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Paramount Studios presents

Friday the 13th:The Final Chapter (1984)

"Woohoo!!"- Various teens having fun

Stars: Judei Aronson, Peter Barton, Corey Feldman
Other Stars: Joan Freeman, Crispin Glover
Director: Joseph Zito

MPAA Rating: R for (violence, language, sex)
Run Time: 01h:31m:15s
Release Date: 2000-10-17
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C D+C+B- C


DVD Review

At some point, someone had the fine cinematic idea to put a bunch of teenagers together in an isolated location and kill them off one by one, and then do it again...and again, and again, ad nauseam. Some call it the Friday The 13th series; I call it goofy. The Final Chapter is the fourth installment, but by no means the "final chapter"—I often wonder if Paramount ever actually intended to end the series here, if it ever really mattered. In any case, by now the series was in full swing and Jason Voorhees was reaching his legal kill-limit.

Final Chapter opens with a montage from the previous 3 films, for those unfamiliar with the storyline. Basically, Jason Voorhees was a mentally-retarded child who drowned at Crystal Lake summer camp because the counselors were all too busy goofing off. He returns from the grave to get revenge, except by now he's gone well beyond camp counselors (in fact, the original Friday film was about Jason's mother going crazy and his now infamous hockey mask wasn't included until FTF: Part 3). This time, he encounters a gathering of partying teenagers (surprise, surprise) who have rented an old farmhouse. They let their guard down—drinking, getting naked, having angst—and Jason begins hacking them up with a variety of weapons (where DID he get them?). Next door to the farmhouse lives little Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), who specializes in making gore effects and weird masks. The crux of the film relies on his experience with this art to fake Jason out and get the jump on him.

The first question that pops into my head when watching a Friday The 13th film is: where exactly were these parties when -I- was in high school? How common was it that these sizable gatherings took place where people simply dropped their inhibitions (and their clothes) all at once? I mean, these teens have the moral fiber of a garden slug, yet seem surprised when things go awry. And to make thing worse, the most popular people in these films are always the lecherous, foul-mouthed goons. This sets a very clear rule: if you have sex, you will almost, inevitably, die. The geek who gets jilted usually winds up being the one to save the day.

OK, I've digressed enough. Back in the film, basically nothing happens you haven't seen in a dozen similar horror films. Though slightly better directed than other installments in the series, The Final Chapter doesn't really dive into anything new (except setting a record for number of nude teens in one scene, perhaps). It's definitely more violent than the previous entries and has a certain style of brutality. This at least gives it some credibility, as it delivers what it promises. Like the other films, though, it's very slow to start, taking almost half the movie before the real "meat" of the story comes into play.

The acting is about what you'd expect and, sadly, Crispin Glover is totally wasted as more Jason fodder. The very young Corey Feldman has more personality then most of the cast combined. If anything really stands out, it's the special effects by gore ma"stro Tom Savini. Also, composer Harry Manfredini adds his usual great scoring into the mix, as he has done for all the Friday films except the first one. Otherwise, this movie stacks up as another typical entry for the series. That's either good or bad depending on your fanship. It isn't quite as goofy as the previous films, but it doesn't truly innovate, either.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic transfer is nicely done and adds good resolution to the image, but the source print is a little on the messy side. Some scenes are plagued with grain and scratches, and others are unnaturally dark and faded. Though the movie looks OK for the most part, the poor quality of the source induces a lot of digital flaws to come out, like serious compression artifacts and background movement.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Pro-Logic Mono audio services the film well enough, but is generally flat and lifeless. Nothing really stands out about the track, and it doesn't have any significant bass worth mentioning. This most likely won't bother anyone, but a slightly better sound remaster would have been nice. The French track is similar, and makes an entertaining departure from the normal dialogue.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than a trailer, there's no extras. A few more chapter stops would have been nice, too. Of course, what really could have been added? Are there Friday The 13th fans anxious to see a commentary or making-of?

Extras Grade: C

Final Comments

I don't understand why it's taken so long for this series to hit DVD, but if you're a fan, this disc shouldn't disappoint. Despite the "iffy" image quality, it's still the same old Friday The 13th, for better or worse. Definitely a rental.

Dan Lopez 2000-10-18