The original “Friday the 13th” didn’t prominently feature Jason and that’s a good thing. Sean S. Cunningham went out on a limb when he introduced the rare female slasher.

Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) is Jason’s mother. She’s never been the same since some fornicating camp counselors let her little disfigured boy drown at summer camp. So she’s come back to Camp Crystal Lake to stop Steve Christie from reopening the camp. Her idea of stopping him is a bit extreme, but she does have Jason speaking to her, telling her what to do.

One by one, Mrs. Voorhees offs the teens, including a pot-smoking, still-sweaty-from-sex Kevin Bacon. But there is one last counselor that won’t be that easy to pick off. Alice will not back down. She fights Mrs. Voorhees until the bitter end. And Alice wins. Sadly for her, Jason (who apparently didn’t really die) saw what she did to his mother. He’ll deal with her in Part II.

The movie is probably the scariest of the series, mainly because the killer is kept a secret for most of the movie. We’re led to believe it’s Jason. The fact that it’s his mother is quite a surprise (that is if you’re from another planet and have never even heard of movies).

Few “Friday the 13ths” get my respect. This one, along with Parts II and IV are it. And two of those three are in our Top 31.

“Friday the 13th” 1980

Memorable quote: “Jason was my son and today is his birthday.”

Best scene: I would say it’s the beheading, but since the head falls in the wrong direction, that’s not it. I’m going to go with the uncut version of Marcie’s axe-in-the-head death. Very well-done. See clip below (warning: gore!)

Did you know? Betsy Palmer said that if it were not for the fact that she was in desperate need of a new car, she would never have taken the part of Pamela Voorhees. In fact, after she read the script she called the film “a piece of shit.”

See the rest of the 31 Great Horror Movies.

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