Here, there and everywhere
FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER
“This is the one you’ve been screaming for.”
Director: Joseph Zito / Writers: Barney Cohen & Bruce Hidemi Sakow / Cast: Kimberly Beck, E. Erich Anderson, Corey Feldman, Joan Freeman, Peter Barton, Crispin Glover, Barbara Howard, Alan Hayes, Judie Aronson, Lawrence Monoson, Camilla More, Carey More, Ted White.
Body Count: 14
Dire-logue: “What happens if a psycho wanders in?”
Beginning with an awesome “Jason’s Greatest Hits” quick overview of the events from parts 1 to 3, The Final Chapter takes a rare turn for this series and picks up where the last film left off, with police and meat wagons clearing up the bodies from the ranch and taking them to the morgue – including Jason’s. Of course, it transpires that Mr V. isn’t so dead after all and he quickly does away with a couple of hospital employees before making the long walk back to Crystal Lake… A superb opening section.
At this point, rather than continuing the story in any way, it opts to repeat the events of the former by having a van full of kids – wait, it’s a car, they changed that! – vacationing at a house at Crystal Lake for the J-man to slaughter anew. As before, amongst the naive youth there is next to no mention of Jason, the recent murders, local paranoia, fear – just girly chats for the lovely females and sex for the horny guys, who include a pre-George McFly Crispin Glover and post-Hell Night Peter Barton.
Next door to the vacation house is a cabin inhabited by the Jarvis family: Mom, teen daughter Trish and 12-year-old Tommy (a pre-everything Corey Feldman), who has a thing for making scary monster masks. Also new to the area is Rob, who tells Trish he’s bear hunting in the locale. The other teens meet a couple of sexy twin sisters and invite them and Trish over for a party, which is interrupted when Jason comes a-callin’, quite possibly bummed out that they didn’t invite him too.
Teens start dropping all over the show: knife through the neck, cleaver in the face, axe in the chest and, most painfully, speargun in the balls! Meanwhile, Rob confides in Trish that his sister was one of the victims from Part 2 (although he doesn’t refer to it as that, which would’ve been cool) and he’s trying to find Jason for some good old fashioned revenge.
Rob’s efforts prove futile when Jason swats him into the next realm like a fly and it’s down to Trish and Tommy to save themselves, which is doubtlessly aided by Tommy’s knowledge of all things scary and some handy newspaper clippings about Jason, again, posing the question why nobody local seems to be aware of what’s been happening on the very same lake!
The Final Chapter was the last Friday I saw out of the first nine films when I was first introduced to them in the mid-90s. Having crammed all of them in in less than a month, the form was a bit predictable and stale by the time I watched it and so it’s never ranked highly for me in the series. Zito’s technical direction is good but the film can only pale next to Parts 1 and 2 and, as in his earlier slasher film, The Prowler, there’s a streak of misogyny evident in the treatment and violent murders allotted to the girls in the film, notably only one of the two Fridays where female victims outnumber males. Bizarrely, according to Crystal Lake Memories, the casting process called for more ‘likeable’ victims in this outing, something that almost seemed to have achieved the exact opposite effect – I wasn’t fussed about any of them much.
Feldman’s presence is welcome as the first involved pre-teen in the series but in being so, Kimberly Beck’s turn as the heroine is made kind of redundant. In spite of throwing herself through second-floor windows, finding body after body and taking on Jason singlehandedly with a machete, she plays second fiddle to Tommy’s eventual ruse that distracts Jason for long enough for them to kill him. And kill him they do, in sensational style where Tom Savini’s excellent effects work is flaunted to maximum force, a highlight of this entry in a scene that was heavily cut in the UK until its 2001 DVD release.
Ultimately a bit of a non-event as far as I was concerned; the film holds up better than most slasher films from the same period but the summer camp setting of the first two films is missed, as are the goofy disco-antics of Part 3, the lighting in the final twenty or so minutes is abyssmally dark and the scenes jumble as Trish goes next door, comes back, goes next door, comes back… Jason does the same – kills someone inside, then seemingly goes outside, scales the side of the house to do the next one, and back to the scene of the previous murder to get a knife. And Gordon the dog? What the hell was going on there? Though I wonder if the rumour that one die-hard fan committed suicide (“If Jason dies…I die!”) is true…
Blurbs-of-interest: other than those mentioned, Crispin Glover played a set of twins in Simon Says.
I always enjoyed this one much more than Part 3. I think mostly because the Kimberly Beck/Corey Feldman final duo is so much better than the awful Dana Kimmell in Part 3, and you’ve got Crispin Glover dancing, and Doublemint Twin victims. I think overall it’s the 3rd best in the series after Parts 1 and 2, although, Part 7 gets points for having a telekinetic teen nemesis.
Good call on the Doublemint Twins! I guess this one looks better than Part 3 in retrospect but I find it a little less enjoyable and somewhat repetitive, even if we get to see Crispin Glover having some sort of dancefloor seizure. The uncut grue from the deluxe edition makes up for a lot of it though!
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I love the films that have since become the original Jason trilogy (that is, 2-4), but I think part 3 is the weak link. This one isn’t up to par with the excellent Part 2, but it’s less ridiculous than 3, which was hampered by gimmicky 3D shots, goofy kills, and poor effects (that eyeball…). Too many kills and scares in 3 were taken straight from the original film as well. Then there’s the silly characters (the intro couple, the bikers, the stoners). The characters in IV were just a little less cartoonish and more likable. I felt for Jimmy and Sarah, they were sweet kids. And ole big jaw, who bites it in the shower, wasn’t such a bad guy. Nor was he an egregious stereotype.
The cast is also a little more varied this time around, with the introduction of the Jarvis family as well as Rob. Even though he doesn’t accomplish much while alive, Rob was a great addition to the formula as the one guy who actually knows what the hell is going on. His mission, to hunt down Jason and avenge his sister, was an interesting turn for a series full of oblivious dopes. Too bad he doesn’t use his genre savvy as well as he should have, losing his best weapons early on to sabotage and then putting up little-to-no actual fight once he finally comes face to face with his prey. Though in the end, without him (the machete and the all-important newspaper clippings are of course Rob’s) Trish and Tommy would have probably had no chance in fending off the maniacal Mr. Voorhees.
Which brings me to another thing. Jason is a ruthless killing machine in this one. He doesn’t spend 10 minutes walking around and closing barn doors to elicit responses from the curious. And this being an early sequel, he’s still active and apt to run after a victim rather than slowly walk and conveniently teleport in front of them. Which makes the end sequence one of the last that had any real urgency to it. And the gore, in addition to being really effective, doesn’t seem quite as harshly cut from this one (2 and 3 seemed to get the worst of that). The up close and personal speargun impalement felt almost like a response to the rather silly long distance speargun kill in part 3.
The Final Friday ties the original run of the series together well, and is the last Jason entry that can really be taken seriously. Everything afterwards is just a mad fever dream. For putting a fitting end cap on the “real” Friday films and giving Jason one last fully-masked hurrah, I really enjoy this one.
I will say though, I do prefer the final chase sequence in Part 3. As you noted, this one is kind of aimless in comparison to the excellent chases that finished up the last two films. Even though part 3 was a bit silly, that ending chase was a highlight. Jason is a real creep in the third film, which creates a different kind of menace from the workmanlike effectiveness of his slayings in part 4.