Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

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Corey Feldman has let himself go a bit...
Corey Feldman has let himself go a bit…

Twitter Plot Summary: There’s more shenanigans going on around Crystal Lake as Jason returns from the dead and starts killing folks. Again.

Five Point Summary:

1. What’s Fackler doing in this?
2. Why does anybody spend time near Crystal Lake? Seems like a ridiculously bad idea.
3. Crispin Glover’s dancing should never be seen in public.
4. Tom Savini’s effects are always worth seeing.
5. Corey Feldman. Legend.

Things certainly stepped up a gear in the fourth and, apparently, final chapter in the Friday The 13th series, but not because the script, acting or production values are particularly higher than previously, because they’re not. No, what we have here is an improvement in terms of relative star power. Not only does The Final Chapter star 80s icon Corey Feldman, but Crispin Glover also makes an appearance and the special effects are from the hands of Tom Savini. Even if the rest of the film was terrible, which it kind of is, these three names alone make The Final Chapter a film worth seeing.

Once the obligatory recap of the previous story is out of the way (again serving no purpose), this time covering all three previous films and a montage of the better deaths so far, Jason is dead and his body lies in the hospital morgue. For about five seconds, that is. Before you know it he’s inexplicably back on his feet, resurrected and slashing his way through everyone in his way. In other words, it’s business as usual.

In a series first, it’s not just the teens who are keen to get it on, and it’s apparent that Mr Voorhees objects to carnal pleasure from people of all ages, not just those pesky teenagers. In fact it’s enough to make him come back from the dead and turn into an unstoppable, impassive killing machine. Other than these initial deaths (including a rare non-Police Academy appearance from Bruce Mahler, aka the accident prone Fackler), Jason once again focuses on the youths who are currently holidaying in a cabin on Crystal Lake. Seriously, given the short amount of time that has passed between each film thus far, you’d think the entire area would be cordoned off for further investigations by now. There’s a real health risk involved with any activity around Crystal Lake, so why go there?

Crispin Glover dancing. Can not be unseen.
Crispin Glover dancing. Can not be unseen.

This is perhaps the point where the franchise started to create its own identity rather than ripping off earlier grindhouse pictures. Unlike the Elm Street series which had its history and identity sewn up from the start, it took three films before anything improved for Jason. Even the method of titling this film series lacks consistency – are you going to use numbers, Roman numerals or text subtitles to describe the films? Oh that’s right, you’re going to use all three. With that said, the improvements are once again only minor – a slightly better calibre of actor makes up for the now obligatory cliche story. Rather than make any serious effort to explain why Jason returned from the dead, it just gets down to business – that of Jason killing people in a variety of inventive ways.

It’s here where the special effects genius that is Tom Savini comes into play, as the deaths and method of dispatch are fantastic in every respect. Savini knows exactly how to get the most out of a brief spurt of violence, none more so than the final assault on Jason – it’s as gruesome and super cool as the series has managed thus far.

Whilst originally intended to draw a line once and for all under Jason’s story, the finale leaves it open for another sequel (of course) and subsequently ensures that the likelihood of Crystal Lake ever achieving five minutes of peace and quiet are highly unlikely. The Final Chapter also lacks that funky 80s theme song used in Part III, which is perhaps the biggest crime of them all besides Crispin Glover’s dancing.

Score: 2/5

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