“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 film’s 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.