Friday the 13th
Sean S. Cunningham
All have roots in the most iconic of horror franchises, even though the famous and highly merchandisable hockey mask and machete combo doesn't appear until the third entry in the twelve-film series.
A direct response to the success of John Carpenter's Halloween, director/co-writer Sean S. Cunningham distilled elements of that film into something more viscerally focused that ostensibly implicates the viewer's bloodlust and lack of empathy for the onscreen victims. He achieves this through a killer's-eye-view shot—expanding Halloween's opening scene perspective into an essential gimmick—and a specific lack of character development, or history, which creates a sense of detachment.
We don't learn anything distinct about the pack of horny young camp counsellors being picked off at Camp Crystal Lake—a place rumoured to be haunted ever since the drowning of a young boy years earlier. They are little more than unfortunate objects conveniently positioned to feed the killer's, and audience's, desires.
Their crime is that of neglect. Were any of these dumb kids less preoccupied with pheromone sniffing and more aware of their surroundings, they would still be alive, as would the kid who drowned while his supervisors were getting pelvic.
The message doesn't run much deeper than voyeuristic finger-pointing, and the kills, while still shocking, surprisingly, are marred by dated makeup effects. But the ways in which Cunningham effectively toyed with audience expectation and perspective still make this origin of Jason Voorhees stand out in the pantheon of horror cinema.
Friday the 13th screens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the Birth of a Villain screening series at 11:59pm on Saturday, December 29th, 2012. (Paramount)
ReviewsOct 21, 2014
John Geddes' Hellmouth is a kaleidoscopic vision of hell that tantalizes with some bewitching visuals but ultimately comes off more as funho...
ReviewsOct 20, 2014
Kumiko, The Treasure HunterDavid Zellner
In 2001, a woman named Takako Konishi was found dead in a remote area of Minnesota. Botched eyewitness information swirled into an urban leg...
ReviewsOct 19, 2014
Man, I really wanted to like Zombeavers. Based on the trailer, which currently boasts over three million hits on YouTube, the film seemed li...
ReviewsOct 18, 2014
ABCs of Death 2Various Directors
When producers Ant Timpson and Tim League announced that they'd be producing a followup to 2012's highly ambitious anthology film The ABCs o...