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Hellraiser: Judgment Get the Hell Out of Here

Anyone who knows me, even if just from the podcast, knows my favorite horror movie is Hellraiser. To be fair it’s one of my favorite movies period, and has been since I first saw it one sunny September day in 1987. It’s difficult to believe that was 3 decades ago, as the memory is still as fresh as if I had seen it only yesterday. I’d gone with a friend who was not fond of horror movies to say the least, and finally walked out after Frank’s classic, “Jesus wept,” line. I’m not sure he ever forgave me for dragging him along, but I couldn’t have been happier.

Everything about the movie appealed to me, and Clive Barker cemented himself alongside Stephen King as one of my idols. The idea of the Cenobites, their reason for existence, and Frank’s obsession with extremes was something that resonated with me, and has never been very far from my thoughts. With the advent of VHS players, Hellraiser became the movie to which I judged future friendships. If someone was able to sit through it, or even better, like it, I knew they’d be a keeper. It’s a test I still use to this day and has served me well.

I can’t say the same about the sequels. Even Hellraiser II, which some prefer to the original never had the profound effect of the original, and while I enjoyed 3 and 4-everything after that was nearly as painful as the implements hanging from Pinhead’s belt.  Even 3 and 4 weren’t especially great, but they were entertaining, and at least attempted to do something different, or expand the world that Barker had created.

When the rumblings of yet another sequel started rearing its head a couple of years ago (not to mention the remake which has fortunately not come to fruition yet), the news was greeted with an eye roll and shoulder shrug. Yet every time I read something about it, I have to say my interest was piqued more and more. Even when Doug Bradley said he wouldn’t be playing Pinhead, I still had hope.

And now after several postponements and some time in limbo, Hellraiser: Judgment will be available on VOD Feb 13. The short answer to the question of whether I like it or not is, “Well, it doesn’t suck!”  And while it’s probably the best of the direct to obscurity sequels, it’s not exactly a good movie.

 

The first 10 minutes or so is spent expanding the mythos that Barker began all those years ago, and it is easily the best part of the entire movie. We follow what turns out to be a pedophile to an abandoned house where he is strapped into a wheelchair. A tube winds itself from the victim to a typewriter, where The Auditor types his sins with blood flowing from the tube onto pages made from flesh.

Once completed The Assessor comes in, seasons the paper with tears of children and eats the paper, then vomits it into a funnel. The vomit then makes its way into a trough where The Jury, 3 women with their faces stripped away plunge their hands into the mess and deliver a verdict.

When that’s completed the pedophile is then strapped to a table where The Cleaners come in, lick his entire body then pour their spit into his mouth to cleanse the inside. The final step is when the Butcher makes his appearance, an obese dark Angel who carries The Surgeon on his back who filets the victim and strips his skin off.

The whole process is so fascinating; I really wish there had been more, as I was mesmerized and sickened by the process. Sadly, the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to this beginning, as we then get treated to a substandard serial killer/cops on the trail flick. Pinhead and the gang are relegated to the beginning and end with just a couple of quick scenes in between. Paul T. Taylor is a fantastic Pinhead however, and makes you realize a Hellraiser movie can succeed without Doug Bradley. This incarnation really hearkens back to the original movie. Pinhead here is all business, and scary as hell. His black eyes and calm, almost bored demeanor are a highlight for sure.

Director Gary J. Tunnicliffe also plays The Auditor and is also a highlight, and as I said, wish there had been more of him and his level of Hell in the film (he’s not a Cenobite, but another aspect of Hell). Heather Langenkamp, of Nightmare on Elm Street fame has a sneeze and you’ll miss it cameo, and I have to believe there’s a lot more of her on the editing room floor than in the movie.

This brings us to the “detectives” working on the case; a pair of brothers, played by Damon Carney and Randy Wayne, as well as a female detective assigned to the case, played by Alexandra Harris. These characters are easily the weakest link in the movie. You never believe they’re actually brothers. Let alone detectives, and in spite of solid performances, the script really lets them down. Harris does a fine job as well, but feels like she was thrown in there just to spice things up.

The biggest problem the movie has is the small budget. There are so many cool ideas that could have been explored but had to be cut because there simply wasn’t room in the budget for them.  The “detective’s” office looked more like a closet with some furniture thrown into it, and the finale takes place in an empty warehouse. I don’t blame the director for these choices, as you work with what you have, but still I can’t help but wonder what this movie could have been had they had a decent budget.

While I would have a hard time recommending buying the DVD/BluRay, I don’t think people will mind spending a few bucks to stream it. There are far worse movies out there, but in terms of Hellraiser sequels, you’ll find none that are much better. I just hope we get a proper sequel one day with more than a $1.98 budget, this franchise deserves more.

3/5 Pins

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One Last Night at Camp Blood: Jason X

And here we arrive at the final proper entry in the F13 series. I decided not to include Freddie VS Jason or the F13 remake because they weren’t direct sequels. For those interested however, I thought F VS J was a lot of fun with some great over the top gore, and the F13 remake was awful, and shit all over the original. And if nothing else, all the sequels have made me appreciate the original F13 all the more (Kevin Bacon’s penis aside).

I suppose there were better ways to end the franchise than launch Jason into space, but when you get to the tenth entry, good ideas are hard to come by. That said, Jason X is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. Please, don’t mistake entertaining for good, as that would be a mistake-but in comparison to Jason Goes to Hell, this is a Fellini quality film. After all, David Cronenberg makes a cameo in it, so that counts for something (to me anyway). And as I should have said from the very beginning of this series, These are my opinions only. If you like what I didn’t, that’s great! Movies are subjective and all I can do is give my reaction to them. Many times they seem contradictory, but that’s part of being human. Anyway, let’s lift off!

It’s 2008, and there’s two things that may surprise you. The U.S. Government has captured Jason and holding him in a dank, damp cellar, at a compound in Crystal Lake. Why there would be a government installation there is anyone’s guess, but David Cronenberg is the head of it, so it’s all cool. Scientist Rown wants tofreeze dry Jason, however Cronenberg and company have other plans to study him and adapt his cell regeneration if possible. When they enter the area Jason is kept, they discover Jason has gotten loose and killed the guard on duty. Pretty soon, everyone but Rowan is dead.

She leads him on a chase and eventually traps him in a cryofreezing unit. Before she can escape, Jason punctures the until and manages to stab her, so they’re both frozen like some Birdseye veggies.

Almost 450 years later 3 students and their professor are on an expedition to the Crystal Lake building. Despite the fact no one lives on earth any longer, it having become too polluted, they still do some excavation. They find Rowan and Jason, and are excited by the find. After they bring them back to their ship they begin the process of thawing out and reviving Rowan (Jason being a lost cause they surmise). She’s brought back using nanotechnology, and also has her wounds healed as well. Jason is left in the morgue where he’s about to undergo an autopsy.

This leads up to the first kill on the ship, and probably the best of them all. Mr. V comes to life and sticks the techs head in some cryo freeze unit until her entire head is frozen, and then wham! Smashed against the counter. How Jason knows what it is and what it does though, is anyone’s guess. Apparently he’s not as stupid as we assume (fair to say, Jason’s smarter than most of the screenwriters).

There’s a minor subplot about the professor not wanting Jason dead because he’d be worth a lot of money, and he needs that dough. A security team is sent out to neutralize him, and as it goes, they’re all killed save the leader who shows up later at a most convenient time.

 

The more Rowan warns about Jason’s danger the less people seem to listen and the more chances they take. Even as they’re picked off one by one, no one really listens to Rowan. In space no one sees you do stupid things. The Android with the ragtag bunch of survivors gets retrofitted with some kickass power and that’s exactly what she does, kicks Jason ass. Then she does what I’ve finally waited for someone to do in every sequel-shoot him in the legs. Cut them off, kneecap him, something to at least slow him down.

They leave the Jason chunks where they are, and somehow the nano bugs come and not only put Jason back together but make the parts of him missing, metal-so he’s indestructible. The uber Jason while a ridiculous concept looks bad ass, so it’s only natural he die in a bad ass way, hurtling towards the earth and burning up on entry, only for the remains to land by, you guessed it, Crystal Lake.

Look, I’m not going to pretend Jason X is anything great, as it’s not. In fact, it’s pretty ridiculous, however it has one thing going for it the previous two didn’t: truth in advertising. We barely saw any of Manhattan and none of Hell. 95% of the movie is actually in space. Side note, simply being able to get a job that allows you to go to space doesn’t mean you’re smart enough to not get killed. Jason has always been an equal opportunity killer. Jason X doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is, a goofy roller coaster ride that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s a good looking film, with some-not all-better than average acting, and a self referential script. If anything, it reminds me of the straight to VHS scifi movies I saw in the 80’s.

Why do I like this and not Jason Goes to Hell? Because X respects the source material, while Hell really shit all over it. You can take a franchise in different directions without retconning it the way Hell did. Yes the whole government installation and Jason being captured is ridiculous, as is his being made into an uber predator; but I was able to buy that more than anything in the previous film.

Jason X gets 6.5 machetes from me. Half a machete taken away for sending him to space.

 

And there we go, all ten movies in the F13 series. I was surprised by some, disappointed by others, and found some scary. All in all it’s one of the more consistent franchises of horror. Nothing ever came close to the first movie in terms of scares or surprise, though I think 2 came the closest. I also think it’s the one series that gets the least respect. Sure everyone loves Jason-the character, but the movies still have a less than positive reputation. Even 37 years after the original they get no respect. And maybe, just maybe, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Two Long Nights at Camp Blood: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

This may be the shortest essay of the bunch, because the more I think about this piece of shit movie, the angrier I get that I wasted 88 minutes of my life having to watch it again. Very few movies get me that angry, because I usually stop watching and go onto something else. I was tempted to here, but wouldn’t have felt right, writing about it.

My good bud and cohost of Mad As Hell, Kyle Fulton and I talked about the F13 remake a few years back. He liked it, I thought it was awful. Everything I disliked about the remake I disliked about Jason Goes to Hell. With a script co written by Jay Huguely (who had a string of hits under the name Cledus Maggard and his Citizen’s Band in the mid 70’s), and directed by 23 year old Adam Marcus, Jason Goes to Hell is not only the worst movie in the franchise, but one of the worst movies ever made. Were it not for one sequence set in a diner about ¾ of the way through the movie, I’d have nothing positive to say about it. Alright, let’s do this.

If you remember, in the last movie, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason is killed by toxic waste and turned back into a little boy. Jason Goes to Hell ignores that, and just about every other piece of canon and marches to the beat of its own drum. Meaning, they made crap up as they went along. WE open up with a woman heading to a cabin in the woods. Needless to say Jason pops up, and chases her around. At one point they get to an open area and all these flood lights pop on, and a SWAT team is there and shoots him about a million times and then blows him up for good measure. His head and heart remain intact if not where they should actually be located.

He’s taken to the morgue where there’s security, in case he rises up I suppose or someone tries to steal his remains. As the medical examiner is doing his job, he starts to examine the heart which not only starts beating, but hypnotizes him into taking a bite out of it like MacGruff took one out of crime. This somehow transfers Jason’s soul into the coroner who goes on to kill his assistant and the two security guards.

Not surprisingly, he heads back to Crystal Lake, kills three people he finds there, and it’s then we’re introduced to a Jason hunter, named Creighton Duke-I call him asshole for short. It’s through him we find out that Jason has a half sister, and only someone related to him by blood can kill him permanently. Now it’s bad enough New Blood added the supernatural aspect to him, but now we have him as a body thief not to mention the family aspect. Excuse my French, but fuck that. Look, I’m not a stickler about lore. Anyone who listens to Imaginarium knows that. However, when you change everything so much that it barely resembles what it is supposed to be-then we have a problem. This reimagining is pointless and serves only to tell the story that the writers want to and fitting Jason into it somehow.

Most of the rest of the movie is spent with Jason hopping from body to body as he tracks down his sister and her daughter so he can be reborn. Oh and the way he switches bodies, is he [ukes what looks like a bloody turd into someone’s mouth.  Considering what a shit pile the movie is, there’s no surprise that’s what they chose to use as the vehicle for the body jumping.

Earlier said there was only one thing to recommend about the movie, and I take that back. There are three, the diner scene, the end credits, and seeing Leslie Jordan out of his element. So let’s talk about that diner scene. Leading up to the final confrontation everyone who hasn’t been killed yet seems to end up there. Jason flits through a couple of bodies in the movies only truly somewhat scary scene. It’s filmed in partial dark, with lots of blues, and it actually works in creating some atmosphere. Sadly Leslie gets his head dunked in a fryer, but it’s always a lot of fun to see him on screen.

Now, the ending. Or should I say the final shot. This ridiculousness gets wrapped up, Jason apparently is sent to Hell, though we never even see the Devil’s playground, which is even more disappointing than sapending only 30 minutes in NYC when he goes to Manhattan. We do see these twisted arm tentacle things popping up out of the ground dragging him into a pit, so I suppose technically we’ve seen some of Hell’s minions. Once Jason is gone, and before the relief of those end credits, we see his mask laying in the dirt, and then they rip off Carrie’s end scene and have an arm shoot up and drag the mask under-and it’s Freddie Krueger!

 

Bullshit. As I said at the beginning, I never feel truly angry by a movie, I mean it’s only a movie, but the utter lack of care in this installment makes me want to punt kittens. And you know how much I love cats. Yes they were setting up the Freddie vs Jason movie but that would be a decade later, meaning we’d have to have one more sequel for me to sit through, where Jason goes to outer space.

I feel sorry for Kane Hodder. Here he is, one of the best actors to play Jason, yet he’s saddled with some of the weakest entries in the series. But hey, a paycheck is a paycheck, right?

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday gets half a machete from me. The diner scene saved it from getting 0.

 

Four Long Nights at Camp Blood, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Meet the new blood, same as the old blood. This was the installment that was supposed to have the Jason and Freddie Kreuger showdown, but as these things go, that didn’t happen until much later. Fifteen years later to be precise. The idea was then floated about  that it could be a Jason vs Carrie, which the producer’s liked. One producer in particular wanted this installment to be unlike any other of the sequels, and had even suggested Fellini direct it.

Well, Fellini didn’t pan out, so we got makeup effects wizard, John Carl Buechler. While not the strongest entry, it’s certainly not the worst, and will be remembered for several things: 1) Kane Hodder’s first appearance as Jason 2) Jason’s iconic look was cemented in this entry, and 3) death by sleeping bag. The second one can really be attributed to Kane Hodder as his mere presence onscreen is enough to make one shit their pants. He;s big, imposing, and more importantly, silent and seemingly everywhere.

Like other past sequels this one opens up with a montage of the previous movies to remind everyone of the Dickensian plot and characters.  After all it had been a whole two years since the last movie, and people had forgotten this masterpiece of cinema. Once that’s over, we see a little girl Tina, who is telekinetic, and kills her father in a fit of rage after he hit her mother. The dock collapses under him and he drowns.  By sheer coincidence it happens to be the same lake that Jason was left in, in the last movie.

We flash forward ten years or so, and Tina and her mother, plus her psychiatrist are going back to the house on the lake so Tina can confront her past and move on. She apparently has been in a mental hospital for the past decade. Her shrink, Dr. Crews is played by none other than the Weekend at Bernie’s corpse, Terry Kiser. In another coincidence he gets to play a corpse here as well, at least for a little while anyway. It becomes quite clear that the good doctor has no interest in treating Tina, he only cares about her abilities.

After a particularly tense session with him, Tina runs to the dock, and ends up raising Jason from the (un)dead. As far as reviving Jason goes, this is pretty original, in a check your brain at the door type way. Since Jason has never been one to waste time, he sets about killing people immediately. He comes across a couple lost on the woods. They’re on their way to the other house for a surprise birthday party. Surprise may be an understatement here, as Jason makes short work of both of them and then goes on the hunt for more.

Lucky for him there are plenty to choose from. We have the token minority, the geek, the bitch, the bookworm, the slut, and the stoner, to name just a few. One of the members, let’s say the bad boy who’s repented, takes an interest in Tina, and even when she freaks out because she sees a vision of someone being murdered, he still goes after her. As it turns out, Jason does murder the person she sees in her vision, the cousin of Nick, and the reason for the party. Jason also kills his girlfriend and another couple off gallivanting in the woods.

Tina has a row with her Doctor who threatens to commit her against the mother’s wishes, and she runs from the house. The mother and doctor go after her and run into Mr. V with yet another sharp bladed instrument. I’m not sure where he gets all of these things but the kills are far more entertaining for having them. The Doctor uses Tina’s mother as a shield and Jason kills her. He runs away but it’s not too long before he’s tracked down and dispatched with. Because the producer on this sequel wanted to class it up a bit, the kills are virtually bloodless. You don’t see a ton of gore, and most of the effects were left on the cutting room floor. While it doesn’t necessarily take away from the movie, it certainly seems to defeat the purpose. What this producer didn’t understand is the things she disliked are exactly what the audiences wanted to see. As a result the picture suffers for it, but not for lack of trying on Buechler’s part.

As one can imagine when dealing with a teen with telekinesis, there’s a showdown with Jason and it’s actually pretty good, if a bit cheesy. The special effects aren’t bad for the time, and it’s fun to watch. Jason of course gets blown up in the house, yet somehow manages to return intact, only to be dragged to the bottom of the lake by Tina’s father. If the movie has a weakness it’s this second ending with Jason returning and the father comes out of the lake. It’s silly, pointless and seems like a cheap trick.

Buechler does a commendable job on a script that really could have been far worse, and by rights it should have been worse, yet he lifted it up. While he’ll never be known as a classic director of the genre, he certainly can make an entertaining movie, and in the end that’s about all you can hope for.

I give Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood 6 machetes.

Five Long Nights at Camp Blood, Friday the 14th Part 6: Jason Lives

It’s at this point in the series that everyone gets to call me a hypocrite. Why? Because I really like Jason Lives and its humor. Over the past five installments I’ve talked about how I’ve hated the attempts at humor and how it ruined the movies to an extent. I have no good reason to justify my liking  it here, so I won’t try, other than to say, I like what I like. By all rights, it shouldn’t work, but whether it’s the direction or delivery, it does. Sue me.

We have a new writer and director, Tom McLoughlin, who not only appears to love the series, but actually loves horror as well. Perhaps because he was known for comedy is why the humor works, but it also helps he wrote an interesting, engaging script with characters that weren’t Trump levels of stupid. We also have a new Tommy Jarvis (Thom Matthews from Return of the Living Dead fame) as the previous one had become a devout Christian. It’s a shame as this was a far better role and didn’t have you uttering, “Jesus fucking Christ, really? every five minutes.

Jason Lives starts off with Tommy Jarvis and Ron Palillo (aka Horseshack), running from the psych hospital they were at and off to dig up Jason so Tommy could burn his body. I’ll be honest it was very cool seeing Palillo even if he’s only alive for 5 minutes, I was just hoping we’d hear the trademark laugh he gave Horseshack in Welcome Back Kotter. Sadly that wasn’t to be. Jason is dug up, Tommy grabs a piece of iron and stabs Jason with it. And wouldn’t you know, that piece of metal acted like a lightning rod, and it brought maggot face back to life. Victor Frankenstein couldn’t have done it any better. Once he’s alive, Jason punches Palillo in the chest, pulling out his heart through the other side. It’s a pretty good effect and a great way to start off the movie. Tommy escapes and makes his way to the Sheriff’s office. Needless to say the Sheriff doesn’t believe him, and when he goes to grab a gun,  Sheriff Garris arrests him and throws him in a jail cell.

As that’s going on, a couple of camp counselors get lost on their way, and find Jason standing in the middle of the road with the metal rod. “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that masked strangers are never good,” the woman says. When the male counselor pulls out a small gun from the glove compartment, and shoots Jason, it has no effect other than annoying him, and killing the both of them.

The next morning the Sheriff’s daughter and some of her friends who are counselors at the camp go to see him and ask for help in finding them. He says there’s nothing he can really so and basically blows her off. Tommy tries to warn them about Jason, but like the Sheriff he’s ignored, though it’s pretty apparent that Megan has the hots for him.

As all this is going on, there’s a paintball game happening in the woods because…why the hell, really? This scene features some inventive stuff including a triple beheading, and an arm being pulled out of its socket by accident. It’s kind of interesting seeing Jason just stare at the arm and I can imagine him saying in his best Urkel voice, “Did I do that?” He’s gotten far stronger than even he knew, which I guess may be a side effect of being undead. It’s also a point where past canon is sort of laid aside and the new testament of Jason (him being a supernatural creature, more than a human), of what he is begins. For any other franchise that would be the death knell, and in some ways I suppose it was, however, this sequel is so entertaining you don’t really think about it.

Unexpectedly to the camp counselors who are there, a bus load of kids arrives, and they’re caught not knowing what to do and improvise the best they can. This sets up a bit of tension as you wonder whether Jason will kill any of the little kids or not. This isn’t Season of the Witch, so it’s safe to say none of the kids are harmed. Physically anway, one can only imagine all the nightmares they’ll have. The Sheriff however is busy escorting Tommy out of the town limits with a warning not to come back.

No sooner does the Sheriff take off than Tommy heads back leading Garris on a chase to the cemetery, where, sadly for Tommy, the caretaker has already filled Jason’s grave back in. Just as a sidenote, when the drunken old caretaker is filling in the grave, he breaks the fourth wall and says straight into the camera, “Some folks have a strange idea about entertainment.” (or something similar, I’m paraphrasing).

At some point Tommy manages to get to a bookstore abd pick up some books on the supernatural, and within those tomes finds the way to kill Jason, which sets up the final act that’s about as exciting and well done as anything in the series. It features one of the all time great kills when Jason literally snaps the Sheriff in half, bending his torso so his back touches his legs. Unfortunately it’s so poorly edited that you really don’t get to see much other than the end result.

In a departure from other entries, this one has as much of a happy ending as you could hope for, as Tommy and Megan survive and sort of ride off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. Meanwhile Jason is chained to a rock and stuck underwater, though he is still very much alive.

 

After the hot garbage of Part 5, anything would have been a relief, but it’s fortunate that what came after was a worthy sequel. I’d still rather see more that took itself seriously as the first one did, but if there has to be some lightness, six has done it the best. With a smart script, good acting, and lots of atmosphere, Six easily rises above the pack.

I give Friday the 16th Part 6: A New Beginning 7 machetes

6 Long Nights At Camp Blood: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Here we are at the halfway point in the series, and there’s nowhere to go but down. At least that would be the general feeling after seeing the fifth installment, and it’s here where I start gritting my teeth and wondering why I’ve decided to punish myself like this. Not since the original F13 have we had an installment where Jason wasn’t the killer. Ooops, spoilers, though if you’re reading this you’ve probably watched this already. If for no other reason that’s why A New Beginning gets so much derision. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of other reasons as well.

Not only is there a new actor playing the pseudo Jason, we also have a new director, Danny Steinmann who shows no appreciable talent behind the camera. He got his start writing and directing porno movies in New York, then went on to film The Unseen and Savage Streets. A New Beginning would be his last directorial effort, so if nothing else we can be grateful for that. Steinmann died in 2012, and talking ill of the dead spooks me, so that’s all I’ll say about him.

Also different from previous movies, we have no campers, but we do have a group of emotionally scarred twenty somethings, I mean teens at a halfway house out in the middle of the woods. As the movie opens we see what turns out to be a bad dream of Tommy Jarvis. In it, he imagines two men digging up Jason’s grave. When Jason comes back to life to kill them, he then goes after Tommy who is paralyzed with fear. We then cut to Tommy as a teenager (though the actor who played him was 25 at the time) on his way to the halfway house. No sooner does he get there and start to settle in when the police show up, bringing back two of the residents who were caught screwing on private property. That private property belongs to a crazy old woman and her mentally deficient son who also show up.

Later that day we see another resident, a slow witted overweight guy Joey trying to help some of the others around camp. Vic who is chopping wood, will have none of it, and he ends up killing Joey with the ax. We see the paramedics arrive to take the body away, and of course one makes jokes, and the other says little, but by the look on his face you know we’ll be seeing more of him later on. Of course we will, as he turns out to be the murderer.

That night we see a couple of guys on their way to town to meet some girls, when their car breaks down, because, of course. No one in the F13 series has any reliable transportation. As one tries to fix the car, the other goes to take a dump, but both actions lead to the same thing: Jason kills their sorry asses. The following night, the driver who brought Tommy to the halfway house goes to meet his girlfriend Lana at the restaurant she works in. After showing off her breasts for no reason other than they’re big, the both of them get sliced and diced, and deservedly so, no doubt.

Next up on the chopping block are Tina and Eddie, the horny kids who were brought back by the police at the beginning of the movie. Here we see more nudity than blood which is about what happens for the entire movie. You don’t have to be a Mensa member to see that the director’s previous work was filtering into the current project. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if the kills are at least interesting-which let’s face is what most people go for-it’s certainly not for story. To be fair, Tina’s death by branch clippers to the eyes, and Eddie’s death by his skull being crushed with a leather strap tied behind a tree are the two best deaths in the movie, but like their orgasms come too quickly and last a lot less than they should.

All of this leads up to an over extended conclusion, which seems to drag on rather than elicit some sense of excitement. Reggie, a little kid knocks Jason into the dirt as he’s driving a bulldozer. Yes, that’s right, an 11 year old driving a bulldozer. Payback I would imagine for killing Reggie’s brother while using an outhouse.  Much like Part 3 ending happens in a barn. In fact it looks exactly like the barn from Part III, Tommy comes back after he’s run away earlier in the movie, and Reggie plus the blonde manager throw Jason out of the top of the barn and onto some conveniently placed spikes below. And then we see the great reveal.

It wasn’t Jason at all! It was the ambulance driver! Apparently the kid killed with an ax at the start was his son. Embarrassed by his less than impressive intellect, he kept him a secret. However he still loved him and his death made him seek revenge. The best part of this is the Sheriff is explaining it to the camp manager, and he’s showing her clippings from the ambulance driver’s wallet and one of them has a picture of Jason as if a photographer caught him on the street somewhere. Now I don’t claim to be an F13 expert, but I don’t remember his picture being taken by anyone at any time. And then, we get a second ending which is lifted straight from the fourth movie, with Tommy once again being set up to take over for Jason.

The biggest problem, and why I think none of the sequels really work as well as the first two movies, is they’re not taken seriously. 1 and 2 were straight up horror. Yes, 2 had more self referential bits in it, but it still took its job as a horror movie seriously. Once we get to five, there’s so much nodding and winking that any kind of scares are impossible to come by unless it’s a cheap jump. It’s poorly written, shits over the canon that’s come before, and values nudity over blood. Worst of all, there’s no Jason! Unsurprisingly, this was one of the least profitable entries in the franchise. The fact it still made decent money though shows the power of the franchise.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning gets 4.5/10 machetes

Seven Long Nights At Camp Blood: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

There probably should have been “My ass!” after the final chapter subtitle, as I don’t know anyone who believed the cash cow was being taken to the slaughter house. Like every good exploitation flick, the F13 movies were cheap and made a good profit. Who would want to stop that? Bueller?

With Steve Miner off to do other things, it was time for a new director, and exploitation movie director extraordinaire, Joseph Zito was brought in. Fresh off The Prowler, an underrated grindsploitation classic, Zito does the best he can, and while Final Chapter is a cut above (see what I did there?) the third entry, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily great, or even good. It is however different, and certainly the best looking of the four. It also sports some well known names, including Peter Barton (who had completed work on Nightmare with Linda Blair), Corey Feldman (who would go on to film The Goonies  the following year, thus keeping him from appearing in the sequel as the main character), and of course Crispi Glover, the Deney Terrio of the F13 franchise.

Much like Part 3, the fourth movie starts almost immediately after the previous. In fact the film opens on the investigation at the cabins, and the ambulances carrying away the dead bodies, and Jason. I should mention, prior to that, is a catching up of what has occurred in the previous movies, you know, because the back story is so rich and detailed it’s easy to get confused. It’s pointless filler, but with the running time at just about 90 minutes, can see why they threw it in. Regardless, we arrive at the morgue with Jason’s body, and the morgue attendant, a horny and serial sexual harasser tries to convince a nurse to spend some time in the cold room. She does this initially, however when Jason’s arm falls off the table, she loses her interest in boning the doc and heads off to do her job. Sadly for the doc, Jason rises and nearly decapitates him with a bone saw. I couldn’t think of a nicer guy to deserve such treatment.

Obviously the nurse is next to get it, and Jason takes off again for the woods.  We then meet this installments fresh meat for the grinder. On the way to Crystal Lake, they see the headstone for Mrs. Voorhees on the side of the road-because where else would you bury the mother of a serial killer? It should have one of those natio0nal park, Views of Interest next to it. If you thought Peter Barton and Crispin Glover would be part of this group, you’re correct. Crispin’s character Jimmy is sort of an awkward loner (totally against type), who hangs with his best friend Ted (played by Larry Monoson of Last American Virgin infamy). Ted is the joker of the group, Barton is the jock, and there’s another guy who is so boring, I forget he’s even in the movie.

Once they get to the cabin, we then meet their neighbors a family of three, Mom, daughter and son. Corey Feldman is the son who has a keen interest in horror movies and makeup.  The next day, the teens next door decide to go skinny dipping because, really, we haven’t seen enough boobs yet. While that is going on Tommy and his sister breakdown in their old POS which is mandatory for living in the woods. They run into a hiker that sis gets the hots for and they bring him back to the house. And what’s Jason doing during all this? I don’t know, they never show what he does in his downtime. (aside from the awful remake in 2009 which I will not review, I love you all but not that much.) Needless to say that since there’s going to be a party that night, you know Jason’s gonna be there to bust a move, furniture, bones, pretty much everything.

At this party Crispin Glover proves he isn’t a dead fuck as his friend referred to him on the trip to the cabin. Ted, said friend, ends up getting high, and acquires a case of blue balls while watching some early 20th century porn. In all honesty I think that would have been more interesting to watch. One by one everyone gets killed, save for Tommy and his sister,

Part four has perhaps my favorite way of Jason being killed. It is so gruesome that even today it makes me squirm, despite the fact iut looks fake as hell. He gets a machete in the head, and when he falls it hits the handle and we see it sliding through his skull, nearly cutting it off. It’s a fantastic effect marred only by the fact that Jason’s makeup looks more like a pull over mask than anything else. Yes it’s suitably deformed, that doesn’t make it scary though

 

In spite of the subtitle, and as I said in the beginning, there was no way this would have been the final movie, as the series was way too profitable for Paramount. The ending was setting up Tommy to take over for Freddy, and that could have happened had Corey Feldman not had to film The Goonies and Gremlins. Let’s be thankful to the powers that be that, that never happened. What came next was so, so much worse, but that’s getting ahead of myself.

The parts of F13 Part 4 are greater than the sum. There are some good scenes, such as Jason’s kill, and of course Crispin Glover’s spastic dancing. Yet the layout of Camp Crystal changes as much as Jason’s makeup-there’s no continuity in either of them really, and where did the second house come from all of a sudden? The world may never know. Needless nitpicking aside, Part 4 isn’t the worst of the bunch to this point, but that’s really not saying much.

Friday the 13th:  The Final Chapter get’s 5/10 machetes