"They were warned... They are doomed...
And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.
A 24 hour nightmare of terror."
(back of video blurb): "Camp Crystal Lake has a bad history. A history drenched in blood. For over 20 years no one has disturbed its deathly silence... until now. Often imitated but never equalled, Friday the 13th is a relentless exercise in sustained terror. Unlike the luckless teenagers who go to Camp Crystal Lake, it will live forever as the most shocking film of its kind."
"Camp Crystal Lake has a bad history. A history drenched in blood. For over 20 years no one has disturbed its deathly silence... until now. Often imitated but never equalled, Friday the 13th is a relentless exercise in sustained terror. Unlike the luckless teenagers who go to Camp Crystal Lake, it will live forever as the most shocking film of its kind."
- a chirpy Bill enquires of Alice (proving irony was alive and well in the early 80's!)
I adore this movie, and I never grow tired of its cheesy charms. It's hard to imagine that there was once a time when there was no Jason Voorhees; and no FRIDAY THE 13TH- when summer camps were synonymous with the innocence of childhood and not the slaughter of the nubile. But there was indeed a time before "chh, chh, chh... hah, hah, hah"- (and the screams that followed it), reverberated through out the (mainstream) cinemas of the land. Regardless of it being a rip-off - or perhaps more fairly I should say 'magpie hybrid' of two classic genre movies- namely Mario Bava's BAY OF BLOOD (1971) and John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN (1978) (despite Sean Cunningham's protestation to the contrary); FRIDAY THE 13TH was a milestone in horror movies.... and in some-ways a millstone around its neck.
For the benefit of those who haven't seen the movie (are there any of you out there?); and for those who wish to relive the seedy halcyon experience, this is how the legend of Camp Blood began: The prologue- Camp Crystal Lake, 1958.... A full moon hangs above a black lake; the perky sounds of a guitar and happy-clappy hymns waft through the night air. A group of fresh-faced kids roast marshmallows around a cabin fire, swaying and singing- like the damned children of Ned Flanders. Two of the counsellors, however, only have eyes for each other- and from the off it is clear they are hot-to-trot. Leaving the swaying and grinning group they go to find a quiet space to indulge in a spot of romance; but before the petting can get heavy they are interupted- and quicker than they can say 'Cum-by-arRGHHHH!' they are sliced-and-diced by an assailant whose identity is hidden from the viewer.
Fast forward to 'Friday June 13- the present' (or more precisely 1980). A likable young lass, Annie (Robbi Morgan) struggles into town- ruck sack on her back. She stops at the local diner to enquire on directions to Camp Crystal Lake- where she's been hired for the Summer as camp cook. "Camp Blood!" barks back one of the locals, as the whole of the diner turns to her- "...they opening that place again?". Despite the arch looks of the patrons Annie bums a lift of some guy- who's unfortunate enough to be called 'Enis'. She even manages to keep up here cheery demeanour when town loon- Mad Ralph (Walt Gorney), rants at her as she leaves, "You're going to Camp Blood aint yer?.... You'll never come back again- it's got a death curse!". Even Enis has a mild mannered go at her- and her like,- "Dumb kids...know it alls!... Heads full o' rocks..." I expect she was looking forward to escaping the hick madness into the relative safety of camp as Enis sped away leaving her at that intersection...Oh well...
Meanwhile at Camp Crystal Lake the 'doomed' camp counsellors begin to arrive- three of them in a van (a ritual repeated ad naseum in most of the sequels- and all the other cookie cutter films that followed). Eight lambs to the slaughter- Alice (Adrienne King)- the sensitive one (we know that because she sketches); Steve (Peter Brouwer)- the moustache sporting head counsellor; Jack (Kevin Bacon)- a footloose teen; the interchangable Bill (Harry Crosby)- Bing's son (!) and joker Ned (Mark Nelson); and the similarilarly interchangeable Marcie (Jeannine Taylor)- frizzy hair (soon be parted), and Brenda (Laurie Bartram)- who hasn't got any distinguishing features that I can recall! Together they provide the template for all of the teen stereotypes that would go through the FRIDAY food processor. Thinly sketched, but with just enough character to make you care when they meet their inevitable fates- and certainly less irksome than some of the buffoons that followed in their footsteps..... Anyway, after a prolonged frolic by the lake (which acted as the film's t&a swim-wear section- they never did get to dinner attire!), where someone in the woods lurks and watches- things begin to take a turn for the worse. Alice is surprised by Crazy Ralph, who has hot-footed it from town to hide in the camp's larder, when he bursts out giving it the same schtick he prattled on about to Annie- "I'm the messenger of God. You're doomed if you stay here. This place is cursed...c-u-r-s-e-d!.... It's got a death curse." He then shakily mounts his bicycle (looking very much unlike a 'messenger of God') and departs with the parting shot (and FRIDAY catch-phrase)- "You're doomed- you're all d-o-o-m-e-d!". There is also a semi comic scene which comes across as the Grand Guginol as performed by The Brady Bunch- Alice (again) finds a snake innocently slithering around in her cabin and in two shakes of a lamb's tail the whole crew are screaming and bouncing off the walls in an effort to flush the poor little critter out. It's eventually hacked into itty-bitty pieces (real snake by the way)- and to leaven the mood Marcie pipes up- "At least we know what's for dinner!"; to which the gang, in unison, reply "Oh, Marcie... (Marcie!, Marcie!)"..... And weak comedy isn't Marcie's only talent. As a storm gathers on the other side of Crystal lake (an omen of Shakesperian proportions), Marcie unwittingly predicts her fate (and that of her friends) when she tells future beau, Jack (Bacon), of a distant dream where it rains and, "...the rain turns to blood... and the blood washes away in little rivers".