Friday, April 6, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: F is for Friday the 13th!

Anyone who is familar with this blog might, upon seeing what this sixth letter stood for, assume I'm going to rerun my award winning blog series retrospective post series from this past October. But oh no. Here instead is an all new review for the April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge:

F is for Friday the 13th!

Friday the 13th Part 2  (Paramount, 1981)

Before the Camera:

Amy Steel  (April Fool's Day '86)
John Furey (Island Claws)
Stu Charno  (Christine)
Kristen Baker  (Gas Pump Girls)
Tom McBride  (Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins)
Marta Kober  (School Spirit)
Bill Randolph  (Dressed to Kill)
Lauren-Marie Taylor  (Girls Nite Out)
Russell Todd  (Chopping Mall)
Steve Daskawicz  (Alone in the Dark '82)
Warrington Gillette  (Time Walker)
Walt Gorney (Friday the 13th)
Crazy Ralph

Special Appearances
Betsy Palmer  (Friday the 13th)
Adrienne King  (Friday the 13th)

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Steve Miner

Produced by Frank Mancuso, Jr.

Written by Ron Kurz
from characters created by Victor Miller

In the summer of 1980, Paramount hit the jackpot by picking up an independently made horror movie called Friday the 13th. The movie made the company a great deal of money, and so a year later no one was too surprised when a sequel appeared. As the movie fades in, it is two months since the events of the first movie, and we are delighted to see Alice (King) again. She has either stayed on in the town of Crystal Lake, or returned – trying to exorcize the demons that have plagued her since she beheaded Mrs. Voorhees – the batcrap crazy psycho who offed all of her friends on that stormy Friday, June 13th - through a therapy combining her art, arguing with her mom on the phone, short showers, hot tea, and possibly ice sculpture. I am basing that solely on what we see in the opening minutes of the movie – but before we can learn any more – someone shows up and enters Alice’s temple. No, not that, you dirty bird! And there’s no worship going on either. No, I’m afraid Alice – given the last name Hardy in one of the novelizations – doesn’t live up to that last name, checking out of the second movie in the opening minutes after the intruder gets picky with her.

The marshmallows aren't the only things that
are toast in this pic...
One credit sequence later, we pick back up five years later with a sequence very reminiscent of the first movie – truck, two guys, one girl – all headed to a camp site located on Crystal Lake. One of the guys kind of looks like Kevin Bacon (Randolph) – and the other one is quickly established as the group prankster, much like the first movie’s Ned; but here with the much more original name Ted (Charno). They even run into Crazy Ralph (Gorney), still making his pronouncements of doom to anyone within earshot. When the trio finally does make it to their destination, we discover they’re not going to work as counselors – they’re instead attending a counselor training refresher course run by Paul (Furey). As we know this is a Friday the 13th movie, this conveniently lines up several possible victims, including Paul’s assistant Ginny (Steel) a fresh faced Final Girl-next-door type who brings her child psychology education with her everywhere she goes. As they go about their refresher training, we become aware of a creepy figure stalking the camp. But that’s just Ralph, who seems a bit more Peeping Tom-mish than he was previously, which may be why he runs afoul of the other creepy stalker at the camp – none other than Jason Voorhees, not drowned after all! Now all grown up, he roams around the area of the lake, “taking revenge on anyone who enters his wilderness.” As several of the counselors find out – putting your camp a half mile further down the lake is not nearly far enough. Jason’s out there…

Amy, no, it's not 3-D until the next movie!

The director chair for this entry was offered to Sean Cunningham, but he said no as he was trying to work away from the horror genre at that time. So Paramount hired Steve Miner – who had acted as Unit Production Manager on the first movie to take over the reins for this one. Miner does well with his directorial debut, making a worthy sequel to a fine first film. At the time of its production Miner was quoted as saying in Fangoria magazine that Part 2 would be “…more of the same, only better.” I wouldn’t go that far – the first movie has a really rough edged charm that is a little lost in this more slickly made sequel, but in the end it’s a fine entry. There are some story issues, starting with the choice of new killer to take over for the undeniably dead Mrs. Voorhees – while Jason would slaughter his way into the Horror Hall of Fame – there are some questions left by the movie, which just kind of deposits him in the woods and takes off.

Jason really PICKS his weapons carefully in this one..
But let's leave the theorizing for the later paragraphs - should anyone (everyone?) want to skip all that and just find out what I think of the movie. Back when I first saw this one I was mad - because the Fangoria preview article showed a lot of effects that the MPAA insisted be cut out. Carl Fullerton stepped in for Tom Savini and did a spiffy job on the makeup effects - and I still hope that somehow a more complete edition will one day be released - we NEED to justify those poor kids' suffering shooting the scene where they're double skewered by spear by actually seeing it - instead of "spear goes up - spear goes down off camera - spear head hits floor with some blood." Summing up, as I'm starting to rival Simon Hawke's novelization of the movie in word count - Amy Steel is an incredibly appealing Final Girl; and Steve Daskawicz (aka Steve Dash) makes a fine Jason before he found that iconic hockey mask, with Warrington Gillette in support for window jumping sans hood. In any case, the script keeps the pace up, the deaths are parsed out at regular intervals, and the slick studio look is nice. It's a must for horror or slasher fans - and a high recommendation for those who take their horror in smaller doses but still like a good stiff shot now and again. Check this one out, kids!

All right - I'm going to wax long and eloquently about Jason Voorhees for a while - not interested? Keep not reading until you see the "Let's Get Out of Here ?" section - you're clear for regular review from there down.

There is a scene in the second half of the movie where a tipsy Ginny talks about her theories on Jason to a disbelieving Paul and Ted, but she is more concerned with what he’s become than how he managed to make it happen.

As I asked in my series retrospective series – we are supposed to believe Jason climbed out of the lake as a young man in 1957, and was unable to find his mom or something. Eventually, now almost thirty years later – remember, this is 1985 as far as the story goes – Jason has become this feral creature living in the woods, killing his food and taking violent umbrage at anyone trespassing on what he considers the memorial garden for his late momma. Having spent some time thinking about this since I posted that in October – I actually can explain how we get a fully grown living Jason seeing his mom killed and taking up her murderous mantle thereafter.

"Oh crap I'm glad Jason's not here to see this!"

So let’s say Mrs. Voorhees – later established as Pamela via a gravestone spotted in part 4 – didn’t live in Crystal Lake. Suppose she spent the fall, winter, and spring months living somewhere else. So, she comes and works for the Christys as the camp cook for however many years, then loses her son in that swimming accident. Not knowing that the young man washed ashore in one of the more remote areas of the lake, a mourning Pam packs up and heads out. She spends a year seething with hatred, and the next year returns to the area – not to cook for the camp’s kids, but to cook the geese of the two counselors who didn't keep a closer eye on little Jason. In the meantime, Jason, taught some rudimentary survival skills by his mom, has followed his mom's orders after climbing out of the lake - he finds shelter, eats some twigs and berries, and avoids contact with anyone else in the world while he waits for his mom to come get him. But she thinks he's dead, and other than a few late night excursions back to the camp to poison the well or to set a fire or three - she stays away from the area. Years pass. Jason grows up, improves his living conditions slightly, and is still waiting for Mrs. V to come rolling up in her beloved Jeep. Then, in June 1980, she comes back and goes on a killing spree on Friday the 13th. During her travels hither and yon around the lake as she claims victims, Jason runs across her - but he is too scared to contact her - she must be VERY mad that it's taken so long to find him - as she keeps hacking everyone she comes across to death. So, a frightened Jason hangs back but stalks his mom even as she is stalking her victims. That night, before he can work up the nerve to show himself to her and accept the stern reprimand and spanking he knows he's going to get - Pamela loses her head in the final battle with Alice - literally - as in decapitated, man - right in front of her son, out of sight but watching nearby. After Alice floats out on her boat trip, Jason creeps up and takes his mom's head, running off back to his shack in the woods where he starts building the shrine to his mom's noggin. A couple of months later he goes after Alice, and then five years after that Part 2 gets going in earnest...
It's almost like she's just sleeping...

Now all that does provide what I think is a reasonable explanation for how we get from Part 1 to Part 2, except for one thing: how Jason figures out Alice is staying in town and where she is. But I've done my part - I'll leave it to others who are fans of the series to pick up this ball and run with it. To finish, then - Jason did not drown in 1957. The attack on Alice's canoe at the end of the first movie is a dream. Jason is alive and grown in this movie, and alive in Parts 3 and 4. He finally buys it when Tommy Jarvis goes medieval on him at the end of 4, and after recuperating through part 5, he returns in zombie form for parts 6-11. That's my theory and I'm stickin' to it.

By the way - if you loved this post and want to read a whole bunch more of my natterings about this series - here's the links to the three part blogtrospective:

Voorhees a Jolly Good Fellow! (Part 1)

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Blogtrospective Part 2! (er...Part 2)

Jason Goes to Hell in a Handbasket: The Final Friday Blog! (Part 3)

Let's Get Out of Here ?
At right around the 18:00 mark, Ted doesn't want to talk about Camp Blood.

Eye Candy ?

Oh my yes!

Amy Steel!

Why yes, that is me and Amy Steel together!

The wonderfully cheeky Kirsten Baker!

And a shout out to already inducted Adrienne King!

Welcome aboard, Amy and Kirsten! Hey Adrienne!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Friday the 13th Part 2 is is surprisingly good
despite a distinct lack of hockey mask!"

"G" I hope you'll come back for tomorrow's post, and until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. I LOVED this piece and the award was very well-deserved, my friend. This is an iconic franchise that I think inspired an entire generation of horror fans, myself included.

    1. Thanks MB - and can you believe it - there's MORE from this series coming during this A-Z! Will I ever stop writing about it?

  2. You'd have to be from another planet not to have seen Friday the 13th or one of the sequels. I spoofed this in my movie short "The Bear Switch Project." Great post!

    1. Thanks Luana - and you're totally right - I doubt there is a single person whose teen years touched the 80's who didn't watch several of these on home video at least.


    sorry, i ran out of witty things to say for this!...unless. 8D

  4. Not having been around in the 80s, I hope that excuses me of being from another planet! I've never seen Friday the 13th. :P

    1. Well, welcome to our world then! ;) This post must have seemed like it was written on another planet then - a review of a sequel, with a bunch of mythology nattering at the end - you're a brave soul to make it through this one! Thanks, GE!

  5. Good theory. Makes sense to me!

  6. great post! growing up, my mom would never let us go to the Friday the 13th movies, can't imagine why.......

    found you on the a to z, will be back to read more! I am a follower now. :)

    feel free to take a peek at my blog if you have time, it is a travel theme:



    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, I was the third boy in the family, with an eight year gap between my next older brother and me - so my parents were too tired to notice what I was watching. Yay!

      Thanks so much for coming by - and for following! You are one of my 68 favorite people in the Blogosphere!

  7. Next to 3, 6 & 7, the best Ft13 movie. An extremely cool and tense Jason-flick.

    Your theory is very, very interesting and definitely makes sense to me.

    1. Absolutely one of the goodies in the series, Harry. Thanks for the kudos on the theorizing - I don't know why I spend so much time working this stuff out in my head - but I can multitask, so at least I'm getting other stuff done at the same time!

  8. I'm not a true horror aficionado, but the actresses alone make this entry worth a careful look--I mean, read.

    When my kids were young, we watched a show called Kim Possible. At least two episodes revolved around strange goings-on at lakeside Camp Wannaweep. It amused me no end that a Disney writer tucked in what was, to me, an obvious Friday the 13th reference. Betting the producers didn't see it, or changes would have been made.

    1. They are fetching, aren't they!

      I too enjoy when there's a good wink wink joke in a kids program referring to something not for kids.