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FRIDAY THE 13th (1980)

OCTOBER 23, 2013

This is the official start of the FRIDAY THE 13th Marathon. 12 movies / 12 reviews. I will preface these reviews by telling you that I have seen each one of these films at least a half dozen times if not (much) more. With this viewing of the FRIDAY THE 13th – Complete Collection Blu-ray set, I’m attempting to watch the movies from a fresh perspective as if this is the first time I’m viewing them.
I wouldn’t call FRIDAY THE 13th a seminal film, but it certainly is one of the most influential in the 80s slasher genre. Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN is not only the grandfather of modern horror, but it was a much more refined film that had a tad more on its mind than pure exploitation. You can also look to Italian-horror master Mario Bava’s  A BAY OF BLOOD (aka TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE) from 1971as a quality precursor to the genre.
The thing that surprised me most about this viewing of FRIDAY THE 13th was that the movie holds up better than I typically give it credit. There is a reason it spawned 9 sequels, a “horror titans” brawl and a remake (and soon a sequel to the remake). The film actually has a discernable plot with naturalistic characters that behave in a sensible manner.
Camp Crystal Lake is going to reopen after years of laying dormant due to a number of deaths that have haunted the place over the last decade. Having been dubbed “Camp Blood” by the locals, they feel that it should just be left alone. No one in the town wants to be reminded of the murders that have blighted their once peaceful hamlet.
But kids will be kids, and ignoring the warning, Steve (Peter Brouwer) has spent his money on upgrading the camp and has enlisted a throng of nubile young teenagers (including a young Kevin Bacon!) to finish it up, so they’re ready for when the kids arrive.
But unfortunately they have arrived on an important day: Friday the 13th, the birthday of a young mongoloid boy named Jason. He accidentally drowned in the lake years earlier and someone doesn’t take too kindly to the counselors defiling his memory.
One by one (ala Ten Little Indians) the counselors are sliced and diced by a mystery killer in increasingly brutal and gory ways leaving just one (Adrienne King’s Alice) to defend herself against the crazed lunatic.
I will give the movie credit for the fact that the characters act rationally when they realize they are in danger. They arm and defend themselves and desperately try to survive. I found nothing egregious about how they behaved and that lends some credibility to the fairly standard plotting.
All in all, FRIDAY THE 13th is a decent film. Not exactly a MUST SEE MOVIE but worth seeing if you are a fan of horror and appreciate movies that have contributed to the genre over the decades.