Sunday, December 13, 2020

Franchise Marathon: Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part II (1981)

 * spoiler warning *

* Friday the 13th (1980)

After years of being closed and abandoned, Camp Crystal Lake is set to open or new campers in 1980. Crazy Ralph tries to warn people away, but everyone ignores him and Unfortunately, an unseen killer keeps killing the counselors before the camp even opens. Will any of the them survive?

Friday the 13th is honestly my least favorite of the big 4 horror franchises, but I realized that I've only seen a few of the movies and may be judging it too harshly. Thus this exploration through the whole series. Alice is an excellent final girl with sense and a practical nature. However, the road the finale was arduous. After the initial exposition dump, the movie plods along and even the kills aren't that interesting until Pamela Voorhees shows up. Her mania and love for her son truly shine through as she's revealed to be the killer. She's one of the most iconic cinematic female serial killers and Betsy Palmer delivers an amazing, campy performance. The ending on the lake haunts me from childhood and rings a bit melancholy, knowing that Jason was a neglected, innocent little boy.

The first film didn't wow me and the pace made the relatively short runtime feel much too long. Pamela Voorhees and final girl Alice set themselves apart in this mostly forgettable start. The music feels underdeveloped, but the main themes (reused many many times) are iconic. Overall, it's a disappointing experience with some bright spots.  

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins


* Friday the 13th Part II (1981)


Five years after the Camp Crystal Lake Massacre, a group of counselors hold a training camp near the defunct, notorious crime site, where they mostly get into typical shenanigans like trespassing on Camp Crystal Lake, drinking, having sex, and doing drugs. This doesn't sit well with Jason, who sets out to kill all the camp counselors and punish them for their immoral behavior in honor of his mother.

Friday the 13th Part II is a vast improvement over the first which dragged and had no suspense up until the end with Mrs. Voorhees. The mythology for the whole series is kind of wonky. Jason appears as he is most known, a hulking silent beast of a man. Instead of his signature hockey mask, he wears a bag over his head with only one hole to see out of. He dispatches teens with knives, a garrote, and his signature machete. The kills are decent and the the lead-up can be suspenseful. It was made with the awareness that the audience knows when kills are coming and still surprises at times. Most of the teens are interchangeable, but I was disappointed when Mark died. He seemed decent and was largely dismissed by everyone else because of his disability when he had big dreams and aspirations.

Ginny, the final girl, is the best character in the whole movie. First, she's a student in college studying child psychology. Unlike most final girls, Ginny has a boyfriend and it's implied that they have sex. She also drinks at a bar. It's interesting that this portrayal is more progressive than Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 even though it was made 5 years later. Anyway, her psychology training gives her insight to Jason's mental state and it ends up saving her in the end. She puts on Mrs. Voorhees' sweater and pretends to be his mother, which buys her and her boyfriend much needed time.

Friday the 13th Part 2 is a decent sequel and much better than the first. Jason isn't my favorite slasher villain by far, but the movie was enjoyable. The ending has some inconsistencies that make me want to see the next movie if Ginny is in it. I doubt she is and I doubt they'll say what happened to Paul, but I can always hope. 

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

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