Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Friday the 13th (1980)

by  |  June 22nd, 2011  |  Horror

The 1970's through the 1980's was a great time for the Slasher genre with the creation of genuine classic's like Halloween (1978), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Intruder (1989), Deranged: Confessions Of A Necrophile (1974), along with so many others…

Another genuine classic happens to be Friday The 13th (1980):

Written by: Victor Miller (A Stranger Is Watching) and Ron Kurz (Off The Wall) and directed by Sean S. Cunningham (The Last House On The Left).  And starring Adrienne King (Walking The Distance), Betsy Palmer (Bell Witch: The Movie), and Kevin Bacon (Animal House).

It's got a death curse!

– Crazy Ralph (Played by: Walt Gorney)

Friday the 13th tells the story of the curse of Camp Blood, a place where one camper drowned nearly 30 years ago, and where a year latter two camp counselors had been murdered and which every subsequent attempt to re-open the camp, would be wrought with major problems!

The two Camp Counselors that are Murdered a Year after Jason drowned.

This is until Steve Christy enters in to the equation (Played by Peter Brouwer) Steve is the son of the former owners of the Camp during the murders in the 50s… With that said, it looks like Steve is about to be able to finally re-open the camp! All of the grounds are just about completely ready for the arrival of the coming campers, and the last of the coming counselors have arrived…

There is only one problem…

The curse of Camp Blood does not seem to have been lifted, with a former member of the camp staff by the name of Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, who's son Jason was the kid who drowned in 1957 (and who was the one who helped in the creation of the Camp Blood myth). Mrs. Voorhees will do literally WHAT EVER it takes to ensure that the camp won't re-open, and ensure that Camp Blood's death curse lasts forever…

Mrs. Voorhees (Played by: Betsy Palmer)

Now Friday The 13th is an interesting movie. Having been filmed on location at Camp Nobebosco (A camp that is still in operation to day.)  Paramount's interest in this movie would come directly on the coat tails of the success of the first Halloween movie (which had come out roughly about a year and a half before Friday the 13th), and with that success Paramount had decided to purchase the rights to this little gem of a slasher film!

Now this movie was intended to be a genuinely scary movie, that would also be something that could ultimately end up making people laugh as well.  With that said though, when Victor Miller began writing the script for the movie, all that he really had to work with was a concept title, “Long Night At Camp Blood.”

So while Victor Miller was writing the script, Sean S. Cunningham who ultimately seemed to really like the title 'Friday The 13th' had went off to make sure that the title was not already taken.  Unfortunately though apparently there already had been a movie that had come out before theirs entitled 'Friday The 13: The Orphan' (Don't worry folks, that recommendation is going to be coming…)

This is what George Mansour, a  distributor of the film had to say about that situation:

There was a movie before ours called Friday the 13th: The Orphan. Moderately successful. But someone still threatened to sue. I don't know whether Phil [Scuderi] paid them off, b

ut it was finally resolved.”

– George Mansour (Distributor)

With that said, and with the title available eventually this film was ready to be made…

And speaking of the movie, I thought that I would mention a few key players in this film, with whom I do think that their career's were helped from being a part of this movie:

1. Now we all know Kevin Bacon from such mega million block busters as Footloose (1984) with Lori Singer (Made In U.S.A) or Apollo 13 (1995) with Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), or even seeing him in the new movie X-Men: First Class (2011) with Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games), but did you know that before all of those films a still relatively new to working in movies, 'Kevin Bacon' was a member of the cast of Friday The 13th?  That's right folks, Mr. Bacon played a young Jack Burrel, boyfriend of Marcie Cunningham and a camp counselor at the bloodiest Camp in the world… Camp Blood that is!

Kevin Bacon as Jack Burrel in 'Friday The 13th'

2. The next person that I thought that I would mention is Sean S. Cunningham.  Now before and since this movie, Sean Cunningham has had some truly great credits to his name, with such movies as 'The Last House On The Left', which he would do with Wes Craven (A Nightmare On Elm Street series) along with so many others… But the Friday the 13th franchise is what helped catapult Cunningham to the same level as other horror greats, such as: Wes Craven, John Carpenter (The Halloween series), Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead series) along with so many others!

Sean S. Cunningham with his 'Last House On The Left' Partner.

3. The next person that I would like to mention here is a 'Jack Of All Trades' power house in the horror movie field by the name of Tom Savini (The Prowler)! Now when I first heard of this man, I had only known him for his participation in George Romero's (Dead series). Little did I know way back then just how cool this guy's body of work really is… I mean he has worked with (in my opinion) some of the greatest horror movie directors of all time.  I mean besides Romero, to name just a few of them, Alan Ormsby (Dead Of Night), Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn), Joseph Zito (The Prowler), William Lustig (Maniac) along with so many others!

Nathan Strack and Tom Savini talk about making Friday the 13th (1980) @ Creation Entertainments 'Weekend Of Horrors'.

With that said Mr. Savini has had a real impact on the Friday The 13th Series as a whole, having done the makeup effects, and some of the stunts, as well as having a small part in the first Friday The 13th and the special effects and make up effects for Friday The 13th (The Final Chapter). And with having gotten a rare treat along with my friends and fellow ABMer's Matthew Dowling and Candace Valentino, in getting to meet Mr. Savini, with whom I would say is a true horror movie icon, I can genuinely say that I have been able to meet one of the people that helped shaped this movie so well, that it ended up producing an entire series!

With that said folks the last thing that I thought that I would say is that this movie is one of those movies that helped me to gain an interest in the horror movie genre, and so I highly recommend checking it out.  I loved it and if your looking for a good horror movie to sink your teeth in to, then I highly recommend checking this one out, I doubt you'll regret it!



Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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