Next year will be the fortieth anniversary of one of the most notorious horror films ever made. It’s an odd one - significantly different to the huge franchise that it spawned, which made a horror icon of an entirely different villain, Friday The 13th is still a self-contained shoestring-budget little marvel of a movie.
One of the things this movie is most famous for is actually for being the cinematic homage equivalent of a pub quiz question - so thanks to Scream’s infamous prologue and Ghostface’s excited trick question that gets Drew Barrymore’s boyfriend killed, everyone knows that Mrs Voorhees, Jason’s mother, is the killer in the original movie.
Deliberately based in a lurid version of reality, Friday The 13th was written by screenwriter Victor Miller and directed by exploitation moviemaker Sean Cunningham as a direct capitalisation on the success of Halloween in 1978 - and it was so successful that poor John Carpenter was shoved back in front of a typewriter to make a Halloween sequel that he had no idea how to write.
So there - that’s a few snippets of trivia for you already, and we’re not even properly started yet. Let’s see how big a horror trivia fan you are… oh, and the fear of Friday the 13th is paraskevidekatriaphobia. Try saying that seven times fast.
13. The Director Gave A Horror Icon His Break
Talking about Scream and the horror icon Wes Craven: it was Friday The 13th’s director and producer Sean S. Cunningham who gave Craven his big break in 1971.
Desperate to get into movies and attracted by the success of Cunningham's first feature, the zero-budget sexploitation movie (or 'white coater') The Art Of Marriage, Craven worked as editor and producer on the follow-up, a loose remake called Together.
The pair worked so well together that Cunningham produced Craven's written and directorial debut Last House On The Left the following year. It was the beginning of Craven’s storied horror career, but the last successful movie that Cunningham made until Friday The 13th itself in 1980.
When Craven took on Scream in 1995, he worried that he might be burned out on horror following the failure of New Nightmare and Vampire In Brooklyn, but working with genre obsessed screenwriter Kevin Williamson, he got his mojo back in spades - and pays homage to the man who gave him his break with that iconic film trivia question.