Friday the 13th

fri-the-13-detailBeing that Halloween is practically upon us, I figured I would dust off this curious piece of ephemera found in a flat file cabinet at a Philadelphia area printer.

This printer has always done work for a local television station, and it looks like they caught this job where they printed this flyer as sales material looking to sell commercial spots during the broadcast premiere of this notorious slasher flick.

Friday the 13th AdvertisementNotorious? When the movie opened in 1980, television movie critics Siskel and Ebert took to the air decrying the level of violence particularly against women and dismissed the flick as trash with no socially redeeming value. This was pretty rich for Ebert who had written screenplays for Russ Meyer which I love but would take an incredible level of intellectual gymnastics and/or cognitive dissonance to consider the oeuvre of Mr Meyer art.

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Autographed publicity still from Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Ultimately Siskel and Ebert’s bully pulpit sermons had an effect. It probably helped Friday the 13th make a lot more money ensuring sequels that are still being cranked out decades after the original debuted.

I always wondered about the still they used of Betsy Palmer in the image at the top of the page. It was one of those strange images that the studio’s publicity department would latch onto and distribute to every news outlet and movie theater. I used to assume it was from the  special effects department, but I was never sure. Did somebody think that shooting through a plastic drop-cloth would be a compelling image?

Hopefully the businesses got their money’s worth from the commercial spots. They probably did as the movie probably did great in that time slot, but viewers probably didn’t get much from the heavily edited version of the film that aired. Friday the 13th without nudity and gore must have been like watching outtakes of Meatballs or Caddyshack90 odd minutes of earnest actors happy to have a movie gig frolicking in the woods of New Jersey.

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