FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 (1981)
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.
3 hockey masks.