One of the most popular and enduring horror franchises began as a Halloween imitator. No, it’s true.
Producer/director Sean S. Cunningham tried to capture the same Halloween success by borrowing his formula and applying it to the title of a film he felt the audience could not resist. In order to arouse interest and test the water for similar films, he placed an advertisement in Variety, in which he talks about his idea The most terrible film of all time. It doesn’t matter that there are a few months left for production. His game paid off. The theatrical release took place on the 9th. May 1980, Friday the 13th. May, took place and led to the twenty best-selling films of the year and inspired many sequels, crossovers and remakes.
With a modest budget, simplicity is the key to this fundamental massacre. Just before the summer season, a group of aid workers about to open a long destroyed camp on Lake Crystal is shot out of the sky by an invisible attacker – a disgusting way to proceed. In the final act of the film, the killer turns out to be a silent grandmother, Pamela Vourchis (Betsy Palmer), angry and devastated by the tragic drowning of her grandson Jason.
Until that is known, Pamela’s identity with POV will be kept secret. The only clue to their identity is related to the reaction of their victims shortly before their death. Some, such as the brave camp cook Annie Phillips (Robbie Morgan), react without any trace of the usual suspicion found when hitchhiking into the car of a supposedly unknown man. Others, such as Steve Christie (Peter Browwer), react by learning, followed by a shock of betrayal. The climax is that the killer in the film is not an ordinary masked maniac, but an average older woman, who has gone far in the direction of the general memorization of the film.
Simplicity and budgetary constraints meant that the development of the other characters was limited to non-existence, and Alice Hardy Adrienne King was the last person to get up and Mrs. Voorhees was shot after he realised at dawn that all his friends had been brutally murdered. As the last girl, Alice was the closest figure in the group. Alice started her journey with one leg outside the camp – she wasn’t even sure if she wanted to stay for the opening of the camp. Steve, hoping to take care of her, convinced her to give her another week to make a decision. This lack of character insight has made Alice a rather thoughtful man, but it is also an interesting detail that is remarkable in relation to Mrs. Vourchis’ motivation to murder. Voorhees was for those who were trying to restore Camp Crystal Lake to its former glory and Alice was not interested in the project.
Another important element for the success of the film was of course the special make-up effects of Tom Savini and his film crew. Poor Annie’s throat was cut in the forest, Marcy (Joan Taylor) got an axe in the face, and the symbolic death of Kevin Bacon in the picture above saw his character Jack get an arrow in the throat during post-coital coitus. Even the killer deserved a pretty bloody death by beheading. The number of corpses in the film about the cutters is crucial, and Friday the 13th came straight from the gate with a large number of victims, not counting Mrs. Vourchis.
The last element that appeals even more to the public on Friday the 13th are the last panic hooks inspired by the completion of Carrie’s panic jumps. Poor Alice wakes up alone in a canoe in the middle of the lake, before being dragged into the depths of Jason’s body. It’s all a dream… …isn’t it? The last shot shows some waves suggesting it might not have been a nightmare after all. That was the sequel and never looked back.
If there is one striking example of the inequality between critics and horror worshippers in the golden age of massacres, it is Friday the 13th. The editor may have surprised the audience, but the critics despise the film. Of course, in the golden age of scissors it was customary to take a course, but it is interesting to look back and see how much they hated it. The famous critic Gene Siskel, who deliberately ruined the ending in the opening paragraphs of his review, tried to prevent the audience from seeing the film before he distorted it with his disgusting attack scenes. The real bread and butter of lawnmower movies, the fans will surely understand.
Forty years have passed, Friday the 13th sees and feels the time. The effect on him is obvious, as evidenced by a day on his sleeves in the style of the 70s, and a few stitches on a low budget. In the first hours it is easy to concentrate on the blood flow from the stump where Mrs. Vourchis’ head lived, but many repetitions make it easier to recognize the hairy hands of the man behind Betsy Palmer. The fact that the franchise has become synonymous with Jason Vourges means that the original, with its sequels, has also been overshadowed in recent decades. But Cunningham, writer Victor Miller, actors and crew turned what was originally intended as a Halloween imitation into an unexpected blockbuster with legs. In addition to the 2009 remake and Freddy vs. Jason is the original film’s best-selling franchise.
On Friday the 13th mythology was established and the foundation was laid for the subsequent aftermath. During this time, she immortalized the hunger of murderers and performed various tricks and shocks that surprised the audience. In the decades following the release of this film, young Jason grew up, revealed his identity through various masks, killed more than a hundred former tourists, died several times, and was the target of a freedom struggle that held future persecutions in abeyance. And all this thanks to a catchy and unforgettable basic film on the pole, given to him by producer Sean Cunningham : Friday the 13th.