Uploaded to MoviePilot July 21st 2017

Today I stumbled upon a trailer for one of the horror genre’s greatest icons latest films, a film series that revolutionized the genre of horror. I must say that it warmed my heart to see that familiar face popping up on my screen. I’m of course referring to Jigsaw, the latest offering from the Saw series. You remember Saw right? That’s the movie franchise about the guy who put people in traps and used Satan’s Pinocchio to terrify people when he rode in on a tricycle. Oh yeah, it was so nice seeing him again… why am I seeing him again? They told us he was over with last time.

Do you remember this Horror Movies? Cos I do

They’ve told us this a lot of times over the years. It seems that every other year they’ll tell us that something is the dramatic conclusion to an epic story they’ve been weaving over seven sequels (including the one in space, which was totally a legit sequel and not at all just the studio running out of ideas and desperate to keep the franchise active) and then a few years pass and suddenly the word ‘Final’ doesn’t actually mean ‘Final’ anymore because they bring back the franchise they told us was over. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m weird like this, but I like words to mean the things that they actually mean.

Sometimes It’s Naive

I can still remember the first time they told us this ‘Final’ lie. The first time that it really hit me that they were just objectively lying about something being over. That time involved a hockey mask and a machete, but somehow it wasn’t the weapon that hurt me. It was the lying that caused me the most pain

iwkbppt4b7zwwbsgksai.jpgThe poster is a lie

The year was 1984, I was just a young boy of negative-four and the fourth movie in the hit franchise, Friday the 13th, was coming out and everyone was clamouring for it. Tom Savini was coming back to do the effects, it starred the kid from that Gremlins movie that was coming out later in the year and perhaps, most importantly, we were promised that this was the last time that we were going to see Jason. They literally told us “Jason’s reign of terror is over” in the trailer.

And then they went on to make a sequel in 1985. The body wasn’t even cold and they were already trying to keep the franchise going. Sure, they tried to pretend that part four really was the final chapter of the Jason story, they even called the fifth one “A New Beginning”, which is a little bit like when you break up with someone but instead of changing your status to “Single” you change to “It’s Complicated”. It was a new beginning, I give them that. They picked a random ambulance driver to become Jason. Except he wasn’t because Jason has red stripes on his mask and not blue ones, which is obviously the biggest problem with that movie.

I could’ve maybe accepted that, after all, we know that the original plan was to have Tommy be the killer. They were naive and thought that they could make a Friday the 13th film work without Jason. Maybe if they had asked the guys who made Halloween: Season Of The Witch they would’ve learned that the fans aren’t big on their favourite serial killer being removed from his own franchise. Maybe they could’ve made that work for them but nope, Ambulance Not-Jason failed so they brought Not-Ambulance Jason back in 1986, rendering the use of the word ‘Final’ in the fourth movie completely pointless.

Sometimes You Lose The Rights To Your Original Title

But hey, everyone makes mistakes right? They thought they were done with that life but every time they pulled away, it kept pulling them back. They turned to the Friday the 13th series and, much like Jack in Brokeback Mountain, said “I wish I knew how to quit you”. Surely though there was no way they were going to somehow make the same mistake again right? Never again were they going to use the word ‘Final’ when they knew it wasn’t the final anything right? They weren’t going to use it to symbolically farewell the title they left with a previous studio and just not care that it made it seem like a movie was the last in the franchise… oh wait, they did exactly that thing, didn’t they? It’s literally the next image that I’m going to put in this editorial, isn’t it?

otjozszs0zo8kmaccfai.jpgSee? Told you it was the next one

Once again they did it, they took the word ‘Final’ and abused it. Except this time it’s worse because they objectively knew this wasn’t the final anything. This was the penultimate Friday at best! It was known that Freddy vs Jason was in the works, the last shot of this ‘Final’ Friday movie is literally Freddy reaching up from hell to pull Jason down. They planned on more, they were aware of the creator’s intentions and yet they still slapped on “The Final Friday” because they couldn’t call it “Friday the 13th Part Nine” since the first three words of that title was stuck at Paramount. That and they thought it might help the box office (Spoilers: It didn’t). It also didn’t help that this was followed by Jason X (You know, the totally legit space one), which was a film made explicitly because Sean Cunningham wanted to keep Jason in the audience’s mind until Freddy vs Jason came out.

Sometimes They’re Just Done With The Franchise… Until They’re Not

But if this was the only franchise doing this, would I be addressing this little query to ‘Horror Movies’ in general? No, of course not. No, other franchises did this too and it’s not alright and it’s definitely not OK.

siwfm6gmrquw17v3ktfc.pngThis is worse than the time Freddy became Roschach from The Watchmen 

What about the time they promised us that Freddy was dead? Remember that? What about when they told us that a psychiatrist wearing 3D glasses was able to pull Freddy out of the dream world and blow him up with a pipe bomb, thus killing him forever? Were those all lies? They were all lies, weren’t they? They never really pulled the dream demons out of his body after he exploded and his head flew at the screen towards the certainly terrified audience wearing 3D glasses of their own.

I want it noted, I made none of that up, that’s literally how they declared Freddy to be dead. They absolutely killed him that way, they threw a funeral for him remember?

rqo117e4ns9fz7wezjjr.jpgWhy is his clothing on top? Is Freddy naked in there?

All this grief, sadness and mourning over the obviously totally permanent death of Freddy that was happening and yet three years later they’re calling Wes Craven and begging him to revive that which they killed. They begged him because they thought there might still be life in the character and Wes had made up with Bob Shaye at this point (They had a strange relationship after Nightmare) so they wanted to try and work together. Wes called his movie a New Nightmare and he did something special with it creating a movie that did the same meta style that Scream would later perfect. It was a great film and genuinely worth being made (Seriously, if you haven’t seen New Nightmare you need to fix that right now), but once again the word ‘Final’ just meant nothing to them. They just used it up and spat it out for some cheap publicity, knowing that something claiming the death of the main villain would make a lot of money (Friday proved that with Part 4, just took Nightmare longer to catch up). Sure enough, it did cause a boost in sales when compared to part five so I guess the plan worked even if it came at the cost of ruining a perfectly good word.

Sometimes It’s A Bad Pun That Shouldn’t Exist

At least New Line waited for the sixth movie to abuse the word ‘Final’, I guess you could be worse and use it on the second one like the Urban Legends series.

tsktddebfrj8hu6c1oni.jpgOh look, it’s time for ‘obscure sequel to random 90’s slasher’

First of all, it’s very presumptuous to call anything that’s the second movie in a franchise “Final Cut” because we know for a fact that the people who got the final cut on this movie were the studio executives that paid the bill. This is just a sad one, it’s implying some grand final part of the Urban Legends tale and it isn’t. It’s also a really bad attempt at a pun since the movie is set in a film school. Get it? Final Cut… because movie directors sometimes get final cut… get it? GET IT?

For the most part, this movie doesn’t even really link to the original, it’s a different killer with different movies and a different look who only meets the original movie’s villain during a cameo over the end credits. The only ‘link’ is that the kills are based on other urban legends. That’s it, that’s like saying any film where the killer uses a machete is automatically a Friday the 13th sequel. Mostly it’s just an awful movie and makes me sad to even think about. Its use of the word ‘Final’ may be a cheap attempt at a bad pun but it does also imply that this is the end, just by the nature of how it’s being used. Of course, it’s not the ‘Final’ anything because this was followed five years later by Urban Legends: Bloody Mary which isn’t a slasher but instead some weird supernatural film… maybe the ‘Final’ here just refers to it being the final slasher entry into the series but it’s still wrong. It’s wrong as a movie and wrong for its insult to the word ‘Final’.

Sometimes It’s Just Stupid

Oh wow, this one’s a throwback Also nice Home Alone joke

Oh wait, they did somehow ruin that word ‘Final’ more with the Children of the Corn series. The second movie is the one to abuse the word of the day and it’s not just a pun, it’s an implication of this being the final film in the franchise and it’s incredibly naive because they thought people actually cared about Children Of The Corn. It’s not like this was a year old franchise, this movie was made eight years after the original. It’s not like we needed some grand conclusion, no one was wondering what the final Corn movie was going to be. Hell, no one even really remembered the original Children Of The Corn movie! It was a silly horror film starring kids who couldn’t act and corn that was somehow better at acting than the children. Yet there it is, the precious word ‘Final’ just thrown about like a rancid meatball. I mean how could they abuse the word more? Put it in every single title of a franchise?

Sometimes… Just… No!

uuxkjgpbkftbvv1h1svy.pngOf course, this is where we were going this entire time

You did it horror movies. You actually did it. You reduced the word ‘Final’ to a meaningless sound. It means nothing anymore, it is rendered moot. I no longer believe it’s a word, you have abused it so often. Here is an entire franchise where every film uses that word. They used it based on the fact that the original film featured an aeroplane and therefore the phrase “This is your Final Destination” would be said at some point. They then took the last two words and boom, ominous sounding title.

Of course, as expected, one of them used it in order to pretend to be the last in the series when in reality there would inevitably be more.

You know this one is the last movie because it’s THE Final Destination

Sure enough, they would do it to us again. They would pretend that a movie was the last in the series, that this destination was officially the final one. They pimped this one hard, they swore it was the last and we gave them our hard earned money to give it the biggest box office and send the series out with a bang… and then, because it became the highest grossing film in the franchise by raking in about $180 million at the box office, they made part five.

Hilariously, part five has a more definitive ending that actually ties the franchise together by having the cast from part five end up on the plane that explodes at the start of part one, making it a complete loop and would’ve been a very satisfying ending the series. Even with that perfect ending though, they couldn’t resist teasing us with the idea of more sequels that they said at the time would be made if part five at the box office. Sure, those sequels haven’t materialized yet but they will, they always do. I won’t be shocked if we hear about the revival of Final Destination when Jigsaw does well.

Final Thought

Horror movies need to stop this. Doing it once back in the 80’s was understandable, twice was silly, but it’s become a pattern now and it’s a pattern they need to end. Every time I see a movie sequel say it’s the ‘Final’ anything, I laugh because I know it’s not the end. I know it won’t end, I know it can’t end. It makes them money and as long as it does then they’ll make another one. That’s fine, no one really needs horror movies to have definitive endings anyway so it’s fine for them to just keep the franchise alive until it dies a natural death by oversaturating the market. Trying to forcibly make the monster vanish forever, however, just isn’t possible. It’ll always feel like a cheap gimmick that can be seen through by anyone, even though we always seem to fall for it. When the movie studios say ‘Final’, they want you to go and give them all the money and once you do they’ll take that as the sign that you want more and ignore that definitive ending that they promised was the ‘Final’ ending in order to milk you for every single cent they can.

Just stop it, stop the abuse of the word ‘Final’. This is my final warning on the matter.

What horror series do you think should’ve should’ve stopped at the ‘Final’ chapter?

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