Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Jason Vorhees continues his crusade against promiscuous and annoying kids in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. No, it’s not really the last chapter of anything. It did give way to a fifth film that didn’t feature the infamous Jason, but that was such a hideous disappointment (so I’ve heard) that they brought the hockey-masked killer back for the sixth movie and the subsequent others. Finality? What finality?

Made for an estimated $2.6 million, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter grossed $32 million at the box office. It predictably wasn’t much of a hit with critics, but fans started to flock to the theatres to check out Jason and his lumbering, crazy ways. The lack of ingenuity and overall goodness didn’t seem to bother horror fans.

This entry in the canon picks up a day after the events in Friday the 13th Part III. Cops and paramedics are picking up the pieces over at Higgins Haven and they stuff a presumed dead Jason Vorhees (Ted White) in an ambulance to head to the morgue. Spoiler: he’s not dead. Other spoiler: his fingernails have grown a bit in 24 hours. After killing his way out of the quietest hospital since Halloween II, Jason returns to Crystal Lake to terrorize and kill anyone dumb enough to hang out there.

This time around, it’s a ragtag group of horny teenagers. OMG, what a shock. The teens are partying a rental house next to the old Jarvis place, a home inhabited by a mom (Joan Freeman), her daughter Trish (Kimberley Beck) and her son Tommy (Corey Feldman). While the teens across the way cavort, skinny dip, wear bad clothing, curse, and smoke pot, Tommy works on creepy masks and plays video games. And Jason kills almost everyone.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter doesn’t do much to further the mythology of Jason. Part 3, which was terrible, had the slight bonus point of providing the hockey mask for the killer. This round, all we get is a plodding bad guy that shows up in weird places and still has the propensity to move bodies around for no good reason. We also have a collection of victims we don’t care about, although director Joseph Zito has no problem spending asinine amounts of time with various boring characters.

Along with the usual blandness, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter tosses in an annoying kid that doesn’t actually get interesting until the last few bars when Feldman’s character decides on a sudden haircut to confuse Jason. There’s also a dog named Gordon and a pile of hysterical gaffes, including an obvious crash pad on the ground after Trish inexplicably dives out a window. These mistakes potentially make the movie more fun if you’re drinking.

Also of note here is the appearance of Crispin Glover as Jimmy, one of the victims. There’s a sort of running gag that feels like it’s out of a teen sex comedy that pokes fun at Jimmy’s sexual prowess, but like all things in the limp character development department it just feels tacked on. Twins (Camila and Carey More) also make an appearance, with one playing the slutty sister archetype and the other playing the puritan.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is about on par with the earlier film. It’s not scary in the least and there’s absolutely nothing by way of continuity to be concerned about. The best moments come from the hilarious overacting and the piles and piles of idiotic mistakes, like the rubber dummy of one of the twins that is revealed when her shirt rides up. If it’s real horror you’re looking for, you know by now that this series isn’t it. But if you’re looking for inadvertent gags, boring characters, unimpressive nudity, and one irritating kid, this isn’t half bad.

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