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Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th: Part 2

By Scott Phillips

Friday the 13th (1980)

SEPTEMBER 15, 1997:  I think everybody knows that the entire Friday the 13th series is actually a large mountain of poo, but I find myself going back to watch 'em every so often just the same. The first one is probably the goriest, thanks to the nifty talents of makeup guy Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead), and the fact that Siskel and Ebert had yet to begin their war on stalk-and-slash flicks, which in turn led to the MPAA cracking down on anything with less of a budget than the latest Schwarzenegger epic (an injustice that continues to this day). I don't think I'm ruining it for anybody if I spill the beans on the "plot." In the 1950s, a little retarded kid drowned due to the neglect of camp counselors who were busy doing the underpants polka. Two of the counselors were subsequently murdered, and the camp was closed down--remaining that way for years. Finally, a bunch of teen counselors (all in their 40s and 50s) gather to reopen "camp blood," much to the chagrin of the murderer. Before you can say "sucking chest wound," this new batch of teeny-bopper nitwits is being slaughtered in a variety of ways, and it's up to the only virgin to save the day.

There's not a whole lot to say about this movie, other than if you've ever wanted to see Kevin Bacon get an arrow shoved through his neck, then you've come to the right place. Anyway, things slip and slide to the bloody conclusion, we discover the "shocking" identity of the killer, and the stage is set for the 47-film killing spree of hockeymask-wearing teen-hater Jason Voorhees, who chopped his first chickie in (what else) ...

Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)

This one was directed by Steve Miner, the guy who brought us Soul Man (but don't let that stop you from watching the damn thing). The virginal survivor of Part 1 finds a severed head in her fridge before taking an icepick in the ear. Then we cut to Camp Crystal Lake where, once again, a batch of teens plan to reopen the place--despite warnings of town psycho Ralph or Pete or whatever. This one doesn't deliver quite as sloppy a bucket of entrails for our viewing pleasure, but the quality of the girls seems to improve slightly, while still maintaining that '70s-era porno actress feel. No big "future stars" of a Kevin Bacon-nature in this one, but the virginal chick looks awfully familiar. At any rate, this one has the politically incorrect bonus of slamming a machete into the face of a guy in a wheelchair--just before he's about to score!

If you want more reasons to watch it, howzabout: a cheesy male model-type dancing with a fluffy puppy in an attempt to get laid; the dog's prodigiously round-tushied owner getting naked and swimming into the lake at night, apparently looking for the dog; endless girls wandering around in various stages of undress; a drunken nerd who simply vanishes from the film, and an ending that really isn't! In fact, the movie just stops. My favorite part, though, is when the wheelchair guy goes missing and his girlfriend sets out to find him. Where's the first place she looks? Upstairs! But, hey, we're not here for the intelligent characters or the meaningful dialogue or the terrific plot, because these flicks bear none of those burdens. We're here to see a bunch of dorks we don't like anyway get hacked to bits in inventive ways. Take the week off and rent the whole series. (Paramount Home Video)

--Scott Phillips


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