Adrienne King

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981, Steve Miner)

When director Miner finally does a decent sequence in Friday the 13th Part 2, it comes as something of a surprise. Amy Steel is on the run from the masked killer and, even though it’s stupid, it’s somewhat effective. Steel probably gives the film’s best performance (she’s still not any good) and Ron Kurz’s script gives her the most to do. She’s about the only character in the film who thinks. It’s kind of amazing how inept Kurz and Miner are at giving actors character motivation.

But Miner’s sort of off-step throughout the entire film. For the majority of Part 2–Miner shows the killer by his or her legs. Except the viewer isn’t trying to ascertain the killer’s identity, so why be so coy. Because it’s manipulative. It’s also a waste of time.

Miner also doesn’t seem comfortable spending much time with the potential victims. The constant cutting to the killer on the prowl drags the viewer away from any empathic connection to the characters in danger. Many of the directors of other films who Miner rips off here have successfully employed such devices.

There are a couple likable enough actors, Bill Randolph and Marta Kober, and Stuart Charno tries so hard to be annoyingly lovable one has to appreciate the gusto. Unfortunately, in the most obnoxious role, John Furey also gives a rather bad performance.

Harry Manfredini seems confused on the music, which doesn’t help.

Part 2 is artistically bankrupt and incredibly pointless, but does move well.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Steve Miner; screenplay by Ron Kurz, based on characters created by Victor Miller; director of photography, Peter Stein; edited by Susan E. Cunningham; music by Harry Manfredini; production designer, Virginia Field; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Amy Steel (Ginny), John Furey (Paul), Stuart Charno (Ted), Lauren-Marie Taylor (Vickie), Marta Kober (Sandra), Bill Randolph (Jeff), Tom McBride (Mark), Kirsten Baker (Terry), Russell Todd (Scott), Jack Marks (The Cop), Walt Gorney (Crazy Ralph) and Adrienne King (Alice).


Friday the 13th (1980, Sean S. Cunningham), the uncut version

There’s nothing wonderfully terrible about Friday the 13th. It’s not like any of the cast are bad in funny ways, not even Betsy Palmer who’s doing inept histrionics. Are any of the cast members good? Not really. Some are better than others. Kevin Bacon’s probably the most useless (and annoying, due to an affected Southern accent) and Jeannine Taylor is okay, which is strange since most of their scenes are opposite each other.

Inept is a good word to describe the film in general. Director Cunningham rips off a style or a device from another film and then changes it just enough to make it not work. Without Harry Manfredini’s omnipresent score, there wouldn’t be any tension in the film. Cunningham can’t direct for it and writer Victor Miller can’t plot for it. Friday the 13th is obvious at every moment; there’s no inventiveness.

Well, except for the special effects, which are a little too slick for the film. Cunningham tries to make an exploitation picture, but does it with a little too much budget and not enough understanding of how to actually be affecting while terrorizing your audience. He and Miller try for “scary” things because it distracts from their inability to form a connect with the viewer. Friday the 13th doesn’t use any of the viewer’s brain cells, unless he or she is counting shockingly obvious moments for later review.

The single surprise–the ending scare is really well-executed (thanks to Manfredini’s cheap, obvious and effective music).

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham; screenplay by Victor Miller, based on a story by Cunningham and Miller; director of photography, Barry Abrams; edited by Bill Freda; music by Harry Manfredini; production designer, Virginia Field; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Betsy Palmer (Mrs. Pamela Voorhees), Ronn Carroll (Sgt. Tierney), Adrienne King (Alice Hardy), Harry Crosby (Bill), Peter Brouwer (Steve Christy), Laurie Bartram (Brenda), Jeannine Taylor (Marcie Cunningham), Kevin Bacon (Jack Burrel), Mark Nelson (Ned Rubinstein), Robbi Morgan (Annie), with Rex Everhart (Enos, the Truck Driver) and Walt Gorney (Crazy Ralph).


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