40 years. Wow.
The original FRIDAY THE 13TH was released to theaters on May 9th, 1980. It was the movie that eventually knocked THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK out of the number one spot at the box office during the two movies’ shared run. Now here we are twelve movies later. There have been televisions series and video games, and the ubiquitous hockey-masked visage of Jason Voorhees has appeared on just about anything you can imagine, from lunchboxes to fleece throws to hot sauce. Not too shabby for a movie that was a blatant ripoff of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN—the creators admitted as much—one of numerous holiday-themed slasher films of that era (It was the most obvious one, though, given that Friday the 13th, the day, has as much of a creepy vibe as Halloween, the day, if not moreso.), and a franchise that the writers were making up as they went along with no cohesive plan or outline.
It would be hard for me to understate just how much these movies meant to me growing up. A psychologist would probably have a field day with it, the ways in which the films resonated with a shy, awkward, unpopular kid with behavior issues, honestly too young to be watching the movies in the first place, who perhaps found in Jason a vicarious outlet for his emotional discomfort, how Jason, with each slash of his machete, was winning one for the weirdo Gippers of the world, striking a blow at society on behalf of bullied and disenfranchised children everywhere. For sure the creators of the series never intended it to have that kind of depth, or that kind of staying power. But it did.