FINALLY, THE REVIEWS YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR (DUE TO WORK OBLIGATIONS AND TECHNICAL PROBLEMS) ARE FINALLY HERE!
Ok, first of all, I’m going to have to mention something I didn’t in my reviews of Friday the 13th 1, 2, and 3. The entire series was a favorite of my brother and I growing up. The first Friday flick I can remember seeing as a kid is part 4, The Final Chapter. I remember being ok with it (for the most part, my dad making me cover my eyes during the tit shots…yet, of course, the gore was ok…hmmmm), until the dog went out the window. I was absolutely convinced Jason had thrown that dog out the window and killed it. More than the kids or anything else, it was the image of that dog being harmed that gave me nightmares.
So my brother and I would consistently get into debates, conversations, and sometimes downright arguments over the various aspects of the series. We were wild about Jason, my brother moreso than myself. In fact, I remember one of my brother’s most prized possessions being one of those cheapola, glow-in-the-dark hockey masks you can get at Halloween. He’d wear that thing all the time. At one point, we even drew little comics, somewhat recreating the movies and somewhat coming up with our own stories. I cannot emphasize enough how much we loved this series. (A big reason, more than likely, why we absolutely hated what New Line did to it, though, honestly, we did kind of dig on the mythology of Jason Goes To Hell and waited with baited breath for FREDDY VS. JASON which then came out years and years later as a GIANT PIECE OF SHIT!). But I digress, on with the reviews:
FRIDAY THE 13th PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER
My indoctrination into the Friday the 13th series began with Part 4, THE FINAL CHAPTER! This movie was fucking brilliant for me growing up a horror nut. First and foremost, it had a kid about my age in it, Tommy Jarvis, played by Corey Feldman, I could really relate to. Based on Tom Savini, obviously, the kid was into video games and horror movies. He was an amateur inventor (at least I pretended I was, I took stuff apart anyway), and made all kindsa crazy monster masks! BRILLIANT!
The movie picks up RIGHT AFTER the events of Part 3. Paramedics and Cops are cleaning up the mess. There’s this fantastic tracking shot that starts off on a helicopter, then pans down in one long shot, moving past covered stretchers and professionals going about their gruesome business, until the shot finally ends on a couple of cops throwing a sheet over the corpse of JASON VOORHEES. Cut to the hospital. We meet this ridiculous coroner, Axle. He’s eating this sandwich, laying it down on Jason’s corpse. He basically just doesn’t give a shit about dead people, it’s just a job to him. So he’s into this nurse and he keeps trying to get it on with her, but she continually rejects him. She finally gives in, but freaks out when Jason’s hand slides out from under the sheet and she runs off. Axle goes back to watching some seriously weird Aerobic video with these lesbians or something in it when Jason takes a bone saw to his neck and then twists it completely around. Then, of course, he guts the nurse like a hawg. Like Friday the 13th Part 3, this one doesn’t take place at a camp either. There’s a lake. Might’ve been Crystal Lake, but there’s no real mention of that. Let’s just assume, as I always have, that it’s on the other side of the lake and there are these two cabins, one inhabited by Tommy Jarvis’ recently divorced mother and older virginal sister. This will also be the first film in the “Tommy Jarvis Trilogy.”
The other cabin is being, I guess, rented by some kids (from the city, I suppose, they never really say, but, I mean, aren’t all these “damn kids” from “the city?”). We’re introduced to them as they’re driving out there. It’s your standard group of Jason-fodder with one notable exception…one of the kids is CRISPIN FUCKING GLOVER!! As if the movie wasn’t crazy enough, we get that fucking weirdass too! Of course, this had to be one of his early flicks and, perhaps, he wasn’t completely fucking apeshit bananas yet. I think his name is “Dead Fuck” Jimmy. His friend, some punkass greaser, keeps calling him a Dead Fuck, thus the nickname. Of course, he does get…”screwed” in the end, as he is finished off with a corkscrew. HA! The other kids are all, of course, the sex-obsessed regular type we usually get with this kind of movie. Two odd things occur as they’re driving out to the cabin. First, they pass by some Rosie O’Donnell lookalike fatty who gets stabbed through the throat while she’s eating a banana. They also, while stopping to figure out where they are, just happen to have stopped by the grave of Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s mom. Arriving at the cabin, they meet Tommy Jarvis, his dog Gordon and his sister, Trish and immediately decide to invite her over for a party or something later. The next day, for some odd reason, while on some kind of nature jog, something that I guess was popular at the time, they run across the Double-Mint twins who have this weird accent (I think they were British and poorly attempting to cover it up). Next, it’s SKINNY DIP TIME!
On their way to go swimming at the lake, Tommy and his sister have some car trouble. While little Tommy Jarvis attempts to fix the car, we’re introduced to Jason Hunter Extraodinaire, Rob, who later explains that he’s hunting Jason out of Revenge for the brutal, BRUTAL slaying of his sister a few Friday’s prior (part 2, I believe). He and Trish develop a slight romantic attachment and he heads back into the woods.
Out of the hospital and out for revenge, Rob finds his rifle destroyed at his tent, grabs his machete, and goes out after Jason. Meanwhile, all hell’s breaking loose down at the cabins, people are dying left and right in wonderfully grisly ways, and Trish heads out to the woods to find Rob, nearly getting sliced and diced by him in the process as he initially mistakes her for Jason. She give him the scoop on what’s been going down back at the cabins and he heads out to help.
Of course, Rob Dies. All the kids who came out to the cabin die, including the Double-Mint twins, and then we have the showdown between Trish, Tommy, and Jason. While Trish is valiantly fighting Jason (he get’s whacked in the arm, then the shoulder), Tommy’s upstairs shaving his head, and trying to mongoloid himself up with some slight makeup magic. The fight starts to turn in Jason’s favor and just as he’s about to seriously fuck Trish up, Tommy rushes downstairs and, beyond all explanation, confuses Jason by “looking like him” long enough for him to get another whack from Trish and then Tommy rushes in and plants a machete in our favorite goalie-masked killer. Believing it to be over, Tommy and Trish are hugging each other when Tommy sees Jaon’s fingers twitch. Tommy then picks up the Machete and just fucking contiues to wail on Jason, supposedly (this is the final chapter), making ground beef of the guy. Later, in the hospital, Tommy and Trish are hugging again and we zoom in as Tommy’s eyes open and look straight ahead with cold, killing eyes.
This was truly supposed to be, in everyone’s mind, the Final Chapter. Director Joe Zito and directed it balls to the wall, pulling out all the stops, figuring he might as well make it a fitting finale to the series. Tom Savini only came back because he felt it fitting that he helped kill the monster he had “created” in the first film. Thanks to this, we have some of the best special makeup effects of the series, including Jason getting the Machete to the head. The scene required Tom Savini to create a special, articulated fake head that split apart nearly completely and spew blood as it slid slowly down the machete. I thought that shit was killer and I still do. Well written and well directed, THE FINAL CHAPTER comes out as one of the strongest films in the franchise. A fan favorite, it grossed over 32 MILLION dollars at the box office, so, of course, Paramount said, and I quote “who gives a shit if we said final chapter, this fucking franchise is MONEY IN DA BANK!” Perhaps I’m paraphrasing, oooooor completely making that statement up, but we’ll get to its meaning in the next review. There really is nothing that I dislike about this particular film. Even though Ted White is kind of a douchebag, he played a really good Jason Voorhees (he’s no Kane Hodder, but, I mean, who is?) and all of the actors really pulled off their characters convincingly. It’s not my favorite Friday film, but, from a technical standpoint, it’s probably one of the best, second only to the first Friday the 13th.
Paramount’s transfer, while new, looked only slightly better than the box set version of the film and will probably look as good as it ever will (until, of course, the blu-ray comes out, then I’ll just have to see how clean that one is). I still don’t knnow why they didn’t do the re-mastering for any of the other deluxe editions like they did for Part 1. I mean, if they’re going to be releasing the Blu-Ray, and creating a fantastic print for that edition, why not? The commentary was insightful. I listened to the commentary with Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2=Shitty) and Adam Green (Hatchet=Not as shitty as Wrong Turn 2, but still, Shitty) which was, well, ok, but not really anything to write home about. Imagine watching the movie with two friends who also love Friday the 13th and talking about it while you watch it aaaaaaaaaand, that’s about what you get. No real genius directorial insight as they kind of both blow as directors anyway. Just a couple of guys who weren’t even entertaining. We also got another entry into the throwaway mini-series-movie Lost Tales from Camp Blood–Part 4, which really has been a terrible addition to the special features of these Deluxe editions and which feels like filler more than anything. Years from now, hell, even today, this added little, whatever they’re calling it, won’t really mean anything. Just more throwaway celluloid (though, it looks as though it was shot digitally, so I guess I should say “magnetic media” or “ones and zeros”). Deleted Scenes were a nice touch, an example being the “lost” ending which is really nothing special, just a different sort of take on the ending of the film. I always love the “behind-the-scenes” stuff, here entitled JASON’S UNLUCKY DAY: 25 Years After Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Very nice. A weird entry into the special features was THE CRYSTAL LAKE MASSACRES REVISITED–Part 1, which took on a somewhat documentary style going over the killings at Crystal Lake, interviewing residents, the local Sherriff, etc. At first, it was all really very cheesy, but I actually got into it. It reminded me of that Blair Witch documentary they did before that movie came out. Of course, there was the Original Trailer. The best, BEST part of the special features, however, is the JIMMY’S DEAD FUCK DANCE MOVES outtakes wherein Crispin Glover’s weird-ass dance is shown again and again, take after take. The guy never wavers, he had actually coreographed that dance.
Overall, I give FRIDAY THE 13th PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER 4 out of 5 skulls
FRIDAY THE 13th PART V: A NEW BEGINNING
Perhaps the most underrated of the series, for sure, is Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning. First, A brief synopsis, and then I’ll go into why Friday 5 is really an overlooked work of black comedy genius from writer/director (and former porn director) Danny Steinmann.
The Film starts off with a (though we don’t know it yet) dream sequence of young a Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman reprising the role in his own backyard and a rain machine. Originally, the producers wanted Feldman to come back and play the role of Tommy Jarvis again, but he had a prior commitment to some forgotten film called THE GOONIES or something like that) watching as two nameless dumbasses dig up Jason’s grave. There’s no given reason as to WHY they decide to do this or WHY Tommy Jarvis is watching them. Of course, Jason inexplicably comes back to life for no real reason…he just pops up (he was buried with his mask on and a Machete in his hand…I guess he wanted to be remembered for how he lived…so touching…) and stabs one guy, then takes out the other. Paralyzed in fear, lil Tommy does nothing but watch as Jason draws nearer and nearer. He pulls back to strike and just as he deals the death blow….AAAAAAHHHH!!! A much OLDER Tommy Jarvis (played by John Shepherd) wakes up in the back of a Mental Hospital van just as it pulls up to PINEHURST halfway house. A little bit of Trivia: Not counting the laughing or yelling, Tommy Jarvis only says 24 words throughout the whole film. (Thanks to Wikipedia for that one!)
Ok, so, once Tommy shows up at the place, we’re introduced to some of the weird characters inhabiting PINEHURST including the two owners of the place: Pam and Matt. Other “Normals” in the place are a young boy named Reggie (the Reckless) and his uncle George. The Weirdos are “Angry” Vic, “Chocolate Bar” Joey, Robin, “Goth” Violet, “Big Tit” Tina, “Stuttering” Jake etc. etc. Each with their own little quirks for the most part (though some seem relatively normal). We’re also introduced to CRAZY ETHEL and her son JUNIOR (capitalized because I’ll pay attention to them more in detail in the actual review) when the sherriff brings a couple of the inhabitants of PINEHURST back to the place after he finds them “screwing their brains out” on Ethel’s land. Shortly after, she and Junior show up on Junior’s motorbike. I’ll talk more about her and junior later but they are fucking hilarious and almost MAKE the film. She’s pissed and threatens to kill any of the kids of PINEHURST if she catches them on her land.
Later that day, Fatty Joey goes around annoying everyone by offering them a chocolate bar. He fucks up the clothes some chicks (including GOTH Violet) are hanging out on the line because he has chocolate all over his pudgy fat fingers. Then he goes up to VIC. Ok, let me take a minute to question why they give the guy in PINEHURST, the ONLY guy, who has obvious anger issues an axe to cut up wood with. Anyway, Joey offers Vic a chocolate bar but when Vic declines, Joey sort of insults him and as he walks away, Vic chops the shit out of Joey with that axe. The cops and paramedics come to clean things up, and we see that one of the paramedics, Roy, is obviously disturbed by the sight of the fatboy in pieces on the ground.
Then, for no reason, these greaser guys are on the road with a broken down car. One goes to take a piss or something and while he’s gone, one of the greasers gets it with a road flare to the face. When the other one gets back, he gets it in the neck. Roy shows up on the scene again when the sherriff comes out to clean up that mess, but he doesn’t seem nearly as disturbed. In fact, it almost seems like he has a smile on his face. SUSPICIOUS!
Then we’re back on Ethel’s farm with her and Junior in the kitchen when a homeless drifter appears at the door, begging for food. We get the now infamous “Who the fuck are you and what the fuck do you want!?” from Ethel. She tells him to go “clean all the shit outta the chicken coop.” When we see him next, he’s spying on two of the kids from Pinehurst goin’ at it in the woods. Around his creepy spying (for which, of course, he HAS to die), we get, perhaps, the BEST rack in ALL of the Friday flicks. OBSERVE: (WARNING KIDDOS, NUDITY BELOW)
All Natural Debi Sue Voorhees, boils ‘n ghouls. That’s right, this actress had JASON’S LAST NAME! I thought that HAD to be a pseudonymn for the film, but no, that’s her REAL FRIKKIN’ NAME! Perfect casting. Of course, Debi Sue and her boytoy get the chop.
This shit is getting long, so let me start to breeze through the good shit (WARNING, SPOILERS). Pam takes little Reckless out to see his brother “Demon” who is apparently living in a van with some drugged out chick. They take Tommy along and he gets into a kung-fu showdown with fuckin’ Junior and really fucks his world up. Because of this, Tommy runs off and Reckless and Pam go back to Pinehurst. Junior gets decapitated while riding his motorbike around in the yard crying about how bad Tommy kicked his ass. Then Ethel get’s the chop through the window, her head landing PLOP in the “slop.” Reckless Reggie and Pam get back to Pinehurst to find that everyone’s been killed by Jason and that he’s still there and wants to kill THEM too. Thus ensues the screaming and running in the rain. Fucking PAM goes after Jason with a fucking CHAINSAW at one point. When it looks grim for Pam and Reggie, Tommy shows up, gets slashed, kicks a little ass, then passes out. Reggie almost kills Jason by knocking him out of the upper bard, but Jason caught on and was clawing back to get ‘em when Tommy wakes back up and knocks him out of the window down onto some kind of farm equipment pulling double duty as a bed of IRON SPIKES! Then we find out IT WASN’T REALLY JASON, BUT ROY ALL ALONG! FAT JOEY WAS HIS SON AND HE WENT NUTS AND PUT ON THE MASK AND WENT AROUND KILLING EVERYONE! OMG!!!!!!!11!!!1!! Seriously though? Fuck that.
Because of that ending, Friday fans, for the most part, consider Friday the 13th Part 5 to be the Halloween 3 of the series. To differentiate Roy from Jason Proper, there was a different mask with BLUE triangles on it. Uh….ok. So I call bullshit on that, but then, so does everyone else. I also call bullshit on the MPAA for cutting out a LOT of the gore originally slated for this flick. The film was supposed to begin with Tommy Jarvis going apeshit in a hospital, killing all these people to get to Jason’s body to destroy it, turning the place into a bloodbath, but nope, that was out. Then there’s the Goth Violet Death scene. Originally, as she was doing the robot to, I dunno, David Bowie or something, Jason was going to split her in half, starting at the VaJAY JAY! That would’ve been a fuckin’ sweet gore gag! Then there’s Debi Sue Voorhees. There was originally a much longer sex scene, but the MPAA screamed X and they had to cut all that boobiful footage. A Cryin’ damn shame if you ask me!
So, why is it I said this film was underrated? Why do I like it? Because it’s comedy gold. While far and away one of the weaker films in the franchise, it makes up for all the bullshit it pulls by paying off with some great dark humor. I mean, ETHEL AND JUNIOR? What the fuck are those two rednecks doing there? I mean, I see rednecks all the time, but aren’t these movies supposed to take place up north? New York State, maybe? Who knows, but they’re two of the most hilariously memorable Friday the 13th characters EVER. Tommy “I’m Too Nuts To Talk” Jarvis’s character was great in this one too! For some reason, he happens to somehow know kung fu and he’s pissed off ALL THE TIME! All of the cast of fuckups at Pinehurst are great, from crazy and angry as fuckall VIC, to lardass Joey, to Goth Violet, to Tits McGee Voorhees, and the rest, all of them had something to offer that made this flick a laugh a minute. Steinmann’s original script was hacked to bits by Paramount who forced his hand, somewhat, in the filming choices he made, so instead of getting a fright flick (even though he was ordered to give a scare or kill ever 5-7 minutes), we got a crazy spot of humor. So, for those of us who can sit through the whole thing, we are, in the end, rewarded.
For Special Features, we get the Obligatory Commentary from director Danny Steinmann and some of the cast and crew, a commentary that offered up a little more insight into the troubled film than the making-of doc NEW BEGINNINGS: The Making of Friday the 13th Part V-A New Beginning. We get another dreadful entry into the LOST TALES OF CAMP BLOOD series/mini-movie, the Trailer, and the second part of the enjoyable pseudo-documentary THE CRYSTAL LAKE MASSACRES REVISITED (PART II).
3 out of 5 Skulls
FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: JASON LIVES
Finally, ladies and gents, we get the REAL return of Jason in FRIDAY the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (which is somewhat of a misnomer as, in fact, he more or less roams around as the undead in this one, not living, not dead, but something in between, something…TERRIBLE). Often overlooked and seen as somewhat forgettable by many, Writer/Director Tom McLoughlin finishes up the Tommy Jarvis cycle decently, if not perfectly.
Tommy and a friend, escaped from the mental hospital I believe, drive out to the cemetary of the town now known as Forest Green, renamed, we’re told by the sherriff later, so they could forget Crystal Lake and all that happened there. So these two ‘tards dig up Jason’s grave and see him there, all maggoted up and Tommy grabs a piece of the fence and starts to go apeshit on the corpse, stabbing it over and over again. Leaving the sharp piece of fence in Jason, he gets out to get the can of Gasoline (they had planned to cremate him). Suddenly, lightning strikes the iron piece of fencing Tommy left in Jason in what amounts to a small explosion. THEN, lightning strikes again bringing (unknowingly to Tommy and his pal) Jason back to life. Maggots and all, Jason crawls out of his grave, scaring the shit out of these guys. Tommy starts to spray him with gasoline and then lights a match to burn him to cinders, but it begins to rain, dousing the match. Tommy’s friend hits Jason over the back with a shovel, which is bad news because Jason just turns around and PUNCHES HIS HEART OUT! Of course, Tommy Jarvis gets the fuck outta dodge and Jason puts on the iconic Hockey Mask.
Tommy runs for help to the Sherriff who, figuring out who he is, locks him up. We’re introduced to some people heading out to the new camp (that’s right, we have a CAMP again), including the director’s current wife, who are very quickly dispatched even though they attempt to escape almost right away, the woman stating “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know,” etc. etc. She gets a spear through the face. Meanwhile, at the Sherriff’s office, young love is a-brewin’ as his daughter and retarded teenage friends (including John Travolta’s Nephew) show up to ask if he can do something about their (now deader’n shit) friends who haven’t shown up yet. The Sherriff’s daughter, Megan, gets a peek at her dad’s prisoner and she’s, as ACDC would put it, Thunderstruck (see what I did there? Tommy Jarvis had the same effect on Jason…HEYO!).
So the “kids” all go back to camp and Tommy, the next morning, is being driven out of town when he swerves into the cemetary. The drunken caretaker has covered up Jason’s grave, however, and Tommy, seen as a complete lunatic, is taken out of town. Of course, he comes back. The kids arrive and we get to see some little campers doing little camper things. Blah Blah Blah. Then Travolta’s “What’re you doin’, takin’ a dump?!” Nephew is, later that night, out with some girl fuckin’ with their clothes on in a camper when Jason cuts the power (a clever one, that Jason, he cuts the phone line at the camp later on…JASON HATES UTILITY BILLS!). Deciding it’s time to go after investigating the torn-out power cable, Travolta Jr. drives while his girlfriend is dragged into the bathroom, her face shoved through the wall in a rather cool scene. Then, lil Travolta (who consistently sounds like his uncle from Grease) gets a knife to the neck and the camper flips and bursts into flames. Jason gets out and sort of just stands around menacingly for no real reason.
Oh, some paintballers die early on, forgot to mention that because it’s only memorable because Jason gets his machete here and slams a guys face into a tree, leaving a smiley face outline for some reason. So Megan goes back to the Sherriff’s office to talk to her dad. He has to leave because they found the two from earlier and she hangs out. Tommy calls and she comes out to get him. She wants to help him, you see, because she loves him THAT much. Anyway, they run into a roadblock and Tommy’s thrown back in jail. Meanwhile, Megan’s remaining friends are getting massacred back at camp and one little girl keeps seeing (Jason) a Monster. Megan and Tommy escape and meet up with the Sherriff and some cops out at the camp. The sherriff gets into fisticuffs with Jason and is split, in an effect that looks cheesy as all fuck, in half. Jason goes after Megan, but Tommy lures him to the lake, feeling the need to return Jason to the lake where he drowned. There’s a final battle involving chains, a big-ass rock, and a boat motor, and Jason is sunk to the bottom of the lake, dead once again…
Ok, so, this movie is merely OK, and my least favorite of the bunch here. It’s a decent flick as far as Friday the 13th flicks go, but lacks any sort of gore or nudity for which the franchise is known. The only really decent aspect of this one is that it is the last of the Jarvis series and the first flick in which Jason comes back to life as an undead, unstoppable fiend from beyond, more of a supernatural entity than anything else, and it is THIS Jason that I truly love. For that, the movie gets put on the map if for nothing else. The characters where plain-jane and the story…well…meh.
Special features include a Commentary (of course) and another Behind the Scenes with JASON LIVES: THE MAKING OF FRIDAY THE 13th: PART VI. There’s one really cool aspect in that we learn, in the ORIGINAL story, we meet, for the first time, Jason’s father, who’s been paying the caretaker (who didn’t die originally, but get’s bottle knifed in this one) to watch over the graves of his former wife and son. I guess he’s supposed to be a crazed, killer-type, too. Who knows. Deleted scenes are there, as well as the original Teaser Trailer. Also offered is the last part of the enjoyable psuedo-documentary THE CRYSTAL LAKE MASSACRES REVISITED (Part III).
All in all, I give this film 2 out of 5 skulls. It’s ok, but JUST OK.
And that’s that folks. Look for more reviews coming soon from BACKWOODSHORROR.com and THE BACKWOODS HORRORSHOW