Sackhead: The Definitive Retrospective on Friday the 13th Part 2 by R.G. Henning
Independently Published (January 2023)
277 pages; $18.99 paperback
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
Despite the legal entanglements that have stunted the growth of the Friday the 13th series for years, the popularity of the movies, and Jason Voorhees in particular, continues to grow. Friday fans are bombarded now with more t-shirts, soundtrack releases, action figures and merchandise than was ever available when new movies were being made. The series has seen its share of making-of books as well, including a couple on the first movie (Making Friday the 13th and On Location in Blairstown), plus a massive series-spanning tome called Crystal Lake Memories that stands as one of the best behind-the-scenes books ever devoted to a film franchise, if not the best.
Joining this impressive body of work is Sackhead: The Definitive Retrospective on Friday the 13th Part 2, in which author R.G. Henning provides an in-depth look at my personal favorite Friday film. Henning’s passion for the movie is palpable, and that enthusiasm spills into the text, making for a comprehensive but breezy read.
Henning examines the movie primarily through the characters, devoting a full chapter to each of the movie’s major players. In each chapter he talks about (and, when possible, with) the actor, and includes a section called “Character Survey” which depicts that character’s major scenes (and, where applicable, their death). Taken together, these sections comprise a nearly complete novelization of the movie, an interesting feature that goes well beyond a basic summary of events.
Sprinkled throughout are facts and anecdotes shared by the actors, common questions about continuity issues, descriptions of rumored alternate endings, and other such tidbits.
It’s hard to say whether Henning breaks any new ground here — I suppose it depends on how deep your own dive into this 40+-year-old slasher movie has gone. I ran across a few things I’d never heard before, but even hearing mostly familiar stories and seeing mostly familiar photos failed to detract from the overall experience.
I can comfortably recommend Sackhead to the die-hard completists and the Friday the 13th newcomers alike.