Last time: gorgeous, haunting Hong Kong ghost stories.
This time: boobs, machetes, and a little camp called Crystal Lake.
It’s good to be back in the US of A.
*SPOILERS for Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th 2, Mortal Kombat 2, and The Prophecy 2. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. Although, everything I tell you about MK 2 and The Prophecy 2? You find out in the first five minutes, anyways, so it’s not really much of a spoiler. Plus? Those movies suck. They aren’t worth your time. Honestly.*
So, this one was fun. I don’t know how much more insightful my commentary is going to be . . . F13 2 was a fun, cheesy, follow-up to the first fun, cheesy movie. I’m afraid I couldn’t exactly call it scary . . . maybe if I’d seen it thirty years ago when I was . . . well, a concept . . . but now, it’s just sort of messy and silly and awesome. Slutty people with feathered hair die! How can you lose?
Friday the 13th 2 begins with the most ridiculous nightmare/flashback sequence I have ever seen. Seriously. It is just absurd on epic fucking proportions. The sole survivor from the first film, Alice, literally rolls around on her bed like a damn epileptic. The camera keeps cutting away from her memories (ie, footage from the original) to her tossing and turning and wailing, as if we might have somehow forgotten in the last fifteen seconds that, yes, this is all a nightmare. There’s like 27 cuts in the first five minutes. It’s fucking weird.
But there’s a payoff for all that nonsense. Alice dies! Yes, she dies! She’s the first big kill of the movie! That’s freaking awesome! Usually, I’m not a big fan of sequels killing off the original movie’s main character in the first fifteen minutes (yes, I’m talking to you, Mortal Kombat 2 and you The Prophecy 2, ya bastards). However, I didn’t actually like Alice all that much, so watching her get a screwdriver to the temple was kind of enjoyable.
Lo siento, sweetie. Say hi to Johnny Cage for me in Hell.
Now, to the real meat of the movie: it’s five years down the road, and Paul, the stupid bastard, is starting up a summer camp right next to Crystal Lake. I might not want to work at a summer camp where a bunch of people my own age died a few years ago . . . especially when the only survivor mysteriously went missing . . . and there are local legends that Jason might not be dead . . . and a creepy old man starts yelling at me about my doom . . . and even the godamned Sheriff thinks this is a really bad idea, the SHERIFF, who’s usual role in these films is to act like teens disappearing left and right is totally normal . . . but then again, that’s me. I’m not a moron in short shorts. My loss, right?
The main heroine of this story is Ginny, who, besides sleeping around with Paul, is a child psychology major. This is important when she a) provides some insight on why Jason is so unbelievably fucked up and b) comes face to face with him and has to try to talk her way out of him killing her, at least for a little while. Ginny’s actually pretty cool. They establish early on that she’s a sarcastic little thing who doesn’t take shit from her men, a welcome change. Of course, this awesomeness quickly evaporates when she attacks Jason with a chainsaw, then runs away when he’s unconscious, leaving the chainsaw right next to his head! I mean, sure, Jason doesn’t use chainsaws, but how the hell does she know that? YOU DO NOT GIVE WEAPONS TO YOUR ENEMIES. I mean, isn’t that just fucking common sense?
Anyway. The rest of the counselors breakdown into couples that can be killed off one by one, ranging from the likeable and sympathetic (Sweet Chick and Wheelchair Boy . . . poor Wheelchair Boy, who Jason kills and then pushes down a bunch of freaking stairs, like, DUDE, that’s not cool) to the considerably less sympathetic (Amy Irving’s Stand-In and her boy toy, who creep into Camp Crystal Lake even when they’re told not to because . . . places where people get slaughtered are hot? I don’t know.) In total, nine people get killed for sure, very likely, 10. Paul’s fate is never actually shown . . . though I’m not exactly laying down bets, you know?
A few things I do want to mention: first, much to my surprise, Jason doesn’t have his hockey mask in this film yet. I assumed he’d pick it up somewhere, but nope, he just has a bag over his head most of the time. It’s funny, because Jason is so damn iconic. You think Friday the 13th, you think Jason plus hockey mask. But in the first movie, he’s just a creepy little child for thirty seconds, and in the second movie, he’s got a damn bag over his head. It’s weird. In fact, it’s almost like a series of movies that actually adds to the mythology with each movie that comes out . . . like sequels that accomplish something, instead of just being cheap, gorier imitations. I know, I know. That’s giving this movie (and the series) way too much credit, what with Jason ending up fighting Freddy Kreuger (or in space, for that matter.) Still. It’s an interesting idea, isn’t it? What if someone created a series of horror films that really continued the story, like a horror Lord of the Rings? How cool would that be?
Of course, that isn’t to say that all the additions made in this film are really very good or even make sense. Let’s do the math, shall we? Jason is grown up now, which we know because Paul conveniently drops in a helpful line of exposition. Of course, he was a child in the first movie, so you’d think he’d have to have been, what? At least 12? To make him a very tall, muscular, deformed 17 year old in the sequel? (And are we saying that he somehow survived the drowning, and has just been living in the forest all this time, or is he an undead being that just happens to grow for no apparent reason? I mean, I was sold on undead, but most undead people don’t age much, you know?)
Well, let’s say he was a possibly undead 12 year old in the first movie. Our handy child psychologist, Ginny, points out that the only thing Jason has ever known is his mother, that he’s never gone to school or had friends or anything. But, presumably, he’d have gone to school at some point if he didn’t drown until the age of 12, so he must have been considerably younger, say, maybe five? But the sequel only happens five years later, and somehow he’s now man-sized? Is this one of those soap opera things? Does this make any kind of sense to anyone?
(And, a personal aside, because this is a huge pet peeve of mine: I HATE television shows where the miracle/curse baby suddenly goes from infant to 25 whenever the writers run out of steam. Because it almost always ends up the same: the grown-up baby is now an incredibly powerful, sexy, evil child in an adult’s body, and there’s just never the nice, easy-going, magical 25 year old. I can think of at least four shows off the top of my head that do this. Anyway.)
Like I said, I don’t have a lot of terribly deep commentary for this film. I do have quite a few random notes and questions that I will now post here because . . . I can.
All the death scenes are fun and gory, particularly for 1981.
The exploding Friday the 13th 2 title sequence makes me giggle like a fiend.
My favorite Psych episode, “Tuesday the 17th”, just got about 18,000 times funnier now that I’ve seen just how closely certain scenes are parodied.
The only person who actually runs away from Jason is Ginny. Everyone else pretty much just stands there when they get stabbed or impaled or whatever. The interesting thing about this is that Jason actually runs after Ginny, interesting, because Jason, like Michael from Halloween has always struck me as a I-Only-Stalk-After-My-Victims-In-A-Casual-Yet-Menacing-Manner type of killer.
Mrs. Vorhees head in a refrigerator? AWESOME. That’s not a pineapple.
Although, does it strike anyone else as odd that Jason just casually strolls up and kills Alice in her apartment? I mean, this is the first he’s been out of the woods in years, right? Does he even know how to read? Did he look her up in the phone book?
Also . . . Jason’s kind of . . . weird looking. I mean, in a way you wouldn’t expect. When you finally see him without the bag over his head, he looks like a cross between Sloth from The Goonies and a werewolf. Like . . . okaaaay?
And, it really has nothing to do with anything, but . . . Paul’s kind of a douche, right? I mean, that’s not usually one of those insults I throw around casually (unlike monkeyfucker, which I’ll call people all the time) but . . . isn’t there just something about him that screams douchebag? Am I the only one who feels this way?
The strange-looking, funny counselor that you peg for death the second you see him? Goes out that night drinking with a bunch of other counselors. However, unlike our unfortunate heroes Phil and Ginny, decides to stay out drinking and does not go back to the camp to get slaughtered. Do you know what this means? Do you understand the enormity of this? Drinking saves your life! DRINKING SAVES YOUR LIFE!
The hardest acting job, ever: convincingly having a nightmare. Can anyone think of any really good nightmare scenes, scenes where you really believe the actor is having a nightmare, not just flopping around like a fish out of water, wailing, “No, no, don’t do it, no!” I think Hugh Jackman does a decent job in X-Men, but I fear that’s the exception, not the rule.
And, just as a reminder: Ginny, watch your ass. You might have made it through this one alive, but there are like 50 more sequels. You might be next.
This is what we know as truth:
summer is the season of youth.
Every girl and boy under the sun
will fuck like a monkey and have some fun.
But should you like the look of your chest
and wish to not see a knife sticking through it,
work not at a camp like Crystal Lake.
Try to stop being a moron, for goodness sake.