Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Jason really has a future in decorative corpse arrangement
Released: 
1984
Director: 
Joseph Zito
Starring: 
Kimberly Beck, Erich Anderson, Corey Feldman, Barbara Howard, Peter Barton
The Setup: 
Jason faces down Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover while hacking his way through more campers.
Discussion: 

So the person who recommended the sweet, sweet GENIUS of Alice, Sweet Alice, which I really liked, also was quite keen for me to see this, as it has a high ridiculousness quotient and is also fairly decent. It was fine, but the truth is I’m a little weary of the series and slashers aren’t really my favorite thing anyway. This one does have some quite potent elements to recommend it, however.

We begin with a recap of the whole Jason mythos, with footage from the first three films, including a special shot of baby Jason leaping out of the water from the first film, as that will have special significance here. Anyway, so you have the title and the mask, and then the words “The Final Chapter” come in and the mask EXPLODES! Love it. Of course the fact that this turned out to be number four of eleven films had me pondering new titles all night, such as “The Final New Beginning” and “The New Final Ultimate First Chapter.”

Then follow our credits, which let us know that we’ll be treated to the work of Crispin Glover, Corey Feldman, and the makeup effects of Tom Savini. Then we see them gather up Jason’s body from where it lay at the end of Part Three, and take it in to the coroner’s office. There, Axel the horny Coroner comes on to this nurse. Axel likes to do it while watching 80s aerobics programs on TV and with fresh corpses in the room. The nurse ain’t having no corpse-present lovin’—until SUDDENLY she wants it. Things don’t end well for either of them, and a quick edit while Axel is getting his throat sawed through lets us know that 80s aerobics shows ARE inextricably tied to homicidal mania.

We then cut to this kid in a full-head mask and baseball cap who is playing this video game that both fascinated and confounded me in my youth, due to its bizarre three-quarter viewing perspective. ZAXXON! That was a trip down memory lane. Anyway, THIS is Corey Feldman, playing Tommy, who lives in a house right next to this house on Crystal Lake with his mother and blonde older sister Trish. Corey is about 10 here, which was a surprise to me, as I expected him to be a teenager. Ah well.

Now we join this movie’s crop of teen victims on their way to stay at that house right next to Corey and co. They are a fairly generic bunch, except for Crispin Glover as brooding hunk Jim [very much in the David Boreanaz Angel mode—it’s very odd now to see Crispin Glover as any kind of hunk] who is told that this girl Betty broke up with him because he is “a dead fuck.” Then—cut to fat hippie hitchhiker!

This woman looks a bit like a heavy Betty Rubble and, after being rudely mocked by our heroes, decides she’d just REALLY like to have a banana. She’s enjoying her potassium-packed fruit snack when Jason steps from behind and rams an arrow or something through her throat, causing her to open her mouth and stick her tongue out while the viscous white fluid drips in a strand from it, then squeeze the banana in her hand, making it go rigid… then slowly flop over. Those who are unsure about the ways in which violent films reference sex are invited to peruse the shots below.

Meanwhile back at home, Trish is bummed because she wanted pizza, but there were just too many darned leftovers! We soon find out that this is s single-parent family that engages in frenzied spontaneous group hugs. They see the teens arrive next door, and later, when Corey goes to bed, he watches one of the girls undress and then one of the guys come in and them start to get it on. This sends young Corey, rather charmingly, into little fits of sexual frustration. A few minutes later he is watching skinny-dipping teens. Is this whole movie going to be about Corey’s sexual education? We also find out that he supposedly MADE that mask he was wearing at the beginning.

SPOILERS > > > Now teen drama. This girl Sarah is jealous that other teen Paul is dancing with this other girl, so she decides to take an after-dark skinny dip. The expected happens. Soon Paul comes out after her, and receives a spear in the crotch for his trouble. Back at the house, Crispin is executing this bizarre style of dancing [IMDb trivia tells us that it is how he actually danced as a child] which, well, really just can’t be described. He and this other girl go upstairs and do the deed, after which Crispin hears that he was “incredible,” which boosts his self-esteem! For the remaining 23 minutes of his life. During all this, the wisecracker teen is watching these old silent B&W sex comedy films and laughing uproariously, which I find a bit unlikely. One, that there is a storehouse for these films at the lakeside house they rented, and two, that he would be laughing at them at all, and three, that he would STILL be laughing with great gusto after watching them for what seems like four hours. A homicidal maniac that has survived getting an axe to the head, that’s plausible, but this… no, not this.

I forgot to mention the presence of this hiker who is the brother of the girl from part II. I forget what happens to him [I think a good guess is that he gets killed], but soon enough it’s just Trish and Corey. I here is what the guy who recommended this to me pointed out as perhaps “the stupidest line in a horror movie ever,” which is the character’s shouting, as he is getting attacked: “He’s killing me! He’s killing me!” We both agreed that it’s difficult to predict what one might shout upon the occasion of being killed by an unstoppable homicidal maniac, but that would be unlikely to top the list.

Now it’s time for us to admire the artistry of Jason’s corpse arrangement skills. Someone on the IMDb mentioned that Jason really can’t be completely crazy, because it takes a lot of foresight and planning to arrange corpses in such a careful and artful fashion—calling upon the ancient art of Carcass-Shui. Trish admires his handiwork as she tries to escape from the house, and finds a corpse laying on the front porch, and another nailed across the door out of the kitchen. This necessitates her breaking through the kitchen window and climbing out—because there is a corpse LAYING on the front porch. Sweetie, simply STEP OVER it. Walk around, whatever, it’s not that big a deal.

Meanwhile, Corey has become fascinated with a clipping from his family’s Jason file, that shows an artist’s rendition of little by Jason from the bottom of the lake. He thinks “You know, I could rock that look,” and takes to the bathroom to set and style. Downstairs, Trish is finally getting tough, got a machete of her own, and is telling Jason to bring it. I love it when the heroines finally get tough. She’s not doing that great, despite her spunk, but suddenly Corey shows up looking like Jason from back when, and calls to him. Corey’s facial expression during this sequence is sort of precious, for the way he is trying to consciously look a little psycho, and of course just looking silly. Jason sees him and is like “Bitch, you stole my look!” which affords Cory time to put the ‘ol machete to Jason’s eye, and we see it come down and protrude out the back of his skull, because, as surely you recall, this is the FINAL chapter. So we think it’s all over, but then, as a nice little touch, Corey goes batshit nuts and starts chopping the shit out of Jason’s body! Trish gives him a little hug, and in a hilarious/awesome final shot, we get another ‘crazee’ expression as Corey tries to convey that his mind has snapped and he has BECOME Jason. And apparently he has, because I hear the next sequel is about him as a teen [no longer played by Corey] going on a killing spree. Then in the next one they’re back to the real Jason—I’d like to see how they explain that one. And I suppose one day I will.
< < < SPOILERS END

It was pretty good for one of these movies. This is considered to be one of the better ones, and I have to admit that almost all of the first four have been passable, although none can really match the special place of the first. I am, however, quite ready to leave the camp setting, and the whole thing is getting a little rote by now. Okay, more than a little rote. It’s also kind of funny when you consider that the first four movies are all supposed to happen sequentially within the course of a few days—so this movie is supposed to be happening on the following Monday and Tuesday, which makes you then wonder why these teens rented this house for a crazy middle-of-the-week bacchanalia, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

Anyway, could be worse, and if you need more of the same but with slight variations and the additional spice of some Corey action and a drizzle of Crispin while still toward the normal end, you should totally go for it.

Should you watch it: 

You might as well, although you’ll be fine should you decide to skip it.