Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Friday the 13th"(1980)d/Sean S. Cunningham

What have we here?Why,only one of the most memorable,successful,controversial,and unfairly maligned slasher flicks of all-time.With summer upon us(and a healthy buzz upon your humble N),we should probably examine it more closely,eh kiddies?Director Cunningham,coming off the success of "Last House on the Left" with Wes Craven,looked to cash in on the popularity of "Halloween" with a stalk-and-kill opus that borrows heavily from Mario Bava's "Twitch of the Death Nerve".Phew,that's a lot of genre movie titles in one sentence.I'll have to check with Guinness(the book,not the stout)to see if that's in the ballpark for a record.I might have to get a pint of the stout down my neck while I'm at it,too.I've grown so impulsive here in the tail end of my summer years.Today's movie came at the height of Tom Savini's gore FX taking the spotlight in most cases,even over the actors or director involved,and the recently released uncut print on dvd showcases his blood-caked handiwork as well as any.The cast,comprised mainly of unknowns,does a believable enough job as sacrificial lambs to the slaughter for the sins of their square predecessors who let the kid with the big head sink in the drink years earlier.Betsy "What's My Line?" Palmer is an especially brilliant standout here as Mrs. Voorhees,her psychosis running deeper than Crystal Lake itself.Harry Manfredini's legendary score drives the tension home in the first installment,which overbrims with tension and jumpscares,I've noticed upon revisitation.Plus,where else can you watch a pre-fame Kevin Bacon eat post-sex arrowhead-through-the-neck death as he tokes a joint?Not too many places,I'd reckon.
The ole staple neck-chop can make or break a movie like this;one vote for "make".
Steve Christie is the latest in a long line of people who've tried making Crystal Lake camper-friendly since the tragic drowning of a young boy back in 1958 while the counselors were getting familiar with each other's naughty bits.Only this time,it's not mysterious fires keeping the camp out of commission,it's a mysteriously vicious killer.Annie the cook inadvertently hitches a ride to the camp,and finds out the hard way when the killer gives her a handy extra mouth across her neck.Meanwhile the other counselors arrive,with swimming,weed,and extramarital sex on their filthy little minds.There's Ned the clown,Marcie and Jack(Bacon),Bill,Brenda,Shaggy,and Scoob...or rather,Alice,and Steve,who's masterminding the whole hot mess.Local fruit salad,the aptly named "Crazy Ralph" gives prophetic warning of the doom they're all facing by remaining in the Jersey woods as machete-fodder,but they don't listen.Kids never do.Steve goes into town to retrieve some supplies after hard-selling his phallus-chalice to Alice,who doesn't rule out cock entirely.After a run-in with a snake under a cot,and the obligatory motorcycle cop who takes himself entirely too seriously,one by one,the teenagers(who are all in their twenties)get picked off by the stranger in the forest.First,Ned gets the neckslice to match Annie,who's propped up against a tree somewhere out there.Then,as a torrential downpour soaks the camp,Jack and Marcie's thoughts turn to smoking dope and fucking,which seals their respective fates;Jack gets an arrow shoved through his neck from underneath the bed,and Marcie gets her face dichotomized with a sharp axe while in the potty.In another cabin,Bill,Brenda,and Alice play strip Monopoly and smoke grass.Doesn't anyone play strip tackle Ants-in-the-Pants anymore?
Several satisfyingly sexy sanguinary set-pieces seep forth from Savini.
When Brenda braves the drenching rain to see who's been effing with the lights on the archery course,Bill decides to form a search party of one for the other counselors.Bad move,Bill.When Steve returns from his cup of coffee,slice of pie,and empty banter with the hideous old waitress at the diner,he's greeted by a familiar face,who abruptly shanks him in the labonza.Alice comes to from a pot-induced nap to find herself alone,until Brenda's beaten and tied body comes crashing through a cabin window.When a jeep arrives on the scene,she thinks its Christie returning from town,instead meeting a kindly middle-aged lady named Voorhees(Palmer),the old Crystal Lake cook, who helps her search the premises while relating the horrible story of the fate that befell her son Jason decades back.The woman becomes increasingly volatile during her campfire story,ultimately drawing a knife on the young counselor and chasing her all over creation,where Alice finds the remains of her other less-fortunate friends,all deader than Jack in the Box kid Rodney Allen Rippy's career.Mrs. Voorhees lapses in and out of a split personality,where she takes on the personna of her drowned boy,demanding vengeance,and has a nice little conversation with herself while hunting the remaining teen.On the shore of the lake,the two wrestle back and forth,before Alice gets a hold of Voorhees' machete and pops the broad's top with one fell chop.The next morning the police arrive to find the only survivor sleeping in a rowboat on the lake,but when she rouses from her slumber,a horribly deformed seaweed-encrusted mongoloid springs from the lake and drags her under.At the hospital,policemen tell her they found no boy in the lake...which means he must still be there,waiting for production to begin on Friday the 13th Pt. 2,ready to fill his mother's homicidal Hush Puppies.
Main Entry: 2over·kill Pronunciation: \ˈō-vər-ˌkil\
Function: noun
Date: 1958 1 : a destructive capacity greatly exceeding that required for a given target

Make no mistakes,this is the best of a bountiful bunch of 13th flicks,epic in its simplicity,drawing criticism from douchebags like Gene Siskel,who never understood the slasher formula,even walking out during "Maniac!"(1980),and would rather you see kiddie fare like fucking Dumbo.Luckily for me,my kiddies play with dead things,although they probably shouldn't.59 million dollars later at the international box office,this film spurred on ten sequels of varying degrees of effectiveness(we'll look at all of 'em before the summer's out),one crossover with the Elm Street series,and a remake we've already viddied here.Not bad for such a despicable series,huh.And then came the hockey mask...
Murderous mongo(Ari Lehman)menaces the maltreated madamoiselle.

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