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Friday the 13th

By Mark Englehart

This splatter flick, along with John Carpenter's Halloween, helped spawn the great horror-movie movement of the '80s, not to mention eight sequels, many of which had nothing to do with the films that preceded them. It also gave birth to Jason Voorhees, one of the three biggest horror-movie psychos of the modern era (the other two being Halloween's Michael Myers and A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger). Forever duplicated, the original Friday the 13th popularized a number of themes and techniques that today are now clichés: the increasingly gory murders, the remote forest location, the anonymous and nubile cast, the murderer as cult hero, and, of course, the moral that if you have sex, you will die, very painfully. Still, if you have to see a Friday the 13th movie, this is the one to check out. A group of eager (and horny) teenagers decide to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, which 20 years earlier was closed after the shocking and mysterious murders of two amorous camp counselors. You can take it from there, as the teens get picked off one by one, during a dark and stormy night; of course, their car won't start and there's no phone. The ending stole shamelessly from Brian De Palma's Carrie, but it still provides a slight if campy shock. Look for a young Kevin Bacon as the requisite stud -- you can tell that's what he is because when the cast appears in swimsuits, he's wearing a Speedo -- who's the beneficiary of the film's best murder sequence, an arrowhead to the throat. Right after having sex, of course.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Sean S. Cunningham

Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Kevin Bacon

Released: May 10, 1980

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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