- Movie Rating -

Friday the 13th (1980)

| May 9, 1980

Do you ever wonder if anyone has been impolite enough to ask John Carpenter if he knows what wretchedness that he has wrought upon the world?  Of course, it’s not his fault.  He made Halloween with a degree of skill so that it rose out of the doldrums of being just a vacuous bloodbath and became the most intense shocker since Psycho.

The by-product, of course, is an endless series of imitators that toss out the perfected elements that made Halloween and Psycho special and just focus on the killing, the bloodshed, the eviscerations and, of course, the persistent need to terrorize half-dressed young woman with sharp instruments.  This has become a cottage industry, thereby contributing heavily to the downfall of Western Civilization.

One of the most successful offenders is Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, a movie that gets wrong every single thing that Halloween got right.  The murders are here, yes, and in fact there are probably twice as many as Halloween but only a third as many actual characters.  When it is over, it is actually kind of hard to even remember their names.

The story has a bit of intrigue.  Years ago at New Jersey summer camp Camp Crystal Lake, some of the camp counselors were off making The Beast With Two Backs and let a little boy drown out in the lake.  Afterwards, some murders happened that were so infamous that the camp became known as Camp Blood.   Needless to say, it was closed.

Shoot forward to the present where a new group of horny kids want to re-open the camp.  Sucks to be them because the killer is still lurking about, and the thrust of the movie is that each one meets a horrible fate either by the knife or the axe or, in one case, by bow and arrow.

That’s it.  That’s pretty much the entire movie.  I can say that the identity of the killer is a nice twist, but the movie as a whole is about as dumb as it gets.  When it is over, you’re not really thinking to much about it.


About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.