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Fear Friday - Friday The 13th Movie Series
May 9th 1980 a low budget slasher film is released and helps shape the face of the horror genre. The setup is simple, a group of kids out in the woods with one shadowy figure out for revenge. Just the right amount of blood with a creepy atmosphere makes for a fun ride and start one of the most successful franchises in horror history. The people behind Friday The 13th, looking to cash in on the success of "Halloween", shopped the movie around strictly on the title alone. They had no story yet just a great title. 12 movies later it's still a favorite of many horror fans.
I remember back in the sixth grade my friend Mary and I begging my mom to let us rent it. We wanted the original because Kevin Bacon was in it and Footloose was all the rage at the time. In those days the local video store rarely had more than one copy of a title so we had to settle for chapter 3. Problem was it had been filmed in 3D, as was the craze at the time, but looked a bit silly on a regular TV. Lots of holding things out close to the camera for extended periods of time. Not that Mary or I would have noticed much as we spent most of the time with our heads hidden behind the afghan. And yes, we made my mom watch it with us. It truly scared me and is why these movies, especially the old ones, still creep me out completely.
Being a teen in the late 80's I remember going to the theater to see many of the later ones. At one point I believe they were going to release one a year until they hit 13. Unfortunately the story was worn thin and the chapters became increasingly silly to the point of unwatchable. I mean really, "Jason Takes Manhattan"? In 1993 "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" was released. It's one of the few times I thought about walking out of a movie. A once scary feel had turned into a laughable parody of itself.
Then, in 2002, came a revamp of the series with "Jason X". OK, so Jason in space sounds absurd but I actually quite enjoyed it. It was something different for the series and Jason was back in fine killing form. Long gone was the truly creepy feeling of the originals, but this was a fun slasher film none the less. Then, in 2003, came "Freddy vs. Jason". This made me sad at first but my nephews where old enough to see horror films and they begged me to take them. It was fun. Just a bit sad to see these two franchises go from scary to completely campy.
In 2009 a new modern "Friday The 13th" was released. Not really a remake since they acknowledged the happenings of the original movie. I like to think of it as the next chapter in the series. Lots of people didn't think much of this one. I went and saw it at a midnight showing and really liked it. It had a creepy atmosphere, classic "stoopid pretty people in the woods" setting and was just fun. One thing I really liked was down in Jason's creepy underground dwelling he had mementos of his killings. There are camp councilor's whistles hanging on the wall. A wheelchair is noticeable in one scene which recalls one councilor in chapter 2. It gave an extra creepy feel to the character.
Jason Voorhees... Little Boy Drowned
Stars that appeared in the movie series...
Kevin Bacon (ch 1), Corey Feldman (ch 4), Crispin Glover (ch 4), Tony Goldwyn (ch 6), Steven Williams (ch 9), Erin Gray (ch 9), Jason Ritter (FvsJ) and Jared Padalecki (ch 12).
Don't have time to watch all 12 movies? Here is a fun compilation of kills from the series.
A little trivia...
1. The movie was filmed at Camp Nobebosco in New Jersey. The camp is still in operation to date, and they have a wall of Friday the 13th paraphernalia to honor the fact that the movie was set there.
2. Composer Harry Manfredini has said that contrary to popular belief, the famous "chi chi chi, ha ha ha" in the film's score is actually "ki ki ki, ma ma ma". It is meant to resemble Jason's voice saying "kill kill kill, mom mom mom" in Mrs. Voorhees' mind. It was inspired by the scene in which Mrs. Voorhees seems to be possessed by Jason and chants "Get her mommy....kill her!" Manfredini created the effect by speaking the syllables "Ki" and "Ma" into a microphone running through a delay effect.
3. While most of the cast and crew stayed at local hotels during the filming, some of the loyal cast and crew members, including Tom Savini, and Taso N. Stavrakis, stayed at the actual camp site. They had Savini's Betamax VCR and only a couple of movies (Barbarella (1968) and Marathon Man (1976)) on videotape to keep themselves entertained, so each night they would watch one of these movies. To this day, Savini says he can recite those movies by heart.
4. Victor Miller had originally given Jason the name of Josh. After deciding that it sounded too nice, he changed it to Jason after a school bully.
5. Victor Miller's working title for the script was "Long Night at Camp Blood".
6. The movie was sold to investors strictly on it's name. There had not been a movie called Friday the 13th so they grabbed it, made up a poster and shopped it around. No one knew that they had no idea or script for it.