciate the cleverness of the revelation of who the killer was (still a brilliant move, all these years later), and enjoy the shocking and amazing Tom Savini death effects (Kevin Bacon's death was gory and wonderful!), but I dismissed the film itself as "more than a little stupid." True, the movie does move a tad slow, and most of the deaths are predictable, and maybe none of the characters could give cardboard cutouts a run for their money, but that's not the point. Like tyranist said below, Friday the 13th is a hell of a lot of fun. And really, that's all that matters, isn't it?
The score is nice, the story is entertaining, in its own limited way, it's pretty innovative. A couple years back, we saw it at a midnight screening in the local theater. A huge crowd of skeptical college-aged youths attended, and everyone had great time laughing at the bad dialogue, booing at the stupidity of the camp counsellors, and cheering when a victim met their grisly demise. By the reaction around us (and indeed, within myself), I could see why this film inspired a genre and produced nearly a dozen sequels.
Best Scare When Jason rears his ugly head. Literally.
I'd Recommend It To: All slasher fans.
The tyranist's thoughts
I have heard many, many people talk about this film as a classic. In a few important ways it is, but I have seen it recently enough to say that some of what made it classic now makes it laughable. The truth is, last time I saw it in the theatre which was actually this year (1998) not a single person was scared and most people were loudly cheering. Don't get me wrong. It was tons of fun, but all of the magic that ever made it the least bit frightening is completely gone. In my mind that removes it from the classics list. If it just isn't even a little scary anymore then it hasn't endured. The Shining still scares me. Halloween still scares me. Friday the 13th hasn't scared me in ten years.
Still . . . it is great fun to watch.
Addendum: We watched this movie for review very early in the life of the HFC and having recently had the chance to go back and watch it again, I have to say that I was a bit naive at the time. The movie isn't scary, but it makes up for that in so many other ways. Sitting through it this time, I realized that it is so much better than its imitators and that, when it was released, it was startlingly original. There are so many bad horror films out there and to be able to even make a movie that is still fun to watch takes considerable talent. It deserves better than my petty review has done it. I don't feel the same way about most of the sequels, but perhaps now I'll give them all another watch.
Total Skulls: 34
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears||Kevin Bacon|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|