Saturday, March 31, 2012


It's hard to defend FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. The film is the worst of the original 80's series, but oddly Jason Takes Manhattan has a certain charm and nostalgia that can't be ignored. Really, it is the last film with the feel and structure of the Friday the 13th  series. It is the last Friday made in the 1980s, a decade synonymous with the series. It is also the last one made by Paramount Pictures, as the following year New Line would acquire the rights of the series. What would follow would be some of the all-time worst (JASON GOES TO HELL and JASON X), movies that in retrospect make Jason Takes Manhattan a not-so-bad slasher film.

Usually the biggest complaint against Jason Takes Manhattan is that Jason doesn't actually takes Manhattan. If you're expecting a rampage across the Big Apple, you're in for a huge let-down. Only the third act takes place in New York, as the rest is set on a cruise ship. Realistically, only the first act of the movie should have shown how the characters came to arrive in New York City, with the second and third acts inducing carnage in Manhattan. But due to budget issues, certain substitutes needed to be made.

Few people acknowledge the film's heroine as the main problems with Jason Takes Manhattan, but she is: Rennie (Jensen Daggett) is an uninteresting and unlikable character. She is without a doubt the worst "final girl" of the first eight movies, largely due to her passive nature. Her character is terribly selfish: she is single-handedly responsible for the death of her beloved teacher Colleen (Barbara Bingham), yet sheds no guilt or remorse for her mistake. Minutes after Colleen's death, Rennie is self-indulgent and feels the need to recall to her boyfriend Sean (Scott Reeves) about the day her parents died when she was a little girl. At that moment, her story inconsequential because everyone she and Sean knew - including Sean's father (Warren Munson) - have just been slaughtered. Immediately, Rennie becomes selfish and unlikable, not the type of final girl we're used to rooting on.

The fact that everyone is always coddling her, giving her gifts, and feeling bad for her doesn't help, either.  She is spoiled and bland, as even her dog Toby (Ace) has more charisma. Rennie is not tough and independent like a Friday girl should be.

Rennie's history with Jason does not work, either. After her parents died, Rennie lived her cruel Uncle Charles (Peter Mark Richman) who tried to teach her how to swim by pushing her in to Crystal Lake, where she encounters a young Jason Voorhees (Tim Mirkovich), who looks very different than when we saw him in the original FRIDAY THE 13TH. While the idea of giving ther a history with Jason could work (look at FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III), it is implausible here, considering the timeline: The last time Jason was a child was in the original movie; PART II-PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER take place five years after the events of the first movie; PART V: A NEW BEGINNING and PART VI: JASON LIVES take place ten years after Part IV; then PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD takes place several years after those movies, meaning that even if Jason Takes Manhattan took place the day after The New Blood, there would still be at least twenty years between the original film where Jason was young and Jason Takes Manhattan. Rennie can't be any older than eighteen in this film, so she would not have even been alive yet when Jason was still young looking in the original movie.

Aside from Rennie, the characters aren't that horrible, but most of the real fun ones are the first to die. Take the wicked bitch Tamara (Sharlene Martin) and heavy-metal goddess JJ (Saffron Henderson) - two of the most memorable characters are barely given any chance to have fun before they are offed. They would have been great fun in the New York City scenes. The movie does suffer from having characters that are copies of those in The New Blood; Uncle Charles is a carbon-copy of Dr. Crews; Tamara is scheming like Melissa; Colleen shares many qualities with Mrs. Shepherd; and of course, Sean and Rennie are weaker versions of Nick and Tina.

But the star of the show is Jason, once again played by Kane Hodder (only with less enthusiasm than in The New Blood). Jason has become a full antihero here, killing off all those who pose as some kind of threat to our heroes, such as two gang-bangers in Manhattan that drug Rennie and try to rape her. Unlike the earlier films, there are instances where the audience wants Jason to show up, because he will save the day. But there are also questions raised by his character, such as why doesn't he kill any New Yorkers unless they directly get in his way of reaching Rennie and Sean? This goes against his normal killing-machine character, as in the previous films he just hacked anyone for no reason.

There also has to be a better way to move the story from Crystal Lake to Manhattan without taking the kids on a cruise ship. The geographical logic behind this just doesn't add up. Crystal Lake was confirmed in earlier films to be in northern New Jersey, so why wouldn't the group take a bus to New York? Plus, even if for some reason they wanted to take a ship, they would have to go on the Delaware River. But the Delaware does not turn into the high seas during a storm...

The movie begins with a cool montage of the New York City locations that will be revisited in the third act of the movie. But then it dives into the worst opening of the franchise: two teens, Jim (Todd Shaffer) and Suzy (Tiffany Paulsen) are making love and Jim tells Suzy about the "legend" of Jason. Really? Jason is once again a "legend" to these kids? An urban legend? These people have to be the dumbest, most clueless kids in history. Also Tiffany Paulsen might be the worst actress ever. Literally. It's painful watching her. To make this opening segment more of a headache, Jason's "resurrection" is lame and uncreative. After the first scene it feels like there has been no heart put into this production.

The movie gets good once it reaches the mean streets of New York. The film's climax features the final two survivors running from Jason through back alleys, subways, diners, and finally into the maze-like sewer system. The sewer chase is the best and most creative part of the entire movie, and the only scene that features any remote suspense. Overall the New York scenes are pretty cool. It's just a shame more of the movie couldn't have taken place here.

Jason Takes Manhattan does have its positives, and there is a reason why it has obtained a cult following over the years. You see, Jason Takes Manhattan is not nearly as bad as some of the stuff to follow, and at the end of the day its a pretty fun slasher flick. It also features one of the best songs to ever grace a slasher film: Metropolis' "The Darkest Side of the Night". The song is pure-80s gold and sets the tone for a cool atmosphere. Like A New Beginning, this movie has seedy settings that fit in well with the franchise's tone. This seediness would eventually become lost by the 2000's.

Even though it's not a very scary flick, Jason Takes Manhattan has some very dark moments and deals with subject matter that the previous films avoided. For starters, cocaine and heroin are both drugs used. Sure, most Friday films have a pot-smoking hippie, but only A New Beginning featured cocaine and heroin was never featured before. There is also an attempted rape, which is definitely a first for the series. On top of that, there are some real nasty death scenes with lots of gore and brutality. And did all those kids left behind on the cruise ship die?

It's easy to rip Jason Takes Manhattan apart because it really is a poorly made movie with a lot of inconsistencies and a plethora of plot holes. But it also is the last "true" Friday the 13th movie, as the films following lost the gritty 80's fun. They were either too serious or too self-aware, but the Friday films of the 1990's and 2000's just were never the same. This movie also marks a good ending to the original series, as Jason has been brought out of Crystal Lake and is presumably less powerful because of it. And then, to bring his character full circle, he drowns and reverts back to child form. Jason Takes Manhattan is nonsense from start to finish, but it's also an incredibly fun adventure, and a great piece of 80's nostalgia.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Madman (1982)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)


Those that have watched the series up to FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD are probably no longer watching for quality and continuity but rather for neat death scenes, cool atmosphere, and of course lots of Jason Voorhees. Looking at the key ingredients for a good FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel, The New Blood delivers a tasty treat. Those looking for a substantial and well-thought horror thriller should probably skip The New Blood, as it is a re-hash of what has been done before, only with flying objects and a telepathic heroine.

The The New Blood presents a darker than the previous episode, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES. Whereas Jason Lives was unique for its comedic tone, The New Blood chooses to be a straight-up slasher movie that ignores any parody. Jason Lives tried to take the series in a different direction with its comedic edge, but The New Blood returns to the series darker roots with more sadistic kills, including the now infamous "sleeping bag death." The film's hardcore, badass soundtrack theme trades in Harry Manfredini's iconic high-string score for a deeper, more intimidating tune by Fred Moller. It's heavier, but it works with the movie.

While the entire series has always been known for its gory death sequences, the kills of The New Blood stand out as having some of the all-around best moments in the entire series. It's a shame that most of these scenes have been so heavily trimmed by the MPAA, as the film's impact would most definitely have been higher with more gore. The film takes a similar approach to the death scenes that Jason Lives did, zeroing on the gory creativity of a kill rather than the suspense leading up to it. The movie prides itself on being dark, gothic, and gruesome in the same manner as FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER; both these movies are known for being relentless and merciless.

The plot of The New Blood is paper-thin, veiled by it's teenage protagonist Tina Shepherd (Lar Park Lincoln), a telepathic societal outcast in the vein of Stephen King's CARRIE. Tina's powers accidentally release Jason from his imprisonment that Tommy Jarvis left him in at the end of Jason Lives. After that, the events carry out the same as any other Friday film.

Tina is a likable protagonist, and Lincoln does an excellent job portraying the confused and frightened teen with strange powers. She has a certain vulnerability that masks her strengths, and as the movie's only character with a complete character arc she definitely carries the film. Her fellow-hero is the hunky Nick (Kevin Blair), whom is a genuine guy and a good romantic interest for Tina. The two work well together, and stand out as being the only characters in the entire picture with any commonsense. Blair gives Nick a boy-next-door heroic edge, and even though he's no Tommy Jarvis, he's still a suitable hero.

The rest of the characters are expendable and forgettable, save the two antagonists: Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser) and Melissa (Susan Jennifer Sullivan). Dr. Crews is Tina's psychiatrist that claims to be helping her control her powers, when in reality he is building up evidence to exploit her. Melissa is the typical spoiled bitch that acts as Tina's romantic competition to win Nick. Both Dr. Crews and Melissa are hateful, horrible characters, and because of them The New Blood marks the first installment where Jason truly becomes an anti-hero of sorts. In a sense he's killing off other antagonists in the movie that stand in the way of Nick and Tina's own personal success.

Of course, the real start of the film is Jason Voorhees, played for the first time by Kane Hodder, who would secure the role of the hockey masked maniac until 2003. Hodder makes Jason mean and menacing, unlike the Jason of Jason Lives that was more of a mindless zombie killing machine than a killer with an agenda. The Jason that Hodder creates is not a guy you want to be messing around with - he's smart, quick, and purely evil, being the most reminiscent of Ted White's Jason from The Final Chapter. And the make-up effects of this Jason are great, having never looked better. Showing all his battle wounds and decay, the Jason of The New Blood is arguably the coolest looking in the entire franchise.

The movie starts with a cool opening montage that recaps the entire series by using clips from only FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II, The Final Chapter, and Jason Lives. Walt Gorney, who played Crazy Ralph in the original movie and Part II, narrates it. The montage works better than the one in The Final Chapter because it uses original dialogue that leads to a pretty cool (although campy) monologue.

The film's ending is what the entire movie and its marketing campaign lead up to. The point of the movie is to show Jason fighting his first supernatural foe, Tina, and the two wage a pretty epic battle. The ending has become famously chalked at for its numerous implausibilities, such as an exploding house (how does the house explode like that!?) and Tina's long deceased father (John Otrin) miraculously coming back to life to help his daughter (a twist that doesn't work as well as filmmakers probably had planned).

A funny trivia note is that originally this film was supposed to be FREDDY VS. JASON, but when Paramount (owner of the Friday the 13th films at the time) and New Line (owner of the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise) couldn't come to an agreement, the idea was scrapped and Jason instead was given a telepathic teen to do battle with while Freddy took on the his own extra-powerful foe in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER.

The story does the most with the telepathic arc, and while it's cheesy and corny it's also fun. By this point, the series had completely lost any sense of realism, and the decision to make a hero that is almost as supernaturally powerful as Jason gives the series a much needed edge. Out of all the "supernatural" Jason movies, Jason Lives and The New Blood stand out as the best of the bunch. The others deviate too far from the original movies (JASON GOES TO HELL, JASON X, and Freddy vs. Jason).

The New Blood is not a great movie but its hard to knock because for what the movie sets out to achieve, it accomplishes. There are many points in the film where the audience has to really suspend disbelief, and there are numerous cases where lazy storytelling is present. For instance, why is Jason's body still at the bottom of Crystal Lake? Police surely would have combed the lake for it after the events of Jason Lives. Also, if the Shepherd house is close enough to Camp Crystal Lake for Tina to resurrect Jason with her powers, how come this house was never seen earlier in the series?

For the most part the film is forgettable, having the same exact set-up as Jason Lives. Both films begin with a troubled youth (Tommy in Jason Lives, Tina in The New Blood) that accidentally resurrects Jason. Jason then kills a couple random campers and townsfolk in the woods to kill filler before the big finale. Meanwhile the troubled youth tries to convince any authority figures that Jason has returned. No one believes the troubled youth except for a love interest with a crush (Megan in Jason Lives, Nick in The New Blood). The troubled youth is an outcast from the "normal teens" and only connected to them through the love interest. Eventually Jason attacks and kills all the normal teens, all except the troubled youth and the love interest, who have to use their own knowledge and skills to finally defeat him and send him back to Crystal Lake's depths. At the end of The New Blood, the series is in the same exact place that it started.

Another interesting side-note is that in both Jason Lives and The New Blood, the adults refuse to accept the teens warnings that Jason has returned, hocking it up to some kind of insanity. This is an interesting flip from the original couple of movies, where the adults warned the teens about Crystal Lake's bloody curse and the teens chose to ignore them. Strange how things change over a few movies.

Is The New Blood a bad movie? Yes, it's a B-movie on all accounts. But the more important question is whether The New Blood is a bad horror movie? That answer is no, as The New Blood succeeds in its goals; lots of gory death scenes, a really cool and iconic villain, and a protagonist that kicks ass. The film is locked into late-80s cheese, but stands as one of the last true Friday the 13th movies (the series would become unrecognizable in the 90's when New Line took over). Once again, if you're a casual moviegoer you should probably skip The New Blood. But if you like horror movies and especially enjoyed the first six Friday the 13th flicks, than The New Blood is probably a safe bet.

Child's Play (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Friday, March 30, 2012


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES is a mixed bag. In some ways its the best film in the franchise, while in other ways it begins a decline that would lead to such travesties such as JASON GOES TO HELL and JASON X. Jason Lives takes the series for a spin; the films are no longer low-budget slasher fare that exploit nudity and gore but are instead bigger productions with more special effects. Jason Lives makes more "Hollywood" and less sleaze. Once again its a mixed bag.

There are a number of good things Jason Lives accomplishes. For starters, it has some of the best death scenes in the series, and some really creative ways to kill people. Fans pray for this film in its uncut glory. It has the highest body count in the series (up until Jason X) that includes dismembered limbs, a triple decapitation, heads being twisted off, people being bent in half, and the creative use of a broken liquor bottle for a deadly tracheotomy.

The film moves at a fast pace and doesn't allow one dull moment. From the opening scene where Tommy Jarvis (now played by Thom Matthews) and his unfortunate buddy (Ron Palillo) accidentally resurrect Jason (now played by C.J. Graham) to the end where Jason and Tommy have their final confrontation, it is a roller-coaster ride with some great entertainment value. If you're looking for a wild good time, look no further than Jason Lives.

The opening is the best part of the movie, starting with various shots of an eerie Crystal Lake that bulldoze into the story. From the first shots of the movie, writer/director Tom McLaughlin makes one thing clear - this is not going to be just another Friday the 13th. No, this time McLaughlin has set out to not only out-do the proceeding films, but actually make a good movie. A good movie? Yes, McLaughlin wants to make a good horror movie!

Oh, and kudos to actually setting the film on Friday the 13th - only the original FRIDAY THE 13TH and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 were actually set on the date.

Jason Lives was released in 1986, and it's tone fits in well with other mid-80's movies. Despite being a completely different genre with a different target audience, there are definite aesthetic similarities between Jason Lives and movies like BACK TO THE FUTURE, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, FRIGHT NIGHT, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, and STAND BY ME, to name a few. Of all the Friday the 13th movies, Jason Lives is the only one that fits into the "brat pack" era.

However, is this a good thing? While Jason Lives is a well done movie, perhaps its too well done for a Friday the 13th flick. Basically, Jason Lives has such a drastic tone shift from the first five movies that it does not fit inline with the others. Rather, it is a parody of those movies in the same way that SCARY MOVIE is a spoof on SCREAM. People that love the first five Friday movies might find the sudden change a little jarring.

It's not fair to knock Jason Lives for being a parody, because that's what it aims to be. And that is made clear from the very beginning. But the problem is that Jason Lives still does not have the correct balance of a good satire, although it definitely tries. Jason Lives is much too outlandish and blatant, being more a comedy than a horror movie. It has more in common with Scary Movie than it does with a more subtle horror satire like Scream.

There is also a lack of interest with the characters in the film. Tommy Jarvis is way too different from his incarnation in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING, and he seems far too sane. In A New Beginning, the thing that made him interesting was his insanity. Here, Tommy is a kid who is obviously sane, only no one believes him because of his history. This makes him silly, not heroic.

There are problems with the other characters, too, such as Tommy's love interest Megan (Jennifer Cooke), the daughter of Sheriff Garris (David Kagen). Megan falls for Tommy too quickly, creating an unrealistic story arc between the two of them that never has time to breathe. For all Megan knows, Tommy is a lunatic who just escaped from the mental hospital! Hardly a turn-on. And the Garris also tends to be too stubborn: after Tommy's rants and raves that Jason has returned, Garris refuses to look for a few missing camp counselors. He's either the world's worst sheriff, or he's just plain lazy. But the worst are those paintballers, literally being used to fill frames between scenes. While they are kind of funny, they are also completely pointless and don't add to the plot in any way, except for body count!

There are other things in Jason Lives that are bothersome, but they aren't worth nitpicking over. Like Jason's eyes, for instance: after being dead and decomposing for over ten years, how does he still have fully intact, human eyeballs? You would think that to make him look scarier, the filmmakers would have either chosen to not show his eyes or make them even less human than before. Considering he had maggots eating his face for a decade...

The biggest flaw with Jason Lives is the "legend" of Jason. It has only been about ten years since twelve year old Tommy killed Jason in FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. In Jason Lives, Tommy is about 22, meaning only a decade has passed. How come no one knows about Jason's existence except for the adults? Megan and her friends surely would have been young during The Final Chapter, but they would have remembered a massacre that made their town famous. This is a plot point that completely fails and is illogical. The Crystal Lake Massacre made the town famous, it wouldn't be easily forgotten.

Like all Friday the 13th movies, Jason Lives does not come without its flaws. Die-hard fans of the first five movies might not like the changes made, as Jason Lives features no nudity or drugs, but enhances the comedy and makes fun of the previous films with glee. But then again, by the time the sixth sequel rolled around, Friday the 13th needed something to become fresh again. And Jason Lives does a pretty good job at being a fresh entry in the long-running franchise. Oh, and the music makes this movie! It's the best soundtrack to any Friday the 13th film - check out "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" by Alice Cooper. A great tune!

Bride of Chucky (1998)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
The 'Burbs (1989)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


When I first saw FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING, my reaction was with the majority of the fan-base: it sucked. Upon first glance, the film is a bit of let-down following the first four films in the series, mainly due to confusion at the end when Jason turns out to not be the killer (sorry if I spoiled it). It was certainly a gutsey move on the filmmaker's part, and it definitely angered a lot of fans, who ridicule A New Beginning and write it off without ever looking past that one minor misleading plot point.

Upon multiple viewings, A New Beginning turns out to not be such a bad FRIDAY THE 13TH film after all. To be honest, it delivers exactly what the first four movies delivered, and stayed truer to the Friday the 13th spirit than anything that followed. Despite not having a Voorhees slashing people up, A New Beginning is a pretty solid entry in the saga that delivers on everything that the fans crave: violence, sex, nudity, drugs, and hockey masks.

What has grown on me the most in the many viewings of A New Beginning is the wacky array of characters. This is quite a rag-tag bunch in this entry, only to be rivaled by the crew of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III. At first glance these people in this movie are either gross, boring, or just off putting. But there is also something about them that, in retrospect, is rather appealing. There are two types of people in A New Beginning: the mental patients at Pinehurst Halfway House and the Pinehurst Locals. But, to be fair, they're all nuttier than a fruitcake. And that makes them really fun.

The patients take some time to get used to, as they can be quite annoying at first glance. Perhaps no character in the entire Friday the 13th legacy is more annoying than the obnoxious, fat chocolate fiend Joey (Dominick Brascia), a character who is short lived but proves to be a vital part of the story. His peers are an unusual cadre of teens with all sorts of disorders, issues, and troubles. These youths are governed by the Halfway House staff, including the beautiful Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) and the head facility doctor Matt (Richard Young). Plus, the house cook George (Vernon Washington) and his grandson Reggie "the Reckless" (Shavar Ross) help out, and Reggie in particular is a comical smart-mouthed character.

There are also the Pinehurst locals, the most memorable of which includes foul-mouthed granny Ethel Hubbard (Carol Locatell) and her imbecile son Junior (Ron Sloan) whom she constantly insults. But you can't leave out the cocky cokehead hospital orderly, a vain diner waitress, two (possibly gay) greasers with car trouble, a weirdo derelict staying with Ethel, and a sheriff more bumbling than any before in a Friday film.

The star of the film is once again Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd), now portrayed as ten years older than his last appearance in FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. If you recall, at the end of The Final Chapter Tommy killed Jason once and for all, but seemed to pick up some disturbed traits in the process. Ever since then, Tommy has been living in hospitals and receiving treatments of all kinds, but nothing seems to work. And when he arrives at Pinehurst and bodies start piling up, Tommy begins to wonder what is going on - is it him? Has Jason returned? Shepherd plays the role with a refreshing amount of sophistication, and despite his limited dialogue he brings about a character to love and fear. We feel Tommy's awkwardness, and sense his internal trauma. The Tommy Jarvis of A New Beginning is the best Tommy Jarvis, because he is the deepest and most damaged, making him the most likable male hero in the entire Friday franchise. The Tommy of JASON LIVES is just silly.

Ultimately, it is revealed that Tommy is not the killer. And it's not Jason this time around. It's kind of nice to see that the filmmakers wanted to take the series in a different direction without Jason, yet continuing his reign of terror through other characters. The whodunit aspect has not been seen since the original film, and it was a welcome return for this episode. But the problem is, there are tons of red-herrings but none of them have much motive (except for the crazy Ethel and Junior duo). This creates a inconsistency, as the audience doesn't know who to suspect, and eventually stops caring.

The killer in A New Beginning is a paramedic named Roy (Dick Wieand). His identity is revealed after Tommy kills him and his Jason mask slides off. It is a cheap reveal, considering all the bodies that have built up to this big moment. Roy's revelation is anticlimactic, and that might be why so many fans detest him as the murderer, wishing it was Jason the whole time (and this being the only reason why Jason was revived in Jason Lives). Roy's motive is also too much of a stretch to be near plausible, and could have used a little more clues dropped throughout the film. His motive is that his long lost son was the fat kid Joey, who was killed by another inmate, and the grief drove Roy insane. While Roy's motive is weak, his methods of murder are strong - anything from an axe to a machete to hedge-clippers to an outhouse to a flare are in his arsenal. But in the end, there is no substance behind his sudden killing spree, making him a failed slasher killer.

This film has a large number of death scenes, but there comes a point where there are too many to fill the space of the movie. It's almost every five minutes or so someone is killed. Most victims are not around long enough for the audience to care about them, and their deaths are never extremely memorable. One neat set-piece involves Reggie's older brother, a punk named Demon (Miguel A. Nunez, Jr.) who is trapped inside an outhouse while the killer keeps thrusting a sharp pole through the walls. Another neat scene involves a patient getting his head crushed between a tree. There are so many characters killed, and most of the significant ones are killed off-screen, whereas random and insignificant people get their guts spilled on screen.

The seedy atmosphere of the film works wonders, and A New Beginning marks the last entry in the series that truly has a low-budget, sleazy feel. The following films - Jason Lives and onward - would become reliant on special effects, comedy, and gimmicks (like JASON TAKES MANHATTAN) that change up the mood. After A New Beginning, the realism is replaced with over-the-top self-awareness and a pride for effects-laden plots. The gore and nudity in this film are classic, comparable to the nudity of The Final Chapter. But like The Final Chapter, a flaw with A New Beginning is the lack of suspense leading up to the death scenes. Without suspense, it's a waiting game for who will be offed.

Had Jason been in A New Beginning, I'm sure fans would be singing a different tune about the movie and praising it. It really has everything that Friday aficionados want - lots of gruesome deaths, tons of nudity and sex, a good amount of intentional and unintentional comedy, and a sleaze-filled atmosphere. But because it lacked the iconic Jason, moviegoers felt cheated and wanted to write it off as the first real disappointment in the series. It's a shame because there's a lot of good stuff to be had with A New Beginning. And maybe someday, it will get the respect it deserves in the Friday community.

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The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)