Concerning horror series timelines, 'Friday the 13th Part 2' provides an immediate "fork in the road" for attempting to determine certain aspects of where this chapter takes place. Not the least is how Jason went from a little creepy water troll boy to a grown-ass man in a matter of what seems to be mere weeks or months. That info will eventually be broken down in my part-researched/part-fan theory timeline. But it is important to note that this is one of the more impossible timelines to get right.
"Chapter 2" here opens in a sleepy little town (presumably somewhere very close to Crystal Lake) a couple of months after the events of the first film, where we see the "survivor girl" from the first film, Alice (Adrienne King), trying to get her life back together after experiencing the traumatic events of that fateful Friday the 13th. Unbeknownst to her, however, as she's going about her daily routine, a grown-up Jason Voorhees (Warrington Gillette) is now stalking her after witnessing her brutally decapitate his mother. WILL Alice survive this home invasion? Without spoiling too much, the film soon fast-forwards to (what I presume to be) mid-summer of 1984.
This one begins what I like to call the "Jason Week Trilogy" as 'Part 3' and 'The Final Friday' both take place immediately after this, as Jason hacks and chops his way through his single most productive work week. It starts much like the previous film, with a handful of camp counsellors participating in a training program hosted by a neighbouring campground to Camp Crystal Lake - or, as it's spun in this chapter, "Camp Blood". The whole story is unveiled that night about Mrs. Voorhees, her death, and the legend of Jason, who now (apparently) stalks the nearby woods. It's primarily shrugged off as a campfire story, but of course, we all know the legend of Jason is more than just a story.
On the second night, the counsellors are told they can have one last night in town before hunkering at their camp. A few go, including the head of the project, Paul (John Furey), his love interest, Ginny (Amy Steel) and a practical joker named Ted (Stu Charno). Meanwhile, the others settle in, projecting most of the stereotypes we know best in movies like this. Sexy Terry (Kirsten Baker), Cocky Scott (Russell Todd), Morbidly curious Sandra (Marta Kober) and her not-as-brave boyfriend, Jeff (Bill Randolph), a jock type named Mark (Tom McBride) and the smitten-with-him Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor).
One by one, Jason hacks and slashes his way through this group once he learns that people are in the area. Meanwhile, Jason has built a shrine to his mother, where he has kept her decapitated and surprisingly well-preserved head for the past few years. I presume it reminds him of what seemingly innocent people did to him and his mother. Loyal and obedient to his loving mother, he hunts and kills anyone interfering in his territory, much like a nastily trained guard dog. To some degree, I've always found Jason to be a sympathetic character because of all this. Regarding horror, I'd probably say he's the ultimate anti-hero.
Anyway, this tends to actually be my least favourable of the series. Still, to be fair, by the time I finally watched this, I'm pretty sure 'Jason X' was just on its way out, meaning I couldn't appreciate Jason's origin movie as much as I may have back before he was even a thing. I always considered him a big hulk of a man, but here, he's pretty weak and clumsy... to the point that I laugh. Ultimately, even though the original was pretty slow going, it's still scarier than this, if only for Betsy Palmer's performance - especially remarkable for someone who didn't really wanna be there at the time.
This just doesn't have the same historical pull that the first 'Friday' had, where it's a big part of the saga's history. I see this as more of a "bridge movie" that gets us to 'Part 3' which is far better, if only because they amp up the kills, Jason gets more challenging, more accurate, and receives his famous hockey mask. He's slow, easily tricked, clumsy, and almost non-threatening in this film. I can confidently say that every incarnation of Jason after this is much better. So, it's not to say that this chapter is just "the worst." It's still a fun, classic camp horror flick that many others put way higher on their list than mine. And to its credit... where would Jason be now without it?