Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Friday the 13th, Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

Directed by:
Danny Steinmann

Critics around the globe bitched and moaned because Part 4 ("The Final Chapter") didn't officially end this series. But who are they kidding? Watching one of these movies is basically akin to watching a live-action cartoon, with the added attraction of gore and sex. It's all completely harmless, completely brainless "fun" for fans of slasher junk. John Shepherd stars as the now-teenage Tommy Jarvis (taking over for the previous film's Corey Feldman - appearing in an opening scene cameo here), who's sent to live at a home for "emotionally troubled" teenagers headed over by compassionate blonde social worker Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) and a doctor (Richard Young). Tommy, quiet, withdrawn and haunted by images of Jason standing in a mirror and outside his window (in scenes obviously inspired by HALLOWEEN) is having a hard time adjusting to his new surroundings. Might be kind of difficult to pull yourself together when one of the first things you see is a housemate getting hauled off by the cops after chopping up the resident porker for offering him a candy bar. Immediately after that murder, many more follow, except they're committed by someone in a hockey mask... Has Jason returned from the dead... yet again? Or is someone else donning the mask and using the Jason persona to get revenge for something else? Hmmm...

Part 5 is stupid, irritating, obnoxious and probably the worst of the original eight sequels, but that doesn't mean it's entirely unwatchable. On the contrary, there are plenty of entertaining moments to be had here and the film itself is put together with at least a little skill, especially when directly compared to other slashers from this era. As is customary with this series, there's plenty of gore, though many of the scenes have obviously been victim to censor cuts and what is shown is of lower-quality to other series entries. Some of the better death scenes include a road flare shoved into a mouth, eyes gouged out with hedge clippers, a steel pole impalement and someone decapitated while riding a motorcycle. The film also provides plenty of T&A in the forms of large-breasted brunette Debisue Voorhees (as resident nuthouse nympho Tina), medium-chested blonde Rebecca Wood (as a coke-snorting diner waitress) and small-chested redhead Juliette Cummins (as another loony farm resident). Even lead Kinnaman gets in on the action by running around in a flimsy white top (oops, forgot to wear a bra) during the obligatory thunderstorm finale. Apparently Debisue's sex scene was so graphic it had to be almost completely removed so this could pass with an R-rating.

My favorite characters were resident Goth chick Violet (Tiffany Helm), because of the robot dance she does before getting killed (see below), and the foul-mouthed white trash bitch Ethel (amusingly played by Carol Locatell). Mark Venturini and Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. (both from THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) also have small roles. The cast also includes Marco St. John, Dominick Brascia (who directed the slasher EVIL LAUGH the following year) and Corey Parker. The ending is awful.



spookyx3 said...

SPOILER WARNING! (you never know; _i_ hadn't seen PART 2 until this year!)

maybe people don't like it because most of jason's handiwork is seen in single shock hits. there's none of the usual "hunting" until the last 20 minutes. i'd forgotten that this was the one with the impostor. they make it so obvious, that the unmasking and explanation for the spree is unnecessary, to say the least. none of the patients made much of an impression, though i found debisue voorhees attractive (gonna have to check out her other work). carol locatell ("ya big dildo! eat yer fuckin' slop!") stole the movie. that scene of violet robot-dancing was fun. until then, it wasn't clear if she owned any other music than that one funk cut she was always listening to. then there was the guy killed in the outhouse like some magician's sword-box trick.

NEW BEGINNING was an OK watch. i upgraded to hi-def less than a year ago, so i'm still at the stage where blu-ray makes everything better. it's possible that #5 only looked "good" to me 'cuz i first saw it immediately after the dismal FINAL CHAPTER.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Well damn, they removed the robot dance video from YT. Oh well, this review will eventually be deleted and replaced with a better one with pics anyway!

Debbie Voorhees has a lot of fans it seems. She's probably one of the most popular girls from the franchise and it's not hard to see why. Loved Carol Locatell in this. She helped a lot. Strangely, I remember THIS entry being on TV the most when I was a kid and it's perhaps the entry that requires the most edits to even be shown on TV!

spookyx3 said...

locatell and kin were better candidates for the halfway house than just about anyone else there (except maybe the hot-head who kills brasica; from the commentary track, not verbatim: "why does this guy have a fire-axe???" (also: "what _is_ this?", "what's happening now?", and "what is jason's mask doing in tommy's hospital room??")

i only have one article about FRIDAY 5. every bit of trivia regarding this series is out there by now. steinmann talks about being shut-out of post-production on previous projects, and says that didn't happen on NEW BEGINNING; he was given a lot of breathing room to make the film his way. also, next was going to be a LAST HOUSE sequel, from his script.

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