Friday the 13th
Written by Victor Miller, Ron Kurz
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
1980 - Paramount Pictures
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Adrienne King. Robbi Morgan. Betsy Palmer. Jeannine Taylor.
Eclectic Rating: stars
Two years after Michael Myers slashed his way through the silver screen, another gruesome stalker film unleashed a bloody mess through the theater circuit, terrifying teens across suburbia.
The film was called Friday the 13th, and it happened in 1980, just a year before a certain lycanthrope would chew on the hearts of horror fans everywhere in a memorable feature film replete with style, mood, comedy, and groundbreaking special makeup effects.
I knew the story of Friday the 13th before I saw the movie because an older cousin gave me a copy of the screenplay. He was a publicity writer for Paramount Pictures in NYC at the time. It was pretty cool at such a young age to see how a screenplay is written, and then to see those lines and scenes play out in the movie.
Friday the 13th made a big splash where I grew up in northern New Jersey because it was filmed in nearby Blairstown as well as in Hope, NJ. The summer camp filming location was Camp NoBeBoSco, located in Hardwick, NJ. (More info at Fridaythe13thFilms.com).
Fueling nightmares, campfire stories and spooky summer camp vibes, Friday the 13th brought it all home to us, a horrifically chilling yet sad tale of tragedy, loss, terror, fear, mania and bloody revenge. For kids my age it was mostly just about getting scared by the notion of some slasher in the woods.
The film also featured some great special makeup effects by Tom Savini. In addition to a full head prosthetic appliance used for the deformed and drowned Jason Voorhees, Savini devised and executed a number of gruesome impaling, slashing and stabbing sequences, including an impressively nasty poke at Kevin Bacon, in his fifth feature film.
Friday the 13th is a classic slasher that spawned 12 sequels and offshoots, including a 2009 release which is a re-envisioned retelling of the first four films in the series.
I've seen the original at least a half dozen times, it's a great film that always works. The cinematography, lighting and locale, not to mention the soundtrack, create the perfect mood for a boogeyman in the woods. The story is well told, and deceptive, performed by a group of talented actors.
So in honor of Friday the 13th grab your DVD, or rent it online tonight and hunker down for an unsettling stroll through the woods...
Find Friday the 13th at Amazon.com (paid link)More about Friday the 13th at IMDb.com
Last Update: 10 May, 2019