13 is a special number for fans of horror and sci-fi as it’s the number of the beast, the beast of course being Jason Voorhees. But rather than looking at the F13 films directly I’m going to invite you to sit around the camp fire of my past and share in a little personal retrospect of why Friday the 13th and me were meant to be.
Unlike anyone born in the late 60s or early 70s I wasn’t old enough to experience firsthand the phenomenon that was the slasher genre of the 1980s. Oh to be an 80s teen, they didn’t know how good they had it. So it was Scream (1996) that introduced me to horror, and then came the inevitable trawl for horror through the beat-up videos at my local ice cream and video rental store. So as a child I had no knowledge whatsoever of this Friday the 13th or some chap named Jason, let alone his mother. So it was with some glee, that when recalling my childhood a few months ago, I realised that I had lived a rather F13 early life. Now I must point at this stage that I have never been mistakenly assumed dead by drowning nor is my mother a murderous psychopath, but I do share some other similarities with horror’s most enduring franchise.
I grew up in a small lakeside village for example (both pictures featured here are my own, from the lake I grew up on, they are not from google, and this is why I have watermarked them) whose economy rests largely on the shoulders of the seasonal tourist trade. We have a lakeside summer children’s camp at which I, like many of the local kids, worked at one summer. Just down the shore from our camp was a place the locals call the ‘Old Sailing Base’ which is an abandoned camp area full of broken down shack-like buildings (now sadly removed). This was where the camp instructors used to canoe to late at night to build fires, get drunk, smoke pot and get laid. You see this stuff really does happen. Sadly our camp fire stories were more ghost based than about back-from-the-dead serial killers. And, as far as I can recall, brutal murders can be replaced by drunken accidents and machete gashes by the odd cut from wandering into tree branches in the dark. There is however more than one local tale about people who have met their maker at the hands of a watery death in our fair lake.
So there you have it my Friday the 13th youth: Teenagers, drink, drugs, sex, summer camp, an abandoned camp, local legends, and of course a lake. Check, check, and double check. Now what would any tale be without an exclamation point, and this dear listeners is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; I have a sibling (who shall remain nameless) who was born on, you guessed it, Friday the 13th, I shit you not. It is, as they say, in the blood.