“Some pack of patootsies, huh?” – 12 yr old Tommy Jarvis
The 1980’s was a torrent of slasher films with countless unmemorable throwaway characters, but for me there was no character as enduring as Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman, John Shephard, Thom Matthews). Over the course of three films, we got to see this character grow into adulthood and watch his descent and ascent from madness.
Here is the ballad of Tommy Jarvis…
First we are shown clips from the last 3 entries in the series, in case you forgot what events led to the film you are about to watch, which I love. Each of the original three sequels has this feature where you get to see the best gory bits and climaxes of the previous films.
A lot of people through the years often asked how Jason could come back from all the “deaths” he suffered in the first sequels. I am a firm believer that Jason was never truly returning from the dead before this film. He endured a lot: a machete through his shoulder in Part 2, followed by a hanging, and an axe to the head in Part 3. But I feel that someone as deranged as Jason should be able to take all of that in stride, it’d slow him down, sure, but not kill him. Shit, anybody would need some rest after all of that, which is why he let the paramedics take him to the morgue!
Set to be the final entry in the Friday the 13th franchise, ‘The Final Chapter’ was released in 1984 and took place the next few days directly after the end of Part 3. Jason’s body was delivered to the morgue where he subsequently escaped, but not without adding to his body count via gruesome throat slashing with a saw/360 degree neck twist and an impaled nurse.
Young Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) lived in a house in the woods with his sister, Trish (Kimberly Beck), and Mom, Mrs. Jarvis (Joan Freeman). Tommy lived the normal life of a young boy. He played video games, had toys, and he was thoroughly obsessed with special FX. He had a knack for making horrific latex masks. We also saw him start puberty upon the site of of his first naked girl through the window across the way. Any guy can relate to that. Who also didn’t screech and jump up and down with pure excitement when they saw their first solo, non-magazine boob? This was probably the pinnacle of his prepubescent life, although it was cut short by his mom entering the room and shutting the blind. She knew the score. The next day Tommy is thwarted again, this time by his sister, when they happen upon a skinny dipping session in progress.
‘The Final Chapter’ exhibited quite possibly the hottest stock of teenage girl flesh in the entire series, starting with my fave, Sam (Judie Aronson), followed by the twins Tina and Teri (Camilla and Carey Moore), Trish, and last, but not least, Sara (Barbara Howard), and even MILF flesh in the form of Mrs. Jarvis.
Ted (Lawrence Monoson) and Jimmy (Crispin Glover) carry the group of males as far as humor and presence goes. “Teddy Bear,” as he wants to be known to the twins, is hilarious during the beginning when he and Jimmy are talking about Jimmy’s love life. Ted types some data into is imaginary laptop, (talk about foresight), and the computer advises that Jimmy is a “dead fuck, a lousy lay, you know: dead pecker.” It’s particularly funny when Jimmy, who is set up to be the horny guy destined to be alone, ends up with one of the hot twins, and Ted is alone. And let’s not forget Jimmy’s dance moves. Apparently, that is how Crispin Glover dances.
Let’s not forget the character of Rob Dyer (E. Erich Anderson), the mountain man out for revenge for the death of his sister, Sandra (Marta Kober from ‘Friday the 13th Part 2’). It was so apparent that when Jason is hacking into him and Rob is screaming “Oh God, he’s killing me! He’s killing me,” that he was just awful and most deserving of death.
There are copious amounts of blood in ‘The Final Chapter’ all thanks to the master himself and Pittsburgh native, Tom Savini, who also did the FX on the ‘First Friday the 13th.’ He created the first iteration of Jason and was brought back for the last installment because, the producers and director thought that it was only right that he be the one to kill off Jason. All of Tommy’s masks etc in his bedroom were Savini’s props and masks from his workshop.
One thing that seems to bug a lot of fans, is that you never see Mrs. Jarvis die, just a shocked expression and screechy music in the final cut. There is an alternate ending with Mrs. Jarvis floating in a bath tub that has a familiar dream sequence jump scare factor, but wasn’t included for pacing reasons. It was a cool scene, but not needed. The film ended just fine.
After all are killed in awesome ways, Jason goes after Trish and Tommy, who is upstairs shaving his head. Trish gets Jason in the hand with his machete slicing it down the middle, then she gets him in the chest, and at this point, Jason has had enough of the cat and mouse shit. He grabs her throat and takes her to the ground intent on killing her. Tommy, now looking like Jason as a child, runs down steps calling for Jason in order to distract him by telling him to “remember.” The ploy works and Trish knocks his mask off revealing the most grotesque Jason to date. She drops the machete and Jason approaches her. Tommy grabs the machete and slices into Jason’s skull about halfway into his head. Jason writhes in agony, then falls to the ground, where his head slides down the blade.
Tommy hugs Trish, and in his revelry, looks down and sees Jason’s fingers twitch. He pushes Trish away and goes ape shit on Jason’s head, screaming “DIE! DIE!”
Trish ends up in the hospital and is visited by Tommy, who upon hugging her, looks directly at the camera, and looks completely traumatized and psychotic.
Tune in next week for the continuation of “The Ballad of Tommy Jarvis!”