Friday the 13th – USA, 1980

‘On Friday the 13th, they began to die horribly, one… by one.’

Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher horror film directed by Sean S. Cunningham from a screenplay by Victor Miller.


The film concerns a group of teenagers who are murdered one-by-one while attempting to re-open an abandoned campsite and stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, and Kevin Bacon (The Following; FlatlinersTremors) in one of his earliest roles.

Prompted by the massive success of Halloween, the independent Georgetown Productions film was made on an estimated budget of $550,000.

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The movie received mainly negative reviews from critics, but grossed over $39.7 million at the box office in the United States, and went on to become one of the most-profitable slasher films in cinema history. It was also the first movie of its kind to secure distribution in the USA by a major studio, Paramount Pictures.

The film’s huge box office success led to a long series of sequels, a crossover with the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and a series reboot released on February 13, 2009.


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“There’s remarkably little T & A given what was to come, but the murders (especially Kevin Bacon’s post-sex bed spearing) are memorable and the denouement is a tour de force dominated by Betsy Palmer’s creepily grinning, unflatteringly dressed portrayal of Mrs Vorhees.” Steven West, Horror Screams Video Vault

” … it is not only self-evidently made on the cheap but is almost completely lacking in style or invention. About the only interesting aspect of the film, really, is the slavishness with which it attempts to duplicate elements of Halloween: title, construction, even visual effects…” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

“The blood looks very real, and no two deaths are alike. There’s also good suspense when the camera takes “killer’s eye view” and chases screaming victims through the woods. In the history of film there are good imitations and there are bad imitations, and this one is good. Cunningham obviously recognised what made Halloween so successful…” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

Friday the 13th soundtrack cover Waxwork Records

In June 2014, Waxwork Records released Harry Manfredini’s seminal soundtrack on vinyl. Click here for the title track.

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Categories: 1980s, slasher, supernatural

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