Friday, March 13, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th Part II (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Ginny and Paul return to camp, Ted staying behind to try his luck with a waitress. They find the aftermath of Jason's bloody rampage, but no bodies so they decide to go looking for everyone. They don't even make it out of the cabin when Jason attacks Paul in FULL SIGHT of Ginny, making this one of the most unique slasher films of ALL TIME. A killer who can run and doesn't pick people off one by one? MORE PLEASE! Paul doesn't stand a chance here, partially because Ginny just stands around doing nothing while Jason kills him. I guess she's racked with fear, but Alice sure as hell wouldn't have just STOOD THERE. She would have grabbed a fucking blunt instrument and started caving Jason's skull in... then ran without making sure he was dead. Still, my point remains.

Some nice shots of Ginny trying to escape the cabin while Jason keeps blocking her follow, leading up to a scene where she opens a closet only to have Ralph's body fall out that was in no way, shape, or form inspired by a similar one in Halloween, so shut up. She finally gets outside through a kitchen window and dashes to her car, which starts up just fine and let's her get aw- YEAH, FUCKING RIGHT. The movie gets this one though, as they properly established it ran like shit and had constant problems turning over. Jason starts stabbing through the roof of the car with a pitchfork so she bails, the killer running after her. She hides in a tree and waits for him to run by, jumping out and KICKING HIM IN THE NUTS! HAHAH! Ginny, you have wholeheartedly redeemed yourself in my eyes. She runs into an adjacent cabin where she hides under a bed while Jason enters and prowls around.

A rat crawls under the bed with Ginny, and here we get one of the more disputed scenes in the entire franchise: Ginny is scared to death the rat is going to give her away and is doing her best not to make a sound. Jason decides the cabin is empty and goes to leave when he sees a pool of urine come out from the bed, which has sparked endless discussions over WHO PEED: GINNY OR THE RAT? Yep, this is a thing. You can go to online forums and read multi-page threads on this scene. It's really fun to be a horror fan sometimes. Allegedly in an interview... somewhere, that I've never been able to find, Steve Miner said it was that rat that peed, but that puddle was bigger than the rat itself. If a rat that small could piss that much liquid, I'd say we definitely got our supernatural elements of the franchise in this installment and not later ones.

Team Rat Piss are quick to point out that when Ginny gets out from under the bed there are no wet spots on her pants, which is true, but if you watch the scene you can see her close her eyes in fear, start shuddering, and then see the urine spill out onto the floor. This is why I'm on Team Ginny Piss, and chalk up her dry pants to a simple production gaff. Also, I can't believe I just spent the last two paragraphs writing about urine. Ginny hears the door close, looking out from under the bed to see Jason's legs are indeed gone. She crawls out from under the bed, only to see Jason was trolling her because he was standing on a stool. BRILLIANT! Unluckily for him though, the stool wasn't made to support a human hulk and it collapses just as he tries to stab her with his pitchfork, his weapon breaking in the process.

She runs to the corner, where she FINDS A FUCKING CHAINSAW! What? What was THAT doing there? In yet another memorable scene she fires it up and comes at Jason, who begins cowering in terror and completely loses all of his mystique in the process. Or does he? This is a scene that is usually brought up in Who Would Win arguments when fans are discussing Jason versus Michael Myers or Freddy or whoever, calling Jason a coward (or worse) who wouldn't stand a chance. These are also the same people who didn't pay attention to the film earlier, where Ginny was psychoanalyzing Jason and concluded he was just a boy in a man's body, as he spent his entire life alone in the woods and never had any kind of social interaction. OF COURSE he's going to be scared of someone brandishing a chainsaw at him, deep down he's still a special needs little boy. But you know what? This is EARLY, maskless Jason, he has a lot of growing to do still and grow he will.

Ginny cuts Jason in the arm with the chainsaw, but then inexplicably abandons it for a wooden chair that she smashes against his back. She leaves instead of trying to finish off the prone and defenseless figure, but I'm used to that by now in these movies. She finds Jason's shack, going inside when she sees a light on and hoping someone is inside that can help her. HELP YOURSELF GIRL, you had him dead to rights! A shot through the nearby window shows Jason running towards the shack, which is very subtly done. Ginny bars the door shut and starts looking around, as the movie finally reveals what the sheriff was so disturbed by: an impromptu, body-strewn shrine to Mrs. Voorhees featuring her severed head as the centerpiece.

Hey, that reminds me... how exactly did Jason find Alice anyway? They never say where she was living, but I always assumed it was a city far away from the local town because it looked a lot more modern and bigger from the few establishing shots we got of it. Locating her surely would have involved being able to read a phone book or a newspaper, something Jason DEFINITELY has never learned how to do. He can't drive either, so one has to assume he walked the entire distance from the woods to Alice's house carrying his mom's head along with him. Bet that thing was smelling pretty ripe seeing as how it's summer and all. No one noticed a huge psychopath with a burlap sack over his head walking through the city? I know city folk are known for being callous and jaded, but even that sight should have set off a couple alarms.

Jason begins to break down the shoddy door with a pickaxe, Ginny noticing there's a sweater lying in front of Mrs. Voorhees' head. She puts it on and PRETENDS TO BE HIS MOTHER when he finally smashes his way inside finally. Ginny is fucking amazing! That is, by a million miles, some of the most clever thinking to EVER grace the silver screen. She tells him what a good boy he's been and how he can stop now, the scene transitioning to Jason's perspective where he actually sees Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer in all her glory) talking to him. She gets him to lower his weapon and is about to stab him with a machete she found on the altar when Jason sees his mom's severed head behind her and snaps out of his trance.
He is about to attack when Paul runs into the room, somehow not dead. They wrestle again, THIS TIME Ginny doing something and bringing the machete deep into Jason's collarbone.  He falls to the ground dead, Ginny undoing his bag to look at his face but we don't get to see it. Paul carries her back to the piss cabin to console her, but this is interrupted by a noise right outside the door.  He grabs the remains of Jason's pitchfork and carefully opens the door to reveal... Muffins, Terri's missing dog?! Huh? Relief washes over them as happy music begins to play, just in time for a maskless Jason to JUMP THROUGH THE FUCKING WINDOW behind Ginny, machete still embedded in his torso. He grabs her as things fade to white, fading back in to medics loading her into an ambulance while she asks where Paul is. Wait, what? The film's final shot is of Mrs. Voorhees' head on the altar, which does NOT open its eyes despite every indication given that it would because it's obviously a person in makeup.

Cue the credits.

What the fuck happened there?! Well, it all depends on what you want to go with. In official movie continuity, this whole sequence was a dream Ginny had after leaving the cabin with Paul, intentionally designed to echo how the first movie ended with a big fakeout. However at the time there was no sequel planned, so this ending was supposed to have happened for real. The script was left “intentionally ambiguous”, which is just fancy talk for they really had no idea how to end it. Mrs. Voorhees' eyes WERE meant to open at the very end, but they decided against it at the last second because it would be too silly. They say that NOW, but looking ahead to some of the earlier films this would have been among some of the more sensible moments of the franchise.

A lot of people like to point out how similar this is to the first film and they're are absolutely correct, with a lot of it done on purpose. The biggest difference here is that, barring a short stretch in the beginning, the film is EXCITING and doesn't put you to sleep. The very likeable Ginny gets the majority of the screen time, and even the rest of the counselors aren't THAT terrible of characters. Except for Terry and Scott, they were pretty worthless. This is a sequel that improved on everything to the point I consider it one of the better films in the series, though it does lack the goofy fun that I much prefer. This is one of the finest pure 1980s slasher films you'll ever see, boasting a huge collection of timeless shots that constantly end up on “Greatest Horror Moments” lists.

Amy Steel was a fantastic Final Girl, more than able to hold her own against an overpowered serial killer. She did start off a little rough and timid, but that's to be understandable as I don't think any of us are going to be an action star in that situation from the world “go”. I'm not even going to hold pissing her pants against her, because she MORE than made up with it a few seconds later by RUNNING AT JASON WITH A CHAINSAW. There's Scream Queens, and then there's Scream “Motherfucking” Queens. And hey, did you notice that she had premarital sex and LIVED TO TELL THE TALE?

Critics hated the film of course, though not as much as the first one. Audiences ignored the critics and made it another huge hit, giving it a box office gross of twenty times its original budget of one million dollars. This was nowhere near the first film's gross of 60 million dollars, but it didn't matter as this proved a franchise could very well be made out of Jason's exploits. I give the film a very strong recommendation for slasher fans, though I would advise having Part III in queue afterward so you can make some sense of the ending. Even if you aren't wildly into the genre I still think you could check it out just to see a formula done to near perfection, this is like a time capsule of the early 1980s fare.

Since this is the first official movie to feature Jason, I thought I'd debut a variation of my Twilight Meter, the Massacre Meter!

1. How Many People Did The Villain Kill In This One?
Nine people. Some people like to assume Paul died in the end, but since the next movie confirmed he didn't as well as the fact we never see a body, the correct answer is nine.

2. What Was The Coolest Kill?
Mark taking a machete to the face, easily. I probably would have gone with Jeff, Sandra, and Sandra's breasts getting triple killed with a spear during sex, but since we never saw it it's disqualified.

3. What Was The Lamest Kill?
Scott somehow getting his throat torn open with the blunt side of a machete.

4. Did The Best Character Die?
She did not, Ginny survived this one with only a huge cut to her leg.

5. Did The Worst Character Die?
Yes, creepy ass Scott did die.

6. How Did The Villain Die In This One?
Jason didn't die in this one! He only sustained a serious machete through the shoulder injury, but made it to see the credits.

7.  How Competent Was The Final Girl?
Extremely!  Not only was she an interesting character with a personality and wit, she survived a slasher film after having sex!  There was rough spot when she didn't jump Jason when he first attacked Paul, but she was on point after that the second she got her hands on a magic chainsaw.