#8. Friday the 13th Part V (1985)
Nature of Shame:
Trudging my way through the intermittent (and extremely relative) joys of the Friday the 13th series. Bring on Friday the 13th Part V because it’s the next one.
Hooptober Challenge Checklist:
Friday the 13th Part IV was called THE FINAL CHAPTER so this must be the beginning of the epilogue. I’m not going to criticize the series for waffling on its promise of finality because it’s never made much of a point of making sense anyway. Why start now?
‘Friday the 13th Part V’ Elevator Pitch
The PTSD-riddled Tommy Jarvis awakens from a nightmare in which he watches two idiots dig up the grave of Jason Voorhees. (Corey Feldman appears in a cameo during the dream sequence to bridge Friday IV with Friday V.) A thoughtful undertaker even planned ahead and packed Jason with his hockey mask and machete. Tommy then arrives at a mental treatment facility that A) happens to be deep in the woods; B) is surrounded by absolutely lunatics; and C) is filled with other mentally unstable, horny teens, aka low-hanging murder fruit.
Same as It Ever Was?
I’ve never met a slasher movie that was less concerned with building tension than Friday the 13th Part V. The movie’s 22 kills come rapid fire and only a scant few come accompanied by an escalation of tension. We spend a fair amount of time with a secondary character getting tormented inside a port-a-potty, though. With a mixture of humor and horror, it’s easily the most effective sequence in the film, but that’s not saying much when the 21 others come at you rapid-fire, like a greatest hits episode of Jason’s Greatest Cuts.
Here’s a character you barely know and don’t like. Stabbed. Here’s another char– slashed. Here’s an– stabbed. Here– skewered.
The result is a film that dispenses with all pretense. By this point in the Friday the 13th series of films, fans wanted kills and titillation. There’s a refreshing frankness to a garbage movie that moves from horror beat to sexy bit to horror beat with minimal padding. There’s so much sex in Friday the 13th Part V that director Danny Steinmann, in an article in GQ, said he felt like he was shooting a porno in the woods.
Friday the 13th Part V: All Punches Pulled
The biggest problem with Friday the 13th Part V was writing a protagonist (John Shepherd) who spends the majority of the movie heavily-drugged in a catatonic stupor. Like the original Friday, Part V tries to build a mystery around the murders. Is it Jason? Is it Tommy? (Even Part IV feeds into this assumption.) Is it someone else entirely?
I won’t spoil the final twist. The best I can say about the painfully convoluted revelation is that it’s so dumb you won’t see it coming. The best twist, in fact, occurred behind the scenes. Producers cast John Shepherd and many of the other young actors without telling them about the movie they were making. Friday the 13th Part V was made under the working title “Repetition.” To prepare for the role, Shepherd spent months volunteering at a state mental hospital only to be told he’d trained to play the lead in a Friday the 13th movie.
Final ‘Friday the 13th Part V’ Thoughts
I haven’t loved any of the Friday the 13th movies, but I could never say they were boring. Friday the 13th Part V changed that. This movie’s version of lather, rinse, repeat — murder, sex, murder — numbs the senses. It’s gleeful trash cinema that strays from the consistent but predictable dread largely prevalent through the first four entries. I’m told better things lie ahead. #FingersCrossed.
Despite my reaction to this film, I welcome the future of Friday the 13th where it takes itself even less seriously — but also maybe figures out how to reinsert some suspense alongside the gleeful abuse of the formula.
Friday the 13th Part V is available on Blu-ray and DVD.
2019 @CinemaShame / #Hooptober Progress
#1. Shocker (1989) // #2. Etoile (1989) // #3. The Phantom of the Opera (1989) // #4. Blacula (1972) // #5. Scream Blacula Scream (1973) // #6. Jaws: The Revenge (1987) // #7. Blood Bath (1966) // #8. Friday the 13th Part V (1985)