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Friday the 13th A New Beginning Should Have Never Begun


Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Paramount, 1985)
Directed by Danny Steinmann
Written by Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen, and Steinmann

Let’s analyze our series up to this point, people. Let’s look at the psychology of the F13 films. The first sequel was in essence a much better rendering of what the original was trying to accomplish, and as I stated is arguably the best slasher film to come out of the early 80’s for whatever that is worth. F13 Part III was simply a terrible gimmick (3D Technology) thrust upon the unwilling literally and figuratively. The Final Chapter was a fairly well constructed end piece to a series that if never begun, we would have gone on with our lives quite painlessly.

So what are we to make of A New Beginning? This is a film that should have never existed; a film that we were told would never exist, but less than a year after the lies were spread, here it is nonetheless.

Why they made A New Beginning is a pretty easy question to answer. The Final Chapter made a lot of money, and Paramount was smart enough to realize that the F13 name was still a license to print money. Why they decided to rush this nonsensical idea into production instead of at least trying to come up with something a little less banal and flat out ridiculous is one we will never be able to answer.

You see, A New Beginning is arguably the consensus pick for worst in the series, which in this line of films is actually a hard feat indeed. It has a rating of 3.8 on IMDB; the only film in the series that is lower is Friday the 13th Part VII: Jason Takes Manhattan (3.7), which I remember very little about, but if it’s worse than this one, I’m in for some fun down the road.

When you ask a F13 fan (who I’ve decided are some of the looniest kooks on the planet) why they hate A New Beginning so much, the typical answer will be that Jason is not the killer. I find this to be an asinine reason because even if Jason was the evil behind the mask, how would this stupid film work any better?

A New Beginning is essentially a revamp of the series and opens up a new chapter into the second set of sequels that Paramount decided to unleash upon the world after wanting us to believe that The Final Chapter was really the end. Maybe I could see them trying the Halloween III route and starting a new set of films set on the foretold date, but with other strange creatures lurking about. However, they didn’t even do that. The killer in this film still walks around in the Jason mask to make it seem like he’s risen from the dead and is still murdering unsuspecting teenagers. Why he chooses this route is never explained, nor should one care. Because if I haven’t already mentioned it, this film is as stupid as a stupid film can get.

The revamp of the series is noticeable from the very beginning because we don’t get the standard recap. This is actually the first and last good idea the film brings to the table. We see a faceless person in a yellow slicker watching on as some teenagers dig up the body of Jason for whatever reason. We finally get a look at his face and discover that it is Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), our crazy psycho hero from the last film.

Feldman was apparently too busy taking on the Fratelli brothers in the great 80’s classic, The Goonies, to take a bigger role in this sequel. It is nice how in present day interviews, Feldman talks about how he wishes it could have worked out so he could have done this film. Why he won’t man up and say it was a great decision to be in The Goonies, which allowed him the little bit of fame he had, is beyond me. It’s probably the only good decision the guy has ever made. Dream a Little Dream surely wasn’t one of them.

Anyways, Jason comes to life and disposes of the teens, and then heads toward little Tommy. Tommy then wakes up in a car; he is now in his late teens and played by John Shepherd. It was all a dream.

We soon learn that Tommy has been in and out of institutions since his encounter with Jason, and he is being driven to the newest one, Pinehurst Youth Leadership Center, at the beginning of this film. We eventually find out as well that we are back at Crystal Lake which I wouldn’t think is where you should send the boy for psychological recovery, but what do I know?

There is of course our usual group of ragtag teens residing at the center, who all appear to be in their late twenties/early thirties. We have the sexually aggressive couple, Eddie (John Robert Dixon) and Tina (Debisue Voorhees), who I can only imagine was cast for her last name; surely it wasn’t for her ability to act. There is a fat slob, Joey (Dominick Brascia), a Madonna wannabe named Violet (Tiffany Helm), and so on.

I really see no point in going into all of these characters because this film also posts the highest death count, 22, of any of the other films. That’s more than one death every 4.25 minutes. Essentially the film introduces us to some tertiary character, follows them around while they do something pointless for 8 or 9 minutes, and then offs them. It’s as if the producers and screenplay writers (There are freaking 3 of them listed) decided we have to rush this so let’s forget story and kill a lot more folks, and maybe no one will notice nothing is actually happening in this film.

With Jason out of the picture, this film, like the first one, is set up as a murder mystery. By the end of the film, you’re left with essentially three main suspects; it’s not hard to figure out who the killer is. I won’t give it away I guess to be nice to those who want to sit through this shit, but they’re smart enough to not make it Tommy. And I will also add that the identity of the killer revolves around the murder of Joey at the beginning of the film by one of the other clinic’s residents. So, look for who’s the most disturbed, and you can solve the case and turn off the film. I’m trying to help.

I don’t know if there has ever been a film made that has less intentions of even pretending to give the audience a story than A New Beginning. The film is essentially a little dialogue, some boobs are shown (the most in the series), and then someone is killed (every kill is ripped off from a previous F13 film I might add). They take the barest of essentials that make up the F13 films and put them on display so blatantly in this installment that you would think they don’t give a shit about making a good movie. Oh wait, they probably don’t.

And as pointless as the killings were in the last two films (remember, we haven’t had any camp counselors in three films now, which was supposed to be the motivation for the murders in the first place), they make even less sense here. Once the person pretending to be Jason goes on his/her killing spree, the first victims are two random people on the side of the road trying to fix their car. They aren’t even residents of the clinic.

A drifting hitchhiker also gets wacked as do a drug dealer trying to take a dump in an outhouse and his girlfriend who stands outside flirting with him. And since I guess they figured the only stereotype the F13 series had yet to breach was the annoyingly disgusting hillbilly mother and son team, we get Ethel (Carol Locatell) and Junior (Roy Sloan). For some reason, they get to hang around for a couple of scenes before they are finally put out of their misery.

A Pointless Revamping would have been a better title for this film, or how about simply, Friday the 13th: Waste an Hour and a Half of Your Life. I know that’s how I feel right now. Bring on Part VI, it can’t be as bad as this.

Follows: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Next: Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI


Sam Loomis

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