Revisiting the Camp Bloodbath: Friday the 13th Part II

In 1981’s Friday the 13th Part II, the body count continued at Camp Crystal Lake as a new killer donned Jason’s infamous hockey mask. Directed by Steve Miner in his debut, this first sequel brought horror icon Jason Voorhees into the slasher spotlight while further establishing the durable Friday the 13th formula.

Part II picks up five years after Mrs. Voorhees’ killing spree avenging Jason’s drowning as a boy. Sole survivor Alice Hardy falls victim in the opening moments to an unseen assailant—the adult Jason, clawing his murderous way back from a watery grave. After Alice’s violent demise, the film introduces another group of hapless counselors at a camp near Crystal Lake, where Jason lurks with an array of weapons and plenty of rage.

While no match for the originality of the first film, Part II delivers more of what fans wanted: creative gore and kill sequences courtesy of makeup master Carl Fullerton. Tom Savini’s absence is felt, but the succession of stabbings and impalings still impress with their viscera. From an ice pick into the temple to a machete planted in a man’s face, the R-rated carnage pushes the limits.

Ginny, played with spunk by Amy Steel, makes for an appealingly cunning final girl. Meanwhile, Warrington Gillette brings hulking menace to the pivotal role of unmasked adult Jason. Their climactic confrontation remains taut and thrilling.

With its twist expansion of the Voorhees mythology to focus on Jason as the seminal slasher, Part II cemented the franchise’s future. Lower in budget than the original but higher in body count, it delivered on the gory goods to satisfy fans. Nearly 40 years later, it stands as an early exemplar of horror sequels profiting from sticking to a proven formula.