Retro Review: Friday the 13th part 2 (1981)

As fans of the Friday the 13th series, part 2 seems to come up as a fan favorite.  Of course most prefer the Final Chapter or Jason Lives, but part 2 is right up there in the top 3 or 4 in the series.  There are some who kind of push part 2 to the side, simply due to Jason not having his mask.  I have spoken to fans of the original movie that do not even recognize the sequels.  That is strange.

As for me, for a long time, I did not care for part 2, due to the mask and not caring for some of the characters.  But over the years I have become more and move fond of the film seeing things in a different light.  I have opened my eyes and realized how good Friday the 13th part 2 really is.

The second entry in the long-running horror series focuses on a group of teenage would-be counselors converging on Camp Crystal Lake for training under the tutelage of head counselor Paul (John Furey). Inevitably, Paul relates the story of Jason Voorhees (Warrington Gillette), a boy who ostensibly drowned at the camp and whose mother murdered a group of counselors in revenge. No one takes the tale seriously until a very much alive Jason begins gruesomely eliminating people.

My views on the movie have changed, like I said before.  There are many things about the movie that make it great.  First of all, we get a great campfire tale about Jason.  The cast is better than I ever thought before, especially Amy Steel and John Furey.  I mean, they actually have good chemistry and the rest of the cast sets up a lot of horror or slasher movie stereotypes.

Friday the 13th part II takes place 5 years after part one and pretty much ties up any loose strings from the first movie.  Then the film moves back to Crystal Lake at Camp Pacanak where a bunch of counselors are training for the next year’s campers, I guess.  As I said, there is a great campfire legend of Jason and Camp Crystal Lake story that Paul tells everyone.  The get a good scare and some laughs.  Two of the counselors become a little obsessed with the story of Camp Crystal Lake and Jason and have to see the camp.  They get caught and as it would turn out, they would have to stay back at the camp with a few others while a bunch of the other counselors go out.  Jason does come and takes aim at the counselors in training, killing everyone left over at the camp…Oh 36 year old spoilers, sorry.

With Jason coming, there are some truly iconic kills, like the guy int he wheelchair or the couple in the bed.  The couple in the bed was actually a very similar kill from a Mario Bava film called Twitch of the Death Nerve.  While some of the kills were good, most are lacking, I think the departure of Tom Savini could be a reason.  I mean, George Romero would call Savini to come up with new ways to kill people and he brought that to the original Friday the 13th.  Tom Savini did not come back, he moved on to another camp in the Burning and created Cropsey.  Hell, we may have even gotten something other than the sack head for Jason, but I am not complaining, I like sack head Jason.  Of course the make up for Jason unmasked was very good, he looked the part, but it would of course change, even if the same director, Steve Minor made both Friday the 13th part II and Friday the 13th part 3D.

Overall Friday the 13th Part II is a strong entry in the series, but it sets the ton and format for other slasher movies and the rest of the series.  More unique kills and a fun story with good characters is a good reason why I like to come back.  One thing I keep thinking about and I want some feedback, who is the real Jason in this movie?  Steve Dash says he played all of the Jason parts, expect when he is unmasked.  Warrington Gillette says otherwise.  I have met Steve Dash and he is my Part II Jason, sorry Warrington.

One last thing, Friday the 13th the game heavily uses elements from Part II.  One of the maps is Camp Pacanak, possibly the most popular, Steve Dash’s sack head Jason is playable and a popular choice.  The only way to kill Jason is to find his shack, which only appears in part II and have a female don Pamela’s infamous sweater and hypnotize Jason as Amy Steel’s character does in the film.  So, to me, that means a ton for this movie.

IMDB.com has a rating of 6.1

My score continues to rise on this classic, 7.0

About Ray Marek III 252 Articles
I am a lifelong horror fan. I have written for a few web sites, Kung-Fu Comrades, Nightfall Unlimited and Rage of Rayzor. Freddy's Revenge was the first Horror Film I watched, I was 5. When my mom found out I liked horror films, she began challenging me. Soon to follow were the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. Horror is in my blood, I want to share that with you...my blood...horror. I write unpublished comics. Lifelong dream is to write comics for a major comic book publisher or build my own comic book company.