My love for Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday
I'm sure I'm speaking for a good number of people who grew up in the early to mid 1990's who clearly remember visiting the old school mom & pop video stores and racing towards the horror section to gaze at all the beautiful and stunning tape covers that graced the shelf's. I still clearly remember always noticing the very bright flame covered tape of Jason Goes To Hell. Jason's mask with this weird little turd worm slithering through one of the eyes. (Sorta reminds me of the express ride to Hell in the Frighteners) I of course would always pick up this video and turn it over and one image always stood out to me. The photo of Jason pulling poor screaming John D LeMay into the ground. This image always stayed with me and peeked my intrest for many years.
Seeing that yesterday I reviewed and spoke about my favorite Friday the 13th movie, I decided that tonight I'll talk about my favorite guilty pleasure installment of the series...
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday
I don't know what it is, but lately I've felt the need to re-watch the Friday the 13th films and reminisce about my love and memories dealing with these movies.
I think I bought this movie after my obsession for the films were sparked and I began renting and purchasing them like crazy. I still clearly remember watching this movie in my room and seriously jumping up screaming when the last shot of the movie filled my television screen. This in my eyes was one of the greatest surprise shockers for horror fans alike. I remember screaming, running up to the TV and hitting the rewind button. This was in the mid 90's, many years before Freddy Vs. Jason was even a twinkle in fan's eyes. I still have to hand these filmmakers complete props for thinking of such a clever ending. If it hadn't been for this ending who knows, maybe the whole Freddy Vs. Jason madness wouldn't have happened.
For some strange reason this movie is looked at as the bastard step cousin of the series. Is it because yet again they claimed it would be the final movie? Well it was the early 90's, which meant up until 1996 when Scream was finally released, horror was left in some strange limbo. The slasher boom and come and gone and the horror kings who ruled the 1980's were now being put to rest once and for all. A few years earlier Freddy was claimed to finally be dead and be his final nightmare.
So of course after Jason stalked Manhattan, there was really one last thing left to do...send him to hell!
I love the opening of a pretty girl going to a cabin in the middle of the night. Great visuals that we're all so used to by now.
I feel many fans didn't like this movie simply because it took a much different path than the eight previous films. This wasn't a slasher movie about a bunch of kids going up to the lake to get slaughtered, this movie dealt with heavy supernatural elements, mythology, and a plot device used in the film The Hidden a few years earlier. I feel fans didn't appreciate this new take to the series, or the fact that Jason wasn't front row and center killing away. Instead the movie takes us for a curve ball when they have Jason blown up by S.W.A.T within five minutes into the movie. With Jason now destoryed the question remains...what now?
I believe it or not salute these guys for taking a new route with the series. I'm sorry but as much as I love these movies watching Jason stalk around killing teens was getting a wee bit tired. A lot of it was very expected. I mean look after Tommy Jarvis battled for the third and final time with him we got "Carrie White" to duel with him, then him on a cruise ship and later prancing around Times Square. This new approach made it that Jason had the ability of now being able to transfer from body to body. Possessing these people, he stalks around killing only able to stay in these bodies for a limited amount of time before switching again.
Hey I liked it!
Another big thing is that we don't have teenagers going head to head with Jason. In this film we have slightly older adults fighting against our beloved killer. Another big plot device is that we go further into Jason's history and family. Yes boys and girls, there wasn't just his mother...he had a sister as well!
We all know that part 6 was supposed to show Jason's father (who was supposed to be the drunk who works in the cemetery who's later killed by his own bottle.) this of course was later cut out. Many fans believe and have thought of some pretty interesting theories about Jason's dad and how after knocking up Pamela went on to live his own life leaving her to fend for herself and their dis formed child. Of course in the later movies we see that both Pamela and Jason were buried, which means somebody bothered and paid for this to happen. In this movie we learn that Jason's father must have gone on, lived his own life and met another woman. This relationship resulted in Jason's half sister Diana.
Yeah a few people were puzzled by this since we hadn't seen or heard of her until now but here she is, also an older single mother who works as a waitress at the local diner. (Same dinner Steve Christy went to in the original? Nope sorry guys...) Well it seems that Jason is now switching bodies and making his way back to Crystal Lake to find his long lost family. It appears that one person truly believes that Jason hadn't been killed and seems to be the only one who knows exactly how and why Jason is able to transport from body to body. This is Creighton Duke played wonderfully by Steven Williams. A bounty hunter who is trying to track and kill Jason.
Warning Diana that Jason is after her and her daughter Jessica who left town the year before, he's quickly taken into custody. Spooked by this, Diana asked Steve Freeman played by my husband (John D LeMay) to meet her later that night since she needs to tell him something about Jessica who Steve dated and broke up with shortly before she left town. One big thing I love about this movie is all the little plots and characters crammed into this movie. It truly feels like a small town. For those who have read the screenplay they learn that when Jessica told Steven she was pregnant he freaked clearly showing her he wasn't ready to be a father so she made up the lie that she lost the baby and quickly moved away. We learn that she did indeed have the baby who she named Stephanie and is dating TV host and asshole Robert Campbell who hired Duke to track and kill Jason for TV ratings.
Well it doesn't take long for Jason to reach the town and killing three young adults who decided to party a little on the original camp grounds where the original massacre took place. Here we are able to truly see K.N.B's stunning effects. Here we get a girl having sex with her boyfriend and right before she's able to have one hell of an orgasm BOOM! Jason splits her up the middle with a tent pole. This scene is extremely graphic but bloody amazing! Taking the body of a local police officer, Jason finds his half sister and murders her only to have Steven witness it before running off. The police arrive only to believe that Steven was behind the crime and taken to jail. A day or so later Jessica arrives with her baby and Steven learns from his cell mate Creighton Duke the legend behind Jason and what exactly he's doing here. It seems that through a Voorhees was Jason born, through a Voorhees will he be reborn. It seems Jason can only be reborn through a Voorhees woman and return to his original self. So that means he's after Jessica or her baby...aka Steven's daughter. It also seems that Jessica is the only person that can kill Jason by stabbing him in the heart. No one else can do it and he won't stop until his quest is finished. After cleverly escaping Steven goes to find Jessica so they can save their daughter and send Jason back to where he belongs.
Seems like a far fetch plot? Believe it or not I really liked it. It was something new and fresh which was something we needed badly. I loved the whole Voorhees thing and how Jason needed his family to become reborn and how Jessica his niece was the only person able to kill him.
I adore John D LeMay in this movie. John played Ryan Dallion for two seasons of Friday the 13th The Series which ran from 1987 to 1990. Besides the title, Friday the 13th The Series had NOTHING to do with the movies or Jason. The show told the tale of two cousins trying to collect cursed items from their antique store. If anyone knows me, they know how much I love that show and of course how much I love John. I still mourn the fact he left the show after the second season and if you ask a good number of fans they believe this was one of the key reasons why the show was canceled a year later. John believe it or not didn't have much of a career which to be is insane. He is one of the few actors besides John Shepherd from Friday the 13th part 5 to appear in both the TV show and one of the feature films. After Blair Underwood passed on the role, D LeMay was given the chance to for once play the leading guy and kick the utter shit out of Jason.
To me Steven is a perfect character. He's flawed. From what I've read from the screenplay and what I've seen of the movie he's a guy who just couldn't grow up and live past high school (a prime example being that he still wears his letter man jacket around.) That he wasn't there for his girlfriend when he needed her the most and had no idea he even had a child until he laid eyes on her. Moments such as when he first sees Jessica and the baby at the police station, and later when he first gets to see his daughter is heart warming for a Friday the 13th movie. This added a certian depth to the film aside from all the murdering and blood shed.
John also had one HELL of a fight with Jason. I love when the two of them at the end of the movie come smashing through the bay window and go head to head. In my eyes besides Tommy Jarvis, Ginny, and Tina...Steven put up one of the best fights yet. I mean he actually had a fist fight with Jason and lived!
I loved how action packed and gory this movie was. The police officer melting after Jason leaves his body. If you ever want to see gory goodness watch the unrated version of this movie. It's amazing. Then there's the big shootout in the police station and diner. I LOVE the slow motion shot of Jason aka Robert coming through the door and Jessica and Steven jumping over the counter. There are some pretty memorable kills in this movie and lots of guns being shot = awesome!
I do agree the whole showdown between Duke and Jason were a little watered down. After all that build up it's very short lived. Many fans question did Duke know Jason? "Hey bastard...remember me?" Well if you look into it years ago Jason jumped up from the lake and grabbed Duke's girlfriend/wife pulling her down to the bottom of the lake murdering her. A classic tale of revenge which sadly didn't have it's moment to shine. I do love the shot of Duke watching the F.B.I and laughing to himself saying "I don't think so..."
A favorite scene of mine in this movie is the finger breaking exchange between Duke and Steven. In fact I would go so far to say it's my favorite scene in the whole movie. All you need is two good actors and some sound effects to really make you feel the pain.
Also how about John D LeMay jumping over his handcuffs. AMAZING!
The final fight like I said is amazing. When I met Kane Hodder for the first time my only question was how did it feel to kick the shit out of John D LeMay? He of course laughed and said it was awesome and that he still sees John from time to time "nerd swoon..."
Of course the final bad ass scene of Jessica kick stabbing Jason to hell and him grabbing Steven trying to drag him down with him. Such a bad ass scene that I love. And of course the greatest horror cliffhangers/ending of all time. In fact over the years as Freddy Vs. Jason was in development Hell, I read a few different screenplays dealing with Steven and Jessica coming back to battle Jason. To me, this would have been much better than the piece of shit they ended up filming.
Is Jason Goes To Hell one of the best Friday movies? No...is it flawed? Yes...
Is it a great movie to watch with friends while playing my famous Jason Goes To Hell drinking game?
In fact I have tons of great memories drinking to this movie and having a wonderful drunken time. One of the rules is drink every time a gun is fired = fucked within the first few minutes of the movie. Trust me, I've ended up puking MANY times after watching this movie.
I own the set of glow in the dark comics based off this movie, and I plan on having Joey. B herself sign them this spring at HorrorHound. 'Nobody is going near that fucking ray of sunshine!"
So Jason Goes To Hell is a clever, fresh new look to the very popular series. We got some wonderful moments, great gore, and John D LeMay!