9 Dec 2013

SLASHER FILM RULES - Friday the 13th.

In 1980 the first of the most successful horror movie franchise was released:  Friday the 13th.  While the highest grossing horror series in the US, it is also the most disliked by critics.  Are both of these things because the series follows or breaks the Slasher Rules?

The following may include spoilers for

Friday the 13th (1980)

This is not a review of the film, but an exploration of how well it follows film rules.  The film rules being tested here are from: The Slasher Film Rules.

Friday the 13th is a slasher film about a group of teenagers in an abandoned summer camp being killed off one-by-one.

  • Alice Hardy - Final Girl.
  • Barry - First Victim (1958)
  • Claudette - Second Victim (1958)
  • Annie - Third Victim
  • Ned Rubinstein - Fourth Victim
  • Jack Burrel - Fifth Victim
  • Marcie Cunningham - Sixth Victim
  • Brenda - Seventh Victim
  • Steve Christy - Eighth Victim & owner of Camp
  • Bill - Ninth Victim
  • Crazy Ralph - The Doomsayer
  • Pamela Voorhees - Killer.

Rule #1 - A Warning Will Come From...

Crazy Ralph
A:  Local Legend - The locals call it "Camp Blood" and tell stories of the original murder.  Enos later tells how the camp is jinxed.
B & C:  Elderly & Insane - Crazy Ralph is certain elderly, and as the nickname suggests, insane.

Rule #2 - There Will Be T&A

Naked breasts and a male butt are shown.

Rule #3 - Death Will Be A Punishment For...

Pamela Voorhees is killing camp councillors because of their behaviour.  Her son Jason drowned because misbehaving counselors left him unsupervised and she is killing counselors as revenge.  Ned also pretends to drown for a CPR fake-out make-out, which probably upsets Mrs Voorhees 

A:  Sex - Two of the victims were killed while sneaking away for sex, two immediately after the act (one while still in bed.)  Final Girl, Alice, brushed off advances by Camp owner Steve. [2/2]

B:  Nudity - Both character who got naked were killed (although see 3A above.)  Brenda was killed in her underwear (after stripping down to it in strip monopoly).  Alice, willing participates in the game and is unbuttoning her top when the game is ended.  I'm not counting Brenda & Alice, but only just.  [2/2]

C:   Drink - During the strip monopoly game all three players drank beer, only Alice survived.  Steve also drank at a local bar, but is an adult (but he still died).  [3/4]
D:   Drugs - The monopoly players all smoked pot, including Alice who stated she "won't pass go until she has a glow."  [2/3]

E:   Hitchhiking - Annie hitchhikes a couple of times, the last leading to her death (both are with strangers).  Steve also accepts a lifts, but with a policeman that he knows.  [1/1]

G:   Being Annoying/Sleezy - Annie was annoying enough to want her dead.  Ned is a very annoying character.  Steve was sleezy (and responsible for wanting to reopen the camp).  [3/3]

Rule #4 - Never Go...

C:   For a Shower - Marcie went for a shower after sex and was killed.  Alice had a shower (not shown) safely earlier in the film before the killer was at camp.

D:   Out-Buildings - The camp is a number of separate buildings.

E:   The Forest - Annie is killed after running into the forest.

F:   Anywhere Alone - In the present, every character was killed after going somewhere alone, but not before they know there is a killer.  Only Bill & Alice at the end suspect something strange is happening, and Bill is killed.  In 1953, Barry and Claudette are killed after going off alone together.

G:   Anywhere Remote - The camp is "10 miles from the nearest crossroads."

Rule #5 - Order of Death...

First Characters to appear on screen.
A:     The First Person on Screen - Barry & Claudette are in the group who are the first characters to appear on the screen.  In the "present", Annie is the first to appear on screen, and the next to die.

B:     The Black Man dies First - there are no minority characters in the film.

C:     The Stoner - three characters smoke, but not to excess.

First person on screen (the Present)
D:     The Bimbo - Annie is a dumb annoying character, but has no chance to have sex.  Marcie seems dumb and has sex.  Brenda seems smart and sexually liberated and suggests the game of strip monopoly.  Claudette also counts.

E:     The Nerdy/Funny Guy - Ned tries to be funny.

F:     The Macho Jerk - Jack is macho.   Barry also counts.

H:     The Sensitive Guy - Bill is the sensitive almost love-interest character.

J:      The Final Girl - Alice is the sole survivor.

The Final Order of Death is:

1.  Barry [A & F]
2.  Claudette [A & D]
3.  Annie [D (perhaps)]
4.  Ned [E]
5.  Jack [F]
6.  Marcie [D]
7.  Brenda [D (ish)]
8.  Steve [Not I]
9.  Bill [H]

Rule #6 - Especially When They Are Most Needed, The Following Things Cannot Be Relied On…

A:  Communication devices - Mrs Voorhees cut the phone lines.

B:   The Lighting - Mrs Voorhees used the generator and lights to lure out and startle her victims.

C:   Vehicular Transport - Mr Voorhees sabotaged the vehicles.  Steve's jeep broke down while he was out, but Mrs Voorhees turned up in it later, suggesting she may have sabotaged that one, too.

D:   Your Own Legs - Annie has trouble running after jumping out of a moving vehicle, Alice trips a couple of times while running.

E:   The Authorities - The main police officer hassles the kids (others appear only at the end).

Rule #7 - The Final Girl

Alice Hardy is the Final Girl.

A:    Final - Alice is the final surviving potential victim.

B:    Girl - Alice is female.

C:    Boyish - Alice is a feminine name.  However, she does have the shortest hair, dresses the most masculine and is (usually) dressed to de-emphasize her breasts.

D:    Well-drawn - Although Brenda is a stronger character, Alice says she has troubles back home when she is telling Steve she wants to leave.  Steve remarks that she has talent as an artist.  She suggests just leaving when things go wrong and sets up defenses when she realises that there is a killer out there.

E:    Virginal & innocent - Nothing, really is known about Alice's sexual history (who knows what the problems back home were).   We see her sort of reject Steve's advances but agrees to play strip monopoly (although she later confesses she don't know whether she would have gone through with it if the game had gone on longer).  She does, however, transgress in other ways:  She drinks and smokes dope.

F:      Reborn - There were moments during the final battle where Alice was reborn, but mostly reverted to weak.

Rule #8 - The Killer has a connection to...

Pamela Voorhees is the killer.

A:     The Location - Mrs Voorhees worked as a cook at Camp Crystal Lake and her son drowned there.

B, C, D:    The Victims - She has no direct connection to any of the victims (other than being a friend of Steve's parents.)

E:     Femininity - Mrs Voorhees is a woman, however she does pretend to be her dead son.

Rule #9 - Evil Never Dies...

A:   Kill the bad guy twice - If you accept that hitting someone in the head and seeing blood under their unconscious body counts as a death, certainly.

B:    The bad guy lives again - Mrs Voorhees is decapitated and stays dead.  Her son (dead for decades) appears still young from the lake to attack Alice when help comes.  This appears to be just a dream, but Alice claims Jason is still out there.

C:   Evil is Immortal - Only in Alice's mind (see 9B).

Rule #10 - The Sequel Will Be Bigger/More Formulaic

This is the first film in a series, however, for future reference the following should be noted:

A:  They will follow the rules more - This was a early film, actually creating some of the rules.  (See results)

B:   They will be more formulaic - As the first film in a series, no real series formula exists to follow or break.

C:  There will be more T&A - This film included 1 set of breasts and a male butt.  One sex scene is shown.

D:  More and bigger deaths - Mrs Voorhees killed 9 victims.  One was off-screen and never shown.  A few were off-screen but the corpse appeared later.  A few were shown blood covered.  There was one throat slashing shown and an arrow stuck through a throat.  Mrs Voorhees herself was decapitated on-screen.

UPDATE:  For the sequel, see Friday the 13th Part 2.


The following rules were followed in this film:
  • Rule 1 (A Warning)
  • Rule 2 (T&A)
  • Rule 3a (Punishment for Sex)
  • Rule 3b (Punishment for Nudity)
  • Rule 3c (Punishment for Drinking)
  • Rule 3e (Hitchhiking)
  • Rule 3g (Annoying)
  • Rule 4c (For a shower)
  • Rule 4d (Out-Buildings)
  • Rule 4e (The Forest)
  • Rule 4f (Alone)
  • Rule 4g (Remote)
  • Rule 5d (Bimbo) - the 2nd, 6th and 57th victims were sexually active female.
  • Rule 5e (Nerdy/funny)
  • Rule 5f (Jerk) - the 4th death was a jerk.
  • Rule 5h (Sensitive guy)
  • Rule 5j (Final girl) - survived, fought and killed the killer.
  • Rule 6a (Communication) - Mrs Voorhees sabotaged the phones.
  • Rule 6b (Lighting)
  • Rule 6c (Vehicles)
  • Rule 6d (Running) - A couple of character had difficulty running.
  • Rule 6e (Authorities)
  • Rule 7a (Final)
  • Rule 7b (Girl)
  • Rule 7d (Well drawn)
  • Rule 8a (Location)
  • Rule 8e (Feminitiy) - The killer was female.
  • Rule 9a (Kill twice)

The following rules were only partially followed in this film:
  • Rule 3d (Punishment for Drugs) - 1 out of 3 people who smoked pot survived.
  • Rule 5a (First on screen/First to die) - 2 out of a group of the people who appeared first on screen died, but that person was the first to die.
  • Rule 5c (Stoner) - no sign of heavy use.
  • Rule 7c (Boyish)
  • Rule 7e (Innocent) - possibly virginal, but did drink and smoke drugs.
  • Rule 7f (Reborn)
  • Rule 9b (Lives on) - Alice images Jason lives.
  • Rule 9c (Lives forever) - Character is not immortal or undead, but Alice images her son is.

The following rules were not followed:
  • Rule 6f (Weapons)
  • Rule 8b (Final Girl) - no connection to killer.
  • Rule 8g (Weapon)

The following rules were not applicable:
  • Rule 3f (Other criminal behaviour)
  • Rule 3h (Bystander)
  • Rule 4a (Basement)
  • Rule 4b (Upstairs)
  • Rule 5b (Black man dies first) - No minority characters.
  • Rule 5i (Children & animals) - Children survived, animal died.
  • Rule 5g (The Protector) - There was no protector, Steve, a possible candidate did not fill the role.
  • Rule 6g (Escape routes)
  • Rule 8c (The Protector)
  • Rule 8d (Others)
  • Rule 8f (Look)
  • Rule 10 (Sequels) - First film in a series
~ DUG.

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