Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween Hootenanny: Friday the 13th Part 2 (Steve Miner, 1981)

After re-watching Jason Lives yesterday, I couldn't resist the urge to watch another Friday the 13th movie the same night... and what better way to follow what is fast becoming a favourite than to watch what is now firmly established as my most loved entry of the series. In fact, with all due respect to the original and some great sequels, I'd argue that Part 2 is the quintessential Friday the 13th movie...

Firstly, this is sort of the first proper Friday the 13th movie, in the sense that it's the first time we get to see Jason in action... and if you're saying to yourself, "Wait a minute, wasn't he killing people in the first one too?" then I'd suggest you stop reading immediately and go and do your horror homework, so to speak... But I'm sure even my mother is hip to the first movie by now, so I doubt I have to worry about spoiling it. So anyway, as I was saying, Part 2 is where the legend of Jason the masked maniac (as opposed to Jason the presumably drowned deformed child) really begins. Also, this movie is before he decides to don that now iconic hockey mask; here he looks closer in appearance to a psychotic farmhand or ambulatory scarecrow due to his plaid shirt and sack over the head combo, which I think I actually prefer to his more familiar get up... it's certainly creepier at any rate... especially the way that single eye stares out piercingly. 

I'd say that this instalment also has, for me, the largest percentage of likeable characters of any film from the series (as I've said before, I can't comment on Part 5 yet) and perhaps even of any slasher movie period. There really isn't a single person in this who grates on my nerves or I'm waiting impatiently to see die. The final girl from the first film, Alice (Adrienne King) returns briefly, though the actress declined a larger role due to apparently being stalked by an obsessed fan following the movie's huge success. Taking over what was essentially her role is Amy Steel as Ginny Field, and she never drops the ball for even a split second... in fact, she's probably the most likeable final girl that I can think of off the top of my head. And as a total side note, but one somewhat related to casting... I love all the schtick involving the dog for some reason... in fact, if you give a character in a horror or thriller movie a pet, then you score instant brownie points with me (case in point: Max von Sydow's pet parrot Marcello in Sleepless, named by the actor after Marcello Mastroianni).  

The film also contains a couple of riffs (or rip offs if you prefer) on Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood, so there's your Italian horror connection (and it's always good to have one of those of course)... There's a dude in a wheelchair sporting a groovy football jersey with a big 81 visible on front and back, a piece of clothing I'm sure will eventually become a must have fashion item for all slasher fans... and finally, the movie features (to me at least) one of the most satisfying finales of any slasher film, period. In fact come to think of it, I can't detect an ounce of fat or padding in this one at all... even during the quite extended pre-credits sequence, which never feels boring for a moment.... A superlative slasher indeed.... 


  1. I have seen this film 3 times. This year. I have a problem.

  2. As I've just watched it twice in two days (the second time in the background while I was writing this post and doing one or two other things), I have a feeling that addiction may be catching. Not sure whether there's an equivalent to AA for this sort of thing though...

  3. If loving Baghead Jason is wrong, I don't want to be right.

  4. I really dig these Halloween Hootenanny posts. I watched the new Friday The 13th documentary Crystal Lake Memories (400 minutes) last week and now really need to re-watch ALL of them! I pretty much agree with the usual fan favorites (2, 4, 6), but I feel like I need to re-evaluate the other ones after seeing the doc (recommended). Anyway, nice write-ups at a perfect timing! Keep 'em coming, they're much fun!

  5. Brad! I couldn't agree more :)

    MLP! Thanks for the comments as always and I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the Halloween posts :)

    I'll definitely check out that documentary when I get chance but I think I really need to hunt down Part V first just so I can say I've seen them all before I start digging into the behind the scenes stuff... And 400 minutes? Wow, that's crazy but extremely cool...