Five years after the events of Friday the 13th, a new group of camp counselors line up for the slaughter!
40 years ago this weekend, 4/30/81 to be exact, Friday the 13th Part 2 was released in theaters and a classic horror icon was born! Jason arrived to avenge his mother, in this installment, and thus his iconic character first came to life! HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!
MZNJ PERSONAL NOTE: Saw F13P2 opening night at the Hackensack Drive-In Little Ferry, N.J.
Jason arrives to avenge his mom and horror history is made!
Life lessons to be learned in F13P2! Fun-loving Ted (Stuart Charno) survives the movie by staying at the bar and continuing to get drunk!
The woman that started it all, Jason’s mom, Mrs. Voorhees!
40 years ago today the original Friday the 13th was released in theaters and a horror classic, a legendary franchise and a horror icon were born! Sure, Jason didn’t come along as the killer till part 2, but this is the installment were his iconic character first came to life! HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FRIDAY THE 13th!
The original Friday The 13th was released 35 years ago today on May 9th, 1980. I saw it on Friday June 13th, 1980…the day it takes place…at the long gone Rialto Theater in Ridgefield Park,N.J. It is now considered a horror classic and has spawned 10 sequels and 1 reboot and given us a horror icon in Jason…though his mom was the killer in this first installment. Happy Anniversary to a classic!
Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney)
The Rialto Theater where I saw in on Friday June 13th, 1980!
The original Friday The 13th is a bonafide horror classic and it spawned a much beloved series with Jason being a cool and iconic horror character. I saw the first sequel at the Hackensack Drive-In in Little Ferry, N.J. in 1981 and despite not being all that thrilled with it at the time, I still followed the series in a theater till giving up after F13 VII. Recently I have decided to return to the series and revisit the sequels and this is obviously the first I re-watched this after decades of not having seen it.
So how does it fare now? Part 2 was initially a big disappointment after the first movie, but has grown on me since then. It doesn’t quite match it’s predecessor, but is competently made and has it’s share of scares, suspense and fun. It follows the formula faithfully, with a new batch of counselors in peril. The second film opens with the first film’s final girl Alice (Adrienne King) about two months after she survived the massacre of her fellow camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake and let’s just say finding Mrs. Voorhees decapitated head in her fridge is only the beginning of her problems. We then jump five years later where Alice’s fate is now a campfire story for a new camp opening on Crystal Lake, not far from where the original massacres took place. The urban legend of Jason Voorhees still lurking in the woods, provides spooky tall tales for a new group of nubile and attractive camp counselors, until it becomes a horrifying reality when an unknown assailant wearing a sack over his head starts brutally killing off the young camp employees one by bloody one. Could it really be Jason returned to avenge his mother and will anyone survive?
Series producer Steve Miner took over from Sean S. Cunningham for the next two installments and his directing style is polished, a bit by-the-numbers, but gives the film some of the atmosphere and suspense the series initially had until it ran out of gas later on. The kills are a bit less inspired and far less graphic and a few of them even happen off camera. What little make-up FX we see, are well done, but there is less of one of the things that made the first F13 stand out…the gore.
The cast are fine with lead Amy Steel being a very likable heroine as counselor Ginny. She outsmarts Jason quite cleverly despite being scared out of her wits. John Furey is adequate but forgettable as Paul, her boyfriend and head counselor. The rest of the young cast are very attractive, but basically stereotypes, who are just there to be lambs for the slaughter and as such, they are fine. Lauren-Marie Taylor as sweet Vickie stands out, as does Kirsten Baker as the sexy, saucy Terry and amusing Stu Charno as Ted, who smartly stays at the bar while the others at camp meet their dooms.
There are a few nice touches and nods to the original that I won’t spoiler here and the flick does have the distinction of being the first film where Jason (Steve Daskewisz in costume and a mask-less Warrington Gillette in make-up) is the killer, though here he not only wears overalls and a sack over his head, but is average size and gets smacked around pretty good by Ginny in the last act. It wasn’t till Part 3 that he got his hockey mask and appeared as more of the hulking giant that he would remain till this day.
The film does now have some nice added 80s nostalgia added to it and is one of the better sequels despite not quite having the gritty style and gory killings of Part 1. Harry Manfredini’s iconic score is there to give it the Friday The 13th movie feel and it has a very attractive cast. As with the original, it comes complete with shock ending, though it seems a little forced here. Also stars Walt Gorney as crazy old Ralph, who should have taken his own advice.
I have to admit I was never a really big fan of this series…though I appreciate them a lot more now than back then…even when Jason took over the machete in Part 2. I found them very repetitive and they got increasingly silly as they went on. The original is still the best and while it’s a solid 80’s slasher movie and did set the gore and body-count template for the slashers of that era, I don’t think it’s quite as good as it’s reputation suggests, though I still have fun with it and certainly recognize it’s significance in the horror genre and status as a horror classic. It also holds nostalgic significance to me as I can proudly say that I saw this in a packed house at the Rialto theater on Friday June 13th 1980, the day it takes place and it was filmed in my home state of New Jersey.
Friday The 13th tells the story of Camp Crystal Lake, re-opening after being closed for decades because of the drowning of a young boy named Jason Vorhees and the unsolved murder of some counselors a year later. A group of new, young idealistic counselors have begun to renovate the place despite warnings from crazy local Ralph (Walt Gorney) that “camp blood” is cursed and they are all “doomed.” But there may be some truth to what crazy old Ralph has said and soon someone is stalking the camp ground and one by one the young counselors are being murdered in gruesome and horrible ways. Will any of them survive and just who is it that wants them all dead and why?
Director Sean S. Cunningham has a fairly basic directing style, but does create some suspense and scares, though Friday’s strength is more the gory kills with various sharp instruments than tension. He gives it a methodical pace, but that is intentional and how a lot of horrors at this time were paced. Harry Manfredini’s classic score helps a lot with the atmosphere and chills and Tom Savini delivers some really effective gore FX. The performances from it’s attractive cast, including Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer and a young Kevin Bacon, range from weak to adequate and there is some silly dialog for them to utter along with their screams. The characters are fairly likable, though not truly endearing, so that we really care about them. You can pretty much tell which of the young counselors is going to get it next with the suspense being more from in what bloody way they will meet their doom. But Friday The 13th is still a fun slasher and the final act gets pretty intense once our survivor meets the mysterious killer for the final confrontation, which is a bloody good time and the ending also set the standard for films having to have that shocking final scene to give audiences a last jolt before the credits role. I don’t consider it a classic on the same level as the film that inspired it, Halloween but, it is still a classic B movie horror in it’s own right and the film set the tone for 80s slashers with promiscuous teens dying gory deaths and body count becoming an equal element along with suspense and scares. It may not be quite as good as it’s given credit for, but it is an important film in the context of the era it was made and shaped the tone of what followed till Evil Dead and A Nightmare On Elm Street added their own style to the horror genre of that era. The 80s nostalgia also now helps add a lot of entertainment, too, as it is the type of horror that is rarely made anymore unless as a homage.
A great movie? … maybe not quite, but a damn fun slasher and an important horror nonetheless. In part 2 Jason took over and in part 3 he gained his iconic hockey mask and horror history was made. Always thought that Jason was a great horror icon that was never in a really great movie, though I did like Part 4 and the bloody fun Freddy v.s. Jason. The series quickly ran itself into the ground creatively and became more of a joke with increasing silly kill methods, telekinetic girls and trips to NYC and outer space in later installments. At least numerous gore FX technicians got to show their stuff. A recent reboot went back to the more serious roots, but was basically more of the same.
A solid 3 and 1/2 hockey masks… and yes I know Jason isn’t in this one and didn’t get his mask till part 3!
Have to admit I had a crush on adorable Annie (Robbi Morgan) when I first saw this, but sadly she is the first to go.
And who could forget good old Ralph (Walt Gorney), the crazy doomsayer who set a character standard for future horror flicks.