Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joseph Zito
Produced by Frank Mancuso, Jr.
Screenplay by Barney Cohen
Story by Bruce Hidemi Sakow
Based on Characters
by Victor Miller
Martin Kitrosser
Ron Kurz
Carol Watson
Music by Harry Manfredini
Cinematography João Fernandes
Edited by Joel Goodman
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • April 13, 1984 (1984-04-13)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.6 million[1]
Box office $33 million (US)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (also known as Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter) is a 1984 American slasher film directed by Joseph Zito and the fourth installment in the Friday the 13th film series. Following the events of Friday the 13th Part III, Jason Voorhees returns to Crystal Lake and continues his killing spree on a family and a group of neighboring teenagers after being revived from his mortal wound. The film stars Corey Feldman, Ted White, Kimberly Beck, and Crispin Glover.

Despite the film's negative reviews, it grossed $33 million in the United States. Much like Part III, the film was initially supposed to end the series and was billed as "The Final Chapter"; however, the film's success produced a sequel, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985).


The night after the events at Higgins Haven, Jason Voorhees's body is found and delivered to the morgue. After reviving from his head wound and escaping from the cold storage, Jason kills a doctor, then a nurse. The next day, a group of teenagers drive to Crystal Lake for the weekend. The group consists of Paul, his girlfriend Sam, Sarah, her boyfriend Doug, socially awkward Jimmy, and prankster Ted. On the way, the group comes across Pamela Voorhees's tombstone and a female hitchhiker. The hitchhiker is killed shortly after by Jason, who has returned to the area.

The teens arrive and meet neighbors Trish Jarvis and her brother Tommy. While going for a walk the next day, the teens meet two local girls, twin sisters Tina and Terri, and go skinny dipping with them. Trish and Tommy happen upon the scene, and, before they leave, Trish is invited to a party to take place that night. Afterwards, their car breaks down, and Trish and Tommy meet a young man named Rob. They take him to their house, where Tommy shows Rob several monster masks he made himself before Rob leaves to go camping.

Later that night, the teens throw a party. Tina flirts with Paul, prompting a jealous Sam to leaves for a swim in the lake. There, she is stabbed through a rubber raft by Jason. Feeling guilty, Paul goes after Sam and discovers her body just before he is impaled in the groin with a harpoon gun. Terri rejects Ted's advances and wants to leave, but Tina moves on to Jimmy, and the two go upstairs to have sex. Frustrated, Terri leaves the party on her own, and is impaled outside by Jason.

While Sarah and Doug have sex in the shower, Ted finds an old stag film and brings it up on the projector. After sleeping with Tina, Jimmy goes downstairs to get a glass of wine to celebrate, but is killed by Jason. Upstairs, Tina notices Terri's bicycle is still outside before she is grabbed through the window by Jason and thrown out onto the teens' car, killing her. Ted is then stabbed in the head with a kitchen knife through the projector screen. Jason moves upstairs, crushing Doug's skull in the shower. When Sarah returns and finds him dead, she tries to flee the house, but she is killed with a double-ended axe .

Trish and Tommy return from town and discover the power outage. While looking for their mother, who had been killed by Jason earlier without her knowledge, Trish comes across Rob's campsite and learns that he is actually the older brother of Sandra, one of Jason's victims from Friday the 13th Part 2. Rob further explains to her that Jason is still alive and he came to Crystal Lake to get revenge for Sandra's murder. Worried for Tommy's safety, they return to the house. Running next door, they discover the teens' bodies. Rob is caught and killed by Jason as Trish runs home. She and Tommy barricade the house, but Jason breaks in and chases them into Tommy's room. Trish lures Jason out of the house and escapes, then returns home and is devastated to learn that Tommy is still there. She senses Jason behind her and tries to kill him with a machete, but she misses, and he attacks her. Tommy, having disguised himself to look like Jason as a child, distracts him long enough for him to slam the machete into the side of Jason's skull, and he collapses to the floor. When Tommy notices that Jason's fingers are moving, he takes the machete and kills Jason by repeatedly hacking at his body, screaming, "Die! Die!"

At the hospital, Trish insists on seeing her brother, who was traumatized by the events. He rushes in, hugs her, and gives a disturbed look while staring ahead.



When Friday the 13th Part III was first released, it was initially supposed to end the series as a trilogy, however there was no moniker to indicate it as such. In 1983, there was a rumor that Paramount billed the fourth installment as "The Final Chapter" as they felt embarrassed by their association with the franchise, thus the possible reason for the moniker. Despite how Siskel & Ebert claimed this in their review of the film, Paramount was aware that the slasher genre had been losing interest and thought it was a good choice to conclude the series. However, the idea came from Frank Mancuso, Jr. (the son of Paramount CEO Frank Mancuso, Sr.), as he had begun to resent the franchise due to how he felt everyone saw him as only doing the work for Part 2 and Part 3 and that no one respected him for it, regardless of how much his money is received. Because of him wanting to work on different projects, he wanted to conclude the series and kill off Jason.[2]


Joseph Zito, director of The Prowler, was initially set to both direct and write the screenplay for the film. Zito initially claimed that he was not a writer, in which the contract consisted of receiving doubled money for the two jobs, resulting him accepting the contract. Zito secretly used the extra salary to hire Barney Cohen to write the script. Their process involved Zito taking one-hour a night phone calls with Phil Scuderi to discuss the story and script for the film. Zito then met Cohen in a New York apartment to use the concepts Scuderi had offered, which they would then turn into script pages and to be sent to Scuderi for the conversation discussed again over the phone. Cohen remained the writing credit for the film, but Zito and Cohen eventually got into trouble with the Writer's Guild of America as a result.[2]

In the Friday the 13th series, the films had always had attractive young women being the sole final girl against Jason. Unlike its predecessors, this marks the first installment in the series having two survivors and one them being male, but it is currently the only installment where the survivor is rather a child. The filmmakers believed they had never seen something like this before in slasher films, and they wanted to create characters audiences would not want to see harmed or killed. By including the Jarvis family (divorced mother, teenage daughter, pre-teen son) opposite the more typical cabin of horny teenagers, they could create more drama and resonant tragedy, such as the mother of Tommy and Trish implied to be killed by Jason outside, thus it remains debatable how intentional the parallels between Jason and Tommy were. Tommy’s interest for being a make-up artist with masks and props serve as homages to Tom Savini.[2]


Actress Camilla More auditioned for the role of Samantha, but when the filmmakers discovered she had a twin sister named Carey, they were instead both offered the roles of Tina and Terri. Carey More had appeared alongside her sister in the Doublemint gum commercials. Because of how they were swayed by the twins idea, Carey’s audition was to read only one line in the film.[2]

Amy Steel, who starred as heroine Ginny Field in Part 2 of the series talked actor Peter Barton into being in the film. Both he and Steel co-starred in the sitcom The Powers of Matthew Star. When the sitcom was cancelled and was no longer airing, the offer for the film was given to him. Barton initially did not want to be included in the film as he wanted no part in the horror genre, especially due to he how disliked working on Hell Night. Steel, because of her role in the second installment, talked Barton into doing the film, and resulted him successfully being on board for the film.[2]

Make-up artist Tom Savini, who worked on the first installment, agreed to return to work on the film, as he wanted to kill the character Jason, whom he helped create.[2]


Principal photography was shot in 6 weeks from October 1983 and finished in January 1984 in Topanga Canyon and Newhall, California. For its release date, it was originally set for a release in October 1984. When Paramount CEO Frank Mancuso, Sr. screened the footage to much enthusiasm and then pushed the date up to April 1984, leaving them 6 weeks to complete post-production for the film. The only time Paramount assisted with the installment's production, they rented a Malibu household for the filmmakers to stay in and conduct editing sessions, with food brought to them from the studio. They barely made the release date, but the final result had most of the footage trimmed and later ended up in television airings.[2]

The film had troubled production on set. Due to director Joseph Zito's poor treatment of the actors and the film's budget, many of the actors themselves had to perform uncomfortable or dangerous stunts during the film. Judie Aronson was required to remain submerged in a near-freezing lake (in which she later developed hypothermia because of it) and Peter Barton was actually slammed into the shower wall when Jason attacks him. Ted White, who portrays Jason, defended several of the actors by requesting Barton be allowed to use a crash pad and threatening to quit when Zito refused to allow Aronson to get out of the lake between takes. White and Zito maintained a hostile relationship on set, which resulted in White demanding his name be removed from the credits. According to White, Corey Feldman maintained a bratty attitude on set due to Zito's treatment. When filming the scene of Tommy hacking Jason's body with a machete (which was actually two sandbags he was striking at), Feldman pretended that the struck sandbags were Zito. According in the book Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th, actress Kimberly Beck stated that she does not like the horror genre. In addition to this, she felt that the film was more of a C-movie rather than a B-movie. During filming, Kimberly Beck experienced strange encounters, including a man watching her while she ran in the park and receiving odd phone calls at all hours. This stopped when production was finished.[2]

In the original script, Tommy was supposed to finally kill Jason by decapitating him with the machete instead of slamming it into the side of his head, but the filmmakers scrapped it in case they would bring back Jason again.[2] Rob was originally supposed to have high-technology devices to track the location of Jason, but the idea was scrapped after the props looked too fake.[2]

Actress Bonnie Hellman's agents told her about taking the role of the hitchhiker in the film. They told her she would not want to do it as they were no lines said for the character, but she accepted the role anyways.[2]


The film's music was composed by Harry Manfredini, who composed the scores to all of the series' previous installments. On January 13, 2012, La-La Land Records released a limited edition 6-CD boxset containing Manfredini's scores from the first six entries of the film series. The release was sold out in less than 24 hours of availability.[3]


Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter opened on Friday, April 13, 1984, on 1,594 screens to weekend box office gross of $11,183,148; this was the sixth-highest of the year. The film would ultimately take in a total of $32,980,880 at the U.S. box office. It placed at number 26 on the list of the top-grossing films of 1984.[4]


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 25% of 24 film critics have given the film a positive review; the rating average is 4.2 out of 10.[5]

Writing in The Week, Scott Meslow summarized Roger Ebert's criticism as "a cynical retread" of the earlier films. Meslow instead says that the film attempts to kill off the series while attempting to focus more on characterization than gore.[6]


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