Friday the 13th Part 2 (Steve Miner, 1981)
Five years after the events that take place in the first film, a new camp is opened near the old Camp Crystal Lake, where a series of brutal murders had taken place. Though Mrs. Voorhees is now dead, something even more sinister is lurking in the woods, ready to avenge past wrongs. Much like the first film, most of the victims here are attacked rather senselessly. They are not really the ones who hurt Jason, but rather representations of what set the wheels in place. The villain in this film is far more menacing than the first, and the characters more appealing. The kills are extravagant, but without descending into the camp excesses of the later films. It creates a great atmosphere of dread, and the final scenes are among the very best in the series. Ginny is perhaps one of the few characters in the series who uses her intelligence against Jason, making for some very tense and shocking scenes, a welcome departure from the rest of the series. I have to say, I even prefer this to the original.
Friday the 13th Part III (Steve Miner, 1982)
Descending even further from the plotted stories of the first, Friday the 13th Part III also moves the setting from a camp to a remote farm house. Though filmed in the 3-D format, I watched it in regular 2-D, which probably eliminates some of the fun. This film has the same teenagers having fun, and then dying brutality format… while somewhat tired, it’s actually executed very well. The last half hour or so has more blood and more deaths than the previous films, and features some of the most memorable moments of the series. Though most of the psychological aspects have long evaporated, dread is created through a sort of humourous irony that Jason truly is immortal. Many horror spoofs play on this fact, but none handle it as wonderfully as this film, as it makes Jason’s survival bothe shocking, funny and terrifying. The highlight probably being him surviving being hung, and the events that unfold shortly after when we realise that getting rid of him is not quite so easy.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Joseph Zito, 1984)
The “final” chapter, and probably my last outing in the Friday the 13th series, this film is a far cry from the three previous films, and is only just barely watcheable. It does have it’s moments and has more nudity than any of the previous films, so while it still has something working for it, it fails on many other levels. The plot is not engaging, the sense of dread almost zero, so by the time people start dying there has been very little build up atmosphere. The film is far more funny than it is scary, for better and for worst. Though, unlike Part III, it doesn’t blend the two very skillfully. The humour essentially cancels out the horror, and what should be disturbing only becomes worthy of a good laugh. Highlights include Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover’s insane dance.