Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic slasher films of the 80’s. In fact, it is the first slasher film to be released in the 80’s. After the monster hit that was John Carpenters 1978 Halloween, studios began to see that they could make money of the newly re-launch slasher genre.
Released through Paramount, Sean S.Cummingham (previously working with Wes Craven on the notorious The Last House on The Left (1972)) directed the first Friday the 13th. Following a group of camp councillors who are getting ready to reopen Camp Crystal lake for the summer, they all begin to get picked off one by one.
A very simple story with a pretty low budget but with a major studio behind it Friday the 13th would go on to be a massive hit at the b office and would start a chain of more successful, and equally unsuccessful slasher films.
Friday the 13th came at a time in cinema when everyone was still coming down from the high of Halloween which made it’s way to cinema 2 years previous. This time however with Friday the 13th the filmmakers made the film more bloody and violent than what was seen in Halloween.
This would be the start of the slasher craze where we seen the release and launch of many other iconic slashers including the 1984 release of A Nightmare on Elm street and Canada would begin to bring out its own series of gory bloodbaths kicking off in 1981 with films such as My Bloody valentine and Happy Birthday to Me.
But Friday the 13th was the first of these more extreme slasher films. However let’s not forget that slasher films have always been there, even in the 70’s where we have seen such films as Black Christmas and the Texas Chainsaw massacre both released in 1974.
From 1980 the genre grew and grew and this would also lead to successful films, once again like Friday the 13th getting sequels eventually becoming franchises. The first of the F13th Sequels would be in the following year 1981 when Paramount would quickly discover they could make more money off this the story of Camp Crystal lake when they released Friday The 13th part 2.
So it is easy to see that Friday the 13th has had a major impact on the modern slasher film, and even though Halloween and Balck Christmas, which are higher on my top slasher film list, I can not deny how just brilliant and fun Friday the 13th is. And if it wasn’t for the film It’s tough to really know where the genre would have gone.
I think if you have yet to see this film I would suggest this be the year you finally treat yourself to this great and enjoyable film. Some of the actings is a little dated now, but that does not take away the fact that the film is still a wonderful and for the time, inventive slasher film. It will be one you will watch year after year, you might even find yourself watching it throughout the year.
Check out Friday the 13th and if this film teaches us anything, that is that you shouldn’t go camping in the woods.
| Ross Wilcock
Horror | USA, 1980 | Dir.Sean S.Cunningham | Betsy Palmer, Kevin Bacon, Ari Lehman, Adrienne King