Friday the 13th (1980)

“That was…a trashy movie, wasn’t it, dad?”


Pictured: Not Betsy Palmer’s hand.

I had told the kids that the original Sean S. Cunningham-directed slasher was not a good film, and there was no real reason to go see it, except that of all the hundreds of Halloween rip-offs, it was arguably the best (or at least most successful). They were on the fence about seeing it, but then a Nazi plane landed on the freeway and The Boy, being stuck near the theater in question decided to go see it. And we decided to join him since watching Friday the 13th alone in a theater seemed kind of sad.

It is a truism that movies are better on a big screen in a big theater, and Friday the 13th is no exception. The camerawork is competent if cheesy and cheat-y, The lighting is sufficient, for the most part: It doesn’t need the big screen like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, for example, where the screen makes the difference in an effective sense of horror vs. “What’s going on with the blobs and the dark?” Harry Manfredini’s score is a series of Psycho-violin-stabs-with-bass-rejoinders, and also Pino Dinaggio’s closing theme from Carrie which fits the stolen ending from Carrie perfectly.

I think they gave Betsy Palmer the ring, though. So there's that.

Woman being murdered by a tall, hairy-handed man.

The kids were okay with it. Not impressed, but they didn’t hate it. A couple of hours later, though, The Flower asks the opening question about it being a trashy movie. I guess she had noticed that the girls were running around with their clothes off and not putting them back on, even though it would’ve made a whole lot of sense to do so. Butts on the screen = butts in the seat, especially back in 1980.

We’re only a few years out from Roger Corman’s “breast count = success” formulation for teen sex comedies, after all. But the first 30 minutes of the film could’ve just easily veered into porno.

I’ve written extensively on this movie before, as part of an (aborted) series of posts on the entire series, which I maintain has the least continuity of any series ever.

Details. I notice them.

Implants would make their first appearance in Part 9 of the series.

This time, I really wanted a new workout program, maybe called Slash/Fit, because 49-year-old Betsy Palmer easily terrorized and manhandled (if you’ll pardon the expression) a bunch of college-aged men and women.

And then, because we had just seen it, I imagined “Mr. Voorhees Goes To Washington,” where a guy in a hockey mask and ill-fitting suit makes a plea. “We got a build a little camp for the boys. There’s some lovely property out by Crystal Lake…”

The Flower said it was wrong, but she laughed.

Hey, is that Kevin Bacon?

All your favorites! Jeans girl #1, and Indian head-dress guy.

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