Behind The Scenes Saturday: Friday The 13th (1980)

Welcome back to Behind The Scenes Saturday! The Friday The 13th franchise is undoubtedly one of my favorites. When I started my horror obsession, the Friday films were some of the first slasher films I’ve ever watched. To this day, I still consider Jason Voorhees my favorite killer. So, this week, I wanted to revisit the film that started it all. I hope you enjoy!!


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  • The film’s producers loved Tom Savini’s special effects in Dawn of The Dead (1978), so he was one of the first crew members brought on board.
  • The scene with the snake in the cabin was actually Tom Savini’s idea. He came up with it after a similar situation in his own cabin during filming. Not only was the snake in the scene real, but it was really killed on screen. It’s said that the snake’s owner stood off-camera and cried as their snake was killed.
  • When Ned (Mark Nelson) shoots an arrow near Brenda (Laurie Bartram) to scare her, Tom Savini was the one who shot the arrow.
  • During the truck conversation with Annie (Robbi Morgan) and the truck driver, Enos (Rex Everheart), Rex and Robbi actually didn’t film together. Robbi had to talk to “imaginary Enos” or special effects assistant, Taso N. Stavrakis.
  • The film’s director, Sean S. Cunningham originally wanted his son, Noel Cunningham to play Jason. His wife, Susan E. Cunningham refused and the role went to Ari Lehman.







  • Adrienne King auditioned to play Brenda, Marcie, and Annie, before landing the role of Alice. It was her scream that was the deal maker.
  • Before there was even a script, Sean S. Cunningham came up with the title and placed an ad in trade papers to generate interest in the movie.
  • For their auditions, the younger actresses had to read the monologue about Marcie’s “raining blood” dream.
  • The script was written by Victor Miller in about 2 weeks.
  • When Betsy Palmer (Pamela Voorhees) first read the script, she said, “what a piece of s**t” and threw the script into the trash. After contemplating, she decided to take the role because she needed a new car at the time. Also, she didn’t think the film was going to be popular. Not only was the film a complete success, it was the role Betsy would always be known for.







  • Originally, when Pamela kills the two counselors at the beginning of the film, she loses a finger during the struggle. Seeing Pamela at the end of film with a missing finger was supposed to signal audiences that she was the killer. However, special effects limitations prevented this, so the jeep that Pamela drove was the new signal.
  • Sean S. Cunningham initially didn’t like the idea of Jason coming back from the dead for the sequel and refused to direct Friday The 13th Part 2. After Jason shot from plot device to horror icon, Sean admitted he was wrong for calling the storyline stupid.
  • In the scene where Bill (Harry Crosby) is found impaled to a door with arrows, you might be able to see Harry’s eye continuously twitching. This was because the eye effect that Tom Savini applied was burning his eye and causing him agonizing pain.
  • Betsy Palmer actually created a backstory for Pamela Voorhees. She said that Mrs. Voorhees hated “sexual transgression”. This is because she ended up having Jason out of wedlock with her high school boyfriend and her parents disowned her because it “isn’t what good girls do”. She also mentioned in Going To Pieces: The Rise And Fall of The Slasher Film that the ring that Pamela wears is the class ring her boyfriend gave her.
  • Willie Adams (Barry) was the film’s production assistant, as well as the franchise’s first victim (if you don’t include Jason, of course).







  • Betsy Palmer would joke to fans, saying she had no idea who this character in the hockey mask is since her son Jason drowned in 1957.
  • Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) was added into the film for foreshadowing what’s to come, and to make people speculate that he was the murderer. In an earlier draft, his name was Ralphie Ratboy.
  • The film’s composer, Harry Manfredini came up with the famous “ki ki ki, ma ma ma” vocals we hear throughout the film. It was created to resemble Mrs. Voorhees hearing her son in her head, saying, “kill, kill, kill, mom, mom, mom”.
  • According to Mark Nelson, Ned was originally suffering from polio, and his legs were deformed.
  • The ending scene where Jason jumps out of the water and attacks Alice was originally a dream sequence. The scene was inspired by the dream sequence in Carrie (1976). Ironically, Carrie director, Brian De Palma got his idea for the ending from Deliverance (1972).








4 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes Saturday: Friday The 13th (1980)

  1. Wonderful tribute to the first FRIDAY THE 13TH. film,the film that started it all for the series that helped fire the horror genre further into the mainstream(as HALLOWEEN,DAWN OF THE DEAD[1979],and PHANTASM all did) and being inspirational in changing the way all modern horror films play their storylines(in terms of the inclusion of both gore and nudity[even if the first F13 has one brief nude scene],and almost every horror film having to have an R rating to enable their coolness factor).

    Liked by 1 person

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