CRYSTAL LAKE’S BLOODY LEGACY pt.2 - Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2
Director: Steve Miner
Writer: Ron Kurz
Starring: Adrienne King, Amy Steel, John Furey, Kirsten Baker, Stu Charno, Marta Kober
Producer: Steve Miner
Music: Harry Manfredini
Special Makeup Effects: Carl Fullerton

With Friday the 13th clearing up at the box office and attracting major, albeit negative, attention from the press, just days after its release there was serious consideration for a sequel. Both Paramount and Georgetown, who had financed the film independently before selling it on for a huge profit, had not expected such a reaction from horror fans and knew that there was still money to be made. With Warner Bros. having secured the international rights to the movie, Mancuso Sr. was determined for Paramount to own the worldwide copyrights to the second film, whilst Georgetown pushed for the sequel to enter production as early as possible. Paramount had agreed to this but on the condition that Georgetown put up the money themselves and if they delivered a product that was as marketable as the original then Paramount would distribute it as a negative pick-up. Almost every studio in town had begun to emulate the formula of Friday the 13th (just like it had done itself with Halloween) and soon the market was becoming saturated with inferior clones that would turn effective plot-points into genre clichés. But which direction would the sequel take as almost all of the principal characters had been so successfully killed off at the end of the first movie?

The first blow came when Sean. S Cunningham, Victor Miller and Tom Savini all declined the chance to return, on grounds that a sequel was illogical and dumb. Miller had never envisioned a further instalment when he developed the story and Cunningham had no intentions of making the same film again. Savini, however, was the most out-spoken regarding the stupidity of a sequel and instead opted to work on another summer camp slasher, The Burning. With all of the key participants clearly unavailable, Georgetown were forced to search elsewhere for talent that could keep the project alive. Phil Scuderi had already drafted in former theatre manager-turned-screenwriter Ron Kurz to doctor Miller’s script for the first film and so he was the obvious choice when it came to developing a sequel. Kurz had been omitted from the credits for Friday the 13th due to irregularities with the Writers Guild and had decided to amend the errors so that he would receive full credit for the second script. There first major obstacle was which direction should the new story take? After all, Mrs. Voorhees, the vengeful killer who was still mourning the death of her son, had been decapitated at the end of Miller’s script so it was impossible for her return, unless the sequel was to take a supernatural turn. Scuderi was adamant from the very beginning that the focus should shift to the son, Jason, and that somehow he should have survived the drowning all those years ago and somehow remained out of sight from the townspeople (and Mrs. Voorhees it would seem) for over twenty years. It was this illogical suggestion that alienated Cunningham and his collaborators. But not all were so sceptical about bring back Jason.

Steve Miner, who had been a major driving force in the production of Friday the 13th, from storyboarding elaborate effect scenes to directing the second unit (most notably during the hospital scene that had closed the first film), and so Georgetown offered Miner the chance to finally make his directorial debut. Immediately, Miner set about trying to bring back crew members from the first film, including cinematographer Peter Stein (who had acted as DOP for the aforementioned hospital scene), editor Susan Cunningham and production designer Virginia Field. Miner also attempted to convince Savini but he had already begun work in New York on his next feature and so he contacted Stan Winston, his neighbour from his time in Los Angeles who had been a struggling stand up comedian whilst developing an interest in special effects. Unfortunately, Winston was also preoccupied but sculpted a head mould of Betsy Palmer who would cameo as Mrs. Voorhees’ severed head. Respected makeup artist Dick Smith suggested an up-and-coming talent called whose impressive work on Friday the 13th Part 2 would sadly be almost non-existent after the MPAA butchered the movie. Carl Fullerton first entered the industry in the mid 1970’s after applying for an apprenticeship with NBC-TV in New York, primarily due to his idol, Smith, once being the head of makeup there. During his time at the network, he worked on the likes of Saturday Night Live before making his feature debut on the low budget horror The Rituals, which starred The Fog’s Hal Holbrook. His next project was the Michael Jackson/Diana Ross vehicle The Wiz, a black adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, before finally collaborating with Smith on Ken Russell’s 1980 cult classic Altered States.

One young face to appear among the crew was a man who would later become a major driving force within the franchise and who, after taking his first steps into the industry as a teenager working as a booker for Paramount, liaising with theatres in Canada, would eventually rise to become one of the most successful producers of the eighties. Frank Mancuso Jr. was the son of the then-head of Paramount, who had taken a gamble with Friday the 13th the previous year and turned it into a blockbuster. Initially brought on set to keep an eye on the studio’s investment, Mancuso would assist the filmmakers in every aspect of production, earning himself an ‘associate producer’ credit and a reputation as a shrewd businessman. With a trustworthy crew in place, Miner then had to find a suitable cast to play his machete fodder and, more importantly, a stuntman who could portray his faceless antagonist. With Alice, the first film’s headstrong heroine, a hit with the fans, Minasian and Scuderi immediately began negotiations with Adrienne King’s agent to bring the actress back for the sequel. Unfortunately, neither party were able to agree on a fee as the agent had demanded a higher salary for their client and so the producers were forced to ask Kurz to kill the character off after the opening scene. This meant that they needed a new heroine and so Ginny Field, named after the production designer, was created. Eventually, the producers settled on Amy Steel, a twenty-year old former model-turned-actress from West Chester, Pennsylvania who had previously had recurring roles in such television shows as Guiding Light and All My Children. Her co-stars would include several young faces who had already appeared in horror films, such as He Knows You’re Alone’s Russell Todd and Dressed to Kill’s Bill Randolph.

For the role of Jason, one of the most important aspects of the production, Miner approached Taso Stavrakis, who had portrayed the killer for the majority of the first film, though the stuntman declined, later admitting it to be one of the worst decisions of his career. Warrington Gillette, who was just five months older than Steel, had initially auditioned for the role of Paul Holt, Ginny’s boyfriend and the male lead. With the producers eventually settling on John Furey, a TV actor who had appeared in the likes of ChiPs, Logans Run and The Waltons, Gillette was offered the part of Jason after claiming to have minor stunt experience. After excessive prosthetic application, which involved at least six hours in makeup and a pair of fake dentures, Gillette’s first day of filming was to be for a scene towards the end of the movie where an unmasked Jason jumped through a window. When it became clear to both Miner and stun coordinator Cliff Cudney that their actor was incapable of performing the stunts that were required for the role, he left the production and the filmmakers suddenly found themselves without a villain. At a loss, Cudney suggested a friend of his who had quit the NYPD to pursue a career as a stuntman and actor. Steve Daskawisz had ironically made his feature debut playing a cop in Neil Diamond’s 1980 hit The Jazz Singer before making the acquaintance of Cudney during the filming of Sylvester Stallone’s Nighthawks soon after. Out of work due to the actor’s strike (though Friday the 13th Part 2 had been given permission to continue), Daskawisz was broke and desperate for another role, borrowing $25 off his brother for gas and making his way down to the shoot in Kent, Connecticut the following day.

Prior to Daskawisz’s involvement, principal photography had commenced and Jason’s first appearance during the fourteen minute opening sequence would see two crew members filling in for the role. The film opens with a child splashing in rain puddles, only for Jason’s feet to appear moments later. This specific shot saw costume designer Ellen Lutter playing the part, before being replaced by production assistant Jerry Wallace for the scene in which Jason stabs Alice in the head with an ice pick. This relatively bloodless prologue would show off Winston’s handiwork with the head of Mrs. Voorhees seen in Alice’s fridge. Despite the lack of gore shown throughout the movie, there were several elaborate and graphic set pieces shot for Friday the 13th Part 2, courtesy of Fullerton and his crew. The death of Todd’s character, Scott, was to an excessive bloodspill that was reduced to mere suggestion for the version that was released. For the effect, which saw Scott strung upside down from a branch before having his throat slit, makeup assistant John Caglione Jr. (who had made several student films with Todd in high school) had cast his neck and created a foam appliance in which a deep cut was carved in which blood would later run from to simulate a knife wound. A tube was attached to the actor’s leg and ran up into the tree above where another effects artist would operate a pump that would send the blood down to the wound. Unfortunately, at least for the actor, far more blood than expected was pumped out and made its way into Todd’s eyes, forcing him to have to remain in character until Miner had completed filming.

For perhaps the most impressive effect of the movie, in which wheelchair-bound Mark (the late Tom McBride) receives a machete to the face before falling backwards down a set of steep steps, Fullerton modified a catcher’s mask to place over the actor’s head and then played the footage of the machete, constructed from balsa wood, in reverse to give the illusion of the blade striking his face. For the shot of Mark falling backwards, stuntman Tony Farentino (who had worked alongside both Fullerton and Calgione Jr. on Nighthawks) performed the dangerous stunt with the help of a special rig which had been designed to help avoid the wheelchair from losing control. One criticism levelled at the movie was that it had almost plagiarised a scene from Mario Bava’s notorious Reazione a catena (Twitch of the Death Nerve), in which a young couple are impaled during sex. Another impressive effect, this was achieved by the actress (Marta Kober in the role of Sandra) lying on her back with her shoulders against a couch support with Randolph lying on top of her. Dick Smith’s son, David, operated a pressure tank that was fixed to release the blood (made from jelly) on demand. An appliance was designed to attach to the actor’s back to double as his body (with skin created from gelatin), for which the pitchfork would be driven through.

During the shoot, Daskawisz would receive several injuries that would see him rushed off to the emergency room. The first time was during a scene where Jason is chasing Ginny through the woods, where the killer would jump out from behind a tree. The actor was supposed to hit a mark which had been dug out in a clearing but during one take, he landed with his pitchfork underneath his chest, cracking four of his ribs. Perhaps the most known of these accidents was during the climax when Ginny confuses Jason by wearing his mother’s jumper and pretending to be her. As Jason kneels down, Ginny raises a machete above her head and brings it down, only for Jason to realise just in time and knock the weapon to the ground with his axe. At one point, the blade of the machete struck Daskawisz’s hand and almost resulted in him losing a finger. Thankfully, thirteen stitches later he was back in front of the camera. Despite this, the producers were forced to bring Gillette back to shoot the scene where Jason is unmasked as the makeup appliance was designed to fit his face and body. This decision meant that Gillette would receive screen credit as Jason, even though he would only appear in one scene, while Daskawisz would be reduced to a mere stunt double credit.

Once the film was complete, it was submitted to the MPAA who, still embarrassed by allowing the first film to pass uncut, forced severe cuts on the filmmakers, which resulted in the final edit being rather neutered with regards to gore. In fact, it has often been considered by fans that the makers of Friday the 13th Part 2 intentionally filmed a bloodless sequel, though nothing could be further from the truth. If the footage still exists, as over time film can deteriorate, especially if it is not preserved well, then maybe one day Paramount will release an uncut version of the movie, though with their track record of so-called ’special editions’ this is highly doubtful. After all, it was only last month that they finally released Friday the 13th uncut, despite it being released in that form in the UK by Warner Bros. as early as 2003. 1981 saw countless slashers released, including The Prowler, My Bloody Valentine and Halloween 2, and Friday the 13th Part 2’s seemingly tame approach meant that many fans were unsatisfied with the result, despite an impressive box office performance. The producers knew that if the series was to continue they would need to find a new gimmick, something to make it stand out among its contemporaries. Finally, it was decided that Jason would have to go 3D.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Further reading -

CRYSTAL LAKE’S BLOOD LEGACY pt1. - Friday the 13th (1980)

About the Author

Christian Sellers

Writer for UK horror magazine GoreZone (www.gorezone.co.uk) and moderator of Friday the 13th interview/news site www.myspace.com/fridaythe13thfranchise

13 Responses to “ CRYSTAL LAKE’S BLOODY LEGACY pt.2 - Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) ”

  1. I’m SO lovin’ these!

    Part 2 is one of my absolute favorites, as well as Part 3, 4 and 5. But Part 2 is my absolute favorite of the series, as well as I feel one of the best Slashers of all time. No, seriously. I feel it’s majorly underrated part of not only the Friday cannony, but the entire glut of very early ’80s Slashers as well. We have to understand that it was made in 1980, starting in September, and came out in ‘81, so what is now considered cliche was simply starting then.

    completely useless trivia time: If ya go on over to http://www.horrordvds.com, look at the newer Deluxe Edtition review for Part 2. I So agree with that A- rating, as it’s such an underrated film. Very much so.

    Also, a good friend of mine there, SickNick who posts along with me, is also from West Chester, Pennsylvania and was showing me and others a nice pic her took with Amy at a recent convention and he alked about how they went to the same high school, and grew up in the same county and general area, and how she thought all of that was so cool. Man I would have loved to been there, as she’s hands down the single BEST heroine the series has ever, and will ever have. :D

    Also I’m glad many are waking up a realizing what a fake, phoney and fraude Warrington is, and how Mr. Dash was the REAL Part 2 Jason. ;)

    Also I own a lot of other Slashers and Giallo films here like many, and even though the film makers, including screen writer Ron Kurz denies it, I never had a problem with them paying homage to the Twitch of the Death Nerve (aka: Bay of Blood) in not only the infamous double-impalement but also the murdering of a wheel-chair bound helpless victim who cannot proberly do anything. But although that murder was staged differently, so I have no problem with it. Besides all of the other ones in the movie are they’re own murder set pieces, so I’ve always been cool.

    Again even though I and many others know all of this, this was SUCH a fine write-up. Beyond cool! I’m seriously lookin’ forward to sitting down with a nice dessert tomarrow or sometime, from the near by Sonic, and enjoying the next articale around dinner time as I did this evening. Thanks!

  2. Christian, thanks for the info. Part 2 has always been my favorite with 3 being a close second. It really is a shame that 2 was censored so much. I don’t get why some people make a big deal about gore, it’s not like anybody’s forcing them to watch it… I can’t wait to hear about Part 3, especially about the alternate ending. I still don’t know if the story about the original ending is real or just a rumor. Or if it was ever filmed.

  3. Hey Brooke,

    Yeah, it was confirmed on the ‘04 From Crystal Lake To Manhatten: Ultimate Edition boxset, on Part 3’s awesome cast reunion commentary track, that Larry Zerner (Shelly the badly overweight prankster) that the ending was filmed, cause he talks about being there. And in my Crystal Lake Memories book and on the web, there are several photos of it. The two most on average ones circulating is the one of the original Stan Winston (RIP) created Jason about to swing the machete at her with a full lunge as Kris opens the door, and also of the FX crew helping Dana Kimmel’s stunt double into a detacheable head harness to be decapitated.

    Hope that helps! I just now noticed that on Amazon, the Crystal Lake Memories book really need’s a new edition in printing, as it’s goin’ for quite a fee. so glad I got one used on eBay a few years ago, during the first drought of them going missing. And it’s in pretty good condition.

    Also, I agree: It was always so silly that these films, especially part 2, was censroed so much. It’s mostly Regan nomics as they say, and also Part 2 was filmed starting in September of 1980, and as it was being rated a few weeks before release, John Lennon had just been shot, as the director of My Bloody Valentine notes on the recent special uncut edition we all have, and pretty soon, all of the entire North American continant and most of the westernized world, just really was sick of violence, even though there are a lot of us that enjoy teh more viscual moments and bloodshed to be scared and the art & craft of wondering “How did they do that practical effect?” and “Damn that was scary as all fuck!”, many were simply tired of even imaginary violence and plus the then current over all mood, ect.

    Also the first film sort of cought them by surprise, as there was a lot more of Savini’s FX left in then good old Carl Fullerton’s, and as a result, the MPAA wanted to crack down on future instalments, which is why only really parts 3 what is left in after edits, The Final Chapter of course and some of Part V have any more blood shed. Really even starting with the heavily alternate kill and edits filled Part V, though I love that film as well, there was no more stage blood and overly elaborate FX gags left in the series that the MPAA allowed to make it to the screen, if we’ll all remember. Which is sad.

    ah well. But yeah, Part 2 is an underrated Slasher mini classic. I’ve always loved the Steve Miner sequels, and it’s no surprise that out fo all the Friday film makers he went on to shoot the most projects, reguardless of what anyone thinks of his later work.

    So cool and glad to see this one gettin’ some love …

  4. captain_brandon1980, thanks for the reply. I totally agree with you about Part 2 being underrated. I think 3 is underrated too. Alot of people only give it credit for the hockey mask, personally I think it has alot more going for it than just that. Especially in terms of atmosphere and the chase scene… To me the later sequels just didn’t have the same feel, maybe it was the lack of the first person stalking, or a lack of Steve Miner. Part 4 was great, but I didn’t like the way it started. With Jason waking up in the morgue alot of the mystery was gone. And I like Part 6 and 7 too, but they’re not scary, they’re just fun… The first 3 Fridays had that kind of gritty realistic feel like the original Chainsaw Massacre, that made it seem like you’re there in person. For me that makes horror movies alot more scary. All of the critically acclaimed horror films like Psycho, Carrie and The Exorcist never scared me, but the first time I saw the ending of the original Friday I jumped completely out of my chair. I don’t think it gets the respect it deserves. And so what if it kind of ripped off Carrie, it out Carrie-d Carrie, it was way more creepy. And I’d be willing to bet that if you looked hard enough that you could find a movie that Carrie kind of ripped off, and so on.

  5. Pt 2 has some memorable scenes like the campfire scene where Ted scares the crap out of everyone after the story of Jason.Ginny has to be the only person who actually got why Jason does what he does.Crazy Ralph gets whats coming to him for warning people about the ultimate demise.The ending with Jason jumping though the window was almost as shocking as the ending in the original.

  6. “captain_brandon1980, thanks for the reply. I totally agree with you about Part 2 being underrated. I think 3 is underrated too. Alot of people only give it credit for the hockey mask, personally I think it has alot more going for it than just that. Especially in terms of atmosphere and the chase scene… To me the later sequels just didn’t have the same feel, maybe it was the lack of the first person stalking, or a lack of Steve Miner. Part 4 was great, but I didn’t like the way it started. With Jason waking up in the morgue alot of the mystery was gone. And I like Part 6 and 7 too, but they’re not scary, they’re just fun… The first 3 Fridays had that kind of gritty realistic feel like the original Chainsaw Massacre, that made it seem like you’re there in person. For me that makes horror movies alot more scary.”

    EXACTLY :D Yes indeed to everything, as the first 3 (and the 4th to me) had this more gritty Exploitation feel look to them. While only amy Steel I felt was a good heroine, there’s just somethin’ about the over all look to these movies that keeps me comin’ back to them to be scared, time & time again. Yeah, a lot of ’sacred cows’ of the gerne truely never done it for when, where as involving Slashers & Giallo films have. Which is why it’s to this day a lot of what I collect form Amazon monthly.

    Part 3 is underrated as well. Many think the only things noteable about it are the apperances of that certain iconic mask, Steve Miner returning to the director’s chair and it being filmed in 3-D. But again, that has some great atmospehre that makes you just FEEL like your in Higgin’s Heaven retreat near Crystal Lake. It’s a real human story, as laughable as that may sound to some.

    I always loved the name Brooke, by the way. ;)

  7. Cool. You guys may be interested in this little video we made last Friday 13th, documenting us watching all 10 films in one day;
    http://www.youtube.com/dammitfilms

  8. Steve, Dan & Marc,
    It’s one thing to post a link to a video to share your “special” day of screening all Friday movies. It’s another to spam up almost every blog posting on the website to promote it. Next time don’t spam our website. Thank you.

  9. nice write up. looking forward to more.

  10. jasonsfury, you left a comment over at your Friday Part 2 and 3 Blu-ray Rumors post saying “Chad, I pulled your last posting as it’s pointless to just call someone a bunch of names”. I never went back and posted anything, much less one calling anyone names. The last thing I said there was about reading some Wikipedia article that someone left a link to. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never even got to see the comment you mentioned. Who was it calling names? And was it just a comment of name calling?

  11. captain_brandon1980 and Brooke, I couldn’t agree with you guys more. The atmosphere the first four had is what I miss the most. The new ones just don’t have it, not even close. And the characters from the old movies, hell even the ones from parts 6 & 7 felt like real people. While the new ones feel like politically correct stereo types from MTV. For me, realism in the way people act is the glue that holds it all to gether. That’s what makes it seem real. That’s what makes the unrealistic supernatural elements in the movie seem real. It’s like the film makers are out of touch with normal people or just plain don’t care.

  12. Christian, I like these Crystal Lake articles that you’re writing. Part 4’s my favorite so I’m definitely looking forward to that one. I’m also interested in finding out more about the rumored original/alternate ending for Part 3… Thanks!

  13. Thanks Chad, and everyone else, for their comments. Working on Part 3 so should be up in the next day :-)

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>