Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friday The 13th Part II Review (1981)

Aha! Mrs. Voorhees is back again...wait, thats not right...um.... Jason is back once again! Wait no. Jason is...starting? I guess so. In the second installment of the Friday series, another group of unsuspecting teenagers are slaughtered by a vicious killer. However in Part II, five years after the events of the original, a group of young camp counselors set out on endeavour for training, but not at Camp Crystal Lake, one across the lake, but still in the same forest. Jason apparently was more that an imagination, as he saw his mothers decapitation from the last film, and has grown up and is ready to exact his revenge. On more horny teenagers. However, Jason is a little different than you expect him to be. How you ask. Guess what, no hockey mask. Thats a trait that didn't get picked up until the third movie. First the killer wasn't Jason, and now no hockey mask. This series is just full of surprises, just like this sequel, they are mostly good.

We open just three months after the events of Part I, with Adrienne King breifly reprising her role of Alice from the first film. She lasts about fifthteen minutes before meeting her own shocking demise. Driving down the road in an old beat up truck, we find the next two of Jason's victims trying to find there way to a camp not far from the infamous camp blood. Not very many people decided t0 come back for this sequel, Adrienne King and Walt Gorny as Ralph, as well as Betsy Palmer. The new campers are not much different from the last, infact, I swear one of them looked exactly like Kevin Bacon. The new lead is a young blond named Ginny, not Jenny, but Ginny, played by Amy Steel. She was one of my least favorite characters in the movie, and I found her acting to be very annoying. Needless to say I enjoyed Anrienne King as our "Final Girl" a lot more. The rest of the acting in this movie is what you've come to expect from a horror film. Where in any other genre it would be trash, but for a horror film, its passable.

Made after the major, and unexpected success of the first film, Friday The 13th Part II, was made the following year, while still having a meager production, this one was slightly higher, with about one-million dollars on their hands rather than five-hundred-thousand. Originally the story was suppose to end with the third, each Friday The 13th they would put out a new, unrelated film, and turn the movies into some sort of anthology story, much like the Creepshow franchise. However, after each film just kept on raking in the dough, Paramount decided that Jason was enough, and the anthology would just have to wait. Besides, when you try to do a series without the many villian, and turn it into an anthology story, things don't go so well, Just look at Halloween III. Yeah, thats what I thought.

While 1981 was a popular year for the then young franchise, having the films first sequel come and all, and a bigger budget to do it with, you'd think that the special effects would knock the ones from the first one out of the park. No. They didn't. Infact they were about the same. While this films death sequences were a lot more creative, they weren't quite as bloody. The worlds only true Gore-Hound, Tom Savini, decided to skip out on doing the effects for Part II, to work on a film called The Burning. The Burning was one of the Friday The 13th clones that came out directly after the first, granted its also one of the better copy-cat films, its obviously not as popular as the Friday films. It didn't have any sequels. At all. Of course with a series like Friday where you have at films that all come out within the same decade, its kind of hard to compete. While I did kind of bitch about the films lack of blood, this is patially due to the MPAA cutting out 48 seconds of footage, which included much more blood letting during the famous double impalment scene, and since they have not realesed an uncut version of this film, there was no way for me to have seen it.

This film lacks the natural tension and creepiness that the original had, and that I loved so much. This film is much more straightforward, with no fancy twist ending, no special mystery killer, it is your average stalk and slash summercamp film. I also think the original had an advantage of having Betsy Palmer, who did a great job with her role of playing a mentally unstable woman, who is doing bad things but for good reasons, so in some ways, you feel sympathetic for her. I honestly thought that it was a tough role, for a very complex character, that unfourtanetly didn't get enough screentime for explanation. However, what this films lacks in tension and atmosphere, it makes up for with unique kills, and a fair about of gore. While you have classic stabs, and slashers, you also get temple crushes, machete heads, and the personal favorite, the all time favorite double impalment scene.


he plot for this film isn't mindblowingly complex, but you probably didn't expect it to be, so its really not that big of a deal. But I do give new Friday writer Ron Kurz some respect of during the plot device of Jason, into an actual story, and tying up some loose ends with the films continuity, and making things move along briskly. But not too brisky considering the film is only eighty-seven minutes long, and it allows for some story to develope, but have the kills frequently enough to not bore the audience. I also give the writer credit for having the balls to have Jason kill a dog, and then make a joke about. I thought the joke was genuinly funny and well placed.

Overall, this movie is definatly a worthy sequel, and better than most that follow it. The kills are better, bloody, and more fun this time over, Jason is finally brought into the picture to keep things fresh this time around. The plot was more or less the same, but kept itself in perspective enough to make it feel real. But it lacked the creepy atmoshphere the original carried perfectly, and while the acting wasn't much better last time around, and least last time, the main character was at least decent. Plus, I do indeed miss the cult classic quote, "killer mommy, kill her, nowhere to run, kill her mommy" Friday The 13th Part II gets Four zombi heads out of Five.




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