Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – Joseph Zito

Back when I first started the blog, I got through the first three Friday the 13th films, and kind of stalled. Now, here I am ten years later, continuing the journey with Jason (Ted White in this film) as I explore the beautiful Shout! blu-ray box set. This is the last film released that still made Jason a mortal being, despite being driven to the point of death a number of times, he was still a living creature. Starting with the next film the unstoppable killer literally becomes supernatural.

There’s a pretty solid cast featured in this film as well! Crispin Glover, worth the entry price alone just to see his dancing, a young Corey Feldman, and Peter Barton who had found his way into the pop culture subconscious as the titular Matthew in the television series, The Powers of Matthew Star.

Picking up where 3D left off, Jason is presumed dead in the barn, and is hauled off to the morgue. Unfortunately for those attending, he’s only snoozing, and is off soon enough to resume his blood spree, as he makes his way back to Crystal Lake.

Along the way, two lone houses in the woods serve as a new hunting ground. In one house we have Mrs. Jarvis (Joan Freeman), a recently divorced single mother, her daughter, Trish (Kimberly Beck) and special effects obsessed son, Tommy (Feldman). Next door is a house that has been rented for the weekend by the stereotypical twenty-somethings that you know are nothing but fodder for the blood mill that is Jason, including Barton’s Doug, and Glover’s Jimmy.

And lurking around in the woods, ‘hunting’ is Rob (Erich Anderson), who is intent on tracking down Jason, despite the word being spread that the killer is finally dead.

Jason lines them up and knocks them down, and there is gore and blood aplenty created and supplied by that wonderful artist, Tom Savini.

I have some problems with the climax, as Tommy comes up with this idea to use some effects (and shave all of his hair inside of ninety seconds) to make himself more monstrous, just long enough to distract Jason. It’s kind of funny, his sister is running through the house, with Jason is closing in on her, and he’s standing in front of the mirror, cutting his hair, shaving his head, and we don’t even see him apply any makeup (and you know that will take awhile).

He makes up for it, however, in the last moments of the film by going completely ape-shit on Jason, hacking away at the killer when Tommy sees his hand twitch.

There’s nudity aplenty, a cute set of twins, though it may have been the 80s hair and costumes, stupid life choices, and a dog who doesn’t get near enough screen time, all stapled to the barest of narratives that isn’t interested in developing Jason or the world he exists in. Jason has one purpose in these films, deliver a body count. And if we’re measuring the film by that it’s a winner – I just wish it had been a little longer, with a little bit more development for Tommy and his family, especially all the effects he’s working on, because we know, with that last shot, that kid is screwed up now, and it may have had more of an impact if we had been a little more invested in his character.

Oh well.

Jason will be back, despite the title of this film, in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning!

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