In my last article I discussed the opening scene where an unlucky pair of camp councillors were murdered on Friday, June 13th 1958.
In the next scene we fast forward to Friday June 13th, 1980.
It was a common trope for 1980s slashers to be divided into a past event, where an unspeakable event occurred, and then the present day (which somehow commemorates that evil event, often because it’s the same calendar day). This started with Halloween (1978) which like Friday the 13th (1980), opens with a murder on the same day many years before the day when the bulk of the film occurs.
In this film, the present day starts with an adorable girl next door type named Annie entering a diner to find out how far she is from Camp Crystal Lake.
Even 22 years after the brutal murders, the camp is still considered off-limits but a truck driver who is heading in that direction anyway agrees to drive her half way. If you look closely, you can see the only black or Afromultiracial person in the entire movie (he is holding a broom and standing silently, looking at Annie, as the clerk talks to her). Amazing how little diversity there was in slasher films as recently as the 1980s. Oprah would not smash the color barrier in U.S. media until 1986. These films serve as a time capsule of a bygone era.
As the truck driver takes Annie to his truck, she is confronted by the town crazy, an old man named Ralph who warns her she will never return from Camp blood. The warner is another trope of the 1980s slasher film, also originating with Halloween (1978) (the Donald Pleasence character), though Friday the 13th‘s crazy Ralph became the much more common prototype.
Although the truck driver tells Ralph to get lost, once they are on the road it becomes apparent he agrees with him and advises Annie to quit her job as camp cook. Like the day Friday the 13th itself, the camp seems cursed with bad luck. A couple murdered in 1958, a boy drowning in 1957, bad water in 1962, bunch of fires, and nobody knows who did any of it.
When the truck driver drops her off, Annie has to hitchhike the rest of the way to the camp. When a jeep pulls over to pick her up, she looks so happy and excited as she throws her stuff into the back of the vehicle and hops into the passenger seat.
But something is off. Annie keeps talking about how excited she is to be starting her dream job as camp cook but the driver is silent. The next red flag is when the driver zooms past the exit to get to Camp Crystal lake. When Annie tries to complain, the jeep just drives faster and faster forcing a terrified Annie to jump out and runs into the forest.
But we see the driver’s legs, clad in black pants and black shoes rushing after her. When Annie runs straight ahead, the driver runs left or right, so Annie can no longer see her stalker. She relaxes by a tree, only to see the driver suddenly looming over her, wearing a plaid lumber jack shirt and holding a huge knife.
Some say the film was paying homage to Marianne Crane in Hitchcock’s Psycho in that an attractive young lady is set-up to be the heroine, only to be killed off early.