GORE GORE GORE – Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
Let me tell you something, if you like boobs in your Slasher movies, Friday the 13th Part V is for you! Yes folks today I’m reviewing probably the most controversial of the Friday the 13th movies, A New Beginning (Spoilers right ahead). The reason this movie is so controversial is because of the direction it tried to take the series in. A lot of fans hate it for one reason. Jason Voorhees aside from dream sequences is not in this move.
The fact is Paramount when it saw the money that the Final Chapter made, they couldn’t abandon the series like they wanted to. They also did not want to go back on their word that that was the end of Jason, so they gave the writers and director of this movie two directives. The first was one that is what makes the movie so fun, there had to be a scare joke or fake out scar once every 7 to 8 minutes, which lead to this movie’s ridiculous body count. The second was they needed to set up a new killer for the series. With those two commands in mind, let’s explore this movie.
This movie starts with a Young Tommy Jarvis, played by a really short old woman and a young legend of film named Corey Feldman, is walking through the woods in the rain. When he reaches the end of the woods, he comes to Jason’s grave with two punks digging it up to get a look at him. When they finish opening up his casket Jason springs to life and stabs them with his machete (Why would they bury him with that?). After he kills both boys he turns his attention to Tommy who is frozen in fear. Just before Tommy is chopped into itty bitty Feldman nuggets, Tommy wakes up as his older self. It was all dream, how frightening.
Before I get into the characters, I want to touch on something. This movie came out in 1985 but according to the official timeline of the movies, that was created because of the aging of Tommy and a gap in the story for Friday the 13th Part 2, it actually takes place in the then future year of 1989. This means the wardrobe was dated for the movie then let alone now. This will become even more absurd later in the series and I’ll explain at that time.
Now on to the cast.
Our hero in this movie is Tommy Jarvis; the kid from the previous movie is now 5 years older and about 17. Tommy in this movie has very little dialog, as he’s in a mental facility halfway house because of the trauma of the previous movie. I don’t really blame him for that. Because Tommy has very little dialog in this film the actor John Shepherd, has to do a lot of acting purely with the looks on his face. He’s actually quite good at it; you really get the feel that his Tommy is trying to come to grips with everything that happened with him. Tommy in this movie is also quite the ass kicker, he throws a couple of well deserved beat downs on some douchey characters. Tommy evolved from smart kid to silent badass. I like it.
The movie does have a heroine like the previous movies, but since this is Tommy’s story she plays the secondary role. Pam is the co administrator at the Halfway house. She’s a pretty solid character she stands out in this movie as a strong enough female character. While no character is particularly well written thanks to character overkill, Pam isn’t bad. She’s really only there to fill the final girl requirement and she’s not bad at it.
This movie also has a little kid character in Reggie. Reggie is black, and 100 X better than the Tokens from part 3, while his dialog is kind of stereotypical, it’s not embarrassingly bad like a lot of the diolog they feed minority characters in horror films. I actually like the Reggie character, he’s funny and likable. The actor who plays Reggie, Shavar Ross, may actually be the biggest star in this movie (Unless you count the guy who played Gordy’s Dad in Ready to Rumble as a deputy), as he was playing Gary Coleman’s best friend Dudley in Diff’rent Strokes at the time.
The other characters in this movie can be separated into two groups. The supporting characters and the body count characters. I will give a brief rundown of the body count characters a little later because there are some interesting tidbits.
Dr. Matthew Letter is the doctor in charge of the house, and he’s actually a pretty accurate representation of a psychologist unlike most in these movies. He does have one glaring flaw in that department which I’ll discuss in a moment. He’s only in a few scenes, but he’s good in them. Matt dies off screen and is found having been railroad spiked to a tree.
We have one of our two weird characters in this movie in the form of Violet. She’s a flighty girl with weird hair (which is laughably outdated considering when this movie is supposed to take place in the timeline). Violet doesn’t have many scenes, a common issue with all the side characters in this film, but in the scenes she’s in she’s interesting. She’s flighty, as she sets a place at the table for someone who is killed early in the movie. She also blows someone off who needs to talk because she MUST do her weird dance (not as great as the Glover dance). It’s during this dance that she meets her end by being stabbed in the stomach with a machete.
The other weird character is Jake. Jake is a socially awkward boy with a stutter. He’s actually a nice guy but is kind of looked over by everyone else because of his stutter. Jake has one of the best lines in any slasher movie when he yells at Violet “You don’t set a place for a dead person!” Later in the movie Jake tries to hit on another girl stuttering out that he’d like to make love with her. She laughs at him so he goes and tries to talk to Violet, who blows him off because she just needs to dance. When he turns around to leave her room, he takes a cleaver to the face.
We have our two horny lover characters in this movie as well; they are Tina (A Tina in a Friday the 13th Movie? You don’t say!) and Eddie. Tina and Eddie are very generic characters. Eddie is an asshole and gets a well deserved beat down from Tommy. And Tina is a pair of boobs with a couple of lines. She’s topless for most of her screen time. Anyway at one point Eddie and Tina run off to the woods and have sex. Then of course one of them goes off to get cleaned up. The killer comes and stabs Tina in the eye with some garden sheers which actually leads to a pretty cool make up effect. Eddie predictably comes back from having cleaned up to find her body. He is so horrified that he backs up against a tree and is murdered when the killer wraps a leather strap around his throat and keeps tightening it.
The land they like to run off and have sex with is the property of one Ethel Hubbard, a redneck woman who lives with her son Junior. Ethel is a funny character, obviously added for some low brow humor. She insults everyone, including her son whom she calls a dildo. During the film a drifter named Raymond, who I guess is supposed to be a red herring until he gets stabbed with a piece of wood watching Eddie and Tina. Junior is very stupid, usually parroting his mother, even her insults towards him. At one point he drives off on his motorcycle and pretends to run in to Tommy, he then gets off his bike and starts calling Tommy crazy and poking him. This leads to Tommy beating the ever loving shit out of him. He gets on his bike and drives home. He starts riding around his house screaming for a while as his mom yells. Finally the killer lops off his head as he’s driving. Then he walks up to the house and kills Ethel by way of cleaver through the window into her face.
There’s one more girl with the halfway house named Robin. Robin like all the halfway house characters gets very little screen time, and really the only memorable thing we see her do is laugh in Jake’s face. After laughing at him she goes to her room and takes off her shirt (because boobs) she does feel kind of bad about what she did. She lies on her bunk and is stabbed from underneath the bed. That’s 3 out of five movies where someone is stabbed from underneath a bed. Thus ends the life of another undeveloped character.
The last two guys in the halfway house I need to talk about together. Really these characters could be included in my minor characters section that’s coming up if it wasn’t for the fact that they are the cause of the entire plot of the movie. First there is Joey, who is a nice but dumb kid who tries to be helpful and nice but ends up annoying everyone. Then there is Vic, a scary looking guy with rage issues. Joey walks up to Vic and tries to talk to him but Vic wants nothing to do with him. You see Vic is busy chopping wood. I have to ask before I continue, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD HAVE THE GUY WITH RAGE ISSUES CHOP WOOD WITH A GIANT AX? I bet you can see what’s coming. Joey gives Vic a candy bar to be nice, and Vic chops it with the ax. Joey is offended by this and tells Vic that he’s out of line. Vic responds by taking the ax and chopping Joey up with it. You mean the guy with rage issues you gave an ax killed another person with an ax. Who could have predicted that? Dr Letter really screwed up with this idea.
The last character of importance in this movie is Roy Burns. Roy is a paramedic who comes to collect the dead body that is chopped to bits by Vic. Why is he important? Because Roy is our killer ladies and gentlemen. You see Joey was Roy’s son that he abandoned. When Roy sees the body he is visibly shaken and that there is the one flaw with this movie. They returned to the mystery formula of the first movie, but they made it painfully obvious early on who it was, so no amount of red herrings was going to cover it up. Roy had a solid motivation and a solid idea in dressing up like Jason to keep the heat off him and put it on to either Jason or Tommy. If they hadn’t had him just short of scream oh my god my son on camera the movie would have worked a lot better than it did.
Finally we come to the body count characters. These characters were really only added into the film because of Paramount’s mandate for a scare every few minutes. None of these characters get any development at all and they serve only one purpose and that is to die.
We have Lana and Billy. Billy is a coke head who worked for Tommy’s mental hospital he was transferred from and Lana is a waitress. Lana flashes herself in the mirror as she changes (because boobs) for her date with Billy. Billy gets impatient honking the horn for Lana, when he goes to get out of the car he gets an ax to the head. Lanna moments later, after a fake stock horror cat scare finds the killer standing there with said ax now covered in blood and has it slammed into her chest.
Next we have the greasers. Yes Greasers. As in 1950’s style greaser characters. In a movie set in 1989. And that’s not the only reason they are out of place. The supposed bad ass of the two is named Paul. And he’s played by the guy who played the weasel wimp Epstein in the movie Biloxi Blues. This just cracks me up because I suddenly have to accept him as some kind of tough guy. Anyway, their car breaks down, and Paul makes his friend Vinnie fix it while he goes off in the woods to go to the bathroom. While this happens ol’ Roy shows up and shoves a road flare into Vinnie’s mouth, which is really cool. Paul comes back moments later and completely oblivious to the fact that his friend is not there anymore gets in the car and starts yelling at him because it still won’t start. Just as it finally starts, the killer springs from the back seat and slits his throat.
The other people killed in this movie as part of the body count are Reggies family. His grandfather George who is a cook at the halfway house Is killed off camera by having his eyes gouged out. His older brother Demon, played by Juanna Mann himself Miguel A. Núñez Jr and Demon’s girlfriend Anita are killed at the trailer park, Anita by throat slashing and Demon being stabbed with a pipe while in the outhouse. They do get to sing a nice little musical number before they die. Seriously.
Including an ambulance driver who is killed off scene and three dream sequence kills, 22 people die in this movie. It’s a nice high body count, unfortunately all these characters meant that almost no one got developed to the point that you care about them dying.
The final battle sequence is epic in this movie. Reggie awakens to find a pile of bodies, and Pam returns from looking for people and finds that pile of bodies a moment later. They run from the house only to come across Roy Burns dressed as Jason, who I will now refer to RBDAJ for the rest of the review. They run away and find RBDAJ’s ambulance with the other medic dead. Instead of pushing his body out of the car and driving away in it, they are so terrified… that they run back to the halfway house. It’s while running back that they find the body of Matt, and then after being separated Pam is scared when the body of George is tossed through the window. Pam Runs back outside and towards the barn. It’s raining and she’s in white (because boobs) and she suddenly falls in the mud. She has trouble getting up and just when RBDAJ is going to stab her, Reggie busts out of the barn driving a small Bulldozer and rams him with it.
They run into the barn to hide. RBDAJ gets up and is visibly hurt, the first indication this is not Jason, if you don’t count the subtle and by that I mean not subtle at all look on Roy’s face earlier. RBDAJ stocks into the barn looking for them and Pam attacks him with the world’s fastest starting Chainsaw. I say this, because if she was hiding with a running chainsaw, RBDAJ probably would have heard it, because he answered questions before and is obviously not deaf. Pam is kicking ass and taking names in the chainsaw vs. Machete fight, until it runs out of gas. She chucks the chainsaw at RBDAJ and climbs up into the loft. RBDAJ goes to follow but suddenly Tommy appears and a standoff ensues.
RBDAJ starts to go towards Tommy, who stands there in disbelief, as every other time he has seen Jason in this movie, it was a dream. He does snap out of this trance when RBDAG slashes him in the chest. Tommy, who I have pointed out, is a badass in this movie responds by taking out his own knife and stabbing RBDAJ in the leg. This allows Tommy to get up into the loft with Pam and Reggie where he passes out, as one slashed in the chest and losing blood is likely to do.
RBDAJ climbs up in the loft and goes after Pam, but Reggie, summoning up the last of his badass, knocks RBDAJ out of the large barn window. RBDAJ hangs on however and grabs Reggie by his leg. Tommy wakes up from his little nap and summons up enough strength, and the last bit of badass he will ever have in this series and slashes RBDAJ’s hand, causing him to fall to his death on a bed of spikes like this is a video game. During the fall his mask falls off and it is revealed to be Roy.
We cut to the wrap up scene, where they are in the hospital. The Sheriff explains to Pam the reason for Roy Burns’ murder spree. After that Pam goes to see Tommy who suddenly wakes up and stabs her in the stomach killing her! No, wait, that turns out to be a dream. Tommy wakes up and gets out of bed going to a drawer, which for some reason has the Not Jason’s Mask in it. Pam NOW comes to check on Tommy when she hears glass break. She runs into the room to see a window broken. Suddenly the Camera shows the other direction and Tommy is wearing the mask and holding up a knife as the movie ends.
That too would turn out to be a dream as this movie was met with ire from fans who wanted to see Jason in a Jason movie. They forgot that Jason at one point was a new killer himself. I can see where they are coming from though, and it does feel like some sort of cop out in a way. But Paramount was pretty clear that it would be a new killer, from the outset, the title, plus Roy’s mugging should have made that blatantly obvious to everyone. But still people were angry about the twist that wasn’t a twist.
I myself do not get the hate that this movie still gets. Many call it the worst Friday movie of them all, which I think is laughable because 3 and 8-10 are all far worse movies. I like this movie. I do. It’s not the best in the series, but it tried something new. And the director and writers had to follow some pretty stringent rules, and they did their best. The main purpose of the film was to establish a new killer for the series, and they did that well. It was obvious that they wanted to Tommy to become the new killer, but the negative backlash towards Roy caused them to back off that and bring Jason back in the next move.
This movie is the end of the Friday the 13th series as a serious horror franchise. It is after this movie is that things start to get over the top, not that that’s really a problem most of the time. This movie was supposed to bridge two eras, and it does that, just not in the way the producers originally intended. All in all I would say this is a good movie in the series, not great, but not bad either. It has its flaws, but it accomplishes well what it set out to do. As long as you remember exactly what it was trying to do you should be able to enjoy this movie on its own merits. And boobs.