Friday the 13th Part 2

11/26/2017 11:29

Film: Friday the 13th Part 2

Year: 1981

Director: Steve Miner

Writer: Ron Kurz

Starring: Betsy Palmer, Amy Steel and John Furey



This is a sequel that I’ve seen a lot. It wasn’t the first one that I saw in the franchise, but it was one I watched before finally seeing the original. This one started to pop up on the movie channels when I was a teenager. Looking back, I thought it was weird having our villain wearing the burlap sack instead of the hockey mask. The mask was something I knew before even seeing these movies. I’ve seen this a couple times more recently with Movie Club Challenge on the Podcast Under the Stairs and now with my wife, Jaime.

Synopsis: five years after the events of the first film, a summer camp next to the infamous Camp Crystal Lake is preparing to open, but the legend of Jason is weighing heavy on the proceedings.

We start off seeing a kid walking the street at night. Their mother calls them in and we shift to someone else walking. This person heads toward a house that belongs to Alice (Adrienne King). She is having a nightmare and relieving the experience of what happened to her on the fateful Friday the 13th when she had to deal with Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer). She wakes up and speaks with her mother on the phone, telling her that she is trying to deal with it in her way. She is then attacked by someone.

It then shifts to a couple in a truck. They are trying to find a camp that they are going to be working at this summer. They stop off to use a payphone to see where to go from here. The man is Jeff (Bill Randolph) and his girlfriend is Sandra (Marta Kober). While they are on the phone, their truck is being towed. They chase after it and see that it is a prank being played by their friend, Ted (Stuart Charno).

They all go to the camp where they will start their training. The man running this place is Paul (John Furey). Also, here this summer is Terry (Kirsten Baker). We see here wearing short jean shorts and a tiny crop top. She gets hit in the backside by a stone that is fired by Scott (Russell Todd) and his slingshot. He is interested in her and she seems to be slightly into him as well. There is also Mark (Tom McBride), who is in a wheelchair. There is Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor) as well. Showing up late to this camp is Ginny (Amy Steel). She is seeing Paul and he’s not happy with her entrance. Part of it is worry and the other part is that it makes him look bad.

That night Paul tells the story of what happened five years ago at the camp across the lake. That is at Camp Crystal Lake, but it is known as Camp Blood and it has a death curse on it, if Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) is to be believed. He tells the story of Mrs. Voorhees and how she went on a killing spree before she was killed. Her son was named Jason and thought to have drowned. The local legend is that he is living in the woods. After a scare, Paul tells them that it isn’t true and doesn’t want to hear more about it. That night Crazy Ralph comes to camp and he is murdered.

Our teens are told to not go to the other camp. Sandra convinces Jeff to come with her and they’re busted. This prevents them from going to town with the rest of the counselors. Terry, Vickie, Mark and Scott also stay back. The person we saw attack Alice and Crazy Ralph picks off others one by one. Is this killer Jason from the legend or someone else?

That should be enough to recap the basic set up and introduce the characters. I’m assuming most everyone reading this has seen this movie. Where I’ll lead off is stating that his film does have some major plot-holes to the story. First being that the original film is the mother killing counselors because her son Jason drowned. If he didn’t drown, he was someone who has been living off land for all these years, but he is now murdering because his mother was killed. The other possibility being that he is vengeful spirit back from the dead when his mother was killed to get revenge, but he isn’t a supernatural monster at this point. The legend in the movie is claiming the first way, which is unlikely.

To caveat from this, Jaime brought up a good point. Maybe Mrs. Voorhees has a psychosis about her son almost drowning. She has taken it upon herself to keep the camp closed. Jason could be alive this whole time and helping his mother with the events of the original. This is us piecing things together without proof. It makes me accept this more though to be honest.

With that out of the way, I will get to what I liked about the story. The fact that it picks up where the last one led off and then jumps 5 years into the future. I like that this one also takes place on Friday the 13th, so good on their part to ensure that it worked out that way even though this film came out one year later. This idea of now making Jason the killer elevates it going forward as one of the best horror franchises. He is more plausible than the mother in the first one. There are just more things he could do than she could. The ending wasn’t bad. It is also mirroring something we got from the first one.

There isn’t much more I want to go into for the story so I’ll go over to the acting. I thought it was solid as well. I like Steel and I think that she is one of the best final girls in not only this series, but in slasher films. I liked that she goes on a monologue that if Jason was real, what his mental status would be, as she is a going to school to be a psychologist for children. It makes a lot of sense for the ending sequence. I didn’t mind Furey in his role as the head counselor. I liked that they brought back King to tie up her story. I thought the women were 80’s hot. They are all distinct enough characters that when their deaths happen, it carries some impact. They flesh them out in a way where I care which we didn’t always get that during this decade.

Finally, I’ll go into the filmmaking. The effects are good. They were done practically, which was the only way they could at the time. The problem though is that the original film got away with so much, this film was severely censored to not get an X rating. I feel that this hurts the product but can’t blame it. This is the censorship boards’ fault. I’ll come back to what we get is good. This movie flows well and never hits a lull. I think the cinematography is solid. We get some solid shots here. The score of the film is also fantastic. Harry Manfredini’s choice of music heightens the suspense and it has the iconic theme as well. It does feel a bit Bernard Hermann inspired, which I can’t fault. That guy was also a master.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this film. This is up there as one of my favorites. The story has its flaws when it comes to the back-story, but the simplicity to the slasher elements work. The acting that goes with it is great having one of the best final girls in slasher history in Ginny. The rest of the cast are people we get to know and care enough when they’re killed. The effects are good even though a lot aren’t seen. This moves along without a hitch and the score is amazing. This also has my favorite version of Jason with the sack over his head. I would highly recommend this film as I think it is very good, even if you’re not a horror fan.


My Rating: 8 out of 10