Ah Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) aka the other more infamous Friday movie where Jason isn't the killer.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written by: Martin Kitrosser & David Cohen (story & screenplay), and Danny Steinmann (screenplay)
Directed by: Danny Steinmann
John Shepherd as Tommy Jarvis
Melanie Kinnaman as Pam
Shavar Ross as Reggie
Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis (age 12)
Tom Morga as "Jason"/Jason Voorhees
Richard Young as Matt
Marco St. John as Sheriff Tucker
Juliette Cummins as Robin
Dick Wieand as Roy Burns
Carol Locatell as Ethel
Vernon Washington as George
John Robert Dixon as Eddie
Jerry Pavlon as Jake
Caskey Swaim as Duke
Mark Venturini as Vic
Anthony Barrile as Vinnie
Dominick Brascia as Joey Burns
Tiffany Helm as Violet
Richard Lineback as Deputy Dodd
Bob DeSimone as Billy
Jere Fields as Anita
Ric Mancini as Mayor Cobb
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. as Demon
Corey Parker as Pete
Rebecca Wood as Lana
Ron Sloan as Junior
Debi Sue Voorhees as Tina
Robert Hammond as TJ
Zechs: It's been several years since the events of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), yet Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman cameos at the beginning while John Shepard plays the remainder of the film) is still haunted psychologically by the events of murdering Jason Voorhees. He's trying to return to society and the Pinehurst halfway house appears to be his salvation. Until some brutal murders erupt and Tommy once again cannot escape facing down another maniac in a hockey mask.
So yeah this particular entry gets a lot of flack for not having Jason in it and going a total different direction. I say that's utter rubbish given his presence is felt everywhere in this film via Tommy, Sheriff Tucker investigating the murders, and of course Roy Burns pulling a copycat (or is it possessed?) killing of the infamous hockey masked slasher. I can see why one would feel cheated given the opening and the fact Roy pulls off a perfect performance as Jason, but watching the film now you get the sense that this slasher wasn't Jason at all, save for one scene (and I'll get that more later).
Honestly, when I first remember seeing this movie I really didn't like it. Heck I didn't love any Friday the 13th movies save for but one (which we're coming up too). Though re-watching this film during this quest to review them all my viewing changed of this film. I chose a different approach and just view it as it was intended to be which is literally a new beginning. The experience was a more positive one for me. What about you Greg with this entry?
Greg: Honestly, I'm surprised that I slightly liked this one. It wasn't great, but I'd say after the first film, this was probably the second best thus far. There wasn't too much of a story but something about this film didn't piss me of as much as the last few. Jason not being Jason didn't really bug me. I was more interested in how Tommy was being affected by Jason since the last film.
Zechs: Yeah that was interesting aspect that I'm glad was picked up. Now it does have the same flaws as the previous Friday films in the past. I could barely remember any of the characters named in the first thirty minutes save for a few. And there lies the main problem I had with this film. You never really feel much at first for the characters in this. Yes, this is a flaw in most of the previous and future Friday films, but it's more guilty of that crime here. This movie churns out more characters that you really only catch their name once or just recognize their faces from an earlier scene (aka the asylum driver who took Tommy to Pinehurst).
In fact the first murders by Roy are nobodies not even connected to Pinehurst (save for but one). So I really don't get the whole reason why Roy did what he did. So yeah my biggest problem with the film is the writing. It's just all over the place. Almost like my own writings. But at least I have a point to my madness. Here the movie has none.
Greg: Was there even really writing involved in this? We meet the characters, and they actually seemed damn freakin' interesting. But they die off and that's it. I cracked up when Vic killed Joey and thought, "Man, this movie is gonna be good!" But nothing. Zilch. The slight few things we see about the characters are slightly interesting but we don't get nothing.
Zechs: Good point, but yeah there felt like there was some with the Sheriff parts. I still found it so frustrating keeping up with all these characters that are introduced and even more when the murders start revving up you want answers then when the film gives you one it's kinda. Well I sort of wanted a Pamela Voorhees' type monologue I guess. Sure the motivation for Roy's slaughter of those in the area is better than Pam's.
Even more I do like the acting via Dick Wineand as Roy. His first introduction you do get the feeling something not right with this dude and even more via his eyes after putting the blanket over the corpse. Yet, watching this with an open mind I almost wonder if Roy's motivation wasn't just as such. That when he snapped he went totally into a Voorhees way of thinking. Because quite simply the dude didn't really target the Pinehurst teens until midway into the movie when he's already killed five people. His reasons felt just damn ambiguous save for it sort of makes sense, but I dunno.
Greg: It was weak. It made a bit of sense in a weird way, but the execution was very poorly done. I think they could have made a bigger connection to the similarities between Roy and Mrs. Voorhees, the horror gods bless her soul.
Zechs: I just get the feeling there was a more supernatural or probably madness element here. That the moment Roy snapped he became something in the spirit of the past Voorhees before him. Even more so, there's a look Roy gives Tommy in this that almost took me as a, "YOU!" type of body gesture. Not to mention of course my co-reviewer Greg would say, Roy was a friggin Terminator in this. The dude got ran over via a tractor, deeply cut by a chainsaw, stabbed, pushed off a building, then get his arm hacked off before finally being done in by farm equipment. GEEZ! I mean seriously this dude took some damage I don't think even human Jason or Pamela would endure. Still, leaving it up to the viewer to make their choice of Roy's madness wasn't enough for me. I just felt like a better answer could have been found than what we got.
Greg: Mutha fucker got stabbed in his nuts, Zechs!!!
Zechs: Really? Then damn the dude really was a fucking terminator then.
There is one other thing I didn't like about this film that I have to mention and that was hillbilly clan who're neighbors to the Pinehurst house. Any scene they where in I just cringed and kept screaming out, "Can someone just kill these fucks already?!" It wasn't just the acting, but just how out of place these trio of characters where in this film series so far to me. So yeah when they finally bought I praised the horror gods. Though again, if anyone deserved less in this movie it was these idiots.
Greg: Ugh, worse characters thus far in the franchise. I was praying to Damballah and all that was holy to have Jason kill that hillbilly child when he was going through a tantrum on his bike. I nearly turned the movie off.
Zechs: Heh glad I wasn't alone there. About the best character I enjoyed throughout the film was Roy's partner making a nice quote of everyone's reaction to the mangled remains, and pretty much Sheriff Tucker (as played by Macro St. John). Unlike typical police department officials, this dude instantly made the Voorhees connection and realized some kooky wacko was out there thought he was Jason. I really wanted more scenes with this dude. He was just a very interesting character who just got squandered and his subplot went nowhere (i.e. he's ordered by the Mayor of Crystal Lake to find a LIVING suspect not confirmed deceased Jason). If only they took out the rednecks above and put more scenes of him this film could have been better in my view.
Another thing I enjoyed about the film is the women in this. Dear God are they all hot in this especially the chick who gets a pair of sheers between her eyes. I mean seriously dear God I think that she was the hottest girl we've ever seen in the Friday the 13th series yet. I found it funny looking at the cast later on to find out her last name was literally Voorhees (her full name was Debi Sue Voorhees). Also the other trio of female Pinehurst inhabitants where all easy on the eyes too. Still, the sheered eye chick was just gorgerous.
Greg: Hell yes! The boobs are glorious in this movie! BEST BOOBAGE IN A FRIDAY YET.
Zechs: As for the kills in this. Honestly, part of me liked them, but also hated them. I get what the director was doing here with something the impact more than the actual gore of the hit. I think this Friday movie has the most reaction shots before and after the victims get stabbed. I guess he did this so he could get away with the violence more without the MPAA saying hell no to it. Plus it adheres to the, let's your mind click on what happened which works too. Still, I won't say this was the worst of the kills of the series. I really loved the opening kill Roy does in this with the flare. Plus the back to back kills of the clippers followed by the eye strap where great.
In fact besides the "money shots" via the eyes, there where a TON of deaths eye related and a ton of head shots. Even the song to this movie (which is played when Tiffany is going full robot dance on us) was about the eyes. I'm really curious why that is. Greg what you think?
Greg: I'm not too sure about the fascination with the eyes myself, but I did notice it. Eyes in general are supposed to symbolize spirituality, such as the window to the soul and being able to sense beyond the typical consciousness and what's in front of you. But I just think the creators just wanted to gross people out. A lot of people squirm the most when it comes to eye damages in films. I know my brother does. He becomes a pussy when it comes to eyes in horror movies, I love it.
As you all know, I'm a fan of the implied horror than gore, but I do like a good gore here and there. But this movie sucked when it came to the killings. Especially the last Jason flick with the sexy Savini stuff. But I agree, the stuff with the eyes were definitely the best of them.
Zechs: Of course no one can top your man love for Savini. I find it funny we've been gabbing and we still haven't even gotten to John Shepard as Tommy. He does an decent job continuing what the all mighty Feldman did before him plus doing a nice touch showing off a truly mentally scarred teenager after suffering truly traumatic event. Honestly, he did as much as the script allowed him to portray and that was good enough for me.
Greg: Yeah, he was alright. I liked him as a protagonist and I was actually very interested in how his mind was playing tricks on him with the spirit of Jason haunting him. But I wish the film did more with that instead of becoming another pointless slasher. The ending had promise.
Zechs: As for the other two main characters well Reggie was awesome. I think I liked him more than young Tommy from the previous movie. Plus watching him drive that tractor and smash Roy I couldn't help but go "hell yeah!" Then there's Pam, who really honestly I didn't really start appreciating until those final fifteen minutes when she becomes the final woman and the moment she starts wielding a chainsaw out of nowhere. Goddamn, speaking of that scene. That was the best part of the movie for me. It's totally random no build-up just SURPRISE CHAINSAW. Plus the way she used it was just so bad ass.
Greg: Pam was fine.
Zechs: Fine like a fox. So yeah on the whole of things I did enjoy the Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, but there was just a lot of things that either had me scratching my head or literally screaming at the screen for. I can't say it was a bad experience, but a more fun one then previous or future Friday entries.
Greg: Yeah, I surprisingly dug it myself as I mentioned earlier. A lot of flaws but its a strong entry compared to the last crappy sequels.
Zechs: 3 out of 5 (because like I said before in a previous review any use of chainsaw gives a movie one full point added. Also the boobage in this helped too.)
Greg: 3.5 out of 5
Zechs' Kill Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Greg's Kill Rating: 2 out of 5
Zechs' Favorite Kill: I'm really torn with this. I enjoyed the first kill Roy had with the torch inside some Italian Stallion's mouth. Plus the sheers to the hot chick's eyes was also sweet. Though in the end after much thought I think the best kill in the movie for me was the dude getting a strap around his eyes and Roy pulling a tree branch to tighten utterly crushing the dude's eyes and skull. OUCH.
Greg's Favorite Kills: I cracked up at the first kill of the movie with Vic killing Joey. Hilarious! But my favorite was definitely the strap to the eyes and it being pushed back into the tree. Yeeesh!
Next week we look at Friday the 13th Part 6: JASON LIVES! (1986) which ends the Tommy Jarvis Saga and beginning of Jason as a being of the undead.
Review by: Zechs