Ok, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I come home, I pick a movie and I watch it. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little more highbrow (Not that anything on my list could be considered such) and sometimes I’m just in a slasherin’ sort of mood.
So after that stellar introduction, let’s take a look at a film that proves sequels can be better than the original.
I reviewed this in some other iteration of the blog at some point in time, but I always find myself coming back to it, like comfort food. It’s not a great movie, but if you’re looking for a good slice of 80’s slasherdom then you could do a lot worse.
So we begin with the swift offing of the first films only survivor (SPOILER!) complete with a flashback of what feels like the whole third act of the previous film. I’m not joking when I say it feels like a good 10-15 minutes is spent on this, while the character rolls around on the bed having a nightmare about the whole ordeal. Finally she’s offed though, just not before someone throws a cat at her in a dubious scare tactic (Obviously the cat was just meant to appear at the window, but someone threw that poor thing right at her).
Then it’s five years later and we have a new group of camp counsellors to contend with. They’re not staying at the same camp from the first film, that would be ridiculous and in a wise move that original camp was shut down and condemned. Instead we’re at a camp that’s like a twenty minute walk away, so of course that’s much better. We get some shenanigans, the pre-requisite campfire story about Jason and then some killings are to be had.
This is the film where we say goodbye to old Ralph. Ralph is the town loon who insists on cornering the teens and telling them how doomed they are. The other kids didn’t listen, and they paid the price. These kids don’t listen either, so Ralph takes to stalking them for reasons that will forever remain unclear as he’s garroted. Goodbye sweet Prince. Various teens follow suit, but not all of them. In a witty twist on things, a group of counsellors head off to the local bar to get drunk, and end up leaving with their lives. It’s rare for partying to be rewarded but here we are.
That’s not the only thing that’s different. This is a particularly human Jason. He’s not acquired his famous hockey mask yet (That comes next), he’s not superhuman. He’s just a regular guy with a sack over his head. He grunts, he recoils in horror from a chainsaw and he falls over furniture in pursuit of his prey. He still possesses his mother’s innate ability to hide bodies in the perfect places though, that’s a gift that never goes away.
That’s not to say it’s without its flaws. While I appreciate that the film wants us to get to know these characters, it does so at the expense of any real pacing. All the kills are loaded toward the last third of the film, and happen in quick succession. It throws in the death of Ralph and the local sheriff, but these scenes almost feel superfluous and largely bloodless.
It’s actually something that struck out at me with last night’s film and again with this one. Sleepaway Camp features one, brief, shot of ‘gore’ despite the kills and the same goes for this one. Despite a machete to the face and a spear through two people, everything is relatively safe. It’s an issue that I’m sure had more to do with the meddling of the MPAA, who were really clamping down on slasher films at the time. But it robs the scenes of what people really wanted to see. What’s worse is that they really stand out when a scene blatantly ends too early, with a sudden jump away from the action. Sadly it’s something that affected most of the films of this ilk and it wasn’t until the more lenient 90’s that buckets of blood were able to come back in a big way.
So that’s it for this entry. I’ve run out of things to say. I will definitely come back at some point and look at part 3, which almost reaches the same heights as part 2 (But this time in 3 Dimensions) and I’ll look at the post-modern stylings of part 6. But for now we’re done here. Be gone. Scram!