Lists Trivia: Friday the 13th

13 Things You May Not Know About Friday the 13th Part 2

You can see our other Friday the 13th lists hereToday, it’s time for Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), aka, the one where Jason is the killer for the first time but covers his face with a pillow case instead of a hockey mask

Friday the 13th cost less than $1 million to produce and ended up grossing $39 million domestically, which would be like grossing $123 million at 2014 ticket prices.  Paramount Pictures wanted a sequel out as soon as possible. So, they rushed Part 2 into production 4 months after the release of Part 1.  But, wait, other than Alice everyone was dead at the end of Part 1, including the killer.  What more story was there to tell? Well, there was an obvious choice; it just didn’t make a lick of sense.

[My sources from this point forward are either the documentary Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th or the companion coffee table book of the same name]

1. Friday the 13th almost became an anthology series because Jason was supposed to be dead

friday_the_13th_uncut3It has passed into extreme cliche at this point, but back in 1980 audiences were genuinely surprised/thrilled by the infamous dream sequence ending of Friday the 13th featuring the sole survivor, Alice (Adrienne King), being suddenly attacked by a zombified Jason rising from beneath Crystal Lake. We were never supposed to take it seriously, though. It’s a blatant Carrie rip-off. A cheap scare. Nothing more.  not a calculated attempt to set up a franchise focused on Jason as the killer.  After all, it makes absolutely no sense for Jason to still be alive. Plus, in the dream sequence he appears not to have aged at all since the time of his original drowning even though at least 21 years are supposed to have passed since then. If not the product of a dream sequence, then Jason at the end of Friday the 13th is nothing more than a very hands-on ghost.

But money was made and a sequel was ordered. So, they contemplated turning Friday the 13th into an anthology series of unconnected horror films, rolling a new one out each year. That wouldn’t work out so well for the Halloween franchise just one year later with 1982’s Michael Meyers-less Halloween 3. Friday the 13th was saved from that same fate because the uncredited East Coast financial backers of the franchise, headed by Phil Scuderi, insisted the sequel focus on Jason as the killer.

2. Even Friday the 13th‘s director and writer thought bringing Jason back was stupid

Director Sean Cunningham and writer Victor Miller just made Friday the 13th to rip-off Halloween, but even they drew the line at doing a sequel centered around Jason. Legendary make-up/practical effects wizard Tom Savini, who made his name with Friday the 13th, agreed, “So, is [Jason] living off crayfish by the pond for 35 years, and nobody saw this weird kid?” Friday the 13th producer Steve Miner, on the other hand, had no such professional reservations. Cunningham, Miller, and Savini walked, leaving then 29-year-old Miner to take over as director. Ron Kurz, who performed un-credited re-writes on Miller’s Friday the 13th script, took over scripting duties. Cunningham did eventually return to assist good friend Miner with casting and pre-production.

3. Stan Winston almost did the make-up effects


With Savini leaving to work on Friday the 13th knock-off The Burning, they turned to Stan Winston to deliver the gore for Part 2. Unfortunately, Winston was forced to leave due to scheduling conflicts, making way for Carl Fullerton.

Within 5 years, Winston won an Oscar for his work on James Cameron’s Aliens, and his Stan Winston Studios would go on to be responsible for the design work on the Terminator, Alien, Jurassic Park, and Predator series. On the opposite end, after a decade in gore Fullerton ascended to the A-List of Hollywood make-up artists with Glory, Godfather 3, Silence of the Lambs, and Philadelphia.  He’s now worked as Denzel Washington’s personal makeup artist for over two decades, last teaming with him on 2 Guns.

4. The President of Paramount Pictures’ son started his career with Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th‘s production crew gained a notable new addition for Part 2 in the form of Frank Mancuso, Jr., a recent college graduate at the time who happened to be the son of the President of Paramount Pictures. Mancuso, Jr. worked on Part 2 as an associate producer/roving crew member. By Part 3, he became the steward of the Friday the 13th franchise, producing the next batch of sequels and executive producing the Friday the 13th TV series.

5. Jason was briefly played by a woman 

The actual first shot of Jason in Part 2 is of his legs walking toward Alice’s house, but those legs actually belonged to the film’s costume designer, Ellen Lutter. This is the only time in franchise history Jason was played by a woman.

6. Why did Alice have to die?

They killed off Friday the 13th‘s sole survivor, Alice (Adrienne King), in the first 15 minutes! WT, and might I add, F!

For years, the explanation was Adrienne King requested Alice be on screen for as little as possible because the success of the first film had earned her a stalker. This was back in the pre-Rebecca Schaeffer days meaning there was little legal protection for celebrities against stalkers. King’s stalker actually befriended her, with her only realizing he was actually her stalker around the time he pulled a gun and held it to her head. She managed to talk him down, saving her own life.

Considering all that, it’s understandable for King to have requested a reduced schedule on the film, but she didn’t specifically ask that Alice be killed. She claims she didn’t even find out about her character’s death until she arrived on set to film it.  Ron Kurz claims Alice was actually killed because King’s agent demanded too much money. That’s Hollywood for you?

7. Adrienne King had to improvise all of her dialogue because there was no script


According to King, there was no script for her scene which is why she didn’t know her character died. She showed up to set, found out Jason was going to kill her, and that they needed her to completely improvise a phone conversation. So, everything with Alice talking to her mom on the phone about struggling to move on with her soon-to-end life was unscripted.


To add literal injury to insult, the actual death-by-ice-pick moment did not go right during the first take. The prop man playing Jason screwed up, and the prop ice pick being shoved into King’s temple did not retract properly.  Her scream of pain, then, was very real.

8. Jason had to be re-cast 

The Friday the 13th series is notorious for its rotating cast of stuntmen parading around as Jason, with Kane Hodder holding down the fort for films 7-10.  This tradition began with Part 2. Warrington Gillette, who originally auditioned for the role of the head camp counselor Paul, was cast as Jason. However, he could not or was unwilling to perform his own stunts. So, they brought in stuntman Steve Daskawisz (aka Steve Dash) to play Jason. Gillette ended up being credited for the role, but other than the final scene where an unmasked Jason breaks through a window the guy underneath the pillowcase was usually Daskawisz.

9. Did they rip off the pillowcase from The Town That Dreaded Sundown?

Friday the 13th 2 Burlap

Sean Cunningham and Victor Miller own up to their Halloween/Psycho mimicry in Friday the 13th, but when you accuse the later films of performing similar feats of cinematic theft a common response is a general, “Come on – Do you really think we, the people who made a Friday the 13th film, had ever heard of that thing you say we stole from?”

Town 1977 EBAY

For example, Jason’s pillow-case-covered face in Part 2 is an extra eye hole away from being identical to the serial killer in the 1976 thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown.  According to co-producer Dennis Stuart Murphy, the idea to have Jason wear a pillowcase over his head in Part 2 came from their costume designer, who figured it was the type of readily available item Jason could have conceivably and easily procured.  Then again, maybe they totally stole it from Town that Dreaded Sundown, but made a pact to never tell and they’re still sticking to it.

10. Did they rip off the double-impalement from Twitch of the Death Nerve?

Part 2‘s most famous kill not involving a man in a wheelchair involves the double-impalement of two counselors who are making sweet, sweet love. This sequence was originally much longer and gorier, playing up the tension of the girl seeing Jason as he approaches and struggling to get the guy on top of her out of the way during her short-lived escape attempt. They decided to cut it down to avoid an “X” rating. However, the scene is still freakishly similar, nay, identical to a murder scene in Mario Bava’s 1971 Twitch of the Death Nerve.

Was the theft intentional? The answer is a solid maybe. Sean Cunningham says he had never heard of Twitch of the Death Nerve at that point, but he wasn’t Part 2‘s director. The real evidence comes from screenwriter Ron Kurz, who claims most of the kills in the film came from Phil Scuderi, who would act them out while the two hammered out the film’s story over business lunches.  Although Kurz had never heard of Twitch of the Death Nerve he reasons Scuderi, an East Coast-based theater owner, quite likely had.

11. Jason had to go to the emergency room

Yes, that was Betsy Palmer reprising her role as Jason’s mom, and yes, Jason’s retardation (?) is such that he would seriously think for a moment that Ginny (Amy Steel) was his mom just because she said so and wore his dead mother’s sweater.  However, until Paul (John Furey) shows up that was a real machete Amy Steel was swinging down at Jason. In the film, her swing is deflected by Jason’s pick ax, but in real life on the first take Steel missed and came down on poor Steve Daskawisz’ finger. After a quick trip to the emergency room for stitches, he returned to finish the scene, a make-up enhanced condom used to cover his finger.

12. What happened to Paul?

To mimic the structure of the first Friday the 13th, Part 2 features a fake-resolution (Jason’s dead – yay!) prior to one big last scare (Jason’s not dead, or else who’s the big dude who just attacked Ginny through a window?). However, rather than have Ginny awake from a dream we oddly cut to the next morning with Ginny being escorted into an ambulance as she cries out, “Where’s Paul?”

Where indeed. For years, the rumor mill argued John Furey was no longer on set at that point, possibly having walked off in protest, so they improvised an ambiguous resolution for his character. Actually, the scripted ending was always meant to be ambiguous, although to this day neither Amy Steel nor John Furey understands why exactly or what really became of Paul.  Maybe that’s because…

13. A Winking, Smirking Mrs. Voorhees was supposed to greet us at the very end


The ending originally featured one major difference. As is, we end on a freeze frame of Mrs. Voorhee’s head atop Jason’s country hick altar. The head we saw for most of the film was a prop based on a cast made of Betsy Palmer’s head. However, for the original ending they cast Connie Hogan to play Mrs. Voorhees’ decaying head so that the final shot of the film could be Mrs. Voorheees opening her eyes and smiling.  This, in a very Stephen King “evil never dies” kind of way, would then imply Jason had killed Paul, and evil lives on.

At some point, though, they, um, changed their mind. Why? Because it looked astoundingly stupid, and that’s saying something from the people who had their killer wear a pillowcase over his head for most of the film.

The final damage in Part 2?

  • Body Count: 9 (Not Counting Paul)
  • Box Office: $21 million domestic (like $65 million at 2014 ticket prices) on $1 million budget

Next Friday, we’ll tell you all about the alternate version of Part 3 that was supposed to be centered around Ginny at a hospital, ala Halloween 2.

Or use the following links to check out our other “13 Things…” lists: Friday the 13thPart 3The Final ChapterA New BeginningJason LivesNew BloodJason Takes ManhattanJason Goes to HellJason X, Freddy Vs. Jason, and Friday the 13th (2009).

You can also check out our lists for each of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween films.

The Making of Friday the 13th Part 2:


    1. I know that Halloween III has turned into a cult classic, as argued by Yahoo and BirthMoviesDeath:

      And there is something amazingly bold about a Halloween movie which turns Halloween candy into a weapon and threatens to blow up the heads of every little kid eating that candy. That’s certainly a riskier story choice than anything which happens in most of the Friday the 13th movies. I think Halloween 3 learned what Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Nightmare eventually learned, to some degree, which is that if you don’t give audiences the central bogeyman which has come to define your franchise you risk being labeled an extreme disappointment. The difference, of course, is that over time Halloween 3 has been embraced as a misunderstood, noble financial failure while not so much for Jason Goes to Hell.

      It’s obviously not an exact comparison since Jason Goes to Hell is still set within the same Friday the 13th fictional universe and includes Jason as a bookending character to the story. However, a lot of these horror franchises have that odd installment where the big bad is barely in it or not around at all. Halloween’s Michael Meyers-less installment has clearly aged better than Friday the 13th’s largely Jason-less installment (although, technically, that also applies to the first and fifth Friday the 13th movies).

    2. Maybe one more thing –
      Alice’s dead body with screwdriver in her head can be found in Jason’s altar, right on the spot where Mrs Voorhees head is 🙂

  1. I’m on my iPad, so please forgive misspellings….

    You are right about “Twitch” being influential on these films since the first’s death scenes were all lifted from it, and a few in the second. “Twitch”‘s death scenes were all on camera and a bit crude, and #1 made them A grade, essentially like Hollywood did for most drive-in grindhouse movies…putting them down, but borrowing from them or remaking them bloodier and ghastlier. “Last House on the Left” is a great example!

    John Carpenter claimed he never saw “Twitch,” but the phone strangulation scene was a direct lift from it…and his opening walk up the stairs to the sister’s room is a direct lift from that of “Peeping Tom” — who knew?

    I am curious as to your perspective of Annie’s death scene in Part 1. I am 50, and saw it in theaters when it came out. Mom still hasn’t forgiven herself! But I remember Annie’s death as being on camera, with the knife sliding across her throat, just like the photos in Famous Monsters. I wrote to Tom Savini twice about this — with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, mind you– and he never answered me. Not to be ignored, I asked him at a horror convention in NYC some years ago, and he didn’t remember. I don’t think he was pulling my leg, either…. I asked Robbi Morgan, who played her, and she too drew a blank, saying it was 30 years ago. She was delightful, just like her character, and comes from a family of acrobats and contortionists. She did say they filmed the scene once as it was late and they were losing daylight. Tom Savini’s book Grand Illusions makes it clear how to do the trick, and at a later convention his best friend Taso S. made sure I understood how the trick was down. He was an awfully nice man, a really gentle soul, and didn’t charge me for a photo. I really thought he was great! When I saw the film on HBO the year after I saw it in theatres, I thought it was not the original version. Was that your experience too?

    Glenn Allen

    1. That’s a really interesting question. My experience with the franchise is through finding it on Halloween marathons on USA or some other cable channel in the 90s. The first one I saw in theaters was actually Freddy Vs. Jason. That means my first experience with just about every Friday movie was seeing it in a censored-for-TV version. I have since seen the proper theatrical cuts of all of them. So, my memory might not be the most reliable since I have two different versions of the movies floating around in my head, but I could have sworn Annie’s death scene at the start of Part 2 happened exactly as you described. I have a very clear memory of that happening on screen, which made it so much more brutal and upsetting (such a graphic way to dispose of the first movie’s final girl). I appreciate everyone’s honesty when you’ve asked them, though. I’m sure if anyone had even the slightest hint that they would someday still be living off the notoriety of these movies at conventions they would have documented everything more diligently and committed more of it to long-term memory. But, really, who could have seen that coming?

  2. my grandma owned a VHS movie of Friday The 13th part 2 (recorded) and it actually had the ending of his moms head opening her eyes in the zoom in shot. true shit such a rare movie she has/had, we all remember watching it but sadly don’t know what happened to the film. I wish I could find find it to show proof

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