Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

      It has been about five months since that terrifying Friday The 13th. Alice is having nightmares of that very night. However, someone pays her a little visit at her home and kills her with an ice pick after she discovers the severed head of Pamela Voorhees in her refrigerator.  A few years pass and a new camp is being set up right next door to a now boarded up Camp Crystal Lake ran by a guy named Paul Holt.  The counselors consist of:  Jeff and his girlfriend Sandra, Scott, Terry, wheel chair bound Mark, Vicki, Ted, and Paul's girlfriend Ginny.   Paul tells everybody the legend of Jason Voorhees around a campfire, which makes Sandra interested in checking the old abandoned camp out. Sandra and Jeff get caught trying to see old Camp Blood by the local Police Officer. Soon, the cop chases after someone running towards the old camp and discovers something horrible inside a small shack in the middle of the woods before getting killed. The next night while Paul, Ginny, and Ted are out at a bar, the other counselors are picked off one by one. Paul and Ginny return to camp and come face to face with an adult Jason Voorhees.

         After the box office success of Friday The 13th in 1980, Paramount Pictures decided to make a sequel to continue the story and make more money since the original was such a huge success.  There was a problem though, the killer from the first movie had been decapitated.  Someone suggested the idea of having  an adult Jason come back to avenge his mother by killing any and every care free teenager who dared to go anywhere near Camp Crystal Lake.  Seas S. Cunningham who produced and directed the original Friday The 13th didn't like the idea, but decided to let his old friend Steve Miner give it a whack. So in 1981, Friday The 13th Part 2 was released to continue the legend of Jason Voorhees and have him pick up the mantle that his demented mother left behind.   The story for Friday The 13th Part 2 is basically the exact same story as before except there are different teens at a different camp, different kills along with some of the same, and this time they are being killed off by an adult burlap sack masked Jason Voorhees.  According to the legend, Jason "witnessed" his mother being decapitated by Alice in the first movie and basically wanted to get revenge by killing Alice first before slaughtering anyone who comes near his home of Camp Crystal Lake.   Nothing more, nothing less. It's a simple story just like most Friday The 13th films.  The screenplay written by Ron Kurz is alright.

        The characters are mostly one dimensional cannon fodder like usual except for Mark, Paul, and Ginny.  These were the only characters that had any true depth to them in my opinion. I have to say that Ginny is hands down my favorite Friday The 13th heroine. She's a smartass, funny, very cute, strong, and definitely likeable.   Paul is kinda likeable and becomes more heroic towards the end of the film. As for Mark, I felt truly bad for this guy. He's stuck in a wheel chair and gets a machete to the face before he gets LAID!  That's sad man. Very sad. Especially since Jason was nice enough to make him tumble backwards down the stairs in the pouring down rain by machete whacking him right in the center of his face.  Poor guy.   We then have Jeff and Sandra who reminded me of Jack and Marcie from the original since they are the sexually active couple for sure.  Scott basically wants to get into Terry's pants and is always playing jokes on her like taking her clothes while she skinny dips in Crystal Lake.  Vicki has the hots for Mark obviously.   Pretty basic group of teens here.

         And now for the best part of this franchise: the kills. The kills in this film are pretty tame compared to the ones in the original and even in the later sequels. We get a few slit throats.  Crazy Ralph gets his throat cut with a barbed wire while spying on Paul and Ginny making out.  There's a guy who gets the back of a hammer to his head. The best kill is the Jeff & Sandra one where Jason shoves an arrow tipped spear through both of them as they are having sex.   And then Vicki finds the bodies of Jeff & Sandra along with coming face to face with Jason and yet she just backs up to the wall instead of GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE! I did love the close up of Jason's hand holding the knife as he slowly walked up to her before stabbing her. And finally, Alice from the original gets it in the temple with a fucking ice pick. How the hell did Jason manage to get all the way to her home? Did he buy a plane ticket?  Pretty disappointing on the kills.

             I did love the look of Jason with the burlap sack over his face. It kinda reminded me of the Elephant Man a bit.  Personally, I think the sack is actually more creepy than the iconic hockey mask that he receives in the next movie.   Also, I pretty much dug what he looked like when we saw him unmasked in Ginny's nightmare boo scare towards the end where half of his face was deformed and he has long brown hair and a full grown beard. He basically looked like someone who lived in the woods. Now, you see why a lot of people said that Rob Zombie turned Michael Myers into Jason in H2?

         Getting back to Ginny, I loved the scene where she put on Jason's mother's sweater and tricked him into thinking that she was his mother.  Too bad that when she moved to slice the machete through him that he saw the severed head behind her, realizing that she was lying. Plus, how many Friday heroines actually come at Jason with a fucking chainsaw?  I loved the little shack in the middle of the woods where Jason had been living especially that room where his mother's head and sweater were laying on the table with a few dead bodies circling it. 

         The direction by Steve Miner who was an Associate Producer on the original is alright here. Nothing too special. Miner would return to direct Part 3 and also direct the seventh Halloween film, Halloween H20, in 1998.  I see where Sean S. Cunningham's wife was the editor of this movie.  My biggest issue with the editing is during many of the kills where it would cut too quickly after a kill where us, the audience and fans, didn't get to enjoy the kill for a few more seconds before it cut to the next scene.

            My biggest issue with this film though is the ending. Why? We never find out what really happened to Paul. You think that he's dead after fighting Jason before, but then he shows up to save Ginny in the shack, and then after the jump scene nightmare, Ginny is off to the hospital in an ambulance with no sign of Paul anywhere.  Did he really die? Is he in another ambulance? Did he head on to the hospital?  No clue.  I guess they wanted to leave it up to our imagination what really happened to him. 

             The music by Harry Manfredini is awesome as always.

     The acting is alright. Amy Steele is hands down the best actress as the heroine of the movie, Ginny Fields. It's a shame that Amy Steele has only acted in this and April Fool's Day. She truly deserved a better run of horror films.  John Furey is pretty good as Paul. Adrienne King is only in the film like five or ten minutes in the beginning as Alice and is alright.  Kirsten Baker as Terry, Bill Randolph as Jeff, Marta Kober as Sandra, Lauren Marie Taylor as Vicki, and Russell Todd as Scott were okay.  I really liked  Tom McBride as Mark.  Stuart Charno though was pretty annoying as Ted. What was the point of that character anyways? He didn't even die! The stunt guys Steve Nash who played the masked Jason Voorhees and Warrington Gillette (who got all the credit) as the brief unmasked Jason did an alright job. I still prefer Ted White as Jason from the fourth installment, The Final Chapter, though.

        Overall, Friday The 13th Part 2 is still a pretty entertaining and fun slasher flick even if it doesn't measure up to the original.   It brought Jason into the franchise as the killer and he continues to kill care free teens even to this day.


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