The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 4: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984) ****

Jason wakes up in the morgue after taking an axe to the face in Part 3-D and butchers a coroner and a hot tamale nurse before heading back to Crystal Lake.  Now residing at the lake is a single mom and her two kids, Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy (Corey Feldman), as well as a house full of horny teens.  Jason makes short work of them before coming after Trish.  Fortunately Tommy is a special effects wizard and makes himself look like Young Jason, which thoroughly puzzles the shit out of the killer.  This gives Trish enough time to plant a machete in Jason’s face.  Thank God Jason is dead so the series can now at last be over.  Right?  Right?

 

I don’t think there was anyone who honestly believed that this was going to be the FINAL chapter of the series.  Hollywood would not let any movie that costs a measly 2 million dollars that makes back 32 million be the “Final” anything as long as they can still wring a buck out of it.  Paramount Pictures is not stupid, so why would they kill off their biggest cash cow?  The studio just called it “The Final Chapter” to lure the audience into the theater.  I’m willing to bet that Paramount probably already had the next flick in the works before they made the decision to call this one The Final Chapter.  In fact, the Friday the 13th series is the only movie franchise in which the studios used the word “Final” in their sequel’s title TWICE to make audiences believe that it was going to be the last one.  (Jason Goes to Hell:  The Final Friday being the other film.)

 

The Final Chapter was directed by Joseph Zito, the man who did Missing in Action.  That means he’s really good at the survival portions of the film where Tommy and his sister fend off Jason’s attacks.  Zito also brings a lot more technical know-how to the flick.  There’s a long opening dolly shot that starts out focused on the full moon, then it pans down and follows some ambulances and cops cars to the crime scene, and ends with a close-up of Jason’s body.  This is a pretty great shot.  We’re not talking the restaurant scene in Goodfellas great here, but it’s a lot more stylish than most of the films in the series.  There’s also a cool shot where the camera is mounted on a gurney containing Jason’s body as it makes its way down the halls of the hospital too.

 

Zito also gives us more time to get to know the victi… err… kids, which is different from the usual approach.  I’m not saying the characters are Shakespearean or anything but they’re all quirky and have distinct personalities.  Lawrence Monoson has some good scenes while high as a kite and watching vintage stag movies and Crispin Glover’s wacky dance moves has already become the stuff of legend.  These kids are definitely not your cookie cutter teenage stereotypes and they really stand out from 99% of the characters in the series. 

 

I’m not saying that I didn’t want Jason to turn them into walking Jackson Pollack paintings.  Jason does his mama proud in this one and delivers:  a hacksaw to the throat (accompanied by 180 degree head-twist), knife to the chest, knife through the throat, knife through the back, spear gun to the gonads, spear through the back, corkscrew to the hand, cleaver to the face, chick thrown out of a two story window and onto the hood of a car, knife in the head, head smashed through shower tile, axe to the chest, and three-pronged garden hoe to the chest.  Not to be outdone, Tommy and his sister give Jason his just desserts via a hammer to the neck and a TV to the face, plus a few dozen or so whacks from a machete.  The best part is when Trish plants the machete into his head.  Jason falls to the ground face first on the hilt; then he slides ALL THE WAY DOWN THE MACHETE.  I know Jason will still come back from that but… ouch.

 

Tom Savani yet again did the excellent effects.  They aren’t as impressive or groundbreaking as the FX from the original, but they still pack quite a punch.  Zito knew full well that Savani was the real star of the move and showcases his work nicely.  (The duo had previously worked on The Prowler together.)  I also liked how screenwriter Barney Cohen shrewdly made Feldman’s prepubescent character an FX expert as a special nod to The Master.  (He even named his character “Tommy” after Savani!)

 

The Final Chapter was my favorite Friday movie when I was a kid I think mostly because of Corey Feldman.  His character was really refreshing because you very rarely saw a kid in a slasher movie.  Plus, I was just a huge Corey fan anyway.  The abundance of titties, the high body count, and the tense finale were also factors which made me love this installment.  As an adult, I think I still prefer 3, 1, and 6 to this one, but it’s still one heck of a great Jason movie.

 

And I neglected to mention this in my Part 2 review, but what’s up with the title sequences in these movies?  The title almost always explodes!  In The Final Chapter, Jason’s hockey mask blows up before the credits start.  I mean you hardly ever see any explosions in these films so what’s up with all the exploding titles?  Maybe that’s how Zito got the job directing Missing in Action.  Chuck Norris took one look at the exploding hockey mask and said, “Shit, this dude doesn’t fuck around; he’s blowing shit up before the movie even starts!  Hire him!”

 

<Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie:  Friday the 13th Part 6:  Jason Lives.>

Tags: f, friday the 13th series, horror, sequel
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