It is very odd to think that the original “Friday The 13th” movie spawned nine sequels, a remake and a crossover film. It is sort of saddening when you realize that there are 12 entries in this franchise yet a fourth “Evil Dead” movie may never happen. I guess that is the way it goes.
As with most franchises, the original films are usually the best and “Friday The 13th” is not any different. This film was the result of the success of John Carpenter’s 1978 film “Halloween”, which was a masterpiece in terror. That movie created a genre almost all by itself. This film is no where near as suspenseful or terrifying. It does do a nice job of creating an atmosphere and setting the tone though.
The violence may be over the top but the director, Sean Cunningham, takes his time getting there. We first meet some of the weird locals who surround Camp Crystal Lake, where this saga originated. Then we watch the counsellors as they make all the wrongs choices such as having sex and smoking dope. Everything comes together on a particularly rainy evening when a stranger arrives and starts slaughtering everyone in gruesome ways.
The killer turns out to be the infamous Mrs. Voorhees. Turns out her son drowned at Crystal Lake due to the negligence of the camp counsellors and she has returned to exact her revenge. Betsy Palmer portrays Mrs. Voorhees as a woman who has seen insanity pass her in the rearview mirror. She simply needs to kill teenagers apparently.
The original “Friday The 13th” certainly didn’t revolutionize the genre but it is a fun little horror flick. I find it weird that some of the franchises trade marks didn’t show up until later films such as Jason Voorhees or the hockey mask that is synonymous with this series.