TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5: A NEW BEGINNING (1985)

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FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5: A NEW BEGINNING (1985)

Despite the last installment being titled Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter, the series was back a year later heralding a New Beginning. This new start was one of the blandest and weakest chapters in the entire saga. The film opens with young Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) staring at Jason’s grave and witnessing in horror as he rises from it, slaughtering two would-be grave robbers and then coming for him. We realize it’s just a dream and the institutionalized Tommy (John Shepherd) is now full grown and still haunted by the nightmare of his encounter with Crystal Lake’s most infamous resident. As our story begins, Tommy is being sent to the Pinehurst Halfway House, a home for troubled youths where they are sent to be rehabilitated and returned to society. But Tommy’s dreams and hallucinations of Jason continue and when he witnesses the murder of one of the youths by another, it seems to be a trigger for a new killing spree by some unknown assailant who begins to slaughter the halfway house members and the locals, one by one in gruesome ways. Did seeing the death send the volatile Tommy over the edge?…is there a new killer out there?…or has Jason somehow returned from the grave as Tommy fears?

This uninspired 5th installment was directed by Danny Steinmann, who also directed the Linda Blair revenge flick Savage Streets and apparently got his start in porn. Either way he is a competent enough director, but nothing more, as the film is extremely generic and despite an abundant body count, the kills are all rather routine and there is little suspense or tension until the last few minutes…and even that has a ‘been there done that’ quality to it as it is set in a barn like the climax of Part 3. The film also completely lacks the feel of a Friday The 13th film despite still being scored by Harry Manfredini and following the formula very closely. Also, the tone is very uneven as one minute things are dead serious, then the next we get the antics of cartoonish characters to disrupt the atmosphere like an annoying redneck mother and son who have no impact on the plot. They are disruptive and there only for body count purposes and even their deaths make no sense upon learning the killer’s motives. In fact, a lot of characters deaths make no sense when the killer’s identity and motive are reveled. Was he simply bored?

The cast are fine enough with their generic characters with Shepherd giving us an adequately troubled and sympathetic Tommy, one we feel sorry for, but also suspect. Melanie Kinnaman is pretty and holds her own as Pam, who helps run the house…though you’d think a woman surrounded by delinquent teens would wear a bra, especially if it’s going to rain. Rounding out the leads is Shavar Ross who is lively and endearing as Reggie or ‘Reckless’, a young boy who takes a liking to Tommy and is there at the climax to help battle our mysterious villain…and while on that subject, once we get our big reveal it’s very ho-hum as is the explanation for the motive.

A weak entry it certainly is and proves that not everyone is fit to wear the hockey mask, as it was not all that well received by fans and started a decline in the series’ interest and box office. It was the last installment to gross over $20 million till Jason and Freddy threw down 18 years later. Very disappointing. For hard core fans only. The following film tried to get the series back on track, but interest continued to decline from here.

2 (out of 4) hockey masks

friday 13 p5 rating

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3 and FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER

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As I’ve stated previously, I have been revisiting a lot of 80s horror flicks recently, especially some of the more infamous slashers and have set my sights on revisiting the Friday The 13th sequels. While I’m not the biggest fan of this series, apart from the first film, I have found my revisit has some nice added 80s nostalgia to them and that is adding a lot of fun to this horror series… plus some of these installments bring back memories of long gone theaters and fun evenings with friends. The third and fourth installments fit nicely together as they not only take place right after each other but, Jason now gains his hockey mask and fully becomes the character we all know…
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FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3 (1982)

Friday The 13th Part 3 is a slight improvement over Part 2 but, still a mixed bag though it does hold some nostalgic importance to me as it was another film seen at my cherished Oritani theater in Hackensack, N.J. Released during the 80s 3D revival, sparked by Comin’ At Ya, the film was made and released in 3D and is filled with objects being thrust at the camera which is just plain distracting when watched in 2D and wasn’t that great in pre-digital 3D either. The film opens up the story formula somewhat with this chapter being set at a lake house and not a summer camp. This installment has pretty Chris Higgins (super cute Dana Kimmell) returning with friends for a getaway at her family’s house on Crystal Lake where 2 years earlier she survived an attack in the woods by a deformed man… hmmm, who could that be? It’s no stretch to guess that soon Chris’ friends and anyone else in the vicinity of the house start to be dispatched in gory ways by that same deformed man.

Steven Miner directed again and this time he does get a little intensity going, especially in the last act which is an extended chase with Chris going all final girl with Jason. The film does start out with a bit slower pace and takes awhile to get going but, the last act does kick into gear and having twice the budget then the last film, shows it with a slightly larger scale and more elaborate stunts. Miner also directs with a bit more of a humorous touch in this installment too, which works both for and against it. It gives it a bit different tone but, also keeps the first and second acts a bit light till Jason really gets going and things get serious. It does kinda take the edge off of the impact of the kills and atmosphere till the final half hour when the intensity kicks in. But, this is also the film where Jason (the late Richard Brooker) not only gained his iconic hockey mask and look but, was also portrayed as a bigger and stronger adversary that he remained throughout the series. He has a lot more of an imposing persona and more of his trademark relentlessness here than in Part 2. The kills are a little bloodier too, but, still not as gory as Part 1 and some of them are a little silly such as a character bringing a spear gun to a house on a lake.

The cast are again fine with Kimmel being my favorite of the sequels’ final girls. She is not only adorable but, makes a good damsel who is also feisty and resourceful and fights back with intensity. The rest of the characters are a little more colorful then usual, including a 3 person biker gang and 2 hippie stoners. The young, attractive actors give these characters some added life so, they are more likable and a bit less cliche’ then in the previous entry.

Overall an entertaining enough entry, it still can’t touch the first movie but, it was better then the mediocre sequel it followed. It also was fun enough to keep one interested in the series and awaiting the next adventure of Mr. Voorhees… which would be one of his best.

MONSTERZERO NJ EXTRA TRIVIA:  There is a scene where the pretty Debbie (Tracie Savage) is reading an issue of Fangoria and opens the page to a Godzilla article. That is a nod from director Steve Miner who was planning to make an American Godzilla movie in 3D back in the 80s, well over a decade before the 1998 disaster but, the film obviously never got made. Too bad. It sounded better then what we got in 98.

UPDATE 2/8/2015: After a lot of deliberation and checking of release dates, I have come to believe that “Friday The 13th part 3 in 3D” may very well have been the last film I saw at my beloved Oritani Theater. If correct, Friday 8/13/1982 is the last time I was at this great theater and special place…and this, the final film. -MZNJ

3 hockey masks

friday 13 original rating

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FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984)

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter is one of my favorites of the sequels and the one that comes closest to matching the original. The film saw not only a return to the more serious tone and atmosphere of the original film but, with the return of Tom Savini to the make-up FX duties, also brought back the more intense and graphic kills and gore.

This entry opens right where Part 3 left off with Jason (stuntman Ted White) and his victims carted off to the morgue from the Higgins place only to have Jason revive and escape but, not before gruesomely murdering two horny hospital employees. We then switch to two houses deep in the woods near Crystal Lake, one occupied by single mother Mrs. Jarvis (Joan Freeman) and her daughter Trish (Kimberly Beck) and  young son Tommy (Corey Feldman), the other occupied by a group of partying youths on a make-out and drinking getaway. But, a certain someone has returned home to his stomping grounds and now has targeted both young partiers and innocent family alike. Will any of them survive his relentless rage?
This installment brought in The Prowler director Joseph Zito and he brings the suspense, atmosphere and intensity to the proceedings that made that 1981 slasher one of the more entertaining of the time period. He comes very close to providing an equal to the original Friday with what was supposed to be Jason’s final film. The kills are brutal as well and with Savini’s return, the make-up FX are quite inventive and gory. Zito leaves some of the lighter humor that appeared in Part 3 behind and it keeps the atmosphere taunt and foreboding as it should be. The film also added an interesting plot element in the character of Rob (Erich Anderson), who at first seems like a hunter/camper but, turns out to be the vengeful brother of a girl murdered by Jason (Sandra (Marta Kober) from Part 2) and he is now stalking the lethal serial killer with the intent of ending his reign of terror. One of the film’s few faults is the confrontation between these two could have been a bit more epic. The character of young Tommy (Feldman) being a bit of a geek/make-up artist also adds a fun twist to the proceedings.
As for the rest of the characters, this bunch are a lot livelier then most of the generic victims and with the inclusion of Crispin Glover in one of his most ‘normal’ roles as a shy teen and 80s movie fixture Judy Aronson as a one of the babes, we get a nice group of likable, horny teens to fall under Jason’s varied weapons and it has impact because we like them and the young cast give them life and personality. Also stars Hell Night’s Peter Barton as one of the party goers who meets Jason’s wrath and the score is one again by Harry Manfredini.
A really good entry in the series and by far the best of the sequels.
MONSTERZERO NJ EXTRA TRIVIA: There is a small mistake here in this installment. When driving past a graveyard, they spot Mrs. Voorhees’ tombstone which has her date of death being 1979. But, as we all know, she actually died on Friday June 13th, 1980 by having her head removed by final girl Alice in the original Friday The 13th.
3 and 1/2 hockey masks
friday 13 1980 rating

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DATE MOVIE: THE LOST BOYS (1987)

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THE LOST BOYS (1987)

The Lost Boys is a bonafide classic that works as both a charming and fun bit of 80s nostalgia and a timeless horror favorite. Both quintessential 80s movie with all the delightfully nostalgic fashions and hairstyles and cool horror thriller with it’s portrayal of both the dangerous and alluring side of it’s vampire fiends. The title in itself is a reference to The Lost Boys of Peter Pan, youths who remain forever young and the lure of eternal youth, an everlasting party, is a theme a lot of us can identify with. When I saw this in a theater in 1987, I was still in the out-all-night bar hopping and concert going stage of my twenties and, hell yea, I could identify with that. I still miss those days. But I digress…

The Lost Boys tells of siblings Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (80s icon, the late Corey Haim) who, with their mom (Dianne Wiest) move to Santa Carla, CA. a beach-side town where their grandfather lives. Their parents are divorced and both brothers are coming to terms with that and their new surroundings, especially when eccentric Grandpa (Bernard Hughes) tells them that Santa Carla has an unusually high death rate. But, a night on the boardwalk changes things as Michael meets the beautiful and mysterious, Star (Jami Gertz) and the equally mysterious and volatile, David (Kiefer Sutherland in the role that made him a star) and his gang of young toughs. But, there is more to David and his boys then dressing like an 80s metal band and riding motorcycles. These Lost Boys are actually vampires who have been stalking and feeding on the inhabitants of this coastal community. And they are insistent Michael join them in their eternal party and start his transformation into one of the bloodsucking undead. But, all hope is not lost as Sam has befriended the weird Frog Brothers, Edgar and Alan (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) who fill him in on Santa Carla’s vampire problem and want him to join them in slaying the undead menace. Now Sam is faced with trying to save Michael from a fate worse then death before he fully turns, while fending off David and his gang and, their mother’s suspicious acting new boyfriend (Edward Herrmann). Can Sam save Michael’s soul or will he become another victim of David and his vampire posse? Lost Boys is simply a blast. Before being vilified for his treatment of the Batman series, director Joel Schumacher perfectly blended laughs and fun with thrills and chills. David and his band of living dead teens are portrayed with equal parts menace and cool. We have no doubt that they are the bad guys, they’re quite lethal, but, they are also really cool and we can understand Michael initially being drawn to them as his personal life situation makes him feel weak and alone. With David and company he can be strong and rebellious but, the price of being an undead fiend maybe be too much for him to pay… and David is not one to take ‘no’ for an answer. And let’s not forget that Star is among them and Michael has fallen for her. Sam is a loyal little brother who cares about Michael, who is all he has as the two are trying to get used to the new life mom seems quickly adjusted to, and we understand why he is willing to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to save his brother’s soul. Aside from a witty script and Schumacher getting the material perfectly, the cast is also strong and also get the tone of their characters. Patric is good as a rebellious youth who has the foresight to realize he has gotten into something a little too dark and dangerous and Corey Haim is equally good and a lot of fun as a loving little brother who is ready to battle unearthly forces to save his sibling though he has a hard time believing what is really happening at first. Sutherland is a top notch villain as the eternal teen, David who is both vicious monster and bad boy heartthrob. A rock star vampire. Dianne Wiest really captures the loving mom but, one who is determined to have a happy new life for herself and her kids despite their reluctance. I personally identified with this part of the film as years earlier my parents divorced and my mother quickly met a new guy and moved us away from our friends and home to live with him. This filmed nailed all that comes with that perfectly. Jami Gertz is beautiful and alluring as Star and not only do we believe Michael falling for her (what guy in the audience didn’t?) but, she adds a bit of sadness to the mysterious young woman and her reluctance to to see Michael become a monster like she’s becoming is heartfelt. And Corey Feldman creates a classic character to equal Sutherland’s David with the bizarre yet noble vampire killer, Edgar Frog. He is a treat to watch and gives the film a lot of it’s humor. There is a lot of action, a nice helping of teen romance, a lot of fun sequences especially with Sam and the Frogs and there is a genuine helping of horror when we see David and minions on the attack and in the final confrontation that comes in the last act and Schumacher smartly plays all the horror sequences straight to maximum effect. And speaking of effects, the FX here are all good and still hold up, done the old fashioned way with no CGI. The film’s visual style certainly evokes a music video vibe but, this was the 80s and MTV was still all the rage and this was back when they actually still showed music videos! Add to that one of the best movie soundtracks of all time and you have a great 80s flick that is a timeless classic and is every bit as entertaining as you’d want from a date night movie!

So, why is the Lost Boys a great date movie… why not? First off it has a sexy young cast and a hip cool soundtrack to surround the story in. We have a horror flick with fairy tale elements intertwined within, a great combination for a date flick. We have the love story between Michael and Star to set the mood, a fight between good and evil with heroes we can cheer and laugh with and, villains to boo and yet secretly wish we could be. And the only possible hinderance is if you or your date find the whole 80s thing a bit cheesy instead of delightfully nostalgic but, I personally think the film’s story elements are timeless enough to overcome how much the film embraces it’s time period. It’s a romantic, thrilling and fun movie and all those elements should give your movie date a nice start… the rest is up to you!

… that equals a very strong 4 on the Date-O-Meter!

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MONSTERZERO NJ BONUS!: And as an extra treat… let’s take a look at one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time…

THE LOST BOYS SOUNDTRACK

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In my humble opinion The Lost Boys soundtrack is one of the best movie soundtracks ever. Like the movie itself it is a quintessential 80s soundtrack yet, the songs are timeless enough to be enjoyed outright and not just as nostalgia. We get great tunes like INXS’ “Good Times” a rocker which matches with the film’s story elements of eternal youth and a life of partying and might be one of the most iconic tunes off this soundtrack as is Lou Gramm’s “Lost In The Shadows”. Close behind those two is the moody and atmospheric “Cry Little Sister” by Gerald McMann. We have some classic covers like Roger Daltrey doing Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and Echo And The Bunnymen doing The Doors’ “People Are Strange”. And I would be remiss not to mention The Call’s “I Still lBelieve” which is performed in the film by Tim Cappello who you may remember as the saxophone player who is built and dressed like Conan The Barbarian and performed in Tina Turner’s band during her heyday in the 80s. A great album of tunes that perfectly complements a classic flick. A few songs might not be up to the rest but, that is a minor quibble with all the good stuff here.

TRACK LIST

1) Good Times performed by INXS and Jimmy Barnes

2) Lost In The Shadows (The Lost Boys) performed by Lou Gramm

3) Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me performed by Roger Daltrey

4) Laying Down The Law performed by INXS and Jimmy Barnes

5) People Are Strange performed by IEcho and the Bunnymen

6) Cry Little Sister (Theme From The Lost Boys)  performed by Gerald McMann

7) Power Play  performed by Eddie and the Tide

8) I Still Believe  performed by Tim Cappello

9) Beauty Has Her Way  performed by Mummy Calls

10) To The Shock Of Miss Louise performed by Thomas Newman

A classic 3 and 1/2 guitars!

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If you or your date like vampire movies check out MonsterZero NJ’s Saturday Night Double Feature featuring 30 Days Of Night and John Carpenter’s Vampires…

or Jim Mickle’s novel and ferocious apocalyptic vampire flick Stake Land…

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“They’re only noodles, Michael.”

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