95 min., 1980
Written by Victor Miller
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
My rating: ★★★★
The most influential slasher film ever!
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We begin in 1958 at Camp Crystal Lake. There are a bunch of counselors playing music and talking, when two of them leave and start to make out. Then from a first person view someone approaches them and ends up stabbing them. Years later in “present day” Camp Crystal Lake is now being reopened and the counselors are getting it back up and running. Among them is Alice (Adrienne King) and she is really excited about being at the camp. But a warning has come with the camp by the local crazy, Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney). It has a death curse and everyone that comes to the camp ends up dying. The only one that really seems to know what is going on is Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), but she seems to be hiding her own secrets.
Yes the acting hasn’t aged all that well with the movie, but then again I’ve seen a whole lot worse. There is some good acting, but nothing that is really great. The biggest sore that sticks out is actually Betsy Palmer. Her crazy just comes off more bizarre and overacting then anything else. Kevin Bacon and Jeannine Taylor are really the only two that actually do a pretty good job.
The effects have aged pretty well, with most of them still being quite effective. With the release of the uncut version of the movie finally being able to be seen, more effects are now shown. But that is actually a problem instead of a blessing. Most of the uncut footage (all 10 seconds) isn’t really for the better. The classic spear through the neck scene is still great, that is until the uncut footage rears it’s ugly head. The side shot is great but then it switches to a frontal view and the neck prosthetic is just painfully obvious. Sometimes stuff is cut from a movie for the right reasons and with the advent of DVDs and Blu-Ray, quality is now at the best it can be and every little flaw is now shoved in your face. On VHS these scenes would probably have blended so much better, but with such clear quality they just stick out too much. So for the most part the effects are actually pretty good and it shows off some good skills of Tom Savini.
Overall this is the movie that started the entire slasher genre craze. It wasn’t the first of the genre, Black Christmas comes to mind, but there are so many of the clichés that have come from Friday The 13th. The main thing is that most of the clichés just don’t exist in this movie and they didn’t actually start appearing until a few movies down the line. It’s still a fun movie and it is the beginning of a great franchise. If you haven’t had the big surprise spoiled for you from about a billion different sources (Scream!!! Damned movie), it holds up well and the final scene is still great.Have You Read...?