31 Days in October, 31 Horror Films – 2015
Day 27: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Does the title make any sense given the privilege of our hindsight? There are 6 more films after this one, 8 if you count the reboot and the spin-off Freddy vs Jason and yet I think this title still works.
The films tend to riff on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, particularly her notions of the sublime power of nature in its contest with man. Jason as a deranged person isn’t the killer so much as he is a stand in for cruel and overpowering nature. Flippant teens are most often killed with artifacts of humanity’s dominion over the forest: the axe, the arrow, the machete. In this film, however, something entirely different is going on. The character of Jason Voorhees is played by a larger and more hulking actor and his skin is darker. Very dark, in certain scenes. Series SPOILERS in the next paragraph.
The main character in this film is a child named Tommy, played by Corey Feldman(!!), who is obsessed with monster masks. Throughout the film Tommy has an inexplicable empathy for Jason and they play out a metaphorical expression of this Huck and Jim expression when Tommy dresses up as a young Jason Voorhees and savagely murders him. Truly murders him. Jason dies. No really, he actually dies here and doesn’t show up again until Tommy digs him up in part 6. This film is the last time Jason is in a Friday the 13th film that plays its horror straight (not counting the reboot).
So this film is the beginning of the Tommy arc and the end of the franchise as we know it. Everything from here on out gets weird and creative and much heavier on the jokes than the scares.