Release Date: May 9, 1980
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Writers: Victor Miller, Ron Kurz
Premise: The counselors hired to reopen a summer camp where a boy drowned get killed.
Pick My Brain
Last October I watched the final two Jason movies I had yet to see, Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and Jason X. I thought I was finally free of the series after watching all 12 entries, but then this October went and had a Friday the 13th in it, so screw that. I went with the original since this is the one that it's been the longest since I last viewed. The previous time I watched this movie I rented it on VHS from a Dillons (Kroger's chain of stores in Kansas), so let that speak to how long ago it was. Coming back to this film after watching all the others, it's interesting to see how much of the series' formula it laid down even though it lacks the most famous element of the sequels. Crystal Lake, the creative kills, and a large group of young people looking to have unsupervised fun are all here. Jason's just late to the party.
Without its mascot driving the kills, the original Friday The 13th plays less like a Halloween clone and more like an Italian giallo. An unseen killer picks characters off in gruesome ways, and the audience is left guessing who the murderer is (as long as they don't know their horror movie trivia). Mario Bava's A Bay Of Blood is often cited as particularly influential on the slasher genre, and it seems pretty clear here (and even more so in Friday The 13th Part 2). If you want to watch the Friday The 13th film with the most grizzly kills, or the goofiest moments, or even just one where someone wears a hockey mask, this is none of those things. It is however an intimate, tense horror movie with above average kills, and an interesting start for horror's mega-franchise.
Sometimes They Come Back... Again
Sean S. Cunningham had previously been a producer on The Last House On The Left. He directed a few more horror movies such as A Stranger Is Watching (also written by Victor Miller), The New Kids, and DeepStar Six, though he has yet to ever direct another Friday The 13th. He turned down Part 2 because he thought the idea of Jason coming back from the dead wouldn't work.
Kevin Bacon, who played Jack (a.k.a. the character played by Kevin Bacon), has made a fair number of other horror movies such as Tremors, the original Flatliners, Stir Of Echoes, and Hollow Man.
It Came From The IMDb Trivia Section!
- Writer Victor Miller almost named his famous character Josh. He thought it sounded too nice though and changed it to Jason after one of his childhood bullies.
- Tom Savini came up with the snake in the cabin scene, and an actual snake was really killed on camera for it.
- Savini and a few other crew members stayed at the campsite during filming instead of a hotel. They had a Betamax player, but the only movies they had were Barbarella and Marathon Man. Savini claims he can recite those movies by heart now.
- Lou Reed owned a farm near Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco wear the film was shot. He would hang out with the crew sometimes and played music for them.
- Harry Crosby, who played Bill, is the son of Bing Crosby.
- According to composer Harry Manfredini, it's not "chi chi chi, ha ha ha," it's "ki ki ki, ma ma ma", meant to sound like "Kill kill kill, mom mom mom."