‘Friday the 13th’ Was Inspired by a Film Whose Director Doesn’t Like It

Friday the 13th has earned its place in horror history — but it wouldn’t have done so without another popular horror film. Interestingly, the director of the movie which inspired Friday the 13th spoke out about the movie — and he had some harsh words.

Jason Vorhees attacking a cop in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason Vorhees | Paramount/Getty Images

Where the idea for ‘Friday the 13th’ came from

Screenwriter Victor Miller wrote Friday the 13th. Previously, Miller wrote a pair of sports movies. However, he decided to transition to the horror genre. Where did the initial idea for Friday the 13th come from?

“First came the concept that we emulate Halloween,” Miller told Friday the 13th Films. “The title didn’t come until the screenplay had already gone through at least one draft. The idea for the summer camp came from my instinct that we needed a location where young adults would be cut off from all adult help, the basic idea in Halloween.

Michael Myers in front of his house
Michael Myers | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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“The idea that Jason had died before the film began also came from the concept in Halloween – that there is a prior evil – Michael Meyer’s murdering the babysitter, if I recall correctly. The rest of the story came as a result of the location and the idea that, one-by-one, the campers would be eliminated by the world’s most protective (and insane) mother, Mrs. Voorhees.”

The similarities between Halloween and Friday the 13th are obvious. Both revolve around faceless killers who pick off a group of teenagers one by one until only one female teen is left. In addition, both movies have neoclassical scores and cliffhanger endings. Familial issues are prevalent in both movies as well. Michael Myers murders his sister in Halloween while Mrs. Vorhees is obsessed by her son’s death in Friday the 13th.

The Friday the 13th trailer

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The film Victor Miller didn’t like ‘borrowing’ from

Miller admitted Halloween wasn’t the only horror film which inspired Friday the 13th. He modeled the ending of his film on that of Carrie. Both rely on a slow-motion jump scare and have similar shots. Miller didn’t like “borrowing” so much from Carrie, however, he feels he ultimately made the right decision.

The director of ‘Halloween’ weighs in

The Hollywood Reporter says John Carpenter, the director of Halloween, revealed his opinion on Friday the 13th. He contrasted it with a fellow slasher movie: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Carpenter found Texas artistic but Friday the 13th cheap and cynical. His opinion echoes the opinion of many film critics.

A closeup of John Carpenter with a mustache
John Carpenter | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

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Interestingly, Carpenter views the perceived poor quality of Friday the 13th as part of a systemic problem with 1980s slasher films. Carpenter feels many producers noted the success of Halloween – a low-budget film — and attempted to replicate it. He feels the majority of 1980s slasher movies were terrible. It’s certainly true film critics didn’t laud most 1980s slasher films the way they lauded Halloween. Carpenter made his mark on 1980s horror — whether he wanted to or not.