Friday the 13th is coming this Friday, May 13! With only one of these dates in 2016, (I think there were three last year), its time to dust off the old dvds, tapes, blu rays, or whatever you use and settle in for some Voorhees-style mayhem. This is actually a great time of year to watch (besides on Halloween) because its about the time of year camp counselors would be settling in to prepare for the summer. If I were to guess which month these all take place in, it probably IS May 13th. If you really want to feel connected to the films, then this is probably the best time of year to watch.
Friday the 13th (1980)
*The debut of Kevin Bacon
*A lakeside decapitation
*Arrow through a neck
We all know this movie is essentially a rip-off of Halloween, but it probably rips-off better than any copycat of its kind. In fact….I believe the high body count and high gore quotient of Halloween II was more a competition with the original F13, rather than sticking with the suspenseful formula which made the original Halloween so successful.
Its hard to say why this movie became so popular when there were so many other slasher movies which were all essentially the same. Whatever they did, they set themselves up for a long string of successful sequels. In fact, Sean S. Cunningham, the movie’s director, actually took out an ad in the N.Y. Times declaring this the “scariest movie ever made” BEFORE it was even made. Genius marketing. To think that Jason didnt even acquire his trademark hockey mask until halfway through part three is a further evidence that the series pushed all the right buttons to hold fans’ interest through many sequels.
Some horror fans have since grown tired of the original. I guess it is a little tough to go back again after countless viewings to watch a movie which didn’t feature the iconic Jason in action. While its not my favorite in the series, I think it still does serve as an adequate appetizer to set up the sequels which do feature Jason front and center. Despite its reputation for relying on shock value, it does have its suspenseful moments….especially the very end, featuring a long continuous shot of our female hero in the boat. Seconds feel like minutes as an ostensibly serene image with melodic music feels just a little too peaceful.
The acting is decent. The characters are believable and not as cartoon-ish as some slasher movies which seem to portray each character in an absurd light. While you dont really get connected to anyone in F13, the characters are all just ordinary people, and I think this does add a sense of realism to the story. If you haven’t seen it in a while, now is the time.