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The Perfect Retro Friday the 13th Celebration

Friday the 13th lands on this Friday, May 13th, 2022, and preparations have already begun. I’m obsessed with recreating the perfect movie marathon. It’s something I’ve been at for quite a while now, though it's debatable whether or not I've ever accomplished perceived perfection. The reason for the party doesn’t matter much, but it’s usually related to horror in some fashion (Halloween, full moons, The Twilight Zone Marathon, and of course Friday the 13th). Although I am always prone to including a little retro flavor to these events, writing for the 80sXchange means the entire party must relate to the 1980s, from top to bottom. Let’s see if we can make that happen.

One of the tenets I hold regarding movie marathons is that they must be about more than just the movies. After all, if I invited a bunch of friends over and immediately started playing Friday the 13th with no preamble, no lead-in, no adornments, I dare say they’d hack me to tiny pieces. So, let’s talk decorations.

Look, I’m no Martha Stewart. I don’t have a keen eye for décor or a flare for design. But I do know that all of my parties in the '80s had those paper table covers with matching paper plates, napkins, and cups. Throughout my searches, I never could find specific Friday the 13th branded party supplies from the '80s, so if you’re planning on getting actual retro gear, I’d settle for Halloween or even Halloween-adjacent themes (like Goosebumps or The Real Ghostbusters). Of course there’s always the option of buying something new, but perhaps more appropriate, like the pictured Friday the 13th-themed set (minus the birthday banner). Besides, if you’re anything like me, you probably have a few Friday the 13th posters around that you can relocate to a centralized party location.

Okay, decorations are done. For ambiance, as I mentioned in a previous article, it’s all about the movie soundtracks. Here are a couple options:

With that complete, it's time to think about activities. You all know where I’m going with this one, right? Oh yeah! Hook up that old Nintendo and get a few rounds of Friday the 13th the video game going. And hey, why not throw in A Nightmare on Elm Street[1] for the NES too. I’ll claim precedent since we do eventually get the Freddy Vs. Jason crossover, albeit in the wrong decade. But hey, we need a little variety here, don’t we?[2]

Food and drink are always central to my marathons. Sometimes I go with simple and tasty, like antipasto platters for my Twilight Zone marathons. Other times I go with themed foods, like pumpkin pie and mummy fingers for my Halloween marathons. But for this one, I think our best bet is to stick with something that reminds us of watching late-night movies in the '80s. Something that isn’t particularly difficult to pull off, yet satisfying to our retro food craving.

I’m thinking Pizza Hut pan pizza carries that vibe for me. It’s not hard to obtain, but it’s totally something I would have had while watching horror movies as a kid. Another option would be big paper bags filled with cheeseburgers and fries from your favorite fast-food joint. Let’s add some Doritos, Munchos, Combos, Slim Jims and Twizzlers scattered around the table. For drinks I’ll pick up the old standby of quarter water, Pepsi, and now that we’re all adults probably some beer. How’s that sound? Pretty easy compared to my usual suggestions, but I’d argue the perfect setup for a long night of movies.

Speaking of movies, what are we going to watch? Okay, okay. Dumb question. Friday the 13th, of course! But wait…which ones? No way we can watch them all in a single night without our brains leaking out of our ears. If we’re sticking to the ‘80s, we should choose only from the first eight movies[3].

I’m going with one classic, one favorite, and one goofball pick: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, and Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. I have to be realistic and admit that I won’t be able to watch more than three movies. But for my money, this is a good spread. You can swap out whatever you want if these choices don't speak to you. Or heck, why not grab some other '80s slashers this year? No harm, no foul.

Make the marathon your own. Switch up the food selections, skip the NES games, don’t bother with the decorations. I may have called this "The Perfect Retro Friday the 13th Celebration," but we all know taste is subjective and perfection is an illusion. At the end of the day, this is your Friday the 13th. So make the most of it.

This is, after all, the only one we get in 2022.

[1] A Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES came out in 1990, so if you're a stickler, skip this one.
[2] Monster Party is another favorite and arguable within theme.
[3] The first eight are available on AMC+

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Photog Smurf
Photog Smurf
May 12, 2022

You had me at the title. The only questions I need answered are "How early can I show up?" and "Who's bringing the fruit barrels?".

Replying to

Ha, yes! I'm, in all honesty, probably starting the celebration today so I can make sure to get everything in that I want to do. You bring the fruit barrels, I'll bring the pizza.

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