There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Today we come to what was meant to be the last entry in the Jason Vorhees franchise with Friday the 13th The Final Chapter. However, you know as well as I do…evil never dies.
Today’s Key Movie:
Continuing where the previous two left off, Jason’s body is taken to the morgue where it turns out…he isn’t quite ready to die. Meanwhile an unsuspecting group of teens take up residence in a local house where they meet a young neighbor who becomes determined to defeat the killer at all cost. Starring Cory Feldman, Kimberly Beck, Crispin Glover, and more, this is the story of Jason’s ultimate death.
Why this movie?
As I discussed in my previous Friday the 13th reviews, I originally watched the first four films in the Jason Franchise over the course of a weekend with a friend who was obsessed with the Masked Maniac. Starting with the original, we worked our way through the first four indoctrinating me in the ways of Jason Vorhees. I was quickly pleased to see Corey Feldman in the film as I had already loved him from his various television roles and would end up a fan of his from his appearances in Goonies, Stand by Me and The Lost Boys in the years to come. Ready for the final film in our horror weekend, I waited with baited breath to watch the death of Jason Vorhees.
The Final Chapter solidifies the story that Jason Vorhees lived in the woods sometime after his reported drowning years prior and, after witnessing his mother’s death, he lost what was left of his sanity and began killing everyone he could get his hands on around Camp Crystal Lake. Now, you would think that with an area that has such a bloody history, that people would simply pack up and move away but no…no, not only do they not move away, they raise families there still and act as if there is really nothing to be scared of despite the frequent and bloody killings in the area. That aside, I remember really enjoying this entry moreso than the rest with it remaining one of my favorites of the franchise for years to come…but did it actually age all that well?
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
You know how a band will typically put out their best work in their final album release? Like Abbey Road from the Beatles, this film was created with the idea that they were ending a franchise that had become more of a joke than a scare. So, Frank Mancuso Jr and Tom Savini joined forces to bring the tale of Jason to an end in what is a pretty spectacular fashion.
What follows is a legitimate fear fest with Jason surviving his presumed death in the previous film causing him to slice his way through a hospital only to eventually return to the Crystal Lake community in order to keep killing. While his onslaught is a truly legendary one bringing the kill count to 14 (2 more than part 3), there are a few things that really bothered me about the plot. For one thing, we blatantly see Pamela Vorhees’ grave right off the road side and the stone is SUPER clean, like it was either put up the day before or Jason regularly power washes it when he’s not killing people. It’s a strange add in and one that really should have been left out. The other thing is that of the Jarvis family’s attitude toward their own safety.
Here is a family who have clearly lived in the area for some time so they are VERY aware of the killer who is stalking the teens of the Crystal Lake area. Instead of being cautious and careful they go quite the opposite by leaving their doors unlocked because ‘they are in the country’ and even inviting strangers into their homes without any care. It makes absolutely no sense given the circumstances and they would have been better off if they had served as the people warning the teens to leave instead of acting as the lone survivors in the end. Heck, even the stranger they accept into their home, Rob, shows up hunting Jason in order to get revenge for the death of his sister. This complete stranger to the area is aware of the danger and the Jarvis family is just complacent to it all. Seriously? Anyhow, That being said, I love the character of Tommy Jarvis as played by Cory Feldman. His ingenuity and character development is really solid for a film like this and it is rather fun that this character continues in some of the future installments.
The rest of the cast is actually pretty great in their roles but there is one that I have to bring up because of his rather…unique….manner. That is, of course Crispin Glover. Glover is probably best known for his role in Back to the Future and his subsequent departure from that franchise. It is widely known in pop culture that Glover is not the most, errr, normal? when it comes to people but honestly that is part of his odd charm. Growing up, for some reason I loved Glover’s oddball nature without ever realizing that he was that way in real life as well. This is a guy that, for better or worse, fully embraces his off ball nature in every roll he plays. For that, I have to give him props even though he may have gained a bit of a reputation for it. In the Final Chapter, Glover is a little more down to Earth but we see some of his manic nature throughout the film giving his character a little more dimension than most. Frankly, although strange, I really dig him in this one even with his bat shit crazy dance segment.
The thing that works best in this film is the terror. This movie plays up the tension like never before with genuine moments of fear in the form of some of the most original jump scares played out on screen. Jason is legitimately scary this time around and not just the killing machine who manages some rather interesting and innovative kills. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he still does that to some serious degrees but does so in a way that sets the bar for the films to come. If anything, while they intended for this to be Jason’s final outing, this film managed to create the Jason Vorhees that the franchise is best known for. This is the terrifying, intelligent, man hunting being that can not be stopped no matter what.
Bottom line, Friday the 13th The Final Chapter is the perfect example of the classic horror that is Jason. It is the premature swansong that succeeded in creating the modern myth that has endured the test of time. To this day Jason remains an icon in pop culture and it would never have happened had Mancuso and Savini didn’t try to permanently kill him off.
OK, where do I get this movie?
Of the original run, this is my favorte of the ‘pre-death’ Jason flicks. It works in every way and is completely worth watching as a stand alone film. You can pick it up fairly cheaply here or just go for that killer boxed set I keep talking about. You know you want to.
Next week the evil returns in Friday the 13th A New Beginning…
Late To The Game 2/4/2021
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