Halloween’s Influence on Friday the 13th

I decided on a whim, as I whim things a lot, to watch Friday the 13, the original from 1980, followed by Part II and Part II in 1981 and 1982, respectively (they sure busted those out fast).

The original Halloween came out in 1978, so only two years prior, but it’s influence is all over the first installment of what become its own influential and iconic series Friday the 13th. Some similarities I noticed:

  • The opening sequence is the most obvious; it’s literally the POV of the killer coming upon a sex scene and killing the two characters (although in Halloween it’s only the one).
  • The menacing and stalking of the killer; instead of outright killing people, it’s about playing games.
  • The virgin heroine that survives the brutal murders and the teens having sex are obviously killed.
  • Once the shit hits the fans and the protagonist realizes what’s going on, she’s presented the previous kills just as in Halloween.
  • It takes a lot to keep the killer down, just as it took a lot to keep Michael down.

Unfortunately for the first installment in this series, it’s nothing like the original Halloween. Halloween had atmosphere, presence and was legitimately terrifying for its time. Friday the 13th? Not so much; it relies, unlike Halloween, more on gore and doesn’t have nearly the same pacing.

Also, what I find so fascinating is that the first installment doesn’t even have Jason as the killer or the iconic mask. And neither does Part II! I mean, it does have Jason now, but he still doesn’t have the mask. And instead of being a menace, he’s kind of a stumbling fool, more true to what you’d imagine the character would have been out of the first one. It’s not until the third one that we see him in the iconic mask, which is mind-blowing to me that it still became iconic.

Then again, consider this, those movies made some bank relatively speaking for horror movies in the 1980s. The first one made an astonishing $39 million. The next two that I’ve seen made $21 and $36 million, respectively, although the latter had multiple runs. Then the rest through 1989 made between $14 and $21, which is still good for sequels that deep into the series and the horror genre.

Oddly enough, there were no new movies in the 1990s besides Jason Goes to Hell. Then there’s Jason X in 2002 and Freddy vs. Jason, followed by the Friday the 13th remake.

Anyway, the most ironic thing about Halloween influencing Friday the 13th is that Friday the 13th would go on to influence the later incarnations of Halloween and specifically Michael Myers, especially H20 and Halloween Resurrection, i.e, Michael became more like Jason. The gore factor compared to the first movie increased dramatically.

Also, for the somewhat unrelated record, I do not consider Michael and Laurie Strobe as siblings to be canon. That was established in later sequels. I prefer The Shape theme of the original and viewing it as a standalone.


2 thoughts

  1. If you are interested in early 80s horror films, I highly recommend the book “Blood Money” by Richard Nowell. Fascinating discussion about the business behind these films as well as their respective influences (you’d be rather surprised on this count). Like a tool, I sold my copy on eBay and am now kicking myself because it has increased considerably in value. Anyway, I usually don’t go around hyping books I didn’t write, but this one is good.


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