Awwwww! The original Friday the 13th is so cute! It's like a fluffy little black kitten who hisses and bites and scratches and tries to be tough and nasty, but really is just adorable.
I know. I know: such blasphemy about the beginning of one of the most iconic horror movie franchises of all time. But really, when the director tells the writer that the whole point is to rip off the uber-successful Halloween, and the writer tells this to the whole world on the DVD extras, it's not like they're claiming much originality. Plus, dog's honest truth - I've never seen F13 until today. In high school we watched the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and got old-school with The Exorcist. But then I really didn't watch any fright flicks again until my mid-thirties, and then my tendencies were towards monsters or aliens or zombies or ghosties, with the occasional near-art house J-horror. So after you've seen The Descent and 28 Days Later and Pontypool and Il Orfanato and Let the Right One In, little Friday the 13th just seems ... quaint.
But I can see how it would have been scary back in the day: bunch of camp counselors isolated at Camp Crystal Lake, getting ready to reopen the summer camp, and getting picked off one by one by SPOILER (AS IF I WEREN'T THE LAST PERSON ON EARTH TO SEE THIS) the psychotic mother of a boy who drowned a couple decades earlier while the horny camp counselors who were supposed to be watching him got it on instead. [Quibble: in the flashback to "1958," in no way do those camp counselors have the clothing and/or hairstyles of the late 1950s ... Seventies all the way, baby.]
The kills are solid: slicings and dicings, Kevin Bacon's arrow through the throat through the bottom bunk, big ol' axe to the head, and Mrs. V's beheading = sweet! I was unimpressed with Alice the Final Girl, however, until the very end when she and Mrs. V go mano a mano on the beach; up 'til then, I found her whiny and rather dim. And even tho' I'd seen that last scene where Jason rears up out of the lake to grab Alice, I still jumped a little - so, kudos there.
I'm still not a slasher fan. The genre is too close to the "it might be possible" realm, what with crazy knife (or other sharp implement)-wielding people and all. This is why I prefer monsters in my movies, as I'm almost certain that no zombies or werewolves or acid-drooling aliens are going to get me. But I feel it behooves me to see the classics, and Friday the 13th certainly qualifies. Now, tell me: is it worth seeing any of the sequels?
Next up: Wolfen, or maybe Alien on AMC.
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