Friday the 13th Part 2 (USA, 1981) - Color, Director(s): Steve Miner
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 87 min.
Z-rating: 3 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5
With Sean Cunningham not returning to the director's chair and Tom Savini working on other projects like The Burning and The Prowler, Associate Producer Steve Miner steps up to direct the sequel the following year. The movie starts with Alice, the lone survivor from the last film, recovering from the incident. In a flashback to the ending of the first film, we see her finding her friends murdered, decapitating Pamela Voorhees (Jason's mother) with machete, and Jason jumping out of the lake and grabbing her at the end. We also see her telling the police about the boy (Jason) and the police telling her that they didn't find anything in lake. When she opens the fridge and finds the decapitated head of Pamela Voorhees, an unknown killer grabs her from behind and puts an ice pick in her temple. At least the killer is courteous enough to take the kettle off the stove afterward.
Now, 5 years later, a counselor training center is opening up at Crystal Lake near the camp. This time Jason's the killer and he's not the same little boy who popped up out of the lake anymore. Jason's full-grown now and looks an awful lot like The Phantom Killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown with the burlap sack over his head and everything. I like to think Jason was going through a transitional phase in this movie where he was finding himself. In the midst of an identity crisis, Jason must've taken inspiration from Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood (a.k.a. Twitch of the Death Nerve) because he lifts a couple kills directly from that movie. Bava's Bay of Blood is noted for heavily influencing the slasher genre with its rising body count, gory death scenes, and young lovers being stalked by a killer.
Ginny (played by Amy Steel) finds the shack that Jason's squatting in with an alter to Jason's mother. In a moment of pure genius, she dons Pamela Voorhees' dirty old sweater and pretends to be his mother. He actually falls for it momentarily until he spots his mother's severed head. I love that she actually able to fool Jason, if even for a moment. The same way that Pamela Voorhees was the perfect mother for doing anything to protect her son, we see that Jason is a total mama's boy who would do anything for his mother's approval. Another thing I liked was that Jason actually attempts a sneak attack when they're back at the cabin, something we see less of once Jason becomes a hulking brute that just stalks his victims. Ginny's hiding under the bed and Jason stands up on a chair with a pitchfork, waiting for her to come out. When she does, he dives at her but the chair breaks underneath his weight and the pitchfork snaps in half when he plunges it into the ground. Absolutely hilarious!
Nudity: There's more nudity this time around. We actually see one of the counselors go skinny dipping and there's a sexy scene where another counselor changes her underwear in preparation for sex. Nothing is explicitly shown but it's still a very sexy scene.
Gore: There isn't a ton of blood in this movie but the death scenes are pretty brutal. Jason doesn't play around, in fact, he's pretty hardcore. Even the guy in the wheelchair gets a machete to the face! Not only that, his wheelchair rolls down the stairs backwards with this lifeless body bouncing around in it. Even the handicapped aren't safe. As I mentioned before, this movie is heavily inspired by Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood. The machete to the face, spear through two people in bed, and even killing people in wheelchairs are all elements inspired by that film.
Awesome: I like that this is the first time we get to see Jason killing people and I can definitely appreciate the connections it has with other significant slasher films but Jason's character hasn't been fully developed yet. Yes, it's true he still hasn't donned his iconic hockey mask yet but more importantly, he seems like a mishmash of characters from other movies. Jason still lacks his own identity, something that makes him unique amongst other slashers. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but we're here to see Jason evolve into an infamous killer in his own right. This is still a great film but stay tuned to see Jason grow into his own skin, or should I say mask?