Monday, October 10, 2011

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Anyone out there ever find themselves frightened by a horror movie sequel just as much as they were by the original movie? For me this has only happened once, and while some may claim my fear was the accumulating result of having watched the first two movies back to back rather than apart, I have a strong feeling this isn’t the case. The reason, the same thing happened to my little brother, a horror fan himself, two years later when I showed him the movies, and his viewings were separated by a week. The sequel I am talking about (if you didn’t see the title of this post) is Friday the 13th part 2. As many of you may already know if you read my post on the original Friday the 13th, I saw these two movies back to back one Halloween night on Joe Bob Brigg’s Monster Vision during my freshman year in high school and was scared senseless. Even more impressive, horror movies never seemed that scary to me at that age, my advancement into the high school years having seemingly killed the part of my mind that allowed itself to be terrified. Some might welcome such a moment in time, I, however, was mourning it. Thankfully, as it turned out, that part of my mind hadn’t been dismissed. Instead I just hadn’t seen anything good since the last movie that scared me, that being the original Halloween exactly two years earlier (actually, almost every movie that has ever scared me senseless was viewed on Halloween, which is kind of interesting). Sadly the trend of being scared by these movies would not continue, but that is a disappointment we won’t get into now.

Despite the bloody events that occurred at the nearby summer camp on Crystal Lake five years earlier, and the subsequent disappearance of the only survivor of that horrible night on that Friday the 13th, Paul Holt chooses Crystal Lake as the location for his new counselor training facility. Knowing of the rumors that a killer man-beast roams the woods of the former Camp Crystal Lake, which is within walking distance of the new training facility, but also knowing they can’t be true given that the person locals claim it to be drowned back in 1957, Paul goes about welcoming and training all the counselors that show up. Little does he know the rumors are true and Jason is on the prowl, the slaying of his mother having sparked an unquenchable range toward camp counselors and anyone else who ventures near his home. Unlike the events five years earlier, the camp counselors are allowed one peaceful night on site before the terror begins. Like the events of the previous bloodbath, the majority of the killing takes place once a storm rolls in, the rain and lightening making it easier for the counselors who stay behind while the rest go into town to be isolated and dispatched. One by one (well, two by two for one sex focused couple) Jason takes everyone out, and then waits for the rest to show up. Paul and his girlfriend Ginni are the first to return, and quickly realize something is wrong, though just what it is remains a mystery for a while as Jason waits for them to enter the room he had chosen to attack from. Will the two be able to survive the crazy thirst for blood that Jason displays? Also, what madness awaits them should they mistakenly run into the former Camp Crystal Lake? Whatever the answer it becomes pretty clear that Paul made a huge mistake in choosing Crystal Lake for his training facility, a mistake that many young people will pay the ultimate price for.

As noted many times throughout this webpage I first saw Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th part two during my freshman year in high school. This was back in 1998. Since then an ongoing debate has been in my head, one that asks which of the two was the scarier movie? Having watched them back to back I can’t answer it very well. No one I talk to that was scared by both can say for sure either. Each one seems to be a masterpiece of terror. A part of this is the similar film style both movies used, one which pretty much saw the filmmakers simply setting the camera behind some bushes and watching the events unfold. Sometimes one even gets the sense that they are watching things from the killer’s point of view, which is always creepy. The lack of lightening adds to this. With both these movies the woods are actually dark rather than just appearing to be dark while really completely visible. To me this is a big deal in projecting terror because you get the sense that the people on screen really can’t see what is around them and that anything can happen. Because of all this, however, I can’t answer which of the two was more frightening. I do know one thing though; the scene where Jason runs passed a window while wearing the burlap sack over his head is one of the most chilling things I have ever seen on screen. The burlap sack is also the second most effective mask in inducing terror for any horror movie in my opinion, and makes me always wonder why everyone loves the hockey mask Jason eventually wore. It may be iconic, but it isn’t scary, and after the third movie, which didn’t terrifying audiences at all, the directors should have gone back to the mask that was effective. Looking back fans might ask why, after all the hockey mask is classic, but at the time it wasn’t, so no one would have cared, and if you ask me, many would have given up the classic Jason mask if it meant Jason continued to be scary. Alas, this wasn’t the case, and if one wants a scary Jason they have to watch Friday the 13th part two, a movie which, I highly recommend.

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