Friday the 13th

“They were warned… They are doomed… And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.” ~Friday the 13th, (1980)

IMDB Summary: A group of camp counselors is stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 58%

Why I love it: Because choo-choo-choo-choo-ah-hah-hah-hah.

I just noticed that I’m writing this on the 13th. Totally unintentional.

When I was 13 (oh my god, another 13) my family and I went on a school camping trip where I fell in love with Ian Holmes. I had a very 1980 blue bikini on that trip with rainbow stripes on the bottom that I wish I still had. Ian told me about a movie he had just seen about doomed campers called Friday the 13th. High five to Ian for being the perfect guy for me in the right place at the right time with the right movie.

One thing: As I mention in the Scream post, I can’t help but notice Friday the 13th has nothing to do with Friday the 13th or bad luck. It was originally titled A Long Night at Camp Blood but Friday the 13th sounded better somehow. I don’t even think they mention Friday the 13th, and as far as I know it doesn’t take place on Friday the 13th. I really don’t think they thought this through.

It’s 1958. Two camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake are fooling around when they get killed by an unknown assailant. Cut to 21 years later, and the camp is reopening. Annie the cook is headed there and hitches a ride which ends badly. (I’m pretty stoked about the fact that in both Friday the 13th and Halloween, an Annie is the first to die after the initial killings.) The rest of the counselors, who were in fact cast to look like “young people you might see in a Persi commercial,” arrive and swim and get freaked out by an old man going on about how doomed they all are. Little do they know he’s right. And they’re miffed because Annie never shows up.

One by one, they all get killed after they either drink, smoke weed, kill a snake, play strip Monopoly or have sex. Or just act flippant over the seriousness of the rumors surrounding “Camp Blood.” My favorite death might have to be Marcie, the chick who has just had sex with Kevin Bacon who, after giving her finest Katherine Hepburn impression in the bathroom mirror in her granny undies, swears she hears something behind the shower curtain… but hmm, it must have been her imagination… as the shadow of an axe rises behind her. Really, if all you’re going to do is stand there and scream when you see an axe coming at you, then you deserve to die.

Pretty soon Alice is the only one left. Mrs Voorhees shows up, an old friend of the Christy family. In a series of attacks which probably would have been more shamelessly erotically charged had the movie been 20 years later, Alice beheads Mrs. Voorhees and then for some reason decides to go for a relaxing canoe ride in the middle of the night. She awakes in the morning to the picturesque beauty and calmness of the lake and, seeing the barrage of police, feels safe… so safe… until a twisted, moss-covered child-thing emerges from the depths of the lake and pulls her down.

And that, along with Halloween, is what set in motion the nonsensical, much-used, sequel-appropriate device called, “you think you’re safe because he/it is dead. But you’re wrong.”

I’ve seen this movie 5,000 times. I’ll watch it anytime it’s on. The acting is horrible and so are the effects. But it had a huge part in spawning a genre. Friday the 13th Part 2 is more of the same, the third one is in 3D and by the time you get to the others, well, I wouldn’t know.


Next: Poltergeist

Written by Anne Clendening
Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She's a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a huge fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now, kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband ★