This Thursday, SHRIEK: Women of Horror presents a classic, the original FRIDAY THE 13TH! Camp it up with us for this summer slash fest. Summer camp attire encouraged.
Some thoughts on the film and spoilers below.
SHRIEK: A Women of Horror Film Class presents FRIDAY THE 13TH
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Opening talk & screening 8:00pm at Central Cinema
1411 21st Ave, Seattle 98122
Hosted by Evan J. Peterson and Heather Marie Bartels
Sponsored by Crypticon Seattle and Scarecrow Video
Although the film is predated by THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974), BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) and HALLOWEEN (1978), FRIDAY THE 13TH establishes (or at least reinforces) several horror tropes, especially slasher tropes:
*Teenage characters die during or immediately after sex or foreplay. Later films in this franchise explicitly make fun of this.
*A harbinger of doom warns characters not to go to a deadly location.
*An overly vigilant bully of a cop thinks he’s a hero but fails to protect the teens.
*There’s a murder prologue before the main narrative begins.
*There’s a final girl who defeats the killer. She’s not sexually active like other characters, and she’s rather androgynous.
*It’s set on a significant day. However, unlike BLACK CHRISTMAS or HALLOWEEN or GRADUATION DAY et al., the title has nothing to do with the film itself (see also A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, in which characters never once say “Elm Street.”).
*The score sounds remarkably similar to Bernard Herrmann’s music for PSYCHO.
*In a curious twist, the killer is a mom who sometimes thinks she’s her dead son, the reverse of the reveal in PSYCHO.
Although the film is low budget and hokey (although not as hokey as SLEEPAWAY CAMP), it’s rich in discussion material. One thing we want to discuss with the audience is the fact that the killer is female, something unusual for slasher films of this era. Unlike Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger or Leatherface or Hannibal Lecter etc., she doesn’t get a franchise. She’s immediately replaced with her son Jason for most of the franchise. It doesn’t matter that she’s beheaded at the end; Jason himself is an undead killer who seemingly dies at the end of most sequels.
Why don’t the female killers get a franchise? Occasionally there’s a sequel; even CARRIE got a part two. But there’s no female killer who has inspired a lengthy franchise, unless of course she’s a protagonist like Selene in the UNDERWORLD series. We’ll also be discussing the final girl trope, one of our favorite things. Alice fulfills the most essential final girl tropes, and she goes further than characters like Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN) in that she isn’t rescued by a man from the killer. She beheads the killer all on her own. Of course, then she’s traumatized and institutionalized. We need to talk about that.
Join us at Central Cinema (one of our sister venues) to watch and discuss this classic of the slasher subgenre!
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
Starring Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Robbi Morgan, and Kevin Bacon
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Written by Victor Miller, Sean S. Cunningham, and the uncredited Ron Kurz
Subgenres: Slasher, Summer Camp Horror
Bechdel Test: Pass.
Blood & Gore: Plenty
Sexual Assault: No, just sexual harassment.
For the love of horror,
Evan J. Peterson
SHRIEK is a community class merging film with education and offering an accessible forum outside of academia. The goal is to offer low-cost opportunities to learn about film and women’s studies and to inspire more diverse filmmakers, especially women, to get involved as creators in the genre.