Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

After Jason Takes Manhattan, Paramount, the studio who produced all the Friday the 13th movies previously, sold their property to New Line Cinema, the House that Freddy built. With New Line owning both Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees, it seemed inevitable the two would eventually clash. Unfortunately, by this point, the slasher boom was over, and audiences had moved on. Fans would have to wait a while.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) seems intended to set up that eventual versus movie. It ends with Freddy's gloved hand snatching Jason's hockey mask, which is a cool visual. The movie leading up to that final shot is a gory, raunchy, self-aware romp that packs plenty of violent kills, gratuitous sex and nudity, and gags that demonstrate the movie is not taking itself too seriously. It moves quickly and is never boring, and yet, it doesn't feel like a genuine Friday the 13th movie.

In a series known for disregarding continuity, Jason Goes to Hell is especially egregious. Jason is now reimagined as a demonic slug that possesses people. They go on rampages, take freakish amounts of damage, and then move around. This rips off another movie, The Hidden, to a T. Without question. Jason even moves from body to body the same way: mouth to mouth.

The movie also introduces us to other members of the Voorhees family, namely Jason's sister, the sister's daughter, and the daughter's baby. Apparently, they're important now because only through a Voorhees can Jason be re-born and only a Voorhees can kill him once and for all. A Voorhees must drive a magic dagger into Jason's heart to summon a horde of demons who will drag him straight to Hell. It's as hokey as it sounds.

Purists of the series will be appalled. Jason in his hockey mask form is only around for a little bit at the beginning and the end (plus a brief reflection in the mirror). If you enjoy the series and want to see Jason, you're going to be disappointed.

Yet, I can't deny the movie is entertaining. It packs a lot of schlocky elements to keep things moving. KNB Effects Group provide the effects, and they're a little more comic book style, but they are memorable and graphic. People have their heads lopped off, torsos split in half, and faces smashed in. One shot appears to be an homage to The Thing as Jason's demon slug slithers out of a neck stump as the head hangs by a thread of skin.

The movie is self aware. Steven (John D. LeMay), one of the main characters, picks up three hitchhikers, and when he finds out they're going to Camp Crystal Lake, he say to them, "Going to smoke some dope, have some premarital sex, get slaughtered?" A diner in Crystal Lake capitalizes on the notoriety by selling Voorhees burgers and Jason fries. There are also cute references to the Myers house and the Necronomicon turns up. The crate that appeared in Creepshow winds up in the Voorhees basement.

Then, there's Creighton Duke (Steve Williams), a bounty hunter with knowledge of Jason and his true nature. This guy is the weirdest character in the series. He and Steven end up in jail together. Duke is willing to share info about Jason but for a price. What price? Money? Nope. Steven has to let Duke break his fingers. Duke also has the weirdest line of dialogue in the series. A sleazy TV newsman (Robert Culp) asks him to say the first thing that comes to mind when he hears the name, Jason Voorhees.

"Well, that makes me think of a little girl in a pink dress, sticking a hot dog through a donut."

The movie also proves to me that Jason has something of a repressed, kinky streak. He captures a sheriff's deputy, strips off the deputy's clothes, straps him down with leather restraints to a table, and shaves off the guy's mustache before passing on the demon slug through mouth to mouth. All those years of going after horny teens makes me think Jason doth protest too much.

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