Friday the 13th

Year: 1980

Director: Sean S. Cunningham

Written by: Victor Miller

Threat: Psychopath

Weapon of Choice: Axe

Based upon: Original

IMDb page: IMDb link

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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
Jason X

Rish's Reviews
"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

Sequel setup skull
Rips off earlier film
Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie
Future celebrity appears skull Kevin Bacon
Former celebrity appears
Bad title
Bad premise
Bad acting
Bad dialogue
Bad execution
MTV Editing
OTS skull
Girl unnecessarily gets naked
Wanton sex skull
Death associated with sex skull
Unfulfilled promise of nudity
Characters forget about threat
Secluded location skull
Power is cut skull
Phone lines are cut skull
Someone investigates a strange noise skullskull
Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door
Camera is the killer skullskull
Victims cower in front of a window/door skull
Victim locks self in with killer
Victim running from killer inexplicably falls skull
Toilet stall scene skull
Shower/bath scene
Car stalls or won't start skull
Cat jumps out
Fake scare skull
Laughable scare skull
Stupid discovery of corpse skull
Dream sequence skull
No one believes only witness
Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth skullskull
Warning goes unheeded skull
Music detracts from scene
Death in first five minutes skull
x years before/later skull
Flashback sequence skull
Dark and stormy night skullskull
Killer doesn't stay dead skull
Killer wears a mask
Killer is in closet
Killer is in car with victim skull
Villain is more sympathetic than heroes
Unscary villain/monster
Beheading skull
Blood fountain skull
Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.
Poor death effect
Excessive gore skull
No one dies at all
Virgin survives skull
Geek/Nerd survives
Little kid lamely survives
Dog/Pet miraculously survives
Unresolved subplots
"It was all a dream" ending
Unbelievably happy ending
Unbelievably crappy ending
What the hell?