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John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985), more boobs, body count and masked killer shenanigans advance the Tommy Jarvis story arc.

November 10, 2017

MY CALL:  Perhaps my second favorite in the series (so far), just behind Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter. Less hokey than its predecessor, but way more raunchy. So far, I’d rank the films, best to worst, as 4-5-2-1-3.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Friday the 13th Part VObviously, Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) for sure.  Sadly, I’d only suggest part III (1982) for the sake of story continuity (it didn’t impress me at all, but many seem to favor it), but part IV (1984) was quite redeeming.  For more classic ‘early modern’ slashers one should venture A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Sleepaway Camp (1983), The Burning (1981) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Part 4 SIDEBAR:  Yup, Jason keeps getting “almost, sort of, nearly killed” and then keeps coming back like Wolverine.  Part IV ends after 12-year old Tommy (Corey Feldman; Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter, The Lost Boys, Gremlins, Bordello of Blood) impersonates “teen Jason” and kills him. But the credits freeze on a curious glimmer in his eye. We close with Jason’s skull impaled in the worst injury our killer has sustained in the franchise.  If you weren’t yet convinced he was dead, you ought to be now!  As for the timeline, part 1 took place in “present day” (1980), part 2 was 5 years later (so 1985), part III continued “the next day” (also 1985), and part IV took place in 1985 immediately after the events of part III starting with Jason in the hospital morgue (a la Halloween II).  Bucking the trend, part V jumps forward 5-6 years…

After the traumatic events leading to young Tommy killing Jason, he’s needed more than the occasional therapy session.  Now a teenager (17 or 18), after spending years in mental health facilities, Tommy (John Shepherd; Bless the Child) finds himself at something of a halfway house “camp” to help him transition to re-enter society.  About as soon as Tommy arrives, another troubled resident chops up one of his peers (over a candy bar) and subsequently people start getting killed by a hockey-masked killer.  Only one problem: Jason Voorhees was allegedly cremated!  So, who’s hacking everyone up?

Some members of the cast you may recognize include Anthony Barrile (Girlfriend from Hell), Todd Bryant (Night of the Creeps, The Puppet Masters), Dominick Brascia (Evil Laugh, Once Bitten), Bob DeSimone (Savage Streets), Juliette Cummins (Psycho III, Deadly Dreams, Slumber Party Massacre II), Richard Lineback (The Ring), Miguel A. Núñez Jr. (The Return of the Living Dead, Leprechaun 4: In Space), and Marco St. John (Shadow People, Cat People).

Campy SIDEBAR: I felt that part III was incredibly hokey.  This sequel remains highly campy, but never really hokey.  How’s that?  Well, there’s also a LOT more profanity and we basically see the breasts of the entire female cast.  For real, there may be more nudity and a broader variety of boobs in this movie than all its predecessors combined (even considering part IV).  Back in my Piranha 3DD (2012) review, I dreamed up the movie metric called breast time. “If there was a movie Freakonomics calculation called breast time it would be measured in breast seconds—i.e., the total number of breasts in a movie times the number of seconds that each breast is bare.”  Let’s just say Jason saw a lot of boobage in this sequel.  It reminded me of other such classy cinema as The Haunting of Morella (1990).  Director Danny Steinmann (Savage Streets, The Unseen) never directed another film after this (part V).  Not sure exactly why, but I suspect he had trouble recruiting actresses once they understood he wouldn’t let them keep their clothes on.  Our final girl, naturally, is the only one who kept her top on.  But, just to keep things classy, she duels her murderous opposition wearing a soaking wet white blouse and no bra.

The effects were decent.  Some of the death scenes were uninspired filler (e.g., a few off-screen kills and slit throats), but overall the kills were pretty enjoyable.  Although weak as a death scene, I liked the “flare death”, and the outhouse death scene was a giggling favorite.  Most of the kills were conducted by axe or machete, but we find some garden sheers and head constricting antics peppered in for flavor.

Our killer remains much like Michael Myers in menace, especially in the sense that—for the first time in this franchise—our killer never actually runs.  And while he can clearly be hurt (being human still, at this point in the franchise), he doesn’t seem to “fear” his victims when they’re armed—but he doesn’t ignore the threat either.  Whereas the first two films punished the would-be staff of Camp Crystal Lake, parts III-V punished seemingly random lakeside vacationers who just happen to be in Jason’s cursed habitat.  We also continue to find rehashes of some tactics that worked well in previous franchise films.  For example, the old “grab from the back and stab through” (e.g., how his mother killed Kevin Bacon in part 1) and crashing through a splintered door.

 Jason just kept getting bigger, didn’t he?  At least, until now.  Ted White (6’4”; Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter, The Hidden, Demonoid: Messenger of Death) followed Richard Brooker (6’3”; Friday the 13th Part III, Deathstalker), Warrington Gillette (6’1”; Friday the 13th Part 2), and even “the boy in the lake” (Ari Lehman, 5’11”; The Barn, Friday the 13th).  No complaints about it—just an observation.  But now in part V, our killer (Tom Morga; Halloween 4: The Curse f Michael Myers, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) is only 6’2”.

This sequel is the first to really generate a story arc around a focal character.  We have followed Tommy Jarvis from his childhood trauma into his late troubled teen years and, if we’re being honest, it’s nice to actually know a character for a change.  I’m not complaining about movies that populate the cast with nothing more than backstoryless slasher fodder sequel after sequel (e.g., the Wrong Turn sequels). But with such an iconic franchise (entirely theatrical releases, by the way), this provides more synthesis (as with all the character overlap in NOES movies).

Part IV was easily my favorite sequel, but part V is right behind it as my second favorite (so far) in terms of fun factor and rewatchability.  We may not have that stage-setting nostalgia of parts 1-2, but these franchise installments are simply more exciting.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2017 8:07 pm

    Ugh, could not stand this one. I thought the acting was worse (than normal).

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 10, 2017 8:14 pm

      Haha. Your opinion is appreciated even if it differs from mine. I’ve been quite shocked by some folks’ best-to-worst ordering of the Friday the 13th films. Maybe one favoring story or innovative death scenes, others nonsensical gory fun, others by counting boobs–or some combination therein. I must admit, I never once ever considered acting in my ranking. LOL

      I hope you continue to visit us! All opinions are always welcome, along with sharing links to them!

  2. Bret permalink
    November 11, 2017 8:31 am

    Still in my opinion, This sequel is the least favorite Of the series maybe because it involves more of a copycat scenario then the actual Jason Voorhees.
    If I were to rank the films that have been currently reviewed my personal opinion would be: 4, 1, 3, 2, 5.
    I look forward to the following reviews involving this series especially starting with the next on part 6: Jason Lives. Not only is it the ending of the story line based around Tommy Jarvis but it would be interesting to hear the overall rating of the Friday the 13th/Tommy Jarvis storyline. Plus part 6will be the last time that you will witness a different actor playing Jason Voorhees before Kane Hodder takes over the role for the following 4 films.
    Lastly, Part 6 is start of the more familiar/rebroadcast films up till Freddy vs. Jason where we remember certain kills/scenarios/characters besides the reoccurring the opening montage in almost every film.
    Review Rating: As always interesting and enjoyable. Can’t wait for more.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 11, 2017 11:22 am

      I must say, I’ve never seen a “review rating” before….but I like the idea!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 11, 2017 11:27 am

      I think my ratings differ from yours–as I wrote above to nscovell–in that we attach ourselves to different notions (or dimensions) of any given film before assigning quality. So in a group of different rankers we’ll find all manner of reasoning, “maybe one favoring story or innovative death scenes, others nonsensical gory fun, others by counting boobs–or some combination therein. I must admit, I never once ever considered acting in my ranking” nor did I let the fact that it wasn’t actually Jason (but a copycat) affect me–which is odd since I outwardly voice that I like Halloween III as a standalone (and unrelated) movie but despise it as a “Halloween move.” Perhaps that’s more your reasoning here?

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 11, 2017 11:29 am

      Just posted my part VI review btw…

      Not sure why they couldn’t cast the same actor as Tommy and just let the timeline continue into the next day or week after the events of part V. Do you realize, with these time jumps of Tommy getting older, that part VI takes place in 2000 or 2001? No joke, I tracked every movie’s notations of time!

  3. November 12, 2017 3:55 pm

    Hate 3 and like 5? This is the most outrageous thing since Anakin Skywalker wasn’t granted the title of Jedi Master in one of them Star Track movies.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 12, 2017 3:58 pm

      haha! Sorry. Guilty as charged. Loads of people seem to love 3…I’m just not in that bandwagon at all. And I loooooooved VI.

      • November 12, 2017 4:19 pm

        It would be boring if we all liked the same things. As long as we all like Friday the 13th movies. People who don’t like those need a good talking to from Mrs. Voorhees.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 12, 2017 5:23 pm

      Well, just because it’s my least favorite F13 movie doesn’t mean I’d be bummed if I was a guest in your house and you put it on. Realistically, I’d enjoy it, maybe even love watching it in good company (makes campy movies better anyway). It simply stands to reason that it’s my least favorite of a franchise I love. And YES, Mrs Voorhees visits to any grumps who naysay F13. lol


  1. John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), introducing zombie Jason to more camp counselors and some of the most fun death scenes of the franchise so far. | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), where psychotherapy meets telekinesis and Kane Hodder’s zombie Jason. | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), teleporting all over the place in a love letter to Dream Warriors and The Dream Master. | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), mixing The Hidden (1987) creature, The Evil Dead (1981) mythology and The Dream Child (1989) twist. | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: Jason X (2001), a wonderfully bad movie featuring a sexy fembot versus Mecha-Voorhees in space. | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. John’s Horror Corner: The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), the brutal sequel showing us that sometimes more is just… well… more. | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. John’s Horror Corner: Dead Snow (2009; aka Død Snø), an extremely bloody Norwegian movie about Nazi zombies inspired by Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi. | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th (2009), a remake/requel love letter to the early 80s featuring brutally familiar death scenes. | Movies, Films & Flix

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