Friday the 13th (1980)

Don’t go to summer camp. You will die. Even if you’re Kevin Bacon.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Horror

Director: Sean S. Cunningham

Actors: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby

Year: 1980

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

How does one properly review a horror classic such as Friday the 13th? Could the filmmakers have known at the time that they would have spawned at least a dozen sequels, as well as created pop-culture staples like the deadly summer camp, the killer with a hockey mask, and the first-person perspective of the bad guy creeping up on people to the weird soundtrack of “kee kee kee ah ah ah…”?

Friday the 13th is one of those movies that I had just assumed I had seen before. So when I got the first three movies on DVD (rereleased to coincide with the modern remake hitting the theater), I invited a couple horror pals over to play couch potato and have a movie marathon. When the movie really got rolling, and especially when the summer camp killer was revealed, I realized that I don’t think I had ever watched the whole thing before… my bad! Sure, I knew that a bunch of pretty young people show up at a summer camp known as Camp Blood only to get killed off violently one by one by a mysterious killer, but that’s where my knowledge ended.

Things I learned from Friday the 13th:

Don’t go to summer camp. You will die.
Don’t be young and nubile. You will die.
But if you are young and nubile, be sure to wear a bra. You will be the only survivor.
Don’t have sex, for the love of God! You know what will happen.
Don’t go to the bathroom alone. (Making slicing motion across the neck…)
Don’t be the jokester of the group. (Hacking at air with axe…)
Don’t go out into a rainstorm alone. (Stringing up my bow and arrow…)
And even if you are Kevin Bacon… you know what’s coming to you…

Most importantly, I was astounded by two things in this first movie of the series: Jason Voorhees is NOT the killer! (Not to give anything away, but his hot mom is pissed that he drowned all those years ago while at Camp Crystal Lake…). Not only that, but he only really appears for half a moment at the end, all rotted-like, lurching out of the lake to pull a girl from her canoe. And second surprising thing: No hockey mask. Um… what? Jason’s hockey mask is so ubiquitous, that I just assumed it was all over this movie! Nada. Not yet…


The Uncut DVD release of Friday the 13th offers apparently a few seconds of extra footage. Having never really sat through the whole film before, my guess is that the extra footage appears in one or both of these scenes: Kevin Bacon’s sex scene lingered uncomfortably long on his bare ass, and the scene where rotting little Jason lurched out of the lake lasts long enough to let you see that he is one gross, rotting little boy. Among some fun extras are commentary by Sean S. Cunningham (and cast and crew), featurettes like “Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1” and “The Man Behind the Legacy” (about Director Cunningham). The best one though is “A Friday the 13th Reunion”, where a panel of the original actors and filmmakers form a panel in front of a 2008 fan convention audience. Actress Adrienne King reveals that she barely appears in Part 2 because she was dealing with a super-scary stalker in real life (yikes!), and the guy who played Jason as a kid seems to get off a little too much on his brief moment of fame. But the best part is the shots of the audience of fanboys and girls. Bedecked in their rocker T-shirts with fingerless leather gloves and long hair, they are just eating it up. Priceless.


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