Friday The 13th (1980)




Plot: A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child's drowning.

TO CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE. 1958. A group of camp counselors are hanging out, singing. Elsewhere, we see someone walking in one of the cabins, all from a first person POV. Two of the counselors go off to FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. The strange person follows them, then kills them both. Bernard Herrmann should have sued the fuck out of Harry Manfredini for basically straight up stealing the Psycho theme. That's ridiculous. Like the Jimmy Hart version or some shit.

TO THE PRESENT. Friday the 13th. Present day. Which would be 1980. A young hitch hiker is trying to find Camp Crystal Lake. She stops at a dinner to ask for directions or help getting there. Everyone seems shocked that they're reopening "Camp Blood". One guy there agrees to drive the girl there, but they're stopped by local crazy man, Ralph, who talks about the "death curse" that the camp has. The driver tries to get the girl to quit and reveals the killings in 1958, the kid drowning in 1957, the fires, the bad water. It's cursed. "QUIT!" He drops her off far enough, I guess.

At the camp, another group of counselors arrive as head counselors, Alice and Peter, are getting the camp prepared to open. Peter has the most exquisite look: Porn mustache, huge glasses, no shirt, hairy chest, Daisy Dukes, boots, big wool socks (IN THE WOODS IN THE SUMMER) that go a good 4 inches above the ankles, plus a random bandanna around his neck. Tremendous. Man, Peter looks and acts like a real fucking weirdo. It seems like maybe he and Alice are fucking. Or he wants to fuck her. It's an awkward scene. 

We get like 15 minutes of the counselors getting the camp ready, and all their various interactions. I wouldn't say it is particularly interesting, but it is character and setting establishing. For what little there is to these characters. Which is next to nothing, but I appreciate the attempt. Annie the Hitchhiker gets picked up, but we never see the driver. It's all in first person POV, which, along with the music, makes it pretty clear this is the killer. Luckily, she's able to jump out of the jeep...basically DDTing herself along the way. The killer chased her into the woods and slit her throat. DEAD. RIP.


There's a snake in one of the cabins, and after everyone freaks out, one of the dudes takes a machete and actually chops up a snake on camera. I don't like snakes and all, but that's pretty fucked. Just straight up chopping up a live snake for the movie. Hey, this guy was pretty good with a machete. You think maybe he's the killer? A cop shows up, looking for Ralph and giving the counselors shit. The most stereotypical cop scene you could imagine. It turns out, Ralph was just hanging out in the pantry like a fucking weirdo. "I'm the messenger of God. You're doomed if you stay here." I love the Ralph character. He's straight out of a 30s Universal film. No one ever listens to the crazy person warning everyone, and it turns out, they are always right. Just listen to the crazy person saying you'll die if you go somewhere. What's the harm in not listening? There are some pretty decent nature shots, although I'd wager they're just to fill for time as opposed to being some kind of intentional artistic thing. A storm is coming. The language of cinema would generally say that a storm coming in is a metaphor for the evil/killer arriving. I somehow doubt that anyone was thinking that deeply about it, and it was in fact more so you could get everyone separated so they can fuck/drink/smoke. Kevin Bacon and his girl are off in a cabin fucking. Peter still didn't come back. Three are drinking, smoking pot, and playing strip poker in the main cabin. And one dude is dead on top of the bunk bed Kevin Bacon is fucking on. This keeps cutting back to Kevin Bacon, and it's actually doing a pretty good job at building the tension for this kill. It cuts away maybe 3 times right when you think a kill is going to happen, which gives it some impact when it finally does. And the killer jabs an arrow through Kevin Bacon's throat. YA DONE, SON. His girl gets killed  with an ax to the head in the bathroom. Shortly after, the two who were with Alice are killed.

Peter was at a diner in town this whole time. So he's probably not the killer. OR IS HE?!? He's not, since he gets killed on his way back to camp, leaving just Alice by herself. Just then, Mrs. Voorhees shows up. Right on time. She tells a story about a young boy who drowned two years before the murders happened because they were too busy fucking. His name was Jason... Mrs. Voorhees is still pretty hot about it, 30 years later. She also seems pretty crazy, considering she's talking to flash backs of young Jason drowning in the lake. You see, Jason was her son, and today is his birthday.  


Alice and Mrs. Voorhees have a show down, where Pam sometimes speaks as little Jason. I don't know why, but Pam slapping the shit out of Alice is hilarious to me. LOL Alice hit her in the clam with butt of a rifle. The Old Glory clam slam. Also hit her in the head with a frying pan. Now, Pam has to be in her 50s, and she's a hell of a fighter. She tried to get her fucking hooks in while securing a rear naked choke. Zhew Zheets game is strong with this old dame. Anyway, Alice is an even more capable fighter, and ends up decapitating Pam with a machete. With one swing. The weirdest thing is Alice didn't even seem phased that she just CUT SOMEONE'S HEAD OFF. She just kind of shrugs it off and heads out on the lake on a canoe.


 The next morning, as the police show up, Alice wakes up. HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT GRABBING HER! THAT'S GOTTA BE...THAT'S GOTTA BE JASON!  Oh, it was all a dream. Or was it? Was that really Jason? Or was he just a nightmare Alice was having in the hospital? "The he dead, too?" The cops didn't find any boy.                  

All in all, a lot better than you'd expect from such a low budget, cheap production shamelessly trying to cash in on the success of Halloween. There are at least attempts at tension and mystery, as 2-3 different people are set up as possibly being the killer in fairly subtle ways, although, if you're paying attention, you'll notice that music only plays when the killer is around. Mrs. Voorhees is completely out of left field, but that fight scene was hilarious. A lot of the gore and effects were actually shown after the fact or edited in such a way as to not really show the impact of the weapons used. The characters all seem like real people. There's not much in the way of the creativity of ANOES, or the great technical skill of Halloween, but it's a good start to a franchise not particularly known for it's high quality.

ralph out.gif