“It Sucks!”, “What A Ripoff!”, “This Was Bullshit!”, and of course “The Fucking Ambulance Driver? Really?!” Ah yes, I’m sure some of the things said when diehard fans of the Friday The 13th franchise left the theaters in 1985. Well my dear friends here we are 35 years later and the movie that many in Voorhees Fan Club tend to ignore or wish to forget is being brought up again by me, the videostore guy. And I’m gonna cut right to the chase. As disappointing at the time as it may have been for fans of Jason I think it has aged well because it’s just so ridiculous in every shape and form but by director Danny Steinmann making it the way he did it stands out for that very reason. I’m guessing that was not his intent but there is just something so strange and bizaare about this entry to the franchise that always makes a fun rewatch in a “Halloween III: Season Of The Witch” kind of way. So to hell with it. Let’s talk a bit about Friday The 13th Part V: Roy The Ambulance Driver.
Now it’s been told a thousand times and most know the story but to give it quick the previous film Part IV: The Final Chapter was suppose to be the last one but, you know, money. So to try something new they wanted to focus on the Tommy Jarvis character that butchered Jason with the machete as a child. We were left with a final freeze frame look of Tommy with crazy eyes to make us think he was gonna pick up the killing styles of Jason. Anyways, this is where we are as Part 5 begins…
So managing to get Corey Feldman back for only one day of filming because he was going big time with Speilberg produced movies Gremlins and Goonies we see our young Tommy watching a a couple of Grave robbers digging up Jason’s body because…maybe they could sell his hockey mask? Actually no need to make sense of this scene at all because once Jason wakes up, kills the two, and towers over a frightened Tommy swinging down his machete Tommy wakes up as an adult because, you know, it was a daydream. Well played director Steinmann. Now that scene does not have to make sense because it was a dream. Like why did they bury him with his mask on? It’s a dream. Who spray painted his name on the wooden tombstone? Dream! Who buries a serial killer with a machete? A big beautiful dream. None of this shit matters because it was a dream. Lesson to all writers. If it makes no sense as you are writing your movie just add “And then he woke up” and try again later in the story.
So as I go along I’m just say what’s great about this movie everytime I think something is and we do not have to wait long for positive #1 and that is actor John Shepherd who was perfect as grownn up and completely messed in the head Tommy Jarvis. Like this guy was a beauty and it’s a shame he found Jesus or something in real life and never came back for Part VI because even if you hate this film this was one intense Tommy Jarvis. No question. So Tommy ends up and halfway house with a bunch of other “disturbed” or “troubled” youths and it seems pretty nice. Fresh air, sunshine, nice people in charge and of course it has to be right by Camp Crystal Lake. God forbid you take Jarvis out to the west coast maybe to get him away from where it happened but hey…rehab. They are professionals.
Soon Tommy meets a young kid named Reggie, I mean Reggie The Reckless. He’s only there because his Gramps is the cook. Anyways, Reggie gives Tommy a slight scare with a rubber spider gag but he has no idea that Tommy is the master of making sweet masks so the favour is retured causing Reggie to get a fright. No scream, he’ll save that for later in the movie and what a scream it is. Now casting a kid actor is always tough in a horror movie but Feldman worked out in Final Chapter and honestly Shavar Ross is just fine here too. Maybe it’s the fact that I already knew who he was before this movie. Shavar Ross was on one of my favourite childhood shows as he played Dudley Johnson, best friend of Gary Coleman’s Arnold Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes. Ahh…the 80s.
Moving on we basically meet the rest of the patients in the hallway house, Tommy stays distant to everyone because he can’t get our buddy Jason out of his head. Everywhere he looks there he is. In a mirror, outside his window. Like he’s everywhere to our poor Tommy.
Positive #2. The look of Tommy’s Jason in his head is pretty badass. He has the classic Voorhees look especially in the mirror scene. Again, the positives are here and I’m just getting started. So Tommy is not just mentally crazed but he can kick some ass too because young Mr. Jarvis has a six pack and serious anger issue which is seen twice in this film fucking up dudes.
People need to stop messing with Jarvis. The sooner the better. But now we get to the real villain in all of this. None other than….the god damn chocolate bar. That’s right. I’m not the first to make this point and I will not be the last but if it wasn’t for that damn sweet treat so many lives could have been saved. You see one of the youths is Joey. Now Joey is a simple man. He likes to walk, talk, eat his sweets, and try to help others. Unfortunately on this fateful day Joey and his candy bar would meet up with Vic. Now Vic is also a simple man. He likes to chop wood with a big axe, he like to scream at people, he likes to tell people to “leave him alone”, and overall have an angry look on his face under the hot ass sun. Sadly Joey could not take a hint.
Joey offers the chocolate bar. Vic destroys it with his axe. Joey gets lippy at Vic. Vic axes his Joey in the back and then goes all Tommy Jarvis on the fallen lover of chocolate the same way Tommy did Jason as a kid. Poor Joey. So our first real kill in the film and no Jason in sight. But you know who was there? That damn Choclate bar. Just saying. Also another positive. even though this is really his only scene the late Mark Venturini is always great to see in an 80s flick. I know it’s been said many times but to genre fans his role as Suicide in ROTLD will always give him a place in our nerd hearts.
So off to jail goes Vic for hacking up Joey and the paramedics are there to clean up the body parts with everyone watching. In a bizarre scene to watch the bubble gum chewing paramedic sure loves egging on his partner Roy to “get his hands dirty” when it comes to removing dead bodies. I mean, he genuinely is beaming at the sight of this poor kid’s body. But you know who’s not? Roy! Who’s Roy? The other paramedic. How do we know? Because his partner calls him Roy and then the camera has a close up on Roy’s crazed stone cold stare back. I’m sure it’s nothing though.
So I’m guessing a moment like this does nothing for Tommy’s recovery to focus on the good things in life and the whole thing has left everyone else upset. I mean, in a powerful scene of drama one of the youths, Violet, sets up too many plates at breakfast the next day because she forgot Joey is dead and Vic is gonna get the electric chair. Her dramatic turn as she allows the reality of life and death to set in her mind at that very moment is powerhouse stuff kids. In other news two guys who’s car break down get brutally killed by an unknown killer. One by machete across his neck with the least amount of blood I’ve seen in a Friday film until Part VIII came out and the other with a road flare. Well played again director Steinmann. Not enough people give that death credit in the franchise. Very clever. Very nasty! And if you look closely you can see what appears to be a chocolate candy bar inside the victims’ car. Hmm…
Another pair of characters that need some love in this movie (more positives) are mother-son combo of Ethel and Junior. They live close to the halfway house and when Ethel is not belittling her half wit son Junior or chopping up turkey necks like a complete lunatic she is hoping for nothing more than to catch those looney kids having sex on her property so she can blow them away with a shotgun. Carol Locatell who plays Ethel just seems to be loving the role. A role that if she were in a Scooby-Doo episode she definately would have been the one wearing the ghost costume getting hauled away by the cops yelling “And I would have gotten away with it if weren’t for those damn kids and dog!”
Now sadly Ethel is not around when couple Eddie and Tina sneak off in the woods and decide to have sex on her property. But you know who is? That damn chocolate bar! Sadly it is not but Ethel’s hired help is and he’s spying on the kids doing the forbidden dance. For his trouble he gets a stabbed brutally in the guts. Poor guy was just enjoying the lost art of the peeping tom and bam! Dead. And more importantly he only had two lines in the movie before when Ethel hired him. I was kinda hoping this drifter looking for work could have been the next crazy Ralph from part 1 and 2 or maybe a distant relative from Tommy’s past or maybe, just maybe the killer. Oh well, he got paid. Good for him.
So old dirty man is dead. Tina and Ediie have finished the quickest quickie in horror movie history. Seriously, I heard the way it was edited together was the reasoning it looked that way but if you count from the time they start till when Eddie needs to freshen up we’re talking 20-25 seconds. Maybe. Ouch. Anyways. Eddie leaves. Tina sunbaths. Enter hockey mask with big pair of shears and goodbye eyeballs Tina. And if that wasn’t bad enough poor Eddie finds her, freaks out…very, very, quietiy, and gets a leather strap placed around his head and over his eyes having it twisted against a tree until it crushes his cranium. As a kid this death scene fucked me up. It looked nasty but what really sold it for me was the actor’s painful and then pitiful final screams before death. Well done director Steinmann. Well done. See, more positives!
Okay, I can not talk about this movie or this scene without bringing up Canadian musician Jon Lajoie and his band WOLFIE’S JUST FINE. Now band name is a brilliant Terminator 2 reference but the music video for their song A NEW BEGINNING is a loving tribute to being a kid in the 80s and watching this very movie and this VERY SCENE with your friends and being excited by this beautiful naked woman as a preteen watching her but then being horrified with the two murders that happen right after. Lajoie himself plays “Eddie” in the video and it seriously captures the moment. Please give it a watch if you have never seen it before. Just straight up nostalgia watching this movie with your buds as a kid. Great song as well! LINK TO VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG8iAtpavK4
Now back to the movie and honestly MY FAVOURITE SCENE in the entire film. And you might be surprised because it’s simply a dialogue scene between MAYOR COBB and SHERIFF TUCKER. You know bodies are starting piling up in the area and the Mayor wants his well paid police force to get to the bottom of this shit or he can’t reopen the damn beaches, I mean lake and they will lose all that tourist money. Okay, I made the last part up but we don’t know it didn’t happen. Maybe Crystal Lake was a hotbed again for fun times now that Jason has been dead for years? Could be? Anyways this moment between these two characters is just so damn brilliant in my mind that I have quoted this exchange to a few customers in the shop I’m sure when talking this movie. My old friend Steve Cattaruzza always sends me random texts with a line from either the Mayor or The Shieriff knowing I will reply with the following line. Yup we’re nerds. Anyways, I can’t do it justice so I’ll included the link but basically Mayor wants a suspect. Sheriff Tucker tells him it’s Jason Voorhees. Mayor tells the Tucker his brain has been out in the sun too long because Jason was cremated (really?) but Tucker then asks if the Mayor was there for that. Mayor gives Tucker an ashtray and dumps the ashes in his hand saying “Here’s Your Jason Vorhees!” and then gives him the usually “Your ass is on the line here Tucker! You better find me a live suspect!”. After this amazing exchange just give both men Oscars. And THAT is actually my favourite scene in the entire movie and I can not tell you why. Probably because I quote it all these years later still. Anyways if you wanna check it out yourselves here’s the link..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HONa-BdZMA4
Okay moving on (quickly refills drink and sits back down to type) and we are back with Tommy, Reggie, and Pam. I feel bad being this far in to the movie without mentioning Pam by name yet. Played by Melanie Kinnaman Pam is one of the people who run the halfway house and seriously wants to help Tommy get better, not see visions of Jason, and stop beating people up. There might have been a thing between the two as Pam really wants Tommy to get better but it goes nowhere in this film honestly. Anyways maybe getting Tommy away for an evening will do him good and there is no better excuse than to have him join Reggie and her as they visit Reggie’s older brother “Demon” played by another fan favourite of genre flicks… the always entertaining Miguel A. Nunez Jr. or again best known to fans of ROTLD “Spider”.
So they get to the trailer park where Demon is staying with his girlfriend and Tommy decides to just wait and stare up at a neon sign while Pam and Reggie go to Demon’s van and excahnge banter. The visit is short lived as Tommy beats up white trash Junior and has a serious meltdown running off into the night.
So now we are left alone with Demon and his lady Anita and the cult classic line from this movie is soon spoken. You see Demon has a thing for mexican food and whoever he ordered it from was not serving the best kind. His stomach starts to rumble and right before leaving past Anita holding his stomach he simply says “It’s Them Damn Enchiladas!”. To the creepiest outhouse in Friday The 13th history he runs into and after feeling much better Anita begins to shake the tin box of a outhouse much to Demon’s dismay. They have a quick singing duet (cute) and then a sudden gasp is heard which silences the lovely lady. More shaking. More angry demon. Putting on his tight leather pants he’s gonna take care of business with practical joker of a girlfriend only to find her dead and him trapped inside still. After a few tense moments Demon sadly meets his end with a metal spike and sadly ending his life on the worst enchiladas he had ever eaten. Emotional moment in the film.
Now Pam drops Reggie off at the halfway house with a few of the youths left there on this stormy night. She must leave right away to find a missing Tommy Jarvis and his possible homicidal thoughts. I mean. everytime he leaves someone dies. Just saying…
Speaking of death all poor old Ethel wants to do is make her famous stew but Junior, as always, is annoying the shit out her senses by revving his motorbike up and down their property in a fit because Tommy beat the shit out of him at the trailer park earlier. As Ethel screams Junior keeps screaming back. Only one thing will shut him up…
Finally some damn quiet for Ethel and her world famous stew making. But sadly for her that shit is shortlived too courtesy of a clever through the window and into her face. Ahh…sorry Ethel. Atleast she saw it coming…
Okay this movie has one of the highest Friday bodycounts ever (another positive) so some characters I’m literally forgetting about like that Billy who delivered Tommy to the halfway home at the beginning at the movie and his lady friend Lana who he was picking up from the Crystal Lake Diner after she just had closed to go party. Both met an axe…we hardly knew you guys. I’m sorry.
So back at the halfway house we have the amazing Violet doing some sweet new wave dancing that rivals Crispen Glover’s moves in the previous film. I actually thought from this point on in the franchise every movie would have a sweet dancing segment but sadly I was wrong. Bummer. Anyays Violet is grooving to a song with lyrics that contain the words ” There’s a man with no life in his eyes”…sweet! Also check out the moves. God I love the 80s…
Now downstairs Reggie The Reckless is super passed out which leaves us social awkward Jake (that’s really all we know about him) and the girl he is mad crushing on Robin. So Jake in the most pitiful manner hints how he likes Robin. She is not quite picking up on how much he likes her so Jake dives in the deep end of the pool of emotion and hits her with the never failing line “I wanna make love to you.” Shockingly it does not go well. But in fairness the poor dude laid his heart out and she just laughed at him uncontrollably which forces him to say he was just joking and then he storms off. Between you and me I don’t think he was joking. Poor Jake.
Well the time on the 90 minute movie is running so no more character development for these two. Robin leaves Reggie sleeping on the couch, goes upstairs to bed regretting her response to Jake and will just settle in for a good night of sleep….or not. In fairness this pic of the saber going through her chest was not in the movie because of the always true villain of any 80s slasher flick…the heartless entity known as the MPAA.
And then next up is poor Jake who is still sad just hanging in the hallway. Ahh…I actually feel for him. I’m sure things will work out… WATCH OUT JAKE!!!! Damn, a clever to face in tribute Crispen Glover’s death in the previous movie. Man, between the dance and now this death Mr. Glover left his mark on the Friday franchise. God bless his crazy, misunderstood, and artistic persona.
And lastly left to dispose of before we can focus on the remaining central characters and their fight to survive is that dancing machine Violet. Well sadly her commitment to that amazing groove in her room makes her not notice a killer with no life in eyes approach her from behind. Death by stabbing in what looks like a basic kill but originally it was gonna much more graphic and probably over the line with the saber going somewhere that would be very uncomfortable to see on the big screen. In this case probably a good thing they pulled back. To give an idea the second pic is of actress Tiffany Helm still wearing the blood soaked outfit. Rest In Peace my new wave dancing queen…
Okay, so now Reggie wakes up, discovers all the dead bodies. Huge scream! Pam gets back not finding Tommy scaring Reggie with surprise. He shows her the bodies. She screams. They need to get the hell out of there ASAP. The killer might still be around! To the door!!! Oh shit….
The next few minutes give us the chase scene. Through the woods looking for help Pam and Reggie see everyone is dead. EVERYONE! infact I’m convinced like me writing way longer on one movie than I thought tonight Steinmann was probably realizing he made too many characters in this film to be killed on screen so fuck it, let’s just have Pam and Reggie find the bodies as the hockey masked madman chases them. A chase that will have Reggie vanish, a chase that will have Pam slip in mud and not be able to get back up. A scene that really happened that way. Not in the script. She could not get up. But no worries because here comes Reggie The Reckless! Riding a tractor he smokes the killer sending him on his ass and allowing the two of them to make it to the barn for the final showdown on the stormy night!
With no Tommy In sight still the masked killer enters the barn and all is quiet. He knows they are here but where? In one of the most brilliant scenes of silly shit Pam comes flying out of her hiding place with a chainsaw in hand ready to take it to the large figure with the huge blade. At first shit is working out and she gets a good slice in but then the damn gas runs low and chiansaw dies. Shit. But just then a long lost figure returns! Tommy Jarvis is set for his rematch with Jason Voorhees! Fuck ya! All the fans were pumped because at that moment it showed Tommy was not Jason which meant it had to be Jason, right? Right?!
So the stand off between Tommy and “Jason” in the barn is happening as Tommy is trying the jedi mind trick stuff that worked in the Final Chapter again. Something this time is off though. This Jason looking fella keeps getting closer with his big ass blade and why is is mask blue now? They were red in my nightmares and back in Part 4 thinks Tommy. Hmm. Well, i’m sure he won’t slash at Mr. Jarvis. Oh shit, spoke too soon. Right across the chest. Down goes Tommy.
At this point everything comes to a close at the higher level of the barn with the wooden barn windows wide open and a good 30 feet below for dramitic purpose is a nice farming tool that looks like a bed of spikes. One thing leads to another and after adventures and excite and more importantly team work between Tommy, Pam, and the great Reggie The Reckless the masked lunatic falls to his demise into that rack. And this is where millions of Friday fans in 1985 lost their minds or were simply confused asking who the fuck is that?
Well holy shit it was Roy The Ambulance Driver all along who obviously had super human strength because he was pulling off more more crazy shit than Jason had in the previous movies.
Well to put it all together for us at the end of the movie it’s “Oscar Winner” Sheriff Tucker as he tells Pam that Roy was Joey’s dad. You remember Joey right? Incase you forgot no worries because Tucker has Roy’s wallet on him and shows us a picture of Joey as a reminder. Yup, Roy used Jason’s urban legend to get his revenge on everyone that had nothing to do with the death of his son? Sure, why not.
But what of Tommy now? I’m sure after all this bullshit he’s resting just fine in his hospital room after surviving another brutal masked maniac thinking “You know what…time to move on I think”. But then somehow it was cool to have Roy’s hockey mask in his room with him after all this shit? Sure, why not.
Pam is still relaxing in the hallway hospital when she hears a window smash in Tommy’s room. Oh shit! He’s left in this crazy storm to once again to escape the world. As Pam stares at the shattered window the door behind her closes revealing a hockey mask wearing Tommy Jarvis holding up a knife in his hand ready to bring it down on Pam. The End of one of the most entertaining entries of the series in this franchise regardless if it’s been pissed on for decades by many people.
I look at A New Beginning as the third memeber of an exclusive group of hated on entries. Sometimes it just takes a year or maybe 20 or 30 to take another look.
Well, no matter what it’s always a a blast to write about childhood favs that I still love talking about to my customers for better or worse. And regardless if you love or hate this movie you can not deny it had many great things. Highest bodycount out of the original Paramount films, sleazy as all hell with T and A led by the direction of late Danny Steinmann who made my favourite women in prison movie from the 80’s as well with Linda Blair in CHAINED HEAT, a great Tommy Jarvis portrayal by John Shepard and some silly as all hell supporting characters that made no sense but still entertained. And never forget when it comes these movies isn’t that all we really want? To be entertained? Well, 35 years later and the adventures of Roy Of The Ambulance Driver still entertain the shit out of me. Happy Anniversary Friday 5! Maybe you might wanna give it a revisit yourself next time the videostore crosses your path. Thanks for reading guys! Till next time..Cheers!
And one last thing…NEVER OFFER A MAN WITH AN AXE AND A BAD ATTITUDE A CHOCOLATE BAR. IT WILL END BADLY. Take care…