There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Continuing our tale of Camp Crystal Lake we arrive at the movie that forever altered the franchise taking Friday the 13th in a new direction featuring the first appearance of Jason Vorhees himself… this is Friday the 13th Part 2.
Today’s Key Movie:
Five years after the events of Friday the 13th, Camp Crystal Lake is opened once again but soon becomes the site of more grizzly murders. Jason Vorhees, long thought dead, has returned and wants revenge for the death of his mother.
Why this movie?
As I mentioned in my review for part one, I was not a fan of this series going in. It wouldn’t be until a much later sequel that I would get a chance to see a Friday the 13th film in the theater so this one is one that i missed out on early on. A friend decided to fix this and we spent the weekend watching the first four Friday the 13th films at his house. After being dissapointed in the lack of Jason in the first film (which I later came to appreciate), we dove right into the second…
My first impression was that this was yet more murder porn. I mean, sure, that is what this series is all about but still, once again we had someone running around killing people with no abandon. However, there was something different this time, this time there seemed to be a reason for these murders, the reason, much like that of Freddy, old fashioned revenge. Who could be the killer this time, I wondered, sure I knew that Jason would ultimately become the focus of the franchise but they established he was dead in the last film….so it couldn’t be him could it?
Sure enough, it wasn’t just Jason, but a Jason who was dead set on revenge for the death of his mother, Pamela Vorhees in the first film. Starting with her killer from the first film, he returns to Camp Crystal Lake and begins what his mother started years prior.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
Off the bat it is clearly a studio attempt to cash in on the success of the first film at any cost. Taking a nod from what was meant to be a mental gag at the end of the first film, this movie brings in Jason Vorhees who was believed to be dead. What proceeds is basically a kill fest with little to no actual plot other than, just survive. Which is all well and good but you need some sort of plot to tie it all together for it to work. The interesting thing is, they established one, without even really realizing it.
Early in the film one of the councilors tells the story of Jason Vorhees and the death of Pamela Vorhees five years prior. While this is told as more of a gag than a establishing story, it inadvertently establishes that Jason Vorhees never actually died when he drowned, but was instead raised in the woods only to become more like a mass murdering Sasquatch or Jersey Devil. Heck, this is reinforced when a local cop finds a shack in the woods and is ultimately killed for his find.
To fill in the blanks, we can take this narrative further as, while Pamela claims that Jason drowned because of the Camp Counselors lack of attention, she never actually said he died. She only implies that he did. So, what if he actually managed to survive? What if, in her madness Pamela raised a hurt and confused Jason Vorhees in the woods as she murdered the teens responsible for her son’s drowning. Having lost her mind, she believed that her now mentally ill son was telling her to kill people and, when they attempted to open up Crystal Lake again, she slipped back into this insanity.
After her death, Jason is left alone and frightened, but having been raised by an insane murderous mother in the woods, he picks up where she left off. Heck, it might not even be her actual son, it could be some crazy guy that she attached herself to that she called Jason and adopted as a replacement for her dead kid. Having lived in the woods and also being mentally ill, Jason has a knack for brushing off wounds as he attacks the teens. This would explain his initial abilities to keep coming back despite appearing dead. This stream of logic makes Jason more like that of Michael Myers in that he is simply an unstoppable killing machine that is a product of his upbringing who doesn’t become a supernatural being until after part four where he is indeed killed. Going into the film with that as an actual plot point somehow makes this sequel a much more interesting one as opposed to the murder fest it actually is. This is a story of revenge and frankly, it works.
Just like the last one, the cast does a great job in their roles. Seriously, even with the crazy murders and the constant sex drive everyone seems to have in this film, the actors really manage to feel like young 20 somethings who are out to ‘learn to be councilors’ but are really there for a summer vacation. Yes, there is some unnecessary nudity but you have to keep in mind that this is an early 80’s film and that was to be expected in horror. In fact, most horror films back then seemed to have at least one prerequisite nude shot that would ultimately end up in death, sex or a combination thereof. It is this trope that is played out as a rule in the later film Scream establishing that if you do participate in any kind of sexual behavior…well all bets are off.
Now, for the meat of it, the deaths in this one are pretty original. I have to give it to the filmmakers for having to come up with new and unique ways to kill campers over the course of a series of films. I mean, just stabbing gets boring after a while right? So, this time we get a selection of traps coupled with slit throats as well as some clever uses of spears and the advent of the iconic Jason Machette. However, there is one thing still missing from the Jason myth and that is the iconic Hockey Mask…in fact, his mask in this one….a simple burlap bag with an eye hole.
Overall, this is where the series really begins. While it is not as intense or as mystery laden as the first one, it establishes a character who will become a horror icon of the 80’s and beyond ushering in over 10 films and even eventually facing off with a certain nightmare inducing dream stalker. We are getting ahead of ourselves though. Friday the 13th Part 2 is not as scary as it could be but it is a fun film nonetheless and well worth watching if you want to experience the advent that was Friday the 13th.
OK, where do I get this movie?
At the time of this writing it was difficult to find this movie on it’s own so once again I recommend the boxed set that does not include the final three films. That being said, the final three films (Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X and Freddy Vs Jason) dont really fit in with the overall story…but you can bet we will still cover them here. Until then…
Late To The Game 1/21/2021
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