Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Just when it seemed the Friday the 13th movies would continue on a downward trajectory until they became so bad even indiscriminate teens refused to see them, along comes the first installment since the original that isn't a complete waste of time.
Picking up where Part 3 left off (with Jason's dead body lying in a barn and another dozen teens hacked to pieces), young Corey Feldman and his family (a mother, a sister and a dog) have picked the wrong day to move to a cabin on Camp Crystal Lake.
Of course it wouldn't be much of a slasher movie if the killer spent the entire flick chasing two kids, an old lady and a dog, so for the sake of the body count the cabin next door is occupied for the weekend by the cast of Porky's.
But before Jason can systematically dispatch the majority of the cast he must himself be brought back to life, which takes us to the county hospital where's Jason's body now lies. As a horny doctor (Bruce Mahler, the hapless Fackler from Police Academy) and a young nurse get in on with Jason's corpse lying behind them, you know it's only a matter of seconds before his hand rises and some people die.
What causes Jason's sudden resurrection? Who the hell knows and what difference does it make anyway. While he does suddenly have the ability to rise from the grave, as far as the evolution of Jason from bumbling man-child to superhuman killing zombie, The Final Chapter is the last Friday film in which Jason is remotely stoppable or even slightly human.
When you get right down to it, The Final Chapter's story isn't much different than any of its predecessors: A group of horny teens are killed in various disgusting and sometimes creative ways before one survivor finally triumphs over Jason. The formula is just executed better as the cast (a pre-Goonies Feldman and a pre-Back to the Future Crispin Glover) and the bloodletting (courtesy of Tom Savini, enticed to return to the series by the promise of killing off Jason) are the best in the series to date.
In the end, the movie stands above its two predecessors not because it's a great horror movie but because it's average instead of awful. The movie even generates the occasional intentional laugh, instead of the usual giggles at the incompetence of the filmmakers and the idiocy of the characters.
Of course, the biggest joke of all is the title itself. The Final Chapter my ass.