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FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984)
[aka Friday The 13th Part 4]
"But he’s dead!"
"Jason’s body is missing from the morgue…."
Director: Joseph Zito
Starring: Kimberley Beck, Corey Feldman, E. Erich Anderson, Joan Freeman, Lawrence Monoson, Crispin Glover, Alan Hayes, Judie Aronson, Barbara Howard, Peter Barton, Camilla More, Carey More, Bruce Mahler, Lisa Freeman, Ted White (uncredited)
Screenplay: Barney Cohen, based upon a story by Bruce Hidemi Sakow
Synopsis: The bodies of Jason Voorhees (Ted White) and his victims are removed from Higgins Haven. At the morgue, attendant Axel (Bruce Mahler) and Nurse Morgan (Lisa Freeman) indulge in some groping, which comes to an abrupt end when Jason’s hand slips from beneath the sheet and touches her. Left alone, Axel watches television until someone closes in on him with a hacksaw…. Later, in the dispensary, the nurse is brutally stabbed. At a house in the woods near Crystal Lake, Mrs Jarvis (Joan Freeman) tells her teenage daughter, Trish (Kimberley Beck), and her young son, Tommy (Corey Feldman), that the cabin next door has been rented. The teenagers who have taken the cabin drive towards the lake. As Jimmy (Crispin Glover) bemoans his love life to his friend Ted (Lawrence Monoson), driver Paul (Alan Hayes) stops the car near a cemetery so that Doug (Peter Barton) can work out where they are. Sara (Barbara Howard) looks nervously at a headstone near the road, which marks the grave of Pamela Voorhees. As the kids set off again, they see a hitch-hiker but do not stop, as they have no room in the car. The hitch-hiker’s angry gestures are abruptly terminated…. The teenagers settle into their cabin. Apprehensively, Sara asks Samantha (Judie Aronson) about the sleeping arrangements, and learns that she will be sharing a room with Doug – but that it has bunk beds. The next day, the kids head for the lake, meeting twins Tina (Camilla More) and Terri (Carey More). The encounter ends in some skinny-dipping, from which only Sara abstains. On the road, Trish and Tommy have car trouble. A hunter, Rob (E. Erich Anderson), helps them, and Trish offers him a lift. Tommy asks Rob what he’s hunting, and reacts sceptically when told "bear". At their house, Tommy shows Rob the horror masks and other special effects that he has made himself. That night, the teenagers have a party. As Ted tries to put the moves on Tina, the nervous Jimmy asks Terri to dance. Paul and Samantha intervene, putting on slow dance music. Giving Ted the brush-off, Tina begins flirting with Paul. An angry Samantha storms out, announcing that she’s going swimming. At the lake, she sheds her clothes and strikes out for a rubber raft, in which she floats for a while. Suddenly, a figure springs at her from beneath the water…. Feeling guilty, Paul goes after Samantha. Seeing her lying in the raft, he swims out to her – only to discover her dead body. Swimming away in horror, Paul makes it to the dock before being impaled with a harpoon….
Comments: Okay, now this---this is where it gets scary: when you suddenly find yourself in a position to say things like, "Well, it was better than Part Three-ee-ee, but not as good as Part Two-oo-oo…." (You didn’t think I meant the film was scary, did you? Ha!) Actually, on a minute to minute basis, I’m not sure the optimistically (or was that sadistically?) titled Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter is better than Friday The 13th Part 3, which as you may recall I pretty much despised. However, it does have a few points of interest that distinguish it from its brethren. Firstly, this entry in the series marks the return of the maestro, Tom Savini, who was apparently desirous of personally killing off Jason Voorhees once and for all (I know the feeling). Unsurprisingly, the resulting film is much more brutal than its predecessors – or so I’m told. Unfortunately, what screened here was the TV/video version, from which most of the film’s excesses had been, uh, excised. (I guess I could have rented the DVD, which is uncut, but---well, let’s just say that my desire to see this film didn’t extend to paying for the privilege. Anyway, if my description of the murders seems fuzzy, that’s why.) Secondly, alone of the series, The Final Chapter has an actual cast. You know - actors. The film is probably best known for the appearance of 13-year-old – he looks younger - Corey Feldman (I considered doing a "Skeletons In The Closet" piece on Corey’s contribution, but on reflection I realised that this was probably the high point of his cinematic career); but there are some other familiar faces here as well. Crispin Glover, who embarrasses himself thoroughly as the sex-starved Jimmy, needs little introduction. (Most people know him as George McFly; I prefer to recall him making LUNCH!!) Peter Barton (Doug) also appeared in Hell Night, and went on to a long career in soaps. Kimberley Beck, who started out as a child actor in Marnie – and who got nekkid in Massacre At Central High - is still working regularly. Joan Freeman’s (Mrs Jarvis) career was highlighted by appearances in Panic In The Year Zero and The Tower Of London – and lowlighted by The Three Stooges Go Around The World In A Daze and The Fastest Gun Alive. Ted White, this film’s (uncredited) Jason, was also in Macabra, Tron, Starman and The Hidden. And while I did not recognise the cop who turns up at the end of the film, the name "Paul Lukather" rang a bell: many years earlier, he’d starred in Dinosaurus! and Hands Of A Stranger. So there’s plenty for genre fans to look out for here. Unfortunately, having for the first time assembled a cast with more than the mere rudiments of talent, the film-makers proceeded to hand them the worst script of the series so far – or at least, so it is for most of the running-time. I hated this film, right up to the last ten or fifteen minutes; which are, I was extremely surprised to discover---well, good. Really. The problem is, in order to get to that footage--- Crud on a cracker, what a load of garbage!
It having been a full two years since Part 3, The Final Chapter opens with a replay of the campfire scene from Part 2 (Ginny! Yay!), with the dialogue overlaid by a montage of The Story So Far. (It’s a sad commentary on a film when you find yourself getting nostalgic for Crazy Ralph.) We then open in the barn at Higgins Haven. (Incredibly, this was actually shot on the same set as the ending of Part 3. Why the sudden concern over continuity, I wonder?) A cop confirms that Jason was the one responsible for all the killings, although how he knows that is a bit of a mystery. I guess Chrissie managed to make a semi-coherent statement on her way to The Nut Hatch, even though when we last saw her she was babbling about Pamela Voorhees. Jason’s body is carted off to the morgue, and placed in what looks like the staff lounge. Naturally. In the first of the film’s many, many scenes that, even by slasher standards, seem to take place in some bizarre parallel universe from which all logic and commonsense have been banished, a repulsive morgue attendant successfully puts the moves on an attractive nurse, who pushes him onto a gurney next to the one that Jason is lying on, straddles him, and starts unzipping her uniform. Dead or alive, however, Jason isn’t having any of that. His hand slips from beneath the sheet and touches the nurse on the thigh. She goes into shrieking hysterics, re-zips her uniform, and departs. And Axel goes back to watching TV, salivating over an exercise program that seems to consist entirely of leotarded women pushing their boobs and butts into the camera. (I’m told this is a real show. At any rate, it makes Aerobics Oz Style look positively classy.) And then, behind Axel – there’s a movement under the sheet. It’s….it’s JASON!! HE ISN’T DEAD AFTER ALL!!!! Aren’t you surprised? Shocked?? STUNNED????
You’re not? Oh.
Anyway, Axel doesn’t notice as a corpse sits up behind him, climbs off the gurney, looks around for something sharp, picks up a hacksaw, and closes in on him. So he pretty much deserves what happens next. Meanwhile, Nervous Nursey has broken some bottles in the dispensary. Cleaning up the mess, she at least has an excuse for not looking around as someone walks up behind her. The next moment, she’s lifted off the floor by a hand about her throat, something which in no way inhibits her ability to scream at the top of her lungs (causing me to formulate a corollary to Ken’s Rule Of High Altitude Mortality©, namely Lyz’s Law Of Strangulation: murder victims in horror films retain the ability to scream regardless of their occluded oesophaguses). Jason then shuts her up with a scalpel.
These contractually obliged body count murders out of the way, The Final Chapter then slogs its way through a hideously extended stretch of "character" footage that is unimaginably painful, annoying, and unfunny. Take my advice: if you’re watching this film, simply skip from here (the thirteenth minute) to Samantha’s murder (the forty-first minute). You honestly won’t be missing anything. Well, okay, there are a number of breasts present in that section so, you know, it’s your choice.
But we in the reviewing game don’t have such an option. Sigh. So it’s off to yet another section of the woods around Crystal Lake (which must be bigger than Lake Superior), where teenaged Trish and her mother are jogging and chatting with a lightheartedness that seems a tad odd in two people living in the vicinity of just-committed mass murder. Despite the swarms of teenagers that (at least temporarily) populate the Friday The 13th universe, this scene marks the first appearance of an actual parent. We learn in this scene that Trish’s mother and father are separated, not a good thing in terms of the likelihood of Mrs Jarvis surviving the film. Oh, sure, there’s no actual blame for the separation assigned here; but we all know how slasher film morality works, don’t we? The other member of the Jarvis family is then introduced: Tommy, first seen playing a video game while wearing a head-encompassing monster mask, which he turns out to have made himself. (In a refreshing touch, his mother does not complain about his taste for horror movie paraphernalia, nor demand to know why he’s "wasting his time with this rubbish". Instead, she praises his skill. This attitude was possibly meant in deference to the illustrious Mr Savini, after whom Tommy was presumably named.) After telling her son that he needs a haircut (a line which proves to be an attempt at irony), Mrs Jarvis informs her children that the cabin next door has been rented for the summer.
We then cut to – surprise! – a car full of teenagers. As with Part 3, we are supposed to believe that either the incoming teenagers haven’t heard about the mass slaughter, or at least that they have been in no way dissuaded from their plans by the news. We’re also supposed to believe that, after the removal of the bodies from Higgins Haven, there would be absolutely no police presence in the area. The usual introductory bits then occur, allowing us to know which cliché is which. In the back of the car, Jimmy (Crispin Glover, sporting a disturbingly Flock-Of-Seagulls-esque haircut) is bemoaning the fact that he’s been dumped. Jimmy is The Sex-Starved One. He is talking to Ted, who reacts by "typing" Jimmy’s "data" into an invisible computer. Ted is The Funny One. The "computer" concludes that Jimmy is a "deadfuck". This charming appellation (hereafter "DF") will recur repeatedly throughout the rest of the film (at least until Ted and Jimmy are both dead), presumably on the assumption that if something’s funny once, it’s funny a hundred times. (Hi, Nathan!) Of course, this wasn’t funny once, which rather throws a spanner into the works. In the front seat, Paul (defined by his cap) is driving, while Doug (who has no distinguishing features of any kind) navigates. Doug is my favourite character, as he has a grand total of about four lines of dialogue in the whole film, one of them being the inevitable exit line, "Sara, is that you?" Behind The Boys sit The Girls: Samantha, who is looking so meaningfully at Paul that we recognise The Slutty One Who Will Probably Be The First To Die; and Sara, who is so overtly wide-eyed-innocent and nervous-to-be-there that I briefly wavered in my assumption that Trish was Final Girl. Up front, Paul decides they’re lost, and pulls up so that Doug can study a roadmap. The car rolls to a stop near a dilapidated cemetery (really, with the amount of business that place must get, you’d think it’d be in better condition!) full of neglected graves and headstones that are indecipherable – all but one. The one near – and I do mean near – the road reads, with startling clarity, PAMELA VOORHEES 1930 – 1979 REST IN PEACE (shouldn’t that be "pieces", hyuck, hyuck!). Two slight problems here: firstly, the events of Friday The 13th were stated to occur on "June 13th" – which in 1979 was a Wednesday, not a Friday; and secondly – who, exactly, erected that headstone? The Crystal Lake Tourist Board? Anyway, after this "spooky" moment, the kids drive off, allowing us to see that Ted and Jimmy have mysteriously vanished from the back of the car (and briefly getting up my hopes that they’d vanished from the film as well. Alas, it was not to be).
As they drive along, the kids see a hitch-hiker. (Yes, a hitch-hiker. In the vicinity of Crystal Lake. Doesn’t anyone in this universe read the paper!?) Hey, that’s what this series has been missing: an opportunity for Fat Chick jokes! And she’s not just any Fat Chick, but a Hippie Fat Chick! We can kill two birds with one stone! The kids debate stopping for the hitch-hiker, but decide they don’t have room. As they drive past, the Hippie Fat Chick turns her placard (which reads "CANADA AND LOVE" [!?]) around to reveal another message: FUCK YOU! Hyuck, hyuck! After a few obscene hand gestures, she plonks herself down at the side of the road and, naturally, has something to eat. We get to watch as a banana is messily devoured. Fortunately for everyone (well, almost everyone), Jason decides to make HFC the film’s third victim. He knifes her in the neck and, in her death throes, she squeezes the banana, which gloops and droops in glorious close-up.
By the way, this scene and the reiterations of "DF" constitute most of the film’s attempts at "humour". Enjoy!
At the cabin, the kids unpack their car as Mrs Jarvis watches, looking worried. As well she might, seeing a lightning rod for psychos moving in next door. Later, Samantha and Sara talk about S-E-X, and we learn that Sam is indeed doomed ("I got my reputation when I was twelve!") and Sara a bit too interested in the subject for her continued health. After settling the sleeping arrangements, Samantha obligingly undresses in front of an unshaded window, allowing Tommy to cop a good eyeful from his own bedroom. The next day, the kids set out for the lake, and encounter something else this series has been missing: horny twins. (The film doesn’t really bother to differentiate between them, so I guess I’ll have to do it myself: one is A Slut, the other is Somewhat Less Of A Slut.) As the girls stop their bikes, the salivating Ted tells the girls they’re going to the lake. "That’s where we’re going!" announces the directionally-challenged AS, pointing back the way she and her sister just came from, and warns the others about what a long walk it is (remember that, folks). They all agree to forge on anyway, except for Sara who, feeling threatened by this high-octane feminine competition, announces that she’s going back for the car. We then watch her wandering through the woods in a scene with no point at all. Okay, maybe a false scare or two.
At the lake, the kids go skinny-dipping. What else? Nearby, Trish and Tommy stop their car when their dog decides to jump out of the window. They catch up with him by the lake, allowing Tommy to cop another eyeful (this is beginning to get creepy). Trish hauls him away. Back on the road, their car breaks down. Tommy works on the engine, in a scene that sets him up as an all-around Mr Fixit. Or tries to, since he can’t fixit. We get another false scare as someone approaches. It turns out to be a hunter/hiker named Rob. He fixes the car, and Trish offers him a lift. Tommy asks him what he’s hunting, and reacts with incredulity when told "bear". Of course, those with long memories might recall the lecture on how to avoid being attacked by bears that was delivered by head counsellor Paul in Part 2; but we’re probably not supposed to be thinking about that. At the cabin, Trish invites Rob in. We then get a scene equally jaw-dropping and funny – you sure can’t imagine it being filmed today! – as Tommy takes Rob by the hand, inviting him to "Come up to my bedroom!" And so eager is Rob to get up there, he barely stops to say hello to Mrs Jarvis! (She, in turn, seems to see nothing particularly strange about a man she’s never met rushing upstairs to her adolescent son’s room.) But it turns out I’ve just got a dirty mind. Tommy merely wanted to show Rob his horror handiwork, including some basic animatronics.
And then the film escalates from annoying to outright painful, as the kids have a party. We see that AS and SLOAS are in attendance, which is causing some friction. I’ll try to keep this brief. Ted comes on to AS (his pick-up line is "Wanna give Teddy Bear a kiss?" – and yes, he has an actual toy bear). Jimmy asks SLOAS to dance, and jerks his body around in a way that gives a whole new dimension to the word "spastic". Samantha and Paul intervene, demanding slow, romantic music (I’m sure Jay Livingston and Ray Evans were just so-oo-oo grateful to find their music in a Friday The 13th movie. Hmm….what’s that whirring sound…?). Jimmy doesn’t get anywhere with SLOAS, and retires to the kitchen with Ted to complain about it, obligingly giving Ted the opportunity to call him a DF a few more times. We get a brief cutaway to Trish saying goodnight to Rob as he heads for his campsite, then cut back to AS and SLOAS shotgunning beers. AS then brushes off Ted and moves in on Paul. Samantha gets mad and storms off and yes!! – we’re finally at the forty-first minute mark! Remember how "far away" the lake was in the earlier scene? Well, some kind of violent geological upheaval must have taken place during the day, as the lake is now a five-minute walk from the cabin. Samantha walks to the edge of the water, strips off completely (of course) and swims out to an inflated rubber boat which for no reason I can think of is floating on the lake. She climbs in and lies face down until, to no-one’s surprise, she is attacked from under the water, being knifed through the boat. (We see that, despite being clean and surprisingly well manicured in Part 3 [i.e. yesterday], Jason’s hands now have that icky I’ve-been-sitting-on-the-lakebed-for-twenty-three-years look.) Meanwhile, Paul starts to feel guilty about neglecting Samantha – oh, irony! – so he rejects AS’s suggestion that they "go upstairs" and heads for the lake. AS is so desperate for sex (although, granted, not desperate enough to let Ted touch her) that she transfers her "going upstairs" suggestion to Jimmy. They depart, leaving Ted to try his stock line on SLOAS. It has the success you’d expect.
By the lake, Paul sees Samantha in the raft. He strips off (to his shorts; the double standard is alive and well and living near Crystal Lake) and swims out to her – only to discover The Awful Truth. Paul shrieks in horror and splashes away, then falls victim to the film’s most YEEEE-OUCH!!-inducing murder, as he is harpooned through the crotch! (Okay. This is why he really kept his shorts on.) And he dies in agony, no doubt reflecting in his last conscious moments that if only he’d "gone upstairs" with AS instead of worrying about Samantha, he’d still be alive right now. (Of course, he’d’ve wound up dead eventually; but at least he’d’ve had some nookie first.)
Paul’s screams are heard by Rob (although not by his friends; we shall have further evidence of their aural impairment shortly), who responds by producing the film’s de rigueur machete. Finding nothing in his brief search of the woods, Rob returns to his campsite, where he sees a shadowy figure near his tent. It runs away. (And yes, in this film Jason actually runs, instead of using that slow-but-strangely-effective walk.) Inside his tent, Rob finds his rifle broken in pieces and his maps torn up. (Things I Learned From Watching This Movie©: a rifle being broken sounds just like a twig snapping.) Meanwhile, back at the cabin, Ted just happens to find a projector, a screen, and a reel of film that turns out to be, of all things, an ancient stag-reel. (Interesting thing to find in a rental property!? I guess if you’re in the real estate business around Crystal Lake, you have to provide some extras to encourage visitors.) He puts the film on, and lights a joint. Ted, as you’ve probably gathered, is Not Long For This World. Outside, the still more de rigueur thunderstorm is building. SLOAS decides she’s had enough, and goes upstairs (that’s goes upstairs, not "goes upstairs"). She knocks on the bedroom door and calls to AS who, lying beneath the incredulously grateful Jimmy, informs SLOAS that she’d rather stay where she is. SLOAS storms off in a huff. Outside, she loudly expresses her opinion of her sister’s behaviour (let’s just say that her opinion coincides with mine) before grabbing her bike. That’s as far as she gets. The next moment, she’s pinned to the house with yet another harpoon. (Where is Jason getting those!?) Naturally, no-one inside hears anything. I guess the stag-reel was just too enthralling. At any rate, the virginal Sara apparently finds the sixty-year-old footage of women jiggling their breasts so arousing that she decides she’s ready to Give It Up. She intimates to Silent Doug that she wants to bun-k with him tonight, bun-k with him tonight, and they also "go upstairs".
Next door, Mrs Jarvis comes in from yet another jogging session, soaking wet from the now-torrential rain. She finds that Trish and Tommy aren’t there, and that – surprise! – the power’s out. For some reason, she feels compelled to search the house. Not finding her children, she then goes outside to look for them (!?). She doesn’t find them, but she does find – someone….
Meanwhile The Final Chapter gives as a scene of unequalled ba--- I’m sorry, I mean pathos, as Jimmy summons all of his courage and quaveringly inquires of AS if he’s really a DF. She reassures him on that point, and they decide to Do It again. But not just yet. (Oh, dear. Carpe Diem, people, Carpe Diem!) Instead, AS climbs out of bed with the immortal line – "I’ll be right back". Jimmy takes the opportunity to go back downstairs (where Ted is still watching what must be the longest stag film in the history of pornography) to brag about his experience – and to give Ted AS’s knickers. Charming. Jimmy then goes to the kitchen to get a bottle of wine.
Well, Crispin Glover may have had the film’s most embarrassing role, but he also gets the best exit line, shouting, "Hey, Ted, where’s that fancy corkscrew?" Needless to say, he immediately finds out. He also gets a meat cleaver in the face. Of course, no-one hears anything. Upstairs, AS suddenly notices that SLOAS’s bike is still outside. She stares through the window, starts to turn away, turns back, stares some more, turns away again (ah, suspense!) – and then Jason, perched on a little balcony thing outside, smashes through the window, grabs her, and hurls her out of the building. She plummets two storeys and lands on the car, bouncing off onto the ground. And no-one hears that, either.
Trish and Tommy arrive home from wherever the hell they were, and find Mom missing. And the power out. We then go through exactly the same pointless "search the house in the dark" routine that we went through with Mrs Jarvis – even using some of the same shots – but of course with no result. The frightened Trish decides to follow in her mother’s footsteps and goes outside to search, ordering Tommy to stay in the house and "work on the lights". Trish ends up at Rob’s campsite, and takes refuge from the rain in his tent. We then get a particularly stupid false scare scene (she thinks he’s Jason, he thinks she’s Jason) that ends with Rob slashing his own tent with his machete! This little misunderstanding behind them, Rob and Trish huddle in the tent, and Rob reveals his Tragic Secret: he’s the brother of Sandra (aka "Dead Meat") from Part 2, one-half of that film’s infamous coital shish-kebab; and he’s out for revenge. He produces a clutch of newspaper clippings tracing Jason’s Brilliant Career (oddly, they all look about the same age). One of them has "an artist’s conception" of Jason as a child (before his amazing growth spurt between the first two installments). Trish argues that Jason is dead, but Rob tells her that Jason’s body disappeared from the morgue, and that a couple of other people are missing. ("Missing"? I guess murder by hacksaw and scalpel doesn’t leave any physical evidence.) Trish, convinced, gasps in horror as she remembers that Tommy’s alone in the house….
Of course, the time-line of all of this is rather dodgy. Parts 2, 3 and 4 are sequential, remember, so Sandra only died a couple of days earlier. Even assuming that Ginny and/or Chrissie IDed their attacker (Ginny, I guess; Chrissie didn’t know who he was), would there really have been time for the police to (somehow) confirm Jason’s identity, and for Rob to do all of his fact gathering, prepare for his trip, and arrive in the vicinity of Crystal Lake before the third killing spree could start? Oh, well. The paper clippings turn out to be a Plot Point, so we’ll just move on.
Sara and Silent Doug are in the shower, either Doing It or having just Done It, it’s a bit hard to tell. Stupid frosted glass. Downstairs, that damn stag film finally ends. Not having heard a thing while his friends were butchered, Ted now hears a slight sound and becomes convinced he’s not alone. He’s right. As he stands with his back to the screen, a knife plunges through it and stabs him in the back of the head. Ted slides to the ground, leaving a large smear of blood in his wake. Meanwhile, Sara wraps herself a towel and retreats to her room in order to give Jason time to come upstairs, smash the shower glass, crush Doug’s skull, and retreat (and no, she doesn’t hear anything, thanks for asking). This accomplished, Sara returns to the bathroom and discovers the body. Screaming, she runs for the stairs. Hmm. Obviously, this is one of those magic unmovable movie towels. Sara makes it to the front door but finds it locked. (So unlock it, stupid! – you’re inside.) As she struggles with the handle, looking back over her shoulder for the killer, an axe comes crashing through the door and catches her right between the (towel-covered) breasts. Shot!
Trish and Rob return to Tommy, and he has indeed fixed the lights. Trish tries to phone for help, but just at that moment Jason cuts the wires outside. So naturally, having assured themselves that nothing has happened to Tommy through his being left alone in the house, Trish and Rob then leave him alone in the house again, as (the dead kids being now ready to be "discovered") they go next door to "check things out", taking Rob’s machete with them, and also Tommy’s dog (leading to one of the film’s funnier scenes). They find the hole in the front door, but Sara and Ted have disappeared. So too has the blood on the projection screen – or at least, Trish doesn’t notice anything when she stares straight in that direction. Just at that moment the power goes out. Rob decides to go down into the basement to look for the fuse-box (!!). Gordon the dog then wanders off, and is next seen sailing headfirst through a (closed) window! (Did he jump or was he pushed? In either case, the use of slow motion here allows us to see Gordon wagging his tail as he flies through the air, which rather spoils the effect.) Miraculously, Trish hears this, and goes upstairs to investigate. We get a brief cutaway to Tommy, who is looking through Rob’s newspaper clippings, chiefly the one featuring a sketch of Jason as a child. Trish finds Doug’s body, which sends her screaming for the basement. As she tries to tell Rob what’s happened, he finds out for himself in a rather direct fashion. A brief tussle ensues, ending with Jason hacking Rob to death with a garden implement. (Shades of Night Of The Living Dead – NOT.) Hysterically, as Rob dies he feels compelled to shriek, "He’s killing me! He’s killing me-ee-ee!!" Thanks, we hadn’t noticed.
And then we enter End Game, and The Final Chapter redeems itself. This is certainly one of the best of all slasher film showdowns, simply because the presence of Tommy adds a dramatic and emotional dimension that’s usually lacking. Unlike her fellow Final Girls, Trish cannot merely try to evade and/or kill her attacker; she must protect her little brother, even at the cost of her own life.
(Of course, it does help that Beck and Feldman can both act – a talent not quite so dispensable as many slasher film directors seem to think….)
Trish tries to flee the house, but finds her way blocked by Jimmy’s body, which has been nailed across the doorway. Eww! In desperation, Trish grabs a chair and smashes her way through a window. (She could have just opened it, but perhaps that wasn’t dramatic enough for her particular, uh, idiom.) Sprinting to her own house, Trish shrieks for Tommy to open the door. Thankfully, he proves to be a bit quicker in his reactions than his namesake in Halloween. Once inside, Trish nails the door shut. (Hmm….too bad if Mom wants to get back in. What did happen to her?) Of course, barricading the door is pretty pointless when your house has as many huge windows as this one. Sure enough, Jason is hot on Trish’s heels. He rips Jimmy’s body out of his way, the spikes tearing through the hands - eeewwww!! – then makes a declaration of intent by tossing Rob’s body through one of the windows of the Jarvis house. Tommy – who for a horror fan doesn’t seem to know much about psychos – backs away until he’s near another window; and sure enough, Jason smashes through and grabs him. Snatching up her hammer, Trish rains blows upon Jason’s head. After a dozen or so whacks, it occurs to her that she should probably try hitting a spot not covered by hockey mask; and she spins the hammer and sinks the claw into Jason’s neck. This does not in any way inconvenience him, although it does encourage him to release Tommy. The two Jarvises flee upstairs, moving a bookcase in an effort to block the door of their refuge. This proves ineffectual, and Jason axes his way through, only to be stopped when Trish picks up a TV and clobbers him with it.
This is both the best of times and the worst of times. Annoying convention prevents Trish from picking the TV up again and caving in Jason’s skull, which is of course what she should have done – would have done, anywhere but the slasher universe. On the other hand, this is not another irritating "ooh-he’s-dead-no-he-isn’t" scene; Jason moves, meaning that Trish and Tommy must try to get past him when they know he’s alive. They give it a try – but Jason springs into action, swinging his axe. He misses, but he’s separated Trish from Tommy. There is a frozen moment here, a genuinely suspenseful one, before Trish gallantly draws Jason’s fire, using herself as bait to lead him away from Tommy. She sprints off, Jason in pursuit.
Trish heads for the other cabin and is chased up the stairs. Cornered, she braces herself and jumps at yet another closed window (boy, Joseph Zito and Barney Cohen sure do like that effect), smashing through it and a wooden railing and thudding into the muddy ground below. After a few stunned moments, and as Jason watches from the house, she climbs painfully to her feet and staggers back to her home. Having, as she supposes, given Tommy time to get away, she doesn’t even hurry, seemingly resigned to her own death.
But as we know, Tommy hasn’t left. On the contrary, he’s about to enter the fray.
Trish hears her brother upstairs and wails in despair. Jason approaches (the traditional chh-chh-chh-chh alerting her to his presence), and she pounces on the machete and starts swinging, all the while screaming for Tommy to get out of the house. Finally, Trish sinks the machete deep into Jason’s chest. It doesn’t even slow him down, something that comes as no surprise to those of us who recall his indifference to the near-severing of his left arm in Part 2 ("’Tis but a scratch!"); and the machete falls to the floor. And then Trish and Jason go one-on-one; and, I’m pleased to report, Trish puts up a damn good fight, screaming and kicking and punching, and generally doing her best to wipe out some of the memories of all the I’ll-just-sit-here-and-whimper-while-I’m-being-murdered victims who have populated these films so far. (Like Vickie in Part 2. I’m still mad about that one!) In fact, Trish puts up such a good fight that Jason is forced to invoke Lyz’s Law Of Strangulation. Cool! But all of this has served its purpose, which is to give Tommy time to put his own plan into action. We’ve seen him preparing for it already, shaving his head; and now he comes downstairs, having turned himself into a reasonable facsimile of Jason Voorhees, aged thirteen and three-quarters.
My friends, take it from me: you do not know the meaning of the word "fear" until you’ve seen Corey Feldman in a bald wig.
Anyhoo, Tommy starts calling out to Jason, whispering significant phrases and generally messing with that part of his mind that didn’t get an axe embedded in it in Part 3. (And yes, this is a complete rip of Ginny’s impersonation of Mother in Part 2. I guess, like me, Barney Cohen thought that was the best scene in the whole series.) Jason is sufficiently confused and distracted to turn his back on Trish. She grabs the machete and swings again, but only succeeds in cutting loose his hockey mask and revealing his face; a face which has undergone substantial reconstruction since we saw it in Part 2 – i.e. three days ago. The axe wound is nice, though.
Trish backs away, screaming in horror, and Jason moves towards her. And then it’s Tommy’s turn. Picking up the machete, he swings – and we get the trademark Tom Savini machete-in-the-head.
What follows (at least in an uncut print) is one of Savini’s most notorious effects. Jason staggers and falls, and the handle of the machete hits the floor – and Jason’s head just sli-ii-ii-iides down the blade….
But that still isn’t the end of it. As Trish and Tommy face each other over the "body", the fingers twitch. And Tommy snaps, grabbing the machete and screaming, "Die! Die! Die!" while hitting Jason again and again and again and again…. We are supposed to understand that the trauma has been too much for Tommy, and that his mind has become unhinged; but frankly, as far as I’m concerned, that’s just about the first sane and sensible act committed by any character in this franchise so far.
Cut to a hospital room, where Trish is being reassured about Tommy’s condition by a doctor, who insists that the boy’s behaviour was merely caused by the stress of the moment, and that there’s no permanent mental derangement. Trish asks to see her brother, and when the two are alone they hug each other tightly. But then, just at the last moment – Tommy opens his eyes and looks straight into the camera. We are supposed to read all sorts of horrors and nightmarish possibilities in that look: that Tommy’s mind has shattered; that he has, in fact, become the very monster that he destroyed; but I dunno - he just looks like Corey Feldman to me….
And hey! – whatever did happen to Mom…?
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