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How Carrie Inspired The Ending Of Friday The 13th

1980's Friday the 13th helped pioneer the teen slasher as we know it today. The first entry in the cult classic series saw a group of hot teens hooking up and getting murdered for their troubles. 

It's said in the film that Camp Crystal Lake has been closed ever since a boy — who happens to be named Jason — drowned in the lake, while oblivious counselors partied away. New oblivious counselors show up early to get the not-at-all-haunted summer camp ready for the new season. But as they make preparations, they're taken out by an unseen killer. As the now-iconic opening sequence of Scream reminds us, the first Friday the 13th doesn't feature Jason as the villain, of course. His mother, Mrs. Voorhees, is the killer. The undead, mask-wearing, mute murderer doesn't show up until Part 2. However, we do get a sneak peak of our favorite hockey masked boy (sans hockey mask, that is) at the end of the original Friday the 13th, in what is arguably one of the franchise's most pivotal scenes.

In the movie's closing moments, our "Final Girl" Alice has rowed out to safety in the middle of Crystal Lake. As dawn breaks, we get one final jump scare, as a waterlogged zombie Jason attacks Alice from the water. We then cut to Alice in a hospital bed, where she's told there was no undead boy and it was all just a dream ... or was it? 

The ending of Friday the 13th influenced all the slashers that followed, but it was inspired by another horror classic — Carrie.

Horror icon Tom Savini suggested the jump scare ending

Speaking to the New York Daily News, legendary makeup artist, actor, and director Tom Savini spoke about his work on Friday the 13th. It's worth noting that Savini has been instrumental in the horror genre, Friday aside. He did the makeup on the majority of George Romero's films, solidifying the look of a flesh-eating zombie in our minds, and later directed the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, which has achieved a cult following of its own. He's also done time as a vampire, playing biker-turned-vamp Sex Machine in From Dusk Till Dawn. 

So Savini's insight matters, here, and he states that the ending of Friday the 13th was directly inspired by his recent viewing of Brian De Palma's 1976 film Carrie. 

De Palma's movie ends with a hand reaching out of Carrie's grave and grabbing that film's Final Girl, Sue, only for it to have been a dream. "So we thought that we need a 'chair jumper' like that," Savini said, "and I said, 'Let's bring in Jason.'" 

A good decision, it seems. From that dream sequence came a whole franchise of films. It also codified the "one last scare" trope in horror movies: if your slasher doesn't end with the killer coming back for one last attack, is it even a slasher? The late great Wes Craven did it at least twice, with both A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Clearly, Savini's gut feeling paid off.