I don’t like scary movies. I think I’ve watched two my entire life. Although for most people my age, gory horror flicks were almost a required part of the average movie repertoire growing up, I did not have them in my development. My imagination is scary enough as it is. But seriously, although I’m not a horror fan, I sometimes wish I weren’t so scared of them – I haven’t even seen most of them! So today being the first Friday the 13th of 2012, I thought I should tackle at least this one.
Here’s the trailer:
Friday the 13th came out in May of 1980, cost an estimated $550,000 to make, and grossed $5,816,321 in its first weekend – $39,754,601 total (USA). Any wonder why there have been so many crap horror movies out since? They’re relatively cheap to make, but people – lots of people – still want to get the wits scared out of them. Here’s a synopsis:
In 1957, at Camp Crystal Lake, a young boy named Jason Voorhees drowned. In 1958, two camp counselors were murdered. In 1962, fires and bad water thwarted the camp’s reopening. Now, in 1979 (the year of the 13th anniversary of the first death), Steve Christy finally reopens Camp Crystal Lake with the help of a few new counselors. Ignoring the warnings from a local wacko, the murders start once again while a mysterious stalker prowls the area. Is it revenge that the killer is looking for? Who will survive the nightmare and live to tell the story?
Last year, Nick watched Halloween for the first time, and learned that it was the first of its kind – a horror movie combining suspense and gore – a “slasher film”. Friday the 13th was the second big “slasher” film, and the main difference between the two was that while in Halloween you don’t see the actual gore being dispensed (just the aftermath), in Friday the 13th you see the goriness as it happens.
Like I said, my imagination is pretty vivid, so I feel like I was lucky that with the film being over 30 years old, the VFX weren’t as realistic-looking as they would have been if it were one of today’s horror movies. It was kinda funny for me and Nick watching the cheesy acting and dated effects, but it was neat to see the elements that they did use, and I was actually surprised they started doing stuff that gory that long ago. Seeing what this film did decades ago, it totally makes sense to me how horror movies nowadays are so insane.
Friday the 13th was definitely not critically acclaimed (Gene Siskel in his review called director Sean Cunningham “one of the most despicable creatures ever to infest the movie business”, and the film currently holds a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it very much has a place in movie history for what it did for the horror movie culture and not only the long franchise that it spawned, but the dozens of other movies that it, or its style, inspired. While I don’t plan on watching any more scary movies for a while, I’m glad I watched this one. It was a scream.