Through the Black Hole » SACKHEAD:The Definitive Retrospective on FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 – Ron Henning

SACKHEAD:The Definitive Retrospective on FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 – Ron Henning

Written by Tony Northrup

sACKHEAD part 2

Imagine, a warm summer’s Saturday night in the early 1980′s. At the local theater excitement fills the air, everyone is anxiously awaiting the lights to dim, the curtains to pull back, the previews to finish, and for the main feature to begin. Finally, the entire theater is quiet, all eyes fixed forward, and you hold your breath as the larger than life title flashes on the screen…FRIDAY THE 13th!

This is how it was for me. Growing up I was a die hard, serious horror fan. I couldn’t wait for the next big horror movie to come to our local theater. Especially if it was a sequel, and we all knew, even back then there would be a sequel to the original Friday the 13th film. We just didn’t actually know how many. Now, we know there are many, and why? Easy, people loved Jason Voorhees so much they just couldn’t stop the fun with just one film. He was the ultimate slasher since way back when…and with a part 2, well, need I say more?

Ron Henning, author of the book SACKHEAD: The Definitive Retrospective on FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 (2023), and I have something in common. Way back when, although we didn’t know one another growing up, we watched FRIDAY THE 13th films late at night on cable television when our parents were asleep…and with part 2, Ron was as hooked as I was!

We didn’t have streaming channels, DVD’s, and VHS cassettes weren’t quite yet a part of the home entertainment mainstream until the early1980′s (until video stores became a thing). No, if you wanted to rewatch your favorite film you either went right back to the movie theater again, or you waited until it was on HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, or Cinemax. I did this a million times, and apparently so did Ron Henning.

I’ve been a serious and dedicated Friday The 13th fan for over 40 years now. Since I was a 9 year old boy I was hooked! So hooked, I was ready to go to Camp Crystal Lake if there actually would have been one. Instead, I rewatched the films hundreds of times. Whenever there was a ‘making of’, or a documentary film, or book, as with any good Voorhees fan, I was front and center. I had to have it all And, you could relate to anyone who knew this slasher villain, he was known worldwide. I mean, what a concept…a masked killer,in a summer camp, terrorizing and killing dumb teenagers in their lakeside cabins. It was brilliant, and audiences became more and more curious about Jason, and Camp Crystal Lake. Wait a minute, this is a character in a film who has haunted the dreams of countless movie goers for over 40 years! What was all this fuss over?

Well, author Ron Henning has the answer to that, and many other amazing questions in his new book, SACKHEAD: The Definitive Retrospective On Friday The 13th Part 2. In this wonderful book, Ron discusses his fandom about the second film. He brings us exclusive interviews with the cast, fun facts, trivia, rare photos, and a question/answer section that fans will definitely want to read. Each chapter is entertaining and allows us to look deeper into each character in the film. I found this particularly interesting as some of the characters’ backstories were very detailed.

This book is a real treat for any fan to read, and you can see that Ron has taken his time to bring as much as he can to that fan who thought they might know everything there is to know about…Friday the 13th Part 2. He takes us ‘beyond the lake’ so to speak, and reveals to us a great deal more. This is a book written for fans, by a true fan, and it shows. As a fan of the franchise, you will truly love and appreciate reading this book.

I highly recommend SACKHEAD: The Definitive Retrospective on FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2…By author Ron Henning…Available on…as well as other fine booksellers online…

Ron Henning

Now, I hope you will enjoy reading this exclusive interview with author Ron Henning, as much as I enjoyed the opportunity of bringing it to you.

Anthony Northrup – Thank you Ron for joining us today. Let’s begin with telling us a little about yourself.
Ron Henning – I am the founder and Senior Pastor of an evangelical church located in New England. I am also the author of various books on theology and ministry and write and teach extensively on the Scriptures. An ordained pastor, I attended College in Seattle, WA (where I was born and raised) and hold a B.Th. In addition to full-time pastoral ministry, I am a former Marine and 20-year veteran employee at Microsoft.

AN – Share with us the very first fandom moment when you saw the first FRIDAY THE 13th film? What was that experience like, and how old were you at the time?
RH – I wrote about it in the Introduction to my book SACKHEAD: The Definitive Retrospective on F13 PART 2. “Too young to see the movie in the theater upon its initial release, I first saw F13 PART 2 as an impressionable 12-year-old on pay-cable in 1982 (or some time thereabouts) while at a friend’s sleepover. With our two brothers in tow, my best friend and I broke into his father’s locked bedroom (who happened to be away working the graveyard shift) to steal the key that unlocked the cable box. Once our mission of larceny was accomplished, the four of us stayed up late into the night watching the 1981 sequel with great abandonment, hidden behind our pillows, and protected in our sleeping bags. Ever since, each viewing of F13 PART 2 invariably takes me back to that special night; a time when I wore a younger man’s clothes and held tightly to a younger man’s ambitions.”

AN – Your parents didn’t disapprove of you watching an R-Rated film?
RH – They were mindful of what I watched growing up, but not too totalitarian about it. Rated R horror movies that showcased violence or scare were not as frowned upon as, say, films with gratuitous sexual content or coarse language.

AN – Let’s talk about your book, SACKHEAD: The Definitive Retrospective on Friday the 13th Part 2. How, and when did this book come about, and with such a large franchise, why did you start with Part Two instead of Part One?
RH – As a writer, one day I just decided that it would be fun to put my vast knowledge of F13 PART 2 down in print for the benefit of the fandom world. I was reluctant as to how it would be received, but plowed ahead anyway on the gamble that other like minded fans would be as interested in the writeup as I myself (had I not been the writer).

AN – How long was the process of the book from start to finish? What was the response from the fans and those involved?
RH – I studied the film academically for a year, primarily in my role as creator and Admin of the Facebook group dedicated exclusively to the film. I then spent another six months writing the book. As it relates to the fans and the cast, the response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive, boasting a 4.7/5 on Amazon.

AN – In the book, you break each chapter down with fun facts, trivia, interviews, and photos. However, there is a story about each character’s background, and sort of “deleted scenes”, so to speak. Explain a little more about that part of each chapter, and how fun was it going deeper into each character in the film?
RH – Writing the character survey for each character was bitter-sweet. It was bitter in that the fictional writing was terribly difficult for me, especially as I placed on myself a self-imposed limited word count. It was also sweet, however, because I got to ingratiate myself with the character and, in some cases, bring them to life beyond what is written about them in the script or portrayed on the screen.

AN – I really enjoyed the Fun Facts part of each chapter. Was that a challenge to dig up such trivia, and was there any particular “Friday the 13th’ fact even a die hard fan such as yourself didn’t know?
RH – Because I studied the film academically and scholastically for a year-and-a-half before writing the book (in support of the Facebook group I manage), I had all the trivia and fun facts already in my arsenal and ready to go. But, yes, researching the trivia, reconciling story problems, and highlighting fun little tidbits that were hardly known to others was a blast to do.

AN – Actor Bill Randolph who plays ‘Jeff’ in the film wrote your Foreword for the book. How did that come about, and what was your reaction when he said, yes?
RH – I met Bill in Atlanta, George and then again in Chicago, Illinois around 2021-22 where I “handled” him at conventions as he interacted with fans. In doing so, I struck up a good rapport with the man, and on that basis, he heartily agreed to write the Foreword when asked sometime later. I was over the moon about it because Randolph is one of my favorite cast members (an absolute sweetheart) who just so happened to portray my favorite character (Jeff) in the franchise. Bill has been a big supporter of mine.

AN – Do you have a personal favorite Part 2 character and least favorite? If so, which ones?
RH – As noted already, Bill Randolph’s “Jeff” in F13 PART 2 is my favorite character; he’s the early 80’s slasher version of John Travolta in my view. His character was earnest, sincere, and relatable to me. Conversely, my least favorite character in Part 2 is probably Sandra, only because she’s hardly fleshed out as a character and not granted a lot of screen time.

AN – Let’s talk about the character ‘Jason Voorhees’. Is he a victim, or a true killer out for revenge? Do you have sympathy for him at all?
RH – He’s both a victim and a killer—which are not mutually exclusive in F13 lore. My sympathy for Jason only extends to the character up until he committed his first assault (Chris, in Part 3, which happened a few years before Part 2) and his first murder (Alice, in Part 2). So, while I’m saddened by his traumatic upbringing and unfortunate circumstances, his response to it is unforgivable. The ends do not justify the means.

AN – In the book, you have a section that answers some great questions that have been on Friday the 13th’s fans’ minds for decades. Are there still questions too tough to answer?
RH – The only question for which there is no legitimate answer narratively is the drastic change in Jason’s size (not to be misconstrued with appearance) over the course of two days (i.e. between Part 2 and Part 3). In one day, Jason goes from being 5’10, 175 lbs. (in Part 2) to 6′ 3, 230 lbs. (in Part 3).

AN – Two questions I have always had and still have after reading your book. First, why did Pamela wait from 1958 until 1979 to spread her revenge (meaning, what did she do all those years in between)? Secondly, if Jason was so smart throughout the whole franchise (because at times, he was quite clever), why didn’t he see his mom at the camp all those years until 1979, and the night she died?
RH – Great questions … An entire podcast is warranted to answer both questions in a more fleshed out and meaningful way. But I will say this about Pamela: From 1958 and to 1979 there was no need to spread her revenge since Camp Crystal Lake was closed the whole time. She did, however, start fires and random power outages throughout the 1960s and 1970s; but it did not necessitate that she murder anyone because the camp was closed. She only unleashed her murderous revenge when Steve Christy dared to reopen the camp in 1979. That’s when she decided to pick up where she left off in 1958 when she killed camp counselors Barry and Claudette and took out her revenge on Christy’s counselors. Regarding Jason, there’s a difference between smart and clever. Jason had an imbecile IQ, to be sure, but he also developed shrewdness over time, as killers must do if they hope to go on without getting caught. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

AN – Besides Friday the 13th Part 2, which other films in the franchise are your favorites, and why? Besides ‘Ginny’ and ‘Alice’, who are your other favorite Final Girls, and why?
RH – Part 1 is the Classic. Part 2 is my Favorite. Part 3 is the Iconic. Part 4 is the Best. (The 2009 Remake is notable for its excellent version of Jason). Kimberly Beck (Trish Jarvis) is my second favorite Final Girl behind Amy Steel’s Ginny Fields.

AN- What is your all-time favorite kill in Part 2, and in the franchise, and why?
RH – The kill that had the most visceral impact on me in F13 PART 2 is the skull hammering of Deputy Winslow (Jack Marks). It still haunts me to this day.

AN – What is it about Friday the 13th Part 2 you just love SO much?
RH – Again, I’ll defer to the Introduction to my book SACKHEAD: The Definitive Retrospective on F13 PART 2. There are principally three reasons why I love this 1981 slasher sequel. And while all art is subjective, my reasons for loving this otherwise scandalous movie are ostensibly objective. First, F13 PART 2 was novel for its time. Second, it was (and still is) nuanced. And lastly, for rank-and-file Gen X’ers like myself, it is surely nostalgic. These three “N” words combined, in my view, put F13 PART 2 in a slasher-league of its own.

AN – Have you ever taken the Crystal Lake Tour, if so, when and what was that like? What was your favorite moment and specific location on the tour?
RH – No, I haven’t taken the tour. I was actually supposed to work on it last summer and handle all the cast from Part 2, but I decided to bow out for personal reasons.

AN – You met, and interviewed the cast of Friday the 13th Part 2 at a few horror conventions. What was that experience like, and do you plan on attending future Friday the 13th sequel anniversary conventions?
RH – Wonderful experience. All the actors exceeded my expectations. I do plan on working with them again in the future, but on a more limited basis due to other responsibilities. I also plan on attending more conventions in the Northeast myself—only this time as the talent (with two books) rather than handling the talent. Wherever there’s an F13 con, you can count on me being there peddling my wares and serving as an ambassador to the series.

AN – The biggest question of all from fans is: Did ‘Alice’ really die? What are your personal thoughts and theories on this on-going fan question?
RH – Yep. She’s dead. Her decomposed skeleton is even seen on the ground in Jason’s shack at the closing of F13 PART 2 with the icepick still in her temple. She’s a goner.

AN – There have been many actors who have worn the mask (or sack), who is your favorite, and why, and do you have a favorite ‘Jason’ memory?
RH – Sackhead Jason is my favorite incarnation of Jason, but Richard Brooker’s Jason in Part 3 is the one that is quintessential in my mind, and the one whom I still have nightmares about.

AN – Lastly, what do you feel sets the Friday the 13th franchise on a different level than other franchises like Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm St., or the tidal wave of slasher films of the 80′s? Why do you think it survived for over 40 years? Finally, will you be doing any other retrospective books surrounding Jason Voohrees and The Friday films?
RH – A Nightmare on Elm Street tends to be more cerebral in nature whereas Halloween is more haunting. The F13 series, however, is just straight up quintessential slasher at its best and really helped to define the genre as it is now. It survives to this day because it not only helped to invent the genre but defined it by its hockey mask wearing antagonist. What’s next for me is a book on F13 PART 3, written in the exact same format as my book on Part 2, slated for release in March. It’s entitled: “JASON 3D: A Comprehensive Exposé on Friday the 13th Part 3.

Well, I, for one, will be very excited to read that! Thank you Ron, for taking the time for this really very informative look into who you are, and your motivation as to what prompted you to write your very in depth book SACKHEAD:The Definitive Retrospective on FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 by author Ron Henning.

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Posted in Horror and Nonfiction by Tony Northrup on February 3rd, 2024 at %I:%M %p.

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