Once is originality; twice is coincidence; thrice is cliché; four times is a genre. Today, 12 films deep, it somehow seems both obvious and impossible that when the original Friday
Once is originality; twice is coincidence; thrice is cliché; four times is a genre. Today, 12 films deep, it somehow seems both obvious and impossible that when the original Friday the 13th was released in 1980, nobody was envisioning a multi-film franchise and mythology. Jason Voorhees only came into his own in part 2. He didn’t even don a hockey mask until part 3. And the confluence of things that make a Friday the 13th movie what we all now understand to be a Friday the 13th movie — the primacy of Crystal Lake, a cast of disastrously thirsty teenagers, weirdly patient camera takes on grotesque kills, Jason’s classic look, his apparent immortality, his obsession with family — weren’t all locked in until part 4, which makes the irony of its subtitle (The Final Chapter) even more delicious. We were so innocent once.
Well, all of us except Corey Feldman, maybe. People associated Corey’s early career with The Goonies and Stand By Me, probably because in those movies he’s given something to do besides put on a bald wig and go nuts. But Corey’s character of Tommy Jarvis would end up being the moral fulcrum of the entire franchise, another story beat that nobody would have predicted at the time. It might not be the best Friday the 13th movie, but it’s certainly the most Friday the 13thmovie. It’s the platonic ideal of the genre, the first of the series that stops trying to be more than it is. The gore is pure ‘80s practical effect gross-out, the story and characters are exactly as formulaic as you want … oh and this is the one with Crispin Glover in it, and if there’s an actor that’s more REWIND than Crispin Glover, somebody send us that IMDB page. Throw your sleeping bag in the station wagon and come on back to the lake house with Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter and REWIND.