April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th (1980)



"Camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to re-open a summer camp that was the site of a child's drowning."

Since it's Friday the 13th, I thought I might as well be as predictable as all the other bloggers and say something about this highly overrated slasher. I'm not keen on the slasher subgenre in general as they are all much the same as each other but with only the locations and names of the characters changing.

I'm particularly less than impressed by "Friday the 13th" as it borrowed its most famous kill scenes from Mario Bava's "Twitch of the Death Nerve" (1971). If you haven't seen it then look it up on YouTube where you can see all 13 kills in their uncensored glory.

But as I loathe Italian horror movies even more than American slashers, I have to give Sean S. Cunningham some credit for making this style of film more accessible to an English speaking audience. It's just a pity that "Halloween" (1978) did everything so much better, and everything which followed "Friday the 13th" was so much worse.


Obviously, "Friday the 13th" will always be remembered for Kevin Bacon's death scene, the fact that it wasn't Jason doing all the killing (Oh, was that a spoiler? Who cares?) until part two, and for having an even crappier "Carrie"-style ending than "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984) which followed it into the land of iconic villains.

"Friday the 13th" has little of merit other than being the first and best of a franchise which outstayed its welcome. The numerous sequels starring the psycho in the ice hockey mask, not to mention all the imitators, have proved that the formula of teenagers who break the rules being hacked to death in various unpleasant ways has a very wide appeal, but if you've seen one slasher, you've seen them all.

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