Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Danny Steinmann, 1985)

Even though there are a total of three writers credited with penning the script for Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, don't expect much as far as character development goes. Realizing this halfway through the filming of the movie, actress Tiffany Helm decided that if the screenwriters of this piece of crap weren't go to give her any dialogue to flesh out her character, she was going to have to take matters into her own hands. However, since the writers, including director Danny Steinmann (Savage Streets), weren't going to let her improvise her dialogue, she would have to express herself through the power of dance, or, to be more accurate, new wave dance. Meaning, everything you need to know about Tiffany Helm's Violet, the resident new wave goddess/fashion icon at Pinehurst (a retreat for wayward teens and social misfits), can be found in the scene where she dances in her poster-adorned bedroom to "His Eyes" by Pseudo Echo. And when I say, "new wave dance," I'm not talking about Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club-style dancing. No, the moves Tiffany busts in this movie are the epitome of new wave. Moving her hands to the music in a jerky, robotic manner, Violet manages to convey more about her personality than any trite, lazily-written dialogue ever could. And it's a good thing she stepped up to plate when she did, as I was just about to give up on this chapter in the stalk and slash horror franchise. Oh, sure, the alluring Juliette Cummins (Slumber Party Massacre II) and the smokin' hot Rebecca Wood step up to the plate as well. But I owe a debt of gratitude to Tiffany Helm for, well, just being there for me during my hour and a half of need.

Some of you might be thinking to yourself: Hey, I thought you were done with the Friday the 13th franchise after the debacle that was Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan? Well, like I said, you can thank Tiffany Helm for saving this chapter from being a complete disaster, but you can also blame her, too, as she's the reason I decided to give this flick a look-see in the first place.

You see, every once and awhile, while surfing the interweb, I would come across a picture (one that was obviously taken from a movie) that featured a young woman with crimped blonde hair (with black, Teri Nunn circa "Take My Breath Away" highlights) wearing goth-friendly eye makeup. Since the picture was never labeled and I couldn't ever be bothered to ask what the name of the movie was, the source remained a mystery to me. One day, all that changed, when someone labeled the pic simply, "a new beginning." And just like that, I was back in the watching Friday the 13th movies game.

That's right, just when I thought I was out (of the Friday the 13th racket), they, or, more specifically, Tiffany Helm, pulled me back in.

(Wow, what a fascinating story.) Don't mock, if you saw Tiffany's adorable mug staring at you, you, too would want to seek it out and then lavish it with an excessively large amount of praise. Okay, maybe the latter only applies to me, but the rest of you so-called normal people would definitely want to know more about Tiffany Helm in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, which is actually the fifth chapter in the series (I think I failed to mention this tidbit earlier), after seeing her picture.

(Weren't you upset that Tiffany Helm didn't show her boobs?) Oh my God. I can't believe you just asked me that. Do I look like I'm 12 years-old? No, I wasn't upset. In fact, I'm glad Tiffany kept her clothes on, as there's nothing sexier than fully-dressed punky new wave chicks who wear greyish shirts that are always buttoned to the top and are rarely ever seen without their trusty Walkman.

Seriously. Setting the breakfast table: It's Walkman time, baby. Doing the laundry: Duh, I've got my Walkman on.

(Is it worth mentioning that Corey Fledman briefly appears in the opening scene?) Not really. (Whew! That's a relief.) All you need to know about Corey Fledman is that he grows up to be a troubled teen. His name is Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd), and he apparently killed Jason Voorhees in an earlier film. Traumatized by the experience, Tommy is sent to Pinehurst, a, like I said, sort of halfway house for adolescent nutjobs (there has to be a more delicate way of putting that).

Greeted by Pam (Melanie Kinnaman), the assistant director of Pinehurst (look at you, paying attention and junk), the quiet and reserved Tommy is shown his room. There he meets the non-insane Reggie (Shavar Ross), the gregarious grandson of the one of the joint's employees.

We get our first glimpse of Tiffany Helm's Violet during an incident involving two of the home's residents, Tina (Debi Sue Voorhees) and Eddie (John Robert Dixon), who get in trouble for trespassing on the property belonging to Ethel (Carol Locatell), a loud-mouthed yokel who says "fuck" a lot. Crowding around to watch, Violet, who is standing next to Jake (Jerry Pavlon), looks unamused by all the commotion; listening to the latest new wave bands on her Walkman is all she cares about.

Later that day, or maybe it was the next day... You know what? Who gives a shit. This film certainly doesn't. How 'bout this: Soon afterward, Violet can be seen doing laundry with her slightly less new wave gal pal Robin (Juliette Cummins). As their putting clothes and linen on the line to dry, they're approached by Joey (Dominick Brascia), a tubby dolt with chocolate all over his face (and by "all over his face" I mean the corners of his mouth). Insisting on helping them, Joey eventually causes them to lose patience with him; Violet even tells Joey to "piss off" at one point.

Not getting anywhere with the girls, Joey decides to harass Vic (Mark Venturini), who's chopping wood nearby. Now, it's one thing to bug a couple of new wave chicks armed only with clothes pegs, it's another thing all-together to pester an axe-wielding troubled teen. While getting axed to death did seem a tad on the harsh side, I thought the ends totally justified the means. I know, that's a terrible thing to say, but you should have seen Joey, he was so fucking annoying.

It's after Joey is axed to death and Vic is carted off to jail that people start getting killed. Two leather-clad Jewish-Italian greaser types experiencing car trouble, one played by Corey Parker (Flying Blind), are the first to go. Then it's Billy (Bob DeSimmone), a cocaine enthusiast, and Lana (Rebecca Wood), a leggy waitress and probably one of the most attractive women to ever appear in one of these movies, who are the next to buy it. You might be thinking to yourself, what do these people have to do with Pinehurst? And the answer is simply, nothing. In order to increase the film's body count, random characters are added to the mix to inflate the kill count.

You know what the film needs? (More new wave chicks?) Well, duh. No, what it needs is water. (Wait, water?) Yeah, water. You can't have a Friday the 13th movie without water. And this one has no water whatsoever. Sure, it rains in the opening scene. But I'm talking about a body of water--you know, a lake, a river, something along those lines.

(Does the toilet in the cast iron shithouse Demon (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) attempts to take a dump in count as a "body of water"?) Nah. I don't think the toilets in cast iron shithouses contain water. (Then where does the fecal matter go?) I think it just goes into a box of some kind. (Eww, gross.) Yeah, it would seem that Demon agrees with you. By the way, Demon is not some random character introduced solely to be murdered, he's Reggie's hip and happening brother.

You know what else this film needs? (Even more new wave chicks?) Well, duh squared. No, what it needs is Jason Voorhees. (Does Debi Sue Voorhees count?) She doesn't. But fans of large, natural breasts will love Debi Sue in this movie, as she, well, you know, shows her boobs. Anyway, the lack of Jason Voorhees in this flick is really troubling.

(If Jason isn't the one killing people, then who is?) Again, who gives a shit. No, what we need is more close ups of Violet and less of everything else. Actually, I could have used more shots of Juliette Cummins walking around in her blue robe. But, hey, that's just me.

(Is it time for Violet to dance to Pseudo Echo yet? 'Cause, to be honest, nothing else is working for me in this film.) Yep, she should be dancing up a storm any minute now. (Quick question: Are you sure Violet isn't a punk?) Um, I'm sure. How do I know? Well, would a punk have a A Flock of Seagulls poster on her wall? (A punk with an open mind might.) That's true. But trust me, Violet's aura oozes pure, unadulterated new wave. (Unadulterated, eh?) Unadulterated.

Woo-hoo! Look at Violet dance. Dance, Violet, dance! Dance your new wave ass off. Okay, I'm officially done with this movie.


  1. I'll believe that a dude would repeatedly come back from the dead to hack up teenagers, but I don't believe that Violet would listen to the Alan Parson's Project.

    The fat chocolate bar eating kid at the beginning directed a self aware slasher spoof called EVIL LAUGH which makes a couple of Friday the 13th jokes (at least 3). The more you know.

    1. Yeah, Violet and the Alan Parson's Project definitely don't mix.

      Evil Laugh, starring Ashlyn Gere and... wait, there's a "Steven" Baio?!? This I gotta see.