Here is the transcript of Darrell Buxton’s excellent introduction to Fright Club’s double bill of Friday The 13th part 4 – The Final Chapter and Friday The 13th part 5 – A New Beginning.
Well here we are again. Another Fright Club double bill, and Adam (ed- WhooHoo Namecheck!) is taking advantage of the fact that the date is Friday the thirteenth to… well, do you see what he’s done there, folks? Yes, we’re continuing our bid to show as many of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise as we possibly can. We love ’em, even if no-one else does, and Mr. Marsh will not rest until we’ve screened the lot, displaying a Jason-like relentlessness and determination to keep the kills coming. On Friday the 13th. I swear he must have a calendar at home that shows every Friday as… hey, you’re way ahead of me. In the past we’ve already bought you the original 1980 film, the one that started it all, with Mrs. Voorhees scything her way through a bunch of teenage campers and mutant Jase popping up at the end. We’ve had a night of old school anaglyph specs-wearing for the eye-popping thrills of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 – IN 3D. And we’ve shown you the best of the whole bunch, the truly magnificent JASON LIVES – FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI.
But tonight we fill in a couple of gaps. No, not with the comparatively insipid FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 and its “Jason goes Elephant Man” burlap berzerkness; nor with the masked marauder’s boat trip to the Big Apple in part 8, JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. For tonight we’re presenting polar opposites in the Friday universe – parts four and five, the former being a true fan favourite and the latter often held up to ridicule by even the biggest hack and slash devotees.
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV is subtitled THE FINAL CHAPTER, which did make rather more sense in 1984 than it does today. Final? It’s not even the last FRIDAY THE 13TH film to have the word ‘Final’ as part of its title! To be fair, the series, alongside others like it, was seen to be wobbling at the time, and finishing Jason off once and for all seemed to be the most profitable option, a chance for Paramount to wring a few more dollars out of the fading parade of dwindling death-dealing. What nobody had banked on was just how great this supposedly terminal instalment would turn out to be. Its opening weekend gross of more than eleven million bucks smashed box office records and the film eventually made almost $33 million in U.S. cinema receipts alone, and despite the predictable slate of negative-to-outright-hostile reviews from the vocal horror-hating critics, FRIDAY IV received a surprisingly positive reception from the real fans.
Corey Feldman was a big hit as Tommy Jarvis, the little kid who takes on Ted White’s hulking incarnation of Jason; White himself garnered much acclaim and is considered by many to be the most brutal and commanding Jason in the series. A former college football star who played for the University of Oklahoma, White was also an experienced movie stuntman and had been one of John Wayne’s chief on-screen doubles since the early 1950s.
Also featured are Kimberley Beck and Crispin Glover, two former teen TV stars who progressed to enjoy considerable careers in film, especially Glover who is marvellous here as geeky Jimmy Mortimer – look out for the utterly bonkers dance he performs at one point. A year later he appeared in BACK TO THE FUTURE and has never looked back, becoming an icon and role model for nerds and misfits everywhere.
From its sensational opening scene in the county morgue to its breathtaking climax – which looks particularly stunning on the big screen – not to mention its chilling, inconclusive final shot which rather belies the title’s claim that this one would neatly finish the whole saga off, FRIDAY IV is a treat, and Feldman’s juvenile horror film freak/Fangoria-head/mini-make-up-whiz ought to be a hero to genre fans everywhere, especially to any youngsters who might have happened to see the movie illegally over the shoulders of older brothers who rented it on VHS in the 80s. ‘Children In Need’? (ed- This introduction was done on the night of the Children In Need fundraising event). We got ’em, right here!
Now just try to imagine that you are a budding young starlet in 1985. You’re called Tiffany, or Brandi, or Cindy, or something else ending in an I or a Y. Your agent manages to book you in for a casting session. It’s a horror picture. Rumour has it that it may be the fifth FRIDAY THE 13TH. You put on your pinkest puffball skirt, tease your hairdo until it looks like an explosion, and totter off on high heels to your call, excited that the doorway to Hollywood fame is about to swing open and invite you in. You arrive and are ushered into a waiting area with half a dozen similarly-attired and coiffured teen beauties. Everyone eyes each other with a mixture of bitchiness, admiration and envy. But you know you can get this. You’ve been sent some script pages and just know that you can nail the demanding role of “big breasted bimbo who gets garden shears poked into her eyeballs”, a part that has you written all over it. The casting director emerges from their office to call in the first girl for her audition. “O.k., can we see Debi Sue Voorhees please? Debi Sue Voorhees?”. What the fuck? It’s a FRIDAY THE 13TH flick and they’re testing someone called Voorhees… you couldn’t buy a publicity opportunity like that. Disappointed and outraged, you grab for your clutch bag and head for the door in tears, breaking a heel as you go, and noticing that all of the other girls are scuttling out too.
Yes, unsurprisingly Debi Sue got the job. And you? You slunk back to working as a waitress at Taco Bell. Justin Kerswell’s wonderful slasher film website ‘Hysteria Lives!’ calls the pointedly-titled FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING “perhaps the trashiest of all the FRIDAY films”, continuing to say “there is certainly a cheesy, bad movie charm to it”. Corey Feldman pops up for a welcome cameo but another actor, the far less personable John Shepherd, assumes the role of a much older and far more disturbed Tommy Jarvis, now hospitalized at a leafy, new age mental institution called Pinehurst – where, you guessed it, a series of gruesome killings breaks out. Is it one of the crazy residents? Might Tommy himself be responsible? Or is Jason somehow back from the grave? If the answer is ultimately a bit of a damp squib, well it’s no more ludicrous than much of the other stuff we’ve seen in FRIDAYs one through four, and would go on to witness in equally silly entries later in the run. Don’t be disappointed by FRIDAY V – it has its own peculiar pleasures galore, tries to attempt something different, and is chock full of quality creative deaths. Indeed, as Steve Pemberton’s hilarious video rental store-lurking ‘League of Gentlemen’ character ‘Henry Portrait’ might have enquired, “how many killings?”.
Well we can promise you an absolute glut of murder and mayhem this evening. Before you leave here tonight you’ll have seen a whopping thirty six victims meet their maker across the two movies, that’s roughly a body falling every five minutes. I’d call that getting your money’s worth.
We’ve dished out free hockey masks so you can put those on too and pretend that you are Jason. We know what a strange bunch we get in here. Don’t worry, you’re among friends.
So, time for me to shut up and join you as we enter, once again, the nightmare world of what is still undeniably the king of the slasher franchises. It’s Friday, but it definitely isn’t five to five and this sure as hell ain’t Crackerjack.
NEXT TIME AT FRIGHT CLUB
PET SEMETARY – Saturday 21st November at 8:40pm
Tickets on sale here – http://www.derbyquad.co.uk/film/pet-sematary-18