Do you know what today is? On top of being Halloween month, today is Friday the 13th! The very reason why I reviewed the movie I did last week, and why this week we’re doing Friday the 13th Part 2. Oh, and did you see Rising from the Crypt? Not only am I reviewing Friday the 13th movies every Friday this month, but a certain Dr. AzarRising is also reviewing Tales From the Crypt every Sunday. Horror’s coming at you from all sides this month my gravediggers and undertakers! But enough self-promotion. Let’s get to the movie.
Friday the 13th Part 2(1981)
Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Betsy Palmer, Amy Steel, and John Furey
Sadly, Kevin Bacon died in the first movie, so he won’t be returning this time around.
Now that we’ve dealt with that disappointment, the movie opens with the sole survivor of the original movie, Alice, living alone in an apartment trying to retain some sort of semblance to a normal life as she argues with her mother on the phone. After the conversation, she goes to the kitchen feeling uneasy about something. Upon noticing the open window she believes she may be in danger, when suddenly a crew member throws a cat through the window! You read that correctly, a literal cat was literally tossed through an open window for a jump scare. The 80’s were truly a magical time.
Recovering from that hilarious, I mean TERRIFYING ordeal, Alice opens the fridge to find Pamela Voorhees’ head in it. She’s promptly killed by an unseen attacker with an ice pick to the head. Again, I have to commend the movie for starting with a death scene so early. Roll opening title, and the movie proper begins.
Five years later, counselors are being trained at a camp near Crystal Lake, but are warned not to enter the grounds. There’s a hefty amount of characters in this movie, so I expect lots of good death scenes, especially for the guy in a wheelchair.
The first night, the new camp leader, Paul, entertains the group around a campfire, telling the story of Jason and recapping the first movie in a bit of exposition that doesn’t feel remarkably out of place. He talks like Jason is real, and still stalking the woods, when another counselor jumps out to scare the group. This was used by Paul as a way to put to rest any myths or legends about Jason. Later the same night, Crazy Ralph from the first movie shows up to warn the kids that they are all doomed as he had correctly foreseen the last time. But before he can give his warning, he’s promptly choked to death with barbed wire. So much for raising the alarms.
Two new counselors venture to the forbidden grounds of Crystal Lake the following day, and after finding a dead dog, are caught by an officer who forces them to return to the camp. Investigating the camp, the officer sees a figure walking in the woods. Investigating the person, the officer finds a rundown shack. Investigating the shack, the officer is killed with a hammer. I find it funny that in two movies so far, for a franchise where the signature weapon is a machete, the only death by machete so far was Pamela Voorhees’ decapitation. Not sure if this is a case of revisionist history, but it’s odd that the weapon most closely tied to the character/franchise hasn’t been used much yet.
Later that night, Paul gives the counselors one last night on the town before their training begins in earnest the next day. However, the two counselors that went to Crystal Lake, Jeff and Sandra, are forbidden from going. Mark, the aforementioned ‘guy in a wheelchair’, decides to stay behind because he knows no one wants to hang out with a guy in a wheelchair at a club/bar. He basically throws himself a pity party, but this convinces an attractive female to hangout with him. Only a handful of counselors we’ve already seen decide to go out for the night. Ginny, apparently a budding psychologist, muses that if Jason were present when his mother was killed, he’d have no way to distinguish between life and death, or good and bad. But Paul dismisses Jason as nothing more than an urban legend.
While trying to get it on with Terry, Scott gets caught upside down in a rope trap. Terry goes to find something to cut him down with. As Scott hangs there, the unseen figure approaches and slowly slices his throat open. Terry returns to find Scott dead, and is then killed off screen.
Damn these off-screen deaths. The movie is only 87 minutes, they could pad their runtime with more deaths, but I guess there’s enough deaths later on, at least I hope.
Oh yea, now the fun starts. Mark, the wheelchair guy, continues being a downer, but Vickie, the girl that likes him isn’t having any of his negative shit, and is ready to give up. That’s right, ‘Wheels’ is about to get some, and you know that means he’s going to die instead. Sure enough, after being left on the porch to wait for Vickie, he takes a machete to the face (guess he found the machete!) that sends him rolling/tumbling down the stairs of the porch. It wasn’t the best death scene for the potential it had, but the buildup of this guy from a downer to potential love interest for, possibly, the most attractive woman in the movie, was alright. And that is commendable, you know until he eats steel with his face.
The next few deaths happen fairly quickly, Jeff and Sandra, the couple that trespassed earlier in the movie, are killed while having sex. The killer shoves a spear through Jeff’s back (he’s on top like a gentleman) and it goes through him into Sandra and gets stuck in the floor beneath the bed. Beautiful.
Vickie, wondering what’s taking Mark so long (ignoring the fact he had to find a way inside from the porch) goes to investigate and finds Jeff and Sandra in an uncomfortable position. She’s then confronted by Jason, finally confirmed to be the killer, but at this point he hasn’t gained his trademark hockey mask. Instead he’s sporting a stylish burlap sack over his head, and stabs her with a knife.
After missing all the fun, Ginny and Paul return to the camp and find all the destruction. Jason attacks Paul, and Ginny runs away, and hides under a bed in a different cabin. While there, she sees a rat and pisses herself, giving away her position to Jason. He attacks her, but she wards him off by cutting his arm with a chainsaw and knocking him unconscious with a chair shot to the head (there’s a reason the WWE has outlawed that dangerous move). Unable to start her car, which for a bit of continuity was shown earlier to have problems, she runs into the woods and stumbles on the shack from earlier. In a back room she finds a shrine to Jason’s mother, with Pamela Voorhees’ head at the center, her sweater and the dead bodies of Alice, Terry, and the cop.
Ginny puts on Pamela’s sweater and when confronted by Jason tries to play mind tricks on him, and they seem to be working until he sees the actual head of his mother. He attacks her, cutting her leg, and before he can kill her Paul reappears and jumps Jason. Ginny grabs a machete and buries it deep in Jason’s shoulder, seemingly ending the threat.
Back at the cabin, Paul and Ginny find Terry’s lost dog, and are immediately attacked by Jason. Ginny is pulled through a window by an unmasked and disfigured Jason, but wakes up later in an ambulance. She’s calling for Paul, but he’s nowhere to be seen.
The movie ends on a shot of Pamela Voorhees’ head in the cabin. Years of horror movie watching has trained me to expect her eyes to snap open, but they did not.
On to the rating…
As difficult as it is to be original in the horror world, it’s even harder when the movie is a sequel. Friday Part 2 was a rehashing of the first, with the only noticeable difference being that Jason is the actual killer this time around. And truth be told, I’m ok with that. Knowing there are 12 movies in the franchise, and where some of them go (New York City?) retreading the first, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
There were some inventive kills (although still too many off screen) and better acting all around, except for Wheels, fuck that guy.
My biggest gripe with the movie was the ending, I can’t help but feel like there some missing footage from the time Ginny gets pulled through the window, and wakes up in the ambulance. I don’t remember the 3rd well enough to know if they resolve this issue, but as it stands, that’s a big blemish on the movie.
Otherwise, it really was a solid sequel, and deserves more credit as being a good 2nd entry in a franchise. (i.e. the sophomore slump most second movies suffer from. I’m looking at you A Nightmare on Elm St 2)
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