In what was billed to be the end of Jason, Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter had the 6th biggest opening weekend of 1984 and went on to be the 26 top grossing film of the year. The film was roasted by critics across the board, with Roger Ebert going so far as to say that it was “an immoral and reprehensible piece of trash.” As always with films like this, the years have been kind and it’s considered a cult classic.
The Final Chapter finds a young Corey Feldman playing Tommy Jarvis, a character you’re going to see plenty of over the next few movies. In this film his family is terrorized by Jason who was thought to be dead as of the end of Friday the 13th Part III. Of course this isn’t the case, and after killing people at the hospital and a hitchhiker on the road, Jason returns to methodically kill everyone in sight (especially the teens partying next door).
After two films of not being asked back, Tom Savini is thankfully back on board. His practical effects are the stuff of legends, and the kills in Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter are no exception. You get a knife through the back of the neck and out the front, a saw cut to the throat, and the classic slow slide down the machete that Jason’s head does at the end of the film. Another cool aspect of the film is how stuntman Ted White played the role. His take on the killer was faster, meaner, and set himself apart from the lumbering killer of the previous films.
Though The Final Chapter was supposed to be the end of the series, we all know that Jason survived. It’s a good film that focuses a great deal on the characters, and is honestly the last film in the series that does that to good effect. It was also the last film of the previous era to garner big box office results, something the series would fail to do for decades.