Friday the 13th (1980)

friday the 13th poster 1980 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Crazy kills, who's-the-killer mystery different than later sequels

Generic, basic horror movie

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: Friday the 13th

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): May 9, 1980

MPAA Rating: R

friday the 13th kevin bacon arrow death

Damn it, fake blood is going into my mouth

Camp Crystal Lake has had its share of problems.  The drowning of a young boy and the murder of two counselors closed the camp for years…but now Camp Crystal Lake is reopening, and someone isn’t happy about.  Despite warnings, a killer is stalking the camp and the young counselors are the targets.  Camp Crystal Lake has a darkness, and it is about to claim its newest victims!

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham, Friday the 13th is a horror slasher movie.  The film is the start to a successful and long-running franchise, but the initial film received negative reviews from critics despite being a massive box-office success.  The film received Razzie nominations for Worst Picture and Worst Supporting Actress (Betsy Palmer).

Halloween ratcheted up the “slasher” craze and created a lot of copycats.  The makers of the film have admitted that they were trying to capitalize on Halloween’s popularity and they succeeded.  While the horror film is full of horror clichés, there is a nice “flashback” feel to watching Friday the 13th that children of the ’80s will remember and enjoy.

friday the 13th betsy palmer mrs voorhees kill her mommy

“Don’t worry, Jason…Mommy’s going to overact for you!”

The plot for this entry in the film series actually goes a bit different than most of its sequels.  The murders and deaths are set-up as a mini-mystery (not too hard of a mystery) and the slasher is unknown through a majority of the film.  This leaves much of the film to be filled with teens having sex and talking about sex while occasionally being murdered.

******Spoiler Alert****** Though I don’t feel I really need a spoiler alert over thirty-five years later, it is revealed that the killer is not Jason Voorhees but his mother taking revenge for his death.  It was meant to be a shock, but the acting by Betsy Palmer is so over-the-top that it takes the film to a weird level that nothing surprises you.  Palmer fortunately is working off of Adrienne King who is a decent scream queen as Alice and the film also features Kevin Bacon as one of the counselors (post-Animal House but pre-Footloose).

friday the 13th ending jason voorhees lake canoe adrienne king

…and the classic “final jump”

The movie is rather cheap, but it is shot in a way that it doesn’t matter much.  The deaths are gory and the jumps are plentiful and that is what really matters in an ’80s slasher.  The movie is aided by the great Harry Manfredini soundtrack that became synonymous with the series and the genre itself.

Friday the 13th is no great movie and there were even better slashers from around this time.  The makers of the movie however realized its power and quickly capitalized on it by creating a bankable killer in Jason Voorhees and the rapid release of sequels (something that Halloween sputtered on).  Friday the 13th is a little different than the other Friday films, but overall, I prefer the Jason entries.  Friday the 13th was followed by Friday the 13th Part 2 in 1981.

Related Links:

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)

Friday the 13th Part 4:  The Final Chapter (1984)

Friday the 13th Part V:  A New Beginning (1985)

Friday the 13th Part VI:  Jason Lives (1986)

Friday the 13th Part VII:  The New Blood (1988)

Friday the 13th Part 8:  Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Jason Goes to Hell:  The Final Friday (1993)

Jason X (2001)

Friday the 13th (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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