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Friday the 13th

Theatrical poster
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Produced by Sean S. Cunningham
Written by Victor Miller
Starring Betsy Palmer
Adrienne King
Harry Crosby
Laurie Bartram
Mark Nelson
Jeannine Taylor
Robbi Morgan
Kevin Bacon
Music by Harry Manfredini
Cinematography Barry Abrams
Editing by Bill Freda
Distributed by North America:
Paramount Pictures
International:
Warner Bros.
Release date(s) May 9, 1980 (1980-05-09)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $550,000 (est.)[1]
Gross revenue $39,700,000 (US) $59,700,000 (Worldwide)
Followed by Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th is a 1980 American horror film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The film stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby and Kevin Bacon in one of his earliest roles. The film concerns a group of teenagers who re-open an abandoned camp site years after a young boy drowned in the camp site's lake. One by one, the teens fall victim to a mysterious killer.

Friday the 13th, inspired by the success of John Carpenter's Halloween,[2] was made on an estimated budget of $550,000.[1] Released by Paramount Pictures in the United States, and Warner Bros. internationally, the film received mixed reviews from film critics, but grossed over $39.7 million at the box office in the United States,[3] and went on to become one of the most profitable slasher films in cinema history. It was also the first movie of its kind to secure distribution in the USA by a major studio, Paramount Pictures.[4] The film's box office success led to a long series of sequels, a crossover with Freddy Krueger and a series reboot released on February 13, 2009.

Contents

Plot

The film begins in 1958 as two summer camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, Barry (Willie Adams) and Claudette (Debra S. Hayes), sneak away from a campfire sing-along to have sex. Before they can completely undress, an unseen assailant sneaks into the room and murders them both.

The film then moves forward to Friday, June 13, in the present day; a young woman named Annie (Robbi Morgan) enters a small diner and asks for directions to Camp Crystal Lake, much to the shock of the restaurant's patrons and staff. Enos (Rex Everhart), a truck driver from the diner, agrees to give her a lift halfway to the camp. A strange old man named Ralph (Walt Gorney) reacts to the news of the camp's reopening by warning Annie that they are all doomed. During the drive, Enos warns her about the camp, informing her that a young boy drowned in Crystal Lake in 1957, one year before the double murders occurred. After Enos lets her out, Annie hitches another ride in a Jeep. The second driver, whose face is never seen, murders Annie by slashing her throat with a large hunting knife after her futile efforts to escape.

At the camp, the other counselors, Ned (Mark Nelson), Jack (Kevin Bacon), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor), Brenda (Laurie Bartram), Alice (Adrienne King) and the camp's owner, Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer), are refurbishing the cabins and facilities. As a violent storm closes in on the horizon, Steve leaves the campgrounds to get more supplies. The unidentified killer begins to isolate and murder the counselors. First Ned, then Jack, and then Marcie. Meanwhile, Alice, Brenda and Bill are playing strip Monopoly in the main cabin. Brenda soon leaves and goes to her cabin to bed. While in bed, reading a book, she hears a childlike voice outside crying 'Help me' several times. As she goes out to investigate, the lights at the archery range suddenly turn on and Brenda is murdered (off-screen). Alice informs Bill that she thinks she heard Brenda screaming and that she saw the lights turn on at the archery range. Alice and Bill leave the cabin to investigate and find a bloody axe in Brenda's bed. Attempting to phone the police, they discover the phones are dead and, when they try to leave, the car won't start. Later that evening, Steve returns from town and is also murdered, apparently familiar with his attacker. Back at camp, when the lights go out, Bill goes to check on the power generator. Alice heads out looking for Bill when he doesn't return. She finds his body pinned to a door by several arrows. Now alone, Alice flees back to the main cabin and hides. After a few moments of silence, Brenda's corpse is hurled through the window.

Alice hears a vehicle outside the cabin and, thinking it to be Steve, runs out to warn him. Instead, she finds a middle-aged woman who introduces herself as Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), stating that she is an "old friend of the Christys". Alice hysterically tries to tell her about the murders. Mrs. Voorhees expresses horror at the sight of Brenda's body, but she soon reveals herself to be the mother of the boy who drowned in the lake in 1957, and that today is his birthday. Talking mostly to herself, she blames her son Jason's drowning on the fact that two counselors were having sex and were unaware of Jason struggling in the lake. Mrs. Voorhees suddenly turns violent and pulls out a knife, rushing at Alice. A lengthy chase ensues, during which Alice flees her attacker and finds Steve and Annie's bodies in the process. Alice and Mrs. Voorhees have multiple confrontations, each time with Alice believing she has finally beaten Mrs. Voorhees. During their final fight, Alice manages to decapitate Mrs. Voorhees with her own machete.

Afterward, Alice boards a canoe and floats to the middle of the lake. As the sun rises, the decomposing corpse of Mrs. Voorhees' son, Jason (Ari Lehman), attacks Alice, just as the police arrive. As she is dragged under water, Alice awakens from the nightmare in a hospital, where Sergeant Tierney (Ron Carroll) tells her that they pulled her out of the lake. Alice is informed that everyone is dead; when she asks about Jason, Tierney informs her they never found any boy, which leaves her with the impression that he is still there.

Production

Development

Friday the 13th did not even have a completed script when Sean S. Cunningham took out this ad in Variety magazine

Friday the 13th was produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who had previously worked with filmmaker Wes Craven on the film The Last House on the Left. Cunningham, inspired by John Carpenter's Halloween, and films by Mario Bava, wanted Friday the 13th to be shocking, visually stunning, and "[make] you jump out of your seat." Wanting to distance himself from The Last House on the Left, Cunningham wanted Friday the 13th to be more of a "roller-coaster ride".[2]

This film was intended to be "a real scary movie" and at the same time make the audience laugh. Friday the 13th began its life as nothing more than a title. Initially, "Long Night at Camp Blood" was the working title during the writing process, but Cunningham believed in his "Friday the 13th" moniker, and quickly rushed out to place an ad in Variety. Worried that someone else owned the rights to the title and wanting to avoid potential lawsuits, Cunningham thought it would be best to find out immediately. He commissioned a New York advertising agency to develop his concept of the Friday the 13th logo, which consisted of big block letters bursting through a pane of glass.[5] In the end, Cunningham believed there were "no problems" with the title, but distributor George Mansour stated, "There was a movie before ours called Friday the 13th: The Orphan. Moderately successful. But someone still threatened to sue. I don't know whether Phil [Scuderi] paid them off, but it was finally resolved."[6] The film was shot in and around the townships of Blairstown and Hope, New Jersey in the fall (September) of 1979. The camp scenes were shot on a working Boy Scout camp, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco.[7]

Writing

The script was written by Victor Miller, who has gone on to write for several television soap operas, including Guiding Light, One Life to Live and All My Children. Miller delighted in inventing a serial killer who turned out to be somebody's mother, a murderer whose only motivation was her love for her child. "I took motherhood and turned it on its head and I think that was great fun. Mrs. Voorhees was the mother I'd always wanted - a mother who would have killed for her kids." Miller was unhappy about the filmmakers' decision to make Jason Voorhees the killer in the sequels. "Jason was dead from the very beginning. He was a victim, not a villain."[8] The idea of Jason appearing at the end of the film was initially not used in the original script, and was actually suggested by makeup designer Tom Savini. Savini stated that "The whole reason for the cliffhanger at the end was I had just seen Carrie, so we thought that we need a 'chair jumper' like that and I said, 'let's bring in Jason.'"[9]

Music

When Harry Manfredini began working on the musical score, the decision was made to only play the music alongside the killer so it would not "manipulate the audience" into thinking the killer was present when they were not.[10] Manfredini pointed out the lack of music for certain scenes: "There's a scene where one of the girls […] is setting up the archery area of the film. One of the guys shoots an arrow into the target and just misses her. It's a huge scare, but if you notice, there's no music. That was a choice."[10] Manfredini also noted that when something was going to happen, the music would cut off so that the audience would relax a bit, and the scare would be that much more effective.

Since Mrs. Voorhees, the killer in the original Friday the 13th, does not show up until the final reel of the film, Manfredini had the job of creating a score that would represent the killer in her absence.[10] Manfredini was inspired by the 1975 film Jaws, where the shark is not seen for the majority of the film but the motif created by John Williams cued the audience on when the shark was present during scenes when you could not see it.[11] Sean S. Cunningham sought a chorus, but the budget would not allow it. While listening to a Krzysztof Penderecki piece of music, which contained a chorus with "striking pronunciations", Manfredini was inspired to recreate a similar sound. He came up with the sound "ki ki ki, ma ma ma" from the final reel when Mrs. Voorhees arrives and is reciting "Kill her, mommy!" The "ki" comes from "kill", and the "ma" from "mommy". To achieve the unique sound he wanted for the film, Manfredini spoke the two words "harshly, distinctly and rhythmically into a microphone" and ran them into an echo reverberation machine.[10] Manfredini finished the original score after a couple of weeks, and then recorded the score in a friend's basement.[11] Victor Miller and assistant editor Jay Keuper have commented on how memorable the music is, with Keuper describing it as "iconographic". Manfredini says, "Everybody thinks it's cha, cha, cha. I'm like, 'Cha, cha, cha? What are you talking about?"[12]

Release

Box office

Paramount bought Friday the 13th's distribution rights for $1.5 million, after seeing a screening of the film. They spent approximately $500,000 in advertisements for the film, and then an additional $500,000 when the film began performing well at the box office.[13] Friday the 13th opened theatrically on May 9, 1980 across the United States in 1,100 theaters. It took in $5,816,321 in its opening weekend, before finishing domestically with $39,754,601. The film finished as the eighteenth highest grossing film of 1980.[14] Friday the 13th was released internationally, which was unusual for an independent film with, at the time, no well-recognized or bankable actors.[15] The film would take in approximately $20 million in international box office receipts.[16] Not factoring in international sales, or the cross-over film with A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger, the original Friday the 13th is the highest grossing film of the ten film series.[17] To provide context with the box office gross of films in 2009, the cost of making and promoting Friday the 13th—which includes the $550,000 budget and the $1 million in advertisement—is approximately $4.4 million. With regard to the domestic box office gross, the film would have made $117,917,391 in adjusted 2009 dollars.[18] In terms of recent box-office performance, Friday the 13th would be the highest grossing horror film of 2008 using the adjusted figures.[19] On July 13, 2007, Friday the 13th was screened for the first time on Blairstown's Main Street in the very theater which appears shortly after the opening credits.[7] Overflowing crowds forced the Blairstown Theater Festival, the sponsoring organization, to add an extra screening at 11:00 PM. The event was covered by local media and New York City's Channel 11.[20] A 30th Anniversary Edition will be released on March 5, 2010[21], featuring vintage studio-issued ephemera with autographs of Kevin Bacon, Betsy Palmer, Robbi Morgan and Mark Nelson.[22]

Reception

Upon release, Friday the 13th received mixed to negative reviews from critics. However, it is widely regarded as the best film in the series despite not featuring Jason Voorhees as the killer, and its reputation has "horror classic." It received a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes (easily the highest of the films in the series) and a "fresh" 77% from fans. Its most vocal detractor was Gene Siskel who in his review called Cunningham "one of the most despicable creatures ever to infest the movie business".[23] He also published Betsy Palmer's home address and encourage fellow detractors to write to her and express their contempt for the film.[24] Siskel and Roger Ebert spent a whole episode berating the film because they felt it would make audiences root for the killer.[25] Leonard Maltin initially awarded the film one star, or 'BOMB', but later changed his mind and awarded the film a star and-a-half stating "...simply because it's slightly better than part 2" and called it a "...gory, cardboard thriller...one more clue to why SAT scores continue to decline." [26] Variety claimed the film was "[l]owbudget in the worst sense - with no apparent talent or intelligence to offset its technical inadequacies - Friday the 13th has nothing to exploit but its title."[27] Though not the best reviewed of them all, it is now considered one of the defining films of its era.

The film came in at #31 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments for the ending sequence,[28] and was voted #15 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Scariest Moments.[29]

Related works

Sequels

As of 2009, Friday the 13th has spawned ten sequels, including a crossover film with A Nightmare on Elm Street villain Freddy Krueger. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) introduced Jason Voorhees, the son of Mrs. Voorhees, as the primary antagonist, which would continue for the remaining sequels (with exception of the fifth movie) and related works. Most of the sequels were filmed on larger budgets than the original. In comparison, Friday the 13th' had a budget of $550,000, while the first sequel was given a budget of $1.25 million.[1] At the time of its release, Freddy vs. Jason had the largest budget, at $25 million.[30] All of the sequels repeated the premise of the original, so the filmmakers made tweaks to provide freshness. Changes involved an addition to the title—as opposed to a number attached to the end—like "The Final Chapter" and "Jason Takes Manhattan", or filming the movie in 3-D, as Miner did for Friday the 13th Part III (1982).[31] One major addition that would affect the entire film series was the addition of Jason's hockey mask in the third film; this mask would become one of the most recognizable images in popular culture.[32] Cunningham did not direct any of the film's sequels, though he did act as producer on the later installments; he initially did not want Jason Voorhees to be resurrected for the sequel.[citation needed]

A reboot to Friday the 13th came to theaters in February 2009, with Freddy vs. Jason writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift hired to script the new film.[33] The film is reported to focus on Jason Voorhees, and that he will keep his trademark hockey-mask.[34] The film is being produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller through Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, for New Line Cinema.[33] In November 2007, Marcus Nispel, director of the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was hired to direct.[35] The film had its United States release on February 13, 2009.[36]

Adaptations

In 1987, seven years after the release of the motion picture, Simon Hawke adapted a novelization of Friday the 13th.[37] One of the few additions to the book was Mrs. Voorhees begging the Christy family to take her back after the loss of her son; they agreed.[38] Another addition in the novel is more understanding in Mrs. Voorhees' actions. Hawke felt the character had attempted to move on when Jason died, but her psychosis got the best of her. When Steve Christy reopened the camp, Mrs. Voorhees saw it as a chance that what happened to her son could happen again. Her murders were against the counselors, because she saw them all as responsible for Jason's death.[39]

Uncut DVD and Blu-ray releases

On February 3, 2009, Friday the 13th released an uncut home video version for the first time in the United States. It is available on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The uncut version of the film contains approximately 10 seconds of previously unreleased footage.

References

  1. ^ a b c Bracke, Peter, pp. 314–315
  2. ^ a b Grove, David (February 2005). Making Friday the 13th: The Legend of Camp Blood. United Kingdom: FAB Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 1903254310. 
  3. ^ Grove, David, pg.60
  4. ^ McCarty, John (July 1984). Splatter Movies: Breaking the Last Taboo of the Screen. St. Martin's Press. p. 2. ISBN 0312752571. 
  5. ^ Grove, David, pp.15–16
  6. ^ Bracke, Peter (2006-10-11). Crystal Lake Memories. United Kingdom: Titan Books. p. 17. ISBN 1845763432. 
  7. ^ a b "Blairstown Theater Festival". Blairstown Theater. http://blairstowntheaterfestival.com/friday_the_13th_connection.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-02. 
  8. ^ Interview with Victor Miller Victor Miller.com; last accessed December 11, 2006.
  9. ^ Interview with Tom Savini New York Daily News; last accessed December 11, 2006.
  10. ^ a b c d "Slasherama interview with Harry Manfredini". Slasherama. http://www.slasherama.com/features/harry.HTML. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  11. ^ a b Bracke, Peter, pg. 39
  12. ^ Victor Miller, Jay Keuper, Harry Manfredini. (1980). "Return to Crystal Lake: Making of Friday the 13th" Friday the 13th DVD Special Features). [DVD (Region 2)]. United States: WB. 
  13. ^ Grove, David, pg.59
  14. ^ "Friday the 13th domestic box office". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=1980&p=.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  15. ^ Adam Rockoff (2002). Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company. p. 18. ISBN 0786412275. 
  16. ^ "Friday the 13th international". The-Numbers. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1980/0FF1.php. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  17. ^ "Comparison to other Friday the 13th sequels". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=fridaythe13th.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  18. ^ "Tom's Inflation Calculator". HalfHill.com. http://www.halfhill.com/inflation1.html. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Box Office Rankings for 2008". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2008&p=.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  20. ^ "Blairstown Theater screens Friday the 13th". The CW 11. http://video.cw11.com/global/video/popup/pop_playerLaunch.asp?clipid1=1586158&at1. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  21. ^ Fantastic Friday the 13th Anniversary Item Coming
  22. ^ 30 Years of Fear
  23. ^ Bracke pg. 45
  24. ^ Bracke. 46
  25. ^ Chris Hewitt, Adam Smith (March 2009). "Freddy V Jason". Empire: pp. 97. 
  26. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2000), p. 491. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. ISBN 0-451-19837-9. Signet Books. Accessed July 13, 2009.
  27. ^ Excerpt of the 1980 Variety review
  28. ^ 100 Scariest Moments in Movie History
  29. ^ 100 Greatest Scariest Moments
  30. ^ "Freddy vs. Jason (2003)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=freddyvsjason.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  31. ^ Bracke, Peter, pp.73–74
  32. ^ Gary Kemble (2006-01-13). "Movie Minutiae: the Friday the 13th series (1980-?)". ABC. http://www.abc.net.au/news/arts/articulate/200601/s1546063.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  33. ^ a b Borys Kit (2007-10-02). "Duo pumps new blood into 'Friday the 13th'". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3ia426500233e132c71ea0487278b5bbb3. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  34. ^ "Platinum Confirmations: Near Dark, Friday the 13th Remakes". The Hollywood Reporter. Bloody-Disgusting. 2007-10-03. http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/10058. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  35. ^ Borys Kit (2007-11-14). "Nispel scores a date with next 'Friday'". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ib4d95be28520da0db0f10edad41c0123. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  36. ^ "Young Jason Cast in Friday the 13th remake". FearNet. 2008-05-15. http://www.fearnet.com/MCNewsDetailPage.aspx?catid=30&mid=14390. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  37. ^ Hawke, Simon (1987). Friday the 13th. New York: Signet. ISBN 0451150899. 
  38. ^ Hawk, Simon, pg.164-168
  39. ^ Grove, David, pg.50

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