- "They were warned... They are doomed... And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them."
Friday the 13th is the first film in the Friday the 13th series. It tells the story of the original murder spree at Camp Crystal Lake and sets up the mythology of the Voorhees family and the curse of Crystal Lake. The film was released on May 9, 1980.
In a brief prologue set in 1958, two summer camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, named Barry (Willie Adams) and Claudette (Debra S. Hayes), sneak away from a camp fire sing-along to have sex. Before they completely undress, an unseen assailant sneaks into the room and murders them.
The film moves forward to (the present) Friday, June 13th; a young woman named Annie (Robbi Morgan) enters a small diner and asks for directions to Camp Crystal Lake, much to the shock of the restaurant's patrons and staff. A strange old man named Ralph (Walt Gorney) reacts to the news of the camp's reopening by warning Annie that they are "all doomed". Enos (Rex Everhart), a friendly truck driver from the diner, agrees to give Annie a lift halfway to the camp. During the drive, he warns her about the camp, informing her that a young boy drowned in Crystal Lake in 1957, one year before the murders occurred. After Enos lets her out, Annie keeps walking. A bit later, Annie hitches another ride and is picked up by an unseen driver in a Jeep. As the driver speeds past the entrance to the camp, Annie becomes concerned and leaps from the moving vehicle when the driver fails to stop, fleeing into the woods. The unseen driver chases her into the woods and slits her throat with a hunting knife.
At the camp, the other counselors, Ned (Mark Nelson), Jack (Kevin Bacon), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor), Alice (Adrienne King), and Brenda (Laurie Bartram) are refurbishing the cabins and facilities along with the camp's demanding owner, Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer). Strange incidents occur,, including a prank in which one of them pretends to drown. Soon after, there's an unwelcome visit from the police. They find a large snake in one of the cabins, and a counselor chops it in half with a machete. They also receive a visit from Ralph, who warns them that they are "doomed". As a storm closes in on the horizon, Steve leaves the campgrounds to obtain more supplies.
Meanwhile, the unidentified killer (still unseen except for a pair of black slacks, a brown plaid shirt and a class ring on their left ring finger) begins to isolate and murder the counselors one by one. Ned spots the killer (now wearing a hooded black rainslicker) walking into a cabin. Nick follows them into the cabin.
As the storm hits the camp, Marcie and Jack enter a cabin and have sex in one of the bunks, unaware that Ned's dead body is in the upper berth. Afterwards, Marcie leaves to visit the ladies bathroom, and Jack is attacked by the killer, who lies in wait beneath the cot. The murderer drives an arrow up through the bed, and it pierces Jack's throat, killing him.
While using the restroom, Marcie hears a noise by the showers. Thinking it's Jack playing a joke, she pulls back a shower curtain. Finding nothing, she turns around and finds the unseen killer wielding an axe and has it slammed in her face.
Bill, Alice, and Brenda play "strip Monopoly" in Alice's cabin, until the rain makes Brenda remember that she left her cabin windows open. As Brenda settles down to bed, she hears a faint, child-like voice calling, "Help me!" from the woods. Brenda walks outside with a flashlight in the pouring rain, trying to locate from where the child's voice comes. She ventures to the archery range where the hooded killer turns on the range's blinding lights, distracting Brenda, who is then killed off-screen (presumably by getting hit with an arrow, or several).
Hearing Brenda's scream, Bill and Alice go to investigate, but they only find a bloody axe (the same axe used to kill Marcie), in Brenda's bed. Afte searching the camp, they find no one and begin to suspect that something is amiss. Attempting to call the police, they discover the phone lines have been cut and the cars won't start when they try to leave.
Meanwhile, Steve is in town having dinner at a local diner when he returns to his jeep for the drive back to Camp Crystal Lake. During the drive, his jeep, towing a trailer, gets stuck in the mud off of a secondary road. A passing policeman gives him a ride part of the way back to the camp. Steve is let out as the officer gets a call about a car accident in town. With the rain letting up, Steve begins to walk back to the camp. When Steve arrives at the entrance to camp, he is murdered, and is apparently familiar with his attacker.
When the lights go out across the camp, Bill goes to check on the power generator, but doesn't know how to operate it or deduce what's wrong. When Bill doesn't return, Alice heads out to the generator cabin looking for him, and she finds his body pinned to a door by several arrows.
Now alone, Alice flees back to the main cabin and hides. After a few moments of silence, Brenda's corpse is hurled through a window. Alice hears a vehicle outside of the cabin and, thinking it to be Steve, runs out to warn him. Instead she finds a middle-aged woman who introduces herself as Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), an "old friend of the Christys". Alice hysterically tries to tell her about the murders. Mrs. Voorhees expresses horror at the sight of Brenda's body, but she soon reveals herself to be the mother of the boy who drowned in the lake in 1957. Talking mostly to herself, she blames her son Jason's drowning on the fact that two counselors were having sex and were unaware of Jason struggling in the lake. Mrs. Voorhees goes on to say that today, Friday the 13th, is Jason's birthday. Mrs. Voorhees suddenly becomes violent and pulls out a large knife (thus revealing the hunting knife as well as the class ring on her left ring finger, confirming that Mrs. Voorhees is the killer), rushing at Alice. A lengthy chase ensues, during which Alice flees her attacker and finds Steve's and Annie's bodies.
Mrs. Voorhees turns back to the camp's generator and then chases Alice all over the camp in a climatic chase... sometimes speaking to herself as Jason. She corners Alice in a storage shed, where Alice finds a shotgun. Before Alice can load it, Mrs. Voorhees attacks her and slaps her around. Alice escapes and runs back to the main cabin, hiding behind a locked door in the pantry. Mrs. Voorhees breaks the door open and rushes in at Alice, brandishing a machete. Alice hits her on the side of the head, leaving her unconscious. Alice sits by the lakesidde, hoping that it's all over, but Mrs. Voorhees rushes out of the darkness at her with the machete. Narrowly avoiding the machete, Alice knocks it out of her hands with a paddle and the two of them wrestle by the lake. Besting her attacker, Alice grabs the machete and decapitates Mrs. Voorhees. In shock, Alice gets in a canoe and rows out to the middle of the lake, where she falls asleep.
Morning comes, and Alice is still asleep in the canoe. Police arrive and call out to her, and she awakens. As she sits up and contemplates her rescue, the decomposing "corpse" of Pamela's son, Jason (Ari Lehman), attacks Alice and pulls her out of the canoe. As she is dragged underwater, she awakes in a hospital, where a police officer tells her that they pulled her out of the lake. When she asks about Jason, the officer informs her that they never found any boy. Alice replies, "Then he's still there."
- Betsy Palmer as Pamela Voorhees
- Adrienne King as Alice Hardy
- Jeannine Taylor as Marcie Stanler
- Robbi Morgan as Annie Phillips
- Kevin Bacon as Jack Burrell
- Harry Crosby as Bill
- Laurie Bartram as Brenda
- Mark Nelson as Ned Rubenstein
- Ron Millkie as Officer Dorf
- Walt Gorney as "Crazy" Ralph
- Willie Adams as Barry
- Debra S. Hayes as Claudette
- Dorothy Kobs as Trudy
- Sally Anne Golden as Sandy
- Mary Rocco as Operator
- Ken L. Parker as Doctor
- Ari Lehman as Jason Voorhees
Make-up artist Tom, famous for working with George A. Romero, did the special effects for this movie and Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter.