Oct. 23: Friday the 13th Part 2 and 3, The Walking Dead
Friday the 13th Part II (1981)
Jason Vorhees is synonymous with the Friday the 13th film franchise, but it wasn’t until the second entry that he took the lead role as the killer. His mom (played by Betsy Palmer) is the murderer the first time around, and Friday the 13th Part II is where we get to see Jason slice and dice a group of unsuspecting teenagers.
The first movie was great because it utilized the spooky campground setting to create a deathtrap for its victims. The follow-up does the same, this time with a burlap sack-wearing Jason Vorhees. Yep, it’s not until the third movie that he dons the iconic hockey mask. Quite frankly, I kind of prefer the sack as it gives him this odd, backwoods killer look.
Friday the 13th Part II doesn’t stray at all from the slasher formula. There are teens drinking, smoking, and having sex … and then they die. That’s pretty much it. That said, I would argue that this particular group of kids doesn’t really deserve to get chopped up by Jason as they’re not purposely obnoxious like the cast of characters would become in subsequent films.
I still remember the first time I watched Friday the 13th Part II. My family and I were visiting an aunt, and a couple of the older kids turned on the TV and the movie was on. They started watching it, and I was in awe of all of its awesomeness. Oh, I was terrified, but I was also super excited to be watching the movie. Needless to say, that was a great moment.
Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
It took three movies, but Friday the 13th Part III is where Jason Vorhees finally gets his infamous hockey mask. This movie is actually pretty bad, and its characters are mostly terrible with a few exceptions. Especially annoying is the dude who feels way too sorry for himself and likes to constantly pull pranks on the other guys and girls.
The whole movie is all over the place. There’s a biker gang that’s out to get the teenagers who are on the campgrounds, and they’re literally plotting to light a barn on fire near where the kids are staying. Then, when all hell breaks loose and Jason starts dropping fools, one of the bikers actually tries to help save one of the girls. It makes absolutely no sense considering the bikers’ plan was to put those kids in harm’s way in the first place.
Anyway, there are some cool kills, like when Jason shoots a harpoon right through one of the character’s eyes. Speaking of which, the scene is made specifically to take advantage of 3D effects, because the spear goes right toward the camera. That moment is pretty rad, but there are a bunch of other cheesy scenes where objects are pointed at or going toward the camera unnecessarily just to utilize the 3D effect. And because I’ve never watched the movie in 3D, it’s all just kind of hokey and weird.
Friday the 13th Part III is a pretty forgettable slasher. Its main claim to fame is introducing Jason’s hockey mask. It was originally meant to be the finale in a trilogy of slasher films, but as history would have it, they really couldn’t keep this franchise dead.
Bonus: The Walking Dead - “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (2016)
Note: I didn’t intend on including a TV show as part of my 31-day horror blog recap, but given the style of The Walking Dead season premiere, I think it’s actually kind of fitting to share some thoughts — non-spoiler, of course.
The Walking Dead season seven premiere didn’t have much storyline progression, but in under an hour it created an incredible villain, which not a lot of TV shows can do. People seem to be ignoring the fact that, overuse of Rick close-ups aside, the actual writing and performance of Negan’s character were strong. It wasn’t a perfect season premiere — it took way too long to get to the big reveal — but as far as character writing goes, it was great.
Also, folks get wrapped up in the Walking Dead’s drama aspect and forget that it’s also a horror series. In terms of horror, the premiere was legit terrifying. And I’m not talking about the gore and brutality (yet). I mean the human and psychological aspects of horror — Walking Dead did a great job in that regard. For the first time in a long time, it actually felt like a straight-up horror TV show, which I absolutely loved as a horror fan.
Now, in terms of the gore, I’ve been hearing that a lot of people are upset about that, but again: The Walking Dead is rooted in the horror genre. Quite frankly, the gore in last night’s episode was kind of refreshing. I would almost liken the Walking Dead premiere to an exploitation horror film. I was feeling Devil’s Rejects levels of uncomfortable.
Back to the writing and performance, though (because you can’t oversell either) Negan’s character alone — his personality, lines, and delivery — are some of the best on TV right now. That’s thanks to both the writers and actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Again, the Walking Dead premiere wasn’t perfect, but it was a good mix of exploitation horror, gore, and most importantly character performance.