Say what you will about Friday the 13th, but I’ve watched it at least a few times every year for about 25 years and I’ve never been sick of it. I know every beat and it doesn’t even come close to scaring me like it did when I was eleven. Still, there’s something that always keeps me coming back. It’s like a favorite song. I enjoy it as much when I’m only sort of paying attention as I do when I’m watching it closely. Truthfully, I could include most of this movie in my curious collection, so don’t be surprised to see it pop up in theses pages again. There is one moment though that has caught my fancy for years.
Here’s how it happened: Camp owner Steve Christie heads into town and tells his group of counselors to keep busy and that he’ll be back after lunch. They immediately strip down to their bathing suits and start lounging on the dock. It’s all fairly innocent, with jokes about Rocky Road and discussions of the functions of vitamin C until Kevin Bacon’s character Jack shows up in his speedo. It’s not only the speedo that’s curious here. It’s the junk that Jack is apparently packing in there as well as the decision to frame the shot just so. The scene is playing along in an expected fashion when Jack walks into frame boner first. It’s not as disturbing for the other characters in the shot; they’re lying flat on their backs, a safe distance away. It’s the audience that ends up feeling violated. It’s like when you’re sitting in a low chair and someone stands with his crotch inches from your face. It’s unsettling. Taking a close look also raises the question, what’s wrong with his hog? I’m not a penis expert, but I’ve seen enough to know that they aren’t usually so flat on the end. It looks like the end of a hose. Did he run into a wall when he had an erection?
It might sound strange, but anytime I watch this movie with someone for the first time, I look forward to this shot so that I can watch their reaction. When I caught Friday the 13th on the big screen about eight years ago, I was ecstatic to watch an entire theater react. Unfortunately, the framing was slightly off and the boner was off the corner of the screen enough that it got no reaction whatsoever. If people knew what they were missing, they would have demanded their money back. Now this alone would be enough to earn a spot in this collection, but there’s more to celebrate. As the kids are getting ready to get back to work, they notice that prankster Ned appears to be drowning. The counselors spring right into action, one going for a life preserver while the other two dive in to save their precocious friend. Brenda dives smoothly and barely makes a splash. Jack runs right behind her and jumps in as well. I don’t know if he was trying to cover more distance in the air than she did, but he spreads his entire body out for one of the most badass belly flops I’ve ever seen.
What is going on here? Jack is not the goofball character Ned is; he’s supposed to be the macho kid in the group. No one in the movie acknowledges his goofy aquatics, so I think this one rests squarely on Bacon. I can’t imagine that director Sean Cunningham instructed Bacon flop into the lake like an eight year old. In his mind, I think he envisioned himself gracefully flying through the air while overtaking Marcie. I picture this being a one shot deal that probably wasn’t worth the energy to dry everyone off for another take I also picture Kevin Bacon yelling, “Holy shit, that hurt!” right after the camera cuts away.There’s no earth-shattering revelation here that will sway the opinion of someone who dislikes the movie, but for me, it’s just another couple of things that always make me smile. Friday the 13th is full of them.