It was supposed to be the last one. It even said so in the title. After watching him drown, avenge his mother’s death, and camp it up in 3D, Paramount was ready to let Jason Voorhees go once and for all. There was no backup plan, no clear indication that killing off a beloved splatter icon would create a backlash among the faithful. Even effects guru Tom Savini was coaxed back into the fold, if only to be the one that buried the baddie he helped create in the first place. Still, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter definitely wasn’t. The series would go on for many more films. But as an example of how good the early takes on the material could be, this is definitely one the slasher genre’s very best.
With Jason Voorhees dead after Part III, the residents around Crystal Lake can rest easier — or can they? While the Jarvis family — Mom (Joan Freeman), Trish (Kimberley Beck), and young Tommy (Corey Feldman) — prepares for some new neighbors, a young drifter named Rob Dier (Erich Anderson) arrives on the scene. He claims to be camping, but appears to have other, ulterior motives for hanging around the abandoned camp. Soon, a group of young people arrive, renting the house near the Jarvises for the summer. While they appear a bit rowdy, they also clearly want to have a good time. What everyone doesn’t know is that Jason is still alive. He’s murdered the coroner and a nurse, and now he’s headed back to Crystal Lake to add to his body count.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is perhaps the best of the entire Jason inspired fright flicks. It’s definitely the most focused and the most brutal. It sets up its story well, gets right to the murders, and then makes us guess as to how our horrific anti-hero will finally buy the fear farm. It gives us a Jason who is all business and waving machete. It offers a massive body count, and it provides an intriguing story arc which helps build both the suspense and the bloodletting. And with Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover (as a sexually frustrated victim) as part of the cast, we also wind up with pure quirky casting gold.