Considering the amount of horror movies I watched growing up it might seem unusual that I never watched the Friday the 13th movies. I don’t really have a clear explanation as to why…I think I got hooked on Halloween & A Nightmare on Elm Street & they were enough to fill any slasher movie void.
Jason Voorhees just never appealed as a movie villain because he just isn’t that interesting. His motivations are sketchy as fuck & the lack of any real development throughout the series means he gets incredibly stale as a character.
It’s also worth remembering though that Jason Voorhees has a very minor role in this movie.
Friday the 13th is one of the most famous horror movies ever made though & has been responsible for some of the most iconic & memorable scenes in horror. The ‘chchch ahahah’ sound effect is probably as famous as Jason himself!
Opening at a camp in the woods, we see a group of nice wholesome kids singing camp songs then 2 sneak off to have sex. It’s the 80’s, it’s a slasher movie & we have teens…what else are they going to do? (I wonder what the body count is for teens having sex then dying in these movies. It’s gotta be high).
Instantly as a horror it has something that appeals to me…the murders are done from the first person perspective. We don’t see who it is but they seem to be someone that isn’t instantly terrifying which really opens it up for who could be the killer. All of this occurs within the first 5 minutes…it doesn’t hang around.
Sometime later we meet Amy on her way to Camp Crystal Lake…she is one of the new counsellors getting ready for the re-opening. We hear about incidents that have occurred years before including the drowning of a special needs boy who wasn’t being watched (the counsellors were off banging). That kid there is Jason Voorhees…
Anyway, Amy isn’t long for this world as she gets into the killers car & has her throat slashed shortly afterwards. So already we’ve established certain horror movie rules…don’t have sex & don’t accept lifts from strangers.
The rest of the cast are generic horny teens with little respect. They are warned off from going to Camp Blood by the local town drunk…but who listens to the town drunk!? This dudes acting is awful, he comes across so cheesy it’s embarrassing…no wonder they didn’t listen to him.
Our group of walking dead meat have fun at the lake while being watched from a distance. It’s important to note here that the watcher has the build of a man. This is confusing later in the movie when the killer is revealed. Sure there are no guarantees that it was the killer watching them but it happens a lot!
That night a storm comes & the teens all do what teens do (in these movies at least). Have sex, do drugs & play strip Monopoly. Not too sure about that last one, seems as though that’s a long game to play just to see some boobs.
This stormy night is the perfect chance for the killer to go on a rampage. This is where Friday the 13th really gets fun. The deaths are imaginative (those that are shown on screen) & gory with the poker through the back of the throat being a particular favourite & well known scene. Oh & an axe to the face…I can never get bored of axes to the face.
The cast is picked off one by one…normally doing something like walking around in the dark on their own calling for someone that is already dead. “Bill, Bill…where are you?” “Bill, this isn’t funny”, “come on Bill, stop playing”.
That happens a lot as do jump scares but it’s important to remember that we call these clichés now because of how overdone they are; at this time in 1980 they weren’t clichés!
With just one person left we get our killer reveal & it is a doozy. Now I’m going to spoil this for you because any self-respecting horror movie fan should know this already. The killer is a little old lady, Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s mother.
Bitter & angry that her son died years before because of horny counsellors she is meting her revenge on any & all that come near the camp. Her change from nice & normal to raving lunatic is excellent. She plays the part so well & seems like a serious threat (although it does open questions up about certain things she would have done earlier in the film). She hearing Jason her head & mimicking his voice is a bit laughable though.
Her inability to kill the final girl quickly does make sense as well because her whole approach was one of surprise. Who would suspect this kindly woman in a knitted jumper? We see that used several times to great effect throughout.
Pamela Voorhees is the shining light in this movie & I can only imagine how shocking it must have been when first seen.
The final scene in Friday the 13th is probably the most famous as our heroine floats out on a boat waking up to the morning light. The nightmare is over, she is safe & then a decayed, deformed boy rises up behind her & drags her under the water. It’s an awesome ending!
Friday the 13th is a fun movie for the most part, character development is un-important but it builds mystery well & has enough death to please most gore-fiends. It’s interesting to see how the series begun & definitely creates interest in seeing where the other 9 are going to go.
Friday the 13th
The Final Score - 7/10
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