Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

it's final, and we really mean it

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
aka Friday the 13th, Part 4
Director: Joseph Zito
Released: 1984
Starring: Kimberly Beck, Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Judie Aronson, Peter Barton, Erich Anderson, Ted White
Running time: 91 minutes
Genre: horror, slasher

Giving it to you straight: Opening with what’s probably the most skillful recap in F13 history thus far, we’re treated to a framing device of a campfire tale as told by … PAUL! How YOU doin’?! Familiar faces flash by as we watch Jason’s history unfold narrated by our favorite Missing Person–even into P3, in which Paul was noticeably absent. Thankfully skipping Chris’ stupid dream from P3, the movie proper begins with Jason’s body still lying in the barn where he fell.  We get to dig on a little CSI: Crystal Lake, watching the police bag evidence and bodies get shipped off, until Jason is loaded into an ambulance and carted off. Changing channels, we then get to watch some of the 1980’s slasher equivalent of Scrubs as horndog Dr Axel  attempts to seduce Nurse Morgan. That goes down like a lead balloon and she takes off while  he slowjacks it to some spandexed aerobitards. Sick of that shit, Jason makes like a tree and kills off the lecherous medicos before making his way back to Crystal Lake.

Speaking of Crystal Lake, over in those environs we find Trish Jarvis and her mother on their usual early morning jog, apparently unaware of the tragic events that have been unfolding elsewhere on the lake over the past few days. Is Crystal Lake that huge or are they just that unconscious? The Jarvis family also includes budding geek and horror fanboy Tommy (Corey Feldman), and dumb dog Gordon, and they seem to have relocated to their lakeside cabin permanently following divorce from absentee father Mr Jarvis. Hot topics of conversation for the Jarvises include “who’s renting the cabin next door,” “what’s for dinner,” and “why are we drinking OJ with salad,” rather than “who’s killing teenagers in Crystal Lake.” Their lack of interest in current events will come back to haunt them …

murder just isn't relevant to their interests

Next-door-neighbors/victims to-be are en route to Crystal Lake even now: Generic Hot Guy Paul (don’t get confused!), Cheerful Slut Samantha (a pre-Weird Science Judie Aronson!), Lesser Generic Hot Guy Doug, Shy Virgin Sara, Horny Jerkwad Ted (Lawrence Monoson of The Last American Virgin), and Horny Shy Dork Jimmy the Dead Fuck (Crispin Glover). Courtesy of Gordon, Trish and Tommy get a Meet Cute with the party kids next door while Mom looks on in approval–and maybe a little jealousy. The next morning brings twins Tina and Terri, who are going to Crystal Point–despite riding their bikes down the trail in the opposite direction–and some gleeful midday skinny-dipping. We’re also introduced to the mysterious backpacker Rob, brother of Sandra from F13P2 (she who was shish-kebabed).

Night falls on Tuesday the 17th (or whatever day it is now), and the party kids settle in with their Coors and begin switching off partners, while Mama Jarvis and Gordon go AWOL (shades of Muffin!). When Trish and Tommy get home from wherever they’ve been, the lights are cut, Mom and Gordon are missing, and the fun is ready to begin. Jason shows up, people get defenestrated, and every single window gets broken.

final girl trish defenestrating

Put that in your computer, Teddy Bear: Fan favorite and the standard by which all other Fridays should be judged, The Final Chapter is the first movie to feature, for the entirety of the movie, the true Jason as he would forever be.  It introduced his greatest nemesis in the character of Tommy Jarvis, gave the franchise its reputation for nudity, and featured the single greatest dance sequence in the history of cinema.

Bill: Since he recapped all the way through Part 3 (in 3D!) can we say that Paul I isn’t dead? Or did he perhaps have a way to see into the future and read our reviews, as Zito seems to have done. He begins his entry in the franchise with the very campfire scene that we said would’ve been the logical starting point for Part 2. It’s the first time in the series that the recap doesn’t seem overlong and a bit annoying. This Zito guy knows what he’s doing. He knows how to handle a lippy window, too. Rob breaks a window to get into Tommy’s house. Trish, rather than use either of two doors that are only barely blocked, breaks a window to escape. Later, she jumps through another. Jason smashes one window, pulling someone out of it who then falls and shatters all the windows in a car. Later, Jason throws a body in through one window and jumps through another, smashing both. He also smashes through a shower door, which, really, is just a frosted, sliding window on a bathtub. Even the dog, rather than face Jason, jumps through a window, breaking it. I’m positive that if Rob’s tent had a window, it would’ve gotten broken. I’ve never seen so much broken glass in a movie. Not since DC Comics’ Hitman #18, when Garth Ennis introduced a character called The Defenestrator, have so many bodies gone through so many windows.


Fisty: You’re totally wrong about that, Bill. Oh, what? Sorry, I was on auto-pilot. You’re actually a hundred percent correct about the defenestration factor in Part 4, so much so that I wrote the number out. (And I, for one, am grateful to Zito for his penchant for defenestration, and for giving us the excuse to write the verb ‘defenestrate’ and its various conjugates about forty thousand times.) If it weren’t totally in poor taste, Zito probably would have subtitled Part 4 Kristallnacht instead of The Final Chapter.

Aside from shards of broken glass (which I am uniquely qualified to appreciate since I used to collect shattered glass), Part 4 is also littered with insanity. The Jarvis clan is a whole family of crazy–but it’s the kind of crazy we’ve grown to know and love ever since Part 3. Notice how, despite a weekend’s worth of killings somewhere else on the lake, Mrs Jarvis still would rather hang out in an isolated cabin with her two children rather than retreat to somewhere uh, safer. She and Trish for for sunrise jogs around the lake (so it can’t be THAT huge), leaving Tommy unsupervised, and she often sends her children off to town or outside to hang out in the woods with a psychopath. Before you say, “Hey, any reports would have mentioned that the killer was caught and killed, so it’s all good,” allow me to point out that, A) people tend to be illogical and paranoid when it comes to the possibility of danger to themselves and their children, and B) Zito shows Mrs Jarvis hanging out on the couch reading a newspaper with the headline “MASS MURDERER’S BODY MISSING.” (And as we see from Rob’s collection later, there was ample news coverage of all the slayings.) Now, considering the history of the area, and also the weird, unspoken conspiracy of adults a la Nightmare on Elm Street demonstrated in Part 3 (and elsewhere … notice how Pamela Voorhees’ grave is right on the side of the road, isn’t that spot a little prominent for a mass murderer? That’s a grave that’s just begging for desecration), you’d think she’d have like, an ounce of concern over this. But no. Maybe she just has a deathwish though, considering her penchant for wandering around outside on scary, stormy nights. A nasty divorce will do that to ya, I guess.

we're just a bunch of crazies

And what the fuck is up with their dinner? Green salad, tuna salad, and orange juice for dinner? No wonder Trish wanted some pizza. Gross me out.

Bill: Maybe Tommy has a gluten allergy? That boy is just as nuts as the rest of his family, but I still love him. They kind of winked at the die-hard fans like Fisty and myself in Part 3, by having Shelly love silly make-up pranks and showing Debbie reading some Fango, but with Tommy, they went full out.  He is us. He is the scary movie fan in a scary movie, the proto-Randy-from-Scream.  That Fango Debbie was reading? It was probably left there by one of Tommy’s neighbors after they borrowed it from him. I had my make-up effects phase at his age, too. I was reading Gorezone and Fangoria and planning on being the next Savini, Baker, or Bottin, using whatever I could find around the house to create effects that’d freak out my family or some strange guy at the corner store that didn’t speak English and thought I needed to go to the hospital (true story.) It’s fitting that “The Final Chapter” would pit Jason against one of us, that his greatest enemy would be one of the only people that would really know what it takes to kill the unkillable. I love Tommy because he lets me be a character in the movie. We even had the same toys. You can clearly see a Dungeons & Dragons figure on his shelf. That was one of my favorite monster toys when I was his age. Hell, when he saw Samantha and Paul 2 getting it on through the only unbroken window in the movie, he behaved exactly the way I still act when I see a naked girl.

even jason loves tommy

Fisty: Yes folks, he really does. Speaking of naked girls, we get a lot of them in Part 4. Really, it’s the most boobage of any of the sequels (Can we get an actual count? Who has these statistics?), and gave the franchise its (not entirely deserved) reputation for nudity. Let’s see, we have daylight skinny-dipping–including twins (twins!)–evening skinny-dipping, shower sexing, and even vintage burlesque boobies. Finally, after the desert that was Part 3! This almost makes up for the low red count; notice how there are kills galore, but not as much blood, or nasty sloooooow deaths.

Jason finally comes out of his three movie identity crisis and settles into the Jason we all know and love: Giant, implacable, puckishly-humored, creative, and finally, dead. He finds time in Part 4 to indulge in some interior decorating, and also goes in for poetic justice in his kills (witness Jimmy being screwed to death).

These little things all add up into what is ultimately the ne plus ultra of Friday the 13th sequels; it’s not just that it is the fan favorite, but also that if you had to pick just one movie of the franchise to really showcase all of its virtues and flaws, The Final Chapter is it. Though Part 2 is still my ultimate favorite, I admit that it has a very different, very Seventies feel, really showing its influences, and it isn’t perfectly representative of the Friday the 13th ethos the way Part 4 is. Part 4 really distills everything that made up all of the previous movies, and presents the perfect franchise formula, what every sequel thereafter would try to replicate.

we love him!

Bill: One of the things we like about the F13 sequels we’ve reviewed so far, as we’ve mentioned before, is the strength of the characters. Contrary to the notions people have of the slasher genre, F13P4, like the earlier films in the series, has victims that, for the most part, are more than just cardboard standees and who subvert the expectations of their characters. Slutty Samantha is more sage than slut at times and even gets out-slutted by one of the twins. Virginal Sara is actually way down to fuck, which she adorably informs Doug of by saying she wants to go upstairs, but she’s not tired and she wants him to sleep in the bottom bunk, but she doesn’t want to sleep in the top. Dead Fuck Jimmy, who seems to be the strange Shelly-esque character of the film actually bags one of the twins and Ted the Data Entry King can’t seal the deal with her sister. Paul 2 starts to look like a Rick for a while, but then shows his true decency by rejecting the super hot twin trying to climb up his johnson and staying true to his girl Samantha. Then the Doublemint Twins turn out to be nothing alike, despite their matching clothes. It’s kind of a shame that these kids are just fodder for Jason, as I like all of them more than Rob or either of the Jarvis women, who seem like lesser characters. Trish and her mom are pretty boring and Rob, while it is nice to have a hunting-the-hunter type fella in the film, is a far cry from the Ahab that Tommy becomes later in the franchise and doesn’t exactly set the screen on fire.

now these are engaging characters

Fisty: Rob is boring–at least Date Rape Rick was interesting. And Final Girl Trish is almost unbearably dull, too. She is my least favorite Friday Final Girl thus far, by a wide margin. She exhibits some very poor decision making skills, like chillin’ with Strange Dude with a Knife with all the mass murdering going down in the neighborhood. It’s kind of weird how the Jarvises hardly interact with the party kids at all. Plus, she seems very elderly and prissy–except when she’s fighting Jason, because she really whales on him with hammers, machetes, whatever–and that distances her from our party kids. I guess because she looks thirty, and Tommy so young, that’s part of why they Jarvises and the party kids don’t interact, but I don’t like it. Rather than a cohesive group, we get two distinct groups: Fodder and Finals.

Bill: I can overlook those few bland characters and I can forgive the irrational behavior of the Jarvis Bunch, them being crazy and all. I can even forgive the lack of flowing red stuff that Fisty mentioned a few moments ago, since I did get to see naked, synchronized-swimming, teen twins, but there are a handful of silly plot holes that are harder to ignore. These are my biggest complaint about the movie. For instance, way more than in the earlier films, Jason seems to be in multiple places at once. At one point he seems to be: upstairs, scaring the dog; outside, arranging bodies; and hiding in the basement the whole time. The whole sequence of events irks me. …but at least I got to see Banana Fatty get killed!

banana fatty does not like being called 'banana fatty'

Fisty: Awww, poor Banana Fatty. She’s not even that fat!

I do dig how this installment subtly turns that sex = death argument on its head. On the face of it, yes: The sexual kids die. But then, so do the non-sexual. Tina (or is it Terri), the twin who isn’t down to ride anything with a pulse, gets hers when she’s leaving the party after refusing to get down with Teddy. Unless Jason just couldn’t tell them apart by their color-coded matching outfits. And Zito actually treats First Girl Slutty Sam as something more than fresh, naked meat, by casting the bubbly and sincere Judie Aronson. Plus, though she dies for it, he handles Virgin Sara’s Quest for Booty with all the dignity and charm–and sweetness–afforded to our Darling Vicki in Part 2. Even the musical chairs-like swapping of partners during the party scenes smacks of well, typical high school and college situations, with some people trying to exert their sexuality, contrasting with others who are comfortable with their roles, and others who are trying to find their places. So wholesome!

sara's bloody axe wound

My single biggest peeve is the Tommy transformation at the end. The kid is a budding monster FX maven, and he spends what feels like twenty minutes cutting his hair and then Bic-ing his head in the SLOWEST AND LEAST CONVINCING TRANSFORMATION EVER. While Trish battles Jason downstairs–and to her credit, she really takes a good forty whacks at him with the machete, you go, girl!–Tommy dicks around with shaving cream and a Bic. Come on, Zito! The kid makes monster masks! You’re telling me he doesn’t own a single fucking Latex bald cap? My ass, he doesn’t. In the time he took to cut his hair and then shittily shave his head, Tommy could have snapped on a bald cap, some hillbilly teef, and whipped up some prosthetics so he’d really look like Li’l Mongo Jason. Fucking A.

Bill: The choice of disguise is also a pretty strange leap in logic for Tommy to take. When Ginny grabbed Pamela’s sweater it seemed like the natural move to make, but did Tommy actually think that he was going to confuse Jason into thinking he was seeing himself as a little boy? Oh yeah… insanity, the Jarvis curse. So of course it worked. Makes me wonder if Tommy’s mother didn’t have Voorhees as her maiden name.

Still, despite these gripes, and a whole lot of continuity errors, Part 4 remains one of the funnest films in the Friday the 13th franchise. What a shame that it was “The Final Chapter,” as I’d have liked to have seen a few more of these.

plus, TWINS

Doctor Kitten Yo: we didn’t talk about the Dead Fuck Dance
living0dead0punk: I know. I really wanted to talk about how the band Lion also did the theme for Transformers: The Movie, and how that’s AWESOME
Doctor Kitten Yo: you know he was really dancing to ac/dc
living0dead0punk: I know
Doctor Kitten Yo: and that’s so much more awesome
living0dead0punk: no, that would be too cool for Jimmy the spaz. Lion is just cool enough
Doctor Kitten Yo: you fool
Doctor Kitten Yo: him dancing to ac/dc is perfect; it adds a tiny thread of coolness to a spaz, highlighting just how spazzy he really is, making it so much sadder. pathos!
living0dead0punk: But, when I said to someone last night, “You know when Crispin Glover dances in f13p4, it’s to a Lion song? You know what else they did, right,” I was answered with, “FUCK YEAH, I DO! THEY FUCKING RULE!”

Friday the 13th Part 3


Friday the 13th, Part III
Director: Steve Miner
Released: 1982
Starring: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Richard Brooker
Running time: 95 minutes
Genre: horror, slasher

Massacre a trois: After an anticlimactic showdown at the hands of Ginny and Paul, Jason wanders around Crystal Lake till he happens across a small market, run by Harold and charming Edna, who also live on the premises. Despite the adorable rabbit Harold likes to carry around, Jason murders the pair and steals some clothing off their clothesline, and then goes to ground in the barn of a nearby lakeside cabin. The cabin belongs to the Higgins family, and daughter Chris is bringing some friends of hers for the weekend. By a not-so-strange coincidence, while staying at the cabin two years prior, Chris was attacked by a hideous stranger; it is her first time returning there, and she has hopes of laying her fears to rest. Sucks to be disappointed, doesn’t it?

On their way to the cabin, Final Girl Chris and her friends Debbie, Andy, Shelly, Vera, and hippies Chuck and Chili, encounter a bizarre old man who brandishes an eyeball at them and warns them of certain death if they don’t turn back. Though disgusting, this is hardly discouraging, and when Chris’ boyfriend Rick arrives, the group prepares for a restful weekend. Insecure because of his schlubbiness, Shelly plays a series of pranks on his companions that do not prove endearing, though they do lay down the expectation for the Boy Who Cried Prank’s early demise. Shelly does regain a little respect when he and Vera go to a local market (not Harold and Edna’s, though; I wonder how many such marts the Crystal Lake economy can actually support) and encounter some surly bikers. Said bikers track the pair down to Higgins Haven intent on revenge, but are murdered in the barn before they do more than siphon the gas out of Chris’ shaggin’ wagon.

While Chris and Rick take a long walk and discuss what happened to her there before and what it all MEANS, shit starts to get real. Woebegone at the loss of his beloved potato sack, Jason murders Shelly, then steals his hockey mask and goes to town on the weekenders. Soon Chris is the last one standing, and she goes mano a machete with the first Jason Who Wouldn’t Die.

Fisty: In this installment we learn that even though fish food tastes good the mayfly eggs are not good for you, a surefire cure for the backdoor trots is swilling Jack Daniels on the toilet, motorcyle punks fuckin’ HATE hay and other barnyard accouterments, and everything is better in 3D: laundry poles, baseball bats…

Bill: …eyeballs, popcorn, yo-yos…


Fisty: …snakes, joints, etc. Oh, and Harry Manfredini started doing coke in 1982.

Before we get to the bitchin’ awesome disco theme and 3D credits, we have to sit through a 2D recap. The first six minutes of F13P3D are just the Ginny/Paul (WHERE IS HE?)/Jason showdown from F13, except this time, Jason just crawls away and there is no Return of Muffin. So where does that leave F13P2’s finale? Was it all a dream? Did Jason never leap through the window? And did Muffin never return? WHAT ABOUT PAUL? We are forced to fill in the blanks for ourselves. Perhaps Jason crawled into the woods, recovered himself enough to butcher Paul whilst he Secured the Perimeter or some other such macho nonsense, and then ran away because of the Coming of the Authorities who took the raving Ginny away, dropping one of Paul’s eyeballs in the process. No one will ever know. Ever.

Bill: You’d think, if they were going to retcon the ending, they’d do so in a way that clarified what happened, but it’s even more confusing now.  Also confusing is Chris saying she was attacked in the woods two years ago and hasn’t been back to Crystal Lake since, even though Rick, who seems to be a local, talks about how she’s changed since last summer.  Did he go and visit her somewhere else?  They never make that clear.  And her story is never really explained either.  She says Jason attacked her and she passed out and woke up in her own bed and no one ever talked about what happened.  So, um…  WHAT HAPPENED?!  Are her parents in on some big conspiracy about Jason?  Maybe, if everyone is just ignoring his presence in the forest; someone should’ve filled in the cop from F13P2 about it before he went and got himself killed in Jason’s swinging bachelor shack.

in lieu of titties, here is edna scolding harold & bunbun

Fisty: OH CHRIST ON A PONY, I KNOW. Chris’ backstory confused the hell out of me. Rick seems like a townie, so I figured they had some kind of summer romance going on (though how many people of that age can stick with something like that longer than two weeks?), but it did seem like he must’ve gone elsewhere to be with her at some point, according to her statements. And yeah, did her parents just interrupt Jason having his baghead way with her in the woods and simply pick her up and tuck her in as though nothing happened? Was that whole interlude a dream? Who fucking knows!

Now, aside from the baffling backstory, I don’t have any major problems with this installment. Well, other than the bunny murder. I like the gimmick of it continuing right after F13P2. It’s largely silly, with some enjoyable deaths. The characters didn’t do much for me, however; they weren’t overtly offensive, but they weren’t all that developed or um, interesting. Chris’ insane history aside, of course. Chuck n’ Chili were pretty amusing, and who doesn’t enjoy a good hippie death or two? (And just how did they scarf so much weed and not freak out?) Vera apparently has some drama as evidenced by her mother’s ‘tude in the beginning, but we never learn anything about it. Debbie and Andy are pretty much my favorite deaths, but the super fascinating tidbit shared about them–that smokin’ hot Debbie is preggo–is never again touched on at any point. How could Miner fail to harp on that later?  And then there’s sex-crazed Rick, who acts like a sixteen-year old boy, though he looks to be twice that age.

Bill: I don’t even know of any teen boys that would act like him.  I think he might be a sociopath.  Chris returns for the first time (after how long?  A year, at least) to the place where she was stalked through the woods and practically raped by a 6’5″ mongoloid town legend and Rick startles her by grabbing her from behind and expecting sex on the spot.  When she’s upset, he asks, “Did I do something wrong?”  Then, when she still doesn’t spread for him right then, he remarks, “I can only take so many cold showers.”  She’s only been there for two minutes!  Then he tries to make her feel guilty by telling her about the girl he’s not fucking right at that exact moment because he chose to spend time with her.  Then he all but says outright, “Gee, Chris, I’m really sorry Sloth from The Goonies touched your no-no spot and your parents covered it up and you’re super creeped out and keep seeing scary shit everywhere, but you’re not fucking me right now, so I’m going to go home and leave you all by yourself.”  This is the guy that’s supposed to be the male hero of the flick?

Fisty: You have obviously never been in an LDR. When reunioning in one–no matter how much time has passed–it is imperative to bang away on one another ASAP. Chris has some seriously fucked up priorities.

Speaking of main men, this installment also features some off the least menacing non-villains (you know, those antagonists who end up as fellow victims of the real killer) in the form of the punk biker gang. Fox, Ali, and Loco are monumentally lame, dressing like extras from Slamdance! and getting their jollies loitering in countryside convenience marts and beating up innocent haybales. Why is it that so many movies portray punks so very lamely? My god, Fox dresses like my mom’s 1982 punk bunny costume. And I mean, it was a great costume for my mom in 1981, but it does nothing for either Fox or the movie. Of course, we must remember that mainstream cinema has a long history of fumbling badly when it comes to depicting punks–they can’t all be TR Kids.

not menacing

Bill: The crazy old foreshadowing guy was also a bit of a let down in this sequel.  They never should’ve killed Crazy Ralph in Part 2, because Paul’s Eyeball is a Sign from God Guy is a very poor substitute.

Fisty: Let’s talk Jason. This movie throws yet more mystery on the ending of F13P2–like it needed it. In P2, Jason is very much a feral mutant hillbilly momma’s boy, lurking in the woods and gutting small mammals and the occasional stray hiker or camper, and experimenting in potato sack haberdashery. Somehow, between the final act of P2 and the start of P3D, Jason metamorphoses into a silent but deadly killing machine, having at anyone who crosses his path. This is a major turning point for the franchise, yet it is never explained or explored in the slightest. What happened to Jason, what did this? Did lightning strike him during that final battle with Paul and Muffin? Did they roll into toxic ooze? Did he quit his anger management group? We’ll never know–unless P2 gets its own reboot.

jason mongs out

Bill: Whoa now!  Don’t get ahead of yourself.  I really think he only seems to have changed because we’re finally seeing him take some punishment.  We never really got the chance to see how tough he was in Part 2.  Also, his more proactive kill ’em all ‘tude could just be his territoriality, since they reopened the camp.  Or maybe Ginny screwed him up by defiling mom’s sweater.  Who knows?  He did finally find his face in this one, when he picked up the hockey mask.  He still seems mostly like himself to me, however.  Same MO…  Stalk, sneak, stealth kill, hide bodies to pop up later.  Maybe he’s just a little more bold.

His kills were certainly bolder!  I’m so glad Part 3 wasn’t completely neutered, like Part 2 was.  Still not completely balls out, but you don’t feel cheated either.  I rather enjoyed the speargun to the eye.  The gimmicky 3-D is fun, as well.  I love having phallic objects poked into my face in three dimensions.

Fisty: You certainly do. P3 doesn’t seem any less neutered than P2 to me, though. They cut the kill scenes like crazy to avoid an X rating (suck it, MPAA!), and it shows. All I can think about is what I’m missing! Of course, I was that way about P2, too. But they’re still some good kills, some of my series faves.

Bill: Really?  While, yes, it’s still far from being the abattoir of a film it should’ve been, it seems to me like they waited just a fraction of a beat longer before cutting away from the kills in this one, as opposed to the second movie in the franchise.  Plus, there were  some great eyeball gags (in 3-D!) to up the gore factor.  There really was a lot of eye damage in Part 3.  Sadly, there was far less eye candy.  The dearth of boobies in Part 2 carries over into this film, as well.  What gives?  Why do they think I watch these things anyway?

Fisty: Let’s be real, Bill. F13 has always been light on the boobage. It’s even brought up in His Name was Jason. But the total lack of tits in P3 is well nigh unforgivable.

Bill: Even more annoying to me than the lack of T&A is the stupid stinger at the end.  *SPOILER WARNING, KIDS*  Who the fuck was that jumping out of the lake?  Couldn’t be Mrs. Voorhees, since she had her head off and Ginny took her sweater, but it couldn’t have been Ginny in the sweater, since she isn’t all dessicated and shit.  It was just in Chris’s head, right?  But she seems to have no knowledge of Jason’s legend or his mother, so why did she imagine that?!  Ugh.  And, as if being totally nonsensical wasn’t enough, it’s a very poorly executed jump scare.  The stinger from the end of the first Friday the 13th still gets me.  Something about it always stops me from figuring the timing right to expect it, so it never fails to make me jump, but the imitation here, in Part 3, disappoints miserably.

Fisty: Fuck the stinger. Maybe it’s Jason’s dream–I don’t know and I don’t care. I really hate that whole sequence in F13, and would prefer to just forget it. Otherwise, I’m gonna get pissed.

Part 3 is a largely forgettable installment in the series, only worth watching as part of the whole. Or if you’re stoned out of your gourd. The characters are largely shallow and interchangeable, the lines aren’t especially memorable, the story’s lost some of its logical elements, and there are no boobies. None! The 3-D is fun, the girls are wholesomely hot, and there are some nice kills, but that’s pretty much it.

debbie: cute AND cool

Bill: But, man, does that disco theme rock!


Friday the 13th, Part 2

bag-head’s revenge

Friday the 13th, Part II
Director: Steve Miner
Released: 1981
Starring: Amy Steel, Jon Furey, Adrienne King, Warrington Gillette, Stu Charno, Betsy Palmer
Running time: 87 minutes
Genre: horror, slasher

Friday a deux: Alice, sole survivor of the murders at Camp Crystal Lake, lies dreaming of the horrors she went through at the hands of Mrs Voorhees. Awakened by her nightmare, she showers, chats on the phone, and then, before the very eyes of her adorable cat, is brutally slain. The killer is considerate enough to remove her boiling kettle from the hot burner. What a well brought up killer!

Fast forward five years, and a fresh crop of counselors-to-be arrive at a training center on Crystal Lake, not far from the infamous “Camp Blood.” The chief trainer, Paul, advises the n00bs of the seriousness of being a camp counselor, mostly bears, and that night around the campfire, the underlines said seriousness by telling them the story of Camp Blood, Mrs Voorhees, and of course, Jason, who reportedly still lurks in the woods around Crystal Lake. Dismissing the tale as an inflated urban legend, the would-be counselors kick back with some teambuilding exercises like swimming, grilling weenies, and cockteasing. Two of the more intrepid CITs (that’s counselors in training, for those who’ve never read the seminal summer camp classics like There’s a Bat in Bunk Five), Sandra and Jeff sneak over to Camp Blood to check things and or possibly do it, but are caught by a local yokel just as they discover the mangled remains of some animal, possibly Muffin. (Fisty: At this point, Eli declared he no longer liked Jason.) That night, most of the CITs head into town for some partying before their training begins in earnest, but a select few stay behind for shenanigans. And of course, Jason is happy to keep them company. STABBY COMPANY.

Increasing returns: F13P2 is a stalwart entry in the franchise, even compared the the same year’s The Burning. It’s a respectable flick that could stand on its own, and is the last sequel to truly capture the feel and groove of the original–so much so that they could almost be one movie. Unfortunately, the kills (several thieved straight from Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve) are censored out of awesome and into mediocre.

Fisty: Good goddamn, I am so glad Steve Miner spent like, six minutes recapping all of F13 in Alice’s dream, because god knows the plot is hard to follow. OH WAIT, NO I’M NOT.

Bill: It had only been a year since the release of the first movie.  No one had forgotten any of that!  Still, you get the recap followed by five minutes of dickteasing with no nudie payout, then a prank call because Jason loves the Jerky Boys, and, finally he shows up (apparently having taken the Crystal Lake Ferry into Manhattan) and kills a girl that has nothing at all to do with this movie, since it all takes place five years after her disappearance!  Then, at last, 15 minutes into an 86 minute movie, we see some of the main cast.  But that’s followed by 10 more minutes of nothing, making the movie practically a third of the way finished before we get the campfire scene that explains everything we just watched and should have been the beginning of the movie!

Fisty:And then even after the campfire reveal of Jason’s story to the CiTs it’s still another six minutes of not a whole lot to the next kill, which is just Crazy Ralph being his crazy self and getting garotted. Next to go is the cop, who wanders off into the woods to investigate that strange man he just saw, and then stumbles across Jason’s Little Shack of Horrors where he bites it approximately eleven minutes later. God, these guys really were following their “a kill every ten minutes” rule.

terry’s abbreviated morning jog

There’s a lot of teaser stuff here, in that we’ve got a lot of mysterious boot-clad feet standing around, and killer POV peeping out at folks from the bushes. And then there’s First Girl Terry, who is never more than half-dressed at any give time, and sometimes much less. Either her ass is hanging out of her shortshorts, or her boobs are hanging out of her skimpy halfshirts–occasionally both! (We won’t go into the vaguely hippie Sandra’s awful attire, as she is otherwise quite likeable.) For all these teases with Terry, F13P2 is sorely lacking in titties, and there’s only a nanosecond of bush shadow. I know it’s par for the course with F13, but still, I was stunned when Terry, after her skinnydip, bothered putting a shirt back on when the towel draped around her neck actually covered more than any of her shirts thus far. HIGHLY DISAPPOINTING. And thanks to heavy censorship, half the kills are off camera, too.

Bill: That brief scene is the only nudity in the movie.  The flick teases you with Mark’s little fan girl, showing her panties slide down her legs, but never makes good on the promise.  And the speared couple have sex without ever even showing a single nipple.  Ugh.  Appalling.

Fisty:But I like Vicky! Her death is, to my mind, the worst in the movie (except for the maybe-Muffin death), because our Bava fan took some notes from the Italians, and her death is very Italian, very Fulci: Long, slow, and excruciatingly drawn out. She just goes tharn in abject terror as the knife slowly approaches. It’s so awful, and I liked her so much. She’s a good girl being naughty! I like her throwing herself at Mark (aka Wheelchair Dude), and I love how she runs off to prep for their hooking up. It’s all so natural, right down to the lipgloss and panties that match her sweater. Despite the amateurish and sometimes hammy acting, I like the look of all our campers/counselors; they all look very real, very natural, like they just wandered out of a Judy Blume or Norma Klein novel and into a nightmare. It’s one of the significant aspects of these movies, that the victims are so very ordinary, that they try to realistically place teenagers in an adult-free setting. Verisimilitude, baby. Right down to Ginny’s halfbaked drunken child psych maunderings.

our sweetheart, vicki

Bill: One of the strengths of the slasher genre was always that it took away all the gothic trappings and scary old houses full of characters that a kid growing up in the 70s, 80s, or even today, could barely relate to.  In their place, we get suburban neighborhoods and camps and sorority houses, the places we find ourselves, filled with kids that could be us or our friends.  The F13 franchise, up until the second half of the series, was particularly good at this.  People like to rag on the characters in movies like these, saying they’re unbelievable, because they do stupid things, go where they shouldn’t, do things they’d be better off not doing, but when I think of my friends or myself as a kid or,  hell, even think of myself now, I know I’m not far off from a Mark or a Paul or a Ginny or Vicky.  I’ve heard your drunken meanderings, Fisty.  Aside from all  the crying and screaming about Laura Ingalls Wilder, they aren’t far off from Ginny’s.  Vicky’s little spritz of perfume on her panties, the way she skips around, oblivious to danger, lost in her hormones and glee…  That could be any of us.  It could certainly be me.   I have sprayed cologne in my pants and skipped around.  I have even worn panties that matched my sweater.

Speaking of Paul…  Fisty, do you know what happened to him?

Fisty: I wasn’t aware that we were, but NOBODY KNOWS. What the fuck happens to Paul? And to Muffin, for that matter? The last we saw, crazed hillbilly mutant Jason crashed through a window just after Paul opened the door to discover the missing Muffin there, purple ribbon and all (and that moment, when the music gets all Benji sentimental and Muffin looks up at them, is totally heartwrenching and pleasing). The music rises to a sudden crescendo, everything goes slow-mo, and then … fade to Ginny being taken away by EMTs, calling, “Where’s Paul?” (Who called them, anyways?) We never see or hear of hide nor hair of either Paul or Muffin again, not even in F13P3. THAT JUST ISN’T RIGHT.

Bill: Maybe he met up with Terry, whose body I don’t recall ever seeing (could she have called the emergency services?!) and they went to hang out with Ted at the bar he never came back from.  Man, you can really tell Jason doesn’t have the hang of this psycho killer thing yet.  He just lets half of the cast wander off and disappear.  As much as I’m enjoying tearing it apart, the very fact that this is Jason’s first go around as the killer and, thus, important to the development of the character and the series, I can’t hate this movie.  I can’t help it.  I’m an unrepentant, Friday the 13th fanboy and even Sack-head Jason has a place in my heart.

Fisty:Awww, Jason the Bag-head! Him and Muffin, togetha 4eva!

muffin the hunted

Bill: You mentioned earlier that the kills were mostly fushing feefed (trans.: stolen) from Twitch of the Death Nerve and they totally are, but I don’t think I’d have minded that so much, if they’d tried to one up Bava’s film.  Instead the kills are totally weak and there’s barely a trickle of blood in the whole movie.

The weak kills, almost total lack of T&A, and Jason’s unprofessional inefficiency force me to place this sequel low on the scale of best Fridays.  I’d still rate this one ahead of parts 8 and 9, but that’s it.  Every other installment in the series is better than Part 2.

Fisty: Hells no. You are a total idiot. P2 is probably my favorite, even in light of later fun with the Dead Fuck Dance or in space(!). It’s got character! Style! The characters are developed, it FEELS like the first movie, and the story works–but for the incomprehensible ending. Plus, Ginny is a totally kick ass Final Girl. Suck it, Bill.