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Friday the 13th rather stands alone among even its sequels

Updated on October 14, 2011

Now, if October had started on a Sunday this year (as any self-respecting October should), it would have been easier to choose when to review this next movie. As it was, I had to decide between Thursday the 13th or Friday the 14th.

Anyway, confessedly riding the success of John Carpenter's Halloween from two years earlier, Victor Miller wrote up a happy-go-lucky film about a bunch of teens who head out to the woods to fix up an old summer camp and they spend a quiet, uneventful night there and all go home happy. After being told that this was a poor excuse for a horror flick, he pointed out that they all slept in itchy sheets.

Aparently that wasn't enough.

The film basically starts with the premise alluded to above, with one big change. There's a local belief that the camp is cursed, and there's aparently a crazy person going around killing people.

The setup is rudimentary and standard horror fare. The twist at the end when we find out who the killer is doesn't even come from left field. It comes from the stands by making it a person we'd never even seen before. To be fair, though, it was an interesting choice to make it the mother of the boy who drowned. Though people who've only heard of the Friday the 13th franchise but never saw any of them, would likely expect the killer to be Jason himself. He's the name that is most prominently associated with the series.

The filmmakers never intended to launch the series that resulted. In fact, except for a brief bit at the end, there is no supernatural element present. And that bit with Jason in the water (oh, surprise! Jason is here. But if you didn't know that by now, you're unlikely anyway to ever have watched this movie in the future.) Anyway, the quick sequence with Jason was originally intended to have been in Alice's delusional dream. Jason was intended only to be the reason for his mother's breakdown and why she was killing everyone.

And I will admit, it's a different series entirely once the decision is made to make the killer an undead, unkillable apparition.

Now I will admit that I'm sharing some spoilers here. But there's sort of a statute of limitations with movies. The movie's thirty one years old. I think the secret's out.

Also Rosebud's the sled and it was earth the whole time.

Anyhoo, this one definitely revels in the gore, which, as I've said before, isn't exactly my thing. It's well done for what it tries to be and for when it was made, but it's a gory killer-on-the-loose horror and that's two of my not-favorites.

Still it gets a 6 / 10 from me. Though if you do go for that kind of movie, you may very well like it better than I do.

Friday the 13th is rated R for violence, gore, disturbing imagery, a bit of language and some nudity.


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