Friday The 13th: The Final (snicker!) Chapter (1984)
Or: Double your pleasure, double your… GODDAMMIT!
Why do I have that damn Doublemint Gum jingle stuck in my head? Ah well, I’m sure I’ll figure it out as we move along.
Friday The 13th’s helmsmen seemed to realize that the series was stuck in a rut. So a decision was made to bring the tale of Jason to a close with the fourth chapter. Fate, and the promise of solid gold bathtubs once they saw the tidal wave of box office returns conspired to keep Jason and his legacy alive for several more decades. The Final Chapter, until the next chapter, introduced audiences to one of the few recurring characters in the franchise: Tommy Jarvis. Played here by a fresh-faced Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys ), Jarvis has the distinction of being the person to finally put a stop to Jason’s mortal reign of slaughter. Via hugging, apparently.
As per standard series operating procedure, a gaggle of horny and terminally brain-dead teenagers move into a lakeside house. Said teenagers include yet another bound for fame actor, Back To The Future‘s Crispin Glover, also American Ninja’s Judie Aronson, who fills the movie’s full-frontal nudity quota quite nicely, and a set of female twins, played by Camilla and Carey More.
Double your pleasure, double your fun… OOOOOOOOH!
The Final Chapter feels a lot more confident than its predecessor. The gore is nastier, the nudity tastier, and, for a change, there’s some actual clever writing to be found. Oddly enough, some of the characters are too well developed for a movie of this caliber. I actually felt bad witnessing some of their deaths, a rarity for a series built on disposable stock characters. Overall, The Final Chapter would have been a perfectly acceptable ending to the series. Jason’s mortal form perishes, audiences are treated to some of the best kills the franchise has to offer, and there’s even some tasty foreboding during the movie’s final scene where the traumatized Jarvis gives the camera a knowing look of deviltry to come.
BEST KILL: I was tempted to go with George McFly’s machete vs. face grudge match, but Jason’s slooooow slide down the business end of his own weapon via eye socket won me over.
BEST BABE: My eternal love affair with American Ninja is well established, so how can I not go with my favorite Ninja girl: Judie Aronson’s midnight skinny dipping scene wins the day!
Friday The 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
OR: I knew Jason Voorhees, and you, sir, are no Jason Voorhees.
With The Final Chapter dumping yet another $32 million into Paramount’s coffers, it took less than a year for the next installment in the Friday The 13th franchise to hit theaters. Loss of our central antagonist be damned, there’s money to make! Capitalizing on the fact that it could literally be anybody behind the infamous hockey mask, A New Beginning concerns the appearance of a familiarly suited serial killer seemingly determined to carry on Jason’s legacy.
Fans of the movie know that the killer eventually turns out to be a paramedic who, distraught over the senseless murder of his son, decides to don Jason’s gear and go on a rampage against the residents of a house for troubled teens situated, conveniently enough, in a secluded area of the woods. Why the killer decides to murder several unrelated victims and anybody who happens to cross his path, is never satisfactorily explained, but logic was never this franchise’s strong suit.
A New Beginning is the unofficial black sheep of the Friday The 13th family. Many fans were disappointed by the attempt to replace Jason with a copycat. Tommy Jarvis returns, here played by John Shepherd, bringing a nice sense of continuity to the series, though Feldman did provide a nice cameo during an opening nightmare sequence while on a break from filming Goonies.
While it’s not the gritty triumph that the Final Chapter was, A New Beginning certainly gives it the old college try in the gore and nudity department. The kills are creative and the fleshy bits come at you often enough to keep Mr. Happy standing tall. It’s also important to note that this would be the last entry in the series without any supernatural elements.
BEST KILL: This poor bastard is pulled against a tree with a leather strap wrapped around his head. Then the killer begins to squeeze. Tighter and tighter. Heck of a horrible way to die. KUDOS, COPYCAT JASON!
BEST BABE: As promised. The boobs that launched a thousand shots of… uh, my mother reads these so use your imagination.