FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 - Page 2

Jason- the sultan of slaughter, takes on Muffin the dog       Naturally there is a Jason Voorhees and he's inherited his Mom's habit of lurking around woods pulling branches down so he can get a proper view of Godless teens frolicking. He's also pretty pissed off. He's pissed that airhead teens have, against Paul's warning, traipsed over to gawk at what's left of Camp Blood. He's also obviously pissed that a whole load of them have set up on his doorstep and have taken to jogging around his backyard in some of the tightest shorts known to humanity. And to add insult to injury one of the counsellors dogs- Muffin (which looks like a snarling toupee), proceeds to attack his ankles... Pretty soon he's poised for some bloody retribution (and who can blame him!).

       The expected showdown comes the next night. Most of the group decide to go into town to a bar- including Paul, Ginny and Ted (the last of whom I expected to be a dead cert for the body-count- being the annoying prankster and all- but no). Jeff, Sandra are told they have to stay behind at camp by Paul (as punishment for trying to sneak into the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake earlier in the day); joining them are Mark (Tom McBride), who's in a wheelchair, and Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor) who's got the hots for him; Terry (Kirsten Baker), who reasons- "...muffin might show!" (and show it does during her Voorhees baiting moonlit skinny-dipping escapade!); and finally Scott who, naturally, has the hots for Terry. Jason gets to work...

       Now, taking a moonlit dip in the buff is asking for trouble- and Terry's aquatic escapade seems to be the teenage straw that broke the camel's back. Jason, who had previously limited himself to throwing enigmatic shadows across cabin walls during lightening bursts, finally gets down to some teen pruning. As soon as the horny group put down their 'electronic wizards' and break up to attempt to make whoopee- Jason proves himself the ultimate party pooper. In a series of fairly gruesome ways (most of which were lifted from Mario Bava's BAY OF BLOOD) including a machete to the face (nasty!) and a double impalement, which gives the ultimate backing to that old slasher movie adage- 'have sex and die!'.

       Meanwhile, at the bar in town, Ginny gets to wondering about the legend of Jason Voorhees. "What if there is a Jason? ... What if there is some boy-beast running around Camp Crystal Lake? ... What would he be like today? - Some out-of-control psychopath?" (I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head there Ginny!). After they finish their beers Ginny and Paul return to camp- blissfully unaware that the only person still alive there is carrying a pitchfork and sporting a potato sack on his head.

       Immediately they get back they realise something is amiss- the main house is deserted and, more worryingly, they find one of the beds is covered with blood. It isn't before long they bump into Jason - who is waiting for them in a dark room. Paul wrestles with Jason and it looks like Paul comes off worse- which means that Ginny has to run for her life. What follows is a classic game of cat-and-mouse as Jason pursues her through cabins and around the camp- which ends when she accidentally stumbles across Jason's woodland cabin, and the gruesome altar he has constructed to his mother- the late Mrs Voorhees.

       Without giving it all away. Ginny has to employ all her skills- including a bit of pop-psychology to stay alive and keep one hop ahead of Voorhees junior. Ginny (Amy Steel)- uber final girl.

       FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 is a great sequel to Cunningham's first movie. Even though at this early stage of the series the makers were already making a little fun of the clichés, but luckily director Steve Miner seems to have a handle on what's scary and provides a pretty good series of shocks- never letting it descend into parody. It also look pretty good- making the most of being an exploitation film with major studio backing (seeing the film on a crystal sharp wide-screen DVD transfer is something of a revelation). All the performances are pretty good too, but it is Amy Steel as Ginny that really makes an impression. As a final-girl she's certainly a whole lot feistier than Adrienne King's Alice, from the first film, and is my favourite from the series- as I know she is for most of the series' fans. She's clever, sexy and handy with an array of sharp implements- and not afraid to turn them back on her aggressor! Also, can you imagine any of the modern day heroines agreeing to allow their character to actually wet themselves because they're so scared? No, neither can I. But Amy Steel's character does (although admittedly it is after seeing a rat ), and that has to earn some kind of respect. It's a shame that she didn't take up the offer to return as Ginny in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 (1982)- but did turn up in Fred Walton's semi-spoof slasher APRIL FOOL'S DAY in 1986.

       Jason, here played by Warrington Gillette, admirably keeps the psycho fire a burning- his rage fuelled by the death of his Mother- Mrs Voorhees (Betsy Palmer contributes a crucial cameo here- proving that she can't have let the flack she got for appearing in the first film get to her). It wasn't until the third film that Jason was to get his trademark hockey mask; in part 2 he had to make do with a potato sack with one eyehole cut out- which makes a nod to both THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980) and The terror never stops!THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1976); with the sack and lumberjack shirt he makes quite the quintessential backwoods loon. The sack hides what you just know will be some hideously twisted face and, in what would become a FRIDAY tradition, you wouldn't get a good look until the very end of the movie during some grand un-masking scene. Although the film doesn't really answer the crucial question of what exactly Jason is and what he's been up to (preferring to side-step the issue)- Is he a zombie? Or did he not really drown in the lake back in 1957- if so, why didn't he drop his Mom a line to let her know he was OK?! ... Anyway, it doesn't really matter, as continuity has never been one of series' strong points!

       Another thing that the film is infamous for is the vicious wrangle the makers had with the American censor board (the MPAA). Carl Fullerton provided the film's special fx- at least his briefly seen but effective Jason fx made it through, but a lot of the gore ended up on the cutting room floor. The MPAA had got such a hard time over letting the first film through with an R-rating they were waiting for Miner's film with scissors sharpened. Part 2 is reported, in its unedited form, to have been as gruesome as the first one but most of it had to be cut out to prevent an X-rating being slapped on. So much was cut out that in some instances the back of the video showed more gore than the film itself did! A case in point is the shot of that appears on the back of the pre-cert UK video box (the video itself however is the cut US version) and on the inside of the recent DVD release of the movie, the one of the couple who are shish-kebabed in bed by Jason. The shot shows the handle of the spear poking out of the boy's back and is missing in the R-rated cut. Sadly Paramount evidentially had no intention of releasing an unrated copy of the movie when they put out the DVD version recently, and although it looks wonderful in all its wide-screen glory it's a real shame that we can't see the movie as it was intended. Whether any of this extra material still exists is The terror never stops!debatable, and even if it does it's unlikely that Paramount would authorise a version with it intact. Perhaps our only chance to see the film uncensored, or at least see what we were missing is when the series finally gets the box treatment and gets the kind of extras that were sadly lacking in this recent release of the first two movies.

       All said and done, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 is easily one of the best films in the series- stylish and scary. Another choice bit of slasher entertainment from that most prolific of years- 1981.


BODYCOUNT 9  bodycount!   female:4 / male:5

       1) Female has screwdriver pushed through her temple
       2) Male garotted
       3) Male has throat slit with machete
       4) Female killed (method unseen)
       5) Male gets a machete in the face
       6) Male shish-kebabed by spear (along with No.7)
       7) Female shish-kebabed with spear
       8) Female stabbed in gut with butcher's knife
       9) Male missing (presumed dead)

home
coming soon!