It’s also the sleaziest entry (thanks to Savage Streets director Danny Steinmann, who also had a background in adult films); the females disrobe at the drop of a hat, many characters are introduced only moments before their deaths, there’s a peeping tom character, a cokehead… it’s truly wonderful. And who can forget “Damn enchiladas!”?
Anyway, let’s take a closer, albeit very random look back at the film!
1:00 Tommy’s legs. This is from the aforementioned nightmare scene, in which Tommy (Feldman) imagines two guys dug up Jason’s grave and were killed for their efforts. Oddly, Tommy would do this himself in the next film.
2:00 The two graverobbers, yakking before they dig him up. Tommy has pretty specific dreams, I guess.
3:00 A shot of Jason’s grave. His tombstone is hilarious; it looks like three pieces of rotted wood, with his name painted on haphazardly (the ‘S’ almost didn’t fit!). And it’s possible that it wasn’t a story-telling decision (“Someone would probably make Jason’s tombstone themselves and place it there!”) but just a cheap prop. Not like this movie spared no expense on several of its elements.
4:00 Jason!!! One thing about the movie that’s kind of cool, when it’s actually Jason (in Tommy’s dreams and hallucinations), the stripes are red like they should be. It’s only when it’s Roy the ambulance driver in the mask that the stripes are blue. A motif!
5:00 Pretty awesome shot! Requires no explanation.
6:00 The title sequence! The familiar “Friday the 13th” logo explodes to reveal Jason’s mask.
7:00 Heh, perfect: “Music by Harry Manfredini”. I’ve given this guy a ton of shit over the years over at HMAD, and rightfully so - he’s not a very good composer. His music is frequently annoying and cheesy, and repetitive to boot. You know how his Friday themes sound sort of ripped off from Psycho? Well, nearly every other score he has done is more or less recycled from his Friday score, most notably 1980’s The Children, which was released a month after Friday.
8:00 A shot of our new Tommy, riding toward his new home, a halfway house located in the woods.
9:00 A shot of Billy, one of the film’s more colorful characters (and the aforementioned cokehead).
10:00 Pam, the movie’s heroine, showing Tommy around. Tommy Jarvis was the first prominent male to survive a Friday movie (in Final Chapter
), and thus started a tradition of there being a male AND female protagonist that would be left standing at the end of the film. Melanie Kinnaman is probably one of the more forgettable “final girls” in the series, but it’s not her fault, really - who can compete with crazy, tackle-prone Tommy?
11:00 A closeup of Dr Letter, the guy who runs the place.
12:00 A closeup of a production still from Final Chapter, repurposed to be a photograph of Tommy’s now deceased mother (and his sister, who I can’t remember if they killed off via a line of dialogue or not). I love when movies do this; the photo is from a familiar scene in the movie but we know no one in the movie took a photo of it.
13:00 Reggie The Reckless! Apparently thinking that having a little kid was one of the things that made Final Chapter so successful, this and the next film would have prominent child characters. But even Danny Steinmann isn’t sleazy enough to kill a kid in one of these movies, so I’m not a fan of the concept. One “safe” character per Friday movie, please!
14:00 Tommy futzing with one of his masks, another nice nod to continuity.
15:00 Two cops who are bringing a couple of the residents back to the house (if memory serves they were screwing around on private property - this is actually foreshadowing how they die later!).
16:00 The introduction of the film’s (and possibly series’) most hateful and thus awesome characters: Ethel and Junior, a mother-son pair of rednecks who live nearby. They’re obvious fodder, but unlike others, they at least have a couple of scenes prior to the one where they get killed.
17:00 Ethel yelling at the cop. This scene goes on forever. Get to the killin’!
18:00 Here we go: Vic chopping wood! We all know where this goes. It’s weird (or just sloppy), Vic should be a suspect for the pseudo-Jason, but after this he’s never really mentioned again, despite the fact that he’s the only one Roy should have a beef with. But logic and Friday movies don’t go hand in hand (nor should they).
19:00 Joey! Pretty much all of the Friday movies have a pathetic nerd type character, but Joey is borderline special needs. But he’s got a heart of gold though; his entire performance is based on trying to be nice to the other folks, all of whom obviously hate him.
20:00 Vic swinging away. Compared to the majority of the kill scenes in the movie, this sequence is borderline Hitchcockian with the way it ramps up the tension, with Vic getting more and more annoyed by Joey (as we all are) and thus swinging that axe with ever increasing intensity.
21:00 Joey’s horrified reaction to the choco-cide that just occurred. Not as horrified as his reaction a few seconds later when Vic finally snaps and treats his back like a piece of wood (or a candy bar, I guess).
22:00 Dr. Letter dropping some exposition about the newly departed Joey’s lack of family. This whole subplot doesn’t make a lick of sense, even for a Friday movie. If Roy didn’t want people to know he had a son, why does he work as an ambulance driver in the same small town? And he knew his kid was there, so why is he doing his job like usual? He had to have known what a goon his son was; if my kid was that much of an annoyance, and I heard someone snapped and killed a fellow resident at the place he was staying, my first guess would be “Oh shit, they killed my kid!” Roy doesn’t seem to even consider it a possibility. Weird for a guy who would be so upset by his son’s death that he’d don a hockey mask and kill 15 or so people.
23:00 Roy forlornly pulling the sheet over his son’s corpse.
24:00 One of the two guys who stepped out of a low-rent production of Grease and made their way to Crystal Lake in order to meet some girls. It’s possible that the girls were residents of the halfway house (I bet Violet would party with these guys), but as far as we know they have no connection to the rest of the movie at all. One of the more extraneous death sequences in the Friday series, to be sure.
25:00 POV (?) shot of one of the “punks” walking through the woods.
26:00 One of the more hilarious moments in the movie, when the still-living punk walks right past the corpse of his buddy without noticing that he’s quite obviously dead.
27:00 A sweaty Tommy waking up from one of his nightmares. OR is he sweaty from killing two random punks the night before? (No.)
28:00 Reggie talking to his grandfather about visiting his brother. Gramps doesn’t seem to want his grandson to spend time with his sibling, for reasons unexplained.
29:00 Everyone sitting down for breakfast. Things are about to get tense because Violet has set a place for Joey, and, as we all know, “You don’t set a place for a dead person!”
30:00 PERFECT! My favorite line in the movie. Dr. Letter sits down and offers this comforting missive: “I know how you all feel. This thing is not easy, for any of us. So let’s just have breakfast.” And 7 or 8 troubled youths are healed.
31:00 Tommy throwing a guy into a table! Apparently, we are supposed to think that Tommy himself may be the killer in this movie, but I never saw it that way. Whether Steinmann didn’t do a very good job in his direction, or the actor wasn’t good enough to convey that duality, or what, it just doesn’t work. Doesn’t help that Roy is so blatantly obvious as the killer, but I’d suspect the guy who ran the halfway house before Tommy.
32:00 Ethel hears a noise.
33:00 Ethel yelling at Junior. Why do these two have so much screentime?
34:00 Billy doing donuts in the parking lot. Because he is awesome.
35:00 Lana the waitress! Fun fact: the actress is Rebecca Wood, who also appeared in Peter Bogdanovich’s Mask the same year. Her agent must have been the most random guy in the world.
36:00 Lana finishes primping herself with breath spray (2 sprays in her mouth, 1 spray in her cleavage).
37:00 Billy getting impatient in his car.
38:00 Lana waiting in Billy’s car. He’s already dead.
39:00 Aw, but she was my favorite character!
40:00 The sheriff getting chewed out by the mayor. The mayor character is great, and I wish we saw more of him. Also this is the rare scene in a Friday film in which none of the participants die.
41:00 See previous entry.
42:00 Tina and Eddie making plans to go off and die, I mean, fuck.
43:00 Eddie sweetens the deal for Jason by lighting a joint before they do the do.
44:00 Eddie and Tina, post-coitus (note the timecode. Smooth work, Eddie).
45:00 Lasik: Jason-style!
46:00 A closeup of Tina’s missing eyes.
47:00 Pam and Dr. Letter yammering on. Dr. Letter is sort of like the Steve Christy (or Paul, if you will) of the movie, but nowhere near as interesting.
48:00 Our trio of obvious survivors in a truck, heading off into the night.
49:00 Everyone getting out of said truck.
50:00 Reggie introduces Demon to his “girlfriend” (Pam). Finally, the movie gets kind of weird again. In a few seconds, Demon will offer them their choice of egg roll, taco, or slice of pizza, three food items that couldn’t go LESS together.
51:00 Tommy gets inexplicably drawn to a trailer park sign.
52:00 Junior confronts Tommy. Unlike the audience, Junior apparently buys Tommy as a suspect.
53:00 The truck driving away after Reggie the Reckless said his final goodbye to Demon the Diarrhean.
54:00 Demon gets spooked by the shaking walls of his outhouse. If you look behind Demon, you’ll see “Fadden Was Here”, a reference to Vic Fadden, the guy that kicked the plot off when he axed Joey to death. Apparently this was supposed to make us think Vic was the killer as well, but it wasn’t until the 4th or 5th time I watched the movie that I even noticed it.
55:00 Demon sings his chart-topping smash “Ooh Baby”.
56:00 Demon reacting to the spike that just tore through his chest.
57:00 Pam saying something. Who cares.
58:00 Junior’s POV of his final ride. His death is awesome, Jason just steps out with a cleaver and takes his head off with minimal effort. One thing about this movie is that it goes back to the original’s tendency to show just the hand of the killer, so you can’t tell who it is just from their size (also because Mrs. Voorhees didn’t wear any disguise). So I guess I can kind of see why folks might hate it a lot - real Jason or not, you barely ever see him. And many of the murders are off-screen.
59:00 Ethel prepping her horrifying stew, which contains mostly spit and vegetables torn apart with her dirty hands.
1:00:00 Pam getting out of her truck, which stalled out after she bored it to death.
1:01:00 Jake pathetically trying to ask Robin out. Since Joey died in his first scene, it was Jake’s duty to fill in as the resident Friday nerd character, following Ted, Shelly, and Jimmy.
1:02:00 Same friggin shot. Get to it, man! Even with the stutter it shouldn’t take this long!
1:03:00 A newly heartbroken Jake, crying. First male to cry in a Friday film?
1:04:00 The end of Robin’s movie, which in an amazing coincidence was from Paramount.
1:05:00 Robin getting ready for bed. Since this is a Friday film, that means she sleeps nude.
1:06:00 NSFW! Robin in bed, with her blanket pulled up just below her nipples. Who said Steinmann was a lousy director?
1:07:00 YES! Pic says it all.
1:08:00 Jason: dance critic.
1:09:00 The Reckless about to start a game of “Find the dead friends”.
1:10:00 Pam and Reggie in a panic as they attempt to escape the house.
1:11:00 Reggie and Pam run through the rain, moments after we saw Jason for the first time in the movie outside of Tommy’s visions.
1:12:00 More running. This is OK though; the chase scenes (especially those in the rain) should go on a while.
1:13:00 Pam, back in the house, having lost Reggie somewhere along the way.
1:14:00 Pam crawling along the ground.
1:15:00 Pam and Reggie reunited, after Reggie’s stunt double drove a tractor into Jason.
1:16:00 Hero shot of Jason in the rain, heading toward the barn.
1:17:00 Reggie watching Jason and Pam fight. Pam has a chainsaw, which is about the only reason anyone ever defends her as a Friday heroine.
1:18:00 Jason reacting to hearing that Tommy is there. This doesn’t make any sense: it’s not really Jason - Roy has no idea who Tommy is. Plus, Pam could be considered partially to blame for his son’s death, since she’s one of the folks running the place that gave an axe to an obviously disturbed guy.
1:19:00 Jason about to strike Tommy.
1:20:00 Jason sort of “sighing” as he starts to climb a very flimsy ladder.
1:21:00 Blue mask!
1:22:00 Reggie and Pam look down at what they hope is Jason’s corpse (spoiler: he’s not dead yet).
1:23:00 Same deal, but now he’s dead.
1:24:00 In another homage to the original, our friendly cop talks to the heroine at the hospital.
1:25:00 Oh, perfect! The cop showing Pam newspaper clippings about Jason, including one that has a closeup of Jason in action. I’ll give them the photo of Tommy’s family, but who the hell took THAT?
1:26:00 Pam visiting Tommy in his hospital room.
1:27:00 Tommy waking up from his 75th nightmare.
1:28:00 Red mask!
1:29:00 The final shot in the movie, Tommy about to kill Pam (not a dream sequence, as far as we know). This plot point was ignored in Jason Lives, sort of like how Halloween 5 pussed out on having little Jamie be the killer, which they set up in Halloween 4.
1:30:00 Set Decorator: PAMELA WARNER; Property Master: BARBARA BENZ; Property Assistant: FREDERICK VAN BRUNT, etc.
1:31:00 More credits, including an “animals provided by…” one. WHAT animals?
1:32:00 Paramount logo. THE END!
Again, I can certainly see why folks don’t really like this one, but like Halloween III, if you just get past your bias (no Michael there, faux Jason here), I think you’ll find it’s one of the more enjoyable, especially with a big crowd. Once the killings start we get another one every 5 minutes, there’s a ton of nudity, and there’s a tinge of “WTF?” running throughout the film. And even though it’s not the real guy, it’s the last time Jason was human in a movie (until the remake), as he would be a zombie in the remaining entries (and part robot in Jason X). So there’s something. Give it another chance!
Brian Collins watches a horror movie every day, and has done so for four years. Until the Guinness people (beer, not book) recognize him you can read his reviews of those films at Horror Movie A Day, the original and still the best daily horror movie site.