Sunday, February 20, 2011

#198. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Directed By: Joseph Zito

Starring: Erich Anderson, Judie Aronson, Kimberly Beck

Tag line: "Friday April 13th is Jason's Unlucky Day"

Trivia:  Of all the films in the series, this one has the most nudity

This film, the 4th in the series, is titled The Final Chapter, and yet at least six more would follow it, with Part 5 (appropriately called A New Beginning) arriving in theaters a mere 11 months after this “final chapter” was released. 

Yet another feather in the cap of Jason Voorhees: not even the damn filmmakers could kill him off! 

Friday the 13th The Final Chapter opens moments after the events that ended Part 3, with Jason lying on the floor of a barn, a machete buried in his skull. But you didn't really think he was dead, did you? After escaping from the hospital morgue, Jason returns to a Camp Crystal Lake that thinks he's finally gone. So, as expected, a group of teens descends on the area, having rented a house for the summer that's situated across the street from a single mother (Joan Freeman) and her two kids; teenage daughter Trish (Kimberly Beck) and young son Tommy (Corey Feldman). Of course, Jason is very much alive, and soon makes his presence known. This time, however, our favorite mass murderer has someone gunning for him, the brother (played by E. Erich Anderson) of one of Jason's many victims, who's out to give Jason a taste of his own medicine. 

At this point in the franchise, it would be oh so easy to start getting smug, and point out just how ridiculous this series, which falls back on the same tired formula time and time again, has become. However, I can't quite do that with Friday the 13th The Final Chapter...because I really, really enjoyed it. 

For starters, the cast was exceptional, perhaps the best ensemble of young actors since the series began. Corey Feldman is excellent as Tommy, a kid who's prematurely catapulted into puberty when a bevvy of hot babes moves in across the street (there's one hilarious scene where Feldman is looking out his window, watching one of the teens, played by Judy Aronson, as she undresses. He handles it brilliantly, getting as giddy as a kid that age would without overplaying it). There's also some talented players in the ranks of the doomed teens. Crispen Glover is Jimmy, a young man who's fear of sexual inadequacy soon becomes the least of his worries, and Barbara Howard is also effective as Sara, the shy one of the gang who has her own memorable run-in with Jason. Together, they create a likeable group, and you really do want to see them make it out alive (I know, I know...wishful thinking, right?). 

But then Friday the 13th The Final Chapter isn't all character development; this entry also has some of the series' most grisly kills to date (thanks, once again, to the talents of make-up artist Tom Savini). During his escape from the hospital, Jason finishes off an oversexed male nurse (Bruce Mahler) with a hacksaw to the throat, and once back in Crystal Lake, takes out an innocent hitchhiker (Bonnie Hellman), who he stabs through the neck as she stands on the side of the road, eating a banana. And then there's the poor guy who gets a spear right in the...well, better to leave that one alone. It's really pretty gruesome. 

I had a great time watching Friday the 13th The Final Chapter, and as far as entertainment value goes, I would rank it right up there with Part 1.


Anonymous said...

Dr Shock I was thinking this was the day of the podcast release, but I must of forgot last weeks. Listening to your theme tonight on my way to work, cant wait to hear your thoughts on the 1970s era.

Dave Becker said...

Michelle: Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

Yes, the next episode of Planet Macabre will be posted one week from today, and it's lining up to be a good one! Lady Phantom is still recuperating, but there's a great "Guest Host" that you won't want to miss.

And please let me know what you think of the episode once you listen tonight.

Thanks again, and thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr.Shock; Couldn't find the post on the Ghoul still wanted to tell you I thought the movie was good. Thank you from the UK; Henrik

Dave Becker said...

@Henrik: Thanks for stopping by, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

I'm so glad you enjoyed THE GHOUL. I'll have another old-time horror film for you a week from today when the next episode of Planet Macabre posts.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Yet another A+ episode Shock.

I can't get over how well all the hosts fit together nicely. The bantering is done in such a professional manner not to walk on each other's toes.

When voting comes around for the best new podcasts of the year rolls around, Planet Macabre will be getting my vote.

Signed Gunthrie

Dave Becker said...

Gunthrie: Thanks so much for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

We have a great time recording the show, and it's nice to know that the fun seems to make it's way through to the listeners as well.

We appreciate your support, and thanks again for listening!

Anonymous said...


Dave Becker said...

Herome: Thanks so much...I appreciate that.

And thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.