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The Comedy Of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, HAUNTED MANSION, SILENT HILL, And More
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The Bite #158
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The Comedy Of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, HAUNTED MANSION, SILENT HILL, And More

April 27, 2021

In this Issue:


HORROR HISTORY

The Comedy of Friday the 13th Part 2

By Jonathan Barkan

This Friday marks the 40th anniversary of Friday the 13th Part 2. A commercial success, it would serve as the true introduction of Jason Voorhees, slasher extraordinaire. This is the first film in which adult Jason begins his cinematic hack-a-thon, one that has racked up over 160 kills across 10 films (parts 1 and 5 don’t count). And while the Jason we know today is a behemoth who can outwalk the Energizer Bunny, Part 2 showed us a character who was careful, thoughtful, and, hear me out, funny.

That’s right: Friday the 13th Part 2 can be viewed as a horror comedy.

I’m not saying it should be viewed the same way as, say, Shaun of the Dead or Tucker and Dale vs Evil. However, it has a certain dark humor that is more along the lines of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (something Tobe Hooper has asserted). It’s a horror movie, no doubt about it. But it’s also poking fun at itself and its predecessor.

For those shaking their heads in disbelief, let me present my receipts.

Let’s start with the counselors: in the first Friday the 13th, everyone who showed up to Camp Crystal Lake, minus Alice, gets offed by Pamela Voorhees. In the sequel, half the counselors take the opportunity to go into town and simply never return. It’s pure chance that they peaced out and it’s hilarious to me that half the potential body count is presented on a silver platter before a cloche descends and they find safety in a bar where the band’s lead guitarist is painfully overdubbed.

Speaking of the counselors, all of them are awful. No exceptions. They’re terrible people and I enjoy watching them die. Sure, their behavior was more acceptable in 1981 but viewing them through today’s lens exposes misogyny, toxic masculinity, sexual assault, and more. Even wheelchair-using Mark is a prick, which makes his death, while shocking, hysterical. He takes a machete to the face and rolls down a comically long flight of stairs before the scene freezes, the camera zooms in, and the screen fades to white.

Remember when he said, “I don’t intend to be in this thing the rest of my life”?

Narrator’s voice: “He was.”

Let’s take a very quick detour back to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Tobe Hooper based Leatherface on Baby Huey, saying “He never became an adult … It’s kind of the way I envisioned him from the cartoons.” In many ways, the same can be said of Warrington Gillette’s portrayal of Jason, which plays him like a clumsy toddler in his terrible twos. It’s unabashedly cartoonish and Jason’s Looney Tunes-esque (re)actions are undeniable. Not content to just murder Scott, he pulls a Wiley E. Coyote and catches him in a leg snare before slitting his throat. For Vicki, he lays in bed next to Sandra so he can pop up from under the sheet like some demented Jack-in-the-Box.

However, it’s the 3rd act where Jason’s hilarity really shines and it’s all because Ginny keeps wrecking him. She kicks open a car door and pushes him down a hill where he flails like a turtle on its back. She knees him in the balls and the only thing missing from his reaction is a close-up of his burlap sack to see him go cross-eyed. Then there’s the scene where he tries to trick Ginny by closing a cabin door but stands on a chair so she doesn’t see his feet. While that’s smart in theory, the chair breaks and Jason comes a-tumblin’ down. And when Ginny pulls an Ash Wiliams and starts swinging a chainsaw, the badass, damage-resistant Jason we have come to know and love over a plethora of sequels straight up tries to nope the hell out of there.

There’s no doubt that Friday the 13th Part 2 changed horror forever by introducing us to adult Jason. But next time you watch it, shift your perspective and you might find yourself having a giggle.


Jonathan Barkan is a producer and acquisitions and distribution executive. He was the Managing Editor for Bloody-Disgusting and Dread Central’s Editor-in-Chief.


IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Image of the Week - Translucent Alien Xenomorph

“I Admire Its Purity”

In honor of this week’s Alien Day, we highlight the original translucent Xenomorph “Big Chap” suit. Thought to be lost long ago, it has been found and is currently up for auction.


TINY BITES

HAUNTED MANSION, SILENT HILL, AND MORE

Disney’s horror attraction Haunted Mansion is getting another film adaptation and Bad Hair’s Justin Simien is in the director’s chair.

Massachusetts’ Salem Horror Fest has teamed up with the George A. Romero Foundation on a new film fellowship that includes mentorship from some of horror’s hottest producers.

FANGORIA goes deep into the mists of Silent Hill to analyze how adoption influenced its narrative.

This is harder than it looks! Can you tell which synopsis is from a horror or romance film?

DC Comics has launched a new horror imprint and they’re kicking things off with a prequel to The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.

In honor of Earth Day, Vulture shared 9 essential eco-horror movies that might inspire us to be nicer to the planet.

Looking to play some horror games while on the move? Digital Trends has a list of spooky titles for the Switch.

Japanese horror master Junji Ito lends his thoughts on some of the internet’s favorite monsters.

Ben Wheatley talks about his recent horror film In The Earth.

Horror comedies often get maligned. Here’s why they should be appreciated for all they have to offer.


THINGS WE LOVE

Things We Love - Curve Short Film

Hold On For Dear Life

Tim Egan’s award-winning horror 2017 short Curve recently made the rounds on Twitter, and for good reason: it’s simply terrifying. Watch it now.


HEY, THAT’S US! – SHUDDER IN THE NEWS

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Shudder Knows What You’ll Stream This Summer

Why Shudder, a streaming service dedicated to horror movies, brought me comfort during the pandemic

A Search of Darkness Part II hits Shudder, a deeper dive into ’80s horror

“A Gathering Storm”: Christopher Smith On THE BANISHING


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