ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 19, 1993
By Steve Newton
I’ll never forget the time I saw Friday the 13th: Part 2 at the grand old Paramount Theatre in Chilliwack back in ’81. It was the first low-budget slasher flick I’d seen on the big screen, and, mindless and exploitative as it was, it scared the crap out of me. I remember going home—to an empty house at the end of a dead-end road—and trying to sleep with the wind scraping branches on the window and slamming the garage door. I spent quite a while searching the house in fear, baseball bat in hand, fairly sure that Jason—or someone of similar personality—was bent on doing me some damage.
It was just my imagination, of course, stimulated by Part 2’s creepy Harry Manfredini score and creatively rendered murders. At that point, unfortunately, I became a Friday the 13th junkie, always seeking out that elusive fix of fear, and I’m ashamed to admit that—though I’m a peaceful guy who abhors real violence—I’ve now seen all nine of the series’ entries. So trust me when I say that Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is very likely the worst of the bunch.
The main difference between the supposedly final Friday and its predecessors is that Jason gets “killed” at the beginning of the flick instead of the end. While trying to butcher a towel-clad woman at Crystal Lake, he is led into an FBI ambush, shot more than 100 times, and blown up. The only thing is, his big, ugly heart, oozing with black blood, remains intact, and when his remains are sent for inspection, the coroner—naturally—chows down on the nasty morsel. He now becomes Jason, and quickly sets off for Crystal Lake to murder some teens for not using condoms during tent sex.
In a blatant rip-off of the excellent sci-fi thriller The Hidden, Jason’s soul or spirit or whatever is transferred from person to person when they open their mouths real wide, say aahhh, and release a dark, sluglike creature into the new host’s mouth. This gruesome game of tag is played so Jason can get to his only remaining blood relatives (his niece and her baby), kill them, and become “reborn”.
Wicked story line, eh?
Hot on Jason’s heels is a sadistic bounty hunter (Steven Williams) and the ex-boyfriend and father of Jason’s two main targets (John D. LeMay from the Friday the 13th TV series). Like most of the actors here, LeMay gives a lame performance, and his hero is mainly there to get kicked around by the various incarnations of Jason and say “fuck” a lot. Crummy acting and an excruciating script are common elements of a Friday film, of course, but Jason Goes to Hell doesn’t even have decent splatter effects, which is what semi-twisted Friday followers come to see in the first place.
A supposed shock ending hints that Jason will not be hanging up the hockey mask for good, though, and will even be taking on Freddy Krueger in a future cinematic masterpiece. Because New Line Productions now has dibs on both baddies, you can bet it’ll try to capitalize on the combined fan base of the two horror icons.
Hey, maybe they’ll even recruit Michael Myers from the Halloween films so wisecracking Freddy can knock the two quiet masked guys’ heads together before they take off for a night on town.