Friday the 13th (1980)

1h 35m / R / Slasher

The success of John Carpenter’s Halloween inspired a lot of imitators, as success in the movie business always does. The difference in this case was that many of the imitators were actually really good in their own right. Friday the 13th realizes something that took the rest of Hollywood more than 10 years to come around to: finding a movie scary often tickles the part of your brain that also finds a movie funny. (And if we’re being honest with ourselves, Halloween can take only partial credit, anyway. Mario Bava’s 1971 splatter giallo A Bay of Blood contributed at least as much DNA to this stabby love-child.)

Friday the 13th was always intended to be a little funny. The setup was intentionally a summer-camp movie in which the counselors just happened to start getting killed off. And it twisted the formula in just the right ways: Mrs. Voorhees, along with the famous jump-scare reveal, basically demanded a sequel (and another, and another). And we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our 11th annual “A Nightmare on Franklin Street” series… on Friday the 13th.

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