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Friday the 13th

Introduction

 

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What started out as a title only, went on to become both a trend setting horror classic and an American cinema success story; Friday the 13th and its many sequels launched the slasher film craze in 1980. Call it timing, luck, or well-crafted filmmaking, Friday The 13th found a niche and fans went wild. Remember how people went to see it over and over again? Forty million dollars or so it grabbed that year, not bad for a low budget slasher film that was shot after first coming up with just a title as an idea and a few ad slicks to begin with. You have to admit it is a damn good title for a horror film! It's safe to say that this film and the series were easily the most imitated slasher movie ever. Seeing the bucks that could be made by offing teens, producers scrambled to get their "hit" out soon after. The home video boom, which hit a few years later, was filled with 13th wannabes.

While Psycho, Bay of Blood, Black Christmas, and Halloween all slashed away before Friday the 13th, for some reason, Friday The 13th struck a certain chord with its extremely gory, in-your-face murder scenes. Even though some of the blood was trimmed, for its time, the movie packed a wallop that mainstream moviegoers hadn't seen before. It's well done, fun, and had enough titillation between the killings to make people scream for more. Maybe it was the strip Monopoly, maybe it was the killer turning out to be just an overprotective mom, or maybe it was watching Kevin Bacon die; Friday had something special that few since, even within the film's own series, have duplicated. The musical score and sound FX have to be given some credit also, as both are among the most memorable in fright flick history.

The simple plot makes it just plain enjoyable to kick back and watch! Kids go to help reopen old Camp Crystal Lake years after two counsellors were murdered. Kids party when new camp owner leaves them alone for the night, and are soon killed off by unseen maniac in a variety of cool, sadistic, and gory ways. By the end, we see that it's all done out of love and revenge as a mom just wants to stop any more needless drownings caused by sexually preoccupied camp counsellors. Heads roll! The strange, surreal ending leaves a lasting impression and room for sequels, which came in spades. If director Sean Cunningham had not put that very last sequence in for the sake of investors, there may have never been a Jason. But he did, and there was.... many times.

Friday the 13th and Jason Voorhees have pretty much become one and the same now. He took over for momma in part two, which was an excellent and fun sequel, dawned that most familiar goalie mask in part three, yet another fun movie, and has held the reigns since. Jason and the mask now are inseparable from the Friday the 13th legend.  Jason's black, evil presence has even managed to possess others (in nine), come back from death more than a telemarketers mailing list, attack New York, and become an astronaut.  Friday the 13th now stands as the reigning horror franchise in terms of number of films and body count. Perhaps one day it will reach its own lucky number. Nothing short of total financial failure it seems will ever stop Jason Voorhees.
 
"They were warned... They are doomed... And on Friday the 13th, nothing can save them."