Paramount // 1981 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // September 25th, 2000
The body count continues...
It was one of the most anticipated sequels in motion picture history. Friday The 13th Part 2 was met with both critical and audience praise, surpassing such films as Star Wars and Jaws to become the all time highest grossing motion picture of all time! A complex weave of character study and special effects, this film took Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King and director Steve Miner to new stratosphere of superstardom, ushering in the $20 million paycheck for actors and directors! A perfect film for all ages, Friday The 13th Part 2 was hailed by Roger Ebert "A monument to the medium of film...a joy to watch for generations to enjoy!!"
Okay, fine, twist my arm. None of that's true. Friday The 13th Part 2 is the first of long set of low budget horror sequels that go on and on like my Uncle Jerry tanked at a family reunion.
I can't believe I am actually going to explain the plot for a Friday The 13th film, but here goes:
It's 1981, and Jason Voorhees, Mr. Evil Incarnate, has come back to camp. See, a bunch of years ago (1980, but who's counting?) his poor old dingbat mama (Betsy Palmer) was killed by a former camp counselor, but not without good cause. See, Mrs. Voorhees was killing other camp counselors for various reasons that I won't go into in this review (but it rhymes with "Fex" and sounds like "Hex") and the counselors were none-too-happy about it (don't worry, this is all shown in a nice, time consuming recap at the beginning of the film.) Now Jason is back to avenge his mothers death, although since this all happened so long ago, I think he'd be smarter to just head out and drown his frustrations in a brewski. But nooooooooooo, some people are crab cakes and refuse to let sleeping dogs lie.
Back at Crystal Camp Lake some people who apparently didn't take "Bad Ideas 101" decide to re-open Crystal Lake Camp, or as it's come to be known around town, "a really bad place to spend your summer." Just when they get the camp all Martha Stewarted up, guess who makes a surprise inspection?
Ok, I'm going to go get a burger while this review writes itself.
That's right, Jason shows up! And he's brought his collection of knives, axes and generally sharp things to play with. Let me give you a quick summary of the rest of the movie, brought to you in spectacular (((DIALOGUE-O-VISION))):
Camp Counselor: "Hey, I'm horny. Let's go get it on in the back cabin!"
Other Camp Counselor: "I don't know, what about that Jason legend?"
Camp Counselor: "Oh, that's not true. Come on, let's get naked!"
Other Camp Counselor: "Ok!"
Jason (surprising the counselors while they're gettin' jiggy with it): "AH-HA!"
(at this point, there is much blood letting and general mayhem)
Jason: "And yet, I'm still lonely."
So, there you have it. Of course, one of the Counselors is picked out as the "heroine" (Triva Fact: In Latin this means "Big Knockers") and runs around screaming and yelling, to no avail. Mano-a-mano ensues, lots of dark corners, close calls, et cetera.
You know the rest.
So, I know what you are thinking. "Judge Patrick, how can you possibly give any good evidence on this film? It's crap. It's just excess violence with jaded excuses to show gratuitous nudity and use cruddy dialogue."
Oh, ye of little faith.
There is a subtext much deeper in Friday The 13th Part 2 that you are missing. This movie...no, FILM, is really a plea for safe sex. In an age of diseases and promiscuous sex, this film says "take matters into your own hands." I think you get my drift. Have you EVER seen a someone get killed in a Friday The 13th movie who was just sitting on the toilet, MINDING (a-hem) his own (cough cough) BUSINESS? I don't think so. This, my friends, is a thinly disguised safe sex video. I've already written to my local Congressman stating that I want these shown in all school health classes. Each sequel for each grade. I'm still waiting for a reply, which should be any day now.
Alright, let me take time to praise the film itself. I loved these movies as a kid. Yes, I will shout it from the rooftops! I'm a Friday The 13th fan! I don't care! Come on, if you grew up in the 1980s, who didn't catch one of these on late night "Skin-amax?" Is this great filmmaking? No. Is this even mediocre filmmaking? Well, no. But it is fun stuff if you don't take any of it seriously. And what other movie series gives you nine options of the same movie to choose from, since they are all the same film recycled over and over again? Huh? It's like picking out a new couch. It's the same product, just a different color. Some call that repetition. I call it choice consideration from the filmmakers. Maybe if all the Friday The 13th films came out in the '90s, they'd all suck. But there is just something endearing about them from their time period. That and the fact that the women wear those little '70s soccer shorts and tight T's. Yowza!
Ok, enough of me prattling on, trying to convince you (and myself) why these are fun films. On to the transfer. The transfer for Friday The 13th Part 2 is anamorphic widescreen, and looks very nice for what the movie is. Much of it takes place in the dark, but for a film made in 1981, this looks surprisingly good. There are small amounts of grain once in a while, but it's an old film, so give in a break. You aren't going to find a better looking copy, and the fact that Paramount put it in its original widecreen format is a bonus (as these are not the types of movies most studios care too much about.)
The sound is Dolby Digital Mono, so it's in the decent range. If you are buying any Friday The 13th DVD for the sole reason of great sound, your barking up the wrong tree. There is also a French Mono track as well, because as everybody knows, the French are BIG into chintzy American horror movies. Almost as much as they are with Euro Disney.
Also included is a full-frame Theatrical Trailer for Friday The 13th Part 2 which is a lot of fun. Trailers back in the '70s and '80s were so interesting to me. They seem to almost meander on, where as today's Theatrical Trailers pack about 2 billion shots into 2 minutes. From what I understand, as Paramount releases the rest of the Friday The 13th series on DVD, we will get Theatrical Trailers to all the films. That's not a ton, but at least it's something.
A quick note; the last Friday The 13th film, Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, was not released by Paramount, but by New Line Cinema. I have heard rumors that they will put out a special edition at some point. Thankfully, New Line is a big supporter of the DVD format. So, New Line, you go girl!
Of course, a lack of extras on this DVD bites the big one. But, this ain't Forrest Gump, so I'm not shocked at the lack of bonus material. Although, considering that most of the cast probably worked again only once (if that) after this movie, you'd THINK they'd be free to do a commentary track or something. Snubbed again.
I feel lucky that Friday The 13th Part 2 or ANY of the Friday The 13th films have made it to DVD. I still think we're in the early stages of DVD, so I'm thankful to see some of my favorite horror films in widescreen. If you're a fan, this is a good buy at around $24.99 -- $29.99. If you're a casual fan, a renter. If you loathe these movies, you're must be my parents.
Free to go but back in court when Friday The 13th Part 3 comes out...
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailer