Why We Love…Friday the 13th!

On May 9, 1980 the world was introduced to what would become one of the most iconic horror franchises in the history of film. Written by Victor Miller and directed by Sean Cunningham, Friday the 13th took the world by storm grossing upwards of 59 million on a budget of just $550,000. More importantly than that, they brought Jason Voorhees to life.

 

The Beginning…

While we don’t see this part until later in the movie, in the form of a flashback, the story begins in 1957 at Camp Crystal Lake summer camp. A young special needs boy named Jason Voorhees was swimming in the lake without proper supervision. Unfortunately for Jason, for his mom and for a slew of future camp counselors, Jason drowned while the counselors who were supposed to be watching him were off making whoopee. That made Mrs. Voorhees angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

 

Years Later…

Fast forward twenty or so years and Camp Crystal Lake, or Camp Blood as the locals call it, is finally re-opening. Steve Christy is in the process of fixing the place up and has some counselors on the way to the camp to get ready for what he hopes will be a killer summer (see what I did there?). Unfortunately for the gang, Steve Christy wears a neckerchief and therefor he and anyone who is friends with him deserve to die.

 

The Counselors…

The first counselor we meet is young Annie Philips. It seems that Annie was never taught that hitchhiking is a bad idea so she never even makes it to camp. Then we have our hero Alice Hardy who doesn’t like snakes. The rest are your normal bunch of sex-starved, pothead teens and Kevin Bacons.

 

You’re All Doomed…

Everyone thought he was crazy. “Crazy Ralph” they called him. So what if he just turned up in your closet? The dude was just trying to let you know that it wasn’t a cool idea to be there. It’s got a death curse, dammit. Fun fact: I found out recently that Victor Miller had written the role of Ralph in hopes that people may think of him as a possible suspect in the killings. I can’t say that worked…I never even thought of that possibility until I read that.

 

The Killings…

Eventually Ralph’s predictions begin to come true as the counselors start getting offed in awesome fashion…even the Baconator. Of course, the effects are awesome since they were created by Mr. Tom Savini. My only gripe here is that we didn’t really get to see Steve Christy’s death…I’d have liked to see him strangled with his own dumb neckerchief.

 

The Final Girl…

Our hero Alice is the last one standing and the one to find all of the bodies of her friends. She thinks she’s saved when she sees a jeep pull up and a woman get out but she soon realizes that the woman is coo-coo for cocoa puffs and is here to avenge her odd-looking son! Thankfully for her, she fights off Pamela Voorhees and cuts off her head. We’re then treated to a nice pair of man hands in the decapitation scene.

 

Come On In, The Water’s Fine…

For some reason, after finding the murdered bodies of her friends and decapitating Mrs. Voorhees, Alice decides it’s prime time to take a boat out into the lake and grab a quick nap. Luckily for us she did because…Jason!

 

But What About the Boy…

After waking up in a hospital bed with a cop by her and after being reassured that all of her friends are dead, Alice asks the officer if they found the boy. The cop tells her that they didn’t find any boy to which she replies, “then he’s still there.” Another fun fact: The original script had the story ending after the decapitation. It was FX master Tom Savini’s idea to have Jason come out of the lake. Thanks to Savini (and much to the chagrin of Victor Miller since he did not want sequels) we have been treated to years and years of Jason Voorhees’ insanity. 

 

Final Thoughts…

Love it or hate it, you cannot deny the incredible staying power of the Friday the 13th franchise. While I only celebrate parts one through four, it’s very hard to ignore the success of the franchise over the years. Jason Voorhees has managed to remain an important figure in horror history and along with Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, is an inspiration to many filmmakers who spend any time in the slasher genre.

 

Stay gory my friends,

Larry Dwyer

 

Larry Dwyer on Twitter
Larry Dwyer
Staff Writer at Horror News Network
Larry Dwyer has been writing for Horror News Network since 2012. Catch up with him on Twitter at @LarryDwyer and read his in-depth bio on our About Us page.
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