Year of Release1980
DirectorSean S Cunningham
StarringKevin Bacon, Betsy Palmer

Friday the 13th is without question, one of the greatest horror movies of all time. The film responsible for introducing a whole generation (of then)  teenagers to discover the simple joys of the slasher flick. Paving the way for many horror franchises to come.

The Plot

Set in the then present time (of 1980 ish) a group of hormone filled teenagers volunteer to work at a summer camp. The newly re-opened Camp Crystal Lake has new management but is hiding an old secret. Upon arrival to the nearest town the teenagers are warned of a mysterious drowning death in 1958 and a couple of violent killings that took place at the camp the following year in 1958. The camp was shut down soon after and the murders never solved. Only to be re-opened again 20 odd years later under new management.

In true horror movie style nobody heeds the warning of the locals or the fact the camp is nicknamed “Camp Blood”. One by one the teenagers start getting killed. We never actually see the killer in the first part of the film, this creates a nice air of suspense early in the film. I can still appreciate this after having watched the film a few times already. I’m working on the assumption that most of you will have probably seen this movie too. For the few people on the planet who haven’t yet had the pleasure (or are lucky enough to be too young to have seen it) I won’t spoil the plot beyond that.

Betsy Palmer playing Jason Voorhees’ Mother

Production of Friday the 13th

Needless to say there are some excellent plot twists which makes the movie quite unique for its time. There’s some nice jump scares and the music is perfectly shot to accompany this. The lack of special effects isn’t noticed in this film. Especailly with the audio backing. Perhaps it is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” in some ways?  I will say however that this film is well written and beautifully shot. It has all the classic elements of a good slasher flick. The teenage babes, the violent killings and a really tense feeling the whole way through the film.

I have it on DVD so I’m not sure if my version has been remastered. Either way, it’s a great watch and holds up well to this day. The actual horror, while not considered over the top by todays standards, I think would have been considered pretty confronting for the time. Aside from the more extreme films like Dawn of the Dead and the wave of Italian horror/cannibal flicks surfaced around the same time, this would have been somewhat confronting. The death scenes do look fairly realistic.

Kevin Bacon making an early appearance in Friday 13th

The reaction to this was quite phenomenal as well. Shot on a budget of half a million, with no well known actors, the film was distributed independently and pulled in a massive $5 million on first week of release to finish up at $50 million in total. For 1980 this box office take was a big deal. The film also basically launched the career of a then young Kevin Bacon who acted as one of the teenagers in the film.

The verdict

Anyway for me this film is considered to be an all-time classic. It still receives a regular rotation on my DVD player once every couple of years at least. More than worth anyone’s time to check it if you haven’t seen it or a good one revisit if you haven’t seen it in a while.

Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy of this film. It shouldn’t be too hard to buy. It’s always worth it as a standalone film release but if you can find the 8 disc box set of the first 8 films, go for that! Hunt it down at any second hand haunts you may have. I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere.

Also be sure to check out our reviews of:

Friday 13th part  2 3  4  | JASON X |FRIDAY 13th (2009 remake).

For more great movie reviews and recommendations be sure to check out regularly!