With higher production values, memorably gruesome special effects, and a better cast, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter seemed like the ideal ending point for the lowbrow slasher series. After a nifty prologue montage that sums up the first three films, we’re off to Camp Crystal Lake and introduced to a new assortment of preppy teenagers (including Crispin Glover as nerdy Ted, who spasmodically dances to bad 1980s pop music and is presciently told by his best friend that he’s a “dead fuck,” gets laid, and then is promptly done in by a kitchen utensil after ill-advisedly shouting, “WHERE’S THE GODDAMNED CORKSCREW?”). In addition to the cannon-fodder characters is a machete-wielding, friendly neighborhood Jason hunter (Erich Anderson) searching for his missing sister and a precocious little kid named Tommy (Corey Feldman, in Goonies mode) who (a) spies out the window at naked coeds getting it on, (b) has a cool collection of monster masks in his room, and (c) during his final confrontation with Jason decides to shave his head, cut off the legs of his jeans to make short shorts, and I guess pretend to be the hockey mask marauder’s younger self. There are enough fresh twists to the played-out slasher genre to keep fans engrossed, with Jason going down for the count in a memorably nasty way and the final close-up on bald Feldman keeping the door open for the obligatory sequel. Even though we would see more of Jason over the years (first as a zombie, then battling a telekinetic super-girl, taking on Freddy Krueger within his own warped dreams, even hacking teens to bits in outer space), this one certainly felt as if it properly closed out the Friday the 13th series before it devolved into unadulterated camp.
Image quality is excellent, with rich blacks and vibrant colors, and the audio is consistently well modulated.
While the commentary by director Joseph Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen, and editor Joel Goodman is informative (yes, Crispin Glover came up with his own insane dance scene, and yes, some of the actresses have body doubles), it’s also pretty dry. More lively and fun, if completely inconsequential and fanboyish, is the track by genre filmmakers and fans Adam Green and Joe Lynch, who defend the film point-by-point as if it were a horror classic for all time, and they lovingly quote the dialogue. More amusing are the slashed scenes, which are without sound but narrated by Zito, where we get to see some behind-the-scenes special effects work and learn which actors were gung ho about their death scenes (Glover, natch) and which found the whole thing ridiculous. A goofy alternate ending, an extended cut of Glover’s dance scene (which apparently is an act he performed in clubs throughout Los Angeles), some amateurish short films inspired by Friday the 13th, and a theatrical trailer round out the DVD.
Jason gets the proper sendoff.