Friday the 13th part 4: The Final Chapter [retro review]

“Help. He’s killing me. He’s killing me.”

The Scoop: 1984 R, directed by Joseph Zito and starring Corey Feldman, Kimberly Beck, and Crispin Glover

Tagline: Three Times Before You Have Felt The Terror, Known The Madness, Lived The Horror. But This Is The One You’ve Been Screaming For.

Summary Capsule: Jason kills some more people. You already knew that, didn’t you?

Kyle’s Rating: cut and cuT and cUt and CUT and cut and cut . . .

Kyle’s Review: Some people think of this one as the absolute pinnacle of the series. Wow. I guess people are more bloodthirsty than I ever dreamed.

I can see how Part 4 is beloved by hardcore fans. Plenty of impressive deaths, Corey Feldman from The Goonies, Crispin Glover from Back to the Future (where he was Marty’s dad, here he’s a sex-obsessed youth [is there any other kind?]), real supernatural undertones, suffering and pain. It’s still 1984 (this one immediately follows Part 3) and a bunch of kids are up at Crystal Lake and take a cabin next to a vacationing family, while Jason’s “dead” body is taken to the morgue. Guess what happens? That’s right.

The difference with this film is what sets it apart from most of the series: It’s dark and extremely brutal. The first three tried to be serious but had moments of lightness and even in the midst of the bloody attacks you could either flinch or laugh at what you were watching. Part 4 is vicious and cruel. Rather than showcasing stupendous new special effects techniques, the murder scenes are just people getting gorily butchered. Some characters might be asking for it, but at times even I was wincing (and I’ve sat through more horror films than I would ever care to count). Maybe my mother was right about something else: you really can only see people getting impaled and hacked so many times before it starts to get boring.

Feldman plays the character Tommy Jarvis, who figures heavily into the next two installments as well. He and the rest of the cast perform quite well and even some of the foolish dialogue the token youths have to spout isn’t too bad, which makes their eventual demises hard to take. After the playful comedic seriousness of the first three Fridays the intensity of Final Chapter put me off a bit, but if you prefer your intake of Jason and his murderous shenanigans with as little humor as possible, I’d say Part 4 is tailor-made just for you.

Justin’s Rating: Redefining the word “final” since 1984

Justin’s Review: Facing the prospect of a weakening franchise, Hollywood studios decided that they were just about done dipping into the Jason well, and prepared one last splatterfest to send him on his merry way. As part of this, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter threw out the slow, plodding buildup of suspense that the previous movies cherished, and instead launched straight into Jason’s biggest rampage yet. From the start, Jason is prowling the woods, hacking – with Special FX™ – anybody and everybody that dared breathe the same air as him. Leaving behind a bloody trail of corpses and squirrel carcasses, he hears the most attractive siren call of all: teenagers in red heat mating frenzy.

Violence and sex. Sex and violence. Those are the two greatest commandments of Part 4 here — show both, and show a lot of it. Gore effects artist Tom Savini returned, along with a far more brutal Jason, to showcase a nonstop ride of horrible deaths and idiotic people putting themselves in harm’s way while wearing minimal clothing. I’ve come to realize that, like most slasher flicks, these aren’t strictly “movies”, in the sense that they tell a story and have a natural progression of plot and character development. More like, it’s an amusement park ride. You’re strapped in, they’re gonna whip you through a dark building while screaming, scary things pop out at you, and you’re hopefully going to enjoy the trip. I can’t connect on any real level with the victims in F13 movies, which is good; instead of feeling horrible that these pseudo-real people are being effective target dummies, I can just pop a can of A & W root beer and cheer for our favorite PO’d goalie.

Along with a more Terminator-esque Jason, The Final Chapter throws a few new monkeys in the wrenches. Our biggest hero is not, this time, a girl. Instead, a pre-pubescent Corey Feldman takes the first stab (ha) at series protagonist Tommy Jarvis, a boy who eventually takes on Jason and lives to tell about it. Tommy is my bud — he plays video games, makes scary puppet masks, and likes to spy on naked, bathing girls as much as his busy survivalist schedule allows.

Another “whoa, HE’S in this?” moment comes when you spot none other than Crispen Glover — George McFly — as the awkward, randy geek invited along with all the other easy prey for a weekend at a secluded cabin. Dum dum DUM! The price of admission is covered by Glover doing the “Geek Dance” alone; it’s easily the weirdest dancing scene in movie history.

As I said, this was supposed to be the swan song of F13, so what happened? They made a darned good slasher, that’s what happened, and fans flocked to this like nothing before, stopping any talk of ending the franchise. The Jason we now know and love was finally hitting his stride, wearing his hockey mask with pride and teaching the basics of machete safety for good little boys and girls. There’s just a great mix of slasher fun and interesting characters and questionable morals to make this a movie you can’t quite turn off if you ever find it on cable. If the hair on the back of your neck doesn’t stand up in excitement as Jason pretty much blows through a door and chucks an axe like a tomahawk, your life must be too exciting for my heart to allow.

He’s the cute cuddly teddy bear of death, ladies and gentlemen! Give it up for the man who needs no name or direct invitation… Mr. Vorhees!

This time Jason kills... with radiation poisoning!

Intermission!

  • Flashbacks to Part 2! Part 1! Part 3! Heck, why even watch those movies now? It is a nice montage of the death scenes and a good recap.
  •  The old-style hearse ambulance
  • If Jason’s gone on two major killing sprees in a few day’s span of time, why hasn’t there been a major manhunt going on by now? Oh, he’s “dead”. Right.
  • The cop handling the evidence with BARE HANDS
  • He watches the tamest porn ever
  • Never a good idea to have sex near corpses
  • It’s that computer game I played way back when.
  • Corey Feldman as THE ALIEN. A very young alien!
  • Hearing George McFly (Crispen Glover) curse is disturbing
  • Yes, Crispen, we are all horny. Thanks for putting words to it.
  • Mrs. Vorhees’ grave
  • Even chubby hippie hitchhikers are fair game for Jason’s wrath against… um… everyone!
  • Ah, a frank bathroom discussion between girls. Thank you.
  • Tommy’s a bit of a Peeping Tom… get it?
  • Gotta love Flashdance sweaters
  • Skinny dipping is a time honored tradition.
  • The dancing here is… just… painful
  • Does, um, no girl wear a bra in this movie? Just asking.
  • The soundtrack is INCREDIBLY loud for the scare sequences
  • The “sex preparation” scene that always spells out certain DOOM for the girl preparing
  • Most common line: “Hey (name), is that you? Stop fooling around, (name)! I mean it!”
  • What’s with the slo-mo camera shots?
  • So your sister is running for her life… it’s time for you to go wash your face!
  • Corey Feldman, bald. Yeah, that’ll be with me for the rest of my life.
  • Gruesome death there, Jason. Awesome special effects.
  • The opening sequence, which takes place in the aftermath of Part 3’s massacre at Higgins Haven, was shot at Valuzet Movie Ranch as was Part 3. That’s how to encourage movie continuity!
  • At one point one of the youths uses an invisible computer to analyze his friend’s women problems. For some reason unbeknownst to me, this ranks as one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen on celluloid.
  • In 1994 Eric Morse wrote four young adult horror books based on the Friday the 13th series. Of the four books, Mother’s Day, Jason’s Curse, The Carnival, and Road Trip, I only own and have read Jason’s Curse and Road Trip. Rather than feature the “true” Jason in each book a person discovers Jason’s haunted mask only to be taken over and transformed by it, going on a Jason-controlled rampage around Crystal Lake. Despite being aimed for young adults they actually provide superior entertainment compared to a few of the film sequels, and have plenty of blood and gore for interested fans of any age. Surprisingly there are strong sexual situations and grotesque details of Jason’s kills, but even more impressively the range of victims includes very old people and two infants and one of the books ends badly for everybody, something the films almost pulled off (see Part 3) but ultimately chickened out over. The books are long out-of-print but if you find yourself in a used bookstore I highly recommend looking for them in the young adults horror section. Happy reading!

Groovy Quotes

Girl: Axel, you are the superbowl of self-abuse!

Jimmy: Ted. I think…I think when we get to town I should call Betty.
Ted: Jimbo, calling Betty is definitely a dead f**k thing to do. Look, first rule of love: never get rejected by the same girl twice, I mean that’s useless. If you want to make a fool out of yourself, always do it with someone new.
Jimmy: I don’t know anyone new.
Ted: Well, sex is a great way to meet them.

Rob Dier: Help. He’s killing me. He’s killing me.

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7 Comments

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  7. Hey horror fans! I’m the son of Ted White who portrayed “Jason” in Friday the 13th The Final Chapter. I finally got off my duff and wrote about the time my dad invited me to the set for one of the kill scenes and his private conversations between director, Joe Zito and effects guru Tom Savini. It’s a bloody and funny, crazy story and I was there to see it go down. I’ve told this story for years but have never written about it. He’s actually a stuntman who did a slue of Westerns and doubled for John Wayne in several of the Duke’s films. This story and many more from his career are now in a paperback compellation called “In The Shadows of Giants.” And the corpse didn’t fall far from the casket as I have had my own share of crazy stories to tell as well. Check it all out soon on Amazon and Kindle. You won’t be disappointed! Like our Facebook page to get notified of the launch! https://www.facebook.com/shadowsofgiants

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