Sunday Suspense Movie: Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th
Cast: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Kevin Bacon
Director: Sean S Cunningham
Years after the horrific murders of some counsellors at Camp Crystal Lake forced the closure of the place, new counsellors arrive to begin preparing the camp for re-opening.
But something is waiting in the woods for them, and soon they are being picked off one-by-one in a series of grisly murders.
An unexpected hit at the box office in 1980, Friday the 13th inspired an incredible number of imitators in what would come to be known as the "slasher" genre. It also led to no less than ten sequels (parts four and nine both claimed to be series enders), most recently taking the form of 2003's Freddy Vs. Jason.
But as popular and influential as it was, Friday the 13th by no means invented the slasher genre - it took much inspiration from John Carpenter's 1978 hit Halloween, which arguably holds up better today.
Halloween itself was partly derived from a little remembered 1974 film called Black Christmas, in which sorority sisters are tormented in their sorority house by a mysterious killer during Christmas break. It may sound like a trite set-up these days, but in 1974, Black Christmas broke new ground and is the arguable daddy of the slasher form.
Friday the 13th is schlockily enjoyable principally for its place in slasher history, and is probably best watched on the date in question, with perhaps a few drinks in hand and some friends nearby to make sarcastic comments to.
It's not especially scary, but features numerous gross death scenes (courtesy a young Tom Savini, the talented make-up artist who also worked on Romero's Dead films) and a memorable, much imitated, score.
A pre-fame Kevin Bacon plays one of the victims.