The 13th day of September in the year 2019 falls on Friday. Of course, there’s that famous horror franchise that’s called “Friday the 13th”, but the day is so much bigger than Jason Voorhees or his mother Pamela. Every now and then, Hollywood sees the occasion of a Friday the 13th to release a spooky movie, whether it involves a hockey-masked killer or not.
Here are 13 titles that are, among other things, best known for opening on the most superstitious day on the calendar.
13. Black Christmas
There is no better horror movie than the horror movie you are about to see. The upcoming Blumhouse remake of Bob Clark classic proto-slasher Black Christmas hits theatres on the last Friday The 13th of 2019. Will fate smile on the Blumhouse remix from indie filmmaker Sophia Takal? Time will have to tell.
12. Deep Star Six (1989)
There was a new Friday the 13th movie released in 1989, the legendary New York-set chapter Jason Takes Manhattan. However, the man who created the Friday the 13th franchise, producer/director Sean S. Cunningham, spent his 1989 releasing a different project, titled DeepStar Six. 1989 was a big year for under-the-sea genre adventures, including The Abyss and Leviathan, featuring creature effects by Stan Winston, and among that stiff competition, it was hard for DeepStar to stand out among a crowded pack of underwater films. DeepStar Six came and went at the multiplex on January 13, 1989 but it lives on as a beloved deep cut of the subgenre and a perfect film for your very own At Home Friday The 13th Film Festival.
11. Meet Joe Black (1998)
Nothing’s scarier that watching Brad Pitt try and not emote as the spectre of Death made flesh in this Martin Brest remake of 1934’s Death Takes a Holiday. Meet Joe Black was released November 13, 1998 and it will be a date long remembered…for other reasons entirely. In ye olden days before YouTube, millions of Star Wars fans went to the theatre, bought a ticket for Meet Joe Black, and watched the first trailer for Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The film only made $44.6 million at the box office, so it’s lucky for Joe that Yoda and the Battle Droids were there to save the day.
10. The Funhouse (1981)
In between the TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot and his collaboration with Steven Spielberg on Poltergeist, Tobe Hooper made The Funhouse. Released on March 13, 1981, the film has a simple set up. A group of kids dare each other to spend the night in a carnival funhouse and see something that they should not have seen. The film follows a predictable course of kids versus carnies, with the carnies committing their fair share of carnage. What more could you ask for on a Friday The 13th?!
9. After Hours (1985)
This is the first of two Martin Scorsese entries on this list, and a film that is not talked about enough when discussing Scorsese’s filmography. After Hours follows office drone Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) through a wild night of encounters and misunderstandings with odd characters in New York. As a concept, it’s a movie that would not feel out of place in the oeuvre of a filmmaker like Terry Gilliam. In fact, the film originally caught the eye of Tim Burton before Scorsese scooped it. Thirty years later, many film fans see this film of a crazy, unpredictable night as one of the director’s most underrated.
8. Happy Death Day (2017)
A movie about a lucky twist on an unlucky day had to be released on a Friday the 13th. The Christopher Landon film about a sorority sister reliving her birthday again and again until she solves her own murder, was released on October 13, 2017. The success of Happy Death Day further solidified Blumhouse’s rep as the pre-eminent horror production studio in Hollywood and spawned a sequel that was released earlier this year- also on a Friday The 13th!
7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
In 1989, a Friday the 13th was ideally positioned in the October calendar, and the makers of the Halloween franchise seized the opportunity. Released just one year after the previous chapter, it was hoped that the film might capitalize on the success of part four, but Friday the 13th was unlucky for Michael Myers and Halloween 5 became the worst performing entry of the entire franchise.
6. Cape Fear (1991)
The second Martin Scorsese entry on this list is a remake of the 1962 classic of the same name. Released on November 13, 1991, James R. Webb’s original Cape Fear was updated and colorized with Nick Nolte and Robert DeNiro stepping in as Sam Bowden and Max Cady. The film went on to earn more than $100 Million worldwide, and two Oscar nominations. So much for being unlucky.
5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Exactly one year after Cape Fear, another master from the 1970s redefined their own game with this bold adaptation of the Dracula story. It was Winona Ryder that brought the script to Coppola as a peace offering after her late departure in the production of Godfather III, but Coppola found new inspiration in the script and supervised the creation of elaborate storyboards, costumes, and in-camera visual effects. Many in Hollywood predicted a bomb, but the finished result turned out to be the most definitive telling of the Transylvanian bloodsucker since Bela Lugosi graced the screen.
4. Ghost (1990)
Yeah, it’s a love story, but Ghost has ghosts, so it counts. Released on July 13, 1990, the movie is about unlucky couple who are separated by the existential divide when Sam (Patrick Swayze) is shot dead by a mugger. Although the movie is technically about how love never dies and other romantic stuff, it also features Vincent Schiavelli (Death To Smoochy) as a ghost living in the subway and an end sequence where the soul of the bad guy is taken to Hell by malevolent spirits. Plus, it could be argued that it brought the careers of the Righteous Brothers back from the dead.
3. Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in The Woods was shot in 2009, but due to the financial issues with MGM, the film didn’t see the light of day until April 13, 2012. The choice of release date was conventional but this oddball, deconstruction of the horror genre. co-written by Joss Whedon and directed by Drew Goddard had “cult classic” written all over it. It was a movie that was impossible to market without spoiling, it was difficult to understand without being at least a basic cinephile, and it was packed with so many Easter eggs that it could put you in a diabetic coma.
2. Evil Dead II
The first film created a franchise, but Evil Dead II created a phenomenon. Sam Raimi had about 10 times the budget for this sequel, but he also had about 100 times the ambition. Evil Dead II paired a zany sense of humour with over-the-top gore and the profound chin and leading man skills of Bruce Campbell. Raimi was setting a tone of horror and comedy that no one would be really able to duplicate for another 10 years until Scream. What more can be said about Evil Dead II except that it is still an incredibly important horror film, and that it was released on March 13, 1987?
1. Five Friday the 13th Movies
Only five of the 12 movies in the Friday the 13th series have had the good (?) fortune of being released on an actual Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th Part III came out on August 13, 1982, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter came out on April 13, 1984, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood came out on May 13, 1988, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday came out on August 13, 1993, and the Friday the 13th remake came out on February 13, 2009- Legal complications have not produced a new Friday the 13th in nearly 11 years, but every Friday The 13th of a new calendar year brings us closer and closer to that eventual return to Camp Crystal Lake.