I hadn't seen the original Friday the 13th until I turned 19 in 2002. I hadn't stayed away from it, I just never came across it. However, I had seen other films in the franchise. My favorite then, and still now, is Friday the 13th: Part VI Jason Lives. When I finally watched the original movie I had already known about the twist with the killer being Pamela Voorhees. It wasn't very secret. But the movie still impressed me.
The film is about Camp Crystal Lake, which is nicknamed Camp Blood after someone went crazy in 1958 and killed two counselors. Then a series of unexplained events occur that make the residents condemn the area. However, in 1979 the camp is being re-opened much to the chagrin of the local townsfolk.
The cast is mediocre in the grand scope. However, this cast fits this picture perfectly. Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer are your main characters. Both being the focus of the film. King becomes our young heroine that takes the natural leadership role. Palmer stars as Mrs. Vorhees, a former employee of the Camp that had a son who drowned in the lake a year before those councilors were killed in '58.
Of course the movie has Kevin Bacon in a minor role. Although, his death scene is one of the most impressive of the whole film. He plays another horny councilor that is dispatched fairly quickly. The other performances are passable. They do their job and all serve their purpose. The acting definitely is a product of it's era.
You can tell that the filming process is based on a lot of different horror movies from around that time. Sean Cunningham has stated that he used films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre for inspiration while both films were made on a very small budget. This original feature is a very good movie on it's own. However, it is a completely different type of movie when compared to it's sequels.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone that loves film. If you want to watch a historic piece of cinema that can still churn a scare or two, then this is right up your alley. If your looking for Jason then keep on looking. He isn't in this movie. Although I had always thought that he was helping with the murders in the film. Some of them were just too crazy for a lady like Betsy Palmer to pull off.
Did ya know...
Betsy Palmer took the role of Pam Voorhees because she needed a new car. She thought that the script was a "Piece of Shit". Composer Harry Manfredini said that he tried to actually make Jason's theme sound like Kill, Kill, Kill; Mom, Mom, Mom. Tom Savini was one of the first crew members to sign on.