When is a classic not a classic? When it’s this film.
Pithy views aside. I watched this film with a certain amount of trepidation, having not seen it in a long time (Perhaps since video) and wondered if it held up at all. Then it dawned on me some part of the way in that in fact I have seen the film since, numerous times in fact. I’d just forgot about it each time.
So what causes this mental black hole every time I watch the film? Mainly the fact that it’s quite boring for a large amount of its running time – with a twist that actually makes very little sense.
From a historic point of view it’s interesting to see how many ‘rules’ of the slasher movie are in place from the get-go. The teens, the blood, the sex=death rule. It’s all here (You could argue it was there in Halloween too – so while it makes that film the originator, it makes this film the…solidifier? I don’t know, I’m making this up. It does owe a HUGE debt to a Bava film though, which I’ll cover in that entry). What’s different here is that the killer is unseen, employing instead a point of view shot where people can say things like “Oh it’s you.” and “What are you doing with that pointy thing?”. In that regard it’s much more of a murder mystery, and not at all dissimilar to an Agatha Christie film (In fact, if we go way back – Ten Little Indians or And Then There Were None, depending on your country of origin, is the prototype slasher story).
There are a few gory kills here, courtesy of the legendary gore-meister Tom Savini and that’s really the only reason to watch the film. Even those are mostly fleeting though – save for one arrow through the neck kill. All in all it puts Friday The 13th in the weird position of being worse than the majority of sequels it spawned (Make no mistake though – there are some horrible Friday The 13th films, that one with the psychic girl? Oof).
I’m going to do something here that I never usually do, I’m going to spoil a film. If you don’t want to be spoiled I suggest you stop reading now and just watch the film. It’s not ‘great’ by any means, but it’s an important one if you’re interested in horror as a genre. Plus it has Kevin Bacon in it. That’s a seal of approval right there.
Gone? Ok so SPOILERS.
Mrs Vorhees is the killer. We’ve been led to believe the whole time that her son Jason is the one doing the murderings. But it’s her. And it’s bullshit. Look at her and then picture her actually killing people in the manner that she does – it’s a hilarious image. Imagine Batman. You’re watching a Batman movie where we see Batman doing what he does, he’s fighting crime, he’s getting crazy on some fools but he never takes his mask off. Not until the end. You sit there waiting to see who’s behind the mask, who this bastion of masculinity is.
And it’s Orlando Bloom.
You would say to yourself “Movie, I have seen what you are offering and I reject it. You are foolish and I am done with you.” That’s EXACTLY what I said to this movie. Then I realised I was talking in an unusual parlance. Then I realised I was talking to a movie. Then I was sad.