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Proceeded by: Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th is one of the best known slasher films in history. Although many think this was the first appearence of everyone's favorite hockey masked killer, Jason Voorhees, it was actually his revenge-minded mother who was the killer in this movie. (But Jason did have a cameo at the end of the film). The film was made in 1980 and was directed by Sean S. Cunningham. It starred Adrienne King, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby, Taso Stavrakis, Laurie Bartram and Betsy Palmer as "Mrs. Voorhees" .
|Friday the 13th|
On Friday, June 13th of 1958, two Camp Crystal Lake counselors, Claudette and Barry, slip away from the campfire for an illicit rendezvous. They are discovered and murdered by an unseen assailant.
Two decades later, the camp is preparing to reopen. The town loony, Crazy Ralph, warns camp cook Annie that "Camp Blood" has a death curse, but Annie continues to hitch her way to camp. Local truck driver Enos tells her the camp lore: the murders in '58, a boy drowning in '57, the fires and bad water that thwarted attempts to reopen the camp. Annie then catches a ride with an unidenified man, who chases her through the woods and slits her throat.
At Camp Crystal Lake, Steve Christy is eager for his counselors Marcie, Jack, Ned, Brenda, Bill and Alice to begin their preparations to open the camp. After they get underway, Steve leaves for an urgent errand in town. The counselors work for a while longer, then break for some swimming. After a drowning scare, a snake in a cabin and visits from both the law and Crazy Ralph, Ned goes to investigate a noise in one of the cabins, and doesn't come out. . .
A storm begins, and Marcie and Jack seek shelter in the same cabin, where they make love in a bunk bed. Meanwhile, Brenda, Bill and Alice amuse themselves with a rousing game of strip Monopoly. When Marcie leaves for the restroom, Ned's body, hidden on the top bunk, drips blood onto Jack's face. Jack is then stabbed through the neck with an arrow, and the killer leaves for the camp restroom. Marcie goes to investigate a sound in the showers and the killer splits her face open with a vicious axe swing.
The door blows open in the main cabin, interrupting Brenda, Bill and Alice's game. Brenda leaves to close the windows in her cabin. In town, Steve finishes his meal in the local diner and starts back for camp. From her cabin, Brenda hears a child crying in the woods and braves the storm. As she slogs through the driving the rain, the archery range is suddenly illuminated, with Brenda standing in front of the targets. . .
Alice thinks she hears a scream, and she and Bill go to investigate. On Brenda's pillow they find a bloody axe. The phones are out and the truck won't start, so they decide to go back to the main cabin to get out of the rain. In the meantime, Steve's Jeep has slid off the road. A passing police car gives him a ride part of the way, and he walks the rest - only to encounter the killer, who Steve recognizes before he is stabbed in the stomach.
Back at camp the power goes out, and Bill goes to check the generator while Alice takes a nap. When she awakes she goes to look for Bill in the generator shed, but instead discovers his body mounted on the door, riddled with arrows. She returns to the main cabin and seals herself in, only to have Brenda's corpse thrown through the window. She flees, and runs into Pamela Voorhees, an "old friend of the Christys."
Alice is left alone against Pamela, whose son Jason drowned at Camp Crystal Lake in 1957. Now all the counselors of the camp must die, and the two engage in a fight to the death. Finally, Alice decapitates Mrs. Voorhees. She goes out onto a boat in the middle of Crystal Lake, where the decomposing corpse of Jason pulls her into the water... or was it a hallucination? She wakes up in the hospital and, when told that no boy was found at the scene, says that he is still there.
- Adrienne King as Alice Hardy
- Harry Crosby as Bill
- Jeannine Taylor as Marcie Cunningham
- Kevin Bacon as Jack Burrel
- Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Pamela Voorhees
- Peter Brouwer as Steve Christy
- Mar Nelson as Ned Rubinstein
- Taso Stavrakis as Unidentified Man with Knife (also stand-in for decapitated Mrs. Voorhee's hands)
- Robbi Morgan as Annie
- Rex Everhart as Enis, the Truck Driver
- Ron Millkie as Officer Dorf
- Ari Lehman as Jason Voorhees
Friday the 13th was produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who had previously worked with filmmaker Wes Craven on the film The Last House on the Left (1972). Cunningham, inspired by John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), and films by Mario Bava, wanted Friday the 13th to be shocking, visually stunning, and "[make] you jump out of your seat". Wanting to distance himself from The Last House on the Left, Cunningham wanted Friday the 13th to be more of a "roller-coaster ride".
This film was intended to be "a real scary movie" and at the same time make the audience laugh. Friday the 13th began its life as nothing more than a title. Initially, "Long Night at Camp Blood" was the working title during the writing process, but Cunningham believed in his "Friday the 13th" moniker, and quickly rushed out to place an ad in Variety. Worried that someone else owned the rights to the title and wanting to avoid potential lawsuits, Cunningham thought it would be best to find out immediately. He commissioned a New York advertising agency to develop his concept of the Friday the 13th logo, which consisted of big block letters bursting through a pane of glass. In the end, Cunningham believed there were "no problems" with the title, but distributor George Mansour stated, "There was a movie before ours called Friday the 13th: The Orphan. Moderately successful. But someone still threatened to sue. I don't know whether Phil [Scuderi] paid them off, but it was finally resolved."
The film was shot in and around the township of Blairstown, New Jersey in the fall of 1979. On July 13, 2007, Friday the 13th was screened for the first time on Blairstown's Main Street in the very theater which appears shortly after the opening credits. Overflow crowds forced the Blairstown Theater Festival, the sponsoring organization, to add an extra screening at 11:00 PM. The event was covered by local media and New York City's WPIX-TV.
The script was written by Victor Miller, who has gone on to write for several television soap operas, including Guiding Light, One Life to Live, and All My Children. Miller delighted in inventing a serial killer who turned out to be somebody's mother, a murderer whose only motivation was her love for her child. "...I took motherhood and turned it on its head and I think that was great fun. Mrs. Voorhees was the mother I'd always wanted - a mother who would have killed for her kids." Miller was unhappy about the filmmakers' decision to make Jason Voorhees the killer in the sequels. "Jason was dead from the very beginning. He was a victim, not a villain." Subsequently, a homage to Mrs. Voorhees was present in the horror sequel Scream 2 (1998) as a boy's mother ended up being the killer. The idea of Jason appearing at the end of the film was initially not used in the original script, and was actually suggested by makeup designer Tom Savini. Savini stated that "The whole reason for the cliffhanger at the end was I had just seen Carrie, so we thought that we need a 'chair jumper' like that and I said, 'let's bring in Jason.'"
When Harry Manfredini began working on the musical score, the decision was made to only play the music alongside the killer so it would not "manipulate the audience" into thinking the killer was present when they were not. Manfredini pointed out the lack of music for certain scenes: "There's a scene where one of the girls […] is setting up the archery area of the film. One of the guys shoots an arrow into the target and just misses her. It's a huge scare, but if you notice, there's no music. That was a choice." Manfredini also noted that when something was going to happen, the music would cut off so that the audience would relax a bit, and the scare would be that much more effective.
Since Mrs. Voorhees, the killer in the original Friday the 13th, does not show up until the final reel of the film, Manfredini had the job of creating a score that would represent the killer in her absence. Manfredini was inspired by the 1975 film Jaws, where the shark is not seen for the majority of the film but the motif created by John Williams cued the audience on when the shark was present during scenes when you could not see it. Sean S. Cunningham sought a chorus, but the budget would not allow it. While listening to a Krzysztof Penderecki piece of music, which contained a chorus with "striking pronunciations", Manfredini was inspired to recreate a similar sound. He came up with the sound "ki ki ki, ma ma ma" from the final reel when Mrs. Voorhees arrives and is reciting "Kill her mommy!" The "ki" comes from "kill", and the "ma" from "mommy". To achieve the unique sound he wanted for the film, Manfredini spoke the two words "harshly, distinctly and rhythmically into a microphone" and ran them into an echo reverberation machine. Manfredini finished the original score after a couple of weeks, and then recorded the score in a friend's basement. Victor Miller and assistant editor Jay Keuper have commented on how memorable the music is, with Keuper describing it as "iconographic". Manfredini says, "Everybody thinks it's cha, cha, cha. I'm like, 'Cha, cha, cha? What are you talking about?"
As of 2009, Friday the 13th has spawned eleven sequels, including a crossover film with A Nightmare on Elm Street villain Freddy Kruger. The most recent is a remake released in 2009, which follows about the same story as the original film. Cunningham did not direct any of the films sequels, though he did act as producer on the later installments; he initially did not want Jason Voorhees to be resurrected for the sequel. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) introduced Jason Voorhees, the son of Mrs. Voorhees, as the primary antagonist, which would continue for the remaining sequels and related works. Most of the sequels were filmed on larger budgets than the original. In comparison, Friday the 13th's had a budget of $550,000, while the first sequel was given a budget of $1.25 million. The most recent film, Freddy vs. Jason, had the largest budget, at $25 million. All of the sequels basically repeated the same premise of the original, so the filmmakers had to come up with tweaks to provide freshness. Changes involved an addition to the title—as opposed to a number attached to the end—like "The Final Chapter" and "Jason Takes Manhattan", or filming the movie in 3-D, as Miner did for Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982). One major tweak that would affect the entire film series was the addition of Jason's hockey mask in the third film; this mask would become one of the most recognizable images in popular culture.
The remake of Friday the 13th is in development, with Freddy vs. Jason writers, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, currently hired to script the new film. The film is reported to focus on Jason Voorhees, and that he will keep his trademark hockey-mask. The film is being produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller through Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, for New Line Cinema. In November 2007, Marcus Nispel, director of the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was hired to direct.
In 1987, seven years after the release of the motion picture, Simon Hawke adapted a novelization of Friday the 13th. One of the few additions to the book was Mrs. Voorhees begging the Christy family to take her back after the loss of her son; they agreed. Another addition in the novel is more understanding in Mrs. Voorhees's actions. Hawke felt the character had attempted to move on when Jason died, but her psychosis got the best of her. When Steve Christy reopened the camp, Mrs. Voorhees saw it as a chance that what happened to her son could happen again. Her murders were against the counselors, because she saw them all as responsible for Jason's death. Hawke had previously written the novelization of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives in 1986, and would go on to write the novelizations for Part 2 and Part 3. All four novels were originally published by Signet, but are currently out-of-print.
Paramount bought Friday the 13th's distribution rights for $1.5 million, after seeing a screening of the film. They spent approximately $500,000 in advertisements for the film, and then an additional $500,000 when the film began performing well at the box office. Friday the 13th opened theatrically on May 9, 1980 across the United States in 1,100 theaters. It took in $5,816,321 in its opening weekend, before finishing domestically with $39,754,601. The film finished as the eighteenth highest grossing film of 1980. Friday the 13th was released internationally, which was unusual for an independent film with, at the time, no well-recognized or bankable actors. The film would take in approximately $20 million in international box office receipts. Not factoring in international sales, or the cross-over film with A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Kreuger, the original Friday the 13th is the highest grossing film of the ten film series. To provide context with the box office gross of films in 2008, the cost of making and promoting Friday the 13th—which includes the budget and the $1 million in advertisement—is approximately $4.4 million. With regard to the domestic box office gross, the film took in $112,915,537 in adjusted 2008 dollars. In terms of recent box-office performance, this film would rank #3 for the current year as of April 2008 using the adjusted figures.
Variety claimed the film was "low budget in the worst sense - with no apparent talent or intelligence to offset its technical inadequacies - Friday the 13th has nothing to exploit but its title."
However, this film currently holds a 69 percent "Fresh" at the movie review website www.rottentomatoes.com.
The film came in at #31 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments for the ending sequence, and was was voted #15 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Scariest Moments.
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