Sunday, January 4, 2015

Steps of the Teen Slasher: "The Final Chapter"

Once again our friend Randy, even from the grave, was available to give details on the final chapter of a teen slasher film during Scream 3.  While a lot of what Randy spoke of revolved around the idea of trilogy, there were still aspects that helped in general with the final and concluding chapter.  Randy explains,  One, you have a killer that will be super human, stabbing him won’t work, shooting him won’t work, basically in the third one you have to cryogenically freeze his head, decapitate him or blow him up.  Number two, anyone including the main character can die…I’m sorry, it’s the final chapter, it could be f****** Reservoir Dogs by the time thing is through.  Number 3, the past will come back to bite you in the a**, whatever you think you know about the past, forget it…”

So let’s take Randy’s advice one step at a time.  Before we go into detail on each franchise that we have discussed so far, it is import to discuss what we consider at the “Final Chapter.”  For both Friday the Thirteenth and A Nightmare on Elm Street this is a pretty simple exercise.  I am considering Friday the Thirteenth: The Final Chapter (1984) and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) as the two films to end the initial film franchise sequences.  The Halloween franchise is a little more difficult to distinguish a “Final Chapter” but for the sake of this paper we will use Halloween: H2O.  

Now back to Randy’s first rule, in Freddy’s Dead, Freddy gives arguably his best monologue.  He explains:

 “Sticks and stones may break my bones but nothing will ever kill me.  Well let’s see now. First, they tried burning me. [slices off his thumb] Then they tried burying me. [slices off his index finger] But this…this is my favorite.  They even tried holy water! [slices off his middle finger, moments later he shows that his fingers have become reattached to his hand]  But I just keep on ticking because they promised me that.  The dream people.  The ones that gave me this job.  In dreams…I am forever! Too bad you are not.”

I am pretty sure that fits under Randy’s criteria of super human.  Krueger is later killed after being blown up into thousands of pieces.  In Friday the Thirteenth: The Final Chapter Jason Voorhees has his scalp is opened to finally kill him.  Halloween H2O resolves with Laurie Strode finally decapitating Michael Myers, ending the years of madness he had reigned over Haddonfield.  All of these ending felt as though they were the end of successful teen slasher franchises.  We now know that this was not the case. 

Looking at both Randy’s second and third rules is not as simple as his first rule.  In most cases these rules pop up throughout the film franchise rather than any individual film.  In the Nightmare series the heroine of the first film meets her demise in the third film of the series.  Laurie Strode is finally dies in the film following Halloween H20, Halloween: Resurrection (2002).  She is killed at the beginning of the film as she attempts to take out Michael one last time.  In terms of the third rule, there are a view scenarios that were similar between the Halloween franchise and the Nightmare franchise.  I have already introduced the dream people that have given Krueger his powers in the Nightmare franchise.  The Halloween franchise introduces a mystical symbol known as the “Curse of Thorn” in the fifth film, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989).  The film that follows, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), goes into further detail introducing a cult-like group and explaining how Michael’s power were given to him.  Both of these storylines were completely absent from the framework of the original films.  There are many other “blasts from the past” sprinkled throughout these franchises.  In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) the final girl, Maggie, is revealed to be the daughter of Krueger.  In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) it appears as though a young girl, Jamie Lloyd, is being stalked by Michael Myers without an apparent motivation.  However, the film later reveals that Jamie is Michael Myers niece and the daughter of Laurie Strode.