by Ian Sputnik
Friday the 13th (1980)
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
In 1980 Friday 13th was the film to watch. A group of teens are sent to a soon-to-be-reopened summer camp in order to get things up and running. On their way there, the team is informed that the camp had been shut down due to a drowning, and soon a series of murders ensues.
One might think that this is yet another teens-in-a-cabin type of horror. And while it is, it isn’t. It’s one of the originals, and helped create a formula for horror that’s been repeated countless times since.
It was one of Kevin Bacon’s very early films, before he hit the big time with Footloose (1984), followed by Tremors (1990), Flatliners (1990), JFK (1991), A Few Good Men (1992), Sleepers (1992), Apollo 13 (1995), and X-Men: First Class (2011). And he puts in a half decent performance within this flick. The other actors, on the whole, are rather hammy, as were most actors in these horror films of the day (sorry for our ‘hammy’ pun, Mr. Bacon).
It doesn’t take long before the occupants of the camp get picked off one by one. Just as you might expect. But who is the perpetrator of these killings?
So, why should you watch this movie? It was the film that introduced the idea of Jason Voorhees to the world. We say ‘idea’ because if you know your horror films, or if you ever watched Scream (1996), then you’ll know he doesn’t actually make a real appearance until the sequel, only a brief tease.
The second reason, is that the special effects were made by living legend, and horror god, Tom Savini. The kill scenes and bloodletting make the film stand out against almost everything else that was out at the time. Without giving anything away, the bed scene involving an arrow is an absolute seminal moment in horror movies, and will stay with you forever.
The Friday the 13th franchise spawned 13 films, and even a head-to-head battle with Freddy Krueger in Freddy vs. Jason (2003), showing that a good horror character can go a long way.
This Halloween, sit yourself down, turn out the lights, and enjoy this classic, fun, game changing movie.