From the start of his review, we see Ebert judging the movie as an “immoral and reprehensible piece of trash,” and laments how well it did at the box office. Well, excuse me! As any old fool will tell you, artistic expression — be it film, music or the stage — is not necessarily about the artist being moral.
And, frankly, I sometimes like to see immoral and reprehensible pieces of trash! I can’t even fully explain why, but it’s like having a loose tooth that you move back and forth in your fingers. You know you don’t really need to wiggle it — you already know what it feels like, and know it will probably fall out on its own — but the process is interesting unto itself. Really, some things you do just because they are there and you can do them. Such is often the phenomenon of the horror movie going experience. You don’t go in with high expectations all the time. You may just sit there and absorb what you can stand, and appreciate what there is to appreciate.
So no moral outrage is probably necessary over this movie, even if you think the movie sucks. Right?….. Wrong! According to Ebert, such movies are not only bad, but apparently signs of the fall of man. Don’t get me wrong here. I can meet Ebert halfway on individual points; Yes, the movie is formulaic; Yes, teenagers die; Yes, there may be more emphasis on female deaths (and female nudity — though there are some guy’s asses shown in it, too); And, yes, to some degree, the message the movie gives to teenagers is that “The world is a totally evil place. It’ll kill ‘ya. It doesn’t matter what your dreams, hopes and ambitions are…you can forget those plans because you’re going to wind up dead.” But, you know what? Sometimes that can actually be the case. Imagine that! Anyone ever hear of the Nazis?
Perhaps Roger Ebert thought his movie review would thwart evil and death themselves — that those things were encapsulated in the movie series, and somehow he was freeing humanity by criticizing fictional Jason Voorhees’s chosen career path. Well, I’ve got news for people like Roger Ebert: Your hatred of a movie isn’t going to take away bleak realities. You may believe otherwise, but you are sorely mistaken. And if kids wish to believe the world never looks like a totally evil place, they can just stay in Disney World (Then again, I’ll take that back. Disney always looked to me like a very, very evil place).
Anyway, I am going to close on a bold point: There is light at the end of the tunnel in this particular movie, even if Ebert couldn’t see it through his righteous indignation. For one thing, Corey Feldman actually does kill Jason at the end. So we know that, even though evil will never totally die, it can at least be sliced up and skewered with a machete from time to time. That’s moral enough for me.
Also, even though Ebert dismisses Friday the 13th Part 4 as a “sad, cynical, depressing movie,” I encourage every reader to watch Crispin Glover’s dance scene in Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter. Not only is that scene the opposite of sad and depressing, it may very well be a captivating, life affirming moment caught on film for all eternity (or at least until this hideous planet explodes, or whatever). Could Roger Ebert have danced like Crispin (and, by extension, the character played by Crispin — whatever the hell his name was)? I think not.
So there’s one aspect of this movie that even Roger Ebert could not eclipse, in all his high and mighty, virtuous glory.
Anyway, watch Roger Ebert condemn Jason Voorhees and Paramount Pictures — the harbingers of social kills – on Youtube.