Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday The 13th Review (1980)

Friday The 13th. The cream of the crop. The essential slasher film. Everything rolled into one big bundle. My precursor of words have all been said about the precursor film. It was, and still possibly is the greatest slasher film of all time. It has defined decades of teenage moviegoers, as to what they come to expect from the horror film. And, films in general. It was the mother and father of too many sequels to count, which all made most of the Jason fans jaded over the past few years. BUT, earlier this year a remake of the original Friday The 13th was created. It met mixed reviews from fans and moviegoers alike. But even the quintessential Friday fans agreed, it was much better than the last few offerings. But the original! Its the original top notch film that set the bar for all horror movies to follow it. Not really. Infact many people claim that this film was just riding off of the success of a great horror film that came a year earlier. The original Halloween. Also to note the producers of this film have come clean saying the my previous statement was true. However, each seires began to make a name for themselves when they turned out to be the subject of way to many sequels, prequels, and remakes. But no matter how much you love, hate, or love to hate Jason, (and his mother) you have to agree that this film was part in the re-creation, or one of films most popular genres.

Friday The 13th opens twenty years before the films main story. The classic plot device of horny teenagers create the stage for the drowining of a young boy while at summer camp. An angry (and unknown camp counselor) confronts these two young lovers with more than they expected. A large butcher knife. Thats right all you young horror fans, Jason wasn't the killer. He was dead. (Sorry if this was to spoil anything for you but brute honesty hurts.) And if two dead teenagers wasn't enough to fill your appateit, the killer does what killers do best. Creates a very long night at camp blood. (If you get that refrence you are in a league of great people.) Pick-up about twenty years later. We first see a young girl hitch-hiking her way to Camp Crystal Lake for a summer job. The camp has been closed down, rightfully so, because of the tragic events that happened eariler, including drowning, murder, fire, and toxic water. She stops at a restraunt to get directions, when someone decides to giver her a lift. Upon leaving, they come across a man named Ralph who warns that "Camp Blood" carries a death curse. It turns out, he's right. So a new group of horny teenagers begins to try to re-open the camp during the summer. But, someone is lurking in the woods, stalking the youngsters. Getting ready to avenge a young boys death. Getting ready to kill them all off. One. By. One.

This is a classic horror film and you have to admit it. This film redefined the genre. As a brainchild of the 1980's, this film has all the trademarks of an 80's slasherfest. Teenagers. Revenge. Eerie lighting. A storm. And lots and lots of POV shots. While this was one of the first films for a then young Kevin Bacon, it marked the start of a downward slope for Betsy Palmer, who was a seasoned stage actress. Many critcs and fans panned her role in this film, and she later stated that she only did it for the money. Claiming that she needed a new car, and they offered to pay her one-thousand dollars a day. She said the first time she read the script she thought "it was a piece of shit!" However, despite some actors not liking their likenesss attached to the film it is. Others in the film include, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartham, Mark Nelson, Jennine Taylor, and Robbi Morgan. Now lets be honest this film was not about acting. And it shows.

While most of the cast does a good job with a lack-luster script, others seem to fall flat. Kevin Bacon, Betsy Palmer, and Adrienne King, all did an alright job with what they had. The others though were your run-of-the-mill teenagers. Not good. Not bad. Just somewhere in-between. They are nearly always dull, or over-acting, but what can I say, a low budget film, a low budget cast, except of course Betsy Palmer. Lucky.

Special effects master Tom Savini is the grandaddy of these special effects, and it shows his keen ability to make the horrifying, gratifying. With a body count of ten, all dying in their own special and grusome way, it leaves lots of space for unique kills. Decapitaion. Arrow to the throat. Stab wounds, its all here, and Tom Savini makes it happen. While that may seem like a lot, and it probably was back in the day, lots of the shots don't last very long, or cut away before you can see much. They recently realesed and unrated cut of these films, which I have yet to see. I re-watched it for this review on an old VHS tape. But, even with these new extended additions, the film is only ten seconds longer. I know, lame right.

While nothing is truly original in this world, and this is a horror film, the script and plot wasn't that great. This may seem like a nit-pik, a horror movie is suppose to be about blood right? But I like originality in my script. Sorry if you think they're suppose to be simple, I wish I could live that way, but alas, I cannot. The greatest part of this movie is the ending. And even though I love this part of the film, it wasn't in the script, and the idea was thought of by Tom Savini. Its shocking, scary, gross and unexpected. My favorite part of the movie infact, and the scariest. But however many complaints I come up with for this film, I always find something new to enjoy about it.

Overall, this film is great fun to watch. No matter how many times you've seen it, or if you just saw it when you were a teenager, its definatly time to give this one another view. Its a classic in every sense of the word. One of the key American films of the century, and in the highest ranks of the horror classics, Friday The 13th is nothing short of astonishing. Blood, guts, violence, and even some funny moments, this film will make you feel young again. It desrves a spot on the shelf of all horror fans, and on the shelf of all those who grew up in the 80's. Friday The 13th gets Four zombi heads, out of Five.

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