Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) Revisited

Posted: August 31, 2016 in FILM REVIEWS/COMMENTS
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Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Movie Poster

*** This review contains spoilers ***

Jason Voorhees continues his killing spree on a family and a group of neighbouring teenagers near Crystal Lake.

Picking up just where part three left off, with a story from Bruce Hidemi Sakow, as a fourth part in the series The Final Chapter holds up well, director Joseph Zito and writer Barney Cohen offer in retrospect all the expected Crystal Lake horror tropes, teenage sex, skinny dipping, boobs and blood that are synonymous with the series. Thanks to some good acting from Kimberly Beck and a young Corey Feldman, as special effects fan Tommy, it stands out as one of the more gory, rounded and entertaining instalments. (The 2009 remake of the original borrows many elements from this 1984 outing)

The cast are pretty good, Lawrence Monoson plays pot smoking one- track mind Ted and Crispin Glover is geeky virginal Jimmy who both ham it up providing some humour. Glover’s wacky dancing will be forever etched in your mind, together with a corkscrew through his hand his and meat cleaver in his face. There’s also catalogue model looking Peter Barton, who is solid enough and meets a skull crushing grizzly demise. Erich Anderson is camper Rob Dier, brother of Friday the 13th Part 2’s victim Sandra and is purely functional.

Notable are Joan Freeman as divorced mother Mrs. Jarvis and convincing Barbara Howard as towel clad straight laced Sarah. Twins Camilla More as Tina and Carey More as Terri are effective and along with well cast Judie Aronson’s Samantha who provide the (debatably dated) obligatory T & A, offer some good characterisation amongst Zito’s sleaze.

Post Gremlins and pre Stand by Me Feldman’s horror-obsessed Tommy is uncomfortably surrounded by horny teenagers throughout. While a good addition, the pre-teen actor in the mist of all this on screen murder and flocks is actually quite disturbing in itself.

The Final Chapter with credit attempts to refine the first three but in true slasher tradition many of the character motivations are thin. In addition, it does have some hooky moments, the ending with a skullcap Feldman imitating a child Jason is outlandish and the freeze frame ending echoes 70s horror or a Columbo episode, but these are easily offset by make-up artist Tom Savini’s great practical effects and weapon orientated bloody kills using a harpoon, scalpel, meat cleaver, kitchen knife and double-bit axe to name a few. Ted White’s Jason Voorhees is impressive and we get to see the slaying menace unmasked and meet a shocking blade slicing end courtesy of Savini.

Hockey masked White and Zito cook up enough action set ups and jump scares to keep things interesting as the teenagers are picked off one by one. The on location rural lake and forest backdrop along with Harry Manfredini’s Ki ki ki… Ma ma ma music queues and João Fernandes’ cinematography conjuring up atmosphere.

Overall, outrageous shaven head moments aside, it entertains with plenty of kills which fall surprisingly into a satisfying logical order. Recommend late night fun.


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