|Movie poster designed by Cash Money Records|
In a bold change of pace for the series, Jason Goes to Hell opens without a recap and doesn't even attempt to justify or explain how Jason survived the final moments of Jason Takes Vancouver. After all, is there anybody out there who really cares about the continuity of this series? If so, Jason's resurrection in Part VI should have been a deal breaker for them; at this point in the series, I like the screenwriter's "who gives a fuck" attitude toward setting up this chapter's premise. Anyway, the film opens with a busty woman trying to take a shower in what appears to be a campsite, or at least a derelict vacation home. Once she has disrobed and started the shower, she hears a noise, grabs a towel and comes face to face with Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder). Instead of dying immediately, this lady runs. I'm not talking about your typical slasher movie "victim running away" scene --- she books it. She might be wearing only a towel (a very well-wrapped towel that never unravels) and no shoes (except in a shot where you can see her wearing shoes), but she is sprinting, diving, doing flips and all sorts of other things that undoubtedly caught JV off-guard. When Jason arrives in an open field to finish shower girl off, he is met by gunfire; this whole thing, apparently including the whole get-naked-and-run-through-the-woods part, was an FBI setup to ambush Jason and blow him to Hell.
|Mission accomplished, roll credits|
We follow Jason's charred remains to the coroner's office, where the coroner is overcome by the burning desire to devour Jason's black heart. You may justly ask at this point what the Hell is going on? Jason has possessed the coroner and now occupies his body. Well, that's an interesting/out of left field plot twist, isn't it?
|Also note: orange lights = evil possession|
|Or, possibly, a sexually transmitted mouth-slug?|
|Does his face look puffy? Maybe he has allergies|
What sets Jason Goes to Hell apart from the other Fridays is its complete disregard for the history of this series. "Only by the hands of a Voorhees will he die"?!? Since when?!? And, even if that was true, why hasn't Jason hunted down and murdered his family members before now? We know he's capable of stalking his prey (Part II) and tracking down individuals wherever they go (Part VIII), so that should have been a lazy Sunday for JV. Honestly, I like the complete disregard for the earlier entries in the series, but I wish they had come up with something a little better than this. An unstoppable killer hunting down his family? That sounds suspiciously like another mute serial killer, doesn't it? And I liked the homages to other films (was that Antarctic crate referencing The Thing or Creepshow?), but I would have liked some effort at explaining why The Evil Dead's Necronomicon was in Pam Voorhees' old house. I assume this was meant to imply that the book is partly responsible for Jason's undying nature, but if you're going to clutter up a slasher film with mystical mumbo-jumbo and cross-references to other movies, you should go all out and actually explain it.
|And look...! There's a receipt from S-Mart!|
But I think we can all agree that plot has never really been the strong point of the Friday the 13th series. This is a franchise that is built on
|Above: a lumpy, oozing body. Below: his jawbone|
|Moral: there is no such thing as "safe" premarital sex|
|It took ten years to follow up on this tease, but it was worth it|
Still, there is a lot of lameness in areas that should be this film's strengths. Jason Voorhees isn't the sort of movie monster that can be stopped by brute force; you beat him by tricking him or luring him into a vulnerable position, where you can stick a machete in his noggin/leave him at the bottom of a lake/melt him with toxic waste. In Jason Goes to Hell, though, JV spends almost two solid minutes near the climax fighting the nerdiest guy in the film. It's not that Jason never hits the guy or grabs him by the neck or head --- he just doesn't kill the poor sap. At one point, Jason even throws his victim into a jungle gym.
|Not pictured: Jason patiently waiting his turn for the slide|
|Look at her boot and note that she hasn't even jumped yet|
Jason Goes to Hell is a pretty awful excuse for filmmaking, especially in regards to the basics. If you've seen the movie once or twice, it's easy to notice inconsistencies in the continuity editing, like bloodstains vanishing or moving within scenes. My favorite example of this is Duke's note to Jason's niece. When she finds the note and realizes her baby is missing, the note clearly reads "I have what you want," but when her baby's daddy reads the note moments later, it has been changed to "I have your baby." Of course, the baby may have been kidnapped and replaced several times over during the film, because there are at least two clearly different infants in this movie (hint: one is bald and the other has hair). Also, why was the Voorhies place once referred to as the "Myers" place? And the name on the (abandoned for 30 years) mailbox even misspelled the name. And why is Jason's mask in the promo posters and the opening credit sequence made of metal?
|Aside from "for awesomeness," I mean|
None of that matters, of course. Those are just things that you can nitpick on because they are "blatantly terrible" and "unbelievably amateurish for a professionally-made and -distributed film." The quality of a Jason movie is not how "good" or "bad" it is; it isn't even measured by how "scary" it is. I measure the Friday the 13ths (especially the later sequels) by how much they entertained me. Jason Goes to Hell isn't a good movie by any means, but it is noticeably different from the other Fridays and that is even more important when you are the ninth and (maybe note really) final film in a series. I will give it credit for boldness and not boring me with clips from other movies. The sheer lunacy of the plot was enough to keep me interested in the story, even though the violence wasn't too impressive. On a standard scale of quality, this film deserves