Friday the 13th

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: John Stanley

Plot: What’s it about?

As most of you know, I love horror films, especially good old ones. Friday the 13th, the drive-in classic that started it all defiantly fits that description. A lot of people ive talked to about this film and the many sequels to follow always say “yeah ive seen those movies, I don’t know which one it was though”, but what’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says Friday the 13th? Jason, the hockey masked butcher of Camp Crystal Lake. Well, Jason is not the main character in the original, but this horror gem still delivers plenty of blood, guts, and even a good old fashioned decapitation! The story is pretty simple and actually very believable unlike its supernatural sequels. In 1957 a young boy (Jason Vorhees) drown in the lake at the once popular Camp Crystal Lake, the reason for the boys drowning was simple, camp counselor neglect. The two counselors on watch that night decided to go the the main house and have sex and while young Jason, unattended, drown. Well, when Mrs. Vorhees found out about this, she decided to take revenge on those counselors and all the others as well. (what the hell,huh?) Now its years down the road and the man who owns Camp Crystal Lake wants to renovate and reopen the camp, ignoring all the talk of the camp being doomed and having a death curse. So what does he do? Hires a bunch of young teens,(including Kevin Bacon in his big screen debut) to come to the camp and help clean it up and get it ready for its grand reopening. Can you say “bad idea”? Well, Mrs. Vorhees (played by Betsy Palmer) gets wind of the new group of kids arrival and she’s not to pleased. See, she does not want that camp to reopen for any reason, so what action will she take? Kill everybody, seems simple enough.

The film is a hack and slash type movie but it is one with a great plot and the story is simple enough to work well. The usual case with all movies is that the original is always the best, now I don’t know about this one being the best but out of all 8 in the series, its definitely top 3. Sean S. Cunningham is the director behind this and most of the Friday the 13th films, now I don’t know how many of you out there are fans of old, low budget, horror flicks but if you are this is a must have in your collection and ill give you plenty of reasons to purchase it in my video/audio review section. This is simply a classic horror movie that would not die no matter how many people said “damn, another one of those dumb movies?!”. This film enjoyed enough popularity to spawn many sequels. IM sure they were all pretty successful for one simple reason, they cost next to nothing to make! How much can it possibly cost for a handful of no-name actors and a dozen gallons of fake blood? So why not continue to make more? Now ill be the first to admit, part 8 Jason Takes Manhattan and the final one (I think) Jason Goes To Hell, were two of the worst written, directed and acted films I have ever seen, not horror films, IM talking films period! But IM not reviewing those (yet) IM reviewing the original, and this one is worth the usually hefty Paramount price tag. Its got screams, chills, blood and a crazed Mom running around talking to herself as if it were her son! Need anymore reasons? Overall, this is a must have for horror fans, classic drive-in cinema fans, or if you just want to see a great “not to scary by today’s standards” type film.

Video: How does it look?

Amazing! 1.85:1 aspect ratio and I was thrilled when I saw the job Paramount did of restoring this classic. Bright vivid colors, crisp clean greenery and just awesome looking all the way through. I tried to find some faults in the picture (really I did) but I found few if any. And considering the age of this film, I think it would have been hard to do a better job than they did. Everything from the counselors loud colored clothing to the gorgeous lake scenes come through with honors. Now even though I was blown away with the job that New Line did with Nightmare On Elm St. IM giving Friday the 13th a higher video rating for one simple reason, the film is 10 years older!!!

Audio: How does it sound?

Always the same from Paramount, so-so. Not here! Yes, this film was a simple 2-channel stereo presentation and yes, the dialog was kind of low…..But, The crisp detail in the backgrounds and sound effects themselves are great for a film that’s like a billion years old! And as usual from Paramount the soundtrack is available in French! Hooray!

Supplements: What are the extras?

Unfortunately, this is also where Paramount always loses my pat on the back. I don’t know when someone at Paramount is going to wake up and get real, but the lack of extras on their discs is becoming annoying! Original theatrical trailer (that looks like it has not been cleaned up) and that’s all folks!

Disc Scores