Friday the 13th (1980)

FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
Article 1956 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-23-2006
Posting Date: 12-20-2006
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Featuring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby

After having been closed for twenty-two years after the accidental drowning of a young boy and the murder of two counselors, Camp Crystal Lake is reopened. Then, on Friday the 13th during a full moon, the murders start up again.

I’ll confess upfront that I have something of a grudge against this movie and the series it spawned. I think the grudge was due to the fact that I dearly loved the old classic monsters, and there was a point when I discovered that if you brought up the subject of monsters to members of the younger generation, they would think Jason or Freddy rather than Dracula or Frankenstein. I felt that time had movied on irrevocably, and I didn’t like it, and I blamed the movies that had spawned the change.

I knew eventually I would have to contend with this series sooner or later in my project, and sure enough, here it is. Despite my grudge, I wanted to give the movie a fair shot; after all, a series like this doesn’t become so popular for no reason at all. Having finally watched it, I’m afraid I’m still in the dark as to why this series was so popular. It’s competently made, and generates a certain degree of suspense, but as far as shock moments go, only one caught me off guard (the final fake-out); the rest were so telescoped by the music and camerawork that I was fully prepared for them. Nor did I find the murders anywhere near as creative as I was led to believe; quite frankly, HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM was a lot more interesting in this regard.

Still, I did find one interesting point. I’ve always held that the slasher genre was a logical (though somewhat long-in-coming) progression from Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. If such is the case, it is interesting to note that a certain family relationship in this movie is the direct opposite of the one in PSYCHO. Some of the accusations also levelled at this movie aren’t quite fair; I’ve often heard it said that the counselors act with supreme stupidity in that, despite knowing they’re in danger, they go off alone. In truth, nobody knows that people are being picked off one by one until only two counselors are left. Still, I don’t quite understand the popularity of this series, and I hold that, as far as slasher movies go, this is a pretty ordinary movie.

 

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