Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday [retro review]

“Through a Voorhees was he born… through a Voorhees may he be reborn… and only by the hands of a Voorhees will he die.”

The Scoop: 1993, directed by Adam Marcus, starring Kane Hodder, Steven Williams, John D. LeMay

Tagline: The creator of the first returns to bring you the last.

Summary Capsule: Someone who has seen The Hidden decides to write a Friday the 13th movie.

Kyle’s Rating: (none)

Kyle’s Review: I swear to God, I thought this was going to be the ultimate slasher movie. Finally Jason would kill every single ****ing person in Crystal Lake, locals and tourists alike. There would be the one or two survivors who put Jason in a cage at the bottom of the lake in the end (or in hell, if the title proved accurate), but at least one would be an attractive woman with long shiny hair and possibly fake jiggly boobies. I would sit in my seat as the credits rolled with my mouth agape, wondering if the phantasmagoric scenes of terror tattooed across my mind would ever allow me to sleep soundly again. If this was truly The Final Friday and Jason could be finally put to eternal rest then maybe the voices that tormented me could finally be put rest as well and I could live my life without having to ritualistically murder twenty people every other weekend.

Yes, I had big expectations for this film. I had been driven into dark funks before by movies that didn’t live up to my high hopes, but I thought Jason Goes to Hell might be different. It turns out I thought wrong! This movie isn’t exactly poo, but it isn’t exactly not poo either. Experience and entertainment-wise, it’s kind of a cross between a disaster of a much-hyped blind date and a subpar Canadian slasher movie poorly edited for television (no offense, fellow Canadian friends and reviewers). If you have nothing else to do and you’ve seen all the other F13s, I suppose you might as well see this one just so you can brag that you have. But when I say “brag” understand I mean “tell that idiot Blockbuster Video employee to leave you alone because you’ve seen the whole series, but don’t admit it to anyone you care about.”

If you’ve skipped directly here and not read the first two paragraphs, I’ll summarize what’s been said so far: I did not like Jason Goes to Hell. I did not like it uncut on tape; I did not like it while wearing my Superman cape. Here’s a small poem that fully expresses my outrage.

Ode to Friday the 13th movies

Parts 2 and 3 were great,
I really really dug those chicks.
But “not quite as memorable or fun”
Aptly describes the subsequent flicks.
Installment #10 is on the way
it could be quite the gas;
at the very least it’s a chance for a date
incidentally Part 9 sucks my ***.

I probably should relate the plot. It’s the year 2000. After Jason went nuts in Manhattan (Part 8) and washed out to the ocean through the sewers before the NYPD could pick him up for questioning, the FBI took charge of the case and decided that Jason’s reign of terror in Crystal Lake (apparently 87 lives had been taken by this point) was finally worthy of their attention. So they send in a well-endowed agent to draw Jason out, then they blow him away. That’s cool! I swear that pre-credits sequence could have been the whole movie and I would have been more than pleased. I would have rejoiced! Sure, ten minutes would have made for a short movie, but that Bambi meets Godzilla thing was like 30 seconds long and I believe that won the Best Picture Oscar the year it was released (I could be wrong about that), so I would have been thrilled. But nope, after the fantastic beginning they had to try at a movie. Oh well.

Let me just get this over with. Jason’s body is incapacitated, but it appears that he is a supernatural creature after all and that he can possess and wear other people’s bodies to kill and kill and kill. But it will take the body of another Voorhees for Jason to truly be resurrected, because these temp bodies can’t hold his murderous essence for too long. Fortunately it turns out Jason has a sister and a niece and a great-niece. Three chances to come back! Oh, but it’ll take a Voorhees to actually kill Jason and send him to hell. Three chances to kill him! Throw in a bounty hunter who knows what’s going on with Jason, a town that doesn’t want to believe Jason isn’t dead, and an entire cast that you don’t care about, and you get a film that would have been a lackluster conclusion to the F13 series. Fortunately Jason X is nearly in the can and it seems Freddy vs. Jason is a 90% sure bet, so some day in the future we’ll all look back and view Part 9 as one of those uninspiring slasher sequels, and not as the end of a pretty good horror franchise. I can live with that.


Justin’s Rating: Well. Another marathon to put on my resume.

Justin’s Review: “The Final Friday”, or so the subtitle goes. There’s something just cheeky about a franchise that boldly announces its finale – twice, no less! – then reneges on that to go on for many more sequels. Although they stopped numbering after VIII, Jason Goes To Hell is actually number IX in this wacky, “gotta love that nutty goalie!” series and a complete dullard of a film – save for the first ten and last two minutes.

After a glorious decade in the sun, the Jason train chugged to a halt and the 80’s passed into the revamped 90’s. Mr. 90’s had no need for slashers or trite 80’s villains – we had the freakin’ Fresh Prince, baby! Captain Planet and the Planeteers! Tupac and the Tupaceers! Thus, Freddy and Jason and Michael Myers and Chucky found themselves unemployed, grubbing evil at rest areas across the country, attending horror conventions and selling knock-off merchandise at a pathetic corner booth next to the janitor’s station.

That doesn’t mean that studios calmly and logically sat down and went, “Yo ho, gents! Why, we’ve certainly run these cash cows into the ground, so why not put them out to pasture and reminisce fondly for the good ol’ days whilst we sip chardonnay and whistle for our manservants?” No, the greedy little trolls crawled from their nocturnal tunnels, approved of lackluster projects designed to throttle said cow until milk and perhaps brain matter dribbled from its udders. Halloween 6, Nightmare 6 and Vanilla Ice’s Cool As Ice patronized the faithful fans and repaid them in sorrow and regret.

Jason Goes To Hell is such a lackluster way to end my self-imposed movie review marathon of Friday the 13th 2-9. New Line Cinema took its new acquisition and did what amounted to a 90-minute striptease and then walked away for eight years, nary a care in the world. Like A New Beginning, Part 9 is essentially a Friday the 13th without a real Jason, replaced with some aggressive groupies. Excited yet?

It begins with promise: after a seven-film reign of unstoppable terror, Jason is tragically gunned down by the FBI and what appears to be the entire 8th Armored Division of the Army. A couple tactical nukes to seal the deal, and his dismembered corpse (a corpse of a corpse?) is shuttled off to a morgue.

While a cool and interesting way to begin a Friday the 13th (did New Line not get the memo that Jason typically dies at the end?), it left the scriptwriters with little wiggle room except into an extremely silly story that involves Jason’s immortal beating heart – which at times can take the form of a nasty snake – that likes to do the Body Snatchers thing and jump from person to person. Therefore: lots of people “possessed” by Jason, doing Jason things, but not wholly endorsed by Jason’s marketing team. It also turns out that Jason had a sister (who knew?) who is the only person that could forever kill him, and a baby (nephew!) who has the potential for a little Jason rebirth.

Toss in a wacky bounty hunter with the penchant for breaking fingers during a casual conversation, and an ex-boyfriend of Jason’s sister who looks not unlike a skinny Egon, and you’re in for an experience that doesn’t feel anything like what I-VIII accomplished. You can pour on all the plot and mysterious backstory that you like, but without an omnipresent hulking boob with a hockey mask plodding through the entire film, it’s not that interesting. Jason was not meant for deep metaphysical discussions. Jason was meant for hugs that end up breaking spines.

While the series continued, this Final Friday is the final Friday for me. I don’t think I gleaned any new knowledge from this glut of slasher flicks, other than I’ll never sleep again without a chainsaw in hand when I head off to summer camp.

Jason concerts only ramp the pyro when he's about to sing his really big hits.

Intermission!

  • In the basement of the Voorhees house, there is a crate marked “Arctic Expedition – Julia Carpenter – Horlicks University.” This is the same crate from the “Crate” chapter in the movie Creepshow
  • SEX AND DEATH AND BLOOD AND MONEY – Amusingly, test audiences who were shown the first cut of Jason Goes to Hell said something is very wrong with this film: there’s no sex! No sex? That’s a big no-no! So they filmed a completely new and separate sequence with three sex-starved campers (2 girls, a guy and a tent) just so the audience could have their explicit sex scene. That was thoughtful of them! Apparently the death of one of these camper girls (the one who has sex, naturally) is ranked the goriest murder sequence ever filmed for a F13 film. Yee-haw! The 21 dead in The Final Friday is the biggest bodycount of the series, edging Parts 5 and 8 (both with 19). The $15,572,267 box-office take made Jason Goes to Hell the highest-grossing horror film released in the US in 1993.
  • SPECIAL NOTE – in these films reviews I have a lot of specific facts, including body counts and box offices receipts, that I snagged out of Fangoria magazine and also from various Friday the 13th fan websites, so thanks for all that. The most intriguing fact I culled from various fan pages was the F13 timeline, that is when each film took place in the “reel” world. I used some website info as a guide and I did a little checking of hints from the actual films (glimpses of gravestones, dates mentioned in dialogue, on-screen time jumps, conjecture) to come up with when I think each film took place, so that’s where the date of events comes from in each review. It doesn’t really matter when any of them truly took place, but it’s the sort of amusing trivia that Regis could conceivably ask you someday. And I just want you to be ready, because as I’ve learned so often in life: it’s not a good idea to piss off Regis.
  • KYLE’S FRIDAY THE 13TH MERCHANDISE FACTOID – Todd McFarlane, creator of Spawn and creator of endless action figures, desperately wanted to make figures of famed movie maniacs. So he did it! Several waves of figures have been made with more on they way, but most importantly Jason Voorhees was one of the first released in 1998. His appearance is taken out of Jason Goes to Hell (tattered blue work shirt, tattered grey jeans, work boots, trashed hockey mask melted into face, hideous skin burns and holes), and he comes with a nice stand with a mini Jason Goes to Hell poster and several sharp and bloody weapons. The Jason figure is difficult but not impossible to find at specialty stores (especially Spencer’s), though your best bet would be the two-figure package with Jason and Freddy Kruger sold exclusively at a KB Toys store near you. Tell ‘em Kyle sent you!

Groovy Quotes:

Creighton Duke (after seeing the FBI blow up Jason): I don’t think so.

Robert Campbell: I’m going to say a couple of words to you and I want you to say the first thing that comes into your mind.
Creighton Duke: Okay.
Robert Campbell: Jason Voorhees.
Creighton Duke: That makes me think of a little girl in a pink dress sticking a hot dog through a doughnut.

Duke: Through a Voorhees was he born… through a Voorhees may he be reborn… and only by the hands of a Voorhees will he die.

Duke: I’ll have a Voorhees burger and a side of Jason fingers.

Luke: We’re going to Camp Crystal Lake.
Steven: Oh yeah? Planning on smoking a little dope, having a little premarital sex, and getting slaughtered?

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5 Comments

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