"Did you know that a young boy drowned? The year before those two others were killed?"
The first film in the Friday the 13th
series, and the Trope Codifier
for Slasher Movie
genre. Released in 1980.
Camp Crystal Lake has fallen on hard times. After several deaths in the late fifties and the sabotage of two other reopening attempts, the children's camp has remained an abandoned relic of the past. Steve Christy, the son of the camp's previous owners, plans another reopening and works hard to realize it. On the 13th of June, two weeks before the opening, the counselors Steve hired to run the camp arrive to help him.
But someone else shows up as well — someone with murderous intent...
Friday the 13th contains examples of the following tropes:
- Aborted Arc: It seemed that there was a relationship of some sort between Alice and Steve, but none of this is explained further.
- An Axe to Grind: Marcie is killed with an axe.
- Bad Samaritan: Someone nice picks up Annie as she tries to hitch a ride. Then, MURDER.
- Bathroom Stall Graffiti: Marcie criticizes one when she goes to relieve herself.
- Batter Up: Alice briefly grabs a baseball bat to feel more secure in her cabin.
- Big "NO!": Claudette's last words.
- Catapult Nightmare: Alice has one before the ending.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: We don't see the police until well after the climax is over and daylight has broken out.
- Clueless Mystery: A lot of the film feels like we're supposed to be trying to figure out who the killer is...and then it's someone who was never mentioned before. Though funnily enough, these days it does feel like a twist that Jason isn't the killer.
- Covers Always Lie: One version of the DVD cover for the first movie has a holographic image revealing Jason's mask. Not only does Jason not even show up in the first movie (except for a short dream sequence), he doesn't get the hockey mask for another two films.
- Cut Phone Lines: As the killing intensifies, Camp Crystal Lake's phone lines are cut so that cast are stranded in the premises.
- Daylight Horror: Jason's first appearance.
- Death by Mocking: Ned is the jokester of the group, which seals his fate.
- Death by Recognition: Steve Christy dies as he approaches the person he recognizes.
- Death by Sex: This film probably made it a staple for slasher flicks. This is how Barry and Claudette and Jack and Marcie die.
- Decoy Protagonist: The film follows Annie at the start. She gets killed off and Alice ends up becoming the Final Girl.
- Destination Defenestration: Brenda's corpse is hurled through a window to the cabin where Alice is taking refuge.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: No hockey mask, Jason is just a delusion of his insane mother... until the Twist Ending.
- Final Girl: Alice.
- Follow the Leader: Victor Miller, who wrote the film, admitted that his idea for the film came from Halloween (1978).
- Groin Attack: Alice buys herself some time with a well-placed hit on her attacker's groin.
- Hearing Voices: Mrs. Voorhees
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Pamela Voorhees is decapitated with her own machete.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: A triple-whammy as the movie takes its place on the eponymous day, Jason's birthday, and on a full moon!
- Hostile Weather: Rain and thunder break out halfway through the film, and are backdrop to the deaths of Jack, Marcie and Brenda.
- Improvised Weapon: Alice defends herself with a poker, a frying pan, and an empty rifle.
- Instant Thunder: Happens as Jack and Marcie prepare for lovemaking.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Happens when Pamela Voorhees kills Barry and Claudette.
- Jump Scare: Jason's sudden appearance near the end.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Barry in the opening.
- Leave the Camera Running: Through gratuitous Padding. Many times throughout the film a character exits the frame and we still haven't cut away. Whenever somebody drives away we see their vehicle ride all the way until exiting the frame (including Crazy Ralph on his bicycle). The worst shot is where Alice is making coffee, which lasts almost two minutes. The movie is at least 10 minutes too long. And only 90 minutes!
- Lovable Jock: Jack
- Lunacy: When the Sheriff gives Steve a lift to the Camp Crystal Lake, they start arguing if full moon has affection crime rates or not.
- Mad Oracle: Crazy Ralph.
It has a death curse!
- Mama Bear: The murderer is motivated by her son's death years before.
- Motive Rant: Mrs. Voorhees rants about how the camp counselors should have watched Jason and Camp Crystal Lake should have remained closed to Alice before trying to kill her.
- No Peripheral Vision: Alice doesn't see Steve's corpse before it drops right on front of her.
- Novelization: By Simon Hawke.
- Off with His Head!: How Alice kills Pamela Voorhees.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Ned's corpse appears on the top bunk of the bed where Jack and Marcie are making love, without either of them noticing.
- Oh Crap: Ned is fooling around, dressed as an Indian chief. Then he turns around and sees that a motorcycle cop has arrived on the campsite.
Ned: Oh shit.
- The slow motion look on Pamela's fate when she realizes Alice has her machete.
- Once is Not Enough: Alice has not one but THREE chances to finish off Mrs. Voorhees, but runs away each time.
- Rain of Blood: Marcie tells Jack that she has a recurring nightmare of a storm that turns into a rain of blood. This proves to be foreshadowing, as later blood starts dripping on Jack before he is killed.
- Red Herring: Jason himself. This only occurs in hindsight, too: while characters mention a "young boy drowning" once, the film doesn't mention it again until Mrs. Voorhees comes in, and by the time she mentions Jason, her demeanor has outed her as the killer.
- Shirtless Scene: Steve in his first scene. There's also the scene with the counselors swimming in the lake.
- Slashed Throat: Annie, Ned, and Bill have their throats slit.
- Smoking Hot Sex: Jack lights a cigarette after sex with Marcie.
- Split Personality: Mrs. Voorhees definitely suffers from this, as at one point her voice alternates between her son's and her own.
- Stranger Behind the Mask: Pamela Voorhees, a completely unknown character prior to being introduced near the end, killed everyone.
- Strip Poker: Brenda's "Strip Monopoly".
- Summer Campy: The film helped to popularize summer camp's as slasher settings.
- Tempting Fate: While playing Strip Monopoly, Alice buys Baltic Avenue. Bill says no one ever lands on Baltic Avenue — and on his turn, he lands on it.
- Title Drop: The local sheriff laments the fact that Friday the 13th has a full moon.