While we had looked forward to watching Hansel & Gretel for years, the horror/thriller entry in the punctuation film cycle is one that we’ve been looking forward to for a whole 2 months. That’s right! We are returning to Crystal Lake to hit up the fourth and fifth in the Friday the 13th series, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. These count as the coveted “:” entry in the cycle, which could have been any number of films. We had so much fun watching the first three entries in the sequel cycle that we couldn’t resist returning to the well for some more. At this rate we’ll be watching Jason X in no time. Let’s go!
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – BMeTric: 28.4
(I do think this movie is benefiting from some reflection by the horror community. Perhaps it is a sense that it was the third installment to start where the previous left off and thus could be viewed as putting an appropriate button on the series. Specifically that the last three were a trilogy of the murderous rampage of Jason one weekend in New Jersey. And that nice little trilogy kind of ruined by the later installments, which can now mostly be ignored after what? Fifteen plus years since the last of this run of the character? I don’t know, that rise to near 6.0 IMDb score isn’t what I would personally call natural, it is more than regression to the mean.)
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Why bother with a new script? Jason finally gets his — except that (title notwithstanding) the door is left open for yet another sequel!
(Ha! Leonard Maltin notoriously hates horror films, and for the initial three films the claim to fame was low budget, high body count, and inventive kills. Not exactly up his alley. But a BOMB is always fun.)
(That is pretty spoilerific I must say. Gives away at least a bit of what? Like 6 of the kills? Suggests Jason dies, indicates who kills him, etc. But back then you’d see this like once and then see the movie a few weeks later so who’d remember. Kind of like the voiceover and the idea though.)
Directors – Joseph Zito – (Known For: The Prowler; BMT: Red Scorpion; Missing in Action; Invasion USA; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Notes: Known for working with Chuck Norris and being heavily influential in the slasher genre with The Prowler (1975, so quite early). But most interesting to me? He did a year of pre-production on a live action Spider-Man that never came to be. Here’s a teaser trailer:
Writers – Victor Miller, Ron Kurz, Sean S. Cunningham (character creator) – (I’m going to just put this at the top. We’ve already covered these guys and they’re going to show up in every subsequent preview as well. Just go look at Part II or III if you want fun facts. They wrote the first film and are credited for the character exclusively after that)
Martin Kitrosser (character creator) – (BMT: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Notes: Last time I mentioned he was a long time script supervisor who worked with Tarantino on his films. He wrote Part III and has character credits on The Final Chapter and A New Beginning. His directorial debut was the fifth Silent Night Deadly Night movie.)
Carol Watson (character creator) – (BMT: Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Notes: Hard to find info given her generic name, but I do know she is a credited screenwriter for the second Meatballs movie (which doesn’t qualify for BMT unfortunately))
Barney Cohen (screenplay) – (BMT: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Notes: Speaking of that 1986 Spider Man film! This guy was one of the screenwriters for that! He suggested that Doctor Octopus be called Doc Ock, have an assistant named Weiner, get bitten by a spider and claim to be the true Spider-Man, and that Weiner was Uncle Ben’s killer. Oh, and Doc Ock says “okey-dokey” throughout the script. Best IMDb note ever.)
Bruce Hidemi Sakow (story) – (BMT: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Notes: A veteran screenwriter whose IMDb claims he’s sold fifteen scripts with four ultimately being produced. Basically Zito must have had complete control of this project because Sakow wrote one of his other projects Quarantine (which appears to have never been made) and apparently personally hired him to write this movie.)
Actors – Erich Anderson – (Known For: Unfaithful; Officer Downe; Without Limits; Bat*21; The Glass Shield; Infinity; Special; Auggie Rose; BMT: Missing in Action; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Nightwatch; Notes: A character actor across television and film. He really has very little as far as things I know on his resume … besides Murder, She Wrote. In another life I would be a person who blogs every episode of Murder, She Wrote. That blog is live! The most recent post was about three weeks ago.)
Judie Aronson – (Known For: Weird Science; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Lisa Picard Is Famous; BMT: American Ninja; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Hannibal; Notes: She got hypothermia while filming a scene in a lake for this movie. The stuntman playing Jason threatened to quit over the incident. Both the fourth and fifth films appear to have issues with the directing it would seem.)
Peter Barton – (Known For: Hell Night; BMT: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Notes: Named one of the 10 sexiest guys in soaps by Playgirl. Might have to check out his turn in the revival of 60’s detective series Burke’s Law.)
Budget/Gross – $2.6 million / Domestic: $32,980,880 (N/A)
(Free money. Get yo free money. I wonder when the run will end. This is basically the fourth in a row where the return on investment was probably like 1000%, but at some point that has to end otherwise they would have just kept doing it right?)
#28 for the Horror – Slasher genre
(The plot is somewhat uninteresting because we’ve obviously seen this plot twice before for the other two Friday the 13ths we did for BMT. This is the beginning of the end for the series as this made less than its predecessor and no Jason movie (until they added the far more popular Freddy Kruger to the mix) made more than Friday the 13th Part III after. Kind of insane to think about actually)
Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (6/24): No consensus yet.
(I do love me some consensus making: Retroactively becoming a joke the fourth installment is shockingly coherent in context. It doesn’t mean it is good, and the subsequent flogging of the series reflects poorly on what could have been a clean ending to the series. Most reviews are from around now, so it really is colored by modern attitudes towards the franchise. But people seem fairly positive about the movie in its context, it just … wasn’t the final chapter.)
Poster – Friday the Sklogteenth: The Final Chapter (F)
(Oh blah. They went from shockingly artistic for the first three films to “just throw some words on a page. People will come and watch anyway.” The font and the stark red on black would normally score points, but not with this.)
Tagline(s) – Three Times Before You Have Felt The Terror, Known The Madness, Lived The Horror. But This Is The One You’ve Been Screaming For. (F)
Friday April 13th is Jason’s Unlucky Day (A-)
(The first one is hardly a tagline except that they actually put that monstrosity on a poster! Gross. The second is actually pretty clever. Short, sweet, and clever. Hints that Jason will die. Only thing working against it is that it uses the release date in the title… slightly meta as it is clear that the story doesn’t take place on that date.)
Keyword(s) – morgue; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.6 The Fog (2005); 73.9 Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007); 73.6 One Missed Call (2008); 72.9 Striptease (1996); 72.2 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 69.2 Feardotcom (2002); 60.9 Black Christmas (2006); 56.6 Double Dragon (1994); 53.4 The Transporter Refueled (2015); 51.2 Rage (2014);
(Oooo digging this list. The Fog is amazing. One Missed Call is apparently legendary. Good mix of recent and different genres from the 90’s. Morgues man, I don’t remember it in Striptease, but whatevs.)
Notes – The strange dance which Jimbo performs at the party was contributed by actor, Crispin Glover, and was based on the eccentric way he actually danced in clubs. On the set, he was dancing to “Back in Black” by AC/DC, as the scene was filmed. In the film, an edited version of “Love Is a Lie”, by Lion, was dubbed into the scene. (Ooooo I love this fun fact. This reminds me of the Giovanni Ribisi dance from Tes and Million Ways to Die in the West)
Director Joseph Zito was opposed to using clips from previous installments at the beginning of the film. (Good on you Zito. Probably one of the weaker traits of the series is the way they kind of force-stitched everything together and wasted a whole chunk of time replaying a movie people probably already watched)
The video which Axel watches is called Aerobicise (1982), and stars Darcy DeMoss, who went on to play Nikki in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. (Also a great fun fact. I’m going to go ahead and muse about the shared Friday the 13th universe for a while)
During filming, Kimberly Beck, who plays Trish, experienced strange occurrences, including a man watching her while she ran in the park and strange phone calls at all hours. This stopped when production was over. (Actresses being stalked seemed to be a sinister running issue with this series. The actress from the first film was stalked and had to quit the series as well)
The nurse’s name tag reads “R. Morgan, RN,” an homage to actress Robbi Morgan, who played Annie in Friday the 13th (1980).
Corey Feldman was legitimately terrified during the window shot. As per series tradition, Jason was played by yet another stuntman in The Final Chapter, this time Ted White, a seasoned veteran of 40 years who had doubled for John Wayne and Clark Cable. He did not like Corey Feldman, calling him the “meanest goddamn little kid” he’d ever dealt with. When it came time to film the famous scene near the end when Jason reaches through a broken window to pull Tommy out of a house White got to act out his frustration. They had worked out the timing of when White would grab Feldman beforehand, but during filming White waited a couple of beats to the point that Feldman assumed the stunt had gone wrong. So, just as he let his guard down White grabbed him exactly as you see in the film, meaning Feldman’s screams of horror were completely authentic. (I didn’t like this note very much, but I left it in because of the “meanest little kid” thing which I find interesting. Maybe at some point we’ll do a famous child actors rotation and hit up Feldman’s other classic Meatballs 4)
This is the only film in the series to shoot new footage using sets and locations from a previous film. The beginning takes place on the set of Friday the 13th Part III (1982), before moving to a new location.