Kill Her Mommy: Friday the 13th

The following article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as scholarly research or as an authority on the topic. 

Welcome another installment of the Original vs. Remake series I do with Tiffany A. White.  This month’s movie is Friday the 13th.  I’ll do the original, and Tiffany will do the remake on Friday.

(I’m sort of envious since the remake has the hot dude from Supernatural in it.  I like his sideburns.)

The Movie

Friday the 13th was released in summer of 1980.  It starred a cast of young, virtual unknowns which included Kevin Bacon, Adrienne King, and Harry Crosby (the son of Bing Crosby).

The most famous person in the film was Betsey Palmer.  Ms. Palmer had been a regular on the game show I’ve Got a Secret, a guest on numerous TV shows,  and had appeared in several movies in the 1950s.  She agreed to work on Friday the 13th because she needed a new car.

Homemade summary: A group of young adults is terrorized by a killer at a remote summer camp.

Watch the trailer:

Making the Movie

Friday the 13th was filmed in New Jersey.

Camp NoBeBoSco (a Boy Scout camp in Hardwick Township, New Jersey) was used for Camp Crystal Lake.  The in-town scenes were shot in Blairstown, New Jersey.

Filming started after Labor Day and went into October.  Though the weather started out pleasant, it quickly turned cool.  During the final days of filming, the temperature hit lows of 28 degrees.

Because the film’s budget was small, the crew worked long hours.  Two different times, production was halted while the people in charge tried to make payroll.

The Gore

Tom Savini did the special effects for the film, which is why they are so good.

Savini has worked on movies such as George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Stephen King’s Creepshow, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.  He’s very good at what he does.

If you’re interested in learning more about the “how to” of the special effects, click here to watch a 10 minute You Tube video about it.

[Fun Factoid: Tom Savini occasionally appears in movies.  His most memorable role—in my opinion—is Sex Machine in From Dusk Til Dawn.]


Sean S. Cunningham produced, and Steve Miner was editor.  Both Miner and Cunningham had worked on the 1972 cult classic Last House on the Left.  They were inspired to make a slasher film by the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Victor Miller wrote the screenplay. In order to prepare, he watched Halloween and picked out elements that made it scary.

He decided to work with the following elements:

  • Prior Evil — Twenty years before the events in Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees drowned in Crystal Lake while two counselors snuck off for a tryst.
  • Help is not coming — The adolescents in the movie were cut off from adult help because of the remote location.
  • If you have premarital sex, you die — this one should be self-explanatory.


The movie was panned by critics; nevertheless it was the blockbuster hit of the summer of 1980.  This is due (in part) to two factors.

  1. The penultimate scene: what made the movie unique was the final five minutes.  It is, by far, the scariest part of the film.   I hate to do this, but if you want to see it, click here.   You won’t see anything gross.  It’s just weird, and it catches the first time viewer totally off guard.
  2. Though Friday the 13th was an independent film, it was unique because Paramount picked it up for national distribution and Warner Bros. picked it up for international distribution.  It is very possible that, without these big names, the distribution would not have been as wide.

The Music

That scary friggin’ music.

It has become ubiquitous, even to people who have never seen Friday the 13th.  If you’ve never heard it, click here to listen to it.  You won’t see any gross images.

Harry Manfredi composed this theme.  The “ki ki ki ma ma ma” sound is from a line in the movie.

Adrienne King Stalker

The lone survivor of the carnage in Friday the 13th   was a character named Alice Hardy.  Adrienne King is the actress who played Alice Hardy. Adrienne also appeared in the first five minutes of Friday the 13th II.  It’s probably not too hard to guess what happened to her.

Adrienne had her own true life horror.  I’ll share what little I know about that here.

Between the release of Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part II, Ms. King was the victim of a stalker.

In the early 1980s, stalker laws did not exist.  Law enforcement officials told Ms. King they were powerless to help her until something physical was done to her.

These laws changed in 1989 with the murder of Rebecca Shaeffer.  But in the early 80s, Ms. King had to ride it out.

Something happened that landed her in jail for one night.  I’ve not been able to find out quite what this was, so I don’t want to speculate on it.  The night in jail convinced Ms. King’s  stalker to back off.

Ms. King was deeply affected by this experience.  She disappeared from the on-screen side of the acting world and had a successful career doing voice-overs.

Very recently, she has ventured back into the acting world.  I haven’t seen any of her movies, but some of them look like they might be horror.  (Yaay!)

The Bottom Line

Friday the 13th changed the face of horror.  The 80s became the decade of the slasher movie.  Movies such as My Bloody Valentine, Prom Night, Sleepaway Camp, The Stepfather, and A Nightmare on Elm Street scared the holy guacamole out of my generation.

Usually, I either recommend or don’t recommend the  movies I do for this series.  Friday the 13th is a bit different.

If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to see it, it doesn’t matter.  You see it anyway.  You’ve heard the music.  You know about slasher films.  The elements in Friday the 13thhave become old hat in the thirty years since its release.  The movie has become a part of our collective conscience.

However, if you are horror buff who has not seen this movie, shame on you.  If you truly love horror, you have to watch this at least once–even if you laugh.

Be sure to check out Tiffany’s post on the remake this Friday.


Return to Crystal Lake (a documentary) — can be found on You Tube

See pictures of the actual filming locations

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