Friday the 13th (1980) turns 40 years old in 2020. There’s no questioning the film’s impact on horror cinema. There’s also no questioning the impact on our writers. To honor the 40th anniversary, I asked our team to remember the film and to talk about the legacy and what the film means to them. Their thoughts are below. I hope you enjoy reflecting back on this classic with us in honor of four decades of terror at Camp Crystal Lake.
The PopHorror Writers Sound Off On Friday The 13th (1980)
I first watched my favorite horror film, Friday the 13th (1980) when I was five. I remember wrapping a blanket around my whole body and peeking through a small opening while I watched Alice chop Mrs. Voorhees’s head off. It was not only that anticipation of her demise, but the incredible score of the film that scared the crap out of me.
You can read Angela’s full tribute to her favorite horror movie here!
I love the entire Friday the 13th film series. I probably saw Part 2 first on HBO as a kid, but I saw the original shortly thereafter. What a wonderful slasher, with a great “whodunit” feel, and one of the all time great jump scares when Jason comes out of the lake at the end. As a young horror fan, I’m pretty sure Friday the 13th was my first beheading, too! *sniffle* You never forget your first.
Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) was, at the time, the most successful indie film ever. It proved low budget horror could make big money if done well. The success of Friday the 13th two years later solidified this notion and ushered in the golden era of slashers. Without Friday the 13th, you wouldn’t have Happy Birthday To Me, Madman, My Bloody Valentine, The Prowler, The Burning, The Mutilator, or any of 100 other slashers that came out between 1981 and 1984. Talk about a legacy! This film is a true cornerstone of horror.
Friday the 13th was probably the second Franchise I really got into, first being A Nightmare on Elm Street. The twist in the first movie was brilliant, the whole time talking about this kid named Jason drowning and seeing people get killed from a first person perspective. Then you have Jason’s evolution through the original movies, starting with 2-4 you have an insane hillbilly hacking up his victims with various tools until he’s finally dealt with by a would be victim only to be resurrected as a near unstoppable super zombie two films later! Not sure if it was the first time for that particular chain of events but it sure was fun to watch!
Be sure to check out Zachary Howard’s series on infamous cult leaders!
Friday the 13th bookmarked almost every chapter in my childhood and adolescence. Part 1 was the very first film I ever rented at a video store. Part 3 was my very first 3-D film. From then on, I saw almost every one in the theater. From age seven to a age twenty, there was always a Friday the 13th film to tether a memory to. My very first date with my wife was going to see Jason Goes To Hell. It all culminated 25 years later when the director wished us a happy anniversary on social media. I’ve had a chance to meet and talk to several Friday alums over the last few years, and they all were gracious, kind and embraced their involvement in the series. It truly is very special and wonderfully timeless.
Be sure to check out Kevin’s contributions to PopHorror here!
I was afflicted with my horror movie addiction after several Friday the 13th films had already been released. I knew Jason Voorhees, and I couldn’t wait to see him burst onto the screen in the first film. Alas, there was no Jason… unless you count the dream sequence at the end. I know I don’t. Talk about disappointment! I felt gypped. Where was my scary monster?
As I got older, I realized that Jason is not the most terrifying thing in Friday the 13th. Mrs. Voorhees, a vengeful, psychotic mother, is the real reason to be afraid. She lost everything when her son drowned, and was going to make the world pay. Since she couldn’t get back at the actual counselors who let her son die, she was going after anyone who fit that description. The teens in F13 didn’t do anything wrong per se, yet they get punished. It makes you wonder if there’s any ex-[your job here] running around out there, just looking for the right time to strike.
Read Tracy’s full 40th anniversary tribute to Friday the 13th (1980) here!
In May of 1980, the world was introduced to Camp Crystal Lake and the name Jason Voorhees. Friday the 13th was the very first horror film I saw. While I experienced most of it hidden behind my couch, I fucking LOVED IT! Little did I know that this independent horror flick – filmed not so far from where I grew up – would plant such a significant seed within not only me, but countless fans across the globe. Friday the 13th boasts one of the most iconic villains, haunting score and cinematography that effectively terrified audiences. I have such a soft spot for this slasher and pretty much the entire franchise.
You can read Danni’s PopHorror contributions here!
Unlike most horror fans of my generation, I didn’t grow up watching Friday the 13th. I watched Michael and Freddy… but never Jason.
I rectified that as an adult and finally watched Friday the 13th. I’d watch a randomly chosen film from the series every calendar Friday the 13th, but I never saw them until a few years ago. I grew to love this franchise and it is now a “go to” series watch for me.
I even saw Friday the 13th (1980) at the theater with Marcus Theater’s Fright Nights. It was awesome to see on the “big screen.”
Take Jennifer’s Friday franchise movie stills quiz here!
I was never a huge fan of Jason Voorhees as I’ve always been a Freddy Girl. That said, the original Friday the 13th will always hold a special place in my heart. I think it’s perfection, and Kevin Bacon’s onscreen kill is the best!
Check out PopHorror’s interview with Tori here!
Fun stuff! As you can tell, the original Friday the 13th (1980) means a lot to us here at PopHorror. Here’s hoping the legal standoff between Sean S. Cunningham and Victor Miller ends soon. It’s time to introduce this franchise to a new generation of fans!
What are your thoughts on the original film? Got a story to tell? Tell it in the comments!