Cunningham called on his best friend, screenwriter Victor Miller, to help him create Friday the 13th, a movie that was supposed to be as scary as Halloween, but with way more blood. Despite developing their idea on the fly, working with a cast that had little to no horror experience, and running out of money several times, Cunningham and his crew completed their slasher pic, and thanks to a cast member’s mother’s blood-curdling screams, it soon found a home at Paramount. Like Halloween, Friday the 13th was a box office hit, and while Cunningham and his cast and crew had never imagined it, this movie would be the catalyst for a franchise that would run for 29 years. Even today, Paramount has the wheels in motion for a new chapter in the death and resurrection of Jason Voorhees, but the hockey-mask-wearing monster still doesn’t hold a candle to the murderer who started it all… his mom.
Om celebration of this iconic film, we spoke to Cunningham and Miller about the creation of Camp Crystal Lake; as well as Betsy Palmer, the woman who masterfully turned Mrs. Voorhees into a terrifying mother on the hunt for vengeance; Tom Savini, the award-winning special make-up effects creator lovingly known as “The Godfather of Gore,” about the dawn of the “Splatter Era”; and stars Adrienne King and Kevin Bacon, whose grass-smokin’ camp counselors paved the way for bloody big screen murders for years to come.