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Back Seat Producers

We Don’t Make Movies, But We’ll Let You Know What Is and Isn’t Working in Hollywood.

BSP Episode 234: Friday the 13th

ByTony

Jul 13, 2012

Release date:  5/9/1980

Paramount Pictures

Directed and Produced by

  • Sean S. Cunningham

Written by

  • Victor Miller

Cast

Betsy Palmer

  • Mrs. Pamela Voorhees

Adrienne King

  • Alice Hardy

 

Your hosts review:

Darrell hadn’t watched the movie in decades… he could definitely see where it would have broken the bonds for horror movies (in its day), but after this length of time, it didn’t really work for him.  It’s easy to see now why the movie is considered a cliché.  Tony and Darrell discussed how this movie and, before it, Halloween, brought the slasher film into mainstream.

Tony thought that, in looking back, Friday the 13th did some different things with the music, the camera work, the antagonist (in the shadows most of the time, the motivation of the killer).  He also found it interesting that Jason doesn’t really appear in this first movie (with the exception of a dream sequence), and he’s not even the killer (SPOILER!!) until the second movie.  They also discussed that the origin of the movie doesn’t even take place with this movie; it’s something that happened over 20 years earlier.

Lena’s tip (from the chat room):  A message for moms to their daughters… if you run around in your underwear at camp, you die.  If you remain fully clothed, you live.

They bring up the comparisons of how this would work… or not work, as the case would be… if this was happening in the present time.  If the camp counselors found a crazy old man hiding in their pantry, they would have simply beaten the guy up.  Tony and Darrell also admired the camp director and his super cool porn-stache!

Darrell commented about the acting, “If it was any more wooden, it would be in a saw mill.”  But both hosts had praise for Kevin Bacon for having a higher level of acting chops.

They also talked about the manner of killings in this first movie, compared with how much more creative they get in later films.  Tony waxed poetic about a scene involving a harpoon gun and a crotch.  Kevin Bacon’s death in this movie was the only one that still can make viewers squirm a bit.

Watching this film was interesting and fun in that you can see how far horror movies have come in the last 30+ years.  Tony remembered hearing a rumor, when he was a wee lad, that there was going to be 13 Friday the 13th movies.  To date, there have been 12:

1980 – Friday the 13th
1981 – Friday the 13th Part 2
1982 – Friday the 13th Part III
1984 – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
1985 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
1986 – Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
1988 – Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
1989 – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
1993 – Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
2002 – Jason X
2003 – Freddy vs. Jason
2009 – Friday the 13th

Tony also remembered a TV show based on Friday the 13th (1987), which focused on two cousins’ attempts to recover cursed antiques that were sold from a shop they inherited from their uncle.

Scott (from the chat room) commented that for as simple as it was, it was so much better than all the other sequels.  Tony thought that the second movie was also pretty well done, but that one only.

Trivia bits ‘n pieces:

Betsy Palmer said that if it were not for the fact that she was in desperate need of a new car, she would never have taken the part of Pamela Voorhees. It’s said that after reading the script, she called the film “a piece of shit”.

The movie was filmed at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in New Jersey. The camp is still in operation, and it has a wall of Friday the 13th movie paraphernalia to honor that it was set there.

Composer Harry Manfredini has said that the infamous “Chi, chi, chi; ha, ha, ha” in the film’s score is actually “Ki, ki, ki; ma, ma, ma”.  It’s meant to be Jason’s voice saying “Kill, kill, kill; mom, mom, mom” in Mrs. Voorhees’s mind.  The effect was created by speaking the syllables “ki” and “ma” into a microphone running through a delay effect.

The film made $39,754,601 and had a budget of $550,000.

 

Your Producers for this episode were:

  • Tony
  • Darrell

This episode was recorded: 7/3/2012

 

 

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