Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
The #31DaysofHorror train keeps chugging along with my exhausted corpse tied to the front. Friday the 13th Part 2 is many peoples franchise favourite, and I bought it for three quid a couple of years ago, so if not now, when? Unlike Halloween, which has a heroine with a link to the killer, the camp counsellors on Crystal Lake are simply an endless supply of victims to Jason Voorhees. (I know who the killer is in the first one, so don’t Scream me.)
A couple of months after surviving the original film—the murders at Camp Crystal Lake—Alice is killed in her apartment by an unseen assailant. Five years later, a new camp has been created along the lake, and at a training week for counsellors, leader Paul tells the group the story of the slaughter, but assures everyone that Jason is dead. The next night, half the counsellors go to a nearby bar, and the ones staying behind are stalked by Jason, who is living in a self-made shack in the woods. As the night goes on, Jason picks the counsellors off one by one.
I don’t think it was done deliberately, since both films were released the same year, but just as the opening sequence of Halloween II is the final scene of the first film, Alice relives the end of Friday the 13th in dream flashbacks, before having a cat thrown at her, finding a head in her fridge, and having an ice pick pushed into her temple. The characters are all likeable, the acting is naturalistic, and the couples feel plausible, so I found myself upset as they ran afoul of Jason’s various weapons. Usually there are a few characters in these films you can’t wait to see die, but not here. This is a slasher with minimal special effects, without complex kills, and before irony. Surprisingly affecting and effective.