The Jason Voorhees Marathon: Part II
We started on a surprisingly strong note with this marathon of cheesy 80s horror. It’s easy to see why it took off – it’s a gruesome horror flick that is more accessible than similarly toned fare like Last House on the Left. Fans could enjoy jump scares, blood and pointless nudity without enduring scenes of psychological and physical torture. The original concept was to create an anthology series with every unique, self-contained story being set on Friday the 13th. Instead the ending of the original film opened up such a strong possibility for a sequel that they decided to roll with it. Coincidently the Halloween series had the same plan two years prior with the same result.
Previously: Part I
Anyway, Jason would return from the Crystal Lake and the horror icon we’re now familiar with would begin to take shape.
Friday the 13th: Part II
Director: Steve Miner
Cast: Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Walt Gorney, Steve Daskawisz, Warrington Gillette, Stu Charno, Bill Randolph, Marta Kober, Tom McBride
Plot: It’s five years on from the events of the first film and Jason has become an urban legend, helped along by the only survivor of the first film disappearing. He turns out to be more than a legend when a group of counselors-in-training come under attack.
Review: What makes this film a solid companion piece to the original is the direct ties it has to the first film. We begin with Alice (King) trying to get her live back together only for an unseen figure to murder her. We jump ahead to our new characters heading out to Crystal Lake where they discuss what happened previously and even attempt to sneak into the closed down Camp Crystal Lake.
As with the first film there’s a good amount of time to set up the characters establish their personalities before putting them on the chopping block. This time around it’s a training camp for new counselors, making it a larger cast of hormonal, pot smoking teens to skinny dip and whatnot. Like with the first film there’s a building feeling of suspense as it is revealed that someone is watching them. The first two films do add that voyeuristic element, a touch of dramatic irony that makes everything more unsettling.
Jason makes his first appearance as the killer in this film, being driven by the death of his mother to butcher teenagers (obviously). He appears as a huge, hulking man wearing overalls and a plain white sack over his head, peering out at his victims through a single hole. It’s not as memorable as his later mask, but effective. Our heroine Ginny (Steel) does find herself into Jason’s cabin where she dons his mother’s sweater, an act that briefly confuses Jason and adds to his story.
This film would be almost on par with the first but the absence of Tom Savini on the effects is very noticeable. None of the kills have the same punch to them, with much of the impacts happening off screen. The couple being impaled into the bed with the spear may have been impressive if it didn’t feel like Jason was stabbing something with the resistance of a bean bag. There’s some attempts at creativity but it feels like a pretender.
Fortunately we do get a decent hero in form of Ginny Field. At first depicted as the unreliable girlfriend to the camp leader it’s he resolution and quick thinking that makes her a solid match for the murderer. The scene where she stands up to Jason in his cabin and fights back is one of the best moments in the series to date. Ginny is well deserving of being the Final Girl.
If you liked the first you’d no doubt like the second as it’s essentially the same stuff.
Rating: SIX out of TEN
Jason’s Best Kill: Mark getting smacked in the face with a machete then his wheelchair being sent down the stairs was needlessly cruel. He was about to score!