Thursday, January 8, 2015

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Joseph Zito, 1984)

In order to prevent myself from experiencing Friday the 13th fatigue, I recently decided to start watch 'em two at a time. At first I thought I had made the right call, as I wasn't experiencing any fatigue whatsoever. Sure, there was some mild mental erosion and a shitload of regret, but no fatigue. Well, after recently enduring Part III and the so-called "The Final Chapter" back-to-back, I have to admit, I'm starting to feel a tad sluggish. Repeatedly hitting me over the head with the same tired formula, the Friday the 13th franchise has got to be one the of the most artistically bankrupt in movie history. Other than a few variations here and there, every film is exactly the same. Since I'm writing about it, let's take, for example, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (the fourth film in the teens in peril slasher series), which opens with Jason Voorhees (the world's most famous deformed drowning victim) coming back to life.  Given that it's way too early for Jason to be killing the film's leads, he usually targets secondary characters who just happen to be in the area (a.k.a. bit part machete fodder). After these people are murdered, we're usually introduced to a young sexually inactive woman who lives with her mother in a house near a large body of water. And then suddenly, like a clockwork, a car, or a van, filled with horny (sexually active) teenagers shows up and moves in next-door.

The young sexually inactive woman develops a crush on one of the car/van boys at some point during the film, but he's typically killed by Jason just as she's about to put the moves on him. But he's not the first teen to die. No, that honour is usually reserved for the most sexually active (female) member of the group.

I'm sure this has been said a thousand times before, but I think these films are trying to say that sex is bad. Or at least they're trying to imply that if you have sex, you will be brutally murdered. On the other hand, if you don't have sex, you might live to see the end credits.

What am I saying? Trying to imply?!? These films are blatantly anti-sex. In fact, they're downright puritan at times. Ugh, I can't believe I just watched... Wait, how many have I watched so far? 1, 2, 3... Okay. Someone call an ambulance, I've just been subjected to six puritan propaganda films. Luckily for me, I watched them in groups of two, so their corrosive message had little effect on my psyche. But still, you should add "dirty and ashamed" to the long list of things these films have caused me to feel.

While it's obvious that these films have a pro-abstinence agenda, that doesn't mean a skilled degenerate like myself can't find tiny droplets of perversion languishing between all the film's sexless sermonizing.

Even though a major hurt is coming their way, we can still enjoy the puerile antics of the film's vagina and cock-starved characters; who, like I said, just arrived and are ready to party like it's 1984.

After a lengthy recap that features clips from parts 1, 2 and 3 and a dull opening credits sequence, we're whisked to the hospital where Jason's "dead body" was taken. The reason I put the phrase "dead body"in quotes is because Jason ain't dead. In a shocking twist, Jason comes back to life to kill more teenagers.

Of course, he can't kill any teenagers this early in the movie, so, he settles instead on a sexy nurse (Lisa Freeman, Savage Streets) and a horny orderly named Axel (Bruce Mahler, Rabbi Glickman from Seinfeld). The best part of this sequence is not that Axel's head is cut off with a saw, but the fact he's watching Aerobicise just before he loses it (his head).

Technically, I should mention that the film's lead character is introduced in the next scene, but the sight of Corey Feldman (National Lampoon's Last Resort) playing Zaxxon in an alien mask is too distracting. A fedora-less Corey Feldman plays Tommy Jarvis, the younger brother of Trish Jarvis (Kimberly Beck, Roller Boogie), who is anxious because six teenagers are apparently moving in next-door.

When I saw that the six teenagers were four boys and two girls, I let out an annoyed sigh. That being said, two of the male of teens are played by Lawrence Monoson (The Last American Virgin) and Crispin Glover (Rubin and Ed). And since these two are the film's most capable actors, they're given a long dialogue scene in the back of the car where their characters, Ted and Jimmy, discuss matters of the heart.

After Ted calls Jimmy a "dead fuck," and after they fail to pick a hitchhiker (Bonnie Hellman), the six teens arrive at their destination (the hitchhiker, of course, is killed by Jason moments after the teens drive by her without stopping).

Since the other characters were virtually ignored during the car ride, we learn a little about the group's two female members. It would seem that Samantha (Judie Aronson, Weird Science) is a bit of a skank, and that Sara (Barbara Howard) is not... a bit of a skank. Hmmm, I wonder which of these young ladies is going to be murdered by Jason first.

In order to even up the female to male ratio, twins Tina (Camilla More) and Terri (Carey More) are introduced (they just happened to riding their bikes along the same path the teens were).

Of course, Crispin Glover sees this sudden influx of semi-attractive twins as an opportunity to prove to The Last American Virgin that he isn't a dead fuck. And what better way to disprove this than by dancing spastically to "Love is a Lie" by Lion for Terri's benefit?

I don't know what I liked better, the sight of Crispin Glover dancing to heavy metal party rock or Kimberly Beck's predilection for prancing around in shirt dresses. It's a tough call. But I will say this, Crispin Glover's dance is the only thing in this movie that didn't smack of trite tedium. Similar to Tiffany Helm's scene in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Crispin injects the film with a much needed dose of creativity.

In fact, the only thing that director Joseph Zito (the man responsible for the bland and uninspired The Prowler, a film totally not worthy of the HOSI touch) gets right in this film is his decision to allow Crispin to choreograph his own dance moves. At any rate, while not as terrible as Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter proves that the franchise was already starting to overstay its welcome. Oh, and unless I change my mind, that's it as far as Friday the 13th movies go. I'm done, see ya!


  1. Crispin was actually dancing to AC/DC Back in Black, and it totally fits if you pull a Snow White/Dark Side of the Moon.

    The cinematographer of this also shot Deep Throat and Devil in Miss Jones. Now you know.

    1. I actually read that. I'm surprised I didn't include it as a tidbit; the AC/DC connection, not the Deep Throat DP.

  2. Fond of this one because of the "So what did you want to be when you grew up?" line from whichever Corey and the scene with the 8mm stag loop that spools out and the fnap fnap sound kind of echoes ki ki ki ma ma ma. If you've gotten over your Friday fatigue I would skip to 6. It's much more stylish with a deliberate Hammer movie look and it has a great set piece Jason revival to an Alice Cooper song.