Happy 37th Birthday Friday the 13th!

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

Happy Birthday FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Yes, 37 years ago on this date, the entire FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise got its start. Yes, without this day in horror history, and more specifically this film in horror history, we would not have Jason f*cking Voorhees. Can you imagine a world of horror without the man behind the mask? I don't want to.

That said, I feel the original FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) does get the respect it deserves. It seems to me that over the years I hear more and more peeps discussing the franchise and saying "this and this entry is better than the original", and while some entries may be better than the original (THE FINAL CHAPTER and JASON LIVES) let's not forget what an amazing flick the original is.

In fact, The Arrow himself gave the original a glowing 10/10 review, making the original the only flick in the series to garner such a rating. Impressive, huh?

The Arrow on FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980):

Friday the 13th is one of the finest slasher movies in the morgue. It has a knack at manipulating its audience for maximum “punching power”, delivered the goods with panache and still beats the test of time to a pulp today. The endless imitators that came after it haven’t tarnished it one iota…”au contraire” they strengthened it and made it stand out as the outstanding genre treat that it is

You can read The Arrow's full review RIGHT HERE.

So join us today at AITH in celebrating the original FRIDAY THE 13TH. Below I have gathered trivia, posters, art, and behind the scenes pics from the flick.


FRIDAY THE 13TH Synopsis:

A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child's drowning.


Mike's Personal Trivia: There is a real summer camp named Camp Crystal located near where I live in Florida!

Victor Miller wrote the script in about two weeks. 

Because the camp was closed during filming, and situated in the deep New Jersey woods, the cast and crew didn't see much outside interference, but it turned out they had a very famous neighbor: rock star Lou Reed, who owned a farm nearby. "We got to watch Lou Reed play for free, right in front of us, while we were making the film," Soundman Richard Murphy said. "He came by the set, and we hung around with each other, and he was just a really great guy."

The movie was filmed at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in New Jersey. The camp is still in operation, and it has a wall of Friday the 13th (1980) paraphernalia to honor that the movie was set there.

Victor Miller had originally given Jason the name of Josh. After deciding that it sounded too nice, he changed it to Jason after a school bully.

The scene with the snake was not in the script, and was an idea from Tom Savini after an experience in his own cabin during filming. The snake in the scene was real, including its on-screen death.

The film takes place on June 13, 1958 and June 13, 1979.

June 13, 1979 was in fact a Wednesday.

The film made 39,754,601 dollars on a budget of 550,000 dollars.

Special Effects Supervisor Tom Savini performed the arrow shot that narrowly missed Brenda when she was setting up the archery target.

Victor Miller admitted that he was purposely riding off the success of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978).

Most of the location and set were already there. The crew only had to build the bathroom set.

Sean S. Cunningham came up with the title of the film, and placed an ad in the trade papers to create interest in the movie, prior to having a script.

Victor Miller's working title for the script was "Long Night at Camp Blood".

Sally Field auditioned for the role of Alice Hardy.

Filming lasted 28 days.

Gene Siskel hated this movie so much he gave away the ending in his review. Him and Roger Ebert slammed it in a special edition of Siskel and Ebert called "The War on Women" focusing on misogynistic slasher movies. All of this just boosted ticket sales.

In the French dubbed version, Jason is called Jackie. 

Harry Crosby, who played Bill in this movie, was the son of Bing Crosby.

Sean S. Cunningham was so sure the title Friday the 13th would sell the movie alone he took out a full page Variety ad over the Fourth of July Weekend of 1979. It worked, as the financiers behind Together (1971) and The Last House on the Left (1972) contacted him, and offered to cover the entire cost of the proposed 500,000 dollar budget. Cunningham initially turned them down, as the actual long term part of the deal was going to royally screw him, but nobody else was offering to put up the entire budget like that. He changed his mind the next morning.

While the Halloween movies have lots of music, the Friday the 13th movies have very little music. In fact, there was a decision made by Harry Manfredini to only have music in the movie when the killer was present. That's why there are only brief quick moments of music in the beginning, but the climax is wall to wall music.

The MPAA told the producers of Friday of 13th to scale back on the gore for the sequel, since they regretted the amount of gore that had gotten through in the original (and the subsequent critical backlash.) This is why Part 2 is much less gorey than Part 1.

The editing of the film took ten weeks.

Robbi Morgan only appeared on-set for a day to shoot all her scenes.

Sean S. Cunningham and Victor Miller set the film at a summer camp because they needed a remote location and Miller remembered the scary stories his brothers used to share of their summers spent at camp. The name "Jason Voorhees" was Miller's idea as well, "Jason" being the combination of the first names of Miller's two sons (Josh and Ian), and "Voorhees" the last name of a girl he went to school with.

Betsy Palmer called the script "a piece of shit".

Tom Savini doubles for Brenda when her body is thrown through a window.

Betsy Palmer worked on the film for ten days, for which she received one thousand dollars per day.

Body count: eleven (including the snake)

Sean S. Cunningham refused to direct the sequel, because he did not like the Jason-comes-back-from-the-dead storyline that the studio was pushing on him. He said that was too stupid, and wouldn't work. He now admits how wrong he was, as the franchise flourished afterwards with Jason as the villain, and Jason has become one of the icons of horror films.

Betsy Palmer, a method actress gave Mrs. Voorhees a detailed backstory. She imagined that Mrs. Voorhees hated sexual transgression. because she had Jason out of wedlock with a high school boyfriend, and her parents ultimately disowned her for her sins because that "isn't something that good girls do."

In the original first draft of the script, Mrs. Voorhees was supposed to lose her little finger while attempting to kill Barry.

Estelle Parsons was originally signed on to play Mrs. Voorhees, but eventually declined. Her agent cited that the film was too violent, and did not know what kind of actress would play such a part.

In Victor Miller 's original script, the character of Jason Voorhees was, basically, just a kid who accidentally drowned in Crystal Lake. But financier Philip Scuderi wanted something more, and brought in Ron Kurz for some re-writes. One of Kurz's most important contributions to the film, was to transform the tragic boy into the deformed child we see in the final movie.

Louise Lasser and Dorothy Malonewas considered for the role of Mrs. Voorhees.


Paramount bought Friday the 13th's distribution rights for $1.5 million, after seeing a screening of the film. Friday the 13th ultimately expanded its release to 1,100 theaters. 

It took in $5.8 million in its opening weekend, before finishing domestically with $39.7 million.  It was the 18th highest-grossing film that year, beating The Shining, Dressed To Kill, The Fog and Prom Night. The worldwide gross was $59.7 million.

In adjusted dollars, the film's budget would be $1.5 million. Its opening weekend would be $19.7 million. And its domestic gross would be around $133.3 million.

FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) was directed by Sean S. Cunningham from a script by Victor Miller and contains special make-up effects by Tom Savini.

The film stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Jeannine Taylor (see below), Mark Nelson, Laurie Bartram, Robbi Morgan, Peter Brouwer, Rex Everhart, Walt Gorney, Willie Adams, Debra S. Hayes, Ari Lehman, and Kevin Bacon.

FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) was released on May 9th, 1980.



"Lizzy, you'll always be plain."  😉

Source: AITH

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