Horror History: The Original FRIDAY THE 13TH is Now 41 Years Old
One of the most storied franchises in horror history began on this day in 1980. We’re talking about Friday the 13th, a film that turned summer camps into ground zero for psychotic mayhem; a film that spawned 10 sequels including the infamous Nightmare on Elm Street crossover Freddy vs. Jason plus a reboot in 2009; a film that has been the subject of numerous documentaries and even a had a hit video game; a film that still enjoys a fervent fan base chomping at the bit for another installment.
Unfortunately, a lawsuit filed by original Friday scribe Victor Miller against original Friday director Sean Cunning several years back has resulted in a legal quagmire unlikely to be resolved in the distant future.
Related Article: Sean Cunningham’s FRIDAY THE 13TH Lawsuit Update/Clarification
It’s fitting, however, that this anniversary falls on Mother’s Day, as the villain of Friday the 13th is revealed to be Pamela Voorhees (played by Betsy Palmer), who commits a murderous rampage as revenge for the mistreatment of her son, Jason.
If it’s been a while, or on the off chance you’ve never seen the original Friday the 13th, revisit the trailer and synopsis below.
Crystal Lake’s history of murder doesn’t deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals warn against it, but the fresh-faced young people — Jack (Kevin Bacon), Alice (Adrienne King), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor), and Ned (Mark Nelson) — pay little heed to the old-timers. Then they find themselves stalked by a brutal killer. As they’re slashed, shot, and stabbed, the counselors struggle to stay alive against a merciless opponent.
Tom Savini was one of the first crew members on board for the film because the producers idolized his special make-up effects in Dawn of the Dead (1978). (Source)
One critic (Gene Siskel) was so angry at Betsy Palmer’s role in the movie (which had angered many of her fans) that he published her address in his magazine, and encouraged people to write her and protest her. He published the wrong address. (Source)
Related Article: Why FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 is Even Better Than the Original
While the Halloween movies have lots of music, the Friday the 13th movies have very little music. In fact, there was a decision made by Harry Manfredini to only have music in the movie when the killer was present. That’s why there are only brief quick moments of music in the beginning, but the climax is wall-to-wall music. (Source)