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Friday the 13th
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Friday the 13th (1980)

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Plot Summary:
"Camp Crystal Lake has a bad history. A history drenched in blood. For over 20 years no-one has disturbed its deathly silence..until now. Often imitated but never equalled, Friday the 13th is a relentless exercise in sustained terror. Unlike the luckless teenagers who go to Camp Crystal Lake, it will live forever as the most shocking film of the year."


Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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@horrorasylum
Review Date: 15 February 2004 My Rating: out of 5

 

Everybody knows the story of Jason Voorhees, a young boy who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake, who is said to still haunt the camp. What many people don't know however is that Friday the 13th is 'his birthday'.

In honour, I checked out one of the most influential slasher films ever to celebrate the date this past Friday.

Probably most famous for featuring a pre-fame Kevin Bacon, the film which genuinely scared me when I first saw it almost 10 years ago, sadly doesn't hold up to repeat viewings.

An amazing film for it's time in 1980. The film took a basic premise (a bunch of teens go to set up camp for the summer season and end up regretting it) and exploited it in all it's gory glory to cement it's place in the horror hall of fame.

Sadly, the recently released DVD is minus the scene where the police trooper lectures the kids about smoking, and the crystal clear picture quality meant that the special effects that were top notch back in the day, look quite dated and false.

The film however remains an important piece of film history and paved the way for a legacy of terror!!

OVERALL SUMMARY
Still a classic, but new technology takes a hell of a lot away from it. For best results check this out on VHS.



Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Location:UK
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

I knew very little about this movie when I rented it out. I first saw it about two or three years ago, back during my 'initiation into horror' years, when I was completely naive and knew next to nothing about the genre. Man was I in for a shock when I popped this one into my video player on that dark night and settled down into bed to watch it!

Friday the th starts well with a rather ethereal opening sequence in which a couple are murdered after being caught in a barn cavorting together, and then quickly goes downhill as we encounter the counsillors of the soon-to-be-re-opened Camp Crystal Lake. In these first thirty minutes, the movie is apalling with laughably-bad acting that makes the audience groan and wonder just why they began watching it. Filled with chillingly-bad dialogue and terrible character introduction scenes, it has none of the style and wit that Victor Miller's original script held. But as soon as the storm sets in, along with the unbreakable darkness, Friday the th becomes the movie that we all wanted to see.

Isolated and alone in the cabins that surround the 'Crystal Lake', the setting creates an extremely eerie and original place for a horror movie to be based. Thankfully, director Sean Cunningham doesn't miss a single opportunity to inpinge on any of the creep-factor that can be drawn from such a promising area, and the film itself is infused with an intense dark atmosphere that even hardened horror fans would be bluffing if they said it didn't get to them.

The death scenes aren't anywhere near as elaborate as those that have appeared in latter-day horrors like I Know... or Scream, but are more rather hurled at us haphazardly which actually heightens the tension and unpredictability rather than hindering it. The make-up effects are the best that I have ever encountered to this day in a slasher, and are so life-like and believable on-screen that you can't help but squirm in disgust - most memorable is Kevin Bacon's swift exit, which provides one of the greatest scares ever in a horror. Of course it didn't help that I was watching this in bed!

The thing that I love about this movie is the simple 'whodunnit' plot-thread that is so neatly interwoven throughout the movie but never exploited. There aren't any characters walking around screeching 'Who is doing this? Why are they trying to hurt me?', so when the twist ending rears its head, the end result is something very satisfying and surprising in equal amounts. The final showdown is cheapened a little by the badly-choreographed fighting, but the last scare of the movie is one that proves how inferior the slashers of the 's are in comparison with their 'fake scares'. Don't people know how to write decent scares anymore? Or maybe they just can't be bothered. My advice to them: watch this, and take notes, and then you can say you're ready to write a really scary, unsettling horror!

OVERALL SUMMARY
An effective, macabre shocker that is a milestone in slasher movies, and one which has been replicated more times than I care to acknowledge, but never matched in sheer horror, suspense or gore effects. Going the complete opposite to the original Halloween and showing us all the blood, this still manages to have the same effect, and there are some effective and horrific moments to be found in this movie.




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