Hey everyone! It's one of my favorite times of year! It's the spooky mini-Halloweens where I like to kick back, pet a black cat, and watch a Friday the 13th marathon.
Friday the 13th is a day wrapped in superstition. We're all supposed to hide indoors and avoid touching anything electronic or slippery, lest misfortune find us. But where do those fears come from? Why are we so afraid of that number?
There's a real possiblity that the origin comes from the Sumerians. Their mathematics formed the basis for later systems and they considered 12 the perfect number: it divides evenly, the hours of days and months in a year divide in 12, and it's considered a perfectly symmetric. 13, therefore, breaks the perfection.
There's also a lot of Christian mythology to the superstition. The number is tied to Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus to the Romans. The number also comes up in other places. There were often 13 steps to ascend on a gallows, witches covens were usually had thirteen members. Finally, it was even said that people with thirteen letters in their name were said to be wicked souls. They'll point to people like Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer as examples of these damned souls.
This only becomes worse when you add the general distrust of Fridays. For the faithful, Friday was the day Jesus was crucified, executions were usually scheduled for a Friday, and many religions have behavior restrictions on Friday. Combine the day and the number and you have a force for superstition and dread.
And that's what producer/director Sean S. Cunningham was hoping for.
The low budget filmmaker had seen the success of John Carpenter's Halloween and wanted to emulate the formula made the film such a big hit. Before he had a script ready, he entered an ad in Variety to solicit funding for the project. Once he secured the money, he and Victor Miller needed a simple story that could best use their limited budget.
They chose a story of a summer camp under a death curse.
The story had a winning formula: sexy young adults cavorting in the summer sun, idyllic (and isolated) settings that were affordable for the filmmakers to rent, and shocking levels of violent special effects created by Dawn of the Dead make up legend Tom Savini.
And it had a ghoulish icon at the heart of the tale.
The first film's killer was Pamela Voorhees, a former cook at the camp who was driven to homicidal madness by the death of her son, who drowned due to counselor neglect. The film ended with the final survivor girl, Alice, being attacked and dragged into the lake by the vengeful spirit of Pamela's son, Jason Voorhees.
That's when a legend was born.
Jason has become one of the most iconic horror movie monsters of the 1980s. His deformed face hidden behind a hockey mask, Jason haunts the wilderness around Camp Crystal Lake, seeking vengeance on anyone who trespasses on the place he and his mother died.
Jason has appeared in 12 movies, 2 video games, and dozens of television shows. His hockey mask has become one of the most famous images in all of horror, and he's become one of the most popular Halloween costumes ever. There are Friday the 13th toys, tee-shirts, coffee mugs, pins, and hundreds of other collectibles. The series has fans around the world who are waiting for Jason to come out of the deep dark woods for another scary campfire tale.
So have a fantastic Friday the 13th, enjoy a couple of scary movies, and pet your favorite black cat.