Monsters Are Such Interesting People – Friday the 13th Parts 1 – 3

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Friday the 13th (1980) Sean S. Cunningham, who produced Last House on the Left in 1972, produces and directs this low budget slasher that would eventually become the longest running franchise in the slasher genre. 20+ years after a boy was drowned and two camp counselors were brutally murdered in consecutive years, the new owner of the camp ground called Camp Crystal Lake decides to re-open. He and a new batch of counselors start to whip the place in to shape when a mysterious killer murders them one by one. Unlike the sequels that follow, this film employs the giallo-style “who done it”, and the killer’s only visible feature are the hands. Pretty girls in bikinis and underwear, a slight bit of nudity, and some first class special fx from Tom Savini, and a very young Kevin Bacon as a camp counselor. A half million dollar budget grosses nearly $40 million in its theatrical run, and would spawn decades of sequels and copycats.

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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) Five years after the massacre at Camp Crystal Lake, now affectionately called “Camp Blood” by the locals, a group of young adults set to open up another summer camp a few miles down the road. Not far enough. Jason Voorhees, the mongoloid boy who drowned in 1957 is now grown, and has no sense of reason. Only a superhuman strength and a desire to kill any human that gets near him. Covering his deformed face with a pillow case with a hole in it (Like 1976’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown) Jason cleverly stalks and brutally kills the young men and women, who mostly run around in bathing suits or underwear. The nudity was taken up a notch in this entry. Steve Miner takes over the directing (his first) and producing duties. He would go on to do House, Warlock and Lake Placid, to name a few.

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Friday the 13th Part 3 3D (1982) Well, it was 3D in the theaters, at least. Some young adults take a road trip to a cabin on the lake and, well, it’s Jason’s lake. Most of them meet their bloody end at the hands of the mighty killer, who now dons a hockey mask, which would arguably become the most iconic horror face of all time. A three person biker gang that were giving our protagonists a hard time also meet their doom, to add to the cast of victims that includes pretty girls, jerk boyfriends and clownish nerds. My favorite scene was the bit of casual racism when the grocery store clerk told the Latina customer that we “don’t accept no food stamps.” A little less nudity than the film before, but bikinis and underwear, as always. And a lot of things flying directly in to the screen, that was a 3D gimmick, after all. Lots of fun!

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