Ah, it’s October. It’s Fall. Getting closer to Halloween…
…and my Friday the 13th movie marathon has just begun! Those of you who have been reading my blog know that I recently bought eight Friday the 13th/Jason movies on DVD. So to kick off this Friday the 13th film fest, the first movie that I watched is, of course, the first film from 1980.
As I mentioned in my “DVD/Blu-Ray Pickups #9: Eight Friday the 13th movies!” blog post, I have never watched the first Friday the 13th movie. I watched all the other ones, up to Jason X. I even watched Freddy Vs. Jason. But I have not seen the first movie (I haven’t seen the 2009 reboot either).
Why have I not seen the first film? Well, as I mentioned before, I’m not sure. Perhaps I was afraid that I would find the movie to be too old and dated to be enjoyable. But then again that doesn’t make too much sense, since I really enjoyed watching Friday the 13th Part 2, and that movie came out just one year after the first film!
So anyway, here I am, watching the first Friday the 13th movie for the first time, 34 years after it was originally released. The version of the film that I’m watching is the uncut version from the DVD 2-pack with the second film. In case anyone is wondering if both films in this 2-pack are on one DVD disc or if each film is on its own disc, well, I’m happy to say that for this 2-pack each film is indeed on it’s own disc.
Friday the 13th, like most of its sequels, mainly takes place at a summer camp. And man, there’s just something about summer camp that makes it a great setting for a horror/slasher movie. This movie has some great outdoor cinematography, especially in the daytime scenes. Yes, some people have criticized the fact that since this movie is supposed to take place during the summer time there shouldn’t be any Autumn leaves, but seeing as I usually like to watch horror movies during the Fall (especially in October), it didn’t bother me. Seeing the Autumn leaves just reminds me of Fall and puts me in the “horror movie mood.”
Now I did go to summer camp as a kid (and also as a teenager). So when I started watching Friday the 13th, it didn’t take very long for me to feel nostalgic about my own summer camp experiences, even though nobody got killed while I was at camp (at least not to my knowledge, haha!).
It also didn’t take me long to start liking this film. The cast is pretty likable. I sometimes forget that this movie was one of Kevin Bacon’s first films (yes, that Kevin Bacon, haha).
There’s a cool mystery element to the film that most of the sequels lacked. In most of the sequels, for the most part, the movie audience knew who the villain is. You just didn’t know when or how this villain would strike. Here in the original Friday the 13th, you didn’t know who the killer was (unless you read up on this movie and had the identity of the killer spoiled for you). All you knew is that some of the people at the camp must have known the killer because they would sometimes talk to the killer as if they recognized that person before they got killed. The identity of the killer would not be revealed until the “final showdown.”
So in addition to some cool, gruesome kills, this movie also keeps you interested in finding out who the killer is. Now since I knew a lot of Friday the 13th lore, I already knew who the killer was. However, I didn’t know what the relationship was between the killer and the people at the camp, so I was interested in finding that out.
Speaking of gruesome kills, Friday the 13th does have some really cool kills with very nice blood and gore. But that shouldn’t be too surprising, since it was horror movie icon Tom Savini who did the makeup in this movie. Savini also did the makeup in films like Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Creepshow (1982). While the version of Friday the 13th that I watched is the uncut version, my understanding is that not much was cut to make the R-rated version.
I also liked the ending a lot. That’s just classic.
The DVD for Friday the 13th does have some cool and interesting special features. There’s a featurette with footage from a Friday the 13th reunion with some of the cast and crew that took place in 2008. Cast members include Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer. Victor Miller (who wrote the script) and Harry Manfredini (who composed the music) were also there. Sadly there was no Kevin Bacon (but I didn’t expect him to be there) and director Sean S. Cunningham wasn’t there either.
But there is an interview with Cunningham in another featurette and in this interview he mentions why he doesn’t do conventions related to Friday the 13th (although this might not be the reason why he wasn’t at that reunion).
Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th is a featurette with interviews of the cast and crew including some who were at the reunion. I was really interested in what composer Manfredini had to say about how they used his music in the film. It wasn’t something I noticed until he pointed it out. There’s a series of shorts called Lost Tales from Camp Blood and this DVD has Part I (Friday the 13th Part 2 DVD has Part II of this series). I wish this short had some sort of intro (even if it is a text only intro) explaining what it is. I consider myself a pretty big Friday the 13th fan, but I didn’t know what this was. I had to do some internet research and I think people are saying that Lost Tales from Camp Blood are a series of shorts inspired by the original film.
There’s also the trailer for the movie and a feature length commentary from director Sean S. Cunningham and some of the cast and crew. I do like trailers for movies, as I like to see how they marketed and hyped their movies. I have not listened to the commentary yet, although it is something I’m interested in doing one day.
Okay, so I wanted to end this blog post by mentioning that, in case anyone was wondering, I did go back to Walmart and buy the DVD 2-pack with Friday the 13th Part VII and Part VIII, which was the 2-pack that I didn’t buy last time. So yeah, this October, I’m planning on watching all ten of the original Friday the 13th/Jason movies, from the first film all the way to Jason X. I just watched the first film, now unto Part 2!