Caught In The Net(flix) – Friday The 13th (1980)

Ahh… The beauty of Netflix. It lets me watch movies that I have never seen, and in some cases, movies I would never have paid money to see.

And that brings us to the first installment of Caught In The Net(flix) where I review films or television shows that are available on Canada’s Netflix.

Since Halloween is fast approaching I thought it would be interesting to watch some of the horror films that they offer, and I thought where better to start than with one of the original slasher movies – Friday the 13th.

I never saw this film growing up, and tried a number of years to ago to watch it, but I’ll be honest, it bored me. But this past weekend I felt it was time to try again.

Let me say first and foremost, I’ve never cared for the slasher sub genre of horror, BUT… Carpenter’s Halloween is the one exception to the rule.  Carpenter’s films have always proved entertaining to me, even his less than stellar performing ones.

So I was already biased against Jason.  And forced to choose, I’d still choose Krueger, cause I’ve always enjoyed the Nightmare On Elm Street series, though I even came to that one late… watching the entire run in the early 90s.

However, I set my mindset to 80s horror, and settled down to watch what happened…

Everyone knows the story, it’s so very basic. A bunch of young camp counselors arrive at the notorious Camp Crystal Lake to set up for the summer and learn from Ralph one of the colorful locals that it’s under a “death curse!!”

Everyone knows the basics of the movie, and we all know that Jason isn’t even the killer in the first film, so what was left? Were there any surprises at all for me?

Not so much no.

Despite being paired with the term classic, Friday The 13th doesn’t stand up so well against the test of time in my opinion, though it is hundreds of times better than the wretched remake foisted on us in recent years.

I can only imagine whether people considered it scary or even gory when it first came out, but it wasn’t for me. You could tell by the way the camera framed the picture when something was about to happen, and you could also anticipate correctly where the attack was going to come from. The only one that caught me a little by surprise was the death of a very young Kevin Bacon who gets his neck pierced by an arrow by someone (not Jason) under his bed.

He sure has come along way since those beginnings.

What I did enjoy most was the work of master craftsman and special effects wizard Tom Savini, he and Rick Baker are fan favorites, and there’s a reason – these two are passionate about their art, and it is an art whether people like what they come up with or not.

This was one of Tom’s early works but despite that you could still see the attention to detail that he brought to all the makeup effects for the kills, an attention to detail that has helped make him a legendary name in the industry.

So right there was the film’s saving grace for me, seeing Savini’s work on display.

The rest of it was simply a bare bones plot, setting up one kill after another with sadly interchangeable actors.

And yet somehow this movie spawned a slew of sequels!?!

You could tell that they were setting up a sequel in the last 5 minutes of the movie when the lone survivor realizes that the boy in the lake is still up there…

And yes, thanks to Netflix I will be visiting Camp Crystal Lake again and see what they do with the rest of the series.

Friday The 13th is currently available on Netflix.

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