Friday the 13th
Sean S. Cunningham, Alvin Geiler (executive), Steve Miner (associate) for Georgetown Productions/Paramount
directed by Sean S. Cunningham
starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby, Laurie Beltram, Mark Nelson, Peter Brouwer, Rex Everhart, Ronn Carroll, Ron Millkie, Walt Gorney, Willie Adams, Debra S.Hayes, Dorothy Kobs, Sally Anne Golden, Mary Rocco, Ken L.Parker, Ari Lehman
written by Victor Miller, music by Harry Manfredini, special makeup effects by Tom Savini
Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees (cameo)
20 years ago, some gruesome murders happened at Camp Crystal. Now, the camp is to be opened again -
meaning a bunch of stupid college kids acting as counsellors are
supposed to touch it up. Of course, the killing starts again, pretty
much along the old "who has sex gets the axe"-guidelines
(actually I should have trademarked this phrase, it sounds exactly like
one of these lines you are just bound to find on a poster for a
slasher-movie - come to think of it, maybe that's where I found it in
the first place ...). But who could the killer be ? Crazy Ralph ? - Well
no, that would be too obvious, & that he's killed, too, doesn't make
him any guiltier. Then maybe ... hey wait a little, he is the only
suspect, and if it wasn't him ... anyways, only virginal Alice (Adrienne
King - you know the type, uptight, old fashioned cloths, Princess
Di-hairdo, pretty much uptight & motherly, never shows her thingies)
manages to stay alive after much slaughter, & in the end she meets
Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer - she didn't feature in the film
beforehands), who lost her son Jason some 20 years ago - he drowned when
2 counsellors didn't perform their duties but had sex instead -, &
now she delights in killing counsellors. Of course, in the end
Alice manages to kill her in self defense ... but was that Jason
emerging from the lake in one of the films last scenes.
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It's rather surprising that this was one of the biggest grossing
horror-movies of its time, and 10 (!) sequels to date prove that it had
staying powers. But success aside, the movie is disappointingly
mediocre, the story is very feeble & pretty formulaic even for its
time (and it was among the first wave of slasher-movies), the characters
are weak, played by so-so actors, the suspense is moderately handled
& the gore effects are - while not really harmless - not really that
gruesome, either. All in all, it's nowhere nearly as memorable as the
movies it copies from, be it Halloween, Psycho or the
gore-films of Herschell Gordon Lewis - but then again, around the same
time the blatant Flash Gordon-rip-off Star Wars was
the biggest grossing sci fi-movie - & Friday the 13th wasn't
nearly as unremarkable, either.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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