Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

September 29, 2011 - 9:13pm | Johnny D
  Tags: 80's Slashers, Barbara Howard, camping, Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, E.Erich Anderson, friday the 13th, horror icon, jason, jason voorhees, Joan Freeman, Joseph Zito, killer, Kimberly Beck, Lawrence Monoson, masked killer, Peter Barton, sequel, slasher, teens

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Joseph Zito
Kimberly Beck, E.Erich Anderson, Corey Feldman, Barbara Howard, Peter Barton, Lawrence Monoson, Joan Freeman, Crispin Glover

When looking at the Friday the 13th franchise, I like to break it up into three different series. The original four are the straight forward slasher films. Five through Eight (even though Five kinda doesn't count) are the ones that I like to call "Post Jason's head sliding down the machete like a five year old sliding down a slip and slide". These comprise of Zombie Jason, who keeps getting brought back to life by way of ridiculousness and becomes more of a superhero and less of a villain. The last category is the New Line Cinema era that, while attempting to break the tired formula, came up with a bag of mixed results. The first four are arguably the best in the series. While I'm partial to Part 2, a lot of fans have come to embrace this fourth one, and for good reasons.

The Final Chapter picks up immediately where the third one left off with Jason being hauled away in a body bag and wheeled into the morgue. After he knocks off a couple of hospital workers (and a rather large, unfortunate looking hitchhiker who just wanted to eat her flipping banana), Jason magically reappears at Crystal Lake. I tell ya, Big J must have special heightened senses that allow him to sniff out naked, horny teenagers because I'll be damned if a whole cluster fuck of them didn't simultaneously show up at the lake too. Next door to them lives Corey Feldman, his mother, and his hot sister (who, darn it, gets caught in the rain and becomes dripping wet later in the movie and stays that way until the credits roll...god, a media analyst would have a field day with this movie). Our sexy teens consist of a pair of twins that look like Kelly Kapowski, a Sarah Jessica Parker with less of a horse face, the dude who tried to smash out Linda Blair in Hell Night, a dead fuck Crispin Glover, and a couple others to amplify the body count.

There's is not a plot to be found in this movie, but that's okay because by this point in the series all we want is for Jason to fuck bitches up in the most brutal ways possible. Feldman and his family get the most in way of character development, with the rest of the characters existing solely to provide us with enough sex and guts to keep us entertained until the final showdown. The teen cast does the best with what they're given, however, and some of them even come off as *GASP* likable. I usually loathe children as protagonists in horror films, but Feldman did the impossible and didn't piss me off...good for him.

Director Joseph Zito, whose previous outing in the genre was the flawed but admirable The Prowler, shows us that he is more than adequate at providing an atmosphere similar to the first two films (and missed in the shot-on-a-backlot Part 3). He creates a fair amount on tension with shots that linger just a few frames more that they should, and fuck if I didn't love dead fuck Crispin Glover calling for the corkscrew. Even though you know damn well what's going to happen, the payoff is still effective. This installment also boasts great production values compared to similar genre efforts of the time and phenomenal practical effects from Tom Savini. The machete slide is absolutely gorgasmic and the entire final battle with Feldman and the hot sister against Big J is well staged.

The scene before the end credits was a good way to set up a possible spin off featuring a murderous Feldman taking over for Jason, but that never panned out as we all know. Halloween 4 was clearly influenced by this and took a similar approach with its ending...then likewise wasted the potential in the fifth one as well. The Final Chapter also gets some bonus points for showing a clip from Part 2 in the opening.

There are some things that I would have done differently. For one thing, there should have been no naked dudes’ skinny dipping, only chicks....this is Friday the 13th, not a David DeCoteau film. I also wish they would have shown what became of the mother. According to the amazing Crystal Lake Memories book, there was a deleted scene, but the footage has yet to be seen. Our Jason here is bigger than any of the other previous films and he's still fast moving like the one established in Part 2. While the guy who portrayed him is adequate enough and even menacing at times, some of his movements struck me as too hesitant...if that makes any sense at all. His movements just didn't flow right. I could go on forever talking about this movie...or any Friday the 13th film for that matter, as even the crappier ones have entertainment value. But let’s wrap things up, shall we?

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is a strong entry into one of the most beloved (and berated) horror franchises of all time. Boasting strong direction, likable actors (for the most part), and a copious amount of badassery thanks to some flippin’ sweet Savini effects, Part 4 ends the first series of the Friday saga on a high note. While Part 2 is still my favorite, this one is definitely worthy of an hour and a half of your life. Again, like the other sequels, this isn't groundbreaking cinema. But who watches these things expecting that anyways?

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Johnny D




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