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Why Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Is Awesome

October 14, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday A Bloody Good Time Image Credit: New Line Cinema

Why Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is awesome!

Hello, everyone. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz, host of such “regular” columns as The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, Cult TV, The Good and Bad of…>, and From the B-Movie Vault (I also do the occasional movie review. Here is my latest). This “Why…” piece is a reworking of something I wrote several years ago for The Gratuitous B-Movie Column and that has, sadly, been lost to the ravages of the internets. Since it’s October and we’re all about horror movies and whatnot at the moment, I thought it might be worth showcasing why I think Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is awesome again in something sort of new. So that’s what this is. I have at least one more of these to do for October, and then we’ll see if it’s worth doing other movies, newer movies, in this format. Enjoy.

Why Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is awesome!

Image Credit: New Line Cinema


When it comes to Friday the 13th/”Jason” movies, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the ninth movie in the franchise, is quite controversial. In fact, it may even be more controversial than the preceding Jason movie, Jason Takes Manhattan, which is kind of shocking because oodles of fans consider Jason Takes Manhattan absolute garbage (I don’t. I know that it doesn’t live up to its title and is kind of lame, but I’ve always liked its energy and its cast. When it’s on TV I watch it. And I still enjoy it to this day. And, heck, I already wrote a whole thing on why I think it’s awesome). But Jason Goes to Hell pisses people off. People don’t seem to complain about the way it looks, the gore, or the performance of Kane Hodder as Jason, They do complain, though, about the movie’s “lack” of Jason, at least in the way we’ve seen him in multiple movies before Jason Goes to Hell. Instead, the Jason on display in Jason Goes to Hell is a body-jumping lizard demon that takes over multiple people throughout its 90 minute running time. “They ripped off The Hidden! What bullshit!”

I actually saw Jason Goes to Hell on its opening weekend back in the late summer of 1993. My aunt, who absolutely despised horror movies, willingly took me to see it, mostly because I wouldn’t shut up about what a big deal it was. It was the Final Friday, man! The last Jason movie! I sort of knew that had to be bullshit, but, hey, New Line Cinema was advertising it as the last one, so how could I, a horror movie nerd, miss it? So she took me, driving over an hour to the closest theatre playing it. It was playing in the same theatre that I first saw the classic Jason Takes Manhattan poster with Jason slicing through the “I Heart NY” logo hanging in the lobby (this particular theatre actually sold movie posters alongside popcorn and soda. I purchased a Batman 1989 poster there, a badass poster featuring Michael Keaton, in the Batman suit, holding that Batgun thing. Man, I wish I still had that poster). There were only about ten people in the theater, which seemed like an awfully small crowd for such a big movie (it was the Final Friday! Didn’t people know what the hell that meant?), but I didn’t care. It was the new Jason movie. The last Jason movie. I was there. Bring it on.

The movie blew me away. I was surprised that it wasn’t like the other movies in the franchise. It was different, but it still kicked ass. Everything about it just rocked. And when I saw it again via the unrated VHS release, with new gore unseen in the theatre, the movie blew me away again. I knew that the movie didn’t set the box office on fire, but why didn’t more people go see it on the big screen? Did everyone just wait for it on home video? I do believe that is what most people did, as Jason Goes to Hell was usually hard to come by at every video store I frequented back in the day. It also seemed to be on TV quite a bit, too.

So why do I like Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday? Why, specifically, is Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday awesome?

Let me tell you.


The movie “opens up” the Jason mythology: Up until Jason Goes to Hell, we really didn’t know anything about Jason beyond his apparent need for revenge. He was just some unstoppable force of nature that, in the early movies, was sort of human, but became a zombie starting with part 6. How was that possible? How could that even happen? How could a guy just keep dying and then keep coming back? Jason Goes to Hell attempts to explain all of that. Jason, or the true essence of Jason, is actually a lizard demon that, when its main body is destroyed, jumps around to different bodies in order to find a new host body. When he goes inside a Voorhees family member he becomes his old self (hulking behemoth wearing a hockey mask). Now, the movie doesn’t explain why Jason would be “reborn” as his old hockey mask wearing self via taking over a Voorhees family member. And it doesn’t really square with anything else we’ve seen in the other movies. Jason was chopped up and beaten to death and drowned and bathed in toxic waste, but he was still able to somehow come back. Is it because he’s blown up at the beginning of the movie and completely destroyed that he reveals his “true” lizard demon self? That would seem to be the case, but I’m not sure. It’s still cool, though.

Because, hell, how did Jason become a lizard demon in the first place? Was it the result of some weird beard occult practice? Did his mother Pamela do something with the Necronomicon back in the day? Did Jason’s father Elias do something? Was Pamela actually a lizard demon back in the first movie? Questions, questions, questions.
The story could go anywhere from here. Because what the hell is Jason, anyway? How did all of this shit happen in the first place?

Image Credit: New Line Cinema

The opening sequence: The opening sequence, where we see a young female arrive at Camp Crystal Lake, walk around a bit, attempt to take a shower, and then get chased by Jason is one of the best “Jason stalk” sequences in the entire franchise. It’s a classic situation, what we expect to see from a Jason movie, but, as the sequence goes on, it becomes something else. The young woman is fast and badass and resourceful. How the hell could she survive falling off a balcony? When have we seen any potential Jason victim run and jump over a car? Why isn’t she screaming and pleading for her life and freaking out? She’s running into the woods! Who the hell does that?

Well, the young woman isn’t just some young woman. The young woman is actually an FBI agent who was meant to act as bait for Jason, to draw him out so she could then lead him to the FBI SWAT team ambush in the woods. Of course, it does make you wonder how the SWAT team avoided Jason in the woods in the first place (when he’s up and around and alive he “patrols” the woods, right? Why didn’t he notice them before the bait scenario?), but it’s a great “holy crap!” sequence anyway. Who the hell saw any of that coming? I know I didn’t.

And then…

Jason gets blowed up good!: When the FBI SWAT team reveals itself it unloads on Jason. We Jason take multiple hits from various handguns, shotguns, and one machine gun, and then the SWAT team launches a rocket or a grenade or some explosive ordinance at Jason and Jason fucking explodes. Jason explodes! In the end, the only thing that’s left of Jason is his head, some of his torso, some other stuff, and his heart. Now that’s how you take care of a monstrous hulking behemoth who just won’t die. You blow him the fuck up. Because that will stop him. Well, until he becomes that lizard demon thing. But who knew any of that beyond Creighton Duke? The FBI sure as hell didn’t know.

Still, man, blowing up Jason. Who the hell saw that coming?

Image Credit: New Line Cinema

Creighton Duke: As portrayed by the great Steven Williams, Creighton Duke is a mysterious badass bounty hunter who seems to know way more about Jason Voorhees than anyone else in the world. The movie doesn’t explain how Duke knows all of this stuff, although we do know that Duke somehow survived an encounter with Jason after Jason killed Duke’s girlfriend. Perhaps he figured out all of this Voorhees stuff in-between Jason killing his girlfriend and the events of Jason Goes to Hell? Perhaps he found Jason’s father Elias and tortured the information out of him? That’s what I think likely happened. Duke is a sadistic bastard (look at what he does to Steven in jail).

Duke is cool as hell, though. He dresses like a cowboy, he has no problem mouthing off to the cops, he has a reputation for taking down serial killers, and he has a massive training compound for some reason. What the hell does he do at this training compound? And why is it so big? Did he inherit it? Does he know how to invest his bounty hunter fees (he wanted $500,000 from American Case File. Is that his standard “tracking down a killer and destroying him” fee? Or is he a real estate prodigy and knows a good bargain when he sees it and that’s how he got such a massive training compound?)?

And think about what Duke does at the end of the movie. Duke actually handcuffs himself to Jason so Jessica can get the Voorhees family dagger. Who the hell would ever consider doing that? Duke does pay for it, though, being bear hugged to death, but, still, only a true badass would do something like that.

Am I the only one who thought it would have been cool if New Line Cinema did a Creighton Duke movie, either one where we see him in his prime, tracking down various serial killers, or one where we find out he somehow survived the Jason bear hug and is hired by the FBI to help it take down some other killer?

Joey B. and Shelby: As portrayed by Rusty Schwimmer and Leslie Jordan, Joey B. and Shelby run the diner in Crystal Lake. It’s a typical greasy spoon type place, the kind of place that every small town in America seems to have. What’s great about Joey B. is that, at first, she seems like a heartless asshole. She uses Jason’s notoriety to sell food at her diner, she refuses to close the diner down for her dead employee’s funeral (that would be Jason’s sister Diana, as played by Erin Gray), and she won’t let Vicki (Allison Smith) keep Jessica’s baby in the diner. But then Rusty gets a call from someone, finds out that believed murderer Steven has escaped police custody, and suddenly she’s a gruff woman with a heart of gold. Jessica’s baby can stay in the diner. And she’s going to do whatever it takes to keep that baby away from Steven (she breaks out her gun, the one she has to protect the diner). And who can forget her classic line, when Steven and Jessica show up to get their baby, “Nobody’s gonna touch that fucking ray of sunshine!” That line cracks me up every single time I hear it.

As for Shelby, he’s just a little weird guy who loves Joey B. for some reason, who doesn’t seem to have a hateful bone in his body, and who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. You feel kind of bad for him when he’s dipped face first into the deep fryer. On top of that, ever since Ski Patrol I’ve been a big fan of Jordan and love it when he says something ridiculous in that southern drawl of his (his “Holy shit!” should be a ringtone).

Image Credit: New Line Cinema

The gore effects are absolutely disgusting: The first big gore effect is the heart eating scene, where the coroner played by Richard Grant eats Jason’s gigantic heart so he can become the first new “temporary” Jason. Just thinking about Grant chewing on Jason’s heart like he’s digging into a hunk of raw meat makes me sick to my stomach (the extended scene in the uncut version is even more disgusting).

And then there’s the big body melt scene, where we see Josh (Andrew Bloch), after transferring the demon lizard Jason into Steven Culp’s Robert, melt into a pile of ground beef, pizza cheese, and other assorted goo (that’s what it looked like to me back when I first saw it, and it only became worse in further viewings). That bit where Josh’s chin is stuck to the floor and then separates from his head? Jesus Christ.

And then there’s the bit where the Robert Jason smashes two heads together, there’s the bit where Grant’s coroner pulls Dean Lorey’s head from the examining slab and the skin and meat on his face resembles the holes in the slab, the big “metal stick jammed into the naked woman and then pulled up, separating the naked woman” sequence in the uncut version. I even get kind of queasy at the head shot in the police station.

The fine folks at KNB FX outdid themselves with Jason Goes to Hell. It really is some of their best work. I have no idea if they’re proud of what they did, but, well, they should be. It’s still just as nasty as it was back in 1993.

The Harry Manfredini score: Manfredini has done the score for most of the Friday the 13th/”Jason” movies, and they’re all awesome in their own ways. But his main theme score for Jason Goes to Hell is probably his most memorable, or at least the one that you can hum. It isn’t as insane or as intense as the other Friday scores he did, but it doesn’t have to be as intense because Jason Goes to Hell has a larger fantasy quotient to it. It almost feels epic, in a way.

Here, take a listen and hear what I’m talking about.

Image Credit: New Line Cinema

Kane Hodder: Jason Goes to Hell was Hodder’s third time wearing the hockey mask, and while he doesn’t appear as Jason all that much in the movie (he’s at the beginning and the end and a few brief moments when the “temporary” Jasons pass by mirrors and somehow reflect the real Jason) he’s just as badass as always. But Hodder’s big Jason Goes to Hell moment is where he appears sans Jason makeup as one of the FBI SWAT team members who blew up Jason. He’s standing outside the autopsy room and, when Grant’s Jason leaves the room, Hodder’s guard actually refers to Jason as a “big ‘old pussy.” It’s a funny line, yes, but it’s even funnier when you know that the guard is Jason.

I think I was the only one in the theatre back in 1993 who knew what was going on. I was the only one who exploded with laughter. How many of you knew that that guard was Jason?

The big hooha “Freddy’s hand” ending: This is the biggest “what the hell?” moment in Jason Goes to Hell, the one moment no one saw coming. It made all the sense in the world since Jason’s new cinematic home, New Line Cinema, had Freddy Krueger in house, and since the horror movie nerd world wanted to see Freddy and Jason battle, what better way to get the nerd world to lose its mind than have that potential battle teased than at the end of Jason Goes to Hell? I can still remember my jaw hanging open in complete shock when Freddy’s hand erupts from the ground and grabs Jason’s mask. And almost three decades later it’s still an amazing, holy crap ending.

How the hell could it take almost ten years for Freddy and Jason to fight after that ending (check out the great book Slash of the Titans: The Road to Freddy vs. Jason by Dustin McNeill for the full story on all of that. Buy the book here).

The movie is different than the others in the franchise: Well, real fans know that all of the Friday the 13th/Jason movies are different. Sure, they may all share some plot similarities, but, despite what the hip and edgy Scream generation would have us all believe, all Jason movies are not the same. However, when it comes to Jason Goes to Hell, it’s insanely different than the other movies in the franchise. It adds a layer of fantasy that the other movies never tried to incorporate. And while Jason X and Freddy vs. Jason don’t really deal with any of that added fantasy, it’s still cool to think that there’s more going on with Jason than being a mysterious zombie force of nature.

As its own thing, I don’t really get why people don’t care for this movie. It’s just one movie in a franchise that has, so far, twelve movies in it (I’m counting Freddy vs. Jason in that total). So what if “traditional Jason” isn’t in it all that much? It’s still cool. It’s still awesome.


Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is a great movie. I still love it as much as I did when I first saw it, and I still enjoy watching it when it’s on TV, either in its uncut version, “R” rated version, or the edited for content TV version. And, yes, I watch my DVD every now and then, too ( the commentary track with director Adam Marcus and screenwriter Dean Lorey is one of the best commentary tracks out there). It’s a horror sequel that deserves way more respect than it gets. It should have had multiple spin-offs derived from it (I can’t stress this enough, but a Creighton Duke movie would kick major ass. Or how about a TV show of some sort? TV shows based on movies are all the rage these days). Unless the rights to Jason revert back to New Line one day, we’ll probably never get to see any of that (not that we were ever going to see anything anyway). At least we have The Final Friday. It’s a tremendous piece of Friday the 13th/”Jason” lore.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. It really is awesome.


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