Paramount DVD © 2004, Region: 1, Format: NTSC — Disc 3 of the box set From Crystal Lake to Manhattan.
~1 hour, 32 minutes, 13 seconds
Twelve-year-old Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman, reprising his role from Part 4) walks down a wooded path in a thunderstorm, bright yellow raincoat on, flashlight in hand. The path he’s on opens into a clearing; in the middle of which is a plot marked “Jason Voorhees”. Two grave robbers run in from the left side of the screen. Tommy kneels behind branches, watching on as they dig up the coffin. The graverobbers whoop with excitement. One hollers “Yee-haw!” For doing something illegal, they’re sure causing quite a commotion. They pry the lid open. Jason lies motionless, no signs of decay. He was buried with his hockey mask on. Nightcrawlers hang from his eyeholes. The two men look shocked. What did they expect to find? Before they can make their next move, Jason springs back to life, killing both where they stand — one with a machete, one with an awl, which he was also conveniently buried with. Then, he gets up and goes after Tommy. Tommy just sits there, frozen. Jason lifts his machete…
Tommy, now several years older (John Shepherd), wakes up in the back of a transport van. He’s been released from a psychiatric hospital that he was sent to between movies and is on his way to a place called Pinehurst Youth Development Center, a halfway house converted from an old farmhouse where troubled teens (I think they’re supposed to be eighteen-ish) prepare to re-enter society.
A negative version of the classic square-style Friday the 13th logo fades in from black. The colors switch back to normal. A hockey mask with blue chevrons explodes through the text, then swivels around to cover our point of view, signaling the re-masking of the killer’s identity. Who’s at it this time?
Tommy is greeted by assistant Pam Roberts (Melanie Kinnaman) and doctor Matthew Letter. They tell him that he’ll be his own boss, that he won’t have to follow any rules. Tommy perks up at this, but says nothing, just nervously zips and unzips his bag.
A quick shot of his chart reveals that he’s been on such medications as Thorazine (an anti-psychotic), Ritalin, Valium, and Percodan. Most interesting of all is that he underwent shock treatment from 1982 to 1983, before the events of Part 4, i.e. the source of his trauma. Someone screwed up here.
Tommy is shown to his room where he toys with a pocket knife and is scared by a boy of about thirteen named Reggie (Shavar Ross, Diff’rent Strokes, Family Matters). Reggie isn’t a resident. He just kind of hangs out there. His grandpa works as the cook. Tommy scares Reggie back by putting on one of his masks from Part 4. I love little callbacks like this. Horror sequels need more of them.
Reggie gets Tommy to say a few words but their conversation is cut short when the local sheriff brings two residents home who he found having sex on the neighbor’s property. These fornicators are Eddie and Tina (DebiSue Voorhees, that’s right, her last name is Voorhees).
Neighbor Ethel roars up on the back of her son Junior’s dirt bike. These two are stereotypical hillbillies to the point of being caricatures. They have dirty faces. They have dirty teeth. They’re obnoxious. For some reason, Junior wears goggles and a leather aviation cap. Most of what he farts out of his mouth is just a rearranged version of what his mom says.
During her introduction, Ethel is set up as a possible danger. “You mark my words, the next little bastard comes near my farm, I’m gonna blow your fuckin’ brains out!” she threatens.
Later that day, a doughy man-child with the mentality of a toddler named Joey walks outside holding candy bars. He offers to help emo-goth Violet (Tiffany Helm) and redhead Robin hang laundry but gets chocolate all over their white sheets. So he turns and offers to help an angry sweaty man with a studded arm band named Victor chop firewood. Vic tells him to get lost and leave him alone. Joey gives him a candy bar. Vic chops it in half. Joey scolds him for wasting his num-nums: “I think you’re really out of line!” This enrages Vic so much that he hacks Joey to pieces.
Vic is placed in the back of a squad car. The rest of the residents gather outside. Most of them are in tears. The paramedics walk up. One of them lifts the sheet covering Joey’s body, exposing his severed arm. The crowd gasps in shock, to which the paramedic smirks and responds “bunch of pussies”. His partner, Roy Burns, is not so amused.
That night, two greasers with car trouble are killed. An unseen assailant shoves a road flare down one of their throats before slitting the other’s.
The next morning, Tommy wakes up in a sweat with the iconic “Die! Die!” soundbite from Part 4 on loop in his head. While struggling to open a pill bottle, he hallucinates that Jason is standing behind him brandishing a bloody axe.
During breakfast, Eddie scares Tommy with one of his own masks, which is in extremely poor taste under the circumstances — oh, and given Tommy’s past. Tommy flies into a rage. He flips Eddie up over his shoulders through a decorative hallway table pro wrestling-style. Apples go bouncing as he mounts Eddie with punches til Matthew restrains him.
After sundown, two more people are axed to death at a diner.
Is Ethel making good on her word? Did witnessing another murder send Tommy over the edge? Perhaps Victor escaped. Or, has Jason somehow returned?
Thoughts (Possible Spoilers)
The mayor of the small town shows up at the police department and demands to know what the fuck is going on. Sheriff Tucker tells him that Jason is responsible. The mayor counters by claiming Jason was cremated. He pours an ashtray out to illustrate his point. “This is your Jason Voorhees. Here.”
Meanwhile, Eddie and Tina sneak off to have sex in the woods again. A drifter who volunteered to clean Ethel’s chicken coop in exchange for stew sees them fooling around and gets stabbed in the gut. Eddie goes to wash off. Tina lies down for a nap. The killer walks up and gouges her eyes out with garden shears. Eddie returns to find Tina lifeless. He backs up in disbelief. A leather strap is thrown over his eyes and tightened until it digs into his skin and… I don’t know… applies so much pressure to his brain that he dies? Honestly, this death makes no sense, but it looks crazy brutal, and that’s all that matters.
There’s an obvious goof here. The killer starts winding the strap counter-clockwise. The camera cuts to Eddie’s face, and when it cuts back, he’s winding it the other way. How did nobody notice this during production?
Pam takes Reggie to see his older brother Demon (Miguel A. Nunez Jr.) as night falls. Tommy tags along. Demon is quite possibly the coolest character ever portrayed on film. He wears his hair in a Jheri curl. He has on a black leather jacket, long, dangly earrings, and chains. He lives in a van with charms and Halloween decorations hanging from the walls. You can find him in the back smoking weed with his girlfriend Nita. The coolest thing about him is that he keeps tacos, enchiladas, egg rolls, and pizzas on-hand at all times, at room temperature, thereby making them unfit for consumption. Demon doesn’t heed stupid health warnings, though. He eats the food anyway. This causes him to have violent digestive issues.
While staring into a big neon sign, Tommy encounters and beats the ever-loving shit out of Junior, then runs away, forcing Pam and Reggie to look for him. They don’t find him, so they head back to Pinehurst.
After his brother leaves, Demon diarrhea-shuffles to an outhouse. Nita shakes the outhouse while Demon shits out his enchiladas. Then, the two sing each other a love song whose sole words appear to be “ooh baby” and “hey baby”. When Nita goes silent, Demon cracks the door to reveal that her throat has been slit. Not only that, but her body has fallen in such a way that it’s blocking his exit. He’s trapped like a rat. A pointed metal rod is repeatedly thrust through the walls until finding its mark, erupting from Demon like a bad case of food poisoning.
The killer strikes next at Ethel’s. He decapitates Junior while he screams/cries and does donuts on his dirt bike. Then, he cleaves Ethel’s face from outside through a window.
At this point, several more characters are killed off in rapid succession. Reggie wakes to find Jake (by the way, there’s a guy named Jake), Robin, and Violet stacked up in Tommy’s room. He shows Pam. They freak out. Jason busts through a door, wearing the mask with the blue stripes from the opening title sequence.
Pam and Reggie wind up at a barn. Reggie rams Jason with a front loader. It barely affects him. This leads to a final confrontation inside the barn, like in Part 3. Tommy wanders in and just stands there while Jason swings a machete at him. It’s his nightmare all over again. Pam defends herself and her friends with a chainsaw, but it runs out of gas.
At the last possible second, Tommy summons the courage to cut off one of Jason’s arms, causing him to fall backward, out the loft, onto a spike tooth harrow. The whunk of his body weight hitting the spikes is so satisfying. His hockey mask tumbles off, revealing a ripped-open bald cap. Under that is Roy’s face.
As Sheriff Tucker explains to Pam in a hospital, Roy was Joey’s father. He abandoned him at a young age, yet cared enough about him to keep a recent picture of him in his wallet (?). The killing spree was revenge for his death. Newspaper clippings of Jason were also found in Roy’s wallet. He was clearly trying to cover his tracks by making it seem as though Jason was back.
His plan might have worked, if not for one fatal flaw. He, being a paramedic, would eventually be expected to respond to his crime scenes. With so many bodies piling up in a single night, someone would have called 9-1-1 if he hadn’t been stopped. Cops call Roy → Roy isn’t home → there goes his alibi. Not that it matters now anyway.
The movie ends with Tommy dreaming that he kills Pam, then trying to kill Pam for real. How’s that for a twist?
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning is the fourth sequel in five years to Sean Cunningham’s influential original. It was followed by six more sequels, a remake, an unrelated TV show, two video games released twenty-eight years apart, and countless publications. It disregards the deceptive, disingenuous “Final Chapter” gimmick from Part 4 and picks up where that one left off. Its subtitle seems to imply that we’re done with the first four and starting a new story arc. Problem is, that’s all we do — start the story. Everything put forward here is ignored in Part 6. More on that later.
At this stage of the series, its chronological structure collapses. The filmmakers stop giving dates, and nothing is fully explained from here on. Having said that, let’s take a look at the timeline thus far, cos it dies with this entry unless we start treating assumptions as facts.
Pamela Voorhees is born.
Camp Crystal Lake opens.
Double homicide opening of Friday the 13th (1980).
The camp’s water is sabotaged.
Friday, June 13th, 1979
Friday the 13th (1980).
Saturday, June 14th, 1979
Friday the 13th (1980) (cont.).
Alice Hardy is murdered; opening of Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981).
Chris Higgins, the final girl of Part III, is attacked by Jason.
Unknown Day, Summer, 1984
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981).
The Next Day
Friday the 13th Part III (1982).
The Day After That
Friday the 13th Part III (1982) (cont.).
The Day After That
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984).
The Day After That
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) (cont.).
Some fans go further, assigning each film to an actual, calendrical Friday the 13th, which only serves to complicate matters. I’d like to remind those people that titles aren’t always meant to be taken so literally. After all, there’s no chopping in Chopping Mall. No trolls in Troll 2. And none of the movies called Demons 3, of which there are three, follow Demons 1 or 2. See also: House 2, House 3, and many, many more. My point is, not every Friday the 13th necessarily takes place on that day. We’ve already seen how reliable subtitles like Final Chapter can be. In my opinion, it’s best to base movie timelines on information contained in those movies, not titles, trailers, promotional materials, novelizations, or comics, etc.
They don’t give us a whole lot to work with this time, but we do learn that Tommy was twelve when he carved Jason up like a Thanksgiving turkey and was sent to a state institution, so it’s probably safe to assume that he’s eighteen, or close to eighteen, if he’s been released from that place and is being prepared to re-enter society. Adding six years onto our timeline would knock us out of the 80s. If I had to guess, I would say this movie takes place in 1990 — Fall of 1990, specifically, judging by the leaves on the ground — but there’s no way of knowing for sure.
As for where it takes place… I’m not sure of that either. Some sources (among them, fridaythe13th.fandom.com) claim it’s California. There’s no evidence to support this, though, not that I’ve noticed, no lines of dialogue or contextual clues which so much as hint at it — like in Part 1, for example, when the camera lingers on a cemetery gate reading “Hope, NJ”, or in Part 3 when Shelly and Vera drive to a small store in “Green Valley, New Jersey”. There is, however, a short message scribbled on the inside of the outhouse that reads “Remember to flush. New Jersey needs the water.” The real question is, who wrote it? A self-deprecating New Jerseyan, or an anti-New Jerseyan from a neighboring state? Without knowing, the clue is of no use to us.
In my opinion, Pinehurst Youth Development Center is situated within a few counties of the Hope/Crystal Lake/Green Valley area. I don’t think Sheriff Tucker would strongly suspect Jason Voorhees, or Mayor Cobb would know Jason’s body was cremated, or Roy Burns would be knowledgeable enough of the crimes to copy them if their town wasn’t relatively close to where all that transpired. New Jersey and California are on opposite ends of the country. Google Maps estimates that it would take Jason over 900 hours, or 38 days, to cover said distance on foot. Unless I’m missing something here, there’s no good reason for Sheriff Tucker to think he would do that (although, to be fair, Jason does walk home from Ohio in Part 9).
Now that we’ve clarified… nothing, let’s get to the meat of the matter. If you haven’t already seen New Beginning, you’ve probably still heard about it. It’s widely regarded by fans as the worst of the series for three popular reasons:
1) “it doesn’t even have Jason”
2) its big reveal is disappointing
3) it’s sleazy
To me, these are non-points. Here’s why.
New Beginning would have been the same movie, with or without Jason Voorhees. Either way, it was bound to feature a nonverbal guy in a goalie mask, stalking teens in a wooded location.
What a lot of critics overlook is that items 1 and 2 from their list apply to the first film as well, which they typically hold in pretty high regard. It’s impossible — literally impossible — to guess who the killer is in Part 1 because she, Mrs. Voorhees, is introduced at the end. To Roy’s credit, he pops up twice before being revealed as the man behind the mask, and in one of those instances, gives a chilling thousand-yard stare, so it’s not like his involvement in the killings is totally unexpected or out of the blue.
As for gripe #3 — of course it is! There’s no arguing that. Isn’t that what these films are about? Every entry is chock-full of premarital sex and gratuitous violence. Some depict drug use. These things are the definition of sleaze. Most viewers have come to expect them going in; they’re part of what make the franchise so fun. Yes, Part 5 is sleazy, but so are the others. Its infamous sex scene — single, not plural, as some sources would have you believe — is no more explicit than what came before, and certainly not after. So why does it always get singled out? Probably because Steinmann’s past as a one-time porn director is now common knowledge.
I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, more explicit sex scenes would only enhance New Beginning.
Look at those things. They’re a sight to behold! I refuse to believe Tina’s boobies turned people off of this movie. An alternate theory I have as to why it was poorly received is because Part 4 was so good that nothing could realistically top it. The bar was too high. And despite having practically the same budget ($2.2 mil vs $2.6 mil), I admit New Beginning does feel a tad “cheaper” in contrast, maybe due to its rustic locations.
Plus, it doesn’t help that Part 6 tears to bits everything Part 5 lays down. The whole point of Part 5 was to set up Tommy Jarvis as Jason’s replacement, which would have made him the fourth unique killer (fifth, if we’re counting Vic) in six movies. Yet, as Part 6’s subtitle suggests, Jason Lives throws all this hard work out the window. In its opening scene, we learn:
•Tommy Jarvis has been recast with a less interesting actor
•he’s no longer visibly traumatized or withdrawn (in fact, he says more at the start of Part 6 than he does in all of Part 5)
•Jason’s body was never cremated
•lightning reanimates corpses — seriously, how lazy is this?
Retconning major parts of another man’s film like this is just disrespectful in my book, not to mention confusing. I enjoy Jason Lives on its own out of context, but as part of the overall series, it fits in like a square peg in a round hole, due to what I’ve just mentioned, as well as its not-so-subtle sense of humor. Depending on what mood I’m in, the constant metafictional winks and nudges can irritate me.
One thing I’ve never seen brought up that differentiates New Beginning even more from the other seven originals is its lack of water. In Part 1, Jason obviously drowns, and pops out of the lake for his iconic jump scare. In Parts 2 thru 4, he kills people in water. In Parts 6 and 7, he’s chained to the bottom of the lake. And in Part 8, he magically boards a cruise ship. The fact that water plays no part here might be another reason this sequel sticks out as the odd duck of the series.
But how odd is it, really, once you draw the parallels between Parts 5 and 1? Both Roy Burns and Pamela Voorhees embark on their murder sprees when their mentally handicapped children are killed. They haunt the sites of these deaths by targeting anyone even loosely associated with them, instead of going after the people responsible. Hilariously, Roy Burns kills damn near the whole town, except the one person who hacked up his son. On top of that, both movies are whodunit mysteries. In every other installment, Jason handles the chores and there’s no effort to hide it. This is why I consider New Beginning to be the closest spiritual successor to Part 1 of the bunch. It makes for a great companion piece.
And that’s what I like about it. It’s not just “another sequel”. It ties into its source material, shakes hands with the last movie, and sets up the next one, all while doing its own contained thing. You can’t say that Steinmann didn’t try. He gave us a fun ride full of unforgettable moments.
One of my favorites is when Violet does the robot to “His Eyes” by Australian New Wave band Pseudo Echo. The song is an absolute banger, and Violet’s moves are hilarious. They’re not as cringey as Jimbo’s in Part 4, but they’re still bad. “His Eyes” came out a full year before New Beginning on Pseudo Echo’s debut, Autumnal Park, which is crazy to me cos the lyrics match the movie so well. It’s hard for me to believe that it wasn’t written with this project in mind. Whoever picked it did a great job. Let’s take a look at the first verse:
There was a man so cold, no life was in his eyes
He had a look so hard, I’d never seen him smile
I could’ve told you then, you’d heard it all before
And now you’re in suspense, you’ll have to wait for more
The simplest interpretation of these lines is that they describe either Jason or Roy, but I think they apply best to Tommy. There are many close-ups of his eyes in this movie, and in all of them, he looks disconnected from reality, like he’s staring past what’s in front of him.
In all those mysteries you’re taken by surprise
You never thought to see that look was in his eyes
The mysteries are the movies.
There’s a man with no life in his eyes
There’s a man with no life in his eyes
The second verse can be seen from his older sister’s point of view:
I was the only one who chanced it from the start
There was an evil sense, I swallowed to my heart
And as I took the vow a thought had come to mind
There was a winter mist, I dared not look behind
At the end of Part 4, Trish appears to be gravely concerned that Tommy so brutally took down a killer. The “vow” could perhaps be a promise she made to protect her younger brother upon hearing news of their mother’s demise. She grows increasingly distant from Tommy, however. She dares not “look behind” his cold exterior; she’s terrified of how the ordeal affected him, and of what he’ll become.
Just my two cents, of course.
One more note on this scene: Shavar Ross reveals in His Name Was Jason that Violet was originally stabbed in the crotch, and that her death was re-shot to avoid an X rating. Crotch stabbings don’t hold much significance for Impostor Jason, but I’m kind of surprised Jason Proper hasn’t mangled more penises and punanis over the years, considering sex is the whole reason he supposedly drowned in the first place. Violet’s final cut is quite tame by comparison. One time to the gut. Nothing special.
Another moment to watch for — listen for, rather — is Pam, Reggie, and Tommy’s trip to the trailer park. They get in Pam’s pickup. Grandpa George and Matt see them off. This is followed by three identical shots of the truck moving slowly from left to right, set to preposterously suspenseful music. The strings are so frantic you’ll swear the truck is about to explode or careen off a cliff.
Then there’s Shavar Ross’ scream queen-making performance as Reggie. After finding the bodies of Jake, Robin, and Violet in Tommy’s room, he and Pam are chased out the front door by Blue Stripes. They run through the woods, to an old-timey ambulance parked on the road. They open the driver side door. The paramedic who made fun of them earlier falls out, dead. Blue Stripes stands up on the other side of the ambulance, having inexplicably beaten them there with enough time to kill Duke and lie down for a nap. I’m pretty sure the quick shot of him standing up here was added to make it appear as though he’s dismembering Roy, but seeing as how he couldn’t possibly be — because he is Roy — what the Hell is he doing? In any event, Reggie screams — not how you’d expect a typical teenage boy to, however. He lets off an ear-piercing shriek. Four of them, actually. The kind that break glass. His pitch is so high, and so “girly”, it makes the actresses’ voices sound manly. Then, he darts back into the woods. A minute later, he calls out for Pam and gets scared when he can’t find her. I’m just like… bro, you left her to die without a moment’s hesitation. She’s probably in a hundred pieces by now. But thankfully she’s not, and Reggie makes up for abandoning her by saving her twice.
I could list favorite moments forever, so let’s wrap this up. I’ll end by re-emphasizing that I love this movie. I really do believe that it’s “good”, but I’m also self-aware enough to recognize that a lot of my love for it stems from other people’s hate for it. Bad reputations only draw me in more. You know what they say — one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
If you’re looking for a good quintuple feature, I recommend the first five Friday the 13ths. They flow together well cos they all have the same general vibe and Jason is only implied to be supernatural. The moment he’s zapped back to life by a lightning bolt à la Frankentstein’s monster is the moment I lose my capacity to suspend disbelief. Because of this, Parts 6 thru 9, or the “zombie Jason” installments, almost feel like a separate series to me, as do Part 10 and the sack of shit crossover (I said it, FIGHT ME). My other favorite entry is the quite-possibly-just-as-polarizing Jason Goes to Hell, but that’s another write-up for another day…
There are no extras contained on this disc. The only ones on the bonus disc which are exclusive to Part 5 are a short segment with Joseph Zito and Corey Feldman (5:50), and of course the trailer. This is the most recent copy I own, as I’m not a fan of the way Paramount keeps releasing these films with poorly manipulated images of Jason and/or his mask in place of actual artwork. I’ll pay $29.99 for a Blu-ray with a nice hand-painted cover.
In several spots, the iconic “ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma” sound, derived from the words “kill, Mommy”, has been replaced with “ki-ki-ki-ta-ta-ta”, or “kill, Tommy”. Simple, yet genius. This movie is way more clever than people give it credit for.
19 + 3 in dream sequences.
3 pairs of boobs + 1 magazine picture. 8 boobs in total.
1 pair of female butt cheeks.
5 ooh babys out of 5.
I Got My Copy From
These other horror movies directed by pornographers:
Plan 9 From Outer Space — Dir. Ed Wood made > 1 porno
Blood Feast (1963) — Dir. Herschell Gordon Lewis made Black Love (1971)
Blood Shack (1971) — Dir. Ray Dennis Steckler made > 1 porno
The Last House on the Left (1972) — Dir. Wes Craven made The Fireworks Woman (1975)
Last House on Dead End Street (1973) — Dir. Roger Watkins > 1 porno
The Driller Killer (1979) — Dir. Abel Ferrara made 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy (1976)
Anthropophagus (1980) — Dir. Joe D’Amato made > 1 porno
Maniac (1980) — Dir. William Lustig made > 1 porno
Burial Ground (1981) — Dir. Andrea Bianchi made > 1 porno
Blood Sisters (1987) — Dir. Roberta Findlay made > 1 porno
Creepozoids (1987) — Dir. David DeCoteau made > 1 porno
Faceless (1987) — Dir. Jess Franco made > 1 porno
A Night to Dismember (1989) — Dir. Doris Wishman made > 1 porno
Psycho Cop (1989) — Dir. Wallace Potts made > 1 porno
Dolly Dearest (1991) — Dir. Maria Lease made > 1 porno
Ice Cream Man (1995) — Dir. Paul Norman made > 1 porno, nineteen that year
See No Evil (2006) — Dir. Gregory Dark made > 1 porno