PLOT: A group of camp counselors get terrorized by an unseen killer at an abandoned summer camp where a child drowned years before.
When I do 31 Days of Horror during the month of October, I usually stick to films that I haven’t seen before, and that was going to be the plan for this series of reviews. However, Shudder just put up all the Friday the 13th films, and really, I’ve only seen the first two, Jason X, and the remake, so I wanted to take the opportunity to watch through the series. So, while this series is relevant, each Friday review will be dedicated to the next installment in the series.
We’ve already covered this film once in an episode of They Called This a Movie, but if I’m going to start this, I have to start at the beginning.
We all know the story: a kid drowns at summer camp because the counselors were inattentive, maybe even having sex while it was all going on. Then, a decade or so later, camp counselors head to the site in order to reopen the camp and they get picked off one by one. Now, the story is a cliche, but back in 1980, it was a decently original idea.
Admittedly, I don’t love the first film. To me, and I would guess it’s not exactly a hot take, but this series really doesn’t get going until Jason dons the now iconic hockey mask, which doesn’t happen until the third film. The first two are solid (the second is arguably better than the first), and I can’t deny how influential the film wound up being for the entire horror genre, but the reputation precedes the actual film you get in the first installment.
Friday the 13th is iconic; no question about it. Tom Savini’s makeup work really brings this film into another stratosphere, especially when you look at the movies that try to imitate this movie later in the decade. But let’s face it: this movie ends with a middle-aged woman in a sweater running around the woods trying to kill teens; it’s not exactly the movie that wound up being the face of the franchise, so to speak. Regardlessl, it still works and is a lot of fun to watch 40 years later.