Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Since its remake week I’d figure I’d go back in time and dust of my copy of the original Friday the 13th, and we’re talking the first one and not Jason in Hell or Jason in Space or Jason in 3D or Jason vs. Freddy… Nope, we’re talking Camp Crystal Lake and that loon Pamela Vorhees to see what the fuss was all about way back in 1980. When this film was first released back in ’80 I was too young to go to the show by myself but was certain that my older brother would take me along when he went, because he NEVER missed these kind of movies but would you believe he had a date or something and opted to take some girl instead of me to the movie? Kicked to the curb over a potential piece of poo, whereas he could’ve been endearing himself to his baby brother. The absolute nerve. So I had to wait until ‘Friday the 13th’ came out on video tape. Ye Gods! Back in the day folks, this took forever. By the time I finally go to see it, all of the magic the movie might have had was lost because everybody I knew had seen it already and felt the need to give me blow by blow description of what I had missed. With the Michael Bay produced Marcus Nispel directed remake of those horny kids at Camp Crystal Lake on the verge of seeing the light of day I decided to watch this thing one more time again, and note I haven’t seen this movie since I saw it the first time over twenty five years ago, to see if it’s still as worthless as I thought it was when I saw it as an early teen.

So when girlfriend shows up at whatever city this movie takes place in and asks for directions to Camp Crystal Lake and towns people all fall quiet… we call that a hint and a half for your ass. When these same yokels call this place ‘Camp Blood’ instead of its real name… that’s strike two. When the freaky guy comes out of nowhere and drones on and on how YA’LL GONNA DIE!, that’s strike three. When the seemingly sane dude that is giving you a ride to ‘Camp Blood’ implores you to quit and go back

home, well that’s strike four. That’s a bonus strike people and yet our eager camp worker still tries to make it to the camp grounds so she can start her new gig. When she gets her throat slit in the woods it was real hard to shed a tear for that fool.

So even though girlfriend didn’t make to camp there are plenty that did, in particular the pretty and virginal looking Alice (Adrienne King) who along with her work mates just want to help Steve (Peter Brouwer) resurrect that seemingly cursed Christie property and make it popular again. Steve also seems interested in curing Alice of the virginity problem, but that’s just my personal observation. Well these kids are doing the things that kids do at places like this such as have sex, drink, smoke weed and play strip monopoly when one by one they start getting picked off in a number of imaginative ways. Even though that freaky dude showed up again to inform these kids that YA’LL GONNA DIE! Axes to the head, arrows through the neck, arrows through the eye socket, knives to the gut with the only survivor being poor virginal Alice. Fortunately Mrs. Vorhees has showed up out of the blue to save the day. Oooops…. Kill her mommy… kill her mommy…

After watching ‘Friday the 13th’ for the first time in real long time, I gotta say I’m hard pressed to see how this thing launched ten sequels and a remake and a documentary. For real. I wasn’t all that crazy about the movie when I saw the first time and I was an impressionable thirteen year-old who could be entertained watching the wind blow, and though I didn’t dislike the movie watching it as a forty year old, I’m still not feeling ‘the magic’. I actually liked slasher flicks back in the day, and even now to a lesser degree as I have quite the fondness for ‘Terror Train’, ‘Prom Night’ and ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ – love some Jamie Lee and Melissa Sue - but none of those movies spawned 10 sequels or a remake. Well ‘Prom Night’ did get a remake… but we will let that slide. This movie by Sean S. Cunningham quite honestly was a little slow, the acting was unspectacular, Savini’s gore effects were pretty good, but he had done better, it was only marginally frightening at points and they didn’t spend a lick of time letting you get to know these wacky kids who were about to get slaughtered so who gave a damn. Check out Kevin Bacon clutching that titty like his life depended on it. My man!

Maybe Betsy Palmer is the reason this thing is a classic because even though she doesn’t show up until the films third act, despite the fact this was a movie that was setting itself up like somebody we’ve met already was killer and not some out of left field character… She is still one of the all time great whack jobs in movie history. ‘Kill her Mommy…’ is right up there with ‘I could’ve been a contendah…’ or ‘Stop calling me Surely’ as one of the greatest lines in movie history if you ask me.

The thing is you’ve got to wait like a whole hour to get to Mrs. Vorhees, and can we give the lady a pass for killing those kids in the opening scene singing those gawdawful folk songs? I think we can all agree that they probably deserved to die. However until we get to the wonderful Mrs. Voorhees there’s really nothing all that special about ‘Friday the 13th’ and it almost sucks a little quite actually. Oh well… I’m off to see the remake. Shows how much sense I have.

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