Sunday, August 1, 2010

Friday The 13th (1980) / Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

FRIDAYTHE13TH-1.jpg picture by sikomike
        Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake!   The place where care free kiddies like yourselves go to smoke some weed, have some bangin' hot sex, drink a little bit of al-co-saw, play a little strip Monopoly, and get a little bit of sliced, diced, and killed the fuck up!  Ah, at Crystal Lake, everyday is a FRIDAY THE 13TH!
  Camp Crystal Lake seems to have a lot of bad luck. In 1957, a young boy drowned in the lake. In 1958, two camp counselors were murdered while making out on the verge of having sex.  The townspeople claim that the camp has a death curse and call it "Camp Blood".  Now, on Friday June 13th, 1979, the camp's new owner Steve Christy is reopening Camp Crystal Lake along with his seven camp counselors (Alice, Bill, Jack, Marcie, Annie, Ned, and Brenda).  While hitchhiking to the camp, Annie is murdered after accepting a ride with a total stranger.  After Steve leaves, the six counselors begin to get killed off one by one at the hands of an unknown killer, leaving Alice alone to come face to face with the killer. Could this killer be the same person who murdered that couple back in 1958?  Camp Crystal Lake is about to discover that thirteen really is an unlucky number.
   The horror genre changed forever after Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 shocker Psycho. Horror went from being all about the supernatural and monsters to the terror of reality.   This new wave of horror didn't really take off until 1974 with Tobe Hooper's horror masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which shocked audiences nation-wide with its raw and disturbing view of a backwoods clan of cannibals who dismembered and served their victims as Bar B Que.  In 1978,  horror legend John Carpenter directed the classic Halloween, which brought this new form of terror to the attention of other studios.  Sean S. Cunningham who produced the very controversial 1972 rape/revenge movie The Last House On The Left really wanted to make a horror movie with the title Friday The 13th, which he placed an ad in Variety for.  The problem was that he didn't have a story, budget, or a script.   Cunningham got together with a friend named Victor Miller who had done a film with him prior to this.  They shot ideas around  for this horror film titled Friday The 13th.  Miller and Cunningham decided to ride on the coattails of John Carpenter's Halloween, but show the vicious murders happen on the screen and set the film at a secluded summer camp.   In 1980, Friday The 13th was released and became a huge box office hit.  Since Paramount Pictures released the film, this independent slasher film was treated like a big Hollywood movie by getting a wide release.  Seeing the success and format to follow, many other filmmakers decided to cash in by making similar films that became known as the SLASHER genre.
       While Friday The 13th is a pretty fun and sometimes creepy film, it's not the best of the franchise or the genre.   The story to Friday The 13th is pretty basic and easy to follow. A group of teens are setting up a summer camp to reopen. That night, they are killed one by one by a killer in really shocking ways. The final girl is left to fight and defeat the killer and then there is usually some kinda cliff hanging ending or a boo scare.  All of this occurs in this film. Yes, this film has plenty of horror movie cliche's, BUT this is actually the film that MADE them cliche's in the first place.   Friday The 13th was the first in the horror genre to make the rule that if you drink, smoke pot, or have sex then you are guaranteed to be punished by getting murdered by the killer.    The screenplay written by Victor Miller is pretty decent for the most part.   I love the camp setting because it makes it where these teenagers are basically trapped with nowhere to go.  Although, I still find the situation in Halloween a lot scarier since that was set in your own neighborhood basically where you're supposed to feel safe. 
     All of the characters aren't really developed though. Being that this is the first Friday The 13th film that set the standard for the sequels, that is pretty understandable. The purpose for these teen characters is to have sex, drink beer, smoke a little pot, and get killed. Simple and to the point.   My problem isn't really that the teens are basically one dimensional cannon fodder, but that the heroine of the movie is one dimensional too.  Alice doesn't really have much depth and she is the one who we are supposed to be rooting for. We're supposed to want to see her take down the killer to not only empower herself, but to get revenge for the killer murdering her friends and trying to kill her too.  I'm sorry, but I just couldn't root for this girl like I did Laurie Strode, Nancy Thompson, Sally Hardesty, or even Ginny Fields from the sequel. I just didn't know barely anything about her to really get invested with her as the heroine of the movie.  All of the other characters being one dimensional is fine with me, but not the heroine of the film.  Jack and Marcie's purpose is to have sex, smoke weed, and die.  Bill is a potential "love" interest for Alice I believe.  Brenda likes to play strip Monopoly, drink beer, and smoke weed. Ned is the joker of the group.  Annie was supposed to be the cook, well before the killer's knife made contact with her throat that is.  Crazy Ralph is the old guy who basically warns everybody that the camp is cursed and nobody believes it until, well, they die.  Steve Christy is the owner of the camp, but is barely in the film except for his car to break down and to be stabbed.  The ONLY character that truthfully had depth and that we (the audience) got to know is Mrs. Pamela Voorhees ( Jason's MOTHER! Nice twist huh? Didn't see that coming. Did ya?).  
      I'm not going to worry about spoilers since most horror fans have seen this movie before or have at least seen the many sequels to know that Jason's mother turns out to be the killer in this film and not Jason himself.   We see how upset and psychologically fucked up this poor woman is. I mean, wouldn't you be fucked up too if your only child drowned, while those who were supposed to be watching him/her were too busy having unprotected sex?   The creepiest part is when she starts speaking for him in a low little kid voice saying things such as...
" Kill her mommy. Kill her. Don't let her live. Get her mommy. Get her. Kill her."
       Friday The 13th basically plays out like a campfire story especially in the sequels with a deformed guy wearing a hockey mask and gripping a machete who kills all the naughty teens trespassing around Camp Crystal Lake.   The best part of the movie though for us horror and slasher fans is of course the creative kills. Now, the kills may not seem creative to those young folks who have been brainwashed by modern horror, but in 1980 dude, this shit was fucking shocking! We get quite a few really cool slit throats.  I love the scene where two of the counselors are having sex as the camera pans up revealing one of the teens laying on the top bunk above them and the lightening strikes from outside revealing his throat to be slit open.  I'm still trying to figure out how this couple didn't realize that their best friend was laying on the top bunk with his throat slashed when they walked up to the bottom bunk to have sex. It must have been REALLY dark in that cabin. My personal favorite kill is that of Jack when he is laying on the bottom bunk smoking a joint and then all of a sudden the killer's hand comes up from under the bed holding his head down as an arrow comes up through his neck squirting blood.  I remember jumping the first time I saw that scene.  Great kill Mrs. Voorhees!   We also get the awesome hatchet between the eyes kill. Why the hell did that Marcie chick not RUN when she saw Mrs. Voorhees raise the hatchet up?  She deserved to die for being stupid! Another favorite is that of Bill where he is hanging on the back of the door with his throat slashed and an arrow through his eye.   We also get a great decapitation near the end of Mrs. Voorhees by Alice. Awesome kills all around thanks to Tom Savini who did the special FX for this film as well as the fourth installment The Final Chapter.
            The direction by Sean S. Cunningham was decent. I loved how Cunningham handled all of the murder scenes and added a little bit of a creepy atmosphere in places.  The cabin scene with the dead guy on the top bunk and the arrow coming up through the bottom bunk, killing the teen laying on it was nicely done.  I do have some complaints about a few scenes dragging a little bit.  There's a few boring spots, but not enough to really hurt the film in my opinion.   Friday The 13th moves at a decent pace without being too slow or too fast.  I do take issue with some of the night scenes being too dark though.  But other than that, I thought Mr. Cunningham handled the directing pretty well.
     The music by Harry Manfredini was really great and added a lot to the more vicious and creepy scenes.  The whole KI KI KI MA MA MA theme has become a staple of the franchise and used in every film. I find the explaination of how Manfredini came up with that theme quite interesting.  Granted, the musical score isn't as great as Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street, or Psycho, but it works and it works well.
         The ending of the movie is basically ripping off Carrie. It plays out like a nightmare sequence and leaves us wondering if Jason really is dead.
    The acting is pretty okay and decent here. Adrienne King  is alright as final girl Alice, but I thought that Ginny from the sequel is the best Friday heroine.   That fight at the end with Betsy Palmer was hilarious. Jeannine Taylor was okay as Marcie until she just stood there and let that hatchet hit her between the eyes. All I can do is laugh.  Harry Crosby played Bill pretty good. Definitely a likeable character even though he wasn't developed. Laurie Bartram was alright as Brenda I guess. Mark Nelson was wacky as Ned, the joker of the group. Peter Brouwer was decent as Steve Christy. Robbi Morgan tripped and fell as Annie before being cut throat.  Kevin Bacon was awesome as Jack and will always be remembered by horror fans for getting an arrow through his neck in Friday The 13th.  Walt Gorney was crazy as Crazy Ralph and will die in Part 2 at the hands of JASON! Speaking of Jason, I thought Ari Lehman was awesome in the flashbacks and the final scare as young Jason Voorhees.  And last but not least, we have Betsy Palmer who was the best part of the movie in my opinion as the totally psychotic mother of our favorite hockey masked slasher, Mrs. Pamela Voorhees!  This lady is all sorts of awesome.  I find it funny that Victor Miller's inspiration for the character of Mrs. Voorhees came from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho by switching the mother and son characters around. All in all, decent acting and a great performance by Betsy Palmer.
Overall, Friday The 13th is not a perfect horror film, but a pretty damn good one. It helped bring the slasher film into existence along with Halloween.  Friday The 13th also spawned ten sequels and a remake.  Without this film, there would be no Friday The 13th franchise and no iconic hockey masked Jason Voorhees. So, maybe Friday The 13th is a lucky day after all. Unless you go to Camp Crystal Lake to smoke pot, drink alcohol, or have sex that is. Then, you might as well kiss your ass good bye because Camp Blood  is Jason's woods and nobody leaves them ALIVE!
   Looks like Mrs. Voorhees has lost her HEAD! No matter, the campfire story of Jason Voorhees has not ended. It's just begun!  So, scroll down below the lake to see what the next tale of Camp Crystal Lake holds. WHAT? You would rather go bump in the night and smoke pot!  Your funeral kiddies!  KI KI KI MA MA MA KI KI KI MA MA MA. 
FRIDAYTHE13THPART2-1.jpg picture by sikomike
       How do you like your care free teens? Slit throat?   Arrow tipped sphere through the body during hot sex? Hammer to the head? Barbed wire slashing the throat? Jason's gotcha!  Welcome back to Crystal Lake!  And please, no marijuana, having sex, or drinking some booze during your stay. There might be fatal consequences if you do!
 It has been about five months since that terrifying Friday The 13th. Alice is having nightmares of that very night. However, someone pays her a little visit at her home and kills her with an ice pick after she discovers the severed head of Pamela Voorhees in her refrigerator.  A few years pass and a new camp is being set up right next door to a now boarded up Camp Crystal Lake ran by a guy named Paul Holt.  The counselors consist of:  Jeff and his girlfriend Sandra, Scott, Terry, wheel chair bound Mark, Vicki, Ted, and Paul's girlfriend Ginny.   Paul tells everybody the legend of Jason Voorhees around a campfire, which makes Sandra interested in checking the old abandoned camp out. Sandra and Jeff get caught trying to see old Camp Blood by the local Police Officer. Soon, the cop chases after someone running towards the old camp and discovers something horrible inside a small shack in the middle of the woods before getting killed. The next night while Paul, Ginny, and Ted are out at a bar, the other counselors are picked off one by one. Paul and Ginny return to camp and come face to face with an adult Jason Voorhees.
      After the box office success of Friday The 13th in 1980, Paramount Pictures decided to make a sequel to continue the story and make more money since the original was such a huge success.  There was a problem though, the killer from the first movie had been decapitated.  Someone suggested the idea of having  an adult Jason come back to avenge his mother by killing any and every care free teenager who dared to go anywhere near Camp Crystal Lake.  Sean S. Cunningham who produced and directed the original Friday The 13th didn't like the idea, but decided to let his old friend Steve Miner give it a whack. So in 1981, Friday The 13th Part 2 was released to continue the legend of Jason Voorhees and have him pick up the mantle that his demented mother left behind.   The story for Friday The 13th Part 2 is basically the exact same story as before except there are different teens at a different camp, different kills along with some of the same, and this time they are being killed off by an adult burlap sack masked Jason Voorhees.  According to the legend, Jason "witnessed" his mother being decapitated by Alice in the first movie and basically wanted to get revenge by killing Alice first before slaughtering anyone who comes near his home of Camp Crystal Lake.   Nothing more, nothing less. It's a simple story just like most Friday The 13th films.  The screenplay written by Ron Kurz is alright. 
      The characters are mostly one dimensional cannon fodder like usual except for Mark, Paul, and Ginny.  These were the only characters that had any true depth to them in my opinion. I have to say that Ginny is hands down my favorite Friday The 13th heroine. She's a smartass, funny, very cute, strong, and definitely likeable.   Paul is kinda likeable and becomes more heroic towards the end of the film. As for Mark, I felt truly bad for this guy. He's stuck in a wheel chair and gets a machete to the face before he gets LAID!  That's sad man. Very sad. Especially since Jason was nice enough to make him tumble backwards down the stairs in the pouring down rain by machete whacking him right in the center of his face.  Poor guy.   We then have Jeff and Sandra who reminded me of Jack and Marcie from the original since they are the sexually active couple for sure.  Scott basically wants to get into Terry's pants and is always playing jokes on her like taking her clothes while she skinny dips in Crystal Lake.  Vicki has the hots for Mark obviously.   Pretty basic group of teens here.
       And now for the best part of this franchise: the kills. The kills in this film are pretty tame compared to the ones in the original and even in the later sequels. We get a few slit throats.  Crazy Ralph gets his throat cut with a barbed wire while spying on Paul and Ginny making out.  There's a guy who gets the back of a hammer to his head. The best kill is the Jeff & Sandra one where Jason shoves an arrow tipped sphere through both of them as they are having sex.   And then Vicki finds the bodies of Jeff & Sandra along with coming face to face with Jason and yet she just backs up to the wall instead of GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE! I did love the close up of Jason's hand holding the knife as he slowly walked up to her before stabbing her. And finally, Alice from the original gets it in the temple with a fucking ice pick. How the hell did Jason manage to get all the way to her home? Did he buy a plane ticket?  Pretty disappointing on the kills.
     I did love the look of Jason with the burlap sack over his face. It kinda reminded me of the Elephant Man a bit.  Personally, I think the sack is actually more creepy than the iconic hockey mask that he receives in the next movie.   Also, I pretty much dug what he looked like when we saw him unmasked in Ginny's nightmare boo scare towards the end where half of his face was deformed and he has long brown hair and a full grown beard. He basically looked like someone who lived in the woods. Now, you see why a lot of people said that Rob Zombie turned Michael Myers into Jason in H2?
             Getting back to Ginny, I loved the scene where she put on Jason's mother's sweater and tricked him into thinking that she was his mother.  Too bad that when she moved to slice the machete through him that he saw the severed head behind her, realizing that she was lying. Plus, how many Friday heroines actually come at Jason with a fucking chainsaw?  I loved the little shack in the middle of the woods where Jason had been living especially that room where his mother's head and sweater were laying on the table with a few dead bodies circling it. 
     The direction by Steve Miner who was an Associate Producer on the original is alright here. Nothing too special. Miner would return to direct Part 3 and also directed the seventh Halloween film Halloween H20 in 1998.  I see where Sean S. Cunningham's wife was the editor of this movie.  My biggest issue with the editing is during many of the kills where it would cut too quickly after a kill where us, the audience and fans, didn't get to enjoy the kill for a few more seconds before it cut to the next scene.
      My biggest issue with this film though is the ending. Why? We never find out what really happened to Paul. You think that he's dead after fighting Jason before, but then he shows up to save Ginny in the shack, and then after the jump scene nightmare, Ginny is off to the hospital in an ambulance with no sign of Paul anywhere.  Did he really die? Is he in another ambulance? Did he head on to the hospital?  No clue.  I guess they wanted to leave it up to our imagination what really happened to him. 
     The music by Harry Manfredini is awesome as always.
   The acting is alright. Amy Steele is hands down the best actress as the heroine of the movie, Ginny Fields. It's a shame that Amy Steele has only acted in this and April Fool's Day. She truly deserved a better run of horror films.  John Furey is pretty good as Paul. Adrienne King is only in the film like five or ten minutes in the beginning as Alice and is alright.  Kirsten Baker as Terry, Bill Randolph as Jeff, Marta Kober as Sandra, Lauren Marie Taylor as Vicki, and Russell Todd as Scott were okay.  I really liked  Tom McBride as Mark.  Stuart Charno though was pretty annoying as Ted. What was the point of that character anyways? He didn't even die! The stunt guys Steve Nash who played the masked Jason Voorhees and Warrington Gillette (who got all the credit) as the brief unmasked Jason did an alright job. I still prefer Ted White as Jason from the fourth installment The Final Chapter though.
    Overall, Friday The 13th Part 2 is still a pretty entertaining and fun slasher flick even if it doesn't measure up to the original.   It brought Jason into the franchise as the killer and he continues to kill care free teens even to this day.
        So that wraps up another tale at Camp Blood.   Where's Jason's hockey mask you ask? Well, you just have to wait until Friday The 13th Part 3 in 2D.   Now, if you'll excuse me, I better put out the fire and use this sphere on the two fuck bunnies upstairs. Until the next slashing, have a nice fright! HEHEHEHEHAHAHAHAHA!
2.5/4 STABS



forestofthedead said...

Really great look at the first two movies.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Great reviews! I agree with the review for FRIDAY THE 13th. Classic horror film that changed the genre, sure. But it's not the greatest horror film out there and HALLOWEEN did things better. Still, it has a great villain that overshadowed all the other characters [and she's only in the film for like 20 minutes]. And the ending, while a CARRIE ripoff, still is effective. By the way, I do a great Marcie impression before she dies. What a stupid bitch. 3/4 is a perfect score.

PART 2 is okay and average. I think you like it more than I do. I think Ginny is definitely the best final girl in the franchise. She had sex and LIVED! How rare is that back in 80s horror?? And poor Mark. The guy couldn't get a break. I love sandbag Jason also. Pretty creepy. And great final act as well. But other than that, total remake of the first one and it took some stuff from 1971's TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE [the spear death is taken STRAIGHT from that film almost shot-by-shot with no credit given to that film at all]. I prefer 3D over this one. Amy Steel saves this film.

JennyB said...

Great reviews! I'm re-reviewing all the Nightmare On Elm Street movies. Alice got on my nerves and I didn't feel any emotion for her like I usually do for the "hero" of the movie.

Sadako said...

Good reviews. I saw this years ago but haven't seen any of the others...did see the remake which wasn't all that great.

Party Slashers said...

The arrow through Kevin Bacon's throat was truly memorable. Curious to hear you review Freddy vs. Jason.