FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2
“The bodycount continues…”
Director: Steve Miner / Writer: Ron Kurz / Cast: Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Marta Kober, Bill Randolph, Tom McBride, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Kirsten Baker, Russell Todd, Stu Charno, Walt Gorney, Steve Daskawicz.
Body Count: 10
Dire-logue: “Axes, knives, saws – they can all be dangerous…”
This is a big one. For me, the best slasher movie in existence. Prepare thyself, I may become emotional…
So, after the mega box office ring-a-ding-ding that Friday the 13th made during the summer of 1980, ’twas not a surprise that a sequel was rushed into production. The budget went up, the script stayed almost exactly the same and cinema’s most prolific mass murderer was born. Ja. Son. Voor. Hees.
Storywise, we begin pre-credits on the street outside the home of sole survivor Alice (Adrienne King returning), where a creepy pair o’ legs skulks through puddles towards her abode… Upstairs on the bed, Alice has a convenient flashback dream that recaps the end of the first film (complete with blurry screen), Mrs Voorhees’ insane revenge plot and her subsequent beheading la-de-dah… Soon after Alice awakes, she grabs the world’s shortest shower and gets scared by her cat before finding Mrs V’s severed head in the refrigerator and getting an ice-pick in the temple. Cut to credits.
We learn that it’s been “five long years” since the Camp Crystal Lake massacre and a counsellor training center nearby opens up to a bunch of nubile teens, all flirtation and pranks. Head counsellor Paul (Furey) tries to keep things together, all the while carrying on with his assistant Ginny (the legend of Amy Steel). Second assistant Ted is the uber-geek, then there are the main trainees: Vickie, Scott, Terry, Sandra, Jeff and wheelchair-bound Mark…
The legend of Camp Crystal Lake is told around the campfire by Paul, who mentions that little Jason’s body was never found and it is said he killed Alice and that now he stalks the forest, ready to avenge his mother’s death! A great little scene, is this, my very first memory of anything Friday the 13th related when I caught it on TV in Florida around Halloween ’89 (when I was 11 and nervy).
While the youngsters continue to amble around the area exercising little caution, Crazy Ralph returns for no particular reason other than to supply Jason with a mid-point kill. He wears exactly the same outfit as he did five years before and learns the hard way that perving on Ginny and Paul is a fatal error.
The next day, Sandra and Jeff opt to hike into the woods and explore Camp Crystal Lake, but are intercepted by a toupee-haired cop, who duly becomes another victim. Their punishment for getting caught is to stay behind that night while everyone else goes out for one last night on the town, save for the other four we all knew would die… Terry goes skinny-dipping, Jeff and Mark have an arm-wrestling contest and a shady figure who we’ve not yet had a good look at appears in the camp.
One by one, the teens are offed in a variety of now textbook MO’s, with excellent make up effects courtesy of Carl Fullerton, most of which got cut before release due to the MPAA’s clampdown on gore flicks. Said material has never been seen beyond a few stills – right there, look…look down! Nevertheless, these missing scenes do not rob the film of its pure stalk n’ slash integrity, B-movie spookiness and sense of the filmmakers really putting effort into making a quality horrorfest. Jason himself finally appears beyond the lower-body shots. There was no hockey mask back in ’81, but that burlap sack is pretty damn scary in a banjo-strummin’ backwoods hick sorta way!
Then there are the ejector seat moments, executed with perfect timing, the kind of things most films screw up by telegraphing the shocks too early with fragmented shots rather than the long, lingering scenarios here as Ginny becomes the last one standing after she and Paul return to camp early. The stringy high-note that refuses to let up as she holds the door closed in the bathroom, unsure whether or not she should move towards the open window…
And Amy Steel. The odds-on favourite heroine of the entire series plays psych-major Ginny perfectly, a mix of vulnerability and agility, she has sex with Paul and still survives the nightmare, screams amazingly and gives Jason a better run for his money than all of the ensuing final girls of later films combined. Her final showdown with Jason at his woodland shack is great, as is the extra value shock ending and the question mark that hangs over the fate of another character…
There’s absolutely nothing dull about Friday the 13th Part 2, it has everything I want in a slasher film: competent production, likeable characters, great heroine, liberal body count and good use of the camp setting. I love it and always will.
Blurbs-of-interest: Amy took the final girl role again in April Fool’s Day; Marta Kober had a cameo as the pizza girl in Slumber Party Massacre III; Russell Todd had previously appeared fleetingly in He Knows You’re Alone; Lauren-Marie Taylor played Sheila in Girls Nite Out; Steve Dash (Jason) has a small role in Alone in the Dark; Walt Gorney supplied the prologue voiceover at the beginning of Friday VII. Steve Miner directed the next Friday film and also Halloween H20.
“This is a big one. For me, the best slasher movie in existence. Prepare thyself, I may become emotional…”
i feel the same way hud, i first saw this movie on usa’s up all night marathon sometime in the 90s and from then on it was a wrap. Let’s just say i’ve seen this movie enough over the years to the point that i know the entire film, line by line, every shock and stinger of the score, EVERYTHING..I just recently bought the blu ray and was startled at how good it looks, it’s like seeing it for the first time, and bro, it was honestly the first time i noticed how attentive the filmmakers were to detail and shots and etc..so yeah man, a few years ago, i was able to attend a midnight screening at a drive in(!!!) near by, and let me say, when that part 2 exploded onto the screen, tears of joy came down my face, i got so emotional that i was seeing this in a GODDAMN DRIVE IN that i just couldn’t take it anymore lol
Man, I’d love to see this on the super-big screen.
I love this one aswell, its jus so good!1
Just revisited this one last night to follow my rewatch of the original, and I have to agree with the utmost enthusiasm. I was expecting to enjoy this, but I was still surprised at just how much of an improvement it was over the original. Everything that worked in Friday the 13th is taken to the next level, anything that didn’t is excised, and there’s just a lot more to love on top of that, all at an appreciably taut pace with perfect timing (from the scares to the glimpses of Jason leading up to his full sackheaded reveal).
The cast was really great in this. Ginny and Paul are two of my favorite leads in the franchise. Not only are they likable and well acted, but they give Jason a run for his money. Deciding to actually fight back rather than stand and scream and die. And MY GOD that final chase sequence. It makes the original film’s goofy, plodding old woman chase look like…well, a goofy, plodding old woman chase. The scene where Ginny enters Jasons’ shack, and we see the be-sacked lunatic through the window running towards the shack and our heroine, is incredibly effective. One of the most chilling moments in the series. And Jason is a much more effective villain than his unimposing mother. His appearance, one eye peeking out of the burlap sack, is chilling. And the fact that we can actually see him, and catch effectively creepy glimpse of him throughout the film, adds considerably the films power. Sean Cunningham achieved what he needed with the shock ending of the original (i.e. Betsy Palmer wouldn’t hurt me! I must be safe!), but that shock came at the expense of actually having a good villain. Jason is the villain the series deserved, even if it required some backpedaling on the original. The scene in which he dashes across the road in front of the cop car is another standout moment. Something that simply wasn’t possible in the “see nothing, hear nothing” original (of the killer, that is, we obviously saw plenty of gore).
The music is as good as ever, if not even better. And the improved camerawork helped to ratchet up the tension considerably. Steve Miner’s direction was, apparently, the magic bullet this series needed to avoid sequel slump. He and Ron Kurz, for my money, are the true heroes of this franchise. It may never have existed without Sean Cunningham and Victor Miller, but the original feels like a mere prologue compared to the main event that is Part II. And it’s this installment that ranks up there with my favorite slashers of all time (e.g. Halloween), rather than the original.
It’s strange to think that this series began, and then peaked, before its iconic villain truly achieved his full transformation. The Friday series is set apart from the other big slashers in that way. Halloween and Nightmare both pretty much peaked right out of the gate, and fully established their antagonists (horrible late-series plot additions/flanderizations aside). Friday grew and even improved before it eventually fell prey to horrid sequels and the invincible teleporting Kane Hodder-era. I think that’s part of why the Friday remake was the only enjoyable one of the bunch. They were able to pull from the original 4 (or 3, I suppose) films to create something that wasn’t just a pale imitation of the original. It managed to bring in elements from all of the most beloved films in the franchise and avoid that feeling of extreme sameness that came from the Nightmare reboot. And, well, the less said about Zombie’s Halloween the better. Thankfully the screenwriters of Friday the 13th 2009 didn’t spend an hour de-mystifying Jason Voorhees and giving us an extended account of his suddenly miserable white trash scum origin. They knew what worked, and they delivered it. And there were even a handful of likable characters. No mean feat for a modern slasher.
What a lovely write-up!