Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Jason Voorhees escapes from the local morgue…heads back to Crystal Lake for some more slicing and dicing of horny teenagers. However, he is being hunted by the brother of a previous victim..
I hadn’t actually watched this film for some time until last night, as part of the Prince Charles’s cracking Friday the 13th Marathon. For me, it’s by far one of the better entries in the series. Indeed, in many ways, this movie is heads-above the other sequels.
Firstly, it’s usually the case that the acting in these sorts of films is just dreadful. “The Final Chapter” is a little different in this regard, so much so that the audience begins to connect with individual characters and actually cares when they are dispatched by everyone’s favourite psychopath. Specific credit to Corey Feldman as a young boy obsessed with all things horror and Crispin Glover as the sex-mad but painfully shy ‘Jimmy’.
Secondly, the film’s atmosphere is pretty wicked. Gone is the over-the-top humour and idiocy of part 3. “The Final Chapter” is directed by Joseph Zito – also at the helm of 1981 cracker “The Prowler” – and he does a great job at painting a dark and moody picture. . It’s amazing how he manages to make the houses seem like vast caves with nooks and hide-holes everywhere – where could Jason be lurking next? Another plus on the atmosphere side comes from the movie’s pacing with the kills coming quick and fast…there is little let-up here and hardly time to breathe between each set-piece slaying.
Thirdly, Tom Savini’s special make-up effects are outstanding and add so much colour to some of the kills. My personal favourite probably being a post-sex Crispin Glover screaming rhetorically “Where’s the corkscrew?” because of course, we know that said missing-corkscrew is going to make its presence felt very soon…..
Jason’s demise also deserves a mention here. Apparently the crew agonized how best to put him out of his ‘misery’ – not that he looks sad, he seems quite happy being on a 3-day bender of butchering young innocents – and what they finally came up with is, frankly, spectacular.
Critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel famously slated this film, Ebert going as far as saying that the film-makers should be ashamed. But this is an unfair criticism. These pictures were aimed at a young audience wanting a roller-coaster ride; in other words, at cinema-goers who craved excitement and entertainment at a theatre, rather than art. “The Final Chapter” is just a thrill-ride and nothing else.
“The Final Chapter” is the last movie in the series in which Jason is still ‘human’ – although quite how he survived a machete through the back, being hung from a barn door and an axe driven through his head in previous installments is not quite explained ( he’s obviously a tough-cookie) – and the film benefits from this because the cards are not ALL stacked against our teenage fun-lovers. There is the slightest hint at the back of our minds, that someone COULD actually kill Jason.
Paramount intended this to be the last Jason movie. Of course, it wasn’t.
Overall, a great fun-movie which is entertaining, gory and at times quite frightening. Up there with part 2 as the best of the bunch.
hotdog rating: 7.5/10