WEIRDO’WEEN #20: FRIDAY THE 13th [1980]


While in retrospect, this review would have made sense for #13, today’s movie involves a boy who drowned and his angry Mother. It all starts one summer at Camp Crystal Lake, where a group of young counselors begin to get ready to lead campers. Unfortunately for these teenagers, someone isn’t happy about what’s going on in the camp and enjoys playing a game of “kill the counselor.” As bodies fall to the ground and the number of deaths keeps rising, it becomes quite apparent that no one is safe. Like yesterday‘s review, Everyone has heard of the movie I’m about to talk about; if not only by title.

Also, like yesterday’s review, today’s film had numerous sequels – some better than others – and a remake. So without further ado, let’s talk about a series that I enjoy, just not as much as Nightmare: Friday The 13th

weirdo'ween-#20The movie takes place in and around Camp Crystal Lake: the site of the drowning “death” of a young boy, several fires, and a double murder. For this reason, it earned the nickname “Camp Blood“, and has been closed for decades, only now being renovated in an attempt to reopen it and turn it back into an relaxing summer getaway. Ramblings of the town drunk, Crazy Ralph, tells the new group working there that they are all “doomed”, though they go on ignoring his drunken ways. But when a series of murders begin during a torrential rainstorm, who is responsible? Could it be Crazy Ralph from earlier, since he seemingly always is prowling the campgrounds? Or is it an unseen killer?

For a movie with such a low budget, [only $550,000] the film has a brilliant, and old fashioned sounding soundtrack, with it’s violins screeching at key moments in the action, just like Psycho did 20 years earlier. One of the most memorable and effective uses of soundtrack on film I can think of. The girls are cute without being overly pretty, and the guys are able to joke around without being complete assholes; unlike the movies of today.

Even when characters are outside at the actual lake, or out in the woods, Friday still has that claustrophobic feel, with the action taking place in tight, and often crowded feeling corners. The thick woods prevent them from getting very far away, and with the night time rainstorm only seals them in tighter, making escape almost impossible. If you were to go back and look at the 1980 critical response for the Friday The 13th, you’ll notice that the film was widely panned by critics, with many taking exception to the more over the top gore and camera angles of the film.

It’s fair to say that Friday The 13th may not be original in its own right, with Halloween having only been made two years earlier, and borrowing things from Psycho. But as a whole, it’s actually not a typical slasher movie, since it’s villain isn’t revealed until near the end of the movie, and then we ultimately find that the antagonist is far from a Michael Myers clone, but more of a psychopathic killer. This film is infinitely more cerebral than its typical “slasher” movie counterparts, even if it did get a ton of sequels; which happened to be a thing in the 1980’s. And as much as the camera angles might have been controversially irritating at the time, the first-person views from the angle of the killer and the conventions with it marked the start of a new movement in cinema, one that certainly has often been imitated even if it’s rarely done as effectively as it is in the opening scene.

also, Kevin Bacon shows up..and dies. sorry, ladies.

Then there’s the special effects. Friday The 13th was a landmark film for Tom Savini. As if he wasn’t already great, he further proved his ability to get the most effect out of the least financial situation. Savini will go down in history as one of the greats in special effects – and Friday The 13th helped him prove his mastery of the art.

One thing this movie handles well that I really appreciate is it’s pacing. It isn’t slow, but it also doesn’t move too fast; making it easy enough to follow. It takes roughly 20 minutes to get to an actual death scene, but this gives the movie enough time to flesh out some characters without taking too long to add unneeded exposition or add too much than what is actually needed. I feel like the movie did a good job of focusing on what was really needed, while fleshing out the kill scenes in an orderly fashion. That’s something that makes a horror movie “good.”

Overall, Friday The 13th‘s story telling is exceedingly well crafted and works greatly with it’s pace. While the story may be somewhat basic and straightforward, it’s the execution that really helps the final pay off. Not only is it well made, but it’s fun to watch, and like Nightmare, it’s important to the horror genre – without it, we wouldn’t have some of the great films that we are now familiar with in the horror category. There’s a reason it spawned ten sequels and a remake. People like these movies. As long as there’s a Friday The 13th on the calendar, the tale of Camp Blood will almost always continue.

So although I’m clearly a bigger fan of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, Friday The 13th is just as important as a film series. It has fear, it’s violent, and it’s got everything you could want from a horror film. Although this one went on for ten sequels – that did suffer from sequelitis – the films are more than just violent, hockey masked killers.. they are legitimately fun to watch; even if they are laughable by today’s standards. So check Friday The 13th out, and enjoy watching teenagers getting slaughtered by hockey masked villain!

If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #21! – So STAY TUNED!

this ending always makes me jump..screw you, Jason.


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