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Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (also known as Friday the 13th Part IV or Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter) is a 1984 slasher film. It is the fourth film in the Friday the 13th film series. Though it was billed as "The Final Chapter," there have been many further sequels in the franchise. The popularity and financial success of the film, which grossed over $32 million, kept Paramount Pictures from retiring the franchise. Because of the finality of this film's plot and title, the next film, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, attempted to continue the series with a different killer; due to that film's critical failure, it was ultimately partially retconned, making The Final Chapter the indirect predecessor to Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives in the series' canon, in the sense of Jason himself returning at that point in the franchise. Likewise, Tommy Jarvis's storyline was incorporated into A New Beginning, making a direct connection that picks up from The Final Chapter and then into Jason Lives.
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.