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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter

     Believe it or not, FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER actually was intended to be the very last Jason Voorhees movie. But with it grossing $32 million dollars at the box office, the powers that be said they weren't retiring the hockey mask so quickly after all. And it's a shame, because it's such a doozy of a film that it could've ended the series with a strong bang. 

FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER is one of the last, great slashers of the 80's, and unfortunately the last truly good film of the franchise (well, besides the sixth installment, which we'll get to later...). Picking up right
where the previous FRIDAY left off with Jason lying in a barn with an ax in his head, the fourth installment kicks off in high gear and never lets up for a second.

     THE FINAL CHAPTER was the goriest entry to date, with the great Tom Savini returning in the effects department. Savini has said that since he basically "created" Jason, he wanted to be the one to "destroy" him once and for all, which makes perfect sense to me. Jason is still a hulking, scary menace- he's superbly portrayed by Ted White, who perfectly continues what Richard Brooker did in Part 3.

     Director Joe Zito generates some genuine unease and good, solid scares along the way- which blend well with the top-notch effects by Tom Savini. Zito also throws in some nice homages to the first three films, bringing the story full circle.

     It really should have ended for good after this one. They would have had 4 relatively strong and influential slashers to go down in history as a remarkable series- but they didn't. They have honestly milked Jason Voorhees for all the poor guy's worth- the same fate has also been bestowed on Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, if you ask me.

      This is it kids- the last, great one before the franchise would mercilessly jump the shark and become more and more ludicrous with each passing film. This is Jason's swan song. It's over the top, more of a rollercoaster ride than a movie. There's not much of a plot here, but does it really matter at this point? Jason is found dead in a bard and taken to the morgue. Of course he's not dead, and escapes. He goes back to the woods to kill more. That's pretty much all you need to know- and it's a helluva lot of fun.

    THE FINAL CHAPTER provoked strong audience interaction and participation in theaters as the movie-going public ate up every single frame flickering on the big screen. The film was a hit, grossing $32.9 million in the US- even though the slasher film craze was starting to end. Besides, you know you're usually in for a good time when Corey Feldman shows up. Throw in Kimberly Beck who makes a great Final Girl, some DoubleMint Twins, Crispin Glover, and a wicked sense of humor and you've got a great 80's slasher that holds up well today.

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