Friday, May 9, 2014

Phil celebrates the 34th Anniversary of FRIDAY THE 13TH-May 9, 2014

Greetings and salutations my fellow horror hounds! Today is a very special day not only in horror film history, but for film history in general. On this exact date, 34 years ago, a horror icon was born and a franchise was created. On May 9, 1980, Paramount Pictures released a small, low budget horror movie called FRIDAY THE 13th. And the cinematic world of horror was forever changed for the better.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1980)
Now if you haven't seen this film yet, or you have only seen the 2009 remake, then you really need to see this! I have seen this film an ungodly amount of times; to the point that I could recite the whole film in my sleep! This summer camp slasher classic tells the story of a group of camp counselors who are stalked and killed on the eve of the grand re-opening of Camp Crystal Lake. Look for Kevin Bacon making his film debut as Jack Burrel. Also appearing in the film is the great Besty Palmer as Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, who seems to know more about the grizzly murders than she's letting on. The ending is still one of the greatest endings in modern day horror films.

The film was directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who in 1972 teamed up with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET creator Wes Craven on the exploitation classic THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Make up legend Tom Savini supplied the gore for the film with his then cutting edge tricks and techniques. While seem tame by today's standards, these make-up effects were revolutionary at that time. Except in Italian horror films, American audiences had never seen a throat slash open and spew out blood before. Nor see arrows piercing through neck, an axe to the head, and we all have to thank Savini for all of this!

Mrs. Voorhees herself, the great Besty Palmer.
The film grossed an unbelievable $59,754,601 during its theatrical run (the film's budget was only $550,000). Paramount was so pleased with their investment that the studio immediately demanded a sequel. In fact, during the Paramount years, there were a total of seven sequels! In 1981 FRIDAY THE 13th: PART II was released, with others shortly behind: FRIDAY THE 13th in 3D, FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER, FRIDAY THE 13th, PART V: A NEW BEGINNING, FRIDAY THE 13th, PART VI: JASON LIVES, FRIDAY THE 13th, PART VII:THE NEW BLOOD (the first appearance of Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees), and FRIDAY THE 13th, PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. Due to dwindling box office receipts for each film, Paramount decided it was best to let the franchise leave.

Young Jason Voorhees portrayed by Ari Lehman.
The rights of the series reverted back to its creator Sean S. Cunningham. He then made a deal with New Line Cinema, which was the home to another horror icon Freddy Krueger of the NIGHTMARE OF ELM STREET series. With a new distributor, Sean and team cranked out two more films: JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY and JASON X. But the big reason why Sean chose New Line was to finally pit two of the greatest horror icons in one epic movie. For fans it was dream came true when on August 15, 2003 FREDDY VS JASON was released to theater nationwide, grossing an outstanding $82,556,855 million in North America and another $32,286,175 in foreign sales. With renewed interest in Jason, Sean Cunningham and his team decided it was time for a remake. Enter Michael Bay and his company Platinum Dunes, the same folks that made the THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake back in 2003.

Jason Voorhees Action Figure from PART VII.
The FRIDAY THE 13th remake combined elements from the first three films and was released to theaters on February 13, 2009. It went on to gross $65,002,019 in the states, and $26,377,032 in foreign sales. The final tally for the film was an astonishing $91,379,051. Even as I write this tribute, a sequel is currently in production.

It's hard to imagine the horror film landscape with out FRIDAY THE 13th. It launched many actors and actresses careers, brought the world of special effects center stage, and created one of the greatest legends in horror film history. Jason Voorhees is as popular, recognizable, and profitable as Micky Mouse. Action figures, costumes, comic books, posters, games, cards, even plush dolls and bobble heads bear Jason's likeness.

So today is a day of celebration! Even though it's not the 13th, it's still Friday and so it's the perfect day to go watch this horror classic. It's available on DVD, Blu-Ray and even in the ultra cool Blu_ray Tin Boxset! So there's a number of ways to watch this film. So grab a bunch of your friends, order some pizzas and sodas, kick back and watch FRIDAY THE 13th!! Just make sure that Mrs. Voorhees doesn't show up and ruin your fun!

FRIDAY THE 13th and the entire series is available on both DVD and in a special Limited Edition Tin Blu-Ray Boxset. To purchase these films, visit your local retailer. To learn more about the series, and to make purchases, visit the official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

1 comment:

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