Twists of fury: Friday the 13th Part V
In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.
This week, we look at the much-unloved “twist” from Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning. If you haven’t had the pleasure, big SPOILERS ensue…
Before we explore though, I should say that I didn’t see the Friday films chronologically so, when I got to A New Beginning, I hadn’t yet seen The Final Chapter, so this “twist” was actually a surprise to me.
Set Up: Surviving character from Part IV, Tommy, is packed off to a halfway-house for troubled teens. Soon after his arrival, someone starts killing off various locals and the other residents. Jason, right?
Twist: No. Not Jason. Some other guy, Roy, who appeared in like two scenes earlier on.
Problems with this revelation:
- The killer, when seen unmasked, is already dead. So there’s no “gasp! it’s you!” moment to mop up the looming pile of questions stacking up as quick as the corpses.
- Roy’s apparent motive – backfilled by the sheriff – is that his estranged son was axed to death at the beginning by a fellow inmate with anger management issues. That guy gets carted off by the cops. So why kill everyone else who wasn’t responsible?
- Yeah, yeah… blame, I know. When are these guys ever rational about who’s accountable for what?
- Roy goes to great lengths to disguise the crimes of those of Jason Voorhees, but why not dress up as Tommy, as Jason’s been “cremated” according to the bad actor playing the mayor (a fact retconned in the next film)?
- If he was so heartbroken by his son’s death, why the hell hadn’t he established contact? He lived in the same goddamn town!
Having missed a couple of films, I didn’t see anything hinky in keeping the killer largely off-camera for the most part, but it’s clearly prodding at some form of mystery perpetrator at work. On subsequent viewings, they don’t half make it obvious thanks to sudden changes in incidental music and glowering stares as the screen fades to black.
I actually like Friday V, but it is undeniably shit when scrutinised like this. It’s like nobody even tried to disguise the loon’s actual identity, and trampled all over the ending of the previous film where it’s suggested Tommy will inherit the mask.