Where did you get the idea for Friday?
The idea grew out of notions of what scares us when we’re kids, the basic things. When you think there’s someone under the bed and you’re scared to move a muscle. Your mother comes in and tells you to stop being so stupid. She tells you there’s nothing there, but you know differently. We tried to translate those similar feelings to a movie. That’s how the scene where Kevin Bacon got the arrow through his adam’s apple came to us.
Why a summer camp?
We wanted to do a film that had isolation as one of it’s big factors, in terms of scaring the audience. You know, a bunch of people in a place, isolated, and they get picked off one by one. The summer camp was the ideal location.
You filmed at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in New Jersey? How did you pick it? It seemed to have everything in the film. Archery range, lake, lots of cabins, dark forest etc.
It did have everything. It was the one place that had everything in the script. Of course, the writer, Victor Miller, played a big part in describing in the script the type of setting. Based on that we found this one place. I think Victor said that he was inspired by the type of camps he went to as a kid. Anyway, it was a perfect locale.
The look of the film is very effective and creepy. I know you created some of the rain in some of the scenes, but I’m sure you couldn’t have predicted the thunderstorm. It really adds a layer of dread and gloom to the film. I assume you and DP Barry Abrams worked great together on the film?
Barry was an excellent photographer, and we worked again after that, but in truth, the look, was just what it was, because we didn’t have any money. No lighting, no matte stuff, nothing like that, so there weren’t any stylish touches done deliberately, it just turned out that way.
How did you raise the money?
It was like every other picture I’d done. I ask myself, what kind of movie can I get the money to make? It turned out to be a slasher movie. That’s the bottom line. Can you make more money then you spend? So, you know, we put out this now famous ad saying, from the guys who made “Last House on the Left,” comes the most terrifying film ever made. Of course, there was nothing at that point. No film and no script.
When did your involvement end, financially or otherwise with the Friday series?
Around part three. My wife was the editor on Part 2, and my friend and protégé Steve Miner got his first directing assignment on Part 2, as well as directing Part 3, so I acted as sort of a mentor in that way. Of course, I maintained a financial interest in the series.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of THE BLEssING AND CURSE OF “FRIDAY THE 13th”>>>