“Jason” lives

fridaythe13th5FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING

3.5 Stars  1985/18/87m

“If Jason still haunts you… You’re not alone.”

Director: Danny Steinmann / Writers: David Cohen, Martin Kitrosser & Danny Steinmann / Cast: Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Marco St. John, Corey Feldman, Carol Locatell, Jerry Pavlon, Juliette Cummins, Tiffany Helm, John Robert Dixon, Debisue Voorhees, Vernon Washington, Tom Morga.

Body Count: 22


The parallel universe in which Friday the 13th exists is a place where ones build, height and entire facial structure can change over a single day, and where knowledge of current events is so minimal that folks vacation in the same spot where dozens of murders have taken place a matter of hours earlier. Time jumps along at a merry old pace as well, as shown here. Boy-hero of The Final Chapter Tommy Jarvis sprouts from a weedy 12-year-old into a super-buff teen of no determinable age, but I’d guess between 16 and 18 – and only one year in real time since his last outing!

A New Beginning is just that (unless you count the presence of old characters); Tommy is carted off to the Pinehurst Institute for troubled teens with bad hair:

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Naturally, Pinehurst is in the middle of the woods (pine, I guess), affording many a place for a masked, unhinged psycho to stalk mentally unstable kids.

No sooner does Tommy arrive then a particularly angry resident embeds an axe into the back of a porky fellow inmate. Shortly after, locals begin falling victim to a psycho killer: An utterly surreal couple of leather-clad boys are first, then the requisite horny couple, local rednecks, and eventually the Pinehurst kids.

Is it Jason, who Tommy seems to keep seeing all over the show? The Sheriff seems to think so too, much to the chagrin of the dreadful actor who plays the mayor.

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Murders continue and when only staff member Pam and cook’s grandson Reggie remain, the killer is revealed to be the hockey masked, machete bearing legend that is JV. Can Tommy save them and stop his arch-enemy all over again? And here comes the spoiler

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No.

Because it’s not Jason, just some schmuck donning a hockey mask (complete with different design), taking revenge on Pinehurst and all who dwell there for the axe-murder…of his son!!!

This is flawed for many reasons: if Dad was so local, why was there no relationship between them? Porky’s killer was already arrested and carted off – why kill everyone but the assailant? Why have a random photo of yourself in your wallet? Oh right, in case the audience are so fucking stupid they can’t put it together.

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A New Beginning is commonly known as the worst of the Friday crop; which is a fair assessment on some levels – it’s one of the laziest films, with a body count so stupidly high (including dream sequences) that the killer virtually teleports his way around town, perfecting the chess game of slasher movie killers’ ability to always be hiding behind the right tree or picking the right bedroom to stalk a victim into…

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According to the wonderful Crystal Lake Memories book, ex-porno director Steinmann’s intense paranoid moodswings made for a tense set and some questionable sequences: Are the leather boys supposed to be gay? One of them does get a phallic road flare rammed into his mouth… There’s a vicious streak to some of the homicidal dénouements, which personify abject cruelty as the troubled teens are brutally wasted without any care for their individual stories. They’re just wastable problem kids.

As with most of the earlier instalments, the MPAA insisted on several cuts, with the BBFC advising further shots removed.

It also has the worst score out of all the movies, a swirling attack of strings that belongs in a made-for-TV hurricane movie.

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In the ‘for’ arena, Friday V showed a jump forward in terms of production quality; much of the grainy, underlit scenes of The Final Chapter have been replaced by clearer visuals. The pure 80s-ness of it all is irresistibly amusing and Kinnaman makes for a gutsy heroine with the help of Ross, of Diff’rent Strokes, and Shepherd is suitably traumatised as Tommy, even if he only utters about 20 words the whole 87 minutes.

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Probably the cheesiest Jason venture (in spite of his absence) but definitely a fun ride if you don’t care about that minor fact.

Blurbs-of-interest: Juliette Cummins appeared in Deadly Dreams, Slumber Party Massacre II and Psycho III; Debisue Voorhees was in Innocent Prey and Appointment with Fear; Tiffany Helm is the daughter of Brooke Bundy, who was in A Nightmare on Elm Streets 3 and 4; Dominick Brascia was in Rush Week and directed Evil Laugh. Bob DeSimone (Billy) is the brother of Tom DeSimone, who directed Hell Night. Danny Steinmann directed The Unseen under the pseudonym Peter Foleg.

5 comments

  • “A New Beginning is the worst of the Friday crop; it’s one of the laziest films, with a body count so stupidly high.” “It has the worst score out of all the movies.”

    Well, if THAT’S the way you feel? Forget it, Hud! Just forget it! But I think you’re REALLY out of line!

  • Hey… I still gave it 3.5/5!!

    And gimme back that chocolate bar!

  • It has a better score than anything that came after, and is a strong slasher than those later ones too. 3.5 sounds about right.

  • Corey Feldman was asked to come back for this film and declined because he was filming The Goonies. For that reason Part V creates another time warp in the franchise, jumping forward about five years despite only coming one year after The Final Chapter.

    As for the score, I most recently watched parts 5 and 6 back to back because they were being removed from Netflix streaming, so the scores kind of blend together. But one of the two definitely contains an absolutely horrid recurring theme that made me wonder what Manfredini was thinking. His scores for the previous films were excellent. I don’t know what possessed him to create that awful clown motif.

    Anyway, Part V is sort of terrible but really enjoyable anyway. It’s just so bizarre that it can’t help but be entertaining. And the dream at the beginning, with Jason slowly walking towards Tommy…who hasn’t had that nightmare themselves once or twice as a kid after a Friday the 13th marathon? The best moments are the scenes we get of “real” Jason via Tommy’s visions. Visions which would be recalled later with similarly haunted Laurie Strode in H20. For as much as it is maligned, it’s strange how much stuff in this installment influenced later sequels and even other franchises. As you mentioned, this one kind of starts the tradition of a teleporting “Jason” and his uncanny ability to always be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and perfectly predict all movements and behaviors of his victims (something that would come to a head in Jason Lives). In addition to H20 and Laurie’s similar visions of The Shape, Halloween 4 directly lifted the silly twist ending of A New Beginning when it dropped a few years later. And similarly attempted to wave it away when the next sequel came around.

    One of the things I likie about A New Beginning, is that it is one of the few (only?) slashers in which the obnoxious dickheads in the film actually get their asses handed to them by the protagonist long in advance of their brutal demise. Tommy may have only had 24 words to say in the whole film (many of which were “Jason”), but at least he wasn’t afraid to lay the smack down on someone like Eddie, or that horrible Mother’s Day reject Junior.

  • The swirly strings are nauseating… I can’t remember how Part 6’s goes. I owe that one another viewing anyway.

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