31 Days of Halloween 9 – Friday the 13th the Not so Final Chapter

chapter0Out of all the sequels, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) has been criticized the most.  This might be a surprising statement considering the notoriety of the series, but dozens of film critics saw this film and gave it negative reviews, which is in itself, not the surprising part, but the content of the reviews is.  Roger Ebert called this film an immoral and reprehensible piece of trash.  Like I touched on in my review of the original, Friday the 13th is a stripped down version of Halloween, with only the gore and other stupid moments left in.  All the art, all the suspense, and the visual style are gone, replaced with a cookie-cutter serial killer flick to shock a young audience or make people laugh.  The same thing for this one.  It’s just the same thing, just done a little differently.

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to agree with Roger Ebert, but it is sad to fail to find something deeper in a movie I grew up with.  I didn’t see this movie when it first came out, but the power of the VCR allowed me to see this one in the 90s.  To be honest, I think the characters are more reminiscent of those seen in the A Nightmare on Elm series, like the female lead getting chased all over the place.  Of course, Friday has always had female leads and ladies getting killed too.  That trend continues in The Final Chapter.  The difference is that there is more personality to go around, though it’s not much.

chapter1I think the Friday the 13th movies represent low-brow horror.  You can turn your brain off, be scared, or laugh, whatever your pleasure is.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Seeing it with an audience is always a pleasure.  I was able to experience what seeing this movie must have felt like when I went to see all the Saw sequels.  The audience would Ooo and Awww and laugh altogether, making it a visceral experience.  There’s nothing wrong with that either.  I remembered that and liked that, so I bought a set of Friday movies when they came out.  They are not art.  They are not even good movies, but The Final Chapter does the formula pretty well, although it intentionally lies to us at the end.  The ending is not the end of the series, and looks like it was set up for a sequel.  And guess what, they made a sequel.  Big surprise.

chapter2I think there is something to be said for getting gratification out of something scary, gross, or wild.  That’s what The Final Chapter delivers.  To an even greater extent, many modern horror movies have been leaning toward the gross factor.  People like that.  They like looking at it, just like reading the tabloid headlines while waiting in line at the supermarket, except now we’ve paid for it and want the whole thing guns blazing.  Being startled at a “jump scare” is also fun. It’s usually a loud noise.  People often laugh this off because they know the movie got them, but that’s what they wanted.  As for wild, there’s all kinds of crazy stuff in movies to fit the bill for anyone’s horror pleasure.    I think enjoying any of these things is okay.  The experience is not immoral or reprehensible.  

chapter5I guess it could be art, it could be shot better with better dialogue and style, but do you dress up your dog in make-up and a wig for him to do tricks?  No, he’s just your ordinary dog, just there to entertain you and be your pal, nothing more, nothing less.  He does a few tricks and maybe does them badly, so he’s sorta funny too.  Maybe he’s even annoying and loud sometimes, barking all the damn time.  That’s what the Friday the 13th series does too.

That simplistic analogy is not really all that fair, because the Friday movies do have violence and gore that is there for no reason other than it has to because it is a horror movie.  It is made like schlock on purpose.  That’s the part where the critics are right, but I can overlook that part.  Haha.  Anyway, The Final Chapter maybe has some of the most obvious schlock in the series, second only to Jason X.  I don’t think even Jason Takes Manhattan has as many annoying characters, though it might be a close comparison.  The Final Chapter has annoying nurses, stupid cops, stupidly gyrating teens, and child actors, so it has it bad in every category. 

  chapter7The beginning of the movie is close in comparison to Halloween II, which is set entirely at a hospital.  Halloween II just draws things out and painfully makes things longer, while The Final Chapter gets to the point quicker.  This is not necessarily a good thing either, as the schlock is easy to spot with such a quick pace.  Fifteen minute in, we’ve gotten two kills and an introduction to our main characters.  And schlock.  Dialogue schlock.  Acting schlock.  It’s endless.

I’d rather watch a movie about Tommy and his family to be honest, than the stupid teens used in this movie.  They are really annoying.  The dialogue is annoying and makes no sense.  It sure is funny though.

Stupid Ted:  The computer says you’re a dead fuck.

Stupider Jimmy: …. What?  A dead fuck?

Stupid Ted:  Yeah, a lousy lay.  You know, dead fuck.  <makes motion with hand limply>

Stupider Jimmy: Geezus, give it to me straight.  Don’t hold anything back.

Stupid Ted: I did not say it!  The computer did.

Stupid Jimmy:  There is no computer!!!

Stupid Ted:  There is no Betty either!

Stupid Jimmy: So I’m a dead fuck?

Stupid Ted: The computer doesn’t lie.

Stupid Jimmy: …. God I’m horny.

chapter6About an hour in, the movie hasn’t gone anywhere.  There’s no developments or changes in the plot.  The movie just ushers in more kills as Jason parades around doing his usual thing.  Tommy and Trish make it interesting and finally get some suspense going, but it builds to an ending I really dislike.  The stupid child actor gets the kill, which is probably not the best thing to have in a horror movie, but at least the teens are dead.  Kimberly Beck as Trish does a good job and she’s probably the best of the cast.  Overall, this is not a good movie, but it teaches that lying in the title gets the crowds and schlock sells.



31 Days of Halloween Movie Marathon

1 – Frankenstein and the Monster from HELL (1974)
2 – Dracula has risen from the grave (1968)
3 – The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
4 – Evil Dead II (1987)
5 – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
6 – Les Diaboliques (1955)
7 – The Howling (1981)
8 – Friday the 13th (1980)
9 – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
10 – Hellraiser (1987)
11 – Let the Right One in (2008)
12 – Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1984)
13 – House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
14 – The Strangers (2008)
15 – The House of the Devil (2009)
16 – Psycho (1960)
17 – The Orphanage (2007)
18 – The Amityville Horror (1979)
19 – The Raven (1963)
20 – Blue Velvet (1986)
21 – Repulsion (1965)
22 – Dementia 13 (1963)
23 – The Vanishing (2008)
24 – Halloween (1978)
25 – Shaun of the Dead (2004)
26 – The Silence of the Lambs (1988)
27 – An American Werewolf in London (1981)
28 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
29 – The Exorcist (1973)
30 – The Ring (2002)
31 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)