Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Kill Me, Tommy
Black Christmas and the first Halloween, of all the Friday franchise (apart from perhaps the first installment), A New Beginning has the most in common with the style. Like a giallo, the film is rife with misdirection which leads the audience in several directions as to whom the killer is, but (as so often the complaint with gialli) the actual culprit is nearly impossible to figure out unless you pick up on some very subtle clues. The killer, who when eventually shown wears a mask similar to Jason but with blue stripes, is mostly seen in shadow or just as appendages, hands and feet stalking a victim. Essentially, this is the modus operandi of a giallo killer. There are also the added giallo tropes of an inept police force (and public officials in general), a fish out of water (Tommy in his new home), and a number of fairly graphic kills.
Savage Streets, defiantly had a plan when he went into A New Beginning, but if that vision is what came out of the other side after cuts and tinkering, I can’t be sure. While the film entertains, it stands an epic weak spot in the series, and it stands apart as being the only entry in the franchise that lacks an actual Voorhees. Overall, despite the stab at creativity, the combination of some fairly standard film making with the lack of bloody horror elements leaves the viewer with little impression past the film’s denouement. I won’t discuss what happens, but anyone who has seen it knows that this is where the film really goes off the rails. There’s also something really lacking in that there is no clear hero character. John Shepard’s Tommy Jarvis, as IMDB tells me, only utters 24 words in the entire film. Is that enough to make him a creep you can suspect? Yep, but not to make him a character the viewer gives two shits about. Apart from Tommy, there’s almost no one in the cast that stands out. Miguel A. Nunez Jr. , Snake from Return of the Living Dead, entertains as the Jeri Curled custom van owner Demon, but his part is all too short. The only other person who stuck in my mind was Tiffany Helm as the two toned hair New Wave punk, but I have to admit that’s because I have an affinity for crimped hair and people that can do the robot.
Part 3, but I liked it less than Jason vs. Feldman in Part 4 (which I thought I had reviewed, but apparently not). It’s not one I think I’m going to pull off the shelf anytime soon, but I also find it to have interesting moments to it. Of course, the public at large was no impressed by interesting moments, and the very next year, Mr. Voorhees was back in Friday the 13th: Part 5: Jason Lives which wraps up the Tommy storyline and re-imagines Jason as a explicitly supernatural force. In the 80's, Jason and Michael both fought back from being replaced (while meanwhile Freddy was like “Can I get a break here? I’m running out of jokes!”), but in the end it goes to show, you just can’t keep a good slasher down (even if you chain him to the bottom of a lake.)