I consider Friday THE 13TH a classic, despite everything seemingly going against it. Yes, the original Friday THE 13TH part 1 and part 2 owe a lot to BAY OF BLOOD (or TWITCH OF DEATH NERVE). There's no question about it. The similarities between the two films are obvious. The film is responsible for spawning an endless number of truly awful sequels. The acting is nothing spectacular. The script is barely there. And the film sorta drags a bit in the middle. And the ending of Friday THE 13TH is an indirect rip-off of the ending in CARRIE. But the backwoods atmosphere/mystique behind Friday THE 13TH is totally original and effective (much more than any of the sequels), and the ending of FT13 is, imo, WAY better than the ending of CARRIE. The ending of FT13 makes the movie. The entire FT13 series exists merely on the strength of that ending. It created a myth, in the name of Jason. The story (or script) is wonderfully absurd (when you think about it) which gives the murders an even more psychotic edge to them, and in my mind, are more effective than the ones in BAY OF BLOOD or in any other Friday THE 13TH sequels because of the kooky reasoning behind them. Watching Jason kill his victims in the sequels quickly got boring. And the fact that Tom Savini created the excellent gory FX is a definite plus. The acting is average (some of it even poor) but let's face it, the characters, aside from their individual death scenes, don't have a lot of dramatic things to do, except for Betsy Palmer and Adrienne King, who is good but is not the best "last surviving female" actress ever to appear in a slasher. On the other hand, Betsy Palmer is amazing as Mrs. Voorhees. She's a combination of total sweetness, insanity and camp all rolled into one. Once Betsy appears on screen the film is thrilling and she adds a lot of life (no pun intended) to the whole proceeding, which was lacking from a good part of the film. And let's not forget the good score. Very effective even if it sometimes sounds derivative. And the original poster is great!
The funny thing about Friday THE 13TH is that when I first saw it 20 years ago I thought it was good but not as good as HALLOWEEN. Fast forward 20 years, and today I sorta prefer Friday THE 13TH slightly more than HALLOWEEN now, which has lost a lot of its luster, due mainly to HALLOWEEN's awful sequels and their stupid story-lines. Artistically, HALLOWEEN is still the better film of the two. There's no comparison there. But it has lost its edge, while FT13's trashiness has oddly kept it fresh. While HALLOWEEN has irremediably lost a lot of its mystique with each subsequent sequels, Friday THE 13TH, on the other hand, actually gained more credibility with every release of its seemingly endless number of ultra-stupid sequels. After seeing some of those sequels, the original FT13 looks positively brilliant compared to those horrendous sequels. It's a classic in its own special way.