With the release of a new Friday the 13th this Friday February 13th mixed with the (third, maybe) rerelease of the first three films in new DVDs, I figured now is as good a time as any to reprint this classic series from a couple of years back, where I sat down and watched all 10 Friday the 13th films as well as Freddy vs Jason. To make this something more than a simple reprint series, I’m also reviewing the new DVDs on each of the relevant entries. Which I guess makes just the last 8 nothing more than a reprint series, but since this was a pretty fun series I don’t see the harm in that. This new edition of CHUD Goes to Camp Crystal Lake will culminate with my review of the new Friday the 13th, but it’s unlikely that it will be in the same format as the rest of the series. I’ll save that for my review of the DVD in four months.

Special thanks to Litmus Configuration for the amazing image above!


Kills:
13 (One saw to the throat as a prelude to a neck twisting, one
disembowelment by scalpel, three knifings – one throat, one chest, one
head, one spear gun to the cock, one spear in the back, one offscreen
and uncertain, one corkscrew hand nailing followed by a cleaver to the
face, one defenestration, one one-handed head smooshing, one axe in
chest through a fucking door, one destruction by gardening implement)

Best Kill:
A night swimming lothario gets a spear gun in the crotch. Jason lifts
the kid up in the air by his impaled balls and then fires the gun.

Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll:
Making out next to Jason’s corpse in the morgue turns out to be a bad
idea. Apparently hitchhiking while fat is against Crystal Lake rules.
Mass skinny dipping occurs but does not lead to immediate doom. Solo
skinny dipping does. Shotgunning beers happens, as does the smoking of
dope, followed by the watching of vintage stag films. Sex with George
McFly occurrs. There is also shower sex, but the real crime there is
the singing that goes on.

The Comeuppance: Once
again the victim of a psych out, Jason accepts Tommy Jarvis’ machete
deep into the side of his skull and then slowly and awesomely slides
down it.

http://chud.com/nextraimages/friday_the_thirteenth_the_f.jpgThe Movie: Friday the 13th Part IV: I Believe The Children Are Our Future,
is widely considered the best of the series. I’m not here to challenge
that assertion. Right from the first kill, this Friday entry oozes
production value: they have a helicopter! When the authorities showed
up to clean up after Jason in the last two films there was just a
couple of guys in cheap sheriff outfits, but in Part IV
it looks like there’s an actual, reasonable response to the massacre.
You start to think that maybe you’re watching a real movie this time.

Don’t worry, you’re not. While there’s more money on display in Friday the 13th Part IV: A Boy’s Life,
almost none of it went into the script. Sure, this is the best film in
the series, but let’s not forget what series we’re watching here –
everyone’s main function in this film is to maneuver themselves into a
position where they can be gruesomely murdered by Jason Voorhees.
Director Joe Zito and his screenwriters get this, and they put the
focus right where it should be: on killings and on sex.

Friday the 13th Part IV: About A Boy has four major things going for it: director Zito, who had actually made a pretty good, grungy slasher film called The Prowler (and who would go on to direct Carl Cunningham in Invasion USA);
Crispin Glover as the dweeby guy every one of these films needs; Corey
Feldman in the performance of his career as Tommy Jarvis, aka the
identification figure for every single nerdy male in the audience; and
Tom Savini’s return with an extra helping of red food coloring and Karo
syrup. It’s unusual for a Friday the 13th
film to not only be well directed but also have not one but two good
performances and strong and bloody kills, but that’s what makes this
one special.

What I like best about Part IV
is how the film opens with a hearty fuck you to logic (and I’m not
talking about the fact that the early morning crime scene from Part 3
is suddenly drenched in darkness): Jason was quite obviously killed at
the end of the last one, and this movie accepts it, brings him to the
morgue, puts him in the cooler… and then has him just get back up and
kill a horny nurse and orderly. There’s not even a slight attempt at an
explanation, and that”s appreciated. Zito and friends are saying, “Look, we know you’re not that stupid, and you really just want to get
this movie going, so instead of wasting time on a resurrection here’s
Jason back from the dead. Oh, and all those wounds he has accumulated
would just slow him down and that’s no fun, so he’s healed too.”
Perfect!

One of the missed opportunities with this film was that Jason begins the movie removed from his comfort zone. Sure, Halloween 2 did the slasher in the hospital thing, but the Friday films never went for originality anyway. Having Jason stick around the hospital snuffing cancer patients (Friday the 13th Part IV: Youth In Asia)
before heading out into a more urban – or at least residential –
setting could have been a blast. Instead he lumbers out and begins
walking back to Crystal Lake. I’m not entirely sure what his thought
process is – he makes his first post-hospital kill on the road near his
mother’s grave (she seems to have her own cemetery) right after a
carload of teens passes by. Does he see the teens and decide to follow
them? Motivation has never been Jason’s strength, but by Part IV it seems like he’s out to kill everyone who just happens to live in his zip code.

If
Jason is following these teens, Tommy Jarvis has them to thank for his
mother’s murder, since they rented out the place right next to the
Jarvis house. It’s a weird set-up: deep in the woods around Crystal
Lake, with nothing else nearby, are these two houses directly next to
each other. Hell, even Rob, the guy who has come to Crystal Lake to get
revenge for his sister’s death in Part 2
(big boobed Sandra) mentions that the Jarvises live in the middle of
fucking nowhere. Anyway, the Jarvis family is the victim of the scourge
of the 80s, divorce, and to top it off they’re really, really boring –
except, of course, for Tommy. We first see Tommy playing Zaxxon while
wearing an alien mask that he modified (not certain what that means in
this case). Tommy’s room is filled with masks and puppets that he made,
all of which are not only beyond his skill level but beyond his
facilities and budget. But who cares? This is all in service of one
thing: making Tommy Jarvis cool. Inserting a kid into a horror movie
sequel is usually the kiss of death, but by having Tommy, with his love
of monsters and peeping at naked girls out window, be an
audience-identification character, we’re a little bit more tolerant of
him at the beginning. And of course at the end of the movie he totally
earns his keep.

Friday the 13th Part IV: The Butcher Boy
is, without a doubt, the horniest installment to date. There’s one
scene where all of the teens – including saucy twins! – take it all off
an go skinny-dipping. Sex is on everybody’s minds this go-round, even
the kid, who spends time gawking through windows and at the lake. We
even get what might be a de-virginization in a shower. In previous
installments some of the characters seemed content to just sort of be
hanging out in the woods; this time all the rental twins are looking
for ass. Even Tommy’s bland sister, technically the Survivor Girl this
time, gets her panties a little smelly for Revenge Rob, although
nothing actually happens between them. Heck, Joseph Zito even throws in
a couple of extra pairs of tits by showing old-timey stag films. That’s
serving your audience.

The
sex and nudity are, of course, prerequisites in these films, but the
real reason we’re suffering through any of this dialogue is to get to
the kills. With Savini back in the latex-application chair we get some
grisly fates being met, although they aren’t quite as imaginative as in
Part III.
Savini seems more interested in doing standard kills – there’s a bunch
of knife kills here – in new ways. And more than any of the previous
three, Friday the 13th Part IV: Tommy Boy
is vicious with the deaths. In past installments people would get the
knife or hatchet or spear and gasp and stand there for a second so we
could see what was happening and then fall over, dead. This time around
nobody dies slowly – each victim goes out like a fish on a hook,
thrashing and screaming. Well, I assume a fish on a hook is screaming
in his own fishy way, but you get the image. Each kill is wet, as
opposed to the almost bloodless kills in Part 2,
and every one looks like it hurts. This has to be the Zito influence;
while the director would go on to do some action pictures in the years
to come, he had made the really unpleasant BloodRage and an exploitation take on the Patty Hearst case, Abduction. These were legitimate grindhouse films, and he brought a lot of that sensibility with him.

He
also brought an irrational hatred of windows. By my count at least four
windows get smashed through, mostly in slow motion. The best of all of
these is when a dog jumps through a window and gets a heroic slo-mo
shot – I actually cheered! As far as I could tell, the dog is the most
sensible one in the whole film, as he fucks right off out of the movie.

What makes Friday the 13th Part IV: Mama’s Boy
most famous is the Jason kill, though. Tommy, having read Revenge Rob’s
files on the killer leaps to a strange, but ultimately correct
conclusion – he shaves his head and basically confuses Jason. We saw
the same thing in Part 2, where simply donning a sweater
short-circuited whatever is inside that deformed noggin of his, and now
we see that a couple of minutes spent with a Lady Bic will do the same
thing. Unmasked at last (and looking completely different than he has
in either of the last two movies, but at this point we really have to
be beyond minor things like consistency), Jason takes a machete to the
side of his face, just about up to his nose, which he then slowly
slides down. What really sells this kill is that Savini has mocked up a
robot Jason head that has all these expressions as he slides and you
can almost believe you’ve actually watched a 12 year old boy kill a
giant retarded man, which is essentially why Edison invented the motion
picture.

While Part IV
is advertised as the Final Chapter, we all know that the marketplace is
what dictates the life and death of franchise characters. That said,
the film does a nice job of setting up Tommy Jarvis as the next killer – he’s obviously very, very deranged by his experiences (this would
really explain Feldman’s future friendship with Michael Jackson), and
the final shot of him staring into the camera is actually legitimately
chilling.

Part IV was
the film I was most afraid of revisiting. For the last decade I’ve had
an image of this movie in my head, but I didn’t know how much nostalgia
(the real mind killer) was coloring my recollections. But the film
rarely disappointed. When I was younger and had a subscription to
Fangoria I believed the film was better than it really is, and not in
the “This is a pretty great entry in a fairly cheesy franchise” kind of
way, but in a “This is a truly great horror film!” kind of way. Which
is obviously just not true. But it’s as entertaining as I remembered,
with some very nice touches – like “You’re a dead fuck” and Crispin
Glover’s dance and Tommy Jarvis inviting a hitchhiker he just met into
his bedroom and tits, tits, tits – that actually make the non-killing
segments worth watching.

(Side note: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
has the distinction of being one of the few films in modern history
whose home video box was much better, and more iconic, than the
theatrical poster)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter scores:


Three and a half Retard Jasons out of four.



Next: Final Chapter my ass. Part two of the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. And the introduction of Fake Jason.