When the old kook on a bike tells you to not hang around a creepy campsite, it’s best to take his (or her) advice and split. However, if someone did, we wouldn’t have the entirety of the Friday the 13th series, now would we? Gather ’round, Kids! Let’s discuss the tale of the masked killer that wouldn’t die and the several, horny teenagers that would. Plus, learn how to add yet another entity to “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”
Feast your eyes on 1980’s “Friday the 13th.
I’ll admit it. I’m a chicken and I’m not ashamed. As a chicken, there are circumstances and subsequent consequences that I’ll avoid always. I won’t pick up hitchhikers (“The Hitcher”). I won’t live in a haunted house (“The Amityville Horror”). To top my chicken list off, I do not have an interest in camping or attending a residential camp. Not because I fear Angela (wink), but because I fear Jason or any relative of his. I learned for over 30 years that camping equates to iffy situations that I need not partake. However, I do like watching the uncultivated and unborn chicken ways of others. They provide much entertainment.
Hence, I am always entertained by the Friday the 13th series. Despite some clunkers (“Jason Takes Manhattan” anyone?), most are worth a shot, stab, electrocution, or outright chainsaw. As we know, the first film in the series, directed by Sean Cunningham, kicked it off full-speed ahead. To the tragically uncool, the first film follows the misadventures of previously mentioned teenagers on Friday the 13th, as they prepare a closed summer camp for business, despite the repeated warnings from the surrounding town. Of course, who knows a town’s history better than strangers?
Given that this film provides a slasher standard, the outcome for those teenagers are pretty well-known and grim (i.e., They’re stalked and gutted). However, as each slasher film requires, there’s a final girl and she alone will face the masked killer once and for all. Well, she does until the sequel. But, that’s another story for another time. Also, it’s never good to sit on a boat wistfully, while you lean your hand into the lake. It doesn’t end in your favor. But, then again, you’re a horny teenager that doesn’t listen to old sages anyway? Ignore me. It’s fine.
Since we know the teenagers won’t see another day, the main thing is to identify the killer. We know who it is. It’s been known for quite some time. So, the surprised resolve is ruined for those few uninitiated viewers. Another unsolicited word of advice: If a creepy caller asks you to identify said killer. Be on your toes and know the correct answer! Go ahead. Ignore me. It’s fine.
Despite some dated scenes and techniques, the film holds up as best as it’s expected. I still jump from time to time because I’ve forgotten a scene. However, some of the dialogue remains cheesy; but, it’s a film from the 80s and there’s no escaping that. If you want deeper analysis of this film, there are plenty via the Internet. I simply “don’t have time for all of that”.
I give this film 6 out of 10 (It gets better with the sequel.)
Fun Fact About “Friday the 13th”: The film was nominated for two Razzie Awards including Worst Picture and Worst Supporting Actress for Betsy Palmer. I didn’t even know the Razzies existed at the time.
- Friday the 13th: One of the first “true” slasher films (dnaindia.com)
- Friday the 13th: Best to Worst (grindhousearchives.wordpress.com)
- Jason Voorhees: Friday the 13th films (gabicelebrity.wordpress.com)