What?! Jason’s back!… er… I mean, Jason is here for the first time! It’s five years after the massacre at Crystal Lake committed by Jason’s mother and now Jason (back from the dead or whatever) is out for revenge. A new set of camp counselors are on the scene, but the result is basically the same. Can they survive the encounter with a new monster? Friday the 13th Part II!
Why?! The horror genre is interesting because the motivations have traditionally been vague or nonexistent, especially in the early franchises. Mike Myers was pure evil and out to kill his family, Freddy is pure evil and haunts the dreams of teenagers in his hometown, Leatherface is pure evil and kills those that stumble upon his crazy family. Friday the 13th is a bit different, whereby Jason’s mother kills all who attempt to reopen the camp where her son drowned through negligence. Part II continues the trend in that Jason isn’t just pure evil out to kill anyone who disturbs his peace at the camp, but rather he worships his (now dead) mother and kills those near the lake. He has no ability to discriminate between those that killed his mother five years ago and those that come to the lake in this film. As a result he goes on a rampage. It’s actually a pretty interesting backstory. The motivation for the campers is always the same: survive.
How?! Like, how did Jason kill the campers? In this one there isn’t a huge amount of variety. Mostly it’s stabbing people in the torso or neck. The best kill is the double spear kill through the bodies of two counselors making whoopee (and it gives me the opportunity to use the phrase “making whoopee.”). The third film is really when they started getting creative with the kills.
Who?! Each of the films has a Planchet of sorts. The guy who’s always joking around. This one is no different with Ted played by Stuart Charno, who has bright orange hair and is super skinny. Besides his jokes on jokes on jokes, the most interesting thing about the character is that he survives. Since the setting of the film is a functioning training camp there are like 25 people there. Instead of killing them all they wrote in the fact that most of the crew go out on the town the night of the massacre and don’t return until after the killing has stopped.
Where?! The first film pretty firmly establishes that the camp is located in New Jersey. The setting is bolstered in this one through the name of the training camp: Camp Packanack. This is clearly a play on Lake Packanack located in New Jersey. C+.
When?! The timeline for the series is legendarily screwed up. We know by reference that this film takes place five years after the first. It’s known from the fourth film (apparently) that the first film takes place in 1979. So we have the year of 1984 (which is fun because that means that the film was set in the future as it was released in 1982). I would presume that it’s June give that it’s a training camp for counselors for the upcoming camp season, but fans like to put it in July so that the third film takes place on Friday the 13th. Whatever. That’s what you can get from this film. Look towards Part III’s recap to get a better idea of the exact date. C-.
‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part 2? More like Just Like Halloween 2! We watched the first trilogy of one of the three horror mega franchises, could it live up to the standard set by the first installment of Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street? Let’s just say it gets off to a rocky start. Let’s get into it!
- The Good – If you like lots of kills, and inventive kills this is the franchise for you it turns out. Halloween had less kills and more tension, and Myers for the most part slashes people (it worked well when he was a kid, why change anything ten years later you know?), and Kruger has that whole supernatural dream thing going. But otherwise … this guy was probably actually my least favorite of the three.
- The Bad – This installment is a mess. You want to think the ending is a dream? Then did Paul survive? If not what happened to him? Who is Jason, a grown up version of the boy in the lake? Did he not actually die? Is this another boy Mrs. Voorhees raised in the woods? What happened to the kids who went off to the townie bar, I presume they just survived. Why is this never mentioned ever again? For all the low budget gore and dozen or so kill shots, there are so many loose ends after the movie sprints through the last seven teenage deaths that it is a wonder the editor cobbled the madness together.
- The BMT – Out of the three I honestly think the second is the worst, but no. Too low budget. They made these things on a dime at the time. The entire trilogy predates Elm Street so the only real comparisons you got are things like Halloween 2 which kind of also looks like crap. Elm Street stands with The Thing as far as practical effects are concerned, so for the slasher genre that was (unfortunately a terrible) turning point. Here though they grabbed good looking young actors off the street and filmed it over a weekend basically. And what they made is actually pretty impressive.
Quick Sklogification in honor of this movie just being a mess. Out of the many admirable things in this franchise, one of the best things is watching the evolution of the character of Jason and the lore surrounding the film. But it ended up leaving things a little messy upon reviewing. Is Jason the (un)dead boy from the first film? Is there a psychic aspect to the series with the multiple dream sequences throughout? It is hard to tell. So If I were to propose a rewrite of the original trilogy (and, no, I haven’t seen the remakes) it would go a little like this: Ten years after a massacre at Crystal Lake closed the camp for good a new camp director wants to push against the ghost stories and start anew. But uh-oh, Jason won’t allow this and a massacre on a fateful Friday the 13th occurs. Turns out the instigating event was the death of his mother Mrs. Voorhees at the camp when he was but a boy of ten and he massacred them all and fled to the woods presumed drowned and dead (a little twist on the plot of the original). The lone survivor of the present massacre is taken to a hospital for recovery thinking Jason was killed by a machete. Jason, adopting this machete as his weapon of choice, follows her to the hospital on Saturday the 14th and, as a nod to Halloween 2, goes on a late night murderous rampage through the hospital. Naturally there is a hockey goalie there getting bandaged up after a local game and Jason snags that along the way. The lone survivor is killed, and Jason, again presumed dead, ultimately slinks off into the woods. In the third installment a manhunt has begun for Jason by the local police. Two deputies come across the injured killer and one is killed and the other wounded. The wounded deputy crawls to a cabin inhabited by oblivious teenagers having a party. Jason, in a rage, attacks the house and is ultimately killed by the deputy, the lone survivor of the bloody weekend. Throughout the trilogy the movies start where the predecessor ends, and there is a scattered powerful storm raking across the Crystal Lake region.
Now I’m not saying this is somehow better or the best, but nods to the original, a tighter narrative and lore, nods to Halloween as well (as was initially intended in fact), and no muddled need for the supernatural. Makes me wonder what the remakes are actually like.