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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 10/31/00

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
1984 (2000) - Paramount

review by Dan Kelly of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Film Rating: B-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/D-

Specs and Features

91 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (14 chapters), languages: English and French (DD mono), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

Call me crazy or call me a crackhead, but I like this film! I make no excuses about liking it and don't justify it by associating it with some sweet moment or event in my life. Outside of the Police Academy movies, 1980s slasher films are some of the most reviled movies around. And everything that people hate about slasher films is here in extreme amounts. There's lots of nudity (skinny-dipping I can understand, but skinny dipping with strangers in a notorious lake that's inhabited by a masked serial killer?). There's lots of drinking and drug use (yet only one of the hapless teens manages to get wasted). And then there's Crispin Glover's dancing. I can't explain it. It's bad and I know it, but I can't help liking it. I will never bad-mouth Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

Slasher films are, by their very nature, so contained within their own little world that any hint of reality in them would send them completely out of orbit. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is a perfect example of that. Still another group of teens moves into the woods of Crystal Lake, this time to party for an entire summer. They move in next door to the Jarvises - a happy little single-parent family. Tommy Jarvis, at such a tender young age, is a real pro at making latex monster masks. Why introduce this into the movie, you may ask? Because it will come in handy later on, in the "make-Jason-think-you're-him" segment. I don't know how anyone so cunning and innovative with a machete can fall for the same trick over and over, but he does.

This is the first of three series appearances for the Tommy Jarvis character. In this go-around, he's played by young Corey Feldman. Though he hasn't really made a career out of horror films, Corey's definitely seen his fair share of them (Bordello of Blood, The Lost Boys and Dream a Little Dream among others). It would be really unfair of me to give away the ending, but it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that the "lone female survivor" rule doesn't apply to this film. Brave, break-the-mold filmmaking indeed! In the end, the film's misleading title (and the effort to completely hack Jason up in the story) is useless - The Final Chapter this ain't. There are still five more Friday movies after this one!

Aside from containing a real winner of a slasher movie, the disc looks pretty darn good as well. A clean print was used for the transfer, resulting in an anamorphic widescreen picture that is mostly free of major scratches and other flaws. Flesh tones and color saturation are generally good, but both seem slightly muted or washed out on occasion. Blacks are dark and solid, but do fall prey to occasional graininess that affects the feel of some of the darker scenes. Needless to say, any previous home video incarnation of The Final Chapter is going to look really dated compared to this DVD. Again, the audio is a Dolby Digital mono reproduction of the film's original soundtrack. Dialogue, effects and music are all distinctly represented but will probably not impress. It should be really obvious, by this point in time, where Paramount is putting their money on DVD. Other movies from the studio that are just as old (or even older, like Airplane!) are getting new 5.1 sound mixes, while films like those in the Friday the 13th series just get retreads of the original soundtrack. Ah well...

I feel like I'm repeating myself with these Paramount discs. You get the theatrical trailer here and nothing beyond that. I guess, deep down inside of me, I was hoping for the really cool little Fangoria/Starlog magazine documentary that Paramount put out in the 80s, called Scream Greats: Volume 1, which chronicled Tom Savini's effects work in horror films. It would have been a nice little bonus, seeing as this was the last Friday film he worked on. But it's not here. I suppose I'll live.

One more Friday the 13th film on DVD down... and five more to go. At the rate Paramount's going, the whole series should be out in about two years or so. But fans have got a good start with the discs that are already available. After these four, the farther into the series you get, the tamer they become. The censors became more strict with their cuts, and the series, in turn, became a little less graphic. Whether or not that's a bad thing is for you to decide. In any case, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is certainly not tame, and it makes for a decent looking DVD.

Dan Kelly
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