There’s a Final Boy instead of a Final Girl and Jason busts through a door Heeeere’s Johnny/Shining-style in this, the fourth and what was meant to be last of the Friday the 13th franchise (it’s a “franchise” now, like a McDonald’s, a more pejorative term than the more neutral, “series”).
In Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, first responders are cleaning up the real barn burner that was the third installment, where our masked madman was left hanging (and assumed dead). Marshall McLuhan once said, “most of our assumptions have outlined their usefulness” and it seems Jason Voornees will outlive pretty much anything.
So when he’s taken to the local morgue, we as viewers know something’s amiss.
The coroner takes a callous (and negligent) approach to his sordid business, resting a sandwich on top of the latest stiff brought into his “office”. He busies himself with bedding nurses and watching saucy aerobics videos, but can you blame him? After all, it was the 80s.
Voorhees however, is not ready for eternity’s slumber. Soon, this version of Jason (an uncredited Ted White, who got no billing after a feud with director Joseph Zito), who has some gnarly overgrown fingernails, is back to the business at hand: lowering the population of Crystal Lake and making its “welcome to” population sign out of date.
Much like Jagger needs Richards and Rosencrantz needs Guildenstern, Mr. Voorhees needs a collection of randy campers.
Here, there’s Crispin Glover as Jimmy, a dude en route to party in the woods, whose erectile dysfunction provides fantastic foreshadowing when a hitchhiker is offered, and her banana falls limp.
He’s up at a cottage by the lake with an assortment of idiot guys and bunch of attractive women (of course), and more where that came from in the form of identical twins riding by on their bikes, cuties who shot-gun beer and dress in short skirts.
Ultimately, though, Friday the 13th is all about the kills.
And this fourth installment does not disappoint. Jimmy is cork-screwed to a table before getting a meat cleaver thunked between his eyeballs, and the coroner gets bone-sawed in the neck and his head twisted 180 degrees.
Joseph Zito, the brains behind the bonzo Cannon Chuck Norris vehicle, Invasion U.S.A. and the underrated The Prowler (a film which, much like The Final Chapter, features an incredible shower death) brings large stretches of suspense and intrigue as luncheon meat between the bread that is the nifty kills.
***1/2 (out of 5)