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Why do I love "Friday the 13th Part 2"? Is it because this is the first official appearance of pop culture kill-con Jason Voorhees (witha bag on his head!)? Is it the exploding title? Is it the effortless charm of Camp Crystal Lake/Blood attendees? Is it the bonzo-bananas ending? Is it Jason's Sloth face? Is it the nonsensical opening scene? Is it the attempt to add a dash o' smarts to an otherwise lackluster blood-fest?
Is it all of the above?
"Friday the 13th Part 2" picks up where the legendary first flick left off, with final girl Alice tossing and turning from nightmares caused by her nightmarish encounter with the vengeful Pamela Voorhees. In case you don't know, in "Friday 1," Pamela Vorhees picks off a load of sexin' and pot smokin' teens in order to exact revenge on the careless youths who let her sweet, mentally challenged boy Jason drown at summer camp at Camp Crystal Lake (aka Camp Blood as the local legend has dubbed it). Throughout its running time we see the many murders from Mrs. Vorhees' POV, as we're meant to believe Jason is commiting the stabbings and slashings and de-Baconings of Kevin Bacon's throat.
But it turns out it was the old lady, and she and Alice (Adrienne King) face off and Alice beheads Mrs. Voorhees by machete. Afterwards, Alice hops into a rowboat and drifts out to the middle of Crystal Lake, only to be pulled into the murky depths by a Toxic Avenger-looking Jason in one of the all-time great denoument jump scares in horror.
Which brings us to "Friday 2." Somehow, Alice survived and she's now dealing with PTSD and what the grown-ups call "hallucinations". There was no boy in the lake. But Alice believes different. One of the strangest parts of this movie is how "Halloween" its opening is. We typically don't get "Friday" attacks in the 'burbs, but that's how this one goes. We get the standard Michael Myers stalk-a-thon, until Alice takes an ice pick in the temple in the middle of her kitchen by...we assume Jason? Honestly this is unclear. How did he get there? How did he know where she lives? How did he get back to Crystal Lake? Is that his mom's head in the fridge...and if so, where did it come from? Did this opening scene even REALLY occur?
I don't know, but Alice is dead.
So we're off to Crystal Lake. We meet Crazy Ralph, the harbinger of doom and shortly thereafter are group of victims...er...camp goers/counselors are assembled and ripe for the picking. Among them is new final girl, the free-spited Ginny (Amy Steel), child psychology major.
Why do I bring up Ginny's college major? Well, it's imperative to my enjoyment of the movie. Ya see, Ginny is sympathetic to Jason's plight. She feels bad for him. She kinda gets the big lug. This is perfectly synthesized in the following chunk of dialogue as Ginny pontificates about Jason witnessing his Mom's de-headifying with boyfriend/head of camp Paul and goofball/annoying guy Ted over beers at the local watering hole:
Ginny: Let's try to think beyond the legend. Put it real terms. I mean what would he be like today? Some kind of out of control psychopath? A frightened retard? A child trapped in a man's body? He'd be grown right now, right?
Ginny: And you know the only person who knew him was his mother? He never went to school so he never had any friends. She was everything to him.
Paul: Yeah, deranged killer!
Ginny: No, no, no. You're missing my whole point. I mean, I doubt Jason would've even known the meaning of death. Or at least until that horrible night. He must've seen the whole thing happen. Who must've seen his mother get killed. And all just 'cause she loved him. I mean, is that what her revenge was all about? Her sense of loss, her rage at what she thought happened...her love for him? Bizarre, isn't it? I mean he must be out there right now, crying for her return. Her resurrection.
Ginny's intrigued by Jason. She doesn't think he's all evil. Maybe he's just mixed up. Maybe he needs a hug. Or as we see a later, a stern talking to...and a machete to the face.
"Friday 2" plays out exactly as it should, but for some reason it just works better than it should. Kids get offed in creative ways. They drink, they smoke pot, the try to have sex...but in perfect "Friday" fashion, Jason ices 'em before they can do the deed...or in Jeff and Sandra's case...while they do the deed.
Speaking of "Friday" sexcapades, there's a slow-burn relationship that's built between the wheelchair-bound Mark and nice gal Vickie. Their chemistry is downright sweet and when the two are poised to get it going, Mark takes an axe to mug in one of the "Friday" flicks most famous deaths.
Also, Vickie totally sprays perfume on her lady parts.
So Jason kills pretty much everybody until Ginny stumbles upon his creepy little shack (the best!) and finds his shrine to his mom. Since she's such a smarty pants future kiddie shrink, she comes up with the idea to slip into Mom's sweater and trick Jason into believing that she is, in fact, Mrs. Voorhees. She sternly tells Jason that "he done good" and gets him to his knees. As she's set to chop his flour sack-covered head (in a very unsympathetic way btw), he spots Mom's actual head and realizes that he's being duped. Thankfully, Paul survives and rassles with Jason, positioning the murderous oaf to be stabbed in the back and killed.
Ginny and Paul head back to camp and breathe a sigh of relief as they discover that Muffin the dog lives and wasn't a pile o' mush like we thought! Then, in a tribute to the shock ending of "Friday 1" a de-masked Jason smashes through the window in a longest slo-mo shot ever and grabs Ginny.
She survives. She calls for Paul. Where's Paul? Who knows. How did she survive? Who knows. Why does the movie end on a shot Pam's face? Who knows.
All I know is I dig it. And you should too!