Friday the 13th (1980)
Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham
Starring: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Kevin Bacon, Ari Lehman
Before I start anything here on Friday the 13th, I just want to say the bulk of these reviews are spoilers. So if you haven’t seen any Friday the 13th movie and think I am totally ruining it for you, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The original classic – the starting point of it all. I remember being in Elementary school and always wondering what the Jason story was. All I knew in those days was that Jason wore a hockey mask and killed people and there were a lot of sequels. I was even told by my friends that he killed people with a chainsaw. Of course they were probably getting him mixed up with Leatherface. It wasn’t until about 5th grade when I finally rented the movie at Blockbuster. It wasn’t long after having just seen the first Halloween. Right away there was an instant love.
Laugh all you want but I really did find this scary when I first watched it. True fact. My first thoughts were that Jason was the killer. Nothing other than the eye view of the killer was shown, and that made it very creepy. Harry Manfredini’s score, while very reminiscent of Psycho, gives it the right suspenseful tone. The “Chh Chh Ha Haa” is fucking brilliant.
The biggest highlight of this film is Tom Savini’s special effects. I knew for a while before watching it the first time that Kevin Bacon was going to be in it. It was cool to see a familiar face, even if it wasn’t very long. His death scene really jumped out at me and it’s the first one in the movie that gets gory. It’s followed shortly by his girlfriend walking around in her underwear, and gets a hatchet to the face. First time I ever saw something like that in the movie. Almost looks simple now, but back then that was a freaky movie moment for me.
After those 2 deaths, the enigma of the murderer just keeps building. In fact, the next one who gets it, Brenda, hears the voice of a kid yelling “Help!” That part was definitely freaky and to this day I still find it creepy. It’s supposed to be Jason but I didn’t know that until later. You never know where it came from.
Once we get to the end we are introduced to Mrs. Voorhees played by the amazing Betsy Palmer. She reveals that she once worked at the camp and her son Jason died there. At that moment I thought Jason was going to pop out with a hockey mask and chainsaw. No dice, but its Mrs. Voorhees herself! I had no idea the series started that way.
A semi-complaint I have is how long it takes till we get to the final showdown with Alice and Mrs. Voorhees. A really creepy moment it when she talks in a child’s voice (supposed to be Jason’s) while trying to track down Alice.
As we get towards the end of the film, Alice and Mrs. Voorhees get in an old woman/young woman cat fight. Finally, Alice chops her head off with a machete… It’s an amazing Tom Savini special effect especially with her hands still moving after the decapitation. Its an epic moment, but the best is yet to come. Alice decides to float around on the canoe and take a nap. She is awoken in the early morning when she notices cop cars pulling up to the lake. Boom ! Jason pops out from the water and pulls her under. That really was an actual jump for me at age 11. It scared the shit out of me because I never expected it and prior to that had never seen “surprise shock” endings like that before. It worked well for me as a young fan of movies back then.
I very much enjoy Manfredini’s end credit music. The other thing about the ending is that it is an enigma because of Jason coming back as an older adult looking for revenge in Part 2. They didn’t know at the time that the first movie would be a success, so it leaves the ending as a strange anomaly that may or may not have happened.
After I finished the first movie, the next thing that had to happen was to see all the sequels. Most importantly, I had to show all my friends who hadn’t seen any of the movies. That was the best for me because every person I watched these movies with either liked it or hated it, but always had funny comments to contribute.
While this is a staple in Slasher movie history up there with Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, my only real complaints are the long buildups to the offscreen kills. All the classic cliches’ of Slashers are here as well, just as expected.
The reason I give this a 5-star rating is because this was the movie that got me addicted to the Slasher style (even more so than Halloween) and I went crazy to find more and more. This was/is/always will be an important movie in my life no matter how much it will age over time.
- The first time we are introduced to Crazy Ralph, the man who warns everyone that they are doomed.
- Steve Christy, the guy putting Camp Crystal Lake back together, was definitely trying to bang Alice. Shortly after that moment in the movie, Alice goes to see Bill (Harry Crosby) and is being watched… close. How the hell does Alice not notice Mrs. Voorhees right next to her when she talks to Bill? The POV of the murderer just seems too close by.
- Throughout the film, we see license plates and addresses that say Blairstown, NJ where it was filmed. Even though according to events of the F13 timeline, we are supposed to believe that they are in a little more northwards up in Connecticut.
- I wonder what happened to Sandy the waitress. She seemed like a nice lady. Was Steve Christy checking her out? He still owes her a night on the town.