For some, mad slasher movies are just as much a part of 80’s nostalgia as new wave, old school video games and John Hughes flicks.
As a generation was coming of age in the early eighties, they wanted to see the forbidden, and mad slasher films were definitely the forbidden. In fact, there were plenty of arguments and protests against them, much like the recent debates over the short lived torture porn trend.
When Halloween made $40 million on a $320,000 budget, everyone wanted to get in the low budget horror business, and Paramount picked up Friday the 13th, which very easily could have been snatched by a low budget drive-in company instead.
Victor Miller, who wrote Friday the 13th for director Sean Cunningham, watched Halloween a number of times, and Friday the 13th followed its roadmap very closely. (Although it originated in Halloween, I think Friday the 13th really made the “have sex you die” rule stick in horror).
Now the entire franchise was recently released as Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Collection. The Ultimate Collection is an eight disc set of Parts 1 through 8, and it also includes 3D glasses for Part 3, a replica of Jason’s hockey mask, a list of how many people were killed in the movies, as well as a weapon inventory.
The music for Friday the 13th, which was composed by Harry Manfredini, is also available in the Ultimate Compilation, a separate companion piece. In composing the the Friday score, Manfredini said the words kill and mommy into an echo unit, creating the eerie echoing voice you hear in the woods, and every time it’s used in other Friday the 13th films, Manfredini gets royalties. (Many of Manfredini’s scores, including Swamp Thing, House, and Wishmaster are now available on CD via his website).
As evidenced by this volume, the Friday sequels kept comin’ for years, which Sean Cunningham was initially against, as was make-up wizard Tom Savini, who did the gore effects for the first Friday for $17,000. How could Jason still be alive underwater all this time? Eating fish?
But of course, in many horror films, and especially in sequels, you gotta throw logic out the window, and like Halloween’s Michael Myers, Jason was made practically indestructible. (Although no one’s thought of trying to blast him with a rocket launcher, cram dynamite down his throat, or drop a nuclear bomb on him – at least, not yet).
If you grew up with them, they’re definitely not forbidden anymore, they’re certainly not forbidden by today’s standards, but with these compilations, it should be fun to think back to when they were.