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Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Tonight's Feature Presentation

JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY (1993)

Starring: John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Steven Williams, Erin Gray, Kane Hodder

Written By: Dean Lorey, Jay Huguely (also story), Adam Marcus (story) Directed By: Adam Marcus

The Short Version

This is the Friday the 13th flick that people like to believe never happened.

The senseless story is a complete betrayal of all of the Jason lore that has come before.

Even taken as a standalone flick, it’s bloody, but it’s dumb.

If you must watch this, watch the unrated version; the extra sex and gore help.

This is only worth it for series completists; otherwise, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is pretty awful.

The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

IMITATION CHEESE.

It claims to be cheese, but it’s an impostor!


Pairs Well With...

TEQUILA.

“White bottle at 12 o’clock, green bottle at 1/1:30-”

“-and work our way up to hard liquor at dinner time.”

Why wait?  Just watch out for that worm; it’s nasty.

“I’ll have a Voorhees burger and a side of Jason fingers.”


They could have called it Friday the 13th: Part IX, but instead, they called it Jason Goes to Hell.  All things considered, they actually got the title right, because that’s exactly where this dumb flick takes Jason and his franchise.  The only better title might have been Jason Goes to Shit, because that is literally what this movie turns Jason into: a creature that looks like nothing so much as a muscular, oversized piece of crap, which, by the way, can only be killed with a magic dagger, and only by a special girl.

I really, truly wish I was kidding.

Grab a drink, and let’s have a look at this mess…

As our story begins, a lovely young woman (Julie Michaels, Road House) drives up to a cabin in good old Crystal Lake.  Once she gets there, she has a few jumpy moments while changing a light bulb, and then she strips herself naked to have a shower.  That’s when the lights go out again, and she knows she’s in trouble.  She barely has time to grab a towel when Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder, Wishmaster) makes his machete-wielding entrance.  The chase ensues, and she runs outside and into a clearing.  Jason is about to deliver the killing blow when he’s suddenly bathed in the glow of a whole lot of portable stadium lights.  Our lady dives for it, and then the crowd of assembled FBI agents lets fly with the bullets.  When those are used up, they send in a rocket, and Jason is blown to bits. 

End of story?  As Creighton Duke (Steven Williams, The Blues Brothers), a bounty hunter watching from the sidelines mutters, “I don’t think so.”

Soon after, Jason’s body is brought to a Federal morgue in Ohio.  As the coroner (Richard Gant, Godzilla) proceeds to examine the remains and make smart ass comments about them, he suddenly becomes compelled to pick up the heart… the besting heart.  What’s more, he then feels compelled to eat it.

Soon after, everyone else who was alive in the morgue is dead.  Coincidence?  Tell that to the other murder victims who start forming a line between Youngstown and Crystal Lake…

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is the first Friday the 13th movie to be made under the stewardship of New Line Cinema.  You’d think after going to all the trouble to pick up such a well established cash cow from Paramount, they’d try to nurture the franchise a little bit.  But no.  The very first chance they got, New Line essentially drove it into the ground.  Rather than staying true to the formula that had made the franchise work for its first eight movies, New Line decided to play havoc with the lore to make something completely out of whack for established Jason fans with the pretty much explicit purpose of bringing Jason into a line with their own already existent cash cow, Freddy.

Yes, I’m about to spoil the very end of the movie, but this one is no secret: that shot you see of Freddy’s glove coming out of the ground to take Jason’s mask is in fact the entire point of this movie.  As far as the studio is concerned, everything else is filler designed just to lead up to that moment.  They can say that it wasn’t and that it was just a joke, but come on.  They’d been trying to develop a Freddy and Jason mash up for five years, and it was pretty obvious that the point in acquiring this franchise from Paramount was to help make that happen more easily.  However, thanks in part to the lousy reception this flick got (plus a bunch of lousy script ideas), that wouldn’t happen for another ten years.  On the positive side, that extended development hell finally allowed for someone to wake up long enough and do things right with Jason X, which essentially ignores this garbage altogether.

And what garbage it is, especially if you were already an established Friday the 13th fan.

Consider the concept: Jason Voorhees, according to Jason Goes to Hell, is not some inexplicably unstoppable human killing machine that just won’t die.  Oh no.  Instead, he’s this strange demonic entity that looks like a muscular piece of crap that lives inside of the heart of the boy born as Jason Voorhees.  A look around the Voorhees residence suggests that this may have been the result of some occult practice by his parents (thanks to a prop from the Evil Dead movies that was borrowed without permission), though this is never flat out explained, which is true of a lot of other things with this movie, too.  Like, for example, how Creighton Duke happens to know this stuff in the first place, and how he also knows that when Jason’s body is finally blown apart beyond all help of repair, thanks to the FBI, this little crap creature has the capability of climbing from body to body.

Yay.  Jason is The Thing.

The immediate net result of this is that for most of the course of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason Voorhees is not Jason Voorhees.  Our boy as so wonderfully played by Kane Hodder only shows up for the first sequence and the last one.  That’s it.  (Though Hodder himself does appear out of makeup as a guard who calls Jason a pussy just before being found dead, and also makes a cameo as Freddy’s hand.)  Otherwise, we get a random collection of other actors “possessed” by Jason who lumber around really badly and do all of the killing.  (Seriously, it’s terrible to watch, and all the evidence anyone should ever need to prove that not just any person can throw the mask on and be a proper slasher.)

Even when Jason is played by Hodder, this flick can’t leave well enough alone.  When Jason is being shot up by the FBI, he gasps and wheezes and groans.  He grunts when he’s killing.  What the bloody hell is this?  Jason is not supposed to make noise!  Ever!

Oh, but wait.  There’s more!

It seems that these bodies that Jason hops to can only last for so long before he burns them out.  The only way that he can truly return to his old self is by entering into the body of another Voorhees.  As it turns out, he had a sister that no one knew about named Diana (Erin Gray, best known as Wilma from “Buck Rogers”), and she in turn has a daughter named Jessica (Kari Keegan, Mind Games), and she in turn has a little baby girl.  (Uh-oh.  Babies in slashers are never good.  Plus, this violates one of Kane Hodder’s cardinal Jason rules.)  Not only can he properly be “reborn” through another Voorhees, but it also turns out that only another Voorhees can kill him permanently by stabbing him through the heart with – I swear I am not making this up – a magic dagger that transforms into its true ancient shape when picked up by a Voorhees.

If you Friday the 13th fans need to do some shots just thinking about that, go ahead.  I’ll wait.

Add some funky disco lights, and there you have it.  One trashing of franchise lore, comin’ at you.

As for the rest of the movie, it’s very self aware and goes the camp route every chance that it gets.  This is best epitomized by the diner that has the “Voorhees Burgers” pinched to look like hockey masks with “Jason Fries” on the side.  Smart ass comments abound, but the funny ones like Kane Hodder calling Jason a pussy (which is funny only if you realize who’s saying the line) are far outnumbered by the ones that fall flat.

It doesn’t help that for the most part, the acting falls flat in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.  Remembering her well from television, I though Erin Gray would be a treat, but she doesn’t look happy to be here.  Kari Keegan is just not compelling as the “final girl,” and it doesn’t help that there are others who show up who look like they’d have made a better go of it.  While John D. LeMay (who was also in the “Friday the 13th” TV series) isn’t bad as the heroic boyfriend by any means, he’s not exactly inspirational, either.  Steven Williams has presence as Creighton Duke, but his character is poorly written (they leave out the part about why he hates Jason so much; if you’re wondering, Jason killed his girlfriend), and at the end of the day he decides to just ham it up and leave it at that.

So with all that said, does anything in this movie work?

Yes, if you watch the unrated cut.  (And really, for one of these flicks, is there ever a reason to watch the rated version?)  At that point, it may be stupid gore, but at least there is gore, so if you like your slashers bloody, then this one has that going for it.  Indeed, despite absolutely stinking up the place most of the time, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday features one of the best and certainly most memorable kills in the series, mainly for the fact that it involves bisecting a naked woman (Michelle Clunie, who had no idea that her real life ex-boyfriend had been cast opposite her until she got to the set) in the middle of having an orgasm at the tail end of the longest and most explicit sex scene in the entire original franchise.  So yeah.  Get the unrated cut, if you must sit through this movie at all.  The extra boobs and blood do help.

Bottom line, beyond those small saving graces and the epic final few frames, when it comes to Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the results really aren’t pretty.  Franchise fans will probably want just one peek to be complete about things, but really, this one’s easy to skip, both for its complete ignorance of established lore and for the fact that it’s pretty dumb even as a standalone slasher movie.  You know about the glove anyway, and that is not worth sitting through this flick more than once for.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, November, 2011


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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