Review of Friday The 13th (1980)

4 Jan

Friday The 13th (1980) is a horror/thriller/slasher film, made to cash in on the success of  Halloween (1978), these two films are believed to be the main two horror films that shaped and brought to prominence the slasher genre.

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham (The New Kids (1985), DeepStar Six (1989)), he’s also produced some notable genre films.

Written by Victor Miller (A Stranger Is Watching (1982), Another World (2964 TV)).

Starring: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bertram, Mark Nelson and others.

Sure, it is a blatant copy of Halloween, but nobody’s ever tried to hide that. But even as a rip-off it has some new, interesting ideas and considering  how suddenly the horror film market of the 80’s filled up with various worse rip-offs, which led to the sub-genre’s death as 90’s approached.

And I’m sort of ashamed to admit it, but I prefer this film to Halloween, although I admit Halloween is technically a superior film in every possible way. But if Halloween brought slasher genre to success, then this film shaped the genre and since this movie is when the formula got engraved in to the gravestone of the genre.

The acting is not good. But that almost comes with the territory. The characters are incredibly  bland, I don’t remember the name of the lead character or any other for that matter. Of course, except Jason and Pamela Voorhees. So yeah, I even only remember how three of the actors look. Adrienne King, because she’s the lead, Betsy Palmer, because she’s awesome in this and Kevin Bacon, just because he’s the only one who’s had a career after this. It’s weird to see him so young and playing this supporting character that we’re not supposed to really notice much or give a shit about. Or maybe we are.

Because when his awesome death scene came he was the only one where I was like „No, not Bacon!” (which is what I never say when I’m offered actual bacon). I would have said „Spoilers!”, but, come on, it’s a slasher movie and he’s not the lead or love interest, what did you think was going to happen?

Speaking of awesome deaths, the special effects are done by the great Tom Savini, who is known either as the guy behind  various cool effects on movies like Dawn Of The Dead or that guy with a revolver instead of a penis in From Dusk Til Dawn.

The slasher’s POV scenes in combination with the classic „ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma” sound effects really work, although now the POV is so overused and cliché.

Weirdly the slasher movies carry this weird message of disapproval towards teenagers doing „bad” things. Which is odd, because most of the audiences for them consisted solely of these „bad” teenagers. I just don’t understand why their parents were against these movies featuring serial killers teaching those darn kids some good lessons.

The twist in the end is really, really cool, but actually more so for the modern audiences, because back when the movie came out people didn’t think of Friday the 13th as one of the movies with Jason. And I don’t think many films have a twist that works better over time and the pop cultural references actually hide it. Except Scream, which totally ruined this for me.

Overall, I enjoyed it immensely, despite it’s obvious shortcomings and it is totally recommended for anyone who likes some good ol’ fashioned slasher fun.

"What? What are you looking at guys? Is there something on my face?"

2 Responses to “Review of Friday The 13th (1980)”

  1. Aloha Mister Hand April 7, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Definitely a classic & a favorite!
    And I love the caption you put under the pic of Marcie with the ax in her face.

    • karlails April 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Thanks. This one is a great slasher flick, with a great and unusual slasher.
      What can I say, I love getting a laugh.

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