Miguel A. Nunez Jr.
Wait, didn’t we already cover Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter? Well, it’s the Friday The 13th series, and just like Jason Voorhees himself, the series just refused to die. Anyone who watched Jason’s supposed Final Chapter could tell from the look that young Tommy Jarvis gave at the end of the previous film that they were planning on leading off into another film, likely with Tommy as the killer in some way. While that idea would never truly come to fruition, 1985 would see A New Beginning for the Friday The 13th series. Overseen by former porn director, the late Danny Steinmann, Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning has become the black sheep of the Friday The 13th series. It is the only film in the series not to feature kills by a member of the Voorhees clan, and it is also far and away the grimiest film in the series. But despite the fact that Jason nor his mother are on the other end of the blade, does A New Beginning really deserve all the scorn it has accumulated over the years?
The film begins with a brief cameo from Corey Feldman reprising his role as Tommy Jarvis in the previous film, finding two very dumb fellows digging up Jason’s body. Of course, Jason returns to life and quickly dispatches the morons before turning his attention back to the young child who was responsible for finally putting him in the grave. Just as Jason is about to deliver the death blow, we move out of the torrential downpour to see that it was all a dream. A grown Tommy (now played by John Shepherd) is in the backseat of a vehicle taking him to Crystal Lake’s resident halfway house for troubled youth. Upon arriving he is greeted by Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) who introduces him to Matt (Richard Young) who is the head of the Pinehurst Halfway House. Of course, this is a Friday The 13th film, so not long after Tommy’s arrival the carnage begins, albeit in a different vein to start. One of the troubled kids, the overweight and constantly eating Joey (Dominick Brascia) goes around trying to help some of the others, but only manages to continually make things worse. After an encounter with the perpetually angry Vic (the late Mark Venturini, best known for his epic role as Suicide in Return Of The Living Dead, released the same year) poor Joey ends up on the wrong end of an axe attack. From this point on, we are treated to some of the more brutal kills the series has ever seen, as well as some of the graphic sex scenes in the entire franchise.
Of course, as everyone knows, A New Beginning is famous for being the one with the Jason impostor. In hindsight, everyone should have seen it coming given that the “Jason” of this film has blue marks on his hockey mask instead of the standard red. And if this is surprising to you, I have no idea what you are doing on a horror site given that this film was released 30 years ago. So, who exactly ended up behind the mask for this entry in the series? Ambulance driver Roy Burns (Dick Weiand). Yeah, that dumbfounded look on your face has been shared by many horror fans over the past 30 years. Turns out that poor orphaned Joey was actually Roy’s son, and seeing his dismembered corpse completely drove him over the deep end. And if you’re gonna suddenly attempt to become an unstoppable killing machine, you may as well use the legendary masked serial killer local to the region, right?
At the time of its 1985 release, Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning was lambasted by critics (big shock there) but also by fans of the series, given that it didn’t have their beloved Jason in the film. It’s long been considered to be one of the weakest entries in the series, but really, if you take away the impostor Jason, A New Beginning is far from being the worst in the series. I would go so far as to say it is one of the better entries. If the film featured the real Jason it would be much better received. It is undoubtedly the sleaziest of the 12 (if you count the remake and Freddy Vs. Jason as part of the franchise’s canon) films, and it also contained the series’ largest body count to date. There are some of the more entertaining characters in the series (Ethel as portrayed by Carol Locatell is always hilarious anytime she is on screen) and, as already mentioned, some of the series best nudity and violence can be found within.
Looking back, I think it may be safe to say that the film is also hindered due to the fact that it is wedged between The Final Chapter and Jason Lives, arguably the two best (and certainly most beloved) films in the series. But if you can sit back, and push all that away, you will be treated to a great mid-80s slasher, one that just happens to be sleazy as all hell, and a part of one of the biggest horror movie franchises ever.
Tina having a pair of garden shears shoved into her eyes, and then snapped shut.