May, 1980: Friday the 13th

When the words “slasher flick” are uttered in your presence, what are the first movies you think of? If they’re anything besides Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, something is wrong with your brain. While Halloween certainly set the pace for what a slasher flick is, Friday the 13th took the torch and ran headfirst into a powder keg, effectively destroying any positive, creative momentum that the former established.

The first installment of the wildly successful Friday the 13th franchise revolves around group of camp counselors that are strategically slaughtered at a summer camp in Blair, New Jersey called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco. While I would love to talk about character development and general story, that’s pretty much it.download

Friday the 13th kicked off the “have sex and die” and “use poor judgement and die” stereotypes that became synonymous with slasher flicks throughout time. The movie deals less with the stress and struggle of evading a crazed killer and more on how many teenagers it can kill in a single sitting; this ignited a “space race” to determine which films could capture the most creative deaths on tape.

It’s not all bad.

Sure, the film uses an hour and a half of screen time beheading, stabbing, and hanging teenagers and then attempts to shove twenty minutes of exposition on the tail-end of the script like some sort of human centipede. Sure, the film introduces a creepy fish-boy in the waning seconds of the film in an almost comical fashion.

But it does have an fantastic score that heightens the tension throughout the film and it uses the camera in a clever way to “trap” the characters. The true genius was reserved for Freddy vs. Jason nearly 25 years later.

Matt's rating: 1.5/5
Gabe's rating: 1/5
Rewind Cinema composite: 2.5/10

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