An important item to understand about this movie is the filmmakers didn’t concern themselves with continuity too much, they wanted the plot and storyline quickly done and a simple scenario, a group of folks in middle of nowhere are stalked, slashed, stabbed, and slaughtered. They weren’t attempting to make a lot of scenes, rather speed from pre-production to production, tap on some posts and send it out be gobbled by viewers and popcorn lovers. Hence to include the Alice character, and the storyline, as to her killing is shortly after those dreadful events took place, and then part 2 starts 5-years later. Now look there’s plenty of spoilers in this review, you’ve been warned, and I will include lots of little points later in this article/anniversary review. While it might see futile to review a movie that almost every horror fan has seen, and the Jason Voorhees fans know phenomenally well, every frame and scene, likely the lines too, however, I feel why not deliver one more to list against the other 160 plus reviews. In addition, I will be investigating the fan theories of this movie strung together, this doesn’t mean I’m tearing them apart rather to rebuttal them or bring them out of the darkness.

 

The first film truly laid ground for the avalanche of slasher copycat films, almost all using the same formula of that movie and taking cues from Halloween [1978] and Psycho [1960], it’s also responsible for expanding/resurrecting the franchise market which laid dormant from Universal Studios monster movies; very easy to understand that the 80s likely had plenty of sequels, even the mainstream Hollywood took notice creating films in every conceivable genre possible. However, it’s been stated that with the release this film, Friday the 13th, Part II (which for the remainder of the review beknown as: F13P2) and with the continued box office success is the reason sequels started rolling out for viewers’ pleasure. This statement is slightly incorrect, if one merely looks at the slasher subgenre then Halloween II [1981] was in filming production from April 18 to May 25th, F13P2 was released on April 30th, therefore the box office receipts had no impact. Also, it’s been argued that F13P2 was the first horror film to present a ‘number or Roman numeral’ behind the title, this can easy be dismissed, one of the first films to do that is Mark of the Devil Part II [1973], then Black Magic 2 [1976], Exorcist II: The Heretic [1977], followed by Jaws 2 [1978] just to name a few.

Ron Kurz (RIP May 2020), served as screenwriter using characters from Victor Miller and Sen C. Cunningham, he would go on to receive credit for the characters in Parts 3 and 4 of this franchise, while Steve Minor (House [1986]) who worked on Part 1 as Producer, Production Manager and Assistant Director, was given the opportunity to step up to Director’s chair and hold onto it for Friday the 13th, Part III [1982].

As the story starts, the filmmakers used a lengthy portion of part one (estimated 8-minutes) for continuity, before opening with an individual walking across the street shown from the boots up, and the person looks up to a second story window, where Alice (Adrienne King (Tales of Poe [2014])) lives. The audience knows to leave its logical thinking at the door, meaning, if this person is Jason, how did he find her and what is he wearing to cover his face, and if isn’t then who is it? Now, I’m not the first to ask this important question, and definitely not the last, but the entire opening sequence feels terribly inadequate, it does contain a lot of plot holes and horror clichés such as unlocked doors, open windows, jump scares from a cat, a mysterious phone call, etc., all crammed into this opening segment. It also takes a snippet from Psycho [1960] by killing a primary actress, whose opening on screen credit comes after she’s dead.

Hence, it begins 5-years later with camp counselors Jeff (Bill Randolph) and Sandra (Marta Kober) riding in his big mighty pickup truck, stop in town to use a payphone to call his friend Ted (Stuart Charno (Christine [1983])); unbeknownst to them Ted arranges for a friend to haul away his truck; ah a practical joker (anyone recall Ned from part 1). Anyway, they all there for a training seminar conducted by Paul Holtz (John Furey (Island Claws [1980])), his seminar is on the shores of Crystal Lake, very close to the ruins of Camp Crystal Lake (aka Camp Blood), along their travels some bad omens become apparent but alas ignored. Once at the Camp Packanack, there’s the huge group of counselors, fans likely thought oh wow bigtime bloodbath, spoiler most vanish in 2-days for a night on the town of drinking, leaving behind a small group. However, more on that later, let’s continue of the wacky setup. We get a tour of the principal players among them is Terri (Kirsten Baker), who wears the skimpiest of outfits and her friend, Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor), wheelchair bound Mark (Tom McBride), and then Scott (Russell Todd (Chopping Mall [1986])) who thinks often with his crotch.

As Paul begins instruction and warning about bear country, Ginny (Amy Steel (April Fool’s Day [1986])) arrives late and gives some foreshadowing with knowledge of child psychology that she’s studied and how her car has starting issues, the screenwriter couldn’t stress this enough. That evening around a campfire Paul talks about Jason and screenwriter Ron Kurz, decides to muddy the waters (pun intended) with many of the facts from the first film – How? You’ll love this. Paul explains “Jason’s body was never recovered after drowning” asserting that “the old-timers in town say he’s still out there some sort demented creature surviving… fully grown now.” Then he continues mention Alice who said she saw him (as a boy, remember) “she disappeared two months later”. The camera slowly closes in on the group, a good set-up for a jump-scare, Paul continued “Legend has it that Jason saw her mother beheaded that night, he’ll take revenge, if anyone ever enters his wilderness again. We’re the first to back 5-years later.” Suddenly Ted, jumps out with a mask on and that spear, some flee but all laugh Paul ends Jason with is just a legend, but the Camp reminds them that the nearby ruins of Camp Crystal Lake are off-limits. Let’s remember its 1981, these counselors are typical for here and even The Burning [1981] though would be unacceptable in today’s world, all the toxic behavior and sexual conquests.  Soon enough Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) resident peeping tom finds that he started on the set too long, the angle of his demise is really strange yet fully garroted.

By the next day Sandra encourages Jeff to venture to Camp Blood, the invitation too great to ignore similar that of Eve in the Garden of Eden enjoy yourself but don’t go to this one apple tree. They only find a little white dog mangled, suggesting it was Teri’s dog Muffin and somehow never heard Deputy Winslow (Jack Marks) sneaking up on them who returns them to the camp. A few minutes the officer, stops on a lonely stretch of road heading back from the camp sees a hooded man hurrying across the road back into the wilderness gives pursuit. He stumbles across a bizarre shack, complete with a nonfunctioning toilet and Jason hammers this intruder. Clearly Jason lives up to the legend punishing the trespassers entering his domain, his reason for killing that’s always been a debatable issue, for some is avenging his mother’s death; or seeking out violence and pain for all he ever suffered in his existence. Others note his body was never recovered as a boy, and Hell cast him back to deploy ruthless measurements against those that have carnal or selfish interests, he cannot be rationalized with or bartered he has one primary objective – to Kill.

As all the good counselors leave for a night of partying, the remaining couples left behind, and the true mayhem starts, there’s no true build-up just stabbings and slit throats, quickly enough we homage (or rip-off) from A Bay of Blood [1971] the infamous double impalement- oh can’t forget Tom’s machete to the face and that wheelchair rolling backwards down on those steps, a cool kill scene in a sick manner; some question the scene on the basis of what position and angle Jason stood in to kill Tom, without seeing him because there no discernable manner it happens in natural sequence. Oh, yes Vickie gets caught and is quickly eliminated from the movie. When Paul and Ginny return, they first think it’s a twisted joke, but quickly enough Jason’s on the prowl, and we have likely one of the best and highly intelligent final girls as she uses her brains and brawn to thwart Jason’s attempts, from kicking him, to child psychology and even some chainsaw play (remember that foreshadowing scene from earlier in the film).

You’ll likely notice I have avoided mentioning who played Jason because there’s no simple answer, it’s estimated at four people portray him in various scenes. First Warrington Gillette as Jason in Alice’s apartment and perhaps a few other scenes, but injuries had him bow out of the role, it then shifted to Steve Dash, who sadly was uncredited for his role, then Jerry Wallace who runs in front of Winslow police car and then a woman of the crew did some of the strolling in the street on the way to Alice’s building. So very confusing, thankfully other films in the series started eliminating this mess. The film keeps the POV in the frame in many scenes, and script attempts to deal the viewers sympathy for Jason, however it is tough for the viewers to believe these young individuals deserve horrendous murders. Some try to point to ‘Paul conspiracy’ that he has been aiding Jason, helping him exist as a feral creature, that he transported him to Alice’s home, and brought her body back to his shack. I know sounds off-the-wall but let’s explore deeper. Early in the film who removes the Deputy’s car, fair point, I don’t think anyone is actually concerned or cared about it, then during the fight with Jason, Paul is just tossed about, not killed, leaving a question of how did he know where to go, finding that shack. Curious questions, however once more the script has many issues, the audience really is there for the popcorn, bloodshed, and Jason.

 

I think it’s clear that I like this franchise, the first aspect is the throwback homage look of Jason’s sack mask, which was used in The Town That Dreaded Sundown [1976] and a brief appearance by Betsy Palmer reprising her role once again. If you dislike the slasher genre and the misogynistic attitudes during the 1980s that existed in some of the throwback horror flicks then this isn’t for you, its harsh rather honest. Jason is a modern monster, just a zombie anytime or anyplace, no true reason there’s the opportunity to have a slasher, murderous ruthless spree. Friday the 13th, Part II, really doesn’t’ worry about the plot issues, it just succeeds with the slasher formula, overcoming its flaws and cash in the popularity of its brand, the title and after this film it’s all Jason Voorhees. It thoroughly unleashes havoc and brutality for the audience, no follow-up on the other camp counselors, even Paul’s demise lies in question, with some fans suggesting he was helping Jason, it’s a bit of a stretch but, in the Friday the 13th universe many possibilities exist, especially when dealing the broad-brush strokes of Jason’s backstory. When compared to Freddy, Michael, Chucky, Leatherface, Pinhead, or even Ghostface they all have understandable characteristics and history, he’s without any true background, arises at any time and placed for the purpose of pure killing spree.  While the ridiculous storyline of how Jason came to be, is overlooked by all he has a devoted fanbase to the character and franchise.

 

TAGLINES:

  • 2x The Fear…2x The Carnage…2x The Terror! (Deluxe Edition DVD)
  • One year ago today, 12 of her friends were violently murdered. Why should the first anniversary be any different?
  • The body count continues…
  • Just when you thought it was safe to go back to camp…
  • The day you count on for terror is not over

 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082418/

IMDb Rating: 6.1/10

Baron’s Rating: 5.5/10

Follows 

Friday the 13th [1980]

Followed by 

Friday the 13th Part III [1982]

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter [1984]

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning [1985]

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives [1986]

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood [1988]

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan [1989]

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday [1993]

Jason X [2001]