New to Horror
An exploration into the horror genre by a non-fan
Intro: I’ve never been much of a Horror fan. When I was young, I was so scared of the Alien box art that I wouldn’t even look in its direction. But as I got olde,r I’ve dabbled and seen some, yet I’ve never committed to watching more than a few. So I decided to start this feature because I’ve always been intrigued by what horror can accomplish and how imaginative it can be. How it can play on your senses, fears and the ever popular question of ‘what would you do in that situation?’ Every week I’ll be reviewing a new horror movie. I’ll switch between a classic/older horror film and a newer/recent film. I hope you find this entertaining and I’ll try to admit to what scared me and how high my screams were.
Warning: Full Friday the 13th Spoilers
Friday the 13th is regarded as a bad omen, a day that’s supposed to make you weary, and in Friday the 13th it’s a day for a bunch of teens to get murdered. I know Jason Voorhees and his infamous hockey mask because he is a staple of Halloween costumes and slasher legend, but I’ve never seen a Friday the 13th film. Watching this, I was waiting for him to pop up and machete his way to the last victim but I was wrong.
Let’s get this out of the way: no you won’t be scared by this movie. This was made in 1980 so chances are you’ve seen more horrific stuff than this film. But I was surprised by how similar this film was to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Most of the film is from the killer’s perspective, and I saw this as a studio capitalizing on what Halloween did so perfectly just two years prior.
The story is about a group of camp counselors getting Camp Crystal Lake restored and ready for the summer after being shut down because of a boy drowning and two counselors being murdered years before. The acting wasn’t as bad as I had first thought, but I wasn’t expecting Oscar worthy stuff here either. The most notable name in the lineup is Kevin Bacon and this is PRE Footloose so that was a little surprise. Some of the kills are inventive, most notable is Bacon’s death where he gets an arrow through the throat, but within the first hour almost all the teens are dead, so I was left wondering “I still have another 30 minutes! What the hell are they going to fill it with?” Luckily, this is the most interesting part of the entire movie.
Alice (Adrienne King) is the only teen left alive when Mrs. Voorhees come into the picture and it’s revealed that she was the killer and has cracked after the death of her son. She thinks he is telling her to kill these camp counselors. Mrs. Voorhees is played by Betsy Palmer who is the best part of this entire movie. She looks, acts, and sounds perfectly insane. Hearing her talk as Jason, saying “Do it mommy, kill them all mommy.” And then answer herself is terrifying. After Alice beheads Mrs. V, she is floating in a canoe on the lake and Jason pops up out of the lake, grabs her and pulls her under. She awakes in the hospital and the police say they didn’t find any boy in the lake. I see why they did it, to continue the franchise but it’s confusing as to why he suddenly came up then, how is he not dead and how does he come by the mask and machete. I guess that’s what Friday the 13th: Part 2 is for.
Friday the 13th was probably scary as hell in 1980, but watching it now it looks cheesy and laughable. There are a few plot holes and inconsistencies, yet the ending is what makes it a classic and why it is still highly regarded as a major influence in the genre. I would recommend watching this to anyone wanting to get more into horror and wanting to witness the beginnings of not only Jason Voorhees but the slasher genre.
Come back next week for another New to Horror article!