Saturday, October 18, 2014

FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

Does anybody still remember their first VCR player? I sure do. It was the early eighties when our family got one. It's too far back for me to remember the first video we rented. My best guest would be the Tom Hanks movie SPLASH. But I do remember the place where we rented movies. That place was called Beggar's Video. For a young kid the place was huge! In reality I'm sure the selection was small.

The thing I remember most about the video store was all the movie posters and cardboard standees. There was one standee in particular that always freaked me out. It was one of Freddy Krueger placed in a corner of the store. It made no difference where I was standing in the store, it always felt like Freddy was staring at me.

Another piece of advertisement that would always catch my eye was the FRIDAY THE 13th movie poster. A silhouette of someone holding a knife, and inside the silhouette we see woods, a cabin, some unlucky teens, and a full moon. The poster tells you every thing you need to know about the movie. Ingenious! To this day it is still one of my favorie horror movie posters.

Intrigued as I was of the poster there was no way I wanted to see that movie. I was already traumatized at an early age with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. So I knew what a scary movie was. It wouldn't be until years later that I would even consider watching a Friday the 13th movie.

Back in grade school during recess some of us kids would brag about watching a Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street movie. Describing in gory detail how sick and twisted these movies were. We were so full of crap back then! But just like with any group of school kids there was that one who did see these movies. We rode the bus together and on the way to school he'd tell me how scary they really were or were not.

It wasn't until the late eighties or early nineties that I watched one of these movies. They played them to death on Cable television. It was either TBS Super Station or USA Network I cannot remember which? Ah, good ole USA Network, one of the best Cable channels during the 80's!

Even with most of the gore taken out, I still couldn't make it through FRIDAY THE 13TH. I'd always change the channel before the movie was over. I never found out who the killer was, and always assumed it was Jason because he was the killer in the sequels. Everybody knows that!

Eventually I did watch FRIDAY THE 13TH in it's entirety and was dumbstruck that the killer wasn't Jason but instead his mother. What? Lame. Well, at least Jason popping out of the water at the end sort of redeems the film. In pop culture Jason's mother being the killer became an afterthought. I laughed my ass off when I saw the movie SCREAM and the killer brings up the question, who was the killer in the first Friday the 13th movie? I wonder how many people in the theater got the question wrong just like Drew Barrymore's character did?

Last year I reviewed my favorite entry in the Friday the 13th franchise, FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. In that blog I explained how much I did not care for the original, and also why the fourth film is the quintessential movie in the series. The first film is cleaver yes, but I'm a Jason fan. Jason should always be the killer.

While it's not my favorite of the series I still enjoy watching it. I mean let's give credit where credit is due, FRIDAY THE 13TH is the one that started it all. Before I get crucified by all the horror guru's out there; yes, technically JOHN CARPENTER'S HALLOWEEN is the film that started the sub genre.

But, FRIDAY THE 13TH with it's gore and higher body count became the blue print for the slasher flick boom of the 80's. It's crazy how many slasher movie's were made during this time.

I like the camp setting and how the film looks like an exploitation film, even though it was released by a major studio so technically it cannot be a true exploitation film like say THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE.

For it's time, the gore effects were done very well. And some of the kills even hold up today. All the characters/victims are likable which is something that changed for the worse in slasher flicks of the 90's. I enjoy SCREAM and all, but to hell with all the horror films that followed where every character was self aware and too smart to be in a horror movie. Give me a break! That's why the eighties ruled.

In conclusion. I recommend FRIDAY THE 13TH for it's place in horror movie history.

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