It was 35 years ago on Friday, June 13 that Mrs. Voorhees went on her murderous rampage at Camp Crystal Lake, avenging the death of her only and disabled son, with pain and anguish in her heart. At the end of that day, after a long struggle on the beach, Alice Hardy would put an end to the madwoman’s spree, beheading her with a machete. However, that event triggered hundreds of years of even bloodier murders (yes, hundreds, until the year 2455 at least). Witnessing his mother’s death that night, Jason would continue to kill, this time avenging her death.
Thirty-four years, 12 films, 20 novels, 15 comic books and one unrelated TV series later, the Friday the 13th franchise holds its ground in the horror realm, with another film and TV series on the way. But all this time later, it still continues to take slack for being cheesy, cheap and a rip-off. And yes, in some ways it definitely is all of these (then again, nearly every horror movie has a bit of each of these ingredients), but it’s also one of the reasons the slasher movie genre became such a phenomena in the ’80s and ’90s, and one that horror fans still pine for today.
Let me come clean: I’m a little obsessed with the Friday the 13th series. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe it was because it’s ridiculously fun to play along with the movies and one of the series that best lends itself to you yelling directions at the lead characters. Maybe it was because of its camp setting, one of the greatest places ever to tell scary stories. Or maybe it’s because we understand a little more than with other horror movies why Jason is so terribly messed up and we can sympathize with him–but just a little bit, he’s still a total psycho.
Whether you love or hate the series, it’s impossible to deny that the films played a huge part in the horror industry. It invented tons of rules in the genre (mind you, borrowing a few from Halloween, but don’t tell me John Lennon never took any songwriting tips from Bob Dylan), gave new meaning to the treat of Friday the 13th on the calendar and proven that horror series can have mainstream longevity (with some sore spots along the way, but we can still enjoy Jason Takes Manhattan, just in a different way).
While the slasher phase in horror has faded out, this series just won’t die (like the man behind the mask himself). The question now becomes how does a slasher movie reach a new audience, not just its ’80s/’90s-based fans. How is a brute murderer with a machete going to cut through to the ghost- and demon-loving audiences? I’m not sure. But my hope lies in Camp Crystal Lake.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0Imr4Qm38Q]
Rotten Rentals Contest
In celebration of our new Frightday column and Jason’s refusal to die, we’ve teamed up with Downright Creepy‘s Rotten Rentals to offer you a chance to win one of their Friday the 13th VHS packs. The awesome VHS case doesn’t come with the movie, but instead is filled a mixed bag of horror goodies, including trading cards, mini figures and other horror-related collectibles.
How to enter:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and answer the question “What is your favourite Friday the 13th movie?”
- Please include your full name and mailing address in the body of the email
- Like us on Facebook at Cinefilles or follow us on Twitter at @cinefilles for an extra entry each! Don’t forget to include your Facebook name and Twitter handle in the body of the email
This contest closes on Sunday, June 15 at 11:59 p.m. One winner will be selected at random. Good luck!