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 discuss Friday the 13th A New Beginning!
Today’s Key Movie:
Years after the events of The Final Chapter, Tommy Jarvis, now in a youth halfway house on Crystal Lake, still struggles with his experiences against the Stealthy Stalker. When the murders begin again he realizes that he might have to face Jason one last time.
Why this movie?
I know I never got a chance to watch this one in theaters and it would be some time before I got a chance to see it on VHS. Needless to say it was probably a good thing I didn’t see it as it was not all that well received upon release. I don’t even think I got a chance to see this one until much later in life and even then it was only as part of a Friday the 13th marathon not unlike what I am doing for these reviews.
So this is one that I have very little connection to as a whole and for that we will treat this like my first time really seeing it. Sound good? Okay. So lets get this going.
What follows is an attempt at a change for the franchise. Instead of camping teens we get a halfway house filled with disturbed and mentally ill teens (who all look like they are in their 20’s) and face the murder of one of their own. This event sparks the return of Jason Vorhees who begins murdering the teens of the area only for Tommy to once again have to step up. The thing is…the killer isn’t who he thinks it is.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
A lot of people hate this movie only because it departs from the Jason mythos that had been established starting with Part II. By the time this movie hit theaters, Jason had become synonymous with the franchise and to change that was a twist no one was expecting. Much like that of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, this film is not about Jason Vorhees, instead it is about the legacy of Jason and how his actions influenced those around him.
Now normally I don’t like giving away too much in these reviews but, in this case, I kinda have to. So, if you don’t want to know some of the secrets, skip to this part and move on.
Still with me? Okay.
So, much like the first film, the killer in this film is not actually Jason Vorhees. His presence from his past carnage and through the eyes of Tommy is felt with him not actually being the murderer. In a true Hitchcock fashion, Jason is more of a red herring than a bloody knife as the film toys with both Tommy and the audience laying clues that the masked killer isn’t who everyone thinks he is. The film even lays clues to others being the new Jason including Tommy himself all the while making everyone wonder if Jason is not in fact back from the dead.
While we don’t see it for much of the film, The biggest clue of them all is the mask. In parts 2 and 3 the Hockey mask has red stripes while also brandishing a break from an axe wound. This new mask has blue stripes and is even shaped differently. In fact, it is one of the first things we see in the opening credits literally breaking through the logo. Another clue is the focus the film gives on some of the tertiary characters. If you pay attention to the side characters that get more development than necessary then It’s pretty easy to figure out who the actual killer is. However, like I mentioned before, most people were watching for Jason and not expecting someone new. To me, the change is what makes this movie work. Instead of the return of a killer, as had been done time and again, it is his legacy that returns allowing the rampage to continue indefinitely without any kind of supernatural interference. Sadly, this change was not one that could last as audiences felt very differently than I do and the next chapter does exactly what was expected in this one, it brings Jason back in a way that makes it impossible to finally end his killing spree.
As with any slasher film, it is the kills that get the recognition and, this one is certainly no slouch when it comes to blood and gore. Much like the last versions a lot of the killing is done somewhat off screen mostly using sound effects and images of the aftermath to indicate the brutality of the murders. The killer is quite skilled in his manner of dispatching his victims using everything from a Port-a-potty to even a leather belt in unique and original ways. As usual, the special effects are fantastic with just enough gore to remain interesting but never too much to allow it to fall into Saw territory. This coupled with an incredible score by Harry Manfredini, this is really a fabulous slasher that holds up to this very day.
Overall, this is actually a solid horror film and one that could have easily created a new take on the Jason mythos. It’s really a shame that it gets as much hate as it does. Personally, I think it is a really fun and enjoyable entry into the Friday the 13th saga and one that is far under appreciated for it’s unique nature. I will warn you however, this one has a TON more nudity in it as well. While I get that this was a major part of the 80’s horror shtick, it almost feels a little overdone at times.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This one is a little harder to find on it’s own so I would recommend just getting the boxed set containing the first 8 films. Trust me, go in expecting something a little different and you might actually enjoy this one. It may not be a Jason movie but it is worthy of the Friday the 13th moniker.
Late To The Game 2/4/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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