10/19/08

The Halloween Top 13: Number 13: Friday the 13th Part 1

Welcome to The Lightning Bug's Halloween Top 13. I'm very happy to be counting down my personal favorite horror flicks to watch over the season. I want to state right off that these might not all be the best made films or even ones that spring to mind instantly when people think about Halloween, but they are what I love. They may well not be what you folks out there love. That's why I'm proud to include with each of the 13 posts a top 5 list submitted from my readers and friends. So make sure you scroll down and check them out after the trailer. Now on with the show.



Friday the 13th Part 1 (1980) starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, and Kevin Bacon. Directed by Sean Cunningham. Special Effects by Tom Savini.



Synopsis
Before the mask, before Manhattan, Hell, and Space, and well before he met Freddy, Jason was just a dead kid in a lake, and Camp Crystal Lake was just a run down camp that fueled local legend. Back in 1958, two counselors snuck away from singing campfire songs to have some more private fun, and ended up getting killed before they could even get into heavy petting. Fast forward to the present day of 1980, and the camp is looking to open back up again. Kids from all over are coming to the camp to take jobs as counselors.



Annie, the camp's cook, is hitch hiking her way there, and she stops in a small town to ask directions. She's greeted by many a strange look, and even the local nutter, Ralph, comes along to let her know that "You're all doomed" at "Camp Blood". One of the townsfolk, Enos, gives her a ride out closer to the camp site and fills her in on the tales of a drowned kid, the murders, and mysterious fires that plagued the camp before its closing. Enos drops Annie off and she accepts a ride from a driver in a jeep who's face we never see. The driver speeds past the camp, and Annie leaps from the moving vehicle. She runs into the woods only to be tracked down and summarily stabbed to death.



Ned, Jack Marci, Brenda, and Alice, the other campers, know nothing of Annie's death. So when the head of the camp, Steve, goes into town to get some supplies, they have no idea that they are being hunted. As each of them gets isolated, they meet their grisly ends. They get killed with a variety of implements including a very nice axe to the head and Kevin Bacon's Jack gets an arrow through his throat. The campers are whittled down until only Alice is left, and she barricades herself in the main cabin. That is until she is saved by the kindly Mrs. Voorhees.


Film Facts

--The script was written by Victor Miller who's other credits mostly include writing for the soap opera's All My Children and Another World. Strangely no one's mom showed up to cut apart a group of teens in either of those series.

--Our Lord, Tom Savini, was the first person approached about joining the film crew as the producers had loved his makeup effects for Dawn of the Dead. Savini was personally responsible for the gushing and bubbling of blood from Kevin Bacon's neck. When the original plan for the effect fell though, Savini got under the bed and blew the blood through the tubing himself.

-- The "Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma" sound heard throughout all the Friday The 13th films is the brainchild of composer Henry Manfredini. It was intended to evoke the sound of Jason in Mrs. Voorhees' head urging her to "Kill Kill Kill, Mom Mom Mom." As to why it continues to crop up the Jason based sequels is anybody's guess.

Why Do I Love It?

Well when I was a kid and just getting into the gorier slasher fare, I started all the series at the beginning. At the time I was not aware that the legendary hockey mask wearing madman did not appear until the second installment (and the mask even later). However I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and I think I hold it in a special place because of when I saw it. After all you never forget your first.

It might well be that Betsy Palmer seemed utterly scary as Mrs Voorhees because she seemed so much like she could be any one of my friend's moms. In her cable knit sweater and her short cropped mom hair, she seemed completely realistic in my young mind. Unlike what her son would become or his friends Michael and Freddy, there was no otherworldly nature to her. She was just a lady gone totally batshit crazy. Between that and the now classic (and a bit cheesy) jump scare that ends the film, it cemented itself as a Halloween classic that I go back to time and time again.
Bug Rating



And now for the first Top 5 List. This one comes to us courtesy of Bradd from the Web-comic Gloomy Roomies.
In No Particular Order:
Psycho (1960)
Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Great List, Bradd, and thanks for contributing. All of those films almost made it on my list, and each and every one is a classic. Make sure you go check out Bradd's comic as I'm sure he has lots of Halloween fun in store, and make sure you're back here tomorrow for another installment in the most diabolical countdown you'll ever read. See you tomorrow, Moonies.

6 comments:

  1. Nice choice for the first of 13. This was playing on a projection screen at a Halloween party I went to last year. And I ended up paying more attention to the movie than the party.

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  2. Thanks Lisa. I have lots more treats coming up. Hope you continue to enjoy.

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  3. Fun! I'll definitely link to this on my movie blog (http://sloblogs.thetribunenews.com/shelikestowatch/).

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  4. Thanks alot Sarah. Glad you liked it, and thanks a lot for the link.

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  5. A very fitting movie to start your Top 13. Also a fantastic top 5 today.

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  6. Sorry it took me so long to reply to your Top 13. I've been a busy Wolf, so I apologize.

    Now I must say this film is a fitting start for your Top 13. It's not my favorite in the series [Jason Lives is my personal fave] but it's definitely number 2 as far as I'm concerned. Great gore SFX and Betsy Palmer is incredible as Jason's mom. I find the whole catfight between her and Adrienne King to be quite entertaining and fun. And that ending - sure it ripped off CARRIE but it's still highly effective. When I first saw that when I was like 6, I freaked out! FRIDAY THE 13TH is definitely worthy as a horror classic. Great review, dude.

    And I liked that Top 5 list too. Very unique.

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