When news broke that a new version of Friday the 13th would be issuing forth from the bowels of the Hollywood studio machinery, I was not terribly distressed. Whatever they want to call it -- remake, sequel, or reboot -- the franchise had been soundly broken and thoroughly devalued for many years. I mean, c'mon: Jason on a boat? Jason in space? Freddy vs. Jason? Talk about flogging a dead horse ... So what's the harm in yet another cynical cash and dash enterprise? Like that would be anything new?
And then I took another look at the original and was surprised at how well it holds up.
Maybe it's because I haven't watched Sean S. Cunningham's film all the way through for many years, so many that I can't honestly recall the last time. I have vivid memories of my first viewing, weeks (or maybe months) after it opened, on the front end of a budget double feature at a second-run theater in the San Fernando Valley playing with, of all things, Apocalypse Now. Then as now, I tend to flinch and shield my eyes at explicit gore shots; still, all the kill scenes left deep impressions on my psyche. I would have been happier if they had played the strip monopoly game through to completion; I developed a crush on Adrienne King; and I couldn't get over seeing Bing Crosby's son Harry Crosby in a disreputable horror movie. (Kevin Bacon didn't register as anything more than a pretty boy.) What I saw of the gore shots were scarily gross in 1980 -- as in, how the heck did they do that? And the "reveal" of the killer's identity: wow.