"I was working in a cinema in 1980 when this film was first released, No one expected it to take a light and it opened in one of the complex's smallest screens. Big mistake. From day one queues formed for this film and many wannabe punters were somewhat peeved for being turned away. Those who got in though experienced a genuinely scary horror film and it remains one of the best audience participation films that I have ever seen. Throughout the film, the suspense runs along and builds up to a crescendo prior to each slaying or to a false moment of fear. The ending, however is something else. Sure it ain't exactly original but boy is it effective. I have never seen an audience scream so loudly and in total unison, and have some people visibly shaken and in tears sometimes afterwards.... Night after night, the result was the same and Friday The 13th became one of the 'sleepers' of 1980. Watch out too for a young Kevin Bacon as one of the teens in peril. The passage of time has seen it take its place in the pantheon of really scary horror films and deservedly so. If you have not yet seen this film, then give it a go. Enjoy and be prepared to be scared."
Camp Blood - the original
A. Alex ~ | Pennsylvania | 10/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What can I really say that hasn't already been said about this first venture into the life of Jason Voorhees? Before the Blair Witch was haunting the woods, before the werewolves of Dog Soldiers were stomping around in the dark, before countless other copy-cat wannabes, there was the menacing killer of Friday the 13th.
To be sure, John Carpenter hit the nail on the head a few years prior with the classic Halloween, but Friday the 13th also opened audience's eyes to a new breed of horror movie - the gory serial killing scream-fest.
For those in the know, Jason doesn't make an appearance until Part 2, but his legacy is revealed in fine family fashion here. The simple plot entails a small boy who drowns at a summer camp while the counselors are busy getting busy. Needless to say, his mom is rather pissed and unforgiving, and Jason just might not be dead...
The killings, for early 80's, are quite inventive - an ax through the head, an arrow through the neck, and lots of fun at the archery range are just a few of the treats in store. Effects were good because the master Tom Savini was just getting his shoes muddy and honing his skills. Love it.
Kevin Bacon, for those of you who were born under a rock, makes his screen debut here, rivaling Johnny Depp's nasty demise in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The ending is one of those great surprises in film. If you didn't gasp or scream the first time you saw it, you're lying.
No horror fan should miss this. The sequels however, particularly after the 3rd one, can be thrown in the trash and burned. Ugh.
A Horror Masterpiece of Tragedy, Hysteria, Suspense and Terr
Richard Stange | Hawaii | 12/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is so much more to this movie that anyone gives it credit for. When you mention Friday the 13th, many people either dismiss it for being "just a slasher flick" or a "Halloween rip-off." Most people do not see the artistic value in Friday the 13th because they simply do not expect it to be in this kind of movie or do not want to acknowledge it, as a result of already having their closed (typical critic know it all) minds made up.
First off, Friday the 13th is not a Halloween rip-off. When Carpenter's equally classic Halloween generated top box office revenue in 1978 and 1979, many eyebrows raised within the film industry. Among those were the brows of a few people in particular. Sean (director) Cunningham, Victor (credited writer) Miller, Ron (unaccredited writer) Kurz, Steve (producer) Miner, and Georgetown (independent film production company) Productions all wanted in on the profit made by the Halloween. The only sensible thing they could think of doing was to produce a similar product, which became Friday the 13th.
Sean wanted to make the same kind of money that John made, but he knew he would have to make his film a little different. Instead of just having a walking masked madman on the loose, he and Victor came up with a story that is quite brilliant. Sure, certain scenes in Friday the 13th may have been taken from Halloween, but you can say the same thing about Halloween taking some scenes from Psycho. Friday the 13th, whether it was on purpose or not, utilized a couple of really good themes in their story telling, beyond the typical moral theme that everyone associates with these movies like sex leads to death.
The first theme that Friday the 13th throws in your face is the idea of isolated mass hysteria. Camp Crystal Lake and the town of Crystal Lake are haunted. They are not haunted by ghosts and goblins, but by unsuppressed dark memories of a little boy drowning and a string of unsolved murders among other things, in which all have to do with Camp Crystal Lake. Every person in town believes that there is a "Death Curse" upon the camp, and they refer to the place as "Camp Blood." When Annie walks into the restaurant and asks some people how she can get to Camp Crystal Lake, they all look at her and two people try to warn her to stay away from the place. They say the place is jinxed and has a death curse.
Psychology is only a little more then 100 years old, but we know that parents have a strong "connection" to their child even after the umbilical chord is severed. For a parent to have to burry their own child is probably the most devastating thing that can happen in their life. Mrs. Voorhees looses her son to a tragedy and little by little she snaps. She tries to give him life by giving him a voice at one point (just like Norman Bates did for his mother in Psycho), and that voice tells her to murder those responsible for her son's death.
Of course for the horror fan there is enough blood and murder to please. All in all Friday the 13th is a powerful tragic but frightening story of love, loss, superstition, and murder with an ending that is sure to make one jump (no pun intended) right out of one's seat. Also, not revealing the murderer until the end makes the film more suspenseful then showing the murderer in the opening sequence like Halloween did."
Sean Cunningham's Friday the 13th
Ryan Rogers | Memphis, TN | 09/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first Friday the 13th will go down as the turning point in the slasher genre. John Carpenter scored big with Halloween but the slasher genre was still somewhat of an untouched subject until this movie rolled around.
It has everything that makes it a slasher flick, teenagers, sex, blood, and horror, alongside all the killing. A thoroughly enjoyable movie in the Friday the 13th series.
Joseph Brando | NJ, USA | 12/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this first installment in the highly successful slasher series lacks what it is most famous for - serial killer Jason Vorhees - it is the best in the series. The infamous score by Harry Manfredini is excellent and scary and carries the film very well. The cast of basic unknowns adds to the sense of isolation that the makers of this film knew was a key element to making it as frightening as it is.
Critics love to trash this movie but it must have done something right to spawn more sequels than any other.
The plot probably needs no explanation but goes simply like this: Counselors setting up a camp in the middle of the woods are killed one by one in, each in a different grisly manner, but who is doing the killing?
Many people take so many aspects of this film for granted because it has been ripped-off so many times (although, to be fair, it is somewhat a rip-off in itself of Halloween - using a holiday and a slasher killing teens). But this film introduced many elements into a genre it would actually almost invent by itself - the slasher film.
First off all, we have the wooded setting, next we have a series of gruesome and creative killings (tamed by today's standards), using the camera to make you, the viewer, see the slaying of the victims through the eyes of the killer.
The shock-ending of this film was probably the most effective of its kind in movie history and during its run at the theaters, you would inevitably hear a tremendous letout of screams right before the movie ended (I won't mention what this is just on the slight notion that someone doesn't know what I'm talking about). But the reason this scene succeeded so well was simple...because the film effectively created a genuiune feeling of terror and suspense for the first 85 minutes and took viewers by surprise.
FRIDAY THE 13TH looks great in this digitally remastered widescreen DVD and helps to eliminate the dated look it was taking on due to increasingly poorer VHS releases. The only special features that this film does have are the trailer (which is not remastered but shows the great contrast between the remastered and unremastered prints) and chapter selection. Unfortunately this is not the un-cut version but for some reason does contain a few extra seconds of blood in one scene (the third killing in the film of Annie) and a few deleted scenes in another (the decapitation near the end of the movie) and also contains a few extra seconds of the sex scene. An uncut version or collector's edition has been cried out for amongst the many fans of FRIDAY THE 13TH but has been inexplicably ignored by its distributor, Paramount Pictures, who basically view this cash cow as a blemish on the face of their film catalog."