March 22, 1985
If Jason still haunts you, youíre not alone!
That tagline really summed up the opening night crowd for Friday The 13th V: A New Beginning. Even though the attendance line for The Final Chapter was much longer, there was still quite the crowd to see this fifth entry in the series. Butts were planted firmly in the seats and quite ecstatic to see how the franchise would continue now that Jason Voorhees was ďdead.Ē
The first time I heard they were making a new Friday The 13th was on a drive home from work. I was bopping my way through the radio stations when I heard the information on some news show. Youíd think Iíd be telling you the news was derived from the new issue of Fangoria or some other underground horror outlet, but nope. Jason was making the news whether or not heíd be in the new film.
Of course, Fangoria did play its part in the initial hubbub. It was in those pages that I learned the new Friday The 13th would play like a mystery akin to the original. Most people had originally thought that Tommy Jarvis would be picking up Jasonís gory mantle, but it didnít appear so from early reports.
Much like the way people discussed the different ways that Paramount would kill Jason in The Final Chapter, buzz about A New Beginning started early.
There were theories that it would still be Jason. A lot of fans truly believed he would be coming back to the series. After all, the Sultan of Slaughter had survived quite a few blows in his foray throughout the previous three films. But I didnít buy into that. I also didnít purchase the notion that it was going to be Tommy Jarvis behind the mask. That simply seemed too easy after that last scene in The Final Chapter.
So, what was my theory?
Well, Iíve always subscribed to the notion that Jason raped Chris in Part 3. So my ďsecond gunman on the grassy knollĒ conclusion was that it was going to be their love child. Go ahead and laugh. A lot of people in 1985 laughed at me, too. But, I still thought it was logical and always did want to see the series continue with Jasonís child. I know thatís never going to happen, as fans obviously donít want anyone but the Sultan himself to be in a Friday The 13th film, but a fanboy can dream, canít he?
Anyways, like I previously mentioned, the theater was packed on this early spring night. My father, who enjoyed watching the series on his VCR, accompanied me on this opening night. To be honest, I was surprised. Even though heíd taken me to a lot of horror films throughout the 60s and early 70s (all the way until I got a car and could go on my own), his theater attendance had dropped quite considerably. It was the rare occasion when heíd take my mother out to the movies. But yet, here he was with me and I secretly hoped that heíd enjoy the film, as heíd grown quite cynical in his old age. A few decades later, I guess I could say the same for my own old butt! Ha!
Either way, we waited in line with all the other Friday The 13th fans. It was fun hearing their speculation over the upcoming film. I can remember one fan saying it was Jasonís sister doing the killing. I wanted to tell him that Jason was an only child, per Pamela in the original, but I kept my mouth shut. I guess nobody told the makers of Jason Goes To Hell, either, since the Sultan had a sister in that picture.
Finally, we made our way into the lobby. We eventually found our seats in the packed house and sat back to wait for the film to begin.
When it did start, I noticed that my father and I were sitting beside a ďtalker.Ē Oh, you know the kind; that one person who talks their way through the entire film. Usually, I have no time for a person like this. Why do I want to hear their commentary? But on this occasion I couldnít help but laugh at her. When I took a peak at her in the flickering lights, I could see that she was with her boyfriend/husband and another couple. Her observations made me chuckle.
When Debi Sue Voorhees displayed her natural charms, she opined that she hoped there werenít any children in the audience (though if sheíd been a bit more observant she would have noticed there were quite a few kids there). She also remarked how well Violet did her ďrobot dance.Ē ďSheís pretty good at that,Ē I can still recall hearing her say. And when Shavar Ross took off like a bullet after seeing Roy at the ambulance she let loose with a screeching laugh that made my skin crawl.
But, Iíll never forget her as long as I live.
So, what was my reaction to the killer being Roy Burns? Well, to be honest, I was originally a bit disappointed. I knew it wasnít going to be Jasonís child (come on, Iím not totally stupid), but Iíd gone as far as to entertain the theory that it was the Sultanís sister (okay, maybe I am a little). When we first see a person walking in a rain slicker at the beginning of the film, I actually looked for breasts to see if this was our new killer. When it was revealed to be Corey Feldman, I threw the sister notion quickly out the window.
Roy was an adequate killer, and Iíve come to like him over the years. But initially, I simply didnít care for him. And I didnít care for A New Beginning, either. In the years since 1985, Iíve lessened my initial harsh stance on the film. Itís now one of my favorites, and I find myself occasionally watching it. Honestly, itís the last film in the series I do enjoy.
One thing I do want to mention is that during the film I had to take a piss. Arenít you glad I told you that? I usually donít get up from a movie that Iíve never seen, but this was one of those no-holds-barred pisses. When I returned to the auditorium, the scene playing out was Roy walking into the barn. We get that behind shot of him traipsing towards those busted doors, and I thought that was so ominous. Iíve always loved that particular shot.
Returning to the car, I asked my Dad what he thought about the film. His response: ďThat was stupid.Ē At the time, I didnít argue with him. I thought itíd been pretty dumb, too. Unlike me, though, I doubt heís ever seen the film since that opening night in 1985. I often wonder if heíd change his mind about it, too, should he see it again.
And what about that final shot? It appeared the filmmakers were going to develop Tommy Jarvis as the new killer in a sixth entry. Of course, thatís what it appeared they were doing with the end of The Final Chapter, too. Once again, things would quickly change when it was evident fans didnít particularly care for Friday The 13th without Jason Voorhees.
It would take one more year before Tom McLoughlin would unleash Friday The 13th Part VI in 1986. Little did I know that my time was ticking as a die-hard fan of the world of Jason Voorhees...
Written by Trever Palmer