FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
SLASH’S SHITFACED SATURDAY
OK, suffice it to say I am not going to fucking just sit here waiting for the completion of HALLOWEEN III (11), so we will move on to the next epic classic franchise, the rotten realm of one hockey mask wearing, machete-wielding behemoth who doesn’t say shit, but loves to fuck up your shit if you hang around Camp Crystal Lake or outer space; one Jason Voorhees.
Like several other of the Slasher series, this original film was supposed to be a one shot, one trick pony; but the particular slasher hook was infectious, it seems, & they completed twelve of these films for the new franchise, over 29 years, from 1980-2009–contrasted to HALLOWEEN, which lasted, so far, for 31 years, whipping out 10 films from 1978-2009. What the hell was it about 2009 that it stopped both franchise stone cold dead? Was it because Barack Obama took office, or Same-Sex marriages hit the ballet boxes, or that the Large Hadron Collider broke records & blew our minds?
Writer Victor Miller, who wrote most of the screenplay, who admits to being hugely influenced by the wave of success John Carpenter had with HALLOWEEN, said that the filmmakers & producers never intended for FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) to be a launching pad for a series–that Jason, only brought into the film at the end for shock value, was only meant to be a plot device, & as a character was never intended to carry on with his bat shit crazy mother’s grisly work. There are those purists out there (& by the way, fuck them) that contend that this original film would be a lot more cherished & respected if there never were any sequels. Jason’s cameo at the end of the movie was the brainchild of make-up designer, Tom Savini. the director wanted to use his son, Noel, for the role, but his wife nixed the idea.
The film, running time of 95 minutes, was directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who is a good friend of Wes Craven’s.
It sort of pisses me off that he constantly states that he does not like Horror/ Slasher films; that he only dabbles in them as a business venture; Christ.
He is known primarily as a producer (on 23 films) & sometimes Director. He has helmed 13 films since 1970, including FULL MOON MURDERS (1973), A STRANGER IS WATCHING (1982), SPRING BREAK (1983), & DEEP STAR SIX (1989).
Cunningham said, “The pornography of violence is similar to the pornography of sex–in that when it is presented without substance, it becomes a definite turn-off & it self-destructs.” No shit, Sean?
Taglines: On Friday the 13th, they will die horribly–one by one.
Lucky 13? I think not.
You will wish it were only a nightmare.
The film was shot in New Jersey in Blairtown, Hope, & Hardwick Township, mostly at a real Boy Scout camp called Camp Nobebosco; which exists, & is active today. They have a museum/gift shop there that has/displays/sells FRIDAY THE 13TH toys & artifacts. There actually is a real Camp Crystal located in Starke, Florida. There is a town called Voorhees, NJ, which is about eight miles from Haddonfield, NJ, used in all the HALLOWEEN movies. Jesus, New Jersey, the cherished home of Bruce Springsteen, Tony Soprano, & rotund state emperor Chris Christy, has been chosen to be the home & hearth for both HALLOWEEN & FRIDAY THE 13TH horror franchises; cool.
The film had been shot on the shoestring budget of 550 K, & its gross domestic earnings were 39 million dollars, & 59 million internationally; pretty good reasons for the producers to keep this slashing shit going. The make-up for all the grisly deaths was created by Tom Savini. The shoot lasted 28 days,
The cinematography was done by Barry Abrams, who has only lensed 6 films from 1976-1980, and 5 of them were for Sean S. Cunningham.
The music was done by Harry Manfredini, who has composed scores for 148 films since 1975, including 10 of the FRIDAY THE 13THs,
& SWAMP THING (1982), ZOMBIE ISLAND MASSACRE (1984), HOUSE (1986), SLAUGHTER HIGH (1986), HOUSE 2 (1987), THE HORROR SHOW (1989), DEAD ON SIGHT (1994), WISHMASTER (1997), CHOKER (2005), & HOUSE OF USHER (2008).
The cast were mostly unknowns, including an early role for the awesome Kevin Bacon. Betsy Palmer, starlet from the 50’s, played Mama Death, Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, was quoted as saying, “If it weren’t for the fact that I was in desperate need of a new car, I never would have taken the part. After reading the script, I knew the movie was going to be a piece of shit.”
Damn, I love it when you talk dirty, Betsy, She was only brought in for less than 13 days at the end of the shoot, & paid a grand a day. Most of her early murder scenes, where her face is never shown, were done by a stand-in stunt man; sharp-eyed viewers will notice the hairy knuckles, man’s ring, & big wrists & forearms. Estelle Parsons was nearly cast in the role, but wanted too much money (ain’t that a bitch?).
JASON’S BABE GALLERY:
All I can do here is set forth a fucking apology; for hardly a tit, barely a nipple made it to the screen. One positive thing is that most of the sequels were rife with delicious tit-shots. Honestly, this batch of bitches came close to having the old Slashman strike out; best I could do was fucking bunt.
So our lead-off Babe is Jannine Taylor as Marcie.
She & Kevin Bacon played one of the couples.
Their sex scene was the apex of titillation for this movie.
Flat-chested but perky, she ended up swapping spit with an axe.
Laurie Bartram played Brenda.
She did provide us some tit-shots from other movies.
Thanks, Miss Laurie, the HH tit-hounds are grateful.
Betsy Palmer, our sort of heavy, did her share
of cheesecake shots when she was a starlet
under a studio contract; but nothing too racy.
Here is a shot from an upcoming sequel to give you a stunning preview of the tits to come.
Ok, We open on a full moon, & the lonely lake sound of a loon. It is early evening at a summer camp at Crystal Lake. The year is 1958. There is a camp sing-a-long, always a bore, at the main lodge in front of a roaring fireplace. We get the old shadow figure unknown person lurking in the bushes, peeking into the windows.
Two of the camp counselors sneak off to find a quiet place to fuck each other’s brains out. They pick a loft in the hardware tool shed. She, a comely blond, puts down a blanket, & they get to giggling & dry humping right away. Then we hear the music sounding all Bernard Herrman & shit, lots of squeaky strings, & we are treated to some hurky-jerky hand-held POV traveling shots as “someone” comes into the building & begins to creep up the stairs.
Suddenly the kids hear someone, so they jump up & begin buttoning up their clothes. They recognize the intruder, whom we do not see; it’s the old Spielberg JAWS technique; play heavy notes, but keep the identity of the killer secret. The boy staggers back with stab wounds in his chest from an assault we did not see.
The girl scurries about, throwing boxes & shit at the killer; but the camera comes in for a close-up of her soon-to-be-gutted curdling scream.
Cut to a freeze frame, and roll opening credits. We see the huge letters of FRIDAY THE 13TH march toward the lens, & then smashing glass. We are off & slashing, folks.
Cut to over 20 years later in 1979. We meet sweet buxom young Annie, carrying a large camping back pack, walking into a town (Blairtown, NJ). She sees a dog at a service station; petting him she asks if he knows the way to Camp Crystal Lake. He whines & drools on her tits, so she walks on.
Cut to a small diner; Annie walks in & asks for directions to Camp Crystal Lake. The place goes all silent & shit; gosh, does that signify a precursor to tragedy? The oil truck driver offers to take her to the crossroads, about half way to the Camp, which is over 20 miles from town.
Walking out with the truck driver she is startled by the crazy town coot, Ralph. He does look like one whacked out looney sombitch, all skinny, pinch-faced & shit.
He warns Annie in his best John Carradine voice, that if she goes up there to the Camp, it has a Death Curse on it, & that she will “never come back from there.”
During drive the truck driver warns her that the Camp is very bad news, that every attempt of fixing it up in the last 20 years has ended in tragedy.(The owners are named the Christy’s; no shit).
In 1957 a young boy drown up there, & in 1958 two counselors were killed; no one has ever been caught for the crimes. Annie has been hired as the Camp cook for the summer, so she tries to laugh it off.
Cut to Annie walking along the five mile road to the Camp. She thumbs a ride from a passing Jeep. The driver, never shown, is not conversational. The Jeep is speeding along the twisty road, making Annie nervous. Then she sees that they have driven past the road to the Camp.
Annie panics & bails out of the moving vehicle, hurting her knee as she lands in the ditch. The Jeep stops & begins backing up. Annie limp/runs off into the woods. They seem to be near the lake. We can hear the loons.
The POV traveling HH camera begins to pursue her. We realize that she is fucked, which is mostly sad because it is evident that she has a nice rack beneath her plaid shirt. The unseen killer camera catches up to her,
we glimpse a long hunting knife, & someone cuts Annie’s throat. (Note the hands are very masculine).
Cut to three teenagers driving to the Camp, Jack & Marcie, & their zany friend, Ned. They arrive at the Camp, & meet the owner,
the son of the original owners, Steve. Brenda, Bill, & Alice are already there, painting, doing some carpentry,
getting the place ready for campers to show up within a week; which implies that the scene must be in late May.
Steve gives out work assignments, then heads off to town for supplies. He warns them to work fast, because a storm is expected for later that evening.
While setting up the archery targets, Brenda is shocked by an arrow whizzing very close to her, & sticking in the target. She turns to find Ned, who seems to be an ace Archer laughing at his prank. In a later movie we probably would have heard her using the “F” word, but not in this pale precursor to the rawness of sequels to come.
At first, they work on their chores, but after setting the last section of raft by the dock at the lake, they all decide to hell with work, change into their speedos & bikinis;
(I swear these three girls are a trio of flat-chested beauties; not a good handful of breast amongst them. They all have nice figures in their bikinis, but they have the chests of boy sopranos in a Catholic boy’s choir. In order of flat-chestedness, Alice is worst, then Marcie, then Brenda, who almost has a half rack).
Ned is out in the deep water, & suddenly calling for help, acting like he may have a cramp & shit; sinking under the water several times. Jack & Marcie dive in to help. Annie & Brenda launch a canoe. Bill jumps in the water too. Jack brings Ned to the surface, they swim him back to the dock,
& Annie performs mouth to mouth on him. Suddenly he gives her the tongue, & rolls over on top of her; boy, that fucking Ned is quite the kidder.
Later Annie finds a snake in her cabin. She calls for help, & Bill, who was cutting nettles with a machete comes in to help, as do everyone else. Jack flushes out the snake, & Bill slices it up into several twitching pieces. They all stand there for a moment watching the black reptile die; some heavy fucking symbolism for sure.
Cut several times to the unseen “Someone” out in the woods watching the young people frolic (that’s right–the Watcher in the Woods). Jack & Marcie leave Ned, on the trail between the cabins, & they go off to have a make out session by the lake.
Ned sees “someone” in one of the cabins. He, of course, investigates, calling out, May I help you?
Cut to twilight time, as Jack & Marcie return, & find a cabin that they can make love in. They find one quickly, & we see a sex scene that constitutes the only partial nudity softcore porn in the flick.
Marcie takes off her pants, & flashes some plump butt. Pulling her white panties back up, she pulls Jack (Kevin Bacon) down on top of her.
The storm arrives, & there is lightning, thunder, & a fucking deluge of a downpour, typhoon-strength. In the lodge, Bill & Brenda & Alice decide to play Strip Monopoly.
They are pretty sure what Jack & Marcie are up to, but are a bit worried about the zany Ned.
Cut back to the love shack where we do see a quick shot of Marcie’s left boob, twice, & a shot of Bacon’s firm young butt (we assume that it is Kevin’s ass, but of course, it could have been a butt-double). During the writhing, moaning, & tame penetration,
the camera moves up to the upper bunk, & we see the hapless Ned, lying with his eyes wide open, & his neck wide cut.
After Jack seems to ejaculate, he rolls off of Miss Marcie, & puts his arms around her, cupping her right breast, & letting us see her left breast again for a mila-second.
She gets up to go pee. slips on her tight tank top, goes bra-less (which thank goodness she had already done for the whole movie, giving us some fine nipping out shots), pulls on her yellow rain slicker, & trudges through the squall to the girl’s crapper & shower room.
While she is gone, Jack finds a joint & is enjoying it & his post-coitus high, when suddenly a hand reaches up from under the bed, clamping his forehead down, just as an archery arrow pierces through his back & exits out through his throat;
hell of a trick, pushing it through the mattress, his body & shit. (the murder make-up F/X was done by Tom Savini, & it was done excellently, but the director kept doing jump-cut editing, which I call bull shit upon every time some limp dick director uses it!)
Cut to the girlie bathroom where while peeing in one of those tiddy ladies’ stalls, Annie thinks she hears Someone come in. She calls out to Jack, but after flushing she can’t find anyone.
She stands vamping in her sexy white panties at the sink, then hears Someone again. This time she investigates, pulling back shower curtains, opening stall doors & shit.
We see the shadow of an axe behind her. She turns, screams, & takes a firm blunt face-fucking from a very sharp axe; all jump-cut edited, of course.
Cut to the lodge, & the Strip Monopoly game. Brenda is down to her purple bra & panties, Bill has his shirt off, & Annie begins unbuttoning her blouse, though I can’t imagine what those bee-sting tits would look like; sometimes called “fried eggs on a plank” by men who care about such bumps. Yeah, I know, a pure sexist, but male-honest set of breast references. Suddenly, the lights go out, so the game is stopped. Brenda puts on only a green rain slicker, grabs her clothes, & heads for the girlie crapper. Bill pulls on some clothes, & is enjoying flirting with no-tits Alice.
Cut to Brenda in the Ladies room, in her green slicker. We expect her to be attacked, but she takes care of her business, seems to be uncomfortable, but does not see anything or anyone, so heads off to her cabin. She puts on a nice cotton nightgown, & is reading by candlelight, when she hears Someone outside.
This being a horror movie, she grabs a flashlight, & heads outdoors in her nightie; does not even put on her green slicker. She walks around calling, Who’s there? Then on the archery range, the field lights come on. This freaks her, but she stands there like a dummy as Someone attacks her.
Alice hears someone screaming over the sound of the storm. She & Bill go out to investigate, holding their lanterns. (Always a gas to see how much light shows up in room when the character only has a lantern, flashlight, or candle, right?).
Cut to town, & the small diner. Steve is finishing up a meal, saying he needed to brave the weather & get the supplies back out to the Camp. He was worried about his six new counsellors. We follow his Jeep in the storm, hauling a small trailer (which he did not have when he headed to town. This Jeep for him, & the murderer’s Jeep are the same vehicle; a nice way to save a buck, but a tedious bore to those of us with sharp eyes.
When he arrives at the Camp, he sees Someone lurking in the rain. He gets out to investigate, suddenly recognizes the person, & seems to walk right into his own death; implied but not shown.
Bill & Alice, while in Brenda’s cabin find a bloody axe in her bed (nice touch, this Someone certainly gets around). They panic, try to call the police, but the phone lines are dead (Cut to a shot of the phone lines in two pieces). They try and drive to town, but their vehicle will not start (Someone has tampered with the engine).
Cut to Someone flipping off the main power breaker for the Camp, & all the lights going off. Bill instructs Alice to wait in the lodge, while he goes out to investigate the power room issues. We follow him to the power room, see him disappear into the ink of the room, then cut to outside, as we hear his screams over the sound of the rain.
( a cheap Greek tragedy off camera kill, for sure; this publicity shot shows us what happened to him).
Alice did not hear his masculine screams, but she soon tires of waiting around, so she grabs a three cell flashlight & heads out into the storm in her yellow slicker.
She heads to the power room & finds Bill dead, pinned by arrows to the back of the door. Screaming, she rushes back to the main cabin, finding dead Marcie, Ned, Jack, & possibly Steve on the way. A couple of the bloody bodies a flopped in front of her hanging upside down; a favorite reveal in horror slasher films it seems.
While hiding in the main cabin, in shock, sobbing, she hears a vehicle pulling up outside. Thinking it to be Steve, she runs out to meet him, & warn him of all the deadly shit that has gone down. But instead, she is greeted by a smiling middle-aged woman, who introduces herself as Mrs. Voorhees, “A friend of the Christys”, the former owners, Steve’s parents. They go into the lodge.
Alice is still freaked out, mumbling about murder & mayhem, but she soon realizes that this woman is dog shit bonkers. Mrs. Voorhees begins babbling about 20 years before, when she was the camp cook (it must have tickled her to kill the new cook, Annie).
That her son, Jason, had drown one night, because the counsellors who should have been watching him were “making love”. (Now it is humorous to go this far back, & try to imagine that this bat-shit exposition was “new” to the first audiences, & to just accept it as such).
Suddenly Mrs. Voorhees pulls out a large hunting knife from its scabbard, & attacks Alice; yes, this is the moment when it is revealed that she was the mad-ass killer.
Alice smacks the overweight old woman in the head with a frying pan, then chooses to rush back out into the night to attempt to hide from her (& for me I always think, god damn, just stomp on her face, or gut her with her own knife, but things don’t go like that in horror movies; characters are obligated to make dumb choices).
Mrs. Voorhees catches up to her three more times, & each time she manages to knock her ass out, down, & flees to another stupid hiding place. The final confrontation takes place at the boat/canoe dock by the lake.
The old woman has found the machete & keeps trying to cut Alice with it. At one point, the old broad is down again, & Alice is able to pick up the machete. Mrs.Voorhees has been schizophrenic a lot, pretending to be Jason, urging Mom to kill, kill, kill for him, in his memory. During the earlier murders, we got to hear a chorus chanting kill,kill,kill, mom,mom,mom. She rushes Alice who neatly decapitates her. The jump cut editing is rushed, & the decap looks phony.
Exhausted by her ordeal, she takes a canoe & paddles out to the middle of the lake, hoping to be safe out there until help arrives.
We see an idyllic shot of the canoe floating out in the lake, with Alice asleep in it, her arm draped over the side of it. But WTF, it is hard not to notice it is Autumn, October or November, with all the trees bright with Fall colors. Now damn it, the premise of the movie is that the counsellors were getting the camp ready for summer campers, in late May; & now somehow we are to believe it is six months later? Has Alice been floating on the lake all that time? Obviously, this scene was a reshoot, but it certainly was fucking jarring to me.
Cut to a police car arriving at the Camp. Two cops get out, & one walks down to the lake edge, & begins calling out to Alice; which wakes her. She is sitting up when suddenly a corpse leaps up out of the water behind her, & drags her back into the water.
In retrospect, we know this flash of corpse to be the dead Jason, looking all big-headed freak-faced Mongoloid & shit, but it is hard to recall what I thought in 1980 when I saw this in a theater in Philadelphia while there for an internship. I guess I was savvy enough to make the connection. Ari Lehman, who played young dead Jason must have froze his ass off in that cold water.
Cut to Alice waking up in the hospital, with the Sheriff explaining she was lucky to be alive, that they had pulled her out of the lake. She was told that she was the only survivor. She asks about the boy who pulled her into the water. He tells her there was no one else in the water with her. Dun-dun, dunt-dun goes the music, for we realize that dead decomposing Jason is still lurking somewhere in the dark mysterious water of fucking Crystal Lake. Whooo-hah!
Roll the end credits.
ROTTEN TOMATOES rated it fairly high with 58% Critic’s Approval & 61% of Audience Approval.
In THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER we found: “This is blatant exploitation of the lowest order.”
Dave Kehr of the CHICAGO READER wrote: “For all its shoddiness, the film manages, just barely, to achieve its ignoble goals–it does deliver what it promises.”
Simon Miraudo of QUICKFLIX wrote: “It depicts what is surely the first recorded instance of “Strip Monopoly”, that would later inspire WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER–& we all should be grateful for that, right?”
Fernando F. Croce of CinaPassion wrote: “ Within the Dead-Teenie realm, this film achieves a certain classicism.”
Brian Webster of the APOLLO GUIDE wrote: “How do you sum up a movie that is really quite awful, yet went on to define a filmmaking era?”
In FILM4 we read: “Though unsophisticated by today’s standards perhaps, it still contains plenty to satisfy the dedicated gore-hound.” Hey, are they referring to us over here at Horribly Hooched? Fuck, yeah!!!!
An interesting sidebar here, one critic was so angry at Betsy Palmer’s role in this film (was probably upset by Shirley Jones playing a whore in ELMER GANTRY (1960) too, or seeing Julie Andrews flashing her nice tits in S.O.B. in 1981) that he published her address in his movie magazine, encouraging people to write to her sharing their outrage & disgust–but he published the wrong address, so he became the asshole in that scenario.
At one point Mrs. Voorhees slaps young Alice around a few times; having worked on stage for years, she did not fake the slap. Cunningham had to explain that she should fake the slap, & sell it with a camera angle. The original title for the Victor Miller script was LONG NIGHT AT CAMP BLOOD. He originally called Jason by Josh, but decided that name sounded too “nice”, so he renamed him Jason after a school bully he remembered. Sally Field auditioned for the role of Alice, but obviously Adrienne King worked for a lot less money.
There is a publicity still of the murder of a character called Claudette, & this scene is not in any prints of the film; the image was purely done for promotional purposes.
I just have to say that this original movie for one of the longest lasting & successful Slasher series ever was pretty tame & lame. Betsy Palmer just did not do it for me as the murderous Mom. I needed to see Kathy Bates or someone else who could be more menacing. Estelle Parsons, who dropped out of the project would have been ideal. Hell, even Donna Reed could have pulled it off. Betsy Palmer’s killer bitch was like watching Barbara Eden trying to act tough. I mean Bette Davis didn’t die until 1989, so they certainly could have used her, right?
I don’t think that Cunningham had the balls to shoot this more graphically. Even with the fantastic make-up help from Tom Savini, he made the jerk-butt choice of jump-cut editing, which sanitized the gore. Mostly the casting pissed me off big time; not a fine buxom pair of tits in the whole movie. What kind of shit is that?
I would rate it as a 6.5 out of the HH ten star scale, with points for originality, for kick-starting a concept, whelping a franchise, but as a stand alone horror flick, this was Drive-In fare only. I am looking forward to bigger tits, & more graphic gore as I ready myself for the next film in the series.