It's true - in the 400-year cycle of the Gregorian calendar, the most frequently-occuring date/day combinations are Friday the 13th, along with Saturday the 14th, Sunday the 15th, and all the other days that would necessarily have to be in the same month.

The opposite of Friday the 13th - the least occuring date/day combination - is Wednesday the 31st.

There is a popular superstition in western culture that a Friday falling on the thirteenth day of a month is especially likely to be unlucky. Some say this is because there were thirteen people at the Last Supper before Jesus was put to death.

However, the truth is far stranger. In the prehistory of man, according to a book I read in high school, people counted on their fingers and feet. This meant that they could only count to 12; 13 - and all higher numbers - were part of the uncountable unknown, something that no human wants to contemplate!

My research into the Knights Templar indicates that the superstition began when the King of France had every known member of the Knights arrested on the suspicion of heresy, on Friday, the 13th of October, 1307. This certainly was a rather unlucky blow, to say the least; the Knights served valiantly in the Crusades and are considered the creators of modern banking, despite their personal indulgences.

The Templars faced interregation by torture, and most eventually confessed to sins ranging from usury to the worship of Baphomet, a Catholic rendering of the prophet Mohammed as a demon in the service of Satan.

This had a profound effect on the people of the time, who had seen the Templars go from a revered military order in the service of Christ to the most despised of all sinners, and the day of their downfall went down as an unlucky day indeed.

I first review the Friday the 13th series as a whole, and later in this write-up I get into the movie of the same name (the first in the series). As I watch the other Friday the 13ths, I will node them. If you have any fun facts or comments, let me know.

Warning, spoilers abound.
Since Jason X was released recently, I finally decided to watch the damned series. I have abstained from horror movies for many a year, and I am just getting into the groove of things. Hopefully this will cast a fresh perspective on everything for you fellow noders.

Friday the 13th is one of the most famous genre-defining classic Horror movies. Often equated with A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th came out a full 4 years previous. In fact, there were a total of 4 films in the Friday the 13th series when the first Nightmare came out.

Sleepaway Camp, another movie that follows almost the exact same plot as Friday the 13th, also came out 4 years afterwards. I guess 1984 was the big Horror year.

Over the course of 22 years, a total of 10 Friday the 13th movies have been produced. The nearly indestructible Jason has survived many beatings. I will get more movie-specific in their respective nodes.
  1. Friday the 13th (1980)
    • Body count: 9
  2. Friday the 13th Part Two (1981)
    • Body count: 11
  3. Friday the 13th Part Three (In 3-D!) (1982)
    • Bodycount: 13
  4. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
    • Body count: 13
  5. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
    • Body count: 22
  6. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
    • Body count: 17
  7. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
    • Body count: 16
  8. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
    • Body count: 25
  9. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
    • Body count: 22
  10. Jason X (2002)
    • Body count: 21
TOTAL BODY COUNT: 169 (In Jason X, more than 200 kills are credited to him, however.)

Some interesting notes about the movies in the series:
  • Somebody dies in the rain in every single movie.
  • No children have died in any of the movies, with the exception of Jason himself drowning as a kid.
  • Every movie has the line "I'll be right back" at least once.
Now, the first movie of the series:
Friday the 13th (1980) - Weasello Rating: {>>--} (OK) {{ Sequel }}
Jason Injury Count: Jason doesn't actually make an appearance, but his mom is beaten over the head several times and knocked unconscious thrice. She was then decapitated. No further injuries.

Body Count: 9

The Plot: The story itself is pretty basic; Jason was an 8-year-old who drowned on a camp lake while the camp counselors were gettin' it on. Jason's Mom exacted revenge and murdered the counselors in question. Years later, when the camp finally re-opens, the murders continue... Yadda yadda yadda, insert pulp horror here.

One the most surprising things about this, the first installment of the 10-part-series of Friday the 13th, was that Jason himself was not a major role. In fact, Jason had a grand total of around 10 seconds of screentime, mostly flashbacks. In a twist that was very odd for 1980, Jason's Mom was the killer.

At the end of the movie, the lead character jumps into a canoe and floats to the middle of the lake, presumably to have a peaceful nap after the whole ordeal has ended. She wakes up the next morning when the police come to pick her up, and in a surprising twist... A young, rotting, boy-like object leaps out of the lake and drags her under. The movie then fades in with her at the hospital, the sole survivor, and with a huge opening for a sequel.

Notes:
  • I feel I must mention that two people died within 5 minutes of the movie start time - we waste no time on plot!
  • At least one snake was harmed during the filming of this movie. Hacked into bits, it was.
Lead roles: Also Known As (IMDB): Long Night at Camp Blood, A (1980) (US Working Title)


Sources: The oh-so-wonderful IMDB, my head, and the box.

Friday the 13th was a surprisingly decent console game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. This LJN title came out in 1998 and was based on the Friday the 13th series of movies. The game is largely a side scroller but also features some scenes that use a first person viewpoint.

This game is not based on any one particular movie in the series, instead it sort of jams bits and pieces from all the movies that centered on Camp Crystal Lake. Other than all the zombies (I will get to those later), this game is closer to people's residual memories of the movies than any of the actual movies are. Jason (with hockey mask) is definitely the villian (although his mother is present as well), you have your standard assortment of camp counselors, and you even have children (who are actually absent in most of the films)

The basics of the game is that you control the six camp counselors in their attempt to fight off Jason and keep him from slaughtering everyone in the camp. You can switch from counselor to counselor from the map screen, which is something you will have to do a lot, since the map is rather large and Jason loves to sneak up and start hacking on the other counselors, or the children. Speaking of the children, for reasons unknown they all hang out in a cabin that can only be reached by rowing across the lake, and it is impossible to leave any counselors there to guard them, you just have to wait until Jason starts menacing them and then row out to try to rescue them.

The counselor characters in the game are drawn from parts 2,3,4 and 5 of the movie series, except for Laura, who had not existed in the Jason world before this game (but later became a character in the comic book series). The various characters are all supposed to have their own strengths and weaknesses, but it really ends up being a case of a few characters being awesome and the rest being worthless. When I play I mostly just do everything with Crissy and Mark.

Crissy is easily the best character in the game, she jumps really high, runs really fast and is no slouch in operating that rowboat. She should be your first choice for most operations.

Debbie is almost completely worthless. Station her near the children and just use her to row out to the lake to save their bacon as she has a decent rowing speed.

Laura is average in running and jumping speeds, but can't row for anything.

George is simply the worst character in the game, he isn't good at anything at all.

Mark is a lot like Crissy in that he is fast and can jump really high. He should be your main counselor if Crissy dies.

Paul seems to have the exact same capabilities as Laura.

Now that you know who the counselors are you might want to know what they are supposed to do? Generally they spend most of their time wandering around the map trying to upgrade their weapons and avoid the hundreds of unexplained zombies that are wandering all over the map. Of course these upgrade missions are constantly interrupted by emergency beeps indicating that Jason has someone cornered in a cabin somewhere.

Jason has a life meter that continues from one encounter to the next, and he will generally run off after you hit him 7 times with something. Once his meter gets rather low he will stay around and fight to the death, which can be really deadly if that fight happens to occur outside a cabin while you are using one of the cruddier counselors. Most of the time you fight him inside the cabins, which is fairly easy at first since he has predictable movements.

If you are going to kill Jason then you are probably going to want to venture into the cave where the flying severed head of his dead mother "lives". I have always found her to actually be a lot more difficult to fight than Jason himself, as she is a lot less predictable and harder to evade, but she leaves behind equipment that makes fighting Jason a lot easier.

After you kill Jason all your surviving counselors get their health back and the sun briefly rises, but it soon sets and Jason is back even stronger than before. All total you have to kill him three times to beat the game, and he is much harder the second and third times.

The reason this game is worth playing is because it is a much deeper game than it seems to be on the surface. If you just jump in and start playing then Jason will quickly kill off everyone off and the game will be over. However once you learn how to play it you will find that it is a lot more complex than it seems. When I was a kid this game would frustrate me because I never bothered to read the instruction manual, and thus never learned how to gather the tools needed to defeat Jason. Almost twenty years later I actually bothered to read the directions, and now the game is a blast.

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