Night #13: Friday The 13th Part IV

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Directed By: Joseph Zito

Hey, honey, you got a sister? Ruff, ruff!”

This is another one of those ‘Have I done this?’ movies where I’m not sure if, in the long and illustrious history of doing this thing, if I’ve already covered something. If I have well it’s alright too late I suppose since I’ve watched it now so I’ll have to write something about it.

This is actually Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter and I do wonder if they ever thought at some point that this would actually be the final chapter. Had part 5, titled The New Beginning and featuring a killer that isn’t actually Jason, been a success then who knows what they would’ve done but after the relative failure of that they had to come back with the thoroughly tongue-in-cheek (And my own favourite) Jason Lives! to assure fans that they were back on track.

Obstensibly though, this is the end of old funny-face himself, who gets offed by a very young Corey Feldman (Whose character, though not the actor, appears in the next two movies) with a totally gnarly looking machete to the face.

This is a pretty strong entry to the series and along with Parts 2 and 6 form a good triple bill of slasher mayhem. There’s no camp this time, just an estate near a lake that Jason just ends up at I suppose? There’s no real reason for him to be there but that’s not going to stop him cutting his way through some folks. So in one of the houses we have a family and in the other a group of horny teenagers including a young Crispen Glover who, aside from Kevin Bacon in the first movie, is the only actor from this series who went on to achieve anything that wasn’t soap operas. I guess you can count Corey Feldman, who is technically still a someone even if he doesn’t have a career. It’s only Glover who makes an impression and not just for his dancing. He’s a regular dude (Probably one of the few times Glover has ever been a regular dude) whose sole concern in life is getting laid. Spoiler: he gets laid. He’s also assured by his conquest that he was great and she wants to do it again, so at least he gets to die happy and really how many people in these movies get to say that.

Though this is much better made, I still couldn’t help but think of those two Sleepaway Camp movies I just got through, mainly because now that this is the fourth entry in a series there’s little need for the suspense. The filmmakers know why people came to these things and were more than happy to give it to them as quickly as possible. It’s arguably at its worse this time around because there’s little rhyme or reason to some of it. It’s as though they filmed all the kills and then just jumbled up the order since one moment Jason is downstairs, then he’s immediately upstairs and then ends up in another house. Sure there’s always been a bit of leeway with how fast this cat can move, but I don’t think they’ve ever actually him teleport. Also, perhaps wise to the formula these movies quickly fell into we get a bit of subversion with our cute, virginal final girl getting offed with an axe to the stomach, just after she’s had sex and declared her love of course. I feel there’s a life lesson there for all of us.

Now I’m on a roll, lets talk timelines. Someone really should’ve been on their game here because they’re all off. So, Friday The 13th takes place on…well a Friday, in 1979. Friday The 13th Part II takes place on…a Wednesday. Ok, little weird. It ends on a Thursday and then Friday The 13th Part III follows on immediately from that movie, finally taking place on a Friday again. Then, this movie takes place on the Sunday, again immediately following on from the previous movie. So, as you can see we’re four movies in and two of them have lied to us. Hilariously though in this one we meet the character of Rob. You see Rob’s sister was killed by Jason way back in Part II and ever since Rob has been tracking Jason, using his skills and his extensive research to track him down. How long has he been doing this? The movie makes it seem like months but in reality, it’s been less than a week. See what I mean? The people making these things just didn’t care.

Legendary special effects man Tom Savini came back for this one since he was assured it was going to be the end of Jason. What that means is that we get some really great effects work quickly spoiled by editing as everything was truncated to secure a rating. The 80s were a fairly puritanical time if you were a big release like this was, and censorship was particularly brutal towards horror flicks so what’s on display here really isn’t likely to give people nightmares. Hilariously there is a scene where a dog appears to commit suicide by leaping out of a window, which isn’t something you can say often.

The great Roger Ebert, in his review of this review wrote that this movie was “an immoral and reprehensible piece of trash.” He’s right of course, but then that’s really part of the fun isn’t it?

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