The Spring of '84: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter - Mania.com



The Spring of '84

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  • Starring: Kimberly Beck, Peter Barton, Corey Feldman, E. Erich Anderson, Crispin Glover and Alan Hayes
  • Written by: Barney Cohen and Bruce Hidemi Sakow
  • Directed by: Joseph Zito
  • Studio: Paramount Pictures
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Series:

The Spring of '84: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

"Hey Ted, where the hell is the corkscrew?"

By Rob Vaux     April 13, 2014
Source: Mania.com


Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
© Paramount Pictures

 Let's start out by addressing the most notable thing about Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter: it isn't a "final" anything. Sure, it's easy to point that out now, with a good half-dozen more entries in place (plus assorted outliers). But in point of fact the producers knew going in that this wouldn't be the end, since they clearly left the door open for more sequels in the commercially profitable yet creatively bankrupt horror series. The "Final" in the title was just another hustle to put a few more bums on seats. Considering that very little about this entry differs from any of the other entries, that at least provides a little distinction. When dealing with product this lazy, you take whatever victories you can find.

The remainder of the film offer a second, albeit rather strange benefit. If you discount the 2009 reboot, Part IV is the only entry in the series in which all of the pieces come together as they should. The franchise attained its signature elements in fits and starts, adding little bits here and there to make individual entries more interesting. Very little of what we know about Jason Voorhees was in place in the first film. It took the sequel to really get him into the action, and his infamous hockey mask waited until Part III to arrive. With The Final Chapter, everything is finally in place: the killer's look, his modus operandi, his seeming invulnerability, and the huge litany of youthful sins he seems put upon this earth to punish. 

It also adds a final wrinkle: Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), a young boy destined to become either Jason's nemesis or his heir apparent, depending upon the whims of the sequel in question. Tommy and his family live on the shores of Crystal Lake, right next to a vacation home full of unruly young people (including a pre-star Crispin Glover for that extra touch of weird). Said young people quickly engage in gratuitous drug use, unprotected sex, and other assorted dalliances that basically act like chuck steak in front of a wolf when it comes to Jason. So up he pops from the coroner's slab where we left him at the end of Part III, and pretty soon he's hacking through America' youth like there's no tomorrow. Tommy and his sister Trish (Kimberly Beck) are the only ones left to mount a credible opposition.

As one can expect, most of the creative energy goes into the various kill shots, as Jason does people in with surgical tools, axes, harpoon guns and kitchen knives, as well as his own bare hands. The format grows incredibly repetitive, as the survivors go through their routines completely oblivious to the threat until it literally hurls bladed weapons through the front door.  As with so much of this series, it feels like any worthwhile developments get deferred for a later picture (which will inevitably let us down as well).  By the time this edition rolled around, the fans knew what to expect, and everyone else had pretty much tuned out.

That actually serves as its primary selling point. I maintain that if you want a Friday the 13th film, go with the reboot because at least it delivers everything you expect from Jason Voorhees. The Final Chapter does much the same thing, avoiding the jokiness of later entries while finally settling on an iconic look for Jason to do what he does best. As for quality, there's none to be found, but you probably expected that. The Final Chapter does no worse than any of its brethren in that regard, and it hits the brief point where everyone has figured out what this series was without turning it into a joke.

Add a few familiar faces and you have… okay, you still have an incredibly crappy movie. But rightly or wrongly, a movie that catalyzed an entire franchise and gave us exactly precisely what we expected from it all. Considering how long these movies kept going and how many of them there were, it’s strange that only this one had everything in its proper place. Again, that’s not saying much, but with movies like this, you take your pleasures where you can find them.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
ultrazilla2000 4/13/2014 5:52:07 AM

Firday?   Is that like Arbor Day, but  tree species specific?  ;)

VTGamehendge 4/13/2014 8:25:19 AM

"He's killing me!  He's killing me!"

Greatest last words in a horror movie. Or maybe any movie.

CurtisLovesMovies 4/13/2014 10:03:47 AM

Just a little fact check: Both Frank Mancuso, Sr. and Jr. at Paramount have stated that it was their true intention to end the franchise with The Final Chapter. Frank Jr. especially was sick of the series and wanted to be done with it. One of the money men outside of Paramount, Phil Scuderi, was the driving force behind Part 5 and convinced Paramount that there was still money to be made with a sequel. The open-ended conclusion of The Final Chapter was something Joe Zito the director did on his own, just in case.

VTGamehendge 4/15/2014 9:19:00 AM

Yeah, I was always under the impression that it was intended to be the last one.  And then they royally screwed the pooch with A New Beginning, which I think is the worst of the series.  Even worse than Jason X.  JX at least was so stupid and ridiculous it was entertaining.  And lots of entertaining ways that he killed people too.  And of course Uber Jason at the end was kinda cool.  But yeah, I remember watching New Beginning as a kid and was so pissed off that it ended up being the director of that home pulling a copy cat killing spree.  It wasn't even Jason!  I felt cheated.  No bueno.

VTGamehendge 4/15/2014 9:27:21 AM

Also, I forgot to mention that Final Chapter was one of my favorites of the series.  Maybe THE favorite, though Part 3 holds a special place in my heart as well.  And I dunno about anyone else, but I actually really liked the reboot.  I remember going to see it with my buddy and his wife one day when we got off work and even his wife loved it.  I thought it somewhat recaptured the feel and the spirit of the original four movies.  And I thought Derek Mears did a great job with Jason.  He had tremendous physicality and good screen presence.  I don't understand all the hate for that one.

CurtisLovesMovies 4/15/2014 9:51:34 AM

My favorites are 1 and 4. I agree that Jason X is good fun. The only one that is literally unwatchable IMO is 8. I thought 7 was a great return to form after the tongue-in-cheek 6 (which I don't like nearly as much as most people). Regarding the remake, I'd watch that ahead of FvJ. FvJ makes me sad because it was such a missed opportunity. I can't really comment on 9 because I only saw it once during its original run.

freestrike 4/15/2014 8:26:53 PM

I agree with VTG about the line and really disagree with the reviewer.  This entry definitely stands out from the rest.

mellowdoux 4/16/2014 10:11:58 AM

 Yep.
As everyone has stated... some facts are off in this article.
This WAS intended to be the Final Chapter. 

I also agree with other who've stated that this was a stand-out entry in the series. It was. The opening is centered around Jason's body and return was shot superbly (especially for this series).

As to what was the best movie in the series? I've always enjoyed "Jason Lives".
I agree with VTG that the reboot was fun and captured "the best" of the Friday the 13th flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

freestrike 4/17/2014 4:29:47 PM

Glad you agree that this series stands out mellow, but Jason Lives was dreadful.  The way I see it they topped themselves everytime up to FC then the series when completely to crap.  The reboot and FVJ were awesome but the actual sequels were all crap.

I've heard they were originally going to have Tommy kill Jason by slicing his head verically down to his adams apple to really kill Jason for good but then when it came time to shoot the scene the producers got cold feet and made the director change it.

CurtisLovesMovies 4/17/2014 8:41:03 PM

I think it's pretty clear at the end of FC that Jason is dead. Tommy hacked him into little pieces while his sister watched. And in part 5 they tell us his body was cremated. Jason was absolutely dead and gone. Part 6 is a total "fuck you" to continuity just because Jason sells tickets. But really, who cares, right? From the beginning the whole thing was a cash grab.

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