Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 2

Written by Ron Kurz
Directed by Steve Miner

Jeff...Bill Randolph
Sandra...Marta Kober
Paul...John Furey
Ginny...Amy Steel

Remember Alice? The sole survivor from part one? Well, in typical slasher fashion, they bring her back for the sequel…and then kill her off before the opening credits even begin to roll. God, I love that.  Or hate that. I'm not entirely sure.

And then, on with the movie.

There's a new camp at Crystal Lake and along with it a whole new slew of counselors in training. Even Crazy Ralph the drunken bicyclist comes back for an all too brief cameo to give his traditional warning: "I told the others. They didn't believe me. You're all doomed. You're all doomed." The counselors--all young attractive teens, natch, except for Ted who is a world class geek--laugh him off. They've all heard the legends of Camp Blood, but Mrs. Voorhees is dead, isn't she?

Of course she is. We see her decapitated head in the refrigerator at Alice's house. Jason, on the other hand, has been miraculously revived and buffed up.  We learn that his body was never recovered after his supposed drowning, and that he had somehow survived. He grew up in the woods, a "deranged creature", who watched in horror as his mother was beheaded. And now, fully-grown, he unleashes his wrath upon anyone stupid enough to disturb his wilderness.  Decked out in bib overalls, flannel shirt, and a pillowcase over his head, occasionally wielding a pitchfork, he looks like an inbred farmer from the classic X-Files episode "Home".

There are the usual sexual hi-jinx (although not as many as we would like) and creative murders (a sufficient amount), but there's nothing out of the ordinary here. However, this is where the Friday The 13th franchise really takes off, as Jason Voorhees only appeared at the end of Part 1 and even then it may have been a dream.  It is just beginning to find its footing, but already a lot of the trademarks are clearly visible:  POV shots of the killer, a large number of deaths perpetrated in diverse fashions...boobs.

And yet, Jason himself is a slightly different character. At this point in his evolution, he hasn't yet donned a hockey mask, and he also RUNS in this film, which any good slasher steadfastly refuses to do.  Although he does utilize his trademark machete, he only uses it once. The blueprint for Jason is there, but he's not fully built yet.

The characters here are slightly uneven, primarily Ginny who dominates the last third of the movie. When running from Jason, she hides beneath the bed, quiet as can be, until a harmless rat scurries past. Able to cope with a homicidal maniac but apparently not a mouse, she then pisses her pants, and the flowing urine gives her position away. And then when forced to stand him down, she wards him off with a chainsaw before opting to finish him off with...a chair. Makes sense to me.

As far as slasher films go, this one's not bad. It stays entertaining throughout, and even features a character or two you care about. My favorites were Jeff and Sandra, who seemed like a real couple. And she was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I can't help but feel the mythology doesn't quite make sense, though. If Jason survived the drowning, why didn't he just go back to his mother rather than watch her secretly from the trees? It would have saved her from a lot of heartache, and, well, a pretty good headache too. But what do I know?

You shouldn't go into these movies expecting such trivial things as "logic" and "sense", though. You should go into them expecting more primal things, like hot girls, T&A, creative death scenes, and a Final Girl. This delivers on all of these. One of the better entries in the franchise.

Rated R
87 Minutes
United States

"These kids smoke better dope than I do."

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