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John’s Horror Corner: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), mixing The Hidden (1987) creature, The Evil Dead (1981) mythology and The Dream Child (1989) twist.

December 4, 2017

MY CALL:  We’ve left everything you thought you knew about Jason Voorhees and Crystal Lake behind us only to venture into a zany land of bonkers fun and thematic mash-ups that seem to violate any and all canonical axioms of Friday the 13th.  Some hate it for this; I love it for this.  It’s definitely something different!  MORE MOVIES LIKE Jason Goes to HellObviously, Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) for sure.  Sadly, I’d only suggest part III (1982) for the sake of story continuity (it didn’t impress me at all, but many seem to highly favor it), but part IV: The Final Chapter (1984), part V: A New Beginning (1985), part VI: Jason Lives (1986) and part VII: The New Blood (1988) were all quite redeeming.  Although part VII and part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) get a bit more silly.  So I’d suggest fans of this turn to later Freddy sequels like A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) and The Dream Child (1989).

Part 8 SIDEBAR:  Tommy Jarvis wrapped up part VI by defeating the lightning-resurrected Jason (Kane Hodder; parts VII-VIII, Hatchet) in the first of his undead movies, which ended leaving Jason drowned (yet again) and chained at the bottom of Crystal Lake.  Then in part VII, Tina telekinetically resurrected and subsequently dispatched Jason, sending him back to his watery grave.  No surprise, part VIII (in a stroke of originality) also resurrected him with electricity and then drowned him, this time leaving him in a New York City sewer.

In his writing and directorial debut, Adam Marcus (Secret Santa) wastes no time before diving into the entertaining mania that is this ever-developing franchise.  Jason (Kane Hodder; parts VII-VIII, Hatchet) seems to grow ever more powerful while ever more decomposed with each sequel. His water-bloated flesh now engulfs the margins of his crusty hockey mask and grossly swells around its straps, and we see straggling long hairs whisping in the moonlight.  He’s become pretty awesomely gross…but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been drowned and waterlogged three times between various forms of electrocution (i.e., parts VI-VIII).

Franchise Timeline SIDEBAR:  So when does this movie take place???  Part 1 took place in “present day” (1980), parts II-IV all occur in rapid succession 5 years after the events of part 1 (so 1985), then part V jumped forward 5-6 years (so 1990-1991-ish) and (probably more of a writing flaw than anything) part VI took us questionably another 10-ish years yet further into the future (soooo, 2001…?).  Parts VII provides no time statement, but could just as well occur in the same year as part VI.  I guess it makes sense that too much time hadn’t past, or the fish and freshwater bacteria would’ve whittled him down to nothing.  I’d guess that parts VI-VII took place in the same summer, and that VIII is about 10 months later (into the next year; so 2002???) since our victims are on a high school trip around graduation.  But, as you read on, you’ll find this sequel (and part VIII) seem to have little regard for continuity…

Not sure how Jason was resurrected this time or how he got back to New Jersey’s Crystal Lake after being drowned in a New York City sewer.  Perhaps he respawns like some World of Warcraft or Call of Duty player… or perhaps a lower Manhattan power grid’s electrical surge awoke a rather homesick Jason.  Our opening sequence finds Agent Marcus (Julie Michaels; Doctor Mordrid, Witchboard 2) as a topless coed decoy to lead her SWAT team to capture Jason.  And, by “capture,” I mean shoot him about 100 times and then detonate his body leaving his head and still beating heart to be transported to a morgue.

Now this is where things get crazy.  After some feisty autopsy narration over some crispy sundered body parts, our coroner (Richard Gant; Godzilla 1998, Hood of Horror) gorily eats Jason’s beating heart in a ravenous fit!  And so, Jason has a new body—apparently now having the ability to possess and swap bodies via heart-eating (or another method to be discussed later).

Franchise Admixture SIDEBAR: Like part VIII, this sequel seems quite self-aware of its thematic silliness. And, also like part VIII, we find numerous callbacks to Freddy Krueger and his Elm Street franchise (e.g., Jason’s remains are taken to Ohio).  Part VIII had premonitions of young Jason warning our protagonist (or haunting her, as if she was somehow connected to him) much like the nursery rhyme girls and Amanda Krueger did in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), and someone warns that the kids on the cruise to Manhattan were “the last of them” (and that was why the voyage was “cursed” and Jason was coming) much as NOES 4: The Dream Master (1988) was all about Freddy getting the last of the Elm Street kids. Now, Jason Goes to Hell follows in the path of NOES 5: The Dream Child (1989), in that Jason seeks to be reborn through another Voorhees much as Freddy sought to be reborn as Alice’s baby.  Breaking the Voorhees-Krueger emulation pattern, Jason switches bodies by way of an evil worm parasite passed mouth-to-mouth like in The Hidden (1987).  As if there weren’t yet enough honored movie flavors, we visit the run-down Voorhees house (a la 1428 Elm Street) and find a Necronomicon!  Yes, as in the exact book from The Evil Dead (1981; in concept) and Evil Dead II (1987; exact book design)!  So apparently Jason is a deadite, and there’s an article to such effect in Bloody Disgusting.  Makes sense, right?

I’m a major fan of the gore and effects.  Not only was Jason’s body fantastic, but the death scenes were spectacular!  The sex scene kill was brief but awesome, there were some abrupt but gruesome arm and jaw breaks, a blood-geysering head crush (a classic Jason maneuver), and the outstanding post-parasite-partem body melt.  That body melt was so gooey and slimy, rich with the kind of awesome that reminds me of The Blob (1988) or the transformation scene from Hellraiser (1987)!  The effects of the slimy demon parasite itself are pretty cool, too—even if it’s the campiest aspect of the movie.  Well, to be fair, the truly silliest thing about the movie was the bounty hunter (Steven Williams; It, Supernatural, The Leftovers) who somehow knew all this “hand-waiving” new mythology about Jason Voorhees, how only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees, and all this hoo-ha about the magical dagger.  Yes, I just said magical dagger! LOL

Yup. That’s exactly the book you think it is…and there’s Voorhees dying by the prophesied hand of a Voorhees.

My past comments (see the “Incontinuity SIDEBAR” in my review of part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan) about movie inconsistency get Hulk-smashed by the nonsense transpiring before my eyes as I watch with a sort of child-like wonderous glee.  Ever since part VII: The New Blood (1988), things have grown ever more exponentially bonkers and I couldn’t be happier.

A scene from the alternate ending.

The ending slips all the way into batshitcrazytown when Jason tries to mouth-demon impregnate an infant, Jason’s demon larva crawls up a dead Voorhees woman’s you-know-what, and Jason is pulled (like, by actual elemental demon arms emerging from the ground) down to Hell and Freddy Krueger’s clawed hand grabs his mask.  I get that this may sound stupid and a bit off-track for what you thought you knew about this franchise, but trust me in that this was AWESOME FUN!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2017 10:18 pm

    If I could punch a movie in the face, it would be this one. We all have loves and hates in our beloved horror genre! I have no complaints about the actors or the FX artists but many whiny bitchings about the concept and the script. I grudgingly own the DVD as a Friday completest, but only for hate-watching reasons. Lol!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      December 5, 2017 10:11 pm

      I LOVE this as a fun horror movie; not so much as a “Friday the 13th movie.” I see your point. I choose to love it. lol

  2. December 5, 2017 9:31 am

    OMG, Jason Goes to Hell is probably the wackiest, most fun instalment of the series. I love the totally bonkers plot, the whole Jason / body swapping things is crazy! There are some awesome effects and gory deaths in this one as well. As for that ending with Freddy Krueger’s gloved hand dragging Jason’s mask away, WOW!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      December 5, 2017 10:12 pm

      Yes, yes, yes, yes and so much yes to all that! haha

  3. Bret permalink
    December 5, 2017 8:13 pm

    Ahhh, the series is bought by new line since paramount doesn’t want to back franchise (or should I say Paramount is about to go bye bye).
    Really enjoyed this movie, when I first saw this I was really confused but enjoyed this different take. Well except for the whole strapping the guy on the table and shaving his mustache…who knows…and being a major fan of NOES I enjoyed how the director made the choice to and Freddy appear in the end. Another fun side note, I also enjoyed the tie in with “Evil Dead” as years later the comic series Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash was created.
    As we approach the last Kane Hodder/Jason film, I really enjoyed all the films with him acting as Jason.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      December 5, 2017 10:13 pm

      We’ve witnessed quite an evolution of the franchise. Whereas Freddy got somewhat silly, to slapstick, to drop-dead serious again in New Nightmare; Jason has grown increasingly powerful yet zany in concept.

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