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Film / Friday the 13th (1980)

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"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 the Slasher Movie genre. Released in 1980.

Camp Crystal Lake has fallen on hard times. After several deaths in The '50s 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...

"These tropes have a death curse":

  • Aborted Arc: It seemed that there was a relationship of some sort between Alice and Steve, but none of this is explained further.
  • Artistic License – History: Jason was born on June 13 in either 1944 or 1946, but neither had it fall on a Friday (June 13 was a Tuesday in 1944 and a Thursday in 1946). And, despite the title, June 13 fell on a Wednesday in 1979, the year the film takes place. Even the lament about the full moon falling on a Friday the 13th that year was largely inaccurate; the closest 1979 ever got to a full moon on a Friday the 13th was on April 13, the day after the full moon that month.
  • Asshole Victim: The two counselors who get murdered in the prologue not only caused Jason's death by sneaking off to have sex instead of watching after a disabled child while he went swimming, it appears they still haven't learned their lesson even in the tragic aftermath.
    • Ned is an obnoxious jerk who nearly shoots Brenda with an arrow and fakes drowning as a prank; needless to say, viewers won't be sorry to see him go when Pamela slits his throat.
  • Bad Samaritan: Someone nice picks up Annie as she tries to hitch a ride. Then, MURDER.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: Marcie criticizes one (by "Willie Makeit") 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.
  • Blatant Lies: When Brenda, Alice, and Bill start playing strip Monopoly, Brenda rolls the dice and gets a one and a two... which she promptly claims are double sixes. Bill and Alice note that they're being hustled, but don't try to stop her.
  • Camp Cook: Pamela Voorhees is a rather dark example, what with her being the film's killer. She was the cook at Crystal Lake's initial term of service, and not really a bad one, but she sought revenge against the counselors for her son's death once the camp reopened.
  • 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. Betsy Palmer, who played Mrs. Voorhees, did campaign to drop some sort of clue to the viewer, but the director shrugged it off. 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 is Jason not the killer of this movie, but he doesn't even show up except for a short dream sequence, nor does he gain the hockey mask for another two films.
  • Cut Phone Lines: As the killing intensifies, Camp Crystal Lake's phone lines are cut so that the cast are stranded on the premises (because Steve Christie took the only vehicle into town).
  • Death by Mocking: Ned is the jokester of the group. At one moment he pretends to have drowned in the lake to get a kiss from Brenda. For the reasons made obvious during the climax, this seals his fate.
  • Death by Recognition: Steve Christy dies as he approaches the person he recognizes.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first counselor we meet is the chipper and wholesome Annie, and we follow her for several scenes as she hitchhikes to Crystal Lake. She's the first counselor to die, killed before she even makes it to the camp. The film then follows no particular counselor until they're whittled down to Alice, who becomes the Final Girl.
  • Destination Defenestration: Brenda's corpse is hurled through a window to the cabin where Alice is taking refuge.
  • Dwindling Party: Annie is the first to go before she even reaches the camp; then Ned, Jack, Marcie, Brenda, Steve and Bill are killed off one by one in that order. The only one to survive is Alice.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • No hockey mask, Jason is just a delusion of his insane mother... until the Twist Ending.
    • The general tone and "feel" of the movie is quite different to the rest of the series. With the heavy use of handheld cameras and long-takes, the long stretches without music, and the (comparatively) more realistic and gritty death scenes, the film owes more to the numerous B-movies and grindhouse flicks of the 1970s than it does to the slasher films it would help inspire. Much of this can be attributed to the budget (less than $1 million), which is significantly lower than the series' later, more outlandish entries.
    • This and Part 2 are the only films in which they don't deliberately write unlikable heel characters to root the killers on. All the characters are generally nice people that treat each other kindly. A contrast to later entries where there are a few characters to root the killer on.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Aside from the Distant Prologue, which took place 22 years prior, and the final scene of Alice in the hospital, which presumably takes place a day or two afterward, the movie takes place over one day and night.
  • Fake-Out Twist: Near the end of the movie, it's revealed that the killer is Jason's mom, meaning that Jason wasn't actually Back from the Dead as was thought. The Final Girl dispatches her and returns to Crystal Lake to catch her breath from her ordeal. Surprise, Jason is Back from the Dead and pulls Alice into the lake. She wakes up in the hospital having almost drowned and no one else believes her that Jason was involved.
  • Final Girl: Alice has to deal with the mad Pamela alone.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Mrs Voorhees tells Alice that she's "not afraid" to go back to the camp about literally five minutes before she's revealed to be the killer, so, of course, she isn't afraid to go back.
  • Foreshadowing: Brenda rescues Ned from drowning, which turns out to be faked. She attempts to rescue a child crying for help, but that turns out to be fake also, leading to her to be ambushed by Mrs. Voorhees.
  • Formula with a Twist: Friday the 13th (1980) copied the Slasher formula almost wholesale from Halloween (1978), except for being set in a forest camp and making the killer's identity a Murder Mystery plot point. Later entries in the series helped codify the genre with its undead villain, Jason.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Alice uses a frying pan to club her attacker in the head.
  • The Generic Guy: Bill has no real characterization. He's not a prankster or a lover or an authority figure like the other males.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Alice buys herself some time with a well-placed hit on her attacker's groin.
    • When Alice finds Bill's body, he has an arrow in his groin as well as in his face.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Pamela Voorhees is decapitated with her own machete.
  • Homage: To Psycho. The "kikiki" breathing that signals the killer's arrival is similar to the famous "Psycho" Strings, and the would-be Final Girl is killed off first. Then there's the fact that the killer is a deranged mother who believes that her dead son Jason is talking to her and telling her to kill sexually active people, which is the same situation as Norman Bates, just with the roles reversed.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: A triple-whammy as the movie takes place on an 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.
  • Hypocrite: While many of the workers exhibit the kind of lasciviousness or neglectfulness that Mrs. Voorhees believes killed her son, Brenda clearly shows twice that she would have saved Jason from drowning had she been watching him that day. This doesn’t save her.
    • Likewise, she also murders Annie, who is a genuinely nice and friendly young woman who wants to work with kids.
  • 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.
  • Just Hit Him: In their final fight, Mrs Voorhees throws Alice around and slaps her rather than dispatching her with the same quick methods as the other counsellors.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Barry in the opening tries to explain that he and his girlfriend were just messing around, but is killed in the middle of it.
  • Killed Offscreen: Claudette (the girl counselor from the opening), Ned, Brenda, and Bill aren't killed onscreen. In the case of Brenda, we only hear her scream with the scene cutting back to the cabins.
  • Large Ham: Crazy Ralph and Mrs. Voorhees chew enough scenery that they probably had wished the cook hadn't been killed.
  • 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).
  • Lunacy: When the Sheriff gives Steve a lift to Camp Crystal Lake, they start arguing about whether or not a full moon has an effect on crime rates.
  • Mad Oracle: Crazy Ralph.
    It has a death curse!
  • Mama Bear: The murderer is motivated by her son's death years before.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Mrs. Voorhees killed the two camp counselors responsible for her son Jason's drowning one year after the tragedy. However, when the camp reopens years later, she begins killing people who had absolutely nothing to do with his death left and right.
  • 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.
  • Never My Fault: Mrs. Voorhees was just as much at fault for her son's death, but she blames everyone else.
    • Then again, she did specify she was the camp cook and was working when it happened. Jason was in the care of the counselors when he went swimming because his mother had to make a living.
  • Nice Guy: Annie has a sweet disposition and states that her calling is to help kids. All the rest of the main counselors, with the exception of prankster Ned, are nice, normal teens who go out of their way to help people in emergencies.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Mr. Christy gives a generous tip to the waitress at the diner, and the two chat pleasantly suggesting they're friends.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Brenda hears a child crying for help and wanders around the woods in the rain, dressed only in her nightgown, trying to help. She ends up murdered because of it.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Alice doesn't see Steve's corpse before it drops right in 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 face 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.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Bill, Brenda and Steve's bodies pop out at Alice various times.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Ned makes jokes and teases everyone throughout his screen time.
  • Present-Day Past: The hairstyles of The '50s sure don't look any different than 1980.
  • 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.
  • Raincoat of Horror: Significant parts of this film take place when It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, and the counselors wear raincoats accordingly.
  • Red Herring:
    • Crazy Ralph, the creepy local who keeps telling everyone they're "doomed." The cops are looking for him, and he shows up hiding in the camp, but he's not the killer.
    • Steve Christy is teased as a suspect, since he's gone from the camp for a large portion, and his jeep is the same color and model as the killer's.
  • Samus Is a Girl: A non-heroic example; you'd be forgiven for thinking the killer is a young man at first since she is initially only shown from the shoulders down, wearing a man's shirt and trousers. Then in the last 15 minutes of the movie, the serial killer picking off the counselors is revealed to actually be a middle-aged woman.
  • Scenery Porn: A surprising amount of this for a horror film.
  • Sex Signals Death: This film probably made it a staple for slasher flicks. This is why Barry and Claudette and Jack and Marcie die. Justified since Pamela is specifically targeting people who have sex, because that's how Jason drowned - two counselors who were supposed to be watching him were having sex instead.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Brenda during the strip Monopoly game. And Marcie walking around in her panties, and bending over facing away from the camera.
  • Shirtless Scene: Every male counselor at the camp has a shirtless scene at some point.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Ned the comic relief character is the first one killed off on the camp grounds. This marks the horror starting to happen, and the body count racks up.
  • Shown Their Work: Brenda checks Ned's throat for blockages before doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • 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 camps 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Alice barricades a door that opens in the opposite direction. But then, this would become one of the defining tropes of the genre.
  • Title Drop: The local sheriff laments the fact that Friday the 13th has a full moon.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Ms. Voorhees is a completely normal-looking woman in a fuzzy sweater and jeans. She doesn't even wear a mask while killing people.
  • Unbuilt Trope:
    • The film uses Sex Signals Death to kill off the characters, but there's an in-story justification for it. Jason drowned while camp counselors were fooling around, so hatred of any kind of sex is his mother's Freudian Excuse.
    • Alice is the Final Girl but lacks many of the characteristics associated with what the archetype would eventually become; she still smokes and drinks with her friends, she's about to strip off on screen when the storm interrupts her (and she gets into a bikini earlier) and she's implied to be having an affair with Steve. She's only more responsible than her friends because she appears to be in charge at the camp.
    • As famously pointed out by the opening of Scream (1996), the killer is not Jason, or any similarly hulking invincible man-mountain in a creepy mask. The killer is not only female — something still rare to this day — but an unmasked, totally ordinary-looking middle-aged woman with no scars or deformities. She doesn't even wear a scary costume, just a blue wool sweater-blouse and jeans.
    • Unlike the typical slasher story, the film's tension runs almost entirely on Dramatic Irony. All the victims are killed instantly, and the timeframe is so short that nobody ever learns that there is a killer on the loose. Alice only realises that she is the Sole Survivor at the end when she discovers the bodies of all her friends. The result is a slasher film where none of the characters ever get the chance to realize that they are getting picked off, attempt to call the police, behave in stupid ways that get them killed etc.
  • Unrated Edition: There's an uncut version with more explicit violence and gore.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The film opens with two camp counselors being killed in the fifties.
  • Walking Spoiler: See Stranger Behind the Mask - even if it's a Late-Arrival Spoiler given the film's notoriety.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: The scene with the counselors swimming in the lake.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mrs. Voorhees, who sees killing off the counselors and keeping the camp from re-opening as a means to keeping other children safe from the neglect that killed her son.
  • Within Arm's Reach: To an almost comical level in the final fight between Alice and the killer. As Alice finds herself hit, pinned down, choked, tackled, and slapped, she manages to grab and fight back with a stick, an empty gun, and an oar, among other things.


Look what you did to him.

Look what you DID TO HIIIM!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

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