Friday the 13th (1980)

  • Review Date: August 30, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1980

Common Sense Media says

Beware of this infamous, sadistic slasher film.
  • Review Date: August 30, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1980

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Even in their rudimentary characters, the sex- and prank- and drug-oriented victims rarely come across as likeable before they're killed. In what is typical for the genre, the nicest and most demure one gets to be the sole survivor.

Violence

Throat-slashing, impalings a specialty for the mad slasher. One vicious fight to the death between two women ends in a beheading. A live snake is chopped in half -- and it doesn't appear to be fake.

Sex

Young people have sex regularly (usually a precedent to murder). Some female nudity, but mostly bikinis, bras, and panties. The characters play "strip Monopoly."

Language

Some profanity.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The young victims frequently smoke (or talk about smoking) marijuana.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's lots of morbid, graphic bloodshed in this film; usually slashed throats and impalings, with the victims hung on hooks. When young camp counselors aren't busy being killed, they're either trying to get stoned or having sex.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A 1958 prologue (it looks like 1978) shows two young summer-camp counselors about to have sex when a mystery assailant -- apparently someone they know -- slashes them to death. The camp, now known to locals as "Camp Blood," is closed for 20 years as a result, but is now re-opening, on a dark-and-stormy Friday the 13th. Another group of young, largely sex-minded counselors are gathering for orientation (it's a small mercy that despite the summer-camp setting, children are not present in most Jason movies). Sure enough, an unseen attacker again begins knifing them to death, one by one. Since these youths are prone to playing practical jokes on one another, or sneaking off for sex and drugs, they take little note of their cohorts' strange absences until nearly all of them are dead.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Unless you award points for the creative, gross-out makeup (by cult-hero special-effects artist Tom Savini), FRIDAY THE 13TH is a sick film with virtually no redeeming qualities, even in the metaphor-stretched world of horror where intellectuals argue that flesh-eating zombies are really symbols of mindless consumerism. Nobody defends Friday the 13th that way. Yet this movie series is infamous -- practically every kid knows about it. Hockey-masked "Jason" costumes are popular, and sequels continue to be produced. Too bad the first movie is, well, too bad.

Unlike other popular films in the genre, Friday the 13th hardly works as a whodunit because the Camp Blood murderer is nobody we've met or really know anything about. That just leaves the movie as one killing after another, with abundant, er, dead space in between. The doomed camp counselors go swimming, play "strip Monopoly," and chat unremarkably.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the victims of choice in typical slasher movies. Why does the marauder often prey on the most sexually active characters first? Families might make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, so to speak, by talking about this theme -- that teenage sex deserves harsh punishment. Maybe not death, but if you need to drive home the point, why not add some slasher examples for effect? On a more serious side, critics often see such horror movies as the extremes of depravity and exploitation. But isn't that a paradox when they also follow such a harsh, Puritan morality code?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 9, 1980
DVD release date:October 5, 2004
Cast:Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Kevin Bacon
Director:Sean Cunningham
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Horror
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:graphic violence, profanity, sex, alcohol and drug use

This review of Friday the 13th (1980) was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old Written bymovie man 5 December 4, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Sex, Drugs, Blood, Oh My!

I was really excited when I walked out of Blockbust, clutching Friday the 13th in my arms. When I finished it, I didn't know why I wanted to see it. First of all, Pamela Voorhees has too much character, she was young. She should have been like she was portrayed as in Freddy Vs. Jason (though it was realeased 20 years later), a white haired, scratchy voiced, crazy old fart that she wasn't in the original. She actually didn't seem crazy. Young kids should not watch this as their is too much violence (done with stunning visual effects at least), too much sex, and no good messages whatsoever, as the campers are all sex-craving teenagers with a love for Strip Monopoly and dope. But don't worry young children, it isn't even a good film.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byLongRangeShadow October 15, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Common Sense Epic Fail

AHA, common sense, you have no taste. I've suspected it long, but now it is proven. I'm 15 and I know this is a classic. And "No Kids" gimme a break. Is this site run by 82-year-old women? And I'm a pretty reasonable reviewer for being a kid, too.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byJaysnake June 30, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Sex and Blood...

Plently of nudity and sexual content. A large amount of blood and "creative" deaths. It is suspenseful. Not good for young kids. Just teens and adults. I dont know why common sense gave this a "Not for Kids" rating because to be honest it isn't that bad. This is a good movie overall but I found it very unbelieveable (spoiler alert) that the killer was an old woman...

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

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