Review: Friday the 13th (1980)


“You’re doomed! You’re all doomed!”
– Crazy Ralph

So I decided to start on this whole movie series after the unforgettable Freddy vs. Jason. It was not really in my repertoire until then, and I have not seen them in order ever I don’t think. I have seen them all, here and there and everywhere, but never sat down and followed the story beginning until end. I suppose there is a first time for everything. I popped in the very first piece or material the franchise churned out, and prepared. I was never overly keen on this one.

Camp Crystal Lake has been abandoned for years, yet this summer a whole group of young people return to prepare as counsellors what with the camp reopening for the public again. Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer) employs the help of a lot young adults, and they start to make headway on the camp, and getting it ready. The place needs a lot of work as it has been closed for many years, due to the murders and all.

Crazy Ralph

On the way to the camp, the future cook, Annie ( Robbi Morgan), crosses through town and asks for a lift in. She gets extremely strange looks, almost as though she is pitied and they think she is a raging loon. Matters are not helped when she is offered a lift and runs into Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney), who is screaming apocalyptic-like fear into her. She thinks he has lost his mind, and continues on. She gets dropped ten miles out of town, ten miles from the camp, and says she will walk the remaining stretch. On the way, she is picked up by a Jeep, and this is where we first realize things are definitely not what they appear to be.

Back at Camp Crystal Lake, Jack Burrel (Kevin Bacon), Ned Rubinstein (Mark Nelson), Alice Hardy (Adrienne King), Marcie Cunningham (Jeannine Taylor), Bill (Harry Crosby), and Brenda (Laurie Bartram) all fool around carelessly, preparing camp, swimming, eating and playing games. They are enjoying this far more than they should be. Mr Christy heads into town for some supplies and things, and they are all left to their own antics. Naturally, party mode kicks in, and they go wild.

One of the few murders we actually saw the result of

The camp being slowly but surely prepared, the counsellors start to creep off to their own antics, and sex and drinking runs rampant throughout the split groups. The saying strength in numbers must have some meaning, though, seeing as when the group splits, they inexplicably start getting picked off, slaughtered one by one, and none of the others seem any the wiser. The horror stories of Camp Crystal Lake being known as Camp Blood come flooding back, and the deaths of the old counsellors start coming back to haunt the campsite.

Will any of these people survive being butchered by the great unknown out there? Is it true that there is more at play here than meets the eye, and that someone truly has a score to settle?

Friday the 13th is worth no more than a 5/10 from me, and that is being far too nice. This was not a good way to open a film franchise, and I am surprised it took off with this being the first bet. I was frustrated but loved the old school aspect that makes a horror for me, like hopping into the only available working vehicle, but leaving on foot because there is a corpse in the back, throwing one of the only escape contingency plans you had out of the window without a care in the world. The acting left much to be desired, but it was entertaining to see Kevin Bacon in something so old school. There is not much to actually say about this film because nothing really happened for an hour and a half. I swear, I felt as though the movie was far longer, so imagine the shock I got when it was virtually movie peanuts time for real. It got interesting when Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) was introduced to the audience, and told the truly sad story of the drowning of her son, Jason, due to the counsellors being too interested in sex than watching the kids they swore to look out for. Palmer played her role well as the disturbed mother with a distinctly split personality type thing, housing her angered self and dead son.

This movie a different kettle of fish: you did not see any of the murders actually occurring  which is sort of a let down (yes, I sound absolutely sick and disgusting, I know), and half of them you did not even see the finished effects. It was just assumed, with a cheesy scream, that damn, they have also died now. Also, the camera work was trained on one central murderous character, of which you only see the occasional unrelated and unidentifiable thing, such as a hand or something, with the only distinct marker being the huge ring on the murderer’s finger. This means that there is no one to actually associate the fear with, if that makes any sense? It was just someone moving around the woods, nothing more, nothing left. There was nothing I could bite into my nails over. I also found that there is not much to say about the plot of the movie or anything seeing as most of the movie revolved around the antics of teenagers: strip Monopoly, beers, flirtation, sex, nakedness… Also I think that when a person hears “Friday the 13th”, it is synonymous with “Jason Voorhees”, and it is such a disappointment that the machete-wielding lunatic is not featured.

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