House of Horror: Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

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Title: Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Director: Steve Miner

Written by: Ron Kurz & Phil Scuderi

Starring:

  • Amy Steel
  • John Furey
  • Kristen Baker
  • Steve Baskawisz
  • Adrienne King (Cameo)

Plot: Two months following the massacre at Camp Crystal Lake in the original film, Alice L. Hardy is trying to put her life together again. While feeding her cat, she discovers the severed head of Pamela Voorhees in her refrigerator before an unseen killer inserts an ice pick in her temple, killing her. Five years later, a new set of counselors are gearing up to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, and then, would ya know it, the bodies start hitting the floor. Is it Jason….or someone else?

Review: The first Friday the 13th was meant to be a one-time deal, but after it tore up the box office and made Sean S. Cunningham a big time writer/director, a sequel was inevitable. The issue was, and spoiler alert for those that haven’t seen the thirty year-old film, the killer in Friday the 13th was Mrs. Voorhees, and she was killed at the end. The issue now is what do you do with the sequel? One idea that was floated around was to make more films with each film having its own story, but this fell through and it’s probably for the best.

So, the writers decided to bring in Jason, the reason behind the carnage in the first film, back to life. Well, I suppose it really depends on what story you believe. It’s never made clear exactly how Jason came to be. If the viewer is to believe Mrs. Voorhees, Jason died in the lake so many years ago. Then again, why would you believe her? She’s a nutcase! Anyway, either Jason never died and Mrs. Voorhees flipped her lid anyway, or Jason lived, and watched his mother get killed that night, and decided to get revenge for himself.

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They’ll never learn to stay at home.

The only real issue is, if he watched what happened, why didn’t he kill Alice, the lead in the first film, at that moment? That’s the problem with bringing Jason into the fold, with no concrete reason why, it’s hard for viewers to buy his story. At the end of the day, we just have to accept that Jason is here, and he’s in for some killing.

The film takes place five years after the first, giving Camp Crystal Lake some time to recover. Of course a group of counselors intend to reopen the resort, but instead of going back to the scene of the crime they take up shop a few hundred yards down river. In fact they’re so close that people are able to wander into the old stomping ground. Jason, now out for revenge, is there to hack em up one by one.

Ginny Field (Amy Steel), our hero of the film, actually lays down some good analysis on Jason, what he would be like if he was still alive, and how he would think like a child even though he’d be an adult. It actually adds some juiciness to the story; sure there are plenty of scares and some good kills, but it’s nice to have some steak with that sizzle.

The finale is one of my favorites, as we come to find that Jason’s kept a keepsake from his mom, almost like a shrine to her. All but two end up dying in the end, but creates some problems heading into the next film. As expected, there’s one final jump scare at the end.

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Just your typical campfire scene….

What a lot of people don’t remember about Friday the 13th Part 2 is, its not really that gory. Turns out the MPAA had it’s way with the film after the first film was able to get away with so much. I never really noticed how toned down the kills are in this one, so if you’re a gore freak, this one really isn’t for you. On the flip side, I think, the less gore, the better the chills.

Steve Miner cuts a really good pace here, and when the film slows down we get enough story to keep us going, and of course the music is spot on again here. The creepy sounds of Ki-Ki-Ki come back to keep viewers constantly afraid of what’s around the corner.

Acting: Amy Steel does a great job as Ginny Field, she gives us a person to root for whose smart enough to tangle with Jason without having to psychically take him on. John Furey does his job as Paul Holt, who’s the brawn to Ginny’s brains. Steve Baskawisz does a great job as Jason, stalking his victims and dropping bodies.

Gore Factor: Even though the MPAA took the scissors to this one, you do get plenty to hold you over. Quality kills include a hammer to the back of the head, a spear through a couple having sex, one slashed throat, a machete to the face and a screw driver to the brain.

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Nope….never going camping again.

Nudity Factor: The guys get a few random boobs and a butt, and the girls get nada. Sorry ladies.

Fun Facts:

  • Jason in this film is dressed to look exactly the same as the hooded, burlap sack killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
  • A shot of the infamous double-impalement was cut to avoid an “X” rating, yet a gory still-photo of this censored shot appears on the back of the videocassette box.
  • Throughout the final scene, the mummified head of Mrs. Voorhees is noticeably an actress wearing makeup rather than a fake head. The final shot is a close-up of the head, ending in a freeze frame before the credits roll. Originally this shot ended with Mrs. Voorhees opening her eyes and smiling, but at the last minute Steve Miner decided this effect was hokey and cheapened the movie’s impact.
  • When the filmmakers asked Adrienne King to reprise her role as Alice, she said that she wanted to be on screen for a short period of time because there was an obsessive fan who was stalking her, broke into her apartment, and she feared for her life.
  • The film takes place five years after the first, which was set in 1979 according to Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Meaning that this film takes place in 1984. During both summers, both the Friday the 13th’s occurred in July making this film take place exactly five years after the events of the first film.

Overall: To me this is probably the creepiest Friday the 13th in the entire series. We don’t have a lot of gore, and Jason is running in this one (not walking) and has a sack with one eye hole for a mask, which is far more realistic then the hockey mask from the third installment. Basically, Jason could be some crazy backwoods hillbilly out in the woods. The less supernatural about the killer, the scarier he is. Friday the 13th Part 2 is a great follow up to the first film, even if it introduces a problem with Jason returning from his supposed grave in the first film. Worth a watch for sure.

Rating: 4.5/5

Author: Jeremy Nichols

Jeremy Nichols is regular writer for the Place to be Nation, a father of two and a full time gamer. He hosts a video game podcast at VGCE.podomatic.com and loves Super Mario Bros. Sweep the leg! Send Jeremy an email