With the release of a new Friday the 13th this
Friday February 13th mixed with the (third, maybe) rerelease of the
first three films in new DVDs, I figured now is as good a time as any
to reprint this classic series from a couple of years back, where I sat
down and watched all 10 Friday the 13th films as well as Freddy vs Jason.
To make this something more than a simple reprint series, I’m also
reviewing the new DVDs on each of the relevant entries. Which I guess
makes just the last 8 nothing more than a reprint series, but since
this was a pretty fun series I don’t see the harm in that. This new
edition of CHUD Goes to Camp Crystal Lake will culminate with my review of the new Friday the 13th,
but it’s unlikely that it will be in the same format as the rest of the
series. I’ll save that for my review of the DVD in four months.
Special thanks to Litmus Configuration for the amazing image above!
Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
possibly 10 (One icepick to the temple, one garroting, one hammer claw
to the head, one slit throat, one machete to the face plus a fall down
a flight of stone steps in a wheelchair, two speared, one knifed, one
offscreen death by uncertain means and one missing, presumed dead)
Best Kill: In a post-coital embrace two lovers become as one when they’re stuck together on a spear.
Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll:
Two camp staffers have sex and get away with it, but the crazy old man
peeping on them isn’t so lucky. Another peeping tom bites it when his
leg gets caught in a rope trap and Jason slits his throat. He was
peeping on a skinny dipper, and skinny dipping leads to an offscreen
death and a spot in Jason’s country cottage. Full blown sex leads to
immediate murder while sexual flirtation with a cripple (as well as
offering him drugs) leads to both his death and the murder of the girl.
A number of counselors go to a bar in town where they listen to bad
white funk music, drink beers and survive the night.
The Comeuppance: Jason takes a machete to the shoulder.
The Movie: Considering how clumsy and inept he is in Friday the 13th Part 2,
it’s amazing that Jason ever went on to have the prodigious career that
followed. At one point Jason stands on a chair to stab a girl with a
pitchfork and the chair breaks, sending the big dummy with a pillowcase
on his head (oh yes, he is wearing a pillowcase. Add The Elephant Man to
the list of films from which the Friday franchise cribs) crashing down,
snapping the pitchfork in half. Not the most auspicious of debuts.
He begins the film much more strongly. The sequel to Friday the 13th
opens some time after Mama Voorhees’ rampage at Camp Blood, with
Survivor Girl Alice trying to get her life back together at home. We
follow her through her excruciatingly dull evening routine (director
Steve Miner not having learned the difference between tension and
boredom) before Jason shows up at her place. He’s put his mom’s head in
her refrigerator (always good for a lol), and then he drives an ice
pick into her skull. This raises some interesting questions, especially
because before he kills Alice Jason gives her a prank call: can Jason
read? How else would he have found Alice’s house and phone number? He
must have read it in the phone book, as he has never seemed capable
speech after drowning. And did he have change to make a phone call?
Also, did Jason take a bus to Alice’s house? How the hell did he get
there, considering what he looks like at the end of the movie?
All of these questions simmered in my mind throughout the opening credits (nice touch: the Friday the 13th
logo EXPLODES! It’s possibly the most exciting moment in this turgid
film), but all of that was soon forgotten because of two things: one
was watching huge breasted teen Sandra run across a road and the other
was the revelation that Friday the 13th Part 2 takes place in the future. Jason X
wasn’t the first sci-fi installment! See, this film takes place 5 years
after the events of the first film, even though it was released just
one year later. This places Jason’s first kill-crazy adventure in 1984
The big problem with Friday the 13th Part 2
isn’t that Jason’s sort of not that good at what he’s doing – his
learning curve as a new serial killer is actually part of what makes
the whole thing watchable – it’s that the movie is a less imaginative
rehash of the first film. There’s even a rainstorm thrown in, although
it does almost nothing for the story. Five years after the Camp Blood
case a new camp is opening on Crystal Lake. It’s not at the same site,
which is closed from the public, but it’s nearby, and it’s become even
more part of local legend than before. In fact, there’s a new twist on
the legends: Jason Voorhees, the drowned son of Mrs. Voorhees,
actually survived and grew up on his own as a feral retard in the
forest (apparently Jason’s body was never found). Survivor Girl Ginny
gets into a whole bleeding heart liberal thing about how poor Jason was
probably traumatized by seeing his mom beheaded – she even makes
apologies for Mama Voorhees butchering nine people! Of course all of
that sympathy is out the window as soon as the guy puts on a pillowcase
and starts hunting her down. Take that Jimmy Carter, this is the Reagan
of the Jason stuff actually makes sense, by the way. If he did survive
drowning, why did he go hide in the woods? We see his country cottage,
where he keeps victims and his mom’s severed noggin, and it’s pretty
close to Camp Crystal Lake… why didn’t he just walk over at some point
and say hi to his mom? She certainly thought he was dead, didn’t she?
Of course this is just the beginning of the massive logic and
continuity problems that will plague this series for the next decade.
Friday the 13th Part 2
makes one improvement over the original: it’s more sexual. There’s a
terrific skinny dipping scene featuring a girl with a body so tight she
could squeeze coal into diamonds between her ass cheeks. Another girl,
reduced to hitting on the cripple in camp, runs around in her underwear
for absolutely no reason at all, and Jason hangs out in the woods and
checks out her ass for quite some time. Considering how Mama lurked
under Kevin Bacon’s coitus cot, it seems like peeping runs in the
family (although it might be a self-loathing peeping – Jason offs two
other characters who are catching peeks, including doom-saying old
loonie Ralph from the first movie. Amusingly, Jason garrotes him
against a tree trunk from behind, and to do so apparently brings his
arms over the very top of the tree). Even the Survivor Girl gets in the
action: Ginny has sex with head counselor Paul (offscreen). Hell, she
also goes into town and drinks beers. This is not the kind of behavior
we expect from our Survivor Girl!
ground is gained in T&A, it’s completely lost in kills. The kills
in this film are pretty dull, except for the Kill of the Movie, in
which two lovers are shish-ke-bab’ed (it is worth noting that while
there is plenty of T&A elsewhere, and while lower half of the
speared pair Sandra has previously run around in a ludicrously
boner-inducing bikini, her breasts are never actually unleashed on
screen. Bad form, Friday the 13th Part 2.
Bad form indeed), and the crippled kid taking a machete to the kisser
and then rolling down a staircase. You have to give the movie some
credit for killing the wheelchair kid… unless you remember that Texas Chainsaw Massacre did it first AND had the balls to make the wheelchair kid a total dick. In F13 Part 2‘s
defense, the script does give wheelchair kid a “I will walk again! I
will not spend the rest of my life in this chair!” speech right before
Jason dispatches him.
the perfunctory offing of the counselors who are at the camp (a whole
bunch of them – including all the ethnic ones! – left the camp early
that evening to go drinking at a local bar that features a band
seemingly made up of high school physics teachers), the big chase
between Jason and Survivor Girl takes place. While this was probably
the weakest segment of the first Friday, in Part 2
it’s one of the only parts done well. By the director, that is – as
mentioned earlier, Jason’s pretty bad at it. In fact he attacks
Survivor Girl’s boyfriend and leaves him for dead… but the guy turns up
later apparently without any injury at all. That’s just sloppy work on
pillowcase Jason is running after the girl and they end up at his shack
in the woods. She finds his trophy room – some of his victims are
arrayed here around an altar with his mom’s desiccated dome in the
place of honor. It’s here that Ginny uses her liberal attempts to “understand” the killer mongoloid to totally fuck his shit up – she
puts on his mom’s sweater and pretends to be Mama Voorhees (featuring a
cameo by actress Betsy Palmer in a black sweater on a black background.
With her huge chompers she looks like a chain-smoking version of
Jambi). Jason gets down on his knees and even cocks his head like he’s
the goddamned RCA dog as Ginny gets pretty close to him with a machete,
but at the last minute he snaps out of it. He’s about to kill her when
the boyfriend shows up unharmed, distracts Jason and lets Ginny sink
the machete deep into his shoulder.
here that the movie gets really surreal and I don’t exactly know what
happens. Ginny and the boy come back to camp, thinking that they’re
safe. As they’re relaxing Jason jumps through a window and grabs Ginny – it’s essentially the exact same thing that happened at the end of the
last movie in Alice’s dream. But here’s where it gets weird: slo-mo
Jason grabs Ginny… and then flash cut to her screaming on a gurney
being loaded into an ambulance in the morning asking where her
boyfriend is. Ambulance drives off and that’s the end of that. Huh? Did
Jason just leave her behind? Was everything a dream after she sliced
Jason? And why does the movie end on a long push in on Mrs. Voorhees’
head, which is obviously a person wearing make-up and not a fake head?
Saying I have no idea what the fuck is going on at the end of this
movie is putting it mildly.
By the way, the continuity issues really get off the ground at the end of this film. Parts 3 and 4 take place over the course of the weekend following Part 2, but the Jason we see in those movies looks nothing like the one we see here. In Part 2
he’s still all deformed like he was as a kid, but he also has long hair
and a beard. He looks like a redneck, like he could be hanging out with
Larry, Darryl & Darryl. I actually like this look for Jason – you
can imagine that one way to stop his rampage would be to tap a pony keg
of Coors Light and crank up Lynyrd Skynyrd on your pick-up truck tape
deck while parked in the lot at 7/11.
You can’t expect much from a Friday the 13th
movie, but what you should expect are cool kills, and this one does not
deliver enough on that front. It’s the loss of FX guy Tom Savini that
hurt this film more than the script, bad acting, hiding of Sandra’s
boobs and schlocky direction (to be fair, there is one classic edit
where Jason comes upon one of the counselor’s dogs and we suddenly cut
to hot dogs cooking on a grill. The film was edited by original
director Sean Cunningham’s wife, and I get the impression that this bit
of visual wit came from somewhere other than director Steve Miner).
Overall this is a very disappointing entry in the franchise – it has
all of the bad elements of the later films (barely there and unlikable
characters, ponderous pacing) without the stuff that makes the movies
Friday the 13th Part 2 scores:
One and a half Retard Jasons out of four.
Next: Friday the 13th Part III takes Jason Voorhees into the third dimension and gives him his famous hockey mask. And somebody’s eyes pop out of their head.
The New DVD: The disc for Part 2 has no commentary; I’ve heard people say that Steve Miner doesn’t do commentaries, but I feel like there’s a set of diminishing returns on these first three DVDs (note: it seems like 4, 5 and 6 will have more features. I wonder if strong pre-orders on these three convinced Paramount to drop a dime or two on the rest of the series) – by the time we get to 3 there’s nothing at all.
But for now, there are some features. Inside Crystal Lake Memories is a Peter Bracke interview, conducted by Del Howison, owner of the Burbank horror shop Dark Delicacies. If you read yesterday’s installment you know that I think Bracke is sort of brilliant, so it’s a pleasure having him talk (why isn’t he on the commentary! Dammit!), but Del comes across pretty weird. In fact, his half of the exchanges feels like he’s reading off cue cards and like maybe his questions have been spliced in after the fact. It gives the whole interview sort of a surreal air.
Possibly one of my favorite weird DVD extras is Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions. I’ve been to my share of these events – I even moderated the original Halloween cast reunion at a recent Halloween convention in sunny Pasadena California – and this quick doc shows such a hilarious side of these events. As Brian Collins of Horror Movie a Day points out, they carefully edit around the fact that every ‘celebrity’ at these events is charging 20 bucks a pop for an autograph. Instead the doc focuses on how some weird Deep South Friday convention is a hit because the show runner has made sure there are wide aisles on the con floor.
Finally there’s Jason Forever, a fairly lengthy doc that shows a convention panel featuring four Jasons – Ari Lehman, Warrington Gilette, CJ Graham and Kane Hodder – interspersed with backstage interviews with them. This is pretty interesting, but the most fascinating aspect of this doc (and of the Friday ‘celeb’ world) has to be Lehman, a guy whose claim to fame is that he played Jason in the lake in the first film. Ari milks this like you wouldn’t believe, and he seems to have some feeling of ownership over the character. I’d kind of like to see a doc that focuses solely on him, especially because he’s in a weird world music band. He just seems like a fascinating character. Each of the other Jasons have their own unique things (CJ Graham seems like the most normal of the bunch), and this is probably my favorite doc out of both discs so far. Or out of all three, since there ain’t jack shit on Part 3.
Finally there’s a trailer and another segment of Lost Tales from Camp Blood. I skipped that. I only have so much strength.