Another day, another Friday the 13th installment. This has probably got to be one of the coolest weeks I’ve had to work, because basically my duties include watching and writing about one of my favorite horror franchises. Feels good, man. Friday the 13th Part 2 first cut its way into theaters back in 1981, just about a year after the first installment. This film is special in that it marks the first time our main man Jason Voorhees is the one wielding the knife and spreading his vengeance amongst horny young counselors. Though if you’re looking for a hockey mask, you’re going to have to wait another day – he doesn’t pick that up until the third movie. For now, call him potato sack man!
Several years after the events of the first film a group of counselors gather at a new camp on Crystal Lake, a mere few miles from the multiple murder site of Camp Crystal Lake. They’re gathered to learn the basics of being counselors before the camp opens up for business. Unfortunately for them, Jason Voorhees is protective of his woods and knows only an inherited hatred of camp counselors. Let the tops come off and the blood gush out.
This installment is a huge step towards what most people think of when considering a Jason Voorhees film. It’s a few minutes shorter than the first one, but packs in about the same amount of kills, though they come at more regular intervals and don’t leave you waiting long before splattering some blood. Nine or ten people fall victim to the somewhat bumbling Voorhees.
Things get started with an ice pick to the head – and heads don’t get to take the rest of the film off either. There is a clawhammer to the head and a machete to the head. Add in some barbed wire strangulation, a slit throat, a guy in a wheelchair knocked down some stairs, a two-point spear thrust, some stabs, and a pick axe to the leg. Also, Jason gets kicked in the nuts.
There is a sex scene, some brief glimpses of ladies in lingerie, and thankfully the hottest and fittest babe decides to go for a fully nude swimming session – and that’s after she spends the first 40 minutes walking around in shorty-short shorts and a midriff bearing shirt. Thank you, ma’am.
No, seriously this time – listen to Crazy Ralph! Although, even Ralph doesn’t listen to his own advice, to his detriment.
In an effort to more strongly bind this film to the first, there is a six and a half minute recap, which is a bit tedious to people familiar with the story or those who have just watched it recently, but I digress. I’m a big fan of Friday the 13th Part 2 because it really is the beginning of Jason Voorhees coming to the forefront and doing what he does best – stabbing horny people. It’s the beginning, but clearly not the final product. Jason is missing his hockey mask, of course, and he’s not an unstoppable killing machine. He’s big, kind of clumsy, and may best be described as “a frightened retard” – not my words, but rather the character Ginny from the film.
The familiar structure is more firmly in place with a larger cast of counselors, virtually all of whom are interested in seeing their colleagues naked. The worst offenders, of course, soon find themselves penetrated by a variety of sharp objects. The kills themselves are pretty good, though when compared to what happens on screen these days are somewhat tame. Overall, the blood and guts isn’t phenomenal due to the films age, but it is enjoyable from the gorehound point of view.
The DVD includes some extras, including part two of the Lost Tales of Camp Blood, an interview with Peter Bracke, the author of Crystal Lake Memories, and some video footage of horror conventions featuring the esteemed franchise. This is definitely one any horror fan should have in their collection, its one of my favorite Jason Voorhees movies. It’s far better than the ones that most people my age first got introduced to, say for example Jason Takes Manhattan. For pure 80s slasher gold and the first real appearance of Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th Part 2 is a worthy sequel and a great time.
Fun Fact: Young Jason Vorhees was never intended to become the villain of the series. At the end of the first installment, his appearance was intended to be a dream sequence. Most of the original creators and cast felt that Jason was dead all along.
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