Friday the 13th came out on May 9th, 1980. It was directed by Sean Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The movie had a budget of $550,000 and filming only lasted 28 days. It grossed over $39.7 million in the U.S. and another $20 million internationally. The film follows a group of teenage camp counselors who arrive early to re-open an abandoned summer camp, Camp Crystal Lake, and get picked off one by one by an unknown murderer. The story goes that Jason Voorhees drowned in the lake at summer camp and was back to exact revenge, but those who have actually seen the movie know this is not the case. The unknown assailant is Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s mother with a similar motive. We never actually see Jason, the famed hockey masked slasher, in the original film and he isn’t even mentioned until 1 hour and 16 minutes into the movie. But we do see him in several sequels and remakes. The Friday the 13th films are apart of one of the largest horror movie franchises in history. The films have been turned into a video game, simply named Friday the 13th, where players may act as Jason and attempt to murder every last counselor or may act as one of several counselors and try to escape or last the night. It’s an incredibly fun and interactive online gameplay and I play it ALL the time.
Some fun facts about the film: it isn’t chi chi chi. It’s ki ki ki ma ma ma. This is not a matter of opinion, the ki and ma come from the final reel of the film where Pamela Vorhees is reciting “Kill her, mommy!” So the ki comes from kill and the ma comes from mommy.
Many of the cast and crew actually stayed on set instead of in nearby hotels. The camp was a functioning summer camp called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco and they just stayed in the cabins there while filming a movie about people getting massacred at a camp. They had to make a sizable donation to the boy scouts of America just to use the camp for filming so might as well save some money and stay there I guess.
So let's get into a real hockey masked murderer before discussing the true inspiration for the film. Mark Andrew Twitchell was a Canadian filmmaker born on the 4th of July in 1979. He was not very famous so don’t get too excited, but this case both had the tie to the film industry and to Jason so I had to include it. Twitchell was convicted of first degree murder in 2011 for killing Johnny Altinger after being “inspired” by Dexter Morgan, the famous serial killer from the series Dexter. He was also tried for the attempted murder of Gilles Tetreault but the charges were dropped after he was given a maximum sentence for the murder. Twitchell had used the online dating site PlentyofFish to lure the two men (separately) into a garage he had rented. Tetreault testified when he entered the garage, Twitchell was wearing a hockey mask and attacked him with a stun baton. Tetreault luckily escaped.
Twitchell claimed Altinger’s death was self-defense; however, he had two manifestos on his laptop entitled “A Profile of a Psychopath” and “SKConfessions”. “SKConfessions” stood for serial killer confessions and began with the following:
“This story is based in true events. The names and events were altered slightly to protect the guilty. This is the story of my progression into becoming a serial killer.”
So basically his self defense claim went out the window and like I stated, he was given the maximum sentence available in Canada.
So what was the real inspiration for the iconic horror film? Friday the 13th was inspired by a murder that occurred 20 years prior to the film on June 5, 1960 at Bodominsky Lake in Espoo, Finland. 15-year-old females, Malia Bjorklund and Anja Maki were camping along the shore of Lake Bodom with their 18-year-old boyfriends, Seppo Boisman and Nils Gustafsson. Between the hours of 4 to 6 am, Malia, Anja and Seppo were stabbed to death by an unknown attacker. Malia was undressed from the waist down and lying on top of the tent. She was stabbed many times after her death, but the other two teenagers were not killed with nearly this amount of violence. Nils was also found lying on top of the tent, but he was alive. He suffered some bruises, a concussion, and jaw and facial bone structures. He later reported that he had seen a glimpse of the attacker wearing black and bright red.
The murderer used a knife and an unidentified blunt instrument and neither have been located. He also took many strange things from the crime scene. The killer also took the keys to the victims’ motorcycles, but the motorcycles were left at the scene. Nils shoes were moved and partially hidden about 500 meters from the murder site.
The investigation started off messy and only got worse. The police didn’t record the details of the scene, they didn’t isolate the crime scene and they allowed police officers and other people to walk around the crime scene and therefore disturb the evidence. They made this all worse by calling soldiers to search the lake for the missing items but several of them were never found.
During the investigation, a few people have been notable suspects. The first is Valdemar Gyllstrom. He was a kiosk keep who lived 800 meters from the murder scene, where there was a popular camping area. He was known to be hostile towards campers. He cut down tents, threw rocks at people, chased away anyone who tried to camp at his site and even fired shotguns at young people who drove mopeds on his street. Some people said that they thought it was Valdemar coming back from the murder scene, but they were too afraid to call the police. The police slipped up here as well because they never DNA tested him even though they found a tooth in the tent as well as other DNA traces. They ignored a lot of other evidence as well. Valdemar confessed to the murder several times, but the police ignored his confessions because they said he was drunk. He was also admitted to a mental hospital during the war and his symptoms included intense and mindless violence, mixed with some periods of calmness that he was kind but also manipulative during. In 1969, a conversation with his friend Borje was recorded and his friend said, "if it is you who did it, then I think you should drown yourself because you will spend the rest of your life in prison". A few hours after this conversation, Valdemar went down to the lake and drowned himself.
In March 2004, Gustafsson (the only survivor) was arrested. The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation stated that Gustafsson was drunk and excluded from the tent causing him to attack the other boy, which explain his broken jar. This fight escalated and caused him to commit the three murders. The defense argued that there was no way he could have killed three people given the extent of his injuries. On October 7, 2005, Gustafsson was acquitted of all charges. So as of today, the murders of Malia, Anja and Seppo are unsolved.