Friday The 13th - 1980

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Kids, if you've ever wondered why it's a bad idea to have sex at your picturesque lakeside summer camp, look no further.

While it didn't invent the idea of punishing teenagers for getting rowdy with an over-the-top death, the Friday the 13th film franchise—which kicked off 40 years ago today with the 1980 original—certainly hammered (and stabbed, and sawed, and impaled) the point home.

Hailed as a fresh take on the stalker-killer trope with its twist ending, the first movie in what so far is a 12-film franchise (counting Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 reboot) is an unequivocal horror classic that has inspired numerous imitators, modern reinventions (AHS: 1984, anybody?) and more than a few nightmares. As for what came after the identity of the first homicidal maniac was revealed...

Well, that's up for critics to roll their eyes at, but the series has made more than $821 million at the box office (adjusted for 2018 inflation), enough to make it the sixth-highest-grossing horror franchise of all time, according to Forbes (so long as you count the No. 1 Alien movies as horror, not sci-fi).

In honor of the original fright fest's 40th anniversary, we've compiled some chilling behind-the-scenes secrets. But before you head into those woods, beware that there will be spoilers and a few disturbing images, but we tried to take it easy on the blood:

Friday The 13th - 1980

SGranitz/WireImage

Friday The 13th - 1980

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - 1980

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - 1980, Kevin Bacon

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - 1980

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - 1980, Betsy Palmer

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - 1980

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - 1980

Paramount Pictures/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com

Friday The 13th - 1980, Adrienne King

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - 1981, Amy Steel

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - Steve Dash (Steve Daskawisz)

Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Friday The 13th - Richard Brooker

Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

Friday The 13th - Part 8 Jason Takes Manhattan, Kane Hodder

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter 1984

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter 1984, Corey Feldman

Paramount Pictures

Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter 1984, Crispin Glover

Paramount Pictures

Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter 1984, Tony Goldwyn

Paramount Pictures

Friday The 13th - Part 8 Jason Takes Manhattan, Rennie and Sean dog reunion

Paramount Pictures

Friday The 13th - Freddy vs Jason 2003 poster

New Line Cinema

Friday The 13th - remake, 2009

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - remake, 2009, Julianna Guill, Danielle Panabaker, Jared Padalecki

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - remake, 2009, Willa Ford, Julianna Guill, Arlen Escarpeta, Aaron Yoo, Ryan Hansen

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - remake, 2009, Jared Padalecki

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Friday The 13th - remake, 2009, Amanda Righetti, Jared Padalecki

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th

New Line Cinema/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com

And so here were are, and the makers of Friday the 13th aren't going to stop at... 12 movies, are they?

Enter the modern-day suspense twist: a dispute over the rights to the original story.

Cunningham has maintained that Victor Miller wrote the original script as an employee of his production company and therefore didn't own the copyright, but Miller won in court in 2018. Cunningham appealed and, as of April 2019, that's where their legal battle stood. According to ScreenRant, there was a hearing scheduled for February, so ironically, the very real nightmare that is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may be what's prolonging the saga at this point. 

Meanwhile, look out behind you! In 2018, LeBron James' Springhill Entertainment expressed interest in producing the next Friday the 13th movie, and there are supposedly at least two Jason scripts out there from different writers: one, a prequel called Friday the 13th: The Beginning; and, the other, Jason Never Dies—described as a direct sequel to 1986's Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives that would do away with anything that had happened onscreen in the interim.

"It's not an unusual situation," Sean Cunningham told Famous Monsters TV. "There has to be a solution. I mean, there just has to be a solution. So I'm very optimistic, and I would say, we're going to make another theatrical movie, first chance we get."

Because you can only keep a bad man down at the bottom of a lake for so long.

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.