I recently bought the entire F13 series on the cheap in several 5 dollar DVD double features, and the wife and I have been watching a couple every week.
It is interesting now watching these movies that I used to stay up late watching as a kid. These movies were designed to be seen on dates, or in big group settings, and so I found it useful to have experienced these movies with an extra perspective to take note of.
Here’s the plot crunch. Way back in the late 50s young Jason Voorhees drowns in Camp Crystal Lake, while the teenage camp counselors were apparently off getting their jollies. Two of those counselors were murdered (the first two on screen deaths of the series) and the camp was closed down.
There were attempts to reopen it several times but they always met with disaster, such as tainted water or what-have-you. Now the year is 1980 and Steve Christy and a band of teenagers, including novice actor Adrienne King as Alice, and a very young Kevin freakin Bacon as another counselor are reopening of the camp.
Now, of course this movie is pure schlock, of the same type and genre of the endless spawn of sequels that followed it. It is an unabashed Halloween rip-off, but unlike many of the later movies of this series is competently directed, decently edited and has a consistent atmosphere/mood throughout.
The rain soaked terror of Camp Crystal Lake works quite well here, and Betsy Palmer is a hoot as Pamela Voorhees. I found that I was rather refreshed to be watching a horror movie that was not as acutely self-aware and obsessed with irony as modern horror movies.
There’s something to be said for just a straight up, no frills slasher film that doesn’t try and get all cutesy with its craft. It may be schlock, but it is respectable schlock in any event.
Friday The 13th gets a four out of five: GREAT.