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Why Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is Awesome

May 10, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday A Bloody Good Time

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #409: Why Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is awesome!

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been the target of a heavily armed SWAT team, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and nine, I explain why I think Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is awesome.

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

JasonGoesToHell

Intro

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). 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 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 the video store.

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.

Reasons

JGTHDemons

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 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?

JGTHFFOpeningScene

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 a badass 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?

CreightonDuke

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?

JGTHJoeyBShelby

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 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).

JGTHFFJosh

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.

JGTHGuards1

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” Jason’s 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 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 some twenty-four years 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?

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 twelve movies in it (I’m counting Freddy vs. Jason in that total). So what if Jason isn’t in it all that much? It’s still cool. It’s still awesome.

Conclusion
JGTHMachete

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. It’s a horror sequel that deserves way more respect than it gets. It should have had multiple spin-offs derived from it (a Creighton Duke movie would kick major ass). 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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Things to Watch Out For This Week

TheVoid

The Void: This low budget horror flick recently had a limited theatrical release, and it did manage to get some decent reviews. People seem to be comparing it to John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness and, to a certain extent, 1980’s non-slasher horror movies in general. I definitely want to see it, but am bummed that it didn’t play anywhere near me because I would have seen it in the theatre. Anyone out there see it? Is it as good as the reviews and the hype suggest?

AmericanMummy

American Mummy: This is apparently some sort of low budget horror flick about people bringing a mummy back to life for some reason. The visuals in the trailer are pretty weird and messed up, especially that ritual deal that brings the mummy back. You’d think people would just stop trying to bring these kinds of creatures back. What the hell ever happened to just leaving stuff alone? Very rentable.

FearInc

Fear, Inc.: Well, this looks incredibly messed up. It appears to be a kind of horror comedy deal about people hiring other people to scare them for some reason (adrenaline junkies of some kind?). It has a good cast (Lucas Neff, Abigail Breslin, Chris Marquette, among others. Richard Riehle!) and it definitely looks good. I just wonder, though, if the movie is actually fun or if it’s one of those horror movies that starts out “fun” and then just becomes more and more depraved as it goes on. Another rentable movie, just to see what it’s really all about.

JusticeServed

Justice Served: I’m going to assume that this low budget effort is meant to be part horror thriller, part morality tale concerning people being given a chance to get revenge. I mean, that’s what it looks like. The great Lance Henriksen is in it, as are Lochlyn Munro and Gail O’Grady, so the movie has that going for it. The only thing that’s likely to hurt this movie is its running time. If it’s too long, man, it’s going to blow. Yet another very rentable entry for this week.

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B-Movie News

WesleySnipesRecall

The Recall starring Wesley Snipes reveals its first trailer: Well, maybe “starring” is a strong word here. It looks more like Snipes, who hasn’t been seen in a movie since The Expendables 3 and that Spike Lee thing Chi-raq, is “appearing” in The Recall. RJ Mitte, who was apparently on Breaking Bad, is the “real” star of the movie. But will low budget action/sci-fi/horror movie nerds turn out for a movie starring Walter White, Jr? I have my doubts, but then again, what the hell do I know?

Anyway, The Recall looks like a weird mash-up of a “young people going into the woods for some reason and then bad stuff happens to them” kind of deal and an alien invasion movie. Snipes is apparently playing the crazy guy in the woods who, I’m assuming, will find a way to defeat the invaders locally with the help of the surviving young people. That’s what the movie looks like to me.

The aliens we see in the trailer look impressive, as do the other “alien” special effects. They look pretty creepy, too. Gooey blobs, things that look like veins, just plain goo, all of that stuff always creeps me out. I do wonder, though, if the movie leans on Snipes for its action elements, or if it has any action elements at all. Maybe Snipes is just the “name” actor that helped get it financed.

Definitely want to see this, just to see how much actual Snipes we get in it.

Snipes needs to work more. The low budget action movie world (heck, the entire action movie world) needs him.

TheDarkTower

The Dark Tower trailer thoughts: The trailer for The Dark Tower, the cinematic adaptation of the epic fantasy series by Stephen King, was released last week to both much fanfare and fan consternation. Plenty of people dug it, and plenty of people hated it. Me? I’m sort of in the middle. On one hand, I think the movie looks okay. Both Idris Elba and Mathew McConaughey look good as Roland the Gunslinger and the Man in Black, respectively, and the trailer certainly suggests that the actual movie will have an epic, bigger than life look to it. The Dark Tower certainly does lend itself to “epic” cinematic storytelling. However, the movie looks a little too “modern” for its own good.
“Modern?” What does that mean in this context? Watch that scene in the trailer where Roland reloads his revolvers by throwing speed loaders into the air and somehow getting all six rounds into the cylinder. It’s all done in a kind of spectacular kick-ass slow motion that’s supposed to make the audience cheer. And doing that that way makes sense because how the hell are you going to a speed loader without some help?

At the same time, I think the movie looks a little too modern for its own good. That’s probably just my “reader’s imagination” speaking, but I always saw the world of The Dark Tower as having a kind of retro late 1970’s/1980’s feel to it. Like a cross between George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead and the The Delta Force but a little slicker than those two movies, but not too slicker. Or perhaps the first Star Wars is a better example.

Am I the only one who thinks The Dark Tower looks a little too modern for its own good?

I’m still going to make an effort to see it. Will it be good enough to actually be a franchise with multiple movies, maybe a big TV show at some point? It could be. August 4th will tell us all.

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Who is this week’s Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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Next Issue: Don’t Kill It with Dolph Lundgren! And it will happen this time!

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Check out my review of david j. moore’s The Good, the Tough, and the Deadly here!

Check out my interview with the man hisself david j. moore here!

Check out the interview I did with the great Jino Kang here!

Check out my interview with character actor Vladimir Kulich here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Paul Mormando here!

Check out my interview with writer/actor/director Shahin Sean Solimon here!

Check out my interview with director Michael Matteo Rossi here!

Check out my interview with actor Tyrone Magnus here!

Check out my interview with Hector Barron here!

Check out my interview with Jeffrey Orgill here!

Check out my interview with director Michael Baumgarten here!

Check out my interview with actor and stuntman R. Marcos Taylor here!

Check out my interview with action movie legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson here!

Check out my interview with Paul Kyriazi, the director of Ninja Busters and Death Machines, here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Eric Jacobus here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Juju Chan here!

Check out my interview with noted stunt performer and stunt coordinator Luke LaFontaine here!
Check out my interview with film journalist Marco Siedlemann here!

Check out my interview with Revenge of the Ninja and American Ninja director Sam Firstenberg here!

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.