Published by AuthorMike Ink
On May 9, 1980, a low-budget horror film from a “controversial” director, Sean (producer of The Last House on the Left) Cunningham, premiered nationally and was an immediate hit. Combining gruesome special effects from “The Master,” Tom Savini, with an especially shocking denouement, Friday the 13th was unlike anything anyone had seen before.
I first saw it on TV around 1981 and had the crap scared out of me but never really “took” to the franchise. But now, David Grove, an uber-fan and author of a previous book on the film entitled Making of Friday the 13th (FAB Press), has written what may be THE quintessential tome on the making of this groundbreaking film. Sure, there is the coffee table book Crystal Lake Memories by Peter Bracke, which came out in 2006 and shares a lot of the same information that On Location in Blairstown contains but On Location is written by a FAN for fans.
Covering everything from the film’s predecessors Halloween (1978) and The Last House on the Left (1972) to how the idea for Friday the 13th came about to casting the film to a breakdown of the four weeks of filming, starting the day after Labor Day, to just how will the film end (quite a few people took credit for the shocking ending) to the film’s release and beyond to the sequels, On Location in Blairstown is definitely a book for Friday the 13th fans.
With approximately 300 black and white photographs, many never before seen, as well as shooting script pages, pages from the shooting schedule, and filmographies of many cast members – combined with the author’s interviews with nearly everyone connected to the film, in front of the camera and behind it – no stone has been left unturned. Tom Savini even wrote the foreword. And Grove takes on the fascinating task of comparing and contrasting Friday the 13th to John Carpenter’s watershed film, Halloween. Grove also visits nearly every location associated with F13. THIS is a fan!!
My only quibble with On Location in Blairstown is the quality of the book. It’s a 214-page paperback, but it is printed on VERY cheap paper stock, and the cover looks amateurish. Also, regarding those nearly 300 photographs – many have a very grainy quality to them and are difficult to see. Still, for the super fans out there, this is probably a very minor problem.
As I said before, I was never that keen on the Friday the 13th franchise, but reading On Location in Blairstown has given me a new perspective on this important genre film. Maybe I will watch it again…
3 out of 5