Girl Meets Context: When the original Friday the 13th was a massive success, a sequel went into production almost immediately. Adrienne King, who played the first movie’s final girl, Alice, asked to be included only peripherally, after a bad experience being stalked by an obsessed fan. Friday the 13th Part 2 introduced Ginny, played by Amy Steel, often cited as the franchise’s best final girl and one of the smartest and toughest final girls in the genre. More importantly, the sequel introduces Jason Voorhees as the principal protagonist. Here, he’s a dirty hillbilly hiding his face in a pillowcase with one ragged eyehole cut into it. He would not wear his iconic hockey mask until midway through Part III of the franchise. Friday the 13th Part 2 doesn’t try to reinvent the formula of the original movie, it simple doubles down on it: more sex, more boobs, more kills, more blood, more suspense. Well regarded by fans of the franchise – in particular for the extended Ginny vs. Jason game of cat-and-mouse - the movie boasts some iconic sequences: the famous POV-shot of Jason’s hand clutching a knife as he crosses the room to stab Vicky, the post-coital body spearing that was ripped directly from Mario Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve, and the gonzo image of Mark’s wheelchair careening backwards down a steep staircase with a machete buried in Mark’s face. Be forewarned, our discussion will include massive SPOILERS, so go watch the movie on Netflix Instant and come back!
Kristine: First thing I have to ask is: If Jason isn’t dead…then WTF????
Sean: What do you mean?
Kristine: If Jason didn’t drown and was alive all this whole time, then why would Mrs. Voorhees go on a revenge rampage? Or is Jason a supernatural figure?
Sean: Um… I don’t think it makes any sense.
Kristine: It DOESN’T!
Sean: I think the idea is that he didn’t die and lived as a feral child and Mrs. Voorhees didn’t know that.
Kristine: Right, which makes no sense since she stalks those woods.
Sean: Agreed. It’s weak.
Kristine: Anyway, I enjoyed Part 2 MUCH MORE then the original.
Sean: Yay! What did you like about it?
Kristine: Jason. Ginny, the final girl. I loved her. Also, the kills were better and there were more teenager shenanigans.
Sean: I TOLD you Ginny was beloved by the fans right?
Kristine: You did tell me that, but I was still impressed with her smarts.
Sean: I think their whole cat-and-mouse sequence at the end is really good.
Kristine: I actually thought the scene where she uses her knowledge of child psychology to almost kill Jason was awesome.
Sean: Yes, she is smart.
Kristine: But it was also when I had the most sympathy for Jason, when he is kneeling down in front of Ginny, thinking she is his mom and he cocks his head to the side… He really wants to believe! And you see his one eyeball peeking out from his potato sack…
Sean: Yes, he is kind of a tragic figure in this movie. His eyehole scared me.
Kristine: I think the baghead thing is REALLY scary.
Kristine: It reminded me of the mongo from The Orphanage.
Sean: I think it’s scarier than the hockey mask.
Kristine: I agree. I mean, I haven’t seen Jason in a hockey mask but I am familiar with the image.
Sean: He picks it up in Part III.
Kristine: Another thing I loved about this movie was ALICE’S DEATH! Totally satisfying.
Sean: Were you so happy when she died?
Kristine: So happy. I hated her drawings and dumbness.
Sean: Screwdriver in the temple, right?
Kristine: I think it was an ice pick all the way through her tiny brain.
Sean: Her arguing with her mom was symbolic, I think. Since she murdered Jason’s mother and cannot get along with her own. Did you find Jason scary, or just fun to watch?
Kristine: I found him and the way he looks scary, but I did not find this movie scary. I mean, if Baghead Jason lumbered towards me in real life, I would be scared. But I was never scared watching this movie.
Sean: Aha! So why don’t you think it scared you?
Kristine: I think it was not scary because I knew exactly what was coming.
Sean: Was it suspenseful at all?
Kristine: Umm, no. I did feel scared for Muffin (Terry’s dog, who has an early run-in with Jason and is presumed dead), but that’s it. By the way, I think Jason sparing Muffin spoke to his manchild nature, right?
Sean: Yes I think so. So it wasn’t even suspenseful in the cat-and-mouse stuff with Ginny?
Kristine: Well, the Ginny stuff WAS suspenseful… but I wasn’t ripping my toes off or anything. I knew she would live!
Sean: Was the beginning of Jeepers Creepers more suspenseful?
Sean: Hmmmm! Interesting.
Kristine: So, you adored this movie when you saw it as a young child, right?
Sean: Yes. I saw an edited-for-television version and was RIVETED. I must have been about 7.
Kristine: That is so messed up you saw this movie when you were 7. Oy vey. Do you remember what you loved?
Sean: Yes! I remember what the indelible images were that burned themselves into my brain. Thinking Muffin was dead really upset me, but then I was relieved at the end when she showed up. Vicky spritzing perfume in her underwear like, FASCINATED me.
Sean: I remembered that forever and I remember thinking, Why did she do that?
Kristine: That is so weird, by the way. Who does that??
Sean: I think I shared Vicky’s excitement and identified with her. I was like, this is so fun! Getting ready to hook up with Mark!
Kristine: Well, that guy is super fine.
Sean: Obviously, Jeff and Sandra getting speared rocked my world. I was like, OMG!
Kristine: Those two….
Sean: I thought Jeff WAS SO HOT. Hottest guy in the movie.
Sean: Yes! I loved him. He is totally my type.
Kristine: Ha ha ha, so funny. I DIED at Terry’s outfits! Those shorty shorts and crop tops.
Sean: Kristine, her shorts and Mickey Mouse belly-shirt! I just can’t believe.
Kristine: I COULDNT BELIEVE IT WAS HAPPENING when those shorts appeared. But I HATED that rapey preppie who stole her clothes when she was skinny dipping.
Sean: Scott. There were like, two times when you thought you were in Jason’s POV but you were really in Scott’s. Did you notice that? The movie conflates Scott and Jason.
Kristine: I DID notice that. I think it’s clear that the movie sees Scott as a disgusting predator. When he slingshots, like, an acorn at her bottom?
Sean: It’s enough to almost think the movie is a critique of boy meanness. ALMOST. But Terry’s braless-ness. Do any girls actually dress that way in public? At a children’s summer camp? I mean, is that allowed?
Kristine: No, I don’t think how Terry is dressed is realistic for camp in the woods, just because of ticks alone.
Sean: Her butt-cheeks hanging out of her shorts…
Kristine: Also, NO ONE jogs in skintight hotpants. That is an infection waiting to happen.
Sean: Haha! Well, she does air out her vag every 20 minutes with skinny dipping.
Kristine: Heh. But Scott is horrifying. Though I said it before with the first Friday the 13th and I’ll say it again: I know that slasher films get a bad rap for being misogynistic. And yes, things like Terry’s outfits and Sandra’s braless-ness and wanton women behaving badly ARE all elements of the films… But I don’t think these movies are anti-woman. The females are strong characters, and the males are ALMOST equally objectified.
Sean: Right? I tend to agree in terms of these first two Friday the 13th movies. The more hardcore misogyny is present in later movies in the franchise, and other movies in the genre. So, I was going to ask what the most “satisfying’ death was? But it is obviously Scott right?
Kristine: No, it’s Alice for me.
Sean: Hah! What was the death you most didn’t like, because you liked that character?
Kristine: I’m not sure about that. But I didn’t like how the question of whether Paul was dead or not is left unanswered.
Sean: Yeah. Fans have been up in arms about that for years and apparently John Furey and Amy Steel get asked about it all the time at conventions and in interviews.
Kristine: Some of the deaths blended together for me. How did Ted, the gawky ginger freak die?
Sean: He didn’t die! He got drunk and stayed in town.
Kristine: Right. How did Vicky die?
Sean: Vicky’s death is a really famous scene. That POV-shot of his hand holding the knife, slowly walking towards her while she screams in the background.
Kristine: Oh, in panties?
Sean: Yes. That is an extremely iconic scene.
Kristine: Huh, weird. I forgot about it.
Sean: She was the Marcie of this movie – she gets the longest most suspenseful scene in her panties.
Kristine: Right. I’m sorry, but the banter between her and Mark was beyond the pale. I know they were suppose to be cute, but…
Sean: It was like Happy Days meets Deep Throat.
Kristine: Ha ha, exactly!
Sean: “I’ll play you…. for POSITION!” she says.
Kristine: It was like, you don’t get to be a cute, wholesome couple when she says, “All I want from you is… YOUR FINGERS!”
Sean: Hahahahah! I know – I think conservatives at the time would point to these movies as examples of the moral decay of our society, but can I just say that I love their open sexuality? I love how pro-sex the characters are, Vicky being a great example. She’s just… into it! And in these first two movies I don’t think either of the final girls are that virginal. Alice was clearly fucking Steve in the first movie, and Ginny and Paul have bloody period sex in this one.
Kristine: I think “fingering” was more of a thing in the 1980s. I think it has gone out of style.
Sean: Oh my god, all we talked about in middle school was who fingered who.
Sean: Yep. It was before blowjobs were a big thing.
Kristine: RIP fingering and hand jobs.
Kristine: It’s weird that sex acts can be trendy and go out of style.
Sean: Mark seemed not that into it anyways.
Kristine: NO, he didn’t. His gayness was showing.
Sean: He all was “in training…”
Kristine: In training for the Homo Olympics!
Sean: I know! He was like, “I got crippled in a motorcycle accident, riding on my boyfriend.”
Kristine: HA HA HA! So, the actor who played Mark is a famed hot gay, right?
Sean: Yes. He was A MARLBORO MAN. And thus a 1970s gay icon.
Kristine: That is sexy.
Sean: Marlboro men were such a thing in the 1970s. But that actor, Tom McBride, died of AIDS in his 40s and it is horrible and tragic.
Kristine: I was surprised when Crazy Ralph got killed. I thought he was integral to Crystal Lake, just like Jason and an essential part of the whole thing.
Sean: The first thing they did was kill Alice and Crazy Ralph, the only survivors of the first movie.
Kristine: I thought Crazy Ralph would be in all of them.
Sean: Nope. He dead. He was a perverted voyeur anyway.
Kristine: I am totally convinced that shacks like Jason’s exist in the woods and I definitely think there are feral mongoloid man-children living in them.
Kristine: Not kidding. Like the Blair Witch.
Sean: It could be!
Kristine: Woods are scary.
Sean: Yeah. So Ginny. I want to talk about all the period blood stuff.
Kristine: Okay, that was weird. When the counselor tells the ladies to keep…what was it? FRESH!?
Sean: He tells them to keep clean during their cycles and Terry and Vicky look at each other like, OMG. Then when Paul and Ginny hook up she says, “I have to tell you something.” And in the morning he leaves her a note that says “Watch out for bears.”
Kristine: That is SUCH a thing, that bears will come get you if you have your period. Such a misogynistic crock. GOD.
Sean: I mean, the “bear” here is Jason right?
Sean: And it turns out that her blood is the thing that saves her? I mean they call Camp Crystal Lake “Camp Blood.”
Sean: And remember the first thing Ginny and Paul find when they get back to the camp is a bed smeared with blood all over the sheets. Like a reminder of their menstrual encounter.
Kristine: This is why I think these movies, even though they use these anti-woman tropes, turn those tropes on their heads and becomes a pro-woman thing. By the way, just out of curiosity, is that what you think a menstrual encounter looks like?
Sean: No! It’s a gonzo interpretation. The whole “Beware of Bears” on the mirror thing – do you think that she and Paul fucked while she was menstruating? Or is it meant to imply that they couldn’t/didn’t have sex for that reason?
Kristine: I thought it meant that they DIDN’T have sex, but I can’t be sure. That was my impression. But I thought it was totally creepy that he wrote that.
Sean: What about Ginny pissing herself under the bed? I had forgotten about that but for some reason I found it shocking.
Kristine: Oh, I was VERY shocked at that. It totally took me aback but I loved it and thought it was surprisingly honest and further humanized Ginny. I remember reading Teen magazine and they had this column that consisted of ALLEGED readers writing in about the most embarrassing, horrible things that ever happened to them and I swear like 80% of the letters were: I was wearing white pants and I got my period, so I had to change schools. Or, I got my period on my boyfriend’s couch and his mom yelled at me and kicked me out and he dumped me.
Sean: Oh god, that is such a mythic situation. And the peeing does humanize Ginny but, for the whole rest of the movie I was also like, Um, she is in peepants. Did you think about Ginny’s peepants during the final scenes?
Kristine: Nah. I loved how when one escape strategy didn’t work, Ginny just moved on to Plan B or Plan C or Plan fucking M. She just kept going, trying to survive.
Sean: Yeah, she was smart and feisty.
Kristine: Like when her VW didn’t start. Stupid Alice would have just sat there and screamed.
Sean: That scene when they’ve just gotten back from the bar and the lights are out and she’s like “Paul there’s someone in the room.” That scene scared me A LOT when I was a kid. But an “exhilarated scared.”
Kristine: I also loved her in the bar when she is hypothesizing about Jason, because the boys make fun of her but that informed her on what to do when she was in Jason’s shack, and she impersonated his mom.
Sean: I liked how in that bar scene she was all “Jason doesn’t understand the meaning of death.” I thought that was an interesting idea to toss into the movie, because the whole movie is a thrillride in which we confront death over and over. There’s some similarity between Jason and the audience there. Like, we don’t “understand death” so we watch these movies which trivialize life and celebrate death, and in a way I think that’s about putting on a brave face at how mortal and vulnerable we are.
Kristine: I don’t get the sense that Jason particularly likes to kill, or that he is trying to inflict pain. This is just what he does.
Sean: Yeah, her line makes it seem like he is just playing with people like they’re toys and it makes him a bit scarier actually.
Kristine: In the theatre, do people cheer at each death?
Sean: Yes. That is a thing.
Kristine: I can understand. I cheered when Alice and Scott died! Sean, I am PART OF THE PROBLEM.
Sean: I mean, that’s where the label of misogyny comes from. Audiences full of men cheering at seeing girls slaughtered.
Kristine: Right, but boys are slaughtered too.
Sean: I thought it was interesting that the movie’s biggest piece of cheesecake – Terry – gets killed off screen. You’d think that the boys in the audience would want to see Terry get it if this really is all about sexually charged bloodlust. But the movie denies them that “pleasure.” Instead, it gives us the Sandra/Jeff spearing, which implicates the boys too….
Kristine: I just don’t see it. I mean, I think you can easily make an argument that the movie is exploitive and about cheap, base thrills, like booty shorts and bouncing tits and slicing off heads. But I do not see it as deeply rooted in misogyny AT ALL. Misanthropy MAYBE.
Sean: Just fyi, that Sandra/Jeff death scene is completely ripped off, intact, from a 1960s Italian horror movie called Twitch of the Death Nerve.
Kristine: HUH! It was striking, for sure. Especially since she knew what was happening and Jeff didn’t.
Sean: Yeah – she sees it coming and is pinned helplessly beneath Jeff.
Kristine: I also thought it was a nod to that dopey blissed-out state that males have after they come.
Sean: Yes. Do straight people really lay on top of each other like that after sex for hours?
Sean: I thought it seemed weird.
Kristine: Side by side sure. Not on top. I would be like, GET OFF! after 30 seconds.
Sean: Ha! So, Vicky’s death. I just want to point out how she is so analogous to Marcie from the first movie. Remember Marcie’s dream of the storm of blood and then a real storm starts in the movie? And Marcie is killed in the bathroom in her panties during that storm…
Sean: Well, while Vicky is running around in her panties, going to the car and whatnot, a storm starts.
Kristine: You’re right, but I can’t say I really noticed it at the time.
Sean: And the camera does that thing of pushing in on Vicky and you think it’s Jason’s POV but it’s just the camera.
Kristine: By the way, the whole thing of her carefully choosing her “sexy” panties and all confidently nodding like, “these will do the trick” made me die.
Sean: Is that real? Do girls do that?
Kristine: Ummm… some girls at some age do that.
Sean: Interesting. I think gays are underwear-conscious.
Kristine: I think girls do have “sexy” panties versus everyday panties and then, of course, there are “period” panties.
Kristine: It’s true!
Sean: So do you agree that Paul is a total tool?
Kristine: Oh yeah of course. He somewhat redeems himself at the end when he fights with Ginny but she SO FACES him at the beginning when he tries to be Mr. Big Man and she tells him to can it.
Sean: I thought it was hilarious how Ginny kept emasculating him: blowing exhaust in his face with her car, beating him at chess, etc.
Sean: Well, he gets all parental with her!
Sean: Can I ask what you’d rate this movie?
Kristine: Problematic, but fun as hell!
Sean: Me too!
Kristine: But problematic in different ways then I was expecting.
Sean: So how WAS it problematic?
Kristine: That the basic premise makes no sense. That the formula gets predictable, taking away from the scariness.
Sean: Now that we’ve watched the first two Friday movies, how do you feel about the prospect of watching Part III some time in the future?
Kristine: I would be totally down with watching Part III in the future! I want to see Jason don the hockey mask, for one. But I have to say that even though I consider myself a fledgling fan of the character Jason, I don’t see how the franchise has such longevity. It’s incredibly one-note, no? Even though Part 2 was only my second Friday the 13th I knew that everyone would die but the final girl (and it was obvious who she would be), that most of the deaths would be throat slashings, that there would be a sex scene, that there would be a jump scare at the end, and that there would be ambiguity about whether Jason survives or dies at the end. So unless something radically changes in Part III, I can’t see wanting to go beyond that one.
Sean: Yeah. We’ll have to talk more after Part III. So, the other famous slasher franchise is Halloween (and it came before the Friday movies) – does watching these movies make you more or less interested in seeing Halloween?
Krisitine: Hmmm. I guess I would say… less interested, as I am guessing it follows essentially the same formula. One thing that surprised me about these movies is how I am much less scared and much more bored then I was expecting. I now see why the T&A and stupid jokes are present in these movies – those things provide diversion not from the scares, but from the tedium!
Sean: Aha. So what’s your take on Jason? Is he different than you expected?
Kristine: I think he is a great killer because he has a back story that allows him to be amoral. You don’t drive yourself crazy asking why he does what he does, because there is an explanation but it is not dwelled upon. There is no solution to Jason, which is why Ginny didn’t try to break through to him to CURE him, she did it to trick and kill him, which is the only choice. He is sympathetic, but he still must die.
Sean: Does he read as a “hillbilly” to you?
Kristine: Not really. I didn’t get that sense that he hates these kids because they are from the city.
Sean: Right. I just wonder if there’s not some class stuff going on with Jason in his overalls and flannel up against these “stylish” teenagers.
Kristine: Yeah, I mean I noticed his work boots too (and where did he get work boots??) but honestly I think this is a case of strict functionality – he lives in the woods!
Sean: Sure, but I think its still interesting that for audiences all that stuff gets coded as wild, menacing, violent. Like, country boys are deformed weirdos. Were you satisfied with the reveal of his face with the hood off?
Kristine: It was okay. The scene I liked better was when Ginny couldn’t help herself and had to take the bag off and take a look and then she recoils in horror. I was like, Oh, I would have SO DONE the same thing. Ginny is good because instead of the audience being all, “no, no, don’t do that” we are like, “Yeah yeah yeah!!!!”
Sean: Right… Did you think Muffin appearing at the end was cute?
Kristine: I don’t know if I thought she was cute, but I was glad! And it fit into my idea of what Jason was all about. There is no need to kill Muffin, so he doesn’t.
Sean: I think Muffin is symbolic of the feminine. The hair bow. The name.
Kristine: Like I said, he is not interested in killing just because he is a psycho. He has a reason.
Sean: So before we go I have some questions for you just about the genre. How have these Friday the 13th movies been different than your preconceived notions of them? And how have they matched those notions?
Kristine: They are sweeter and less mean-spirited then I was expecting. And, as we have covered, not as lady-hating as I was expecting.
Sean: Anything else?
Kristine: The kills were less gory then I was steeling myself for.
Sean: Dude, you lived through the 30 Days of Night decapitation!
Kristine: Ha ha, exactly! THAT SCENE!
Sean: Remember when we watched that and I was like, If that didn’t make you nauseous, you’re gonna do fine with most horror movies?
Kristine: Yes, I do.
Sean: I expected you to vomit and be upset and when you were cheering I was very excited. I was like, She IS a Jedi…
Kristine: My inner gorehound was awakened!
Sean: It’s so true. Rewatching these has been weird. They bring back so many memories for me and really put me back in that time from when I was like 7 to 15. That was my big horror movie phase. I drifted away from horror movies when I became a teen and was obsessed with sex and partying and music. Then I came back in my mid-20s.
Kristine: That is interesting… Do you ever feel ashamed of loving horror?
Kristine: Were you ever chastised for it and told it was trashy or offensive?
Sean: My room when I was a kid was COVERED with monster posters. Like, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, Pumpkinhead, etc. My mom was like, I don’t see this. I asked her just last year if she was worried I was a psycho because of all my posters and she said, “What posters?” She didn’t even remember.
Kristine: HA HA!!!
Sean: My sister used to ridicule me and call me a freak and a psycho.
Kristine: That is her job as a big sister.
Sean: “Little freak” was like, her name for me. “Pass the salt, you little freak.”
Kristine: Awwwwww. Did you relate to Jason?
Sean: No I related to the girls! Always to the girls! But I thought that monsters were awesome and cool.
Kristine: Did you want to sink a machete in your sister’s face?
Sean: Um, I did probably entertain violent fantasies. Kristine, my 6th grade journal project was a series of stories about a slasher killer murdering all my classmates and my teacher let me read them aloud once a week. I would kill off all the people in the room in grisly fashion.
Kristine: UMMMM that would NEVER happen now. You would so be in juvie!
Sean: I guess but my teacher was like, Keep writing, you’re very imaginative.
Kristine: That is AMAZING! How did your classmates feel?
Sean: The kids loved them. They were very popular.
Kristine: LOLOLOLOLOLOL I am dying.
Sean: It was like, the only positive attention I ever got from my peers. Oh, but the killer was this one boy in our class, Craig Snyder and I called him “Switchblade Snyder” in the stories.
Kristine: Why was he the killer?
Sean: I really liked Craig, and not in a gay way. He was just really cool.
Kristine: Do you remember one or two of the ways you killed them off?
Sean: Kristine, I have all these journals.
Kristine: You HAVE them??? Amazing!!!
Kristine: You have to share them with the world! Did Craig like being the killer?
Sean: I think so. I mean, they were funny. Everyone laughed.
Kristine: I love this so much.
Sean: I’m CERTAIN that some of the kids were, amongst themselves, like “Sean is a freak with those stories.”
Kristine: Well, I LOVE it!!
The Girls Rating: Problematic, but fun as hell.
The Freak’s Rating: Problematic, but fun as hell.