Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter (1984) Review – 31 Days of Halloween
After his revival in a hospital morgue, Jason fixes his vengeful attention on the Jarvis family and a group of hitherto carefree teenagers.
It’s Friday the 13th and the 13th day of our K-O-Ween 31 Days of Halloween feature. You know what that means, right? We absolutely positively have to review a movie from the Friday the 13th series. It has to be done. Do you mind me being honest for a moment, though? This series is pretty terrible from beginning to end. I mean, we all love the Friday the 13th movies but they aren’t particularly good.
If you go in with your expectations correctly aligned, you will probably have a good time. If all you are looking for is violence, tits and ass, and absolutely no plot at all, you will be okay. But some of the movies from this series rank among the worst mainstream slashers of all time. When you hold them up against things like Black Christmas and some of the Halloween movies. The difference in quality becomes pretty jarring.
So I wanted to review a Friday the 13th movie today because I am painfully unoriginal and lacking in ideas. But if I am being perfectly honest, it was quite a tough thing to do. I would go as far as to say that picking a Friday the 13th movie to review and recommend is almost an impossible task. The series flagged majorly as the years went on. And while I find Jason X side splittingly hilarious, the movie is absolute monkey crap.
That left me with two options. The first Friday the 13th that doesn’t even actually feature Jason at all but does have some nice 70’s hold over horror trappings. Or the movie we are looking at today Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter. The fourth movie gets the nod for me for a number of reasons. One of which is Crispin Glover just being pure, unadulterated, awkward hilarity and the second being Corey Feldman looking hilariously ridiculous in the later parts of the movie. I also eliminated the first Friday the 13th from the get go because they actually kill a snake on screen which fucking sucks.
So as far as slashers go, Friday The 13th IV is one of them. It’s about as basic, run of the mill, a slasher as you can find. Jason wakes up in a morgue and goes on a killing spree. A family living in the middle of nowhere and a group of young teens find themselves in the crosshairs of the marauding masked killer. Forcing them to fight for their very survival. Expect gore, a lot of boobs and a ton of screaming.
And that is really all there is to say about it. Part IV doesn’t do anything particularly differently. It just follows the early 80’s slasher formula to a tee. Where it improves on previous Friday the 13th movies is in its story and kills. The previous movies placed a bunch of people in a location and had them mercilessly killed, one by one, until one character remained. Part IV actually continues on from the third movie and attempts to develop some characters.
It frequently references the first movie and attempts to build on the lore of Jason Voorhees a little more. Characters are more fleshed out and a few of them are pretty well developed. Corey Feldman’s character of Tommy would go on to become a somewhat iconic figure in the series and appeared in two sequels. Even our victims in waiting have some degree of personality; even though the main thing motivating them all is getting their ends away. It just feels a little more substantial than the movies that preceded it.
Blood, Guts and Boobs
Naturally, the main thing that matters here are the kills. Tom Savini made a return to the series after a couple of movie hiatus to help put an end to Jason once and for all. And his special effects work here is pretty decent. The kills are fun and rather creative. With some very nice rubber prosthetic work that looks suitably gnarly and a great reveal of maskless Jason later on in the film. The kills come thick and fast once they start and the blood never stops flowing.
The movie has plenty of humour. Much of it coming by the way of Crispin Glover with his dance scene being one of my favourite slasher moments ever. And for those of you who like your slashers with a lot less clothing. Part IV has more nudity than pretty much any movie in the series. The women here find any excuse to get naked. Either to the amusement or annoyance of the person watching. Friday the 13th IV is just a perfect representation of 80’s slashers. For better or for worse.
The Final Chapter but Not
This movie is sub-titled The Final Chapter and that was very deliberate. Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. was sick of feeling unappreciated for the series and wanted to move on to greener pastures. Paramount agreed and, foreseeing the end of the Slasher golden era, gave the go ahead to title the movie The Final Chapter to ensure it would be the last movie. Savini jumped on board because he wanted to send Jason off in style. Joseph Zito was given the directing helm in his only Friday the 13th movie before making a bunch of Chuck Norris action movies and that was that.
Only, it wasn’t! Obviously, the makers caved in to the pressure of the potential money that the franchise could make. And went on to produce a whole bunch of sequels and even a reboot or two. That’s without mentioning the strangely popular Freddy vs Jason as well. The Friday the 13th movies aren’t very good, even when they are at their best. But they have made a ton of money and Jason is an absolute horror icon. When you just need to scratch that Slasher itch, they might just fit the bill and, in my opinion, Part IV is the best.
Final Thoughts and Score
There’s not much to say about any of the Friday the 13th movies. It’s a pretty dire series all round but if you are looking for a slasher with some great kills, some moments of humour, a tiny bit of story and a lot of nudity then part IV is the one you should check out. It’s not a brilliant movie by any stretch but it’s the best in the series, in my opinion, and a lot of fun. They all have their own charm but this one seems to hit and lot more than it misses.
Trailer: Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter (1984)
|Release Date:||13th April 1984|
|Movie Type:||Horror, Slasher|
|Movie Length:||91 Min|
|Starring:||Kimberly Beck, Peter Barton, Crispin Glover, Corey Feldman, Judie Aronson|
|Directed By:||Joseph Zito|
|Written By:||Barney Cohen, Bruce Hidemi Sakow|
|Produced By:||Frank Mancuso Jr.|
|Parental Guidance:||Tons Of Violence, Tons Of Nudity, Language|