6 More Days To Halloween, Goblins! Silver Shamrock!
Spoiler Warning to those that have not seen this film yet, as we discuss the twist ending in this article.
1980 was a big year for horror: The Shining, Dressed To Kill, The Fog, Prom Night with various degrees of success. The slasher “Golden Era” genre was well into it’s prime with previous films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Black Christmas, and the seminal Halloween, how do you top them?
Sean S. Cunningham who had worked with Wes Craven on The Last House On The Left wanted to make a “roller coaster ride” of a film. Initially titled A Long Night at Camp Blood, it was re-titled Friday The 13th during a re-write by Cunningham and Victor Miller.
“I took motherhood and turned it on its head and I think that was great fun. Mrs. Voorhees was the mother I’d always wanted—a mother who would have killed for her kids.”
As for Jason, Miller was unhappy that that character was brought back for the sequels:
“Jason was dead from the very beginning. He was a victim, not a villain.”
A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning.
- Writer Victor Miller admitted that he rode the wave that John Carpenter’s Halloween created
- 1979’s Meatballs was another inspiration as it was about teens at a summer camp having sex
- Originally named Josh, Miller changed it to Jason, after a school bully as he felt Josh was too nice sounding
- Producer/Director Sean S. Cunningham was so convinced that the title would sell the film, he put the title in the trade papers before a script was written
- Miller wrote the script in about two weeks
- Alice was to be a recurring hero in the sequels but due to a real-life stalker Adrienne no longer wanted to be part of the series
- It was decided to come up with a “chair jumper of an ending, kind of like Carrie”
- Primarily filmed at Camp NoBeBoSco, Blairstown, New Jersey
- They were allowed to film at the Boy Scout Camp after making a sizable donation to the BSoA
- $550,000 Budget, $39,754,601 Domestic Box Office
- Cunningham refused to direct the sequel, didn’t think the Jason back from the dead story-line would work
- Prosthetic makeup artist Tom Savini was hired for this film due to his work on Dawn Of The Dead
- Adrianne King’s acting coach was Betsy Palmer
- The snake killed in the movie was real, animal killing organization PETA did not exist yet
- Sally Field auditioned for the role of Alice Hardy
- Shelley Winters was the first choice for Pamela Voorhees, but she wasn’t interested
- Estelle Parsons was originally signed on to play Mrs. Voorhees but dropped out due to the violence in the story
- Betsy Palmer’s first film since 1959’s The Last Angry Man
- A special edition of Siskel and Ebert called “The War on Women” focusing on misogynistic slasher movies criticized this film
- Critic Gene Siskel was so angry at Palmer’s involvement in the film he published her address in his magazine; it was the wrong address
- after; ha ha ha is actually ki ki ki; ma ma ma – “kill her mommy”
Adrianne King on the murderer being a female:
“In terms of women not being victims, or a woman being the killer, it hadn’t really been done before. And sometimes I think about if it was accidentally empowering women, or if they just wanted to do something that had a twist. And who would have ever guessed that the killer could have been a woman? A sweet lady, too, Betsy Palmer. No one saw that coming.”
What did you think of the first film of this undying series? Sound off below!
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