FRIDAY THE 13TH (French/Italian release)
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       As Camp Crystal Lake, and the surrounding woods, descend into darkness- two of the happy campers have already met their premature demises. Perky Annie- the hitch-hiker, never actually made it to the camp. Instead she made the mistake of accepting a There'll be no more joking from Ned!lift from the (still unidentified) killer, who, after Annie manages to escape and take flight through the woods, chases her until she backs the girl up against the tree; and in the film's first ultra gory moment (depending on what version you're watching), which set the standard for the carnage to come, her throat is slit, the convincing wound blossoming forth in a torrent of blood to screen captures of this scene.... Another victim of a throat slitting, Ned (who made the mistake of exploring an abandoned out-building), turns up in a bunk- the one above the bed where Jack and Marcie make whoopie; his pale face- illuminated by a dramatic flash of lightening.

       Whilst Alice, Bill and Brenda indulge in that (soon to become) staple psycho-baiting pass-time of dope smoking, beer guzzling and strip poker, the two rutting teens haven't gone unnoticed. Having committed an even more heinous crime (in'll end in tears!slasher movie terms anyway) of having (pre-marital) sex, their punishment was to die- and how! The death scenes of Jack and Marcie still remain the most jarringly graphic of the series (at least until another down n' dirty couple met their fates in the (uncut) JASON GOES TO HELL); more so when they're seen unedited, but are still nasty enough in the butchered versions to give the viewer a jolt..... I had the pleasure of seeing FRIDAY THE 13TH on the big screen last year (my local arthouse cinema was doing a 'teen movies' season) and, as the film was passed uncut for its initial cinema release by the BBFC here in the UK, it was an original print being shown here in all its full, unedited, gory glory. The crowd watching, Marcie goes off to investigate a strange noise... or something.were probably made up of the kind of people used to the post-modern, and comparably tame, thrills of Wes Craven's SCREAM (1996)); and it was clear by their chuckles and guffaws at the movie that they were expecting nothing more than a camp extravaganza (in both senses of the words). Now, whilst I can appreciate FRIDAY THE 13TH as a prime bit of cheese as much as the next genre afficionado, I must admit some kind of perverse thrill when I heard the sharp intakes of breath and screams (yes, screams!) when a geyser of blood erupted from Kevin Bacon's neck to screen captures of this scene... and that wavering axe smashed into Marcie's Marcie meets a nasty end- an example of the ultra-violence that the film became infamous forface to screen captures of this scene.... FRIDAY THE 13TH was a watershed film; where ultra-violence in the slasher movie sub-genre peaked- at least in the mainstream cinema. But the majority of the people who sat there watching this cheesy little spam-in-a-cabin movie just weren't used to seeing such graphic mayhem- nastiness which was, executed, by SFX maestro Tom Savini; and they seemed genuinely shocked. Funny to think that many of their parents probably were much more relaxed about it when they saw the movie on its original cinema run!....

       Slightly strangely, for a film which revelled in every last death twitch of Annie, Jack and Marcie, the other deaths in FRIDAY THE 13TH either take place off-I suspect this was this woman's one and only screen appearance!screen or are curiously muted- all bar the bravura decapitation at the end. Not that we don't get to see some post-kill splatter- because we do.

       After the strip poker game breaks up Brenda wanders off into the rain slicked night- lured to her doom by a 'child's' voice pleading for help (we never do find out how Brenda met her demise, but her body is later used in one of the film's great jump scenes). Bill, after leaving Alice alone, ends up as a bloody pin cushion- spiked to the generator room door by the results of a demented archery session. Steve, who A-hoy! Who goes there?has spent the majority of the evening in town, finally leaves for camp- bidding farewell to a middle-aged waitress (who gives an implausibly stilted performance- irretrievably mucking up her 15 seconds of fame!). He is given a lift back part of the way to camp by the local Sheriff, who comments "It's not bad enough that's Friday the 13th, but it's a full moon too..... It upsets people- makes them nuts!". Just as he trudges up to the Camp's sign he is blinded by a flashlight shone at his face; his look of surprise turns to one of recognition, then shock- as he is stabbed in the gut by the (still) hidden assailant.

       All the while Camp Crystal Lake transforms into a charnel house Alice slumbers and, at least for now, she remains blissfully unaware...

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