You could argue that posting anything pop culture related on the internet is the equivalent of pissing into the ocean but the reason I post so little about film on here is because to me that’s taking a very small wee into the biggest ocean, like Waterworld big, but fuck it I just watched Friday the 13th Parts 2 through 5 (in the wrong order of course) and I want to talk about my second favourite Slasher franchise. Having seen all of the films multiple times I’m quite happy to admit that Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (that’s Part 4, the one with George McFly in it) is unbiased the best film in the series but it’s Part II I watch the most, this post includes six of the many reasons why that is. If you can’t remember which one Part II is – it’s the one where Jason has the bag on his head – if you haven’t seen Part II (or have but won’t remember until I describe it) its set five years after the original movie at the soon-to-open Camp Packanak which is on the same lake as the infamous Camp Crystal Lake (and within walking distance) and follows a bunch of camp councillors who are there training and the two camp councillors training them – Ginny and Paul. It was the first film to feature Jason Vorhees as the main antagonist. Also as a shameful attempt to rip off I-Mockery I’m including little gifs in this article, I’m sure it’ll go well, now are you sitting comfortably? Then the body count continues…
The Jogging Scene!
You know the cliché ‘makes me laugh every time’? This makes me laugh every time and I mean that literally. I’ve decided the reason it works so well is because the joke isn’t explained but it’s very easy to work out, which is annoying because I now have to explain it because this is text rather than video (and if you heard my voice you’d understand why): the only two people at the Councillor Training centre not doing the jogging exercise are the guy running it – because he’s running the show - and the bloke in the wheelchair – because he can’t use his legs – so Mark, the bloke in the wheelchair, decides the best way to spend his time is to gleefully take the piss out of everyone who has to run. It’s so easy to relate too and a great example of how much more successful the humour in this installment is compared to its successors (and predecessor).
Being a terribly huge nerd I like it when things I like turn up in movies I like, in this case the Milton-Bradly Microvision, the very first console with interchangeable cartridges which debuted in 1979 (a full decade before the Game Boy). These are the handheld games that Mark and Vicki are using to play for ‘position’ during their utterly charming getting together scene and as an aside how lovely is Vicki’s character? This little cute character who’s also really forward and totally naughty? Speaking from experience the more adorable the girl is the more likely they are to be blatantly naughty (and wear knickers that look like brown balloons…?), also if you’ve read or watched Crystal Lake Memories you’ll know that he actress who plays her is still just as lovely. But there’s actually more connections to pre-Game Boy handhelds, see the two games being played in the film are Connect-4 and Block Buster but if you’ve seen the film you might notice that they’re referred to as ‘Football’ and ‘Hockey’ which were the names of two of Mattel Electronic’s revolutionary handhelds that spun off from the very first handheld digital game Auto Race (yeah, Mattel made the first handheld video games) and for years I assumed that these WERE the handhelds they were playing (I never looked very close, in my defence Lauren Marie-Taylor IS on screen most of the time they are). Of course there were numerous imitators by 1980/1981 and I can’t prove the script writers were actually thinking of the originals but it’s close enough for me say 'it cool that we have two references for the price of one', almost certainly because they just used the first handheld consoles they could find. It’s even cooler that a girl was able to seduce a boy via handheld games, that’s both nerdy AND creative - why do these things never happen to me *sigh*.
Seeing Jason Mid-Kill!
Right, I’m not sure most of you will be with me for this but hopefully I’ll be able to stay semi-lucid enough to mean you are at the end. While Jason’s chasing Ginny she hides under a bed and nothing happens, she then peeks out and sees Jason standing on a chair about to stand her through the bed, she knocks the chair over and escapes, in doing so Jason looks a bit of a prat wobbling on a chair about to stab a bed - and that’s why I like it. See in order to achieve some of the death scenes we see in the series – and most others, Nightmare on Elm Street excepted as Jason bends reality in dreams – the killer would have to get themselves in some pretty precarious and pretty daft looking DIY-esque poses to achieve them but because of what we see it, when we see it and how it’s shot we never usually get to see things like Mr Vorhees wobbling on one leg with a dead body over her head waiting for the opportune moment to throw it through a window. Here we get to see that in all its dad-putting-up-some-shelves glory, it’s a nice little window into the Jason we don’t see and it somehow makes Jason seem more real to me. You’re still not with me are ya?
It’s not an original thought but Ginny is the best Final Girl in the series and one of the best in the genre. My main problem with the first Friday the 13th is that I am incapable of caring about Alice, part of it is that I don’t fancy her at all, part of it is that she looks a little too much like Jamie-Lee Curtis, part of it is her haircut (hey, even she admits it was awful), part of it is everyone else around her is 100% more interesting (even Kevin Bacon and that’s a BAD sign) but a lot of it is just that she inspires nothing but apathy from me for reasons I cannot figure out (she’s a fine actress too so fuck knows). Ginny is the complete opposite, I like her from the moment she arrives (having a VW Beetle helps), she’s got loads of personality, she takes no shit, she’s resourceful, she’s clever, she kicks arse, she provides an unusual way of defeating the killer (child psychology and dirty jumpers to the rescue!), she survives despite having had sex and she’s really just the pinnacle of how much better written and much more likable the characters in Part II are compared to…well compare to about 80% of the genre – sure I’d’ve rather another character survived in her place and we’ll get to that in a minute but that’s total bias, Ginny is a fantastic example of a Final Girl and Amy Steel needs an award of some kind, perhaps one shaped like a broken pitch fork.
The Spear Death!
I’ll be honest I don’t know what’s generally considered the ‘best’ Jason kills – I think the eyeball and spear gun deaths from III are pretty popular, I know Mark’s death from this film is up there and I’m fairly certain this one is too but for me this is the best kill in the series. This one short scene (annoyingly cut down because the MPAA suck and Marta Kober was under 18) sums up the Friday the 13th franchise and in fact possibly the whole Slasher genre perfectly – it’s two young attractive Americans (who are also camp councillors physically in a summer camp) killed in a creative manner with a creative practical special effect while they’re having sex. It also involves Marta Kober speaking of which:
Marta Kober as Sandra Dier!
I am a very detached viewer of movies and my friends (rightly) mock me for the complete lack of feeling I often display, some still haven’t forgiven me since I revealed I didn’t cry when Mufasa died, and I’m even more cold-hearted when it comes to horror films. We know most of the characters are going to die and we get a good indication of who isn’t going to die very early on so I rarely care when characters do inevitably kick it, Sandra is one of the very rare times when I wish a character has survived (oddly enough the franchise has another case: Val from Part V) and that is wholly because I have the biggest crush of Sandra in this film; I cannot overstate this, Marta Kober in Friday the 13th Part II wins my award for prettiest girl in a Slasher film. Everything about her and her character are things I find attractive, she’s cute, she’s spunky, she’s naughty, she’s slightly quirky, she’s a good laugh, she has amazing hair, she’s an awesome girlfriend, she wants to make out at the sight of mass murders, she’s just perfect. Yes she’s under 18 but hey, the legal age of consent in England – and New Jersey (where Camp Crystal Lake is supposed to be) – is 16, so I don’t fucking care. I ever get a Tardis I’m saving Sandra Dier the minute before the spear hits and she’s becoming my assistant – and most of our adventures will just involve having fun in giant intergalactic arcades, water parks and at sights of mass murders.
Also, and this genuinely isn’t really related to why I like her so much (not that I don’t like boobs but really there’s so many things to like about Sandra that boobs really are a long way down the list) but it’s unavoidable: Kober has the most animated breasts in this film, she’s a fucking gainaxing machine to the point that it becomes slightly comical, especially in the opening scene with the phone booth (fun fact: a group of two girls tried to use that fake phone booth between takes) where she is temporarily a Dead or Alive character.
There you are, six things I appreciate about a film you don’t like as much as the original, hopefully now you too will appreciate these things or optionally you won’t because I did a really shite job, whatever, thanks for reading.