First, an introduction. To get you all in the Halloween spirit this October, Cinematic Shadows is having a horror movie marathon. Every day we’ll watch a horror movie, and every day we’ll have a brief write-up on the film. These won’t be “reviews” as much as they will highlight one particularly interesting aspect of the film. Out of the 31 movies for the month, 10 of them will be the original run of Friday the 13th films (Not counting Freddy vs Jason or the 2009 remake). With all that said, let’s get this show on the road.
NOTE: The following contains spoilers.
Coming just two years after John Carpenter’s Halloween, it’s interesting to note how much of Halloween’s DNA can be found in the opening scene of Friday the 13th. From the first person perspective, to being a flashback, to the murder of the hormone-filled girl (both on the second floor, even!) watching both opening scenes back-to-back could give someone more than a little déjà vu. A major difference though is how much of the series iconography is set up in that opening scene in Halloween, vs the opening scene for Friday. Michael might not be wearing a William Shatner mask in the opening, but having him wear a mask introduces what feels like a critical part of his vague character: that his face is always hidden. We also see him first pick up the kitchen knife, and while he may use other methods of knocking people off, the kitchen knife has been his go-to throughout the series.
With the Friday the 13th opening though, there’s no hockey mask and there’s no machete. You could argue that this makes sense because there’s also no Jason, but that only highlights further how little these opening kills resemble what the series would become. This isn’t really a criticism of the opening, since there’s nothing wrong with the series evolving and developing its style organically, but it’s still interesting to note how little of the iconography associated with the franchise is in this first movie. The first thing killed with a machete in the series is a snake, of all things! To be fair, Alice ultimately kills Mrs. Voorhees with a machete, but when you’re looking for it, it’s almost hilarious how you never get that good a look at the weapon. It’s always held at a sub-optimal angle or not in the best lighting or out of the shot. It’s there, but it’s still unfocused.