Hello, Spongey here.
Well, once again, Friday the 13th is upon is. Well, it’s coming this Friday, thanks to my new schedule, but I digress. As you know, I review a Friday the 13th movie every Friday the 13th. If you want a recap…
PART 8: Jason goes to a boat, than New York
REMAKE: It’s the first one, only not as good. In other words, it’s a remake.
JASON GOES TO HELL: Jason dies, possess people, then goes to hell.
FREDDY VS JASON: Freddy fight Jason.
We’ve seen pretty epic tales, and I’ve at least tolerated all these movies so far. For this special occasion, I’ve decided to go back to where it all begin. That’s right, we’re tackling the original movie that started it all!
Believe it or not, I’ve actually never seen the original. Yes, I’ve seen the remake and some of the sequels, but not the first one. I’m a horrible person. Today, I plan to fix that. This will be the only time I review something the Cinema Snob reviewed.
Unless you all want me to watch ET the Porno.
You know the significance the film by now, but I’ll go over it anyway. Released in 1980, this helped kick start the slasher craze. It wasn’t the first Slasher movie ever, (Halloween and Black Christmas would hold that honor) but it started the trend, mostly due to how cheap and easy they are to make.
In a sea of sequels and ripoffs, it’s easy to forget about the one that started it all. The film holds quite the legacy, Jason is on an icon (despite not being the main villain) and people look back on it fondly.
Critics were not kind to it upon release, (nor did they like any of the sequels) which makes its impact hilarious. As a result, the Rotten Tomatoes percentage is a bit low, though you can’t trust RT on old films like this. If you take it seriously, I’ll be shocked that The Pirate Fairy has a better rating.
The director hasn’t done too much of note outside of these films, and the same can be said for the writer.
Does this movie hold up as a horror film, or even a film in general? Either way, I’ll have fun with it. Let’s take a look.
This, is Friday the 13th
The movie opens in Camp Crystal Lake in 1958, as some campers are singing happily. Well, they’re dead. We get the obligatory POV shot and that famous little cha cha cha sound. Two teens sneak off to do it. Again, they are dead.
We get some atmosphere as the POV shots kick in and the two are killed. It’s a pretty cool opening scene, and a nice note to start our franchise on. After the opening credits to “The present” on the titular day.
Hey, an opening taking place in the past that doesn’t take up so much of the movie it makes for the longest pre title scene ever. The remake could take notes from this.
We follow our adult looking teen heroine, Annie as she’s headed to Camp Blood. Naturally, a crazy guy warns her that this is a bad idea.
“It’s got a death curse!”
Some dude gives her a ride and that guy tells her that kids were killed at the camp and going there may be a bad idea. He just mocked Crazy Ralph so he’s a hypocrite. We cut to Camp as the counselors meet up. We see them hang around and exchange some banter.
This may shock you, but most of these guys are jerks who talk about sex. It’s actually funny in places so I can forgive it for now. We cut back to Annie as she hitches a ride with another guy, who drives right past Crystal Lake. Gee, it’s like hitching a ride with a random guy was a bad idea!
She jumps out of the jeep and I must say, it’s odd seeing actual suspense one of these slasher films. The other ones I’ve covered are well…dumb but this one actually tries, so there is that going for it other the sequels.
The driver chases her and kills her. Wah wah. Wait, I actually thought she was our hero. Huh, they caught me off guard. Weird. Back to the camp, we get more antics including fake drowning and snakes. While they are fooling around, a cop shows up, looking for Ralph. He is eventually sent back to do other stuff, making that scene entirely pointless.
Naturally, someone bumps into Ralph elsewhere. He says the place is cursed, and that God sent him. He works pretty well as the creepy guy whose warnings will not be heard. He leaves as quickly as he showed up.
We get more antics after that until one girl gives a weird dramatic speech to her boyfriend that I don’t get. She’s talking about a creepy dream she had or something. By the way, the antics do add something even though I make it all sound pointless.
But as a junkie, I’m just waiting for someone to die. This is still an 80’s slasher movie after all. But we do get another convention as the two run off to do it. Well, they’re dead.
Meanwhile, the other guys play strip Monopoly. Because of course they do. Back with the people that were doing it, the girl leaves to go pee and we get the famous arrow through the neck scene. You know, where someone comes in from behind and stabs him in the neck.
It’s pretty amazing. It’s the first real death and it’s awesome. Did I mention he’s played by Kevin Bacon in one of his earlier roles?
We cut to the girl as nothing happens for a few minute. Eventually the killer finally strikes, making the wait a little bit worth it. Back at Strip Monopoly, they stop the game due to the rain causing a girl to head out to close her Cabin door. Naturally, that girl is the next to die, after more filler.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. She hears cries for help outside and goes out to see what is going on. She is led in the dark to the archery range and she screams, as we cut to two of the others. They find a bloody axe in their Cabin and go out to find their friends to see if they are okay.
One of them tries to get in their car but of course it won’t start. After more stuff, the girl just goes to sleep while the guy heads out. He’s alive.
Eventually Alice, the girl, gets up to make Coffee. We get to watch the whole process. It’s really exciting and it is a very necessary and gripping scene. After it sadly ends, Alice goes to where Bill was and finds him dead. I must say, the kills are cool enough to make up for the lack of …things happening in some parts.
She runs back to her cabin and one girl’s body is thrown through the window. This guy isn’t very clean when it comes to disposing bodies, is he? Well, at least the 1980 audience thinks it’s a he..
Alice runs out and bumps into a woman who introduces herself as Mrs. Vorhees, a friend of the Christy’s. Alice tries to explain but Pamela thinks she’s just getting worried over nothing. She sees the proof.
“What monster could have done it?”
She says this place should not have reopened, and mentions that a young boy drowned here because the counselors were not paying attention.
“His name was Jason”
I’d day the D word but I’ll save it for a moment. The moment right after it that reveals that Jason was her son and she’s the killer.
Dun dun dun! What a twist for all 1 of you who doesn’t know it by now.
PETER: It was his sled from when he was a kid. There I just saved you 2 long boobless hours.
I gotta say, this lady is awesome. Things get really intense when she’s on screen and her acting is quite good. It doesn’t not hard to be more interesting than these chuckleheads, but she’s still awesome.
Thus we have our lone survivor facing the killer. Who is a woman thus breaking the stereotypes of the genre. The lone person being the woman part, I mean. They have a nice long and suspenseful chase scene as they run all around the camp. Eventually, Alice is cornered but she takes out Pam with a conveniently placed Frying pan. So much for breaking stereotypes.
She runs to the lake where Pam catches up. She recovers quickly. More fighting ensues and it ends with Alice cutting off Pam’s head with her own Machete. Awesome. The climax is always the highlight of these films and I’m glad the original started that trend.
Alice gets on a canoe and rows out, for some reason while peaceful music plays. That’s…not the best thing to put after a villain defeat but okay. The sun rises as we get some pretty music and visuals. That’s cool but this is a horror movie and there’s no way this is gonna end on an esoteric happy note.
Thus, ZOMBIE KID JASON pops out and takes her under. This is amazing. It’s well timed and really creepy, from the Zombie effects, timing and idea. There’s a reason it topped James Rolfe Top 13 moments list.
And the credits ro…wait…no? It cuts to her screaming in a hospital bed? That part was a dream? WHAT?! So there was no Zombie Kid Jason that came out?
So how is there a Jason in the other movies?! Well, Dead Kid Jason is likely still at the bottom of the lake so maybe he came back all by himself somehow. Either way, this is a cop out ending and I really question how they got away with ignoring it in the next 50 films.
They cut to the lake with happy music again and instead of having Zombie Jason pop out…the credits roll. Wow, I didn’t think an 80’s movie could come close to outdoing Cloud 9 when it comes to rushed endings, but there you go.
It’s not the worst ending but it just kind of ends. I mean, this is an iconic film that started one of the biggest horror franchises of all time! And it kind of ends without really much a point? What kind of a horror movie has happy music in the credits?!
Ah well, at least the climax was awesome.
So after all these years, does this film hold up? Hmm…I’m gonna say …sure, why not? I’ll be honest, it’s not quite as awesome as it probably was back in the day, but I still liked it.
I think the problem is that barely anything happens. Between the kills, we get pretty much teens hanging out and that’s it. There’s some enjoyable stuff there but in the 2nd half it really slows down in some parts. Seriously, that coffee bit goes on forever.
Say all you want about the remake, but I thought it had a bit more of a point and more actually happened between the kills. Now, with that said this was much better than the remake because the kills were way better, and Jason wasn’t a Momma’s Boy. Since he’s…not even in the movie since that part was a dream.
Speaking of which, the ending goes bug me. It just kind of …stops. Not every horror movie needs a big twist or anything, but when I got into a film with that poster, I don’t expect to walk out with a happy feeling. At least not the way this one did it.
Despite my bitching, there is stuff that works. This film does a pretty good at suspense at points, with every kill having weight to it. After stuff like Part 8, it’s nice to see this one actually try to keep you on the edge of your seat as annoying teens are killed.
The climax is easily the best part. Not only is it fun but Pamela Vorhees is actually an awesome villain. She’s really creepy with how she’s obsessing over getting revenge for her son’s death. It’s an okay motivation and Betsty Palmer certainly does a great job.
The rest of the characters are…not as good. Honestly, most of them are dull and they barely do anything before they die. Ralph is cool but he’s not in it much and while Alice was likable enough, they still aren’t enough. No one is really hatable for the most part but no one sticks out.
I think one of the other issues with the movie is how it keeps to the tropes we all know today. Aside from the twist about the killer, it’s all stuff we already know. This was all new in 1980, I’m sure but I’ve seen dull teens getting killed off tons of times now.
So really, it’s the direction that keeps this thing afloat. It rises above the convention by being fun and suspenseful but aside from a good villain the writing isn’t the best. However, none of that matters because I quite enjoyed the movie despite the dull parts, which I can look past.
So overall, it holds up in the sense that it’s still a fun horror flick, but I’d say Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street are a lot better. Well, I would but I haven’t seen those either.
…Yeah, I’m gonna have to review those at some point, aren’t? I haven’t the remakes, if that helps..
If you still haven’t seen this, it’s worth checking out but don’t expect it to be super amazing or something. It’s the “objective” best film in the franchise I’ve seen yet, but that isn’t hard given what I’ve covered.
I’ll try to cover some of them outside of Friday the 13th, cuz if I keep this up, I won’t cover all of them until 2019 or so. Yeah, I don’t want them, and something tells we’ll see like 5 more in the next few years. I’m also sure it will be found footage or some shit.
Then again, the next one is gonna the 13th overall Friday movie, so maybe bad luck it stop it from being made….either way, I like the original but it’s not the best.
Please don’t bitch about that grade.
Next time, we take out 2nd venture in the wild world of YA adaptions. Yay.