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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.18%
Average: 19.41%
Pretty Bad: 12.94%
Total Crap: 16.47%

7 reviews, 128 user ratings

Friday the 13th (1980)
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by EricDSnider

"The bad movie that defined a bad genre."
1 stars

For years now, horror fans have held that "Friday the 13th," despite its shortcomings, is a significant film because it was instrumental in launching the genre of teen slasher movies. This may be true, but it overlooks two crucial facts: Teen slasher movies don't make for a very good genre anyway, and "Friday the 13th" is a dreadful piece of trash.

The original 1980 film has spawned eight sequels, with a ninth -- "Jason X" -- due out soon. Let us take this opportunity to re-examine this "landmark" film and discuss any merits we happen to stumble across within it.

The film begins with a prologue set in 1958. In this prologue, more or less stolen from "Halloween" (witness the killer's point of view throughout), two counselors at Camp Crystal Lake are gettin' frisky in the attic when darned if someone doesn't come along and kill them.

We skip to the present (well, 1980), where a smiling but clearly unintelligent girl named Annie is on her way to Camp Crystal Lake to work as a cook for the summer. Seems that after a couple decades, the place is being reopened. All the townsfolk call it "Camp Blood," and Annie is warned by a doddering bicyclist that she is "doomed" if she goes there. The redneck who gives her a lift in his truck tells her several hundred times to quit. She blithely ingnores all the counsel and is murdered by an unseen slasher on her way there. (Don't worry, you won't miss her.)

Meanwhile, at the camp, we are introduced to a scrawny band of horny teens, all of whom smoke weed so much that now they only wear Daisy Duke shorts. These are the counselors for the upcoming camp season, and the guy in charge of them -- a curly-haired porn star of a fellow named Steve -- has had an ill-defined relationship with one of them. The lucky gal and allegedly our main character (insofar as she is the only one who doesn't die) is Alice, who is so non-descript and dull as to warrant never mentioning her again in this review.

Steve goes into town to do goodness-knows-what, leaving the teens behind to be killed. This occurs with methodical precision and admirable efficiency, and usually to a soundtrack stolen outright from "Psycho" and "Jaws," as though someone said, "THOSE movies were scary; we should probably use their music to make OUR movie scary, too."

One of the teens is Kevin Bacon. He gets killed immediately after having sex, and we see half of his butt being scratched by the girl with whom he's doin' it. Later, Kevin Bacon was in "Hollow Man." I don't know that Kevin Bacon's career has really progressed much.

Nearly every cliche now associated with slasher films is present in "Friday the 13th." People who fall while running, people saying "I'll be right back" and then not coming back, idiotic cops, teens having sex, cars not starting, people supposedly being dead and then turning out to be alive and very angry, a killer who proves to be very incompetent indeed once he or she is actually challenged face-to-face -- it's all here. I will grant you that in 1980, most of these things were not cliches yet. You will have to grant me, however, that the acting, dialogue and story in "Friday the 13th" are pitiful. Being cliched is the least of its problems.

The DVD includes the original theatrical trailer, in which we are shown the deaths of several people -- which removes any possible suspense over who will live and who will die. It's clear no one ever expected us to watch the movie for any reason other than the thrill in seeing people we don't know or care about being butchered.

For that matter, there's no suspense over who the killer is, either. The film's point of view is omniscient; that is, we are privy to the thoughts and actions of all characters, not just a select few. When a murder is being committed, we are often shown what's going on simultaneously back in the cabins. This gives everyone an alibi, and we know the killer is not one of the characters we already know. Which means, who cares who it actually turns out to be? Just some random psycho, or someone with a grudge, or a strange act of God. Everyone winds up just as dead either way.

Despite the trailer's promise of 13 murders, there are only nine in "Friday the 13th." Just another example of the film failing to live up to itself.

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originally posted: 07/28/01 09:30:10
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User Comments

10/02/16 morris campbell all the friday the 13th movies are crap 1 stars
12/29/11 David Hollingsworth One of the best gore films of the 80s. 5 stars
6/28/11 art let's not forget APRIL Fool's Day,and my Bloody Valentine!, 1 stars
10/08/10 Jeff Moore Great Review! Made me chortle, completely agree with the points you made. 2 stars
10/03/10 art for the RECORD,the ORIGINAL FRIDAY THE 13TH is the best SLASHER FLICK! 5 stars
9/06/10 art I WAS JOKING when i said i was a fan of friday the 13th! 1 stars
8/24/10 Joseph A bad movie, but for some reason watchable 2 stars
12/27/09 art THIS IS MY ALL TIME FAVORITE FILM!,and so is PART"S TWO AND THREE 5 stars
10/05/08 blarginbadigalnohif meh 4 stars
4/16/08 art I TAKE IT BACK IT"S FOR THE BIRD"S 1 stars
11/01/07 Total Crap Not the greastest slasher in the genre, but defined many aspects of it. 4 stars
10/25/07 art this is the best slasher movie of all time 5 stars
10/22/07 Jacob Marzzarella that was an ausome movie 5 stars
9/17/07 art this is the best slasher movie of all time 5 stars
8/18/07 Ian scary film, tense foreshadowing +music. Well done. 3 stars
2/06/07 action movie fan just okay horror-way overappreciated though 3 stars
12/03/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
11/22/06 Charles Brailey A very good movie, but not as good as the sequels. This movie sets the stage very well 4 stars
10/20/06 MP Bartley Still carries an impact and unexpectedly creative at times. 4 stars
10/20/06 William Goss It is what it is. 3 stars
10/03/06 Jeremy Davies Not bad, but not great 3 stars
8/09/06 Doreen My fav is Halloween but this comes in 2nd! 4 stars
8/01/06 Jake Seeing an old woman killing teenangers is scarier then Halloween?! Think of the mask alone. 2 stars
7/25/06 David Cohen The least bad of the "Friday the 13th" series 3 stars
4/18/06 Dave So So film which started a brash of sequels that for the most part were worse. 3 stars
1/17/06 Anthony Feor This is terrible 2 stars
11/24/05 cr one my favorite horror movies great kills and gore, a knockout ending 4 stars
10/14/05 Darren O Well directed, scored, and the effects are top notch. Grandaddy of all slaughter flicks 5 stars
9/13/05 Total Crap This movie survives as being scarier than Halloween, plus more blood. Has to be seen. 4 stars
8/23/05 Sugarfoot One of those "Why on earth was this popular" movies. Still it has it's moments. 2 stars
8/23/05 Eden Don't know how it made so many sequels. Watch Halloween instead 1 stars
7/14/05 Brandy Harrington Scary, but for all the wrong reasons. 1 stars
7/01/05 Eddie The original slasher 80's movie 5 stars
6/28/05 R "indrid" and "what?," couldn't have said it better. (although that's 3 words, 'what.') 1 stars
5/27/05 tony A keeper in horror movie wall of fame 5 stars
5/17/05 what? 2 words: Halloween rip-off. 1 stars
4/18/05 Indrid Cold Its influence far outweighs its quality. 2 stars
4/12/05 Phoenix One of the classic horror movies. Often immitated but never duplicated. 5 stars
2/01/05 Jeff Anderson Stood the test of time back then, now EXTREMELY DATED & MOLDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
10/29/04 Vince The landmark of slasher movies 5 stars
10/12/04 kevin watts VERY GOOD,SCARY 4 stars
8/15/04 Anthony G this movie sucks black salty balls all night long! 1 stars
7/23/04 American Slasher Goddess The next review I find changed, that's mine, I'm reporting them to the Site Admin. 5 stars
7/19/04 Benjamin Petrofsky The best Slasher Film anyone can see! Better that "Halloween" or "Nightmare on Elm St." 5 stars
7/04/04 Samuel i thought mrs. voorhees was a great killer, she did an especially good with kevin bacon 5 stars
6/07/04 Ryan Clark Not as effective as it used to be, and a little slow... but it's very atmospheric and fun. 4 stars
5/16/04 John fairly effective slaher film 3 stars
4/15/04 J Common Jason's mommie sucks at KILLING! 1 stars
4/11/04 valerie hart the first one is not as good as the others coz it lacks interest 3 stars
4/08/04 phoenix The best of all the friday films. Terrific! 5 stars
3/30/04 American Slasher Goddess One of the great slasher movies of the 80's. 5 stars
3/17/04 PAYNE_KillerZ WHAT A SHAME... THIS SHOULD BE REMADE WITH THE NEW JASON (from Freddy VS. Jason)!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
2/17/04 Ramey Corny- terrible deaths. Jason was better than his Mommy! 3 stars
2/06/04 c.r Is one of scariest movies in the 1980's and it's gory fun! 4 stars
2/04/04 Chad Foster Awesome 5 stars
1/26/04 Eric Original.A great start to a series that should have stopped 4 movies ago. 4 stars
12/12/03 Captain Spaulding One of my favorite horror movies of all time!! 5 stars
12/12/03 Charlie and the Chocalte FActory Jason's mom was a much better killer!!! 5 stars
11/25/03 homer J. Simpson this was a gruesome good time, but a little slow at times 3 stars
11/09/03 Phoenix Not bad, but very overrated. Why so many sequels????? 3 stars
11/02/03 J This movie really sucks!!!!!! 1 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Set the standard for slasher movies. 5 stars
10/17/03 Josh Standlee Boring at times, but thank God it was made because I am a huge Jason Voorhees fan! 3 stars
10/16/03 Erik Van Sant Groundbreaking teen-slash flick. Loved it and some of the many sequels that followed. 5 stars
10/08/03 Double G good movie since this started it all its worth ***** 5 stars
9/17/03 Samuel Justus Good movie, but should have left it at this one! 4 stars
8/31/03 I Would Absolutely saturated with cliches, which I suppose adds to its camp value. 2 stars
7/22/03 Double G It wasn't scary,good, or bad. A Camp Classic 3 stars
7/07/03 Chainsaw Slasher The pioneer of the 80's slasher trend. Long lives Jason 5 stars
6/14/03 Jalophoavbokilova This movie is happening right now. "Kill Her Mommy!" June 13th. 11:57pm. 2 stars
6/14/03 Alice 1 of the first camp horrors ever! Yall should be ashamed to call this crap! 5 stars
6/04/03 Mike Plays the way crap smells after 20 years! 1 stars
5/22/03 Andrew Carden Betsy Palmer Deserved An Oscar Nod. Fun, Original and Scary. 4 stars
4/27/03 Jack Stern It was not scary, and didn't fase me in the slightest. 5 stars
3/30/03 Sugarfoot A Camp Classic:Had me laughing at all the wrong moments!! 2 stars
1/25/03 M.C. Michael Myers taking a shit would be more entertaining than the Jason series 2 stars
1/02/03 Chowie mmmmmmm... 4 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Kevin Bacon & Jeannine Taylor's sex scene is Hot!!! 3 stars
11/28/02 Kyle Suspensful & scary. And much better than the sequals. 4 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Undistinguished slasher film that got out of hand 3 stars
9/30/02 Michael Carruthers Funniest movie I've ever seen! Aye, its not a comedy? It's meant to horror? Funnier!!! Ahaa 1 stars
8/17/02 Scott Talk about gore. Sweeet beheading. Scary as hell also. 4 stars
8/16/02 Shaun scary 3 stars
8/11/02 Michael Carruthers What a horrible film. 1 stars
8/08/02 Venthor One of the better parts. 5 stars
7/14/02 Graham McDonald Sucks big time , stay the hell away from this piece of crap! 1 stars
6/27/02 Joseph Morgan Haunting 4 stars
6/22/02 Jake You gotta love Besty Palmer in this! "Kill her mommy!" "Kill her" "Kill her....ahhhh!" 2 stars
6/18/02 Brandon A Classic!! This movie will last forever 5 stars
6/02/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi yes, nice weather we're having.... 1 stars
4/25/02 maximal01 This old bitch can shove a poke through a bed and clean through a man from UNDER IT? Nooo.. 2 stars
4/03/02 Film Guy If I was being stalked by a old lady I would beat her ass 1 stars
3/31/02 Film Dude They didn't know the old lady was a killer, she walked up to them asking for hel. 5 stars
3/23/02 masin wolliams the first one is kinda wooden, #s 2-6 kick all kinds of ass, 6 should have been the end. 4 stars
3/09/02 Chowie the start of a revolution..................... 2 stars
1/16/02 David A. The best of the slasher movies. Adrienne King is very effective in the head-chopping scene. 4 stars
12/17/01 Jake Betsy gets under Kevin Bacon. Strip Monopoly playing teens bite the dust. BILL!! BILL?? 2 stars
11/30/01 Rutt13 not neccesarily a "good" film, but a classic of the genre 4 stars
11/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) EricDSnider's a smart dude. The movie's a classic, but it's a classic for being so stupid. 1 stars
10/26/01 Sthenno This film was this gay then,but now it's funny as hell! Crappy directing. 2 stars
9/29/01 Phoenix It was allright the first time, but why did they make eight sequels. 3 stars
9/25/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was good, just fine but... Why did it have to be Jason's mother? 3 stars
9/07/01 darrin perrone the first,the best and the greatest scariest horror of all time 5 stars
8/31/01 The Beyond This movie is one of the greatest.See it uncut if you can! it's great! 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Classic...not great, but demands respect. Does somebody smell Bacon? 5 stars
8/03/01 Chris K. This ripped-off Mario Bava's equaly brilliant TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (1971) 1 stars
4/22/01 Sar This film barely managed to hold my attention, although it did hold one or two surprises! 4 stars
4/13/01 LiL I've said it before and I'll say it again. Here's a nice piece of shit 2 stars
11/05/00 ???????????? Even though I'm giving this an awesome rating,i still think that it's otal dog shit 5 stars
9/04/00 TIGGER I liked this movie a lot, but I do disagree with Justin, it was just as good as Psycho. 4 stars
8/12/00 Justin The brilliant original. The best slasher movie of all time! Makes Psycho look like SHIT! 5 stars
7/29/00 Alan Excellent. A terrifying horror film that I will never get tired of watching. 5 stars
7/19/00 Terrie Smith First in the series which is not saying much for the ones that followed. So-so. 3 stars
5/01/00 Bender Not the best in the series, but still pretty scary. 4 stars
5/01/00 Gus Van Sant ahh,wonderful shite! 1 stars
4/29/00 Ehh... Don't watch this,OR scream,because they both bit the big one!Watch HALLOWEEN! 1 stars
4/13/00 SwatchDog Standard horror flick, at least Parts 2+3 had colorful characters and better scares 4 stars
4/05/00 Gary Durso im giving it avergae becuase it was a starting point for other horror films 3 stars
4/03/00 Tom Robinson Jason is Awesome 5 stars
3/24/00 David Rogers I heard so much about Jason in these movie that I was disappointed not to see him. 2 stars
3/02/00 Kyle Broflovski THIS is a landmark in horror history??? Ummm...Whyyyyyyyyyyy??? 2 stars
1/18/00 Jedi15 Bad acting, dialogue, & effects. Only good point is Betsy Palmer. Watch SCREAM instead. 2 stars
1/02/00 Dan Bentn Worth a look if only for historical reasons 3 stars
10/05/99 rob Pretty boring and badly acted until the ending. The second one was better. 2 stars
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  09-May-1980 (R)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2004

  02-Jul-1980 (18)

  02-Jul-1980 (R)

Directed by
  Sean S. Cunningham

Written by
  Victor Miller

  Betsy Palmer
  Jeannine Taylor
  Robbi Morgan
  Kevin Bacon
  Harry Crosby

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