Friday the 13th Part 2 (Blu-ray)
Directed by Steve Miner
Part 2 turns out to be a decent sequel thanks in large part to a creepy finale that, as with the first movie, slices and dices Hitchcock’s Psycho.
The Body Count Continues
Photos: Paramount Pictures
One year after the first movie scared up big box office, but five years after the events at Camp Crystal Lake, Jason’s all grown up and at the center of a new spree of murderous mayhem. Unfortunately, by virtue of the fact he’s essentially a feral man-boy with limited formal education, he ain’t the sharpest blade in the drawer.
First, though, is a lengthy recap of the original installment’s climactic scenes, couched as nightmare sequences for poor Alice (Adrienne King). Once that final link to the earlier horrors is taken care of, the story finally transitions back to summer camp with a whole new slew of teenage bait.
One of the movie’s saving graces is a fun, but sick, sense of humor that plays with horror movie conventions as it serves up false starts, red herring showers and vicious scene shifts, such as focusing in on a sweet little dog named Muffin then cutting to a grill full of hot dogs. And there’s also a skinny-dipping scene that plays on the riff from Jaws.
Hey now, this was originally released during the summer of 1981, after all.
Giving credit where it’s due, Amy Steel makes one heckuva scream queen as Ginny Field, Jason’s toughest opponent in Round 2 of the mad slasher series.
As already mentioned, Jason’s none too bright. Thankfully for him, aside from Ginny, none of the camp councilors are all that swift either. Even more stupid than the first batch, this time the kids are also even more sexed up. The hot chicks are scantily clad (apparently ticks aren’t a worry) and, to compensate for a wee bit less gore, there’s a lot more nubile flesh on display.
With Jason now out of the water and on dry land, he sports a pillow case to hide his hideous face (and he looks something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface or one of the chainsaw zombies in the Resident Evil videogames). The infamous hockey mask will make its first appearance next time, in Part 3.
Thus the series’ downward spiral begins.
With a much bigger crew of kids to pick from and pick off, there are two questions to occupy the mind: “Who’s gonna get it first?” And “who’s gonna get it next?”
Will it be the creepy old guy from the first movie (just because he’s old and creepy)? The super dork? The athlete in a wheelchair? The girl who walks around in her panties? What about the girl who goes full frontal? Or maybe the guy who kinda looks like Jon Bon Jovi (and plays harmonica to boot)?
Clocking in at a scant 86 minutes, including that prior episode recap, this first sequel holds pretty steady in its own sordid way, but the finale is extremely abrupt, almost as if they simply ran out of film and decided, “OK. Well... that works...”
Most of the supplements are presented in HD.
Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions (7 minutes) is yet another opportunity for Ari Lehman (the first Jason) to milk it and it’s also something of a commercial for ScareFest; a horror festival for “compassionate, affectionate” horror fans.
Inside “Crystal Lake Memories” (11 minutes) is an informative interview with Peter Bracke about writing his “coffee table tome to a B-movie series.” The subject matter is held in high regard and is referred to as the “second golden age of horror” after the Universal monsters of the 1930s. Included is some really good information about the Part 2’s choppy ending, what was supposed to be and wasn’t. But, while Bracke does talk about the one minute of gore that fell to the cutting room floor thanks to an MPAA crack down on slasher flicks in the aftermath of Friday the 13th, there’s no mention of the heightened sex. It’s also interesting to hear about some of the relative high-mindedness that led many of the principal behind-the-scenes talent to stay home instead of return for the sequel. Apparently several key players disagreed with Paramount over the direction of the series; the original movie’s creators wanted to make an anthology of unrelated stories rather than build a series around a character already established as dead.
Lost Tales from Camp Blood: Part II (9 minutes) the next installment in the new, direct-to-video mini-series involves a couple hikers. The most disturbing aspect is that there continues to be no real story; it’s simply gore for gore’s sake.
Also on tap is the original theatrical trailer in HD.
The one standard definition supplement is Jason Forever (30 minutes). It’s a presentation of a Fangoria convention panel from 2004 (and, yeah, there’s still more Ari Lehman, who this time gives an extended plug for his band and a proposed Jason-related rock music project). It also includes subsequent Jasons Warrington Gillette, C.J. Graham and Kane Hodder as they handle Q&A from the horror convention audience. There’s some decent, humorous insight into the serious to be had here.
While the bulk of the supplements are presented in HD, there are no Blu-ray exclusives.
Picture and Sound
This disc offers the kind of image where you can almost hear the movie projector running behind you. It’s a nice presentation of a fairly low-budget movie from 28 years ago. A little fuzzy in spots, a little grainy in spots. Absolutely cheese-fab!
The English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD also matches the material. It’s not overwhelming by any means, but given the mono origins of the soundtrack, it’s certainly a solid, albeit front-heavy, aural presentation. Also available are English, French and Spanish monaural tracks.
Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
How to Use This Disc
Revel in this blast from the past’s shameless kookiness and naïve sexiness. Then go ahead and check out Inside “Crystal Lake Memories.”
• Originally published at MovieHabit.com.