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Friday the 13th (1980)

These Friday films are not ones that hold a great deal of nostalgia for me. I do remember seeing the first three growing up but never actively seeking them out or being drawing to them the same way I was other horror franchises. These are films that I have been quite curious about making a revisit to and what better place to start than with the one that started it all. The film is shot and directed much better than I originally anticipated it being, with most films of a similar stature usually have the b-movie aesthetic about them. This looked incredible and has some very well-thought-out cinematography, having Paramount injecting a big budget into this project and asking for something to compete with Halloween certainly helped. One thing in particular I am always a big fan of is when slasher movies used the POV style camera work and I must say this does it better than most. The kills were done beautifully, having the practical effects master that is Tom Savini behind all the special effects really made the kills in this stand leagues above the rest of slashers from the same era. The most stand out for me and probably the most associated with this first installment is the Kevin Bacon's death when he gets the arrow through the neck whilst laid on the bed. It's an iconic staple kill in horror cinema. There are a few cut away of camera kills in this film, something I usually gripe about. The ones we see here are done so well that it can definitely be overlooked. The score is particularly impressive, always building and rising to the big crescendo moment and feeling very similar in tone to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. This along with the constant wildlife noise playing over every scene and some perfectly timed audio ques, makes this a very under-appreciated and recognisable horror movie score that not many people talk about. As well as providing us with one of horrors most iconic sounds, the instantly recognisable ki ki ki ma ma ma. Which is actually the words kill and mummy reduced down and put through an Echoplex machine. I found the majority of the cast to be very bland and forgettable. This is with the exception of Kevin Bacon, only really due to him being a recognisable actor. Also the final girl Alice (played by Adrienne King) and this to is only due to how much focus is on her as a character throughout. That's not to say any of them give a particularly bad performances, they all do a perfectly good job in representing the script they are given. I just think the writing department do them all a disservice in writing them without any depth. Pamela Voorhees played by the great Betsy Palmer is easily the strongest character of this film and her performance alone stole the show. It is disappointing that we don't get to see her character until the last 15 minutes of the film. Had she been introduced earlier on but not revealed as the killer until the end, I think this film would have been stronger than it ultimately is. I do like the way this film handles her motives and her pursuit of these young teens. The lore building around both her and Jason is and interesting one, it's just a shame we don't get more of that here in the first installment. I was really disappointed with the unnecessary continuation of the ending to this film. Once she wakes up in the hospital and they are discussing pulling her out of the water and she is asking about the boy Jason. This completely destroyed any impact the finally jump scare with Jason held. I personally would cut that whole couple of final minutes and just have him pull her into the lake and then cut to credits. This would then provide the perfect set up for part 2. No one survives other than Jason, leading to no suspicion over his existence. There is no denying how important this film is to horror and the stepping stone it provided for this franchise to go on and birth one of the greatest slasher villains put to screen. However for me, it is certainly the weakest first installment I have come across from any of the major horror series. I don't particularly think this is a bad film, I just found myself very bored by its pacing and the dullness of its characters.



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