on May 24, 2004
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Cast: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Kevin Bacon.
Running Time: 95 minutes.
Rated R for violence, gore, language, and mild sexual situations.
One of the more influential slasher films of all time, "Friday the 13th" was one of the few in the series that was moderately scary, used specific camera positioning and foreground for its scares, and possessed a fairly intelligent script. A group of camp counselors are looking forward to their work at Crystal Lake campsite, only to hear the warnings from townies that they are in severe danger and that they should leave immediately. Ignoring these threats, the teenagers live life as if they are no worries.
Their attitudes change when a maniac killer starts to knock off all of the counselors, each in a gory fashion one-by-one. Adrienne King is the main scream queen, running around the camp finding dead bodies all over and finally encountering the killer and learns the truth of the systematic murder spree. Excellent special effects by master Tom Savini and a tense, dramatic musical score, yet the performances are fairly laughable and the plot gets old quickly (which obviously means they should make nine more sequels!). The final scene is absolutely terrifying! Not one of the best, but still important to the genre.
on May 30, 2009
i have no doubt that if i had seen this when it first came out in
1980,it would have scared the crap out of me.in the present day
though,i didn't find it scary,mainly because i have seen so many
horror/slasher movies since then.this movie is hardly graphic or
shocking at all compare to today's feature film,and even some TV
shows,for that matter.however,i will say really enjoyed the musical
score by Henry Manfredini,who must have been influenced strongly by
Bernard Herman,who scored Psycho.i believe Kevin bacon makes his big
screen debut here,but i could be wrong.the acting for this type of
movie is fine,although i have to single out Betsy Palmer for really
standing out.this movie spawned,i believe,10 sequels,all differing in
quality.my vote for Friday the 13th is a 3/5
on May 6, 2002
On a lazy sunlit day in 1957, a little boy drowns in woodsy Camp Crystal Lake because the two counselors on duty are making love instead of doing their job. A year later, these two counselors are savagely murdered. The camp is closed down and that of course is that....
Fast forward to 1980. Steve Christy is doing his best to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, having hired six nubile counselors who are all on their way to help with the preparations on Friday the 13th, which just happens to be the birthday of the little boy who drowned.
One by one these counselors are systematically slaughtered by someone who doesn't want the camp reopened.
Annie is a perky young lass hitchhiking up to camp; unfortunately she accepts a ride from a stranger and realizes her mistake too late. "Hey, wasn't that the road to Camp Crystal Lake back there?" The jeep merely accelerates. "Please stop! Please stop!" Annie finally catapults herself out of the speeding vehicle into a ditch. Her leg sprained, she manages to get to her feet just as the jeep backs up toward her and stops. She flees into the woods, while the black-trousered killer follows swiftly. Annie limps through the forest to a tree and leans back...only to see, to her horror, that her fate is sealed: a dagger is ripped across her throat, slicing it open.
Night falls and Marcie, a panty-clad lithe counselor, is alone in the restroom washing her hands when she hears a noise. "Ollie-ollie-in-free!" she giggles, yanking back the shower curtains. Then a shadow appears. Marcie cowers in the shower stall as an axe guillotines downward in a scintillating arc, splitting her head open like a ripe melon.
The remaining counselors are dispatched methodically by spear and by bow -and-arrow, leaving only Goody Two Shoes Alice (Adrienne King), a Doris Day clone who looks like she couldn't swat a fly. She's panicked that all the other counselors have vanished; when she discovers a bloodied corpse fastened to the door, her panic turns quickly to full-blown terror.
Alice locks herself inside one of the other cabins, then is relieved to see headlights flashing through a window as a vehicle pulls in. She runs out gratefully and is relieved to see that it's alright, it's only kindly Mrs. Voorhees, who used to work at Camp Crystal Lake when she was young.
But why is Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) so unafraid when Alice cries out that all her friends are dead? The fiftyish, puffy-cheeked, bug-eyed, grey-sweatered, black-trousered woman with the curly blonde hairdo seems utterly unaffected and perpetually smiling.
What in the world is going on here?
Watch FRIDAY THE 13th and find out. Betsy Palmer gives a decidedly bravura performance at the end, and what the movie lacks in suspense it makes up for in gore.
One thing you might be wondering: where is the famous Jason? Why, he's the little boy who drowned in the lake back in 1957. Don't ask, just watch. You'll love it.
on October 19, 2001
Schlock movie maker Sean S. Cunningham had every intention of making a buck with this gory little movie that truly launched the slasher craze of the early 80s. That he made a cinematic legend was strictly an accident.
John Carpenter's Halloween had proved to be a huge hit just a year or two previous to this film and making a similar slaughter date movie to cash in on the trend seemed a good idea. So Friday the 13th (another 'bad date' title) was born.
Like Halloween the movie starts with the post coital murder of two sneak away lovers, roll credits and jump forward to 'The Present'. A well meaning camp counselor is trying to reopen Camp Crystal Lake much to the distaste of the locals, for it is there that the pre-credit murders happened. It seems that so much bad luck has befallen camps in the area that just about everyone agrees that it must have a death curse. Boy have they got that right. For someone is lurking in the woods, watching and stalking the gathering counselors, and when night falls and a storm rolls in, the killer pounces. Again and again the blood flows freely at Camp Crystal Lake.
Nothing more than a simplistic low budget exploitation shocker, Friday the 13th's biggest controversy wasn't its sex and graphic bloodletting, but that a major Hollywood studio (Paramount) would even buy the distribution rights and release such a sleazy item, not to mention making a mint doing so. This might be worth viewing for those interested in seeing the birth of a cinematic trend that would take years to burn out - only to come back again and again just like the unstoppable killers that populated it. Just remember that Friday the 13th is really nothing special, just a little exploitation flick that got very lucky. Recommended to the curious.
on August 31, 2001
Friday The 13th was a spawn of "Halloween". It jumped on the slasher craze that "Halloween" started two years earlier. Friday The 13th hardly holds a candle to the scary masterpiece of "Halloween", but it is an effective film. It has some solid scares in the film that became less frequent in many of the brainless sequels. A bunch of campers at Camp Crystal Lake become fodder for a knife wielding psychopath. Is it Jason?. If you haven't seen it, I won't give it away. The acting is pretty lame, except for Betsy Palmer, who is a convincing psycho. The death scenes are raw and graphic, especially the one involving a young Kevin Bacon. I'm not saying it's a bad film, it is a decent film. The endless sequels don't really have a plot or much connection to previous films, but they are brain dead entertainment. Wether you like or not, Friday The 13th and Jason are huge pop icons. I , myself, love this series. The movies aren't very good, but they are fun. This one is no exception. This film, like "Halloween", spawned off many horrid immitators that scraped the bottom of the barrel. Still, Friday The 13th is a fun, sometimes gripping, horror film. Kill her mommy, kill her....
on August 13, 2001
Slasher flick classic about a group of teenage summer camp counselors in training that are methodically stalked, terrorized and ultimately killed off one-by-one by a mysterious, hulking, revenge-driven killer.
Theatrically released in 1980 by Paramount Studios in an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the enormously successful 1978 independent motion picture "Halloween", "Friday the 13th" became an instant hit among teen audiences and has, to date, led to an astounding 8 sequels (the best of which are "2", "3" and "5"), with a 9th ("Jason X") to be released sometime in 2002.
Highlighted by some of the most elaborate special effects in horror film history (designed by the one and only Tom Savini), a genuinely creepy soundtrack by composer Harry Manfredini (who can forget that catchy little theme), a hauntingly eerie storyline loaded with atmosphere, and the motion picture debut of Kevin Bacon..."Friday the 13th" is truly a horror film/slasher flick classic that shouldn't be missed by any of the genre's true fans...or anyone for that matter.
on January 16, 2001
In desperate need of a hit, Sean S. Cunningham had a stroke of genius: Why not combine the elements of suspense of "Halloween" with all the graphic violence of "Dawn of the Dead"? Indeed, why not? A runaway smash during the summer of 1980 (beaten out only by "The Empire Strikes Back") this was followed by nine sequels and an in-name only TV series.
The cursory plot involves several camp counselors setting out to re-open Camp Crystal Lake after some twenty years, following some unexplained murders and accidents. The new counselors laugh off warnings of a "death curse" by the locals and the town drunk and start to ready the property, with time out of course for pot, beer, sex, and a round of strip Monopoly. Unaware an unseen killer is prowling the camp, one by one they fall victim in a variety of gruesome ways, with a little help from makeup artist Tom Savini, whom Cunningham tapped from "Dawn of the Dead".
A definite fan favorite with the special effects, suspense, body count, and a heart-stopping finale. Nonetheless, the film is not perfect. The dialogue is at best laughable, and there are some killer POV shots that are totally impossible (the victims would able to see the assailant). Controversy surrounding the film no doubt helped at the box office; Gene Siskel sent a letter to Paramount asking how they could distribute such a film, the MPAA took criticism for the violence that slipped the censors, and Leonard Maltin suggested that this is the reason why SAT scores are on the decline. Ironically, two years earlier no major studio would distribute "Halloween" (too exploitative, they said) and now Warner Bros., Universal, and Paramount all made bids on this one. Looks like John Carpenter had the last laugh there.
The only DVD extra is the theatrical trailer and newcomers shouldn't watch that first as it blows a lot of the scares. Most of the death scenes were snipped of a few seconds by the MPAA (these are intact on the Japanese laserdisc version) and only one (the death of Annie) is restored here, though that's thought to be a mistake on Paramount's part. Despite massive fan protest, Paramount (as of this writing) has no plans to release any of the "Friday" films uncut. Too bad; the fans could use a little "thank you" for all the business we've given them.
on January 10, 2001
Sean S. Cunningham delivered us a movie classic in 1980. That classic. That classic is named Friday the 13th. I was given this movie for Christmas in 1990, and it was the best video present anyone had ever given me. I was a big fan of this movie since I had seen it for the first time on TV back in either '81 or '82. It has since become one of my top 3 favorite movies (including Apocalypse Now and the Shining). Everything about the movie appeals to me, the camp itself (Camp NoBeBoSco near Blairstown New jersey), the beautiful Pine barrens of Western New Jersey, stylized photography and lighting by Barry Abrams,good acting which is rare in horror fims!!, unbelievable makeup effects (by make-up guru Tom Savini), and what maybe the greatest Horror soundtrack ever! Harry Manfredini's score is hauntingly atmospheric. "ch ch ch ha ha ha". I purchased the DVD before I even owned a player and took it over to a good friend of mine's house. Off with the lights, on with the movie. Mesmerizing stuff! By the end, my friend, who was no big fan of horror movies was scared stupid. He actually jumped of the couch at the canoe in the water sequence. He said he actually liked it, alot. I was blown away by the superiority of the DVD movie over the VHS version. Great color and sharpness, improved sound and virtually no video artifacts. The difference between the two is amazing! Definetely the best I have ever seen between a VHS version and the DVD version. The included trailer is one of the coolest I have ever seen. Of course, being distributed by Paramount pictures is not an asset, for Paramount hasn't grassped the DVD market by the tail (at least on older releases). Hey Paramount, any other extras in your vaults?! There are two extended death scenes (Annie and Mrs. Voorhees and yes that is the correct spelling!), but that's it (except for the trailer) This DVD is anamorphically enhanced for those with 16:9 televisions. Audio is English Mono and French Mono (Get this... the French dialogue audio sounds much more clear than the English track!) Hint -> if you zoom in on Neddy's cabin when he first walks to it, you can see the face (in slight obscurity) of one Ms. Betsy Palmer. You can't do that on VHS!
on October 18, 2000
In the wake of revisionist splatter movies like "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer", it may be difficult for today's audiences to imagine how much the modern horror genre owes to Sean S. Cunningham's seminal splatter movie "Friday the 13th" (1980). Borne from the success of "Halloween", Cunningham's film reworked the template set down by John Carpenter, placing a group of vulnerable teens in an isolated location (in this instance, a run-down summer camp plagued by a series of unexplained 'accidents') before unleasing a deadly, unstoppable force against them. Cunningham underlined the element of mystery and suspense by hiring makeup wiz Tom Savini - fresh from his groundbreaking work on "Dawn of the Dead" - to stage a series of elaborately gruesome set-pieces. This potent combination knocked mainstream audiences sideways, and the film was a huge success, spearheading a wave of independent horror films which dominated movie screens in the early 1980s and spawned a slew of sequels and rip-offs which continue to this day, to a point where the original film has become somewhat lost in the shuffle.
Viewed objectively, "Friday the 13th" is perhaps a little too slow-burning for its own good. Victor Miller's one-dimensional script allows the gory murders to punctuate a labored narrative which takes too long in setting out its meagre stall. Too much time is wasted on petty details - characters make coffee, wander in the woods, hunt for snakes in the cabins, etc. - while a ubiquitous Evil Presence lurks ominously nearby. However, once the stage has been set and the mayhem begins, this deceptively simple premise comes into its own, and Cunningham cranks up the tension for a show-stopping finale which raised terrified audiences from their seats duting the film's initial run. Production values are functional but effective, distinguished by Harry Manfredini's instantly recognizable score ("ch-ch-ch!") - a memorable variation obn "Psycho"s shrieking violins- and Barry Abrams' unobtrusive cinematography, which makes a real virtue of the woodland locations. The cast includes a young Kevin Bacon and Harry Crosby (Bing's grandson), and Walt Gorney parlays the cliched character of 'Crazy Ralph' (a prophet of doom) into something of a cult figure. But the show belongs to veteran Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees, an old friend of the camp's owner, whose arrival late in the film gives the proceedings a much-needed kick up the backside. Oh, and watch out for Ari Lehman, making the kind of splashy entrance that most other movie stars would kill for...
If the never-ending slew of sequels has robbed the film of its initial impact, then it's nice to see it on DVD where it can be enjoyed by new generations, though Paramount's region 1 disc contains a curious hybrid print which appears to have been culled from more than one source. The shot at 0:22:17, which was oiginally curtailed for US audiences, has now been fully restored, which is cause for celebration. But what Paramount giveth, Paramount also taketh away - the villain's comeuppance has been severely curtailed, thereby losing much of its impact. The rest of the movie is the same R-rated print which played in US theaters, shorn of some of the gore which features in the European and Japanese version of the film, though Paramount has not been forthcoming on the reasons for the DVD alterations (the disc runs 95m 3s). To add insult to injury, this anamorphic (1.85:1) print is simpy TOO DARK, obscuring a wealth of details during night scenes (the bulk of the movie!) which are plainly visible in the accompanying trailer - the results are truly awful. At least the two-channel mono sound is clean and forceful, but that's no compensation when you're struggling to see what the hell is going on! Captions are provided. All in all, Paramount would be well advised to licence this title to another company which would lighten the contrasts and restore it to its unrated glory at the earliest opportunity. As it stands, four stars for the movie, two for the DVD presentation.
Over the years, "Friday" has been a useful tool for critics to bash the horror genre, citing it as an example of all that's bad in modern moviemaking. Even the trailer seems to have its tongue firmly embedded in its cheek ("You may only see it once, but that will be enough!"). But for all its faults, the film has aged gracefully, and the shocks and scares still have the power to take unwary viewers by surprise. The DVD is a worthwhile purchase, but it's a long way from being the definitive version of this landmark splatter movie.
on October 15, 2000
The "Friday" films are much better horror movies than people/critics usually give them credit for, because there's plenty of atmosphere and tension. (I also find the series way scarier than the "Elm Street" nonsense with its dream character Freddy.) I'd hate to call these "Friday" movies realistic, but in a way they are, as there really are crazy stalkers and psycho killers like Jason out there. Bad blood apparently runs in the Voorhees family, and that makes the shocking conclusion especially creepy for first-time viewers. Too bad Paramount couldn't resist a bit of censorship in the decapitation scene, trimming the gore, no doubt, for the less accustomed "Scream" crowd. (-Come on, it's even uncut on the old British video version !.) This unwise behaviour from Paramount, the lack of DVD extras, and the fact that they've never bothered to letterbox it until now, just goes to show that the studio never really cared much for their "Friday The 13th" series. Their embarrassment of the series is quite strange, afterall, the movies were extremely succesful world-wide. So what's the idea of trying to make them more accessible to a modern audience this way ?. This is an insult to the true fans, and no better than when George Lucas CGI-messed with his already brilliant 70s hit "Star Wars". (A good idea might actually be to sell or license the films to a company that'll care more, like, Anchor Bay.) I fear for the most violent of all the films, the recently DVD-released "Friday The 13th - Part 3", and its very gory "butchered-boy" shot. (-If it's missing from that DVD; I, for one, am not going to buy it and bitching to Paramount will be in dire order.) This DVD however, has a superp picture quality with a sharp image, and it's great to finally have it in widescreen.