It’s been quite some time, but once again we’ve got a Friday the 13th! For us at ScareTissue this is one of those “holidays” that we look forward to the most. I’ve had this particular review queued up for quite some time just waiting for the perfect day to release it.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is the 9th entry into the Friday The 13th franchise. It was directed by Adam Marcus and produced by Sean Cunningham (the director of the first installment).
At the time this was intended to be the final film in the franchise (before the rash of reboots and remakes we’ve gotten in recent years). Eventually we got Jason X and Freddy Vs. Jason to finish of the franchise(s) before both were rebooted.
At the time, the tagline for Jason Goes To Hell was, “The creator of the first returns to bring you the last.”
SPOILER ALERT: This review WILL talk openly about the plot of the film. We’re 20 years removed from its release so I feel rather confident that if you wanted to see it you would have. If not go check it out first and come on back afterword.
A gal staying at Crystal Lake gets naked, takes a shower and the lights go out. Naturally, Jason is on the prowl and gives chase as she hauls ass out of the cabin and leads him to a clearing in the woods. The FBI (huh!) shows up and blows him to bits and we find out the whole thing was a setup to get Voorhees. Bounty hunter Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) shows up during the celebration and points out that Jason may not be as dead as folks think. THIS ALL HAPPENS BEFORE THE OPENING CREDITS.
What’s left of Jason is sent to the morgue where the coroner makes various notes about the size of his heart and the fact that, “This guy’s deader than shit.” The heart begins to beat while sitting on the table and rather than doing what any normal human being would do (run like hell) dude proceeds to EAT the heart. At this point, the “spirit” of Jason resides in the coroner who goes on a killing spree of pretty epic proportions on his way back to Crystal Lake.
We find out rather quickly that the “spirit” of Jason needs to move between bodies as they decay with this evil in them. This leads to some rather interesting scenes where people essentially puke into one another’s mouth to transfer the being. Yummy.
We get a (relatively convoluted) story here about how Diana (Erin Gray) is Jason’s half-sister and how there’s really only one way to kill Jason permanently: “Through a Voorhees was he born, through a Voorhees may he be reborn, and only by the hand of a Voorhees may he die.” This naturally makes Diana’s daughter Jessica (Kari Keegan) and granddaughter Stephanie Jason’s next targets.
From here, we go on an absolute cluster fuck of a plot where Jason is jumping bodies, people are dying, Friday The 13th cannon is re-written and retconned, and bodies are hitting the floor in pretty grand fashion. Rather than trying to accurately describe the plot from here on out, I’m going to give you one paragraph from the Wikipedia entry that should set things straight:
“Back at the house, Duke falls through the floor, and Jessica is confronted by two police officers. Sheriff Landis is killed accidentally with the dagger, and Jessica drops it under a dresser. Randy is revealed to be Jason, who tries to possess Stephanie, but Steven arrives and severs his neck with a machete. The creature crawls out of Randy’s neck, and makes its way to the basement, where Diana’s body was planted and crawls in her vagina. As Steven, Jessica, and Duke realize what is happening (that Jason can be reborn from any Voorhees relative, alive or dead), Jason explodes through the floor in his classic form.”
Anyhow. The end comes when Jessica manages to stab Jason in the chest with the “magical dagger”. The heavens open up with the tortured souls of Jason’s victims, hands come out of the ground and begin to pull Jason underground to Hell. The next morning, a dog finds Jason’s mask partially buried and we get… Freddy Krueger’s clawed glove bursting from underground and dragging the mask below.
I’m sure you can tell from the tone of my plot summary that I don’t consider this the best entry into the series. Far from it. In fact, I’d have to say this is probably my least favorite entry and certainly the one that I’ve watched the least. From the opening scene where FBI agents literally descend from the trees to kill Jason you know what you’re in for. Many people point to Jason X or Jason Takes Manhattan as their least favorite, but for me it’s this. The plot is dreadful and there’s actually very little Jason (in his true form at least) in here. Luckily it was a quick 88 minutes to sit through.
All of that being said… there are some GREAT things about this movie. While it’s not always a masked Jason doing the killing, this flick has some of the best kills in the entire franchise. The tent scene (embedded below… definitely NSFW) is amazing and may be one of my favorite kills in the entire franchise (may have to do a post on that one of these days…) You can see a clip of all of the kills here: http://youtu.be/vxy6z3H3r2o
The fact that we don’t get a masked Jason for much of the movie makes his return all that much better toward the climax of the film (Kane Hodder plays Jason once again and does a damn fine job). And speaking of the climax. I’ve gone on record here saying that Freddy Vs. Jason is one of my favorite films of all time. I’m thrilled to say that film did MUCH better at mixing the two icons than this one did. Seeing Freddy’s claw here was cute but nothing more than a groan inducing “gotcha” at the end. It comes off as campy and I remember when I first saw it I was REALLY worried about what a movie with the two of them in it would bring. Luckily I was wrong.
If you’re a fan of the franchise I’m sure you’ve seen Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. And you were probably disappointed. As a stand alone horror flick, this one really isn’t too terrible. OK fine… it’s watchable. It’s got some great kills and a plot that is generally confusing as many slasher flicks are. As a Friday The 13th flick it’s pretty bad. The whole body swapping story line is really tough to follow and just sort of leaves me scratching my head. I enjoyed the Duke character, but he’s spouting off random Voorhees family lore so often that he becomes a laughable character.
If we were to have this same general flick with Jason doing the killing it’d be a recommendable film. As it stands you’re probably better off skipping it an just watching the kill clips above. I’m happy I re-watched it for this review, but it will be quite some time before I revisit it again.
Have you seen Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday? Happy Friday The 13th!