Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday The 13th OG edition

Well its Friday The 13th, which means as a blogger who occasionally writes about Horror (OK one who writes about Horror a whole hell of alot) I’m contractually obligated to write something about Friday The 13th. The problem is I’ve already written a lot about Friday The 13th. I’ve written about the great one, the one with the kickass theme music, the one were he fights Carrie, and the shitty Remake. What’s left?

Oh yeah. People who go back to the OG Friday The 13th might be confused as to just what the hell is going on. The movie is practically gentle. And that’s what I enjoy about the first Friday The 13th is just how lo-fi and unassuming it is. Unlike the stark guerillla madness that the technique causes in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the effect in Friday The 13th is, well nice. The whole movie even Savini’s kick ass effects has an almost cheery “Let’s put on a show!” vibe. It’s a prime example of this kind of movie being fun, while at the same time completely paying off on a genre level.

The film is basically in existence because someone gave Sean Cunningham a copy of “Psycho For Dummies” for his birthday. Basically every beat, crazy mother, Schizio killer, would be protagonist killed at the end of the first act is taken from Hitch.

I also have a special affection for this film because I actually worked as a camp counselor (true fact the Camp actually owned a 16mm print of the film and once a year a projector and screen would be dragged out into the woods for the counselors to watch and if you ever want to make Friday The 13th scary, walk back alone through the dark woods trying to make it to your cabin after watching it. It’ll work wonders) proving indeed that you can still do that and be alive! In fact I’m a little miffed at Friday The 13th for starting the stereotype why, only half of my friends and Coworkers where brutally hacked to death by maniacs. There’s a higher mortality rate at Kohls.

So much of Friday The 13th is so unabashedly goofy, long sequences are devoted to sketeches involving a snake in a cabin, and wacky cops. Those looking for a kill fest, are likely to be disappointed, but I’ve always liked the weird diversions this movie takes. Like I’ve said the main difference between the Slasher films of the eighties and the Nu Horror of today isn’t what happens during the kills but between them. While Nu Horror seeks to be relentlessly depressing, The Slasher movies where always fun. Edit out the sequences of Brutal murder in most Slasher films and what you have is a movie about a bunch of friends having a good time and playing strip Monopoly (albietly with the cast getting smaller and smaller with no explanation). The ensemble cast is likable, with a good final girl.

That’s not to say modern day horror fans won’t have a good time with Friday. Savini’s effects are as always superlative. Some of the stalk sequences are pretty cool. Betsy Palmer turns in a suitably unhinged performance. And Kevin Bacon gets an arrow through his throat which never really gets old. And while Halloween and Psycho usually get the credit, Friday the 13th is really responsible for the “tits n’ gore” rhythms of the slasher films we all know and love.

In short while Friday The 13th might not be a particularly scary movie anymore. It is still a very endearing one and still a great flick to put on for the unluckiest night of the year.

Well I think that’s about it, for the Friday the 13th series for me. I’ve really covered every one that I feel like writing about…

Oh. Alright angry Hitchhiker the next time this date rolls around you and me are gonna rumble.

1 comment:

Wings said...

Good post. I have a love for these flicks. Can find something, to like in each and every one of them. Happy F13 to you!