New Line Home Entertainment DVD ©2002, Region: 1, Standard: NTSC
~1 hour, 30 minutes, 43 seconds (unrated)
~1 hour, 27 minutes, 44 seconds (R-rated)
Review based on the unrated version.
A young woman traveling alone drives past a road sign for Crystal Lake. She pulls up to a cabin. She’s already made three mistakes. It’s not looking good. She walks in and flicks on her entryway light. It shorts out on cue. She finds a replacement bulb in a wood shed, then heads upstairs for a shower so this movie can tick off its requisite boobage. Wouldn’t you know it, the power to the whole cabin cuts. The unnamed victim steps out in a towel to investigate. Jason (Kane Hodder, in his 3rd go as the character) materializes behind her, machete raised overhead. He strikes! The woman just barely avoids getting slashed by diving over some railing. She falls down a level, crashing through a coffee table. Her stomach is now bleeding somehow. She scrambles to her feet. She bolts out the front door. Jason gives chase. Moonlight illuminates his long tufts of hair. The woman comes to a clearing. Anticipating an ambush, she pivots in place. Jason still magically pops up behind her. He lifts his machete a second time. Several big lights power on, one after another. Kroom! Kroom! Kroom!
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD
Jason looks frightened. For once, he’s the prey. A wild animal cornered. Armed SWAT members jump out from underneath tarps on all sides, encircling the undead killer of campers. More gunmen repel down from treetops. Jason proceeds to get lit up. He grunts and groans as dozens of bullets whiz through his badly decomposed body. One guy yells “incoming!” I’m not sure what they utilize here — a grenade? rocket launcher? mortar? airstrike? — but Jason explodes in a fiery blaze. His torso flies at the camera. His head is blown sky-high. It spins through the air in slow-motion, then comes to rest in a patch of dead grass by his still-beating heart.
The woman wearing the towel is revealed to have been a decoy, one Agent Marcus. A mysterious man cloaked in black (Steven Williams, The X-Files) watches on from the shadows while Marcus and her fellow SWAT members high-five each other. Lowering a cigar from his mouth, he says cryptically, “I don’t think so.”
Wait, are we supposed to believe Jason sensed a lone woman arrive on his turf, yet didn’t notice a whole tactical team preparing to nuke him a short distance away? I’m pretty sure we are. Ponder that.
Focus shifts to a high-security morgue in Youngstown, Ohio, where a coroner autopsies Jason’s remains, cracking jokes to his tape recorder while the opening credits flash by. His demeanor changes when he gets to the heart, still intact, which he estimates to be twice the size of a normal one. As he puzzles over a “black, viscous fluid” inside it, the damn thing starts to beat. Slowly, then faster, then louder. Somehow, the beating compels this poor guy to savagely bite at said heart, wolfing down hunks. He begins to roar like a prehistoric monster while black, viscous fluid burbles out of his mouth and little red fireballs shoot into his chest. The coroner’s assistant (screenwriter Dean Lorey) walks in with pizza. Mmm, nothing like messy finger food during an autopsy. The first coroner slaughters him with an instrument from his worktable for being so gross. The implication is that he’s been taken over by Jason’s spirit/essence. This is confirmed when he walks past a mirror and it shows Jason’s reflection.
Syke! There were two more sequels and a remake.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD
The action is interrupted by an episode of a 60 Minutes-like crime show called Amercan Casefile. Host Robert Campbell (Steven Culp) reports on the scene we just saw. “Two security men, dead. A coroner, dead. Another coroner, missing.” Campbell runs through some quick background info on Jason, then pitches to an interview he conducted with the man from the edge of the woods, celebrity bounty hunter Creighton Duke, who he notes was “responsible for the capture of six of this country’s most reviled serial killers.”
“Who I am is irrelevant.” -X
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD
For reasons left unexplained, Duke is an expert on Jason. He informs the public that Jason survived, and can jack people’s bodies. He’s apparently not too concerned about sounding like a lunatic, cos as far as the people in the movie know, such things aren’t possible. “What you think of as Jason, is not Jason.” he begins. “That body he’s wearing, that’s just meat. Boy knows how to dress. He wears other people’s bodies like folks wear a suit. Oh, he may get blown up. That’s just a little minor inconvenience for him. He’ll just get himself another body.” Duke ends by claiming only he knows the real way to kill Jason, and says he’ll do it for $500,000. Campbell closes the segment by announcing there have been five more “Jason-style” murders, leading suspiciously from the morgue to Camp Crystal Lake.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD
A woman wearing a red-checkered waitress uniform switches off a TV set and holds her hand to her mouth in disbelief. That woman’s name is Diana Kimble. She’s in the back storeroom of a diner she works at called Joey B’s, currently holding a 2 for 1 burger sale (pictured above) in celebration of Jason’s demise; the burgers are even shaped like little hockey masks. She comes out to waitress more customers. Creighton Duke greets her. He enlists her help, warning that Jason is coming for her and her daughter. Diana declines. Her boyfriend, the local sheriff, walks up and books Duke… on nothing, I guess? As the “freako bounty hunter” is escorted out, Diana turns to a guy named Steven (John D. LeMay) and tells him to swing by her house at eleven so she can tell him something important about her daughter Jessica, Steven’s ex.
What could that something be?
Thoughts (Possible Spoilers)
We never actually find out, but it’s pretty easy to piece together.
On his way there, Steven picks up three hitchhikers headed to Camp Crystal Lake and drops them off where the cabins used to be before they were torn down. Wait, torn down? That’s a shame. After skinny-dipping off screen, lovers Luke and Debbie go in a tent to have sex while third wheel Alexis sleeps outside next to a fire. Alexis gets up to pee and is slashed to death by the coroner. Debbie comes next, in more ways than one. While orgasming all over her boyfriend, she’s impaled through the tent from behind by a metal sign post and ripped in half vertically. Luke screams in shock and disgust. His death isn’t shown, but he’s almost certainly killed moments later.
It was at this precise moment Luke realized he was technically a necrophiliac.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD
I love this scene. For starters, the sex is as realistic as mainstream movie sex gets. There’s actual bouncing, thrusting, moaning — the good stuff. I’d rank it up there with the sex scene from Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Secondly, the kill at the end is amazing, one of the best of the series. Not only is it genuinely shocking the first time you see it, it’s brutal as Hell. On top of that, the transition from actress to prop is seamless and really well done.
That night, the coroner watches Diana close Joey B’s and feed scraps to a dog. A cop named Josh inadvertently scares Diana while creeping around in the dark, awaiting his mistress. The two say goodnight. A woman wearing a bonnet arrives moments later. She tells Josh to hurry. Her husband is getting home soon from his bowling league. The coroner has other plans. He runs up and slams the car door on her head. Crunch!
A shot of a mailbox reading “Vorhees” — huh, they couldn’t bother to spell the main character’s last name correctly? — implies that we’re now inside Jason’s childhood home. Josh is suddenly naked, strapped to a table. The coroner sharpens a straight razor beside him and does the unthinkable — uses it to shave the guy’s mustache. Then, he transfers Jason’s essence into him, orally. The point of this scene? Well, there isn’t one. Jason possesses more people later on without conducting this homoerotic shaving ritual again, meaning he did it cos he wanted to, not cos he had to, which is so, so disturbing to me.
Meanwhile, Diana’s daughter Jessica (Kari Keegan) calls her from the set of American Casefile to brag that she has a new boyfriend. She doesn’t say who, but it’s host Robert Campbell. She cradles a baby girl in her other arm as she talks.
I’m gonna jump ahead now and fill in some dotted lines so the rest of my write-up is easier to follow. Diana Kimble is Jason’s never-before-mentioned — and by the looks of it, much younger — sister. Steven impregnated Diana’s daughter Jessica before they broke up, and doesn’t know he’s a father. This makes Jessica Jason’s niece, and the baby his grand-niece. Also, Jason’s father’s name is tossed out. It’s Elias. Here’s a tree chart I made to help you visualize the relationships.
Josh, now controlled by Jason, walks in Diana’s front door and chokes her. Diana’s a tough lady, though. She has the presence of mind to reach into an end table, grab a gun, and blow Josh’s brains out. Jessica hears all this through the phone and calls the police. Josh is like syke, I’m not dead. He trips Diana. Then, he opens her mouth and attempts to regurgitate a wriggly black creature into it. Steven happens upon this and tackles him. Josh throws a knife sharpening rod in Diana’s back, mortally wounding her. Josh gets distracted when he sees his reflection, allowing Steven to impale him from behind with a fire poker. Josh smashes through a window onto the lawn. Sheriff What’s-his-name walks in just in time to see Diana die in Steven’s arms and arrests him.
Steven is taken to the local police station. Luckily, one of the cops is good friends with him and promises to do what he can to get him off the hook. While being walked to his cell, Steven sees Jessica holding their baby, which, as we discussed, he was unaware existed.
A friend of Jessica’s offers to watch her bundle of joy. “Watching it” turns out to be leaving it unattended inside a banana box on a shelf at the diner. I would be furious. At this rate, it won’t even live long enough to see its parents eviscerated.
Steven’s cell is right next to Creighton Duke’s. Duke acknowledges Steven’s innocence. He tells him he knows Jason did it and teases that he knows how to kill him. However, he makes Steven “pay” for the info. The price is breaking his fingers. Hmm, seems counterproductive. How will Steven effectively fight Jason with broken fingers? Either way, Steven learns:
Jason can only be killed by a Voorhees
Jason can only be killed with the mystical “Voorhees dagger”
Jason can only be reborn — i.e. return to his hockey-masked form — through a Voorhees
That last one is Jason’s primary goal here. It’s never spelled out, but the bodies he commandeers can’t fully support him and physically break down sooner than later. He seeks to eliminate all but one relative, as they hold the power to prevent him from doing this. He wasn’t concerned with them in the previous films, and therefore they never came up, because he wasn’t in need of rebirthing. It actually makes perfect sense.
Steven shouts for help from his cell. When his friend Randy comes rushing, Steven grabs his gun and breaks out. He borrows a car from another friend at the diner to “find proof” of Jessica’s relation to Jason so he can get her on board with the plan.
While rooting around the old Voorhees home, which has power despite looking like it hasn’t been lived in for over twenty years, he finds the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from Evil Dead. At the sound of approaching footsteps, he retreats to a closet. Robert Campbell walks in. He takes a call and Steven overhears him tell a producer how he stole Diana’s body from the morgue and hid it in the house so he and his camera crew can find it, live on the next episode of their show. Josh bursts in and transfers the wriggly black thing into Campbell. Afterward, Josh’s body melts off his bones.
Campbell goes straight to Jessica’s place and cuts her power. He grabs her out of the darkness. Steven conveniently shows up and decks the possessed asshole. He throws Jessica into his borrowed car kicking and screaming, and runs Campbell over — twice for good measure.
Jessica isn’t able to wrap her head around the supernatural angle at this stage of the game and thinks Steven just cold-bloodedly murdered her boyfriend. She makes him pull over, kicks him out on the side of the road, and floors it to the cop shop. Steven’s friend re-arrests him and they head back as well.
Campbell is already there. He barges in the front door like a Terminator and goes on a rampage. He throws one guy (director Marcus) over a counter, slams a woman’s head into a locker, and smashes the sheriff’s nose in. Steven steals his friend’s gun a second time, unloading nine rounds into Campbell. Two cops come running out of a bathroom. They check on Campbell. He kills them.
Director Marcus’ character runs to the rear holding cells and gets punched out by Duke, who nonchalantly puts on his cowboy hat and bends down to grab the dude’s keys.
Steven and Jessica double back to the diner to pick up their baby. Owner Joey B pulls a gun. “Nobody’s gonna touch that fucking ray of sunshine!” The phone isn’t working, so Joey sends her son Ward to get help with a gun. He doesn’t make it past the parking lot. Campbell grabs his gun hand, then catches a punch from his other hand, snapping his wrist off. Campbell walks in, takes a million more gunshots, half a million shotgun blasts, and a metal pole through his chest before finally collapsing to the floor with a smile on his face.
Steven and Jessica reach their baby’s box to find a note from Duke in its place: “I have what you want. Come to the Voorhees house alone!” Jessica takes off without Steven. Duke meets her there and explains that she has to kill Jason herself. He throws her the dagger. It magically changes shape in her hand, flashing orange. “You will always be in danger until Jason is dead. He won’t stop coming for you until he gets you…” Duke urges. “If you want this to be over, if you want your baby out of danger, then you will end it now, before more people have to die, like your friends, like your mother, because until you kill him, it will never be over.”
An unseen policeman responds to the massacre at the diner and is infected by Campbell. Who could it be? So much suspense!
Duke then has the misfortune of falling through some rotten floorboards. Jessica grabs him, but gets distracted and drops him. Duke lands in such a way that a metal pole juts through his thigh. What is it with these characters and getting impaled on poles? Sheriff What’s-His-Name walks in with a busted nose and demands Jessica drop her knife. Then Randy walks in and demands they both freeze. Which one is Jason?! Duke yells from below, “Kill the both of ’em! Do it or die!”
Sheriff Old-ass lunges at Jessica. She stabs him in self defense and falls down. The dagger slides under a dresser. Randy goes right for the baby. For the third time in this movie, Steven runs in at the last possible second to make the save, hacking Randy’s throat open with a machete, nearly decapitating him.
Here’s where things get bizarre. Ramen noodles pour out of his neck hole, followed by a demon-like creature with two legs and a tail. It skitters across the floor, screeching like a stuck pig as it goes. It launches itself at Steven, who throws it through another hole in the floor to the basement, where it slithers into Jessica’s dead mother’s vagina. Steven asks in a half-panicked tone if Jason’s relatives have to be living to complete the rebirthing process. Duke answers no. At that moment, Jason Classic dramatically bursts through the floorboards. I can relate. I feel like a new man whenever I’m face-first in MILF pussy, too.
Heyoooooooooo! Just kidding, I’m married.
Credit: Wrong Side of the Art
Jason gives Duke the most vicious bearhug ever, snapping his spine. Steven starts brawling with Jason across the backyard. Jessica runs up from behind and plunges her family dagger into his heart, then kicks it in more. Storm clouds roll in as little red fireballs shoot out of Jason and blue ones shoot in. A beam of light shines down from the Heavens.
Big crusty hands made of dirt clods and moss erupt from the earth and drag Jason under. His head is pulled deeper and deeper until it disappears in the sand. Relieved and grateful to be alive, the ex-lovers kiss. They literally walk off into the sunset. I think they forgot their baby.
A gentle breeze blows sand off of Jason’s mask, which is now above ground again. A neighborhood dog paws at it once. The camera moves in as peaceful music winds down. Suddenly, Freddy Krueger’s gloved hand shoots up and takes it, accompanied by an evil laugh which is definitely not Robert Englund’s. The last thing we hear before the end credits roll is “Ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma.”
Although you’d never know it by its conspicuously unnumbered title (more on that in a minute), Jason Goes to Hell is the ninth — yes, ninth — installment in the ever-popular Friday the 13th franchise, apropos given Dante’s depiction of Hell features nine “circles” leading down to the Devil. Contrary to the way it was marketed, Jason Goes to Hell was never intended to be the “last” or “final” anything. In fact, it was only the beginning.
That’s because it was actually the first entry put out by New Line Cinema, owners of A Nightmare on Elm Street, after having purchased the rights to produce further sequels from Paramount Pictures. The terms of this deal have always been kind of unclear to us fans. As far as I’ve pieced together, Paramount Pictures retained distribution rights to the series up to that point (Parts 1-8, hence why they’re rarely included in box sets with Parts 9-12), whereas New Line gained use of the Jason character and concepts — or, elements — introduced in Sean Cunningham’s original, but not the title “Friday the 13th” or anything from the sequels, meaning protagonist Tommy Jarvis, who was initially scripted to return, was off limits.
The fact of the matter is, New Line always had plans of pitting Jason against their own icon, Freddy Krueger, it’s just that it took them ten years to make that dream — or should I say nightmare? — a reality. I can’t help but laugh knowing New Line’s first move was to kill Jason off in a seemingly irreversible way, then wait a whole decade to follow through with their crossover. Great job, guys 👍 Way to put that money to work.
So, while Jason Goes to Hell couldn’t legally bring Jarvis back, it did mark another triumphant return — that of series creator Sean Cunningham, absent since Part 1. Cunningham served as producer this go-around, passing the role of director down to his son’s friend Adam Marcus, only twenty-three at the time. Marcus was a theatre director who’d written a movie called “Johnny Zombie”, which morphed into My Boyfriend’s Back, also produced by Sean Cunningham. Despite starting his rookie year strong with two big, successful pictures, Marcus never accomplished much else in the horror genre. His biggest credit to date is as co-writer of Texas Chainsaw 3D. He also made something called Secret Santa.
What’s cool is that Marcus was given almost total creative freedom to come up with the story for Jason Goes to Hell. His only instructions, according to him, were to “get rid of that fucking hockey mask” and pretend like Part 8 didn’t happen.
In doing so, he expanded heavily on the mythology of the series. Most fans argue that he screwed around with it too much, but the truth is there was barely any to begin with. And it’s not like his contributions retroactively changed what little backstory we had. All they did was add onto it. Let’s take a look at what we already knew, or didn’t know, about Jason.
In Part 1, he’s said to have drowned because camp counselors were diddling instead of keeping an eye on him. He shows up at the end as a gimmick, a jump scare. He takes the form of a nightmare, hallucination, or spirit confined to the lake when he pulls Alice into the water. I don’t consider his appearance here to be “real”, because 1) the policemen who find Alice would have seen the attack, yet don’t remember it happening, and 2) he’s fully grown two months later.
In Part 2, he’s introduced as an actual flesh-and-blood character. We’re told that he somehow survived to watch his mom be decapitated, and lived in a shack in the woods all those years. Now, he kills to avenge her. And maybe himself to a lesser extent.
That’s about it.
We don’t learn anything else until Creighton Duke’s interview. Jason doesn’t evolve in that time whatsoever. None of his other living relatives pop up… Nada. And if that’s the case, Parts 3, 4, 6, 7, & 8 (5 is the one without Jason) might as well be the same exact movie. None of them even attempt to answer the obvious questions they raise, such as:
Why is Jason so strong?
Why is he so hard to kill?
And how does he keep coming back?
That’s honestly kind of insane. This movie does so in a simple, satisfying way – by revealing that Jason is possessed by a demon, possibly even a “Kandarian” demon from the Evil Dead series. The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, or Book of the Dead, from those movies is shown in the main examination room of the old Voorhees home, suggesting that Pamela turned to black magic to bring her son back from his watery grave. This tie-in is fun and goes a long way in explaining why Jason is more or less immortal.
Credit: Evil Dead II, Anchor Bay DVD
Now, I’m not against a good mystery. In fact, I usually prefer to be left with more questions than answers, as I like to interpret things on my own. But I’m also of the opinion that a film series as a whole should tell an overarching story of some kind and not just be a bunch of identical mini-stories. So when someone like Adam Marcus comes along and decides to address the elephant in the room, the contradictory and, quite frankly, impossible nature of this series’ only recurring character, I can definitely get behind it.
I mean, nothing about Jason makes any sense. He drowned as a boy, yet managed to become an adult, may or may not have been a ghost for a while, was either mistakenly pronounced dead or came back to life in a morgue, died for absolute certain in 1984, was buried, decomposed in the ground for God knows how long, was resurrected by lightning, emerged from his coffin even stronger than ever, and somehow survived underwater without food or oxygen — twice! Normal people don’t do this stuff, point blank. There had to be something supernatural at play.
The people who voice their hate for this movie are always keen to point out that Jason being possessed by a demon is far too fantastic or unrealistic. Well, so is everything else I just listed! Here’s the thing. Demonic possession is a widely understood concept and common subject in horror. I’d be shocked to hear that a fan of this series didn’t know what it was. Unlike vampirism or lycanthropy, there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules associated with it. Yet, pretty much everyone knows and agrees that demons aren’t bound to the laws of our world, that they can do spooky, magical stuff. When looking at it with this mindset, I have no problem accepting that a demon is what’s driving Jason to kill and keeping him going.
The only issue I have with him being possessed by a Kandarian demon specifically as opposed to another kind (class?) is that they’re always portrayed as frenetic and talkative in the Evil Dead franchise, taunting and screaming at their victims, whereas Jason is totally opposite — silent, brooding, robotic. Either way, there’s something evil inside him.
I’m not claiming this explanation fills every plot hole, or ties up every loose end, cos it doesn’t, but it’s probably the best one we could have hoped for, in my opinion.
One thing that still baffles me, for example, is that Jason can swim in the sequels, regardless of drowning in Part 1. Who taught him how to swim?!
Credit: Wrong Side of the Art
Another contradiction which can’t be explained away easily is how lightning and/or electricity alternates between resurrecting and hurting Jason. In one movie (Part 8), it does both! So which is it?!
He also gets stronger the longer the series goes on, the more his body deteriorates. By the time he gets to Manhattan, he can literally punch people’s heads off. At that point he’s being held together by scotch tape and pond scum. I’d love to see one of his implausible feats of strength backfire — like, maybe he goes to lift someone up, or bend them in half, and his arms just break off.
And then there’s the timeline.
Into the Jason-verse.
Credit: Wrong Side of the Art
Indulge me for a moment. In my last review, I guesstimated that Part 5 takes place in Fall of 1990. I admit that my conclusion’s not based on much, but it’s all I’ve got to go on. It’s impossible to place anything after Part 4 with any amount of certainty.
Obviously, Part 6 comes after Part 5 because Tommy Jarvis returns and is rehabbed emotionally. As for how long thereafter, who knows.
Part 7 is equally ambiguous. In Tina’s opening dream sequence, which is also a flashback, Jason is shown anchored to the bottom of the lake exactly how Tommy leaves him, so that checks out. When Tina wakes up, she looks to have aged about eight to ten years, advancing us to the 1998-2000 range at the absolute earliest — and that’s if these movies take place back to back with little to no time in between.
In Part 8, Jimmy tells his girlfriend that Jason “drowned in Crystal Lake about thirty years ago.” In Part 1, Enos gives the exact year as 1957. Adding these two figures together proves to be problematic, however, cos it sends us back to 1987. Now… I know it’s silly to assume Jimmy knows the specifics of the story offhand, so let’s allow him a small margin of error. Thirty years could mean anything from, let’s say, twenty-five to thirty-five. Even adjusting for this, we’re still pretty far off from 1998-2000. Something’s not right. Who wrote this shit?
Disclaimer: not a legit quote.
In this one, Robert Campbell of American Casefile states that “For over twenty years, the mere mention of the name Jason Voorhees has been enough to send a shudder of fear through the hearts of an entire nation.”
Let’s crunch some more numbers. Jason’s first confirmed kill is in Part 2 when he inexplicably tracks Alice to her house in August, 1979. 1979 + 20 years = 1999.
The rest of Part 2 happens in 1984. 1984 + 20 years = 2004.
So, going by what Campbell says, it looks as though Jason Goes to Hell potentially takes place in 1999, but most likely sometime after 2004 because Alice’s murder probably wasn’t attributed to Jason and therefore wouldn’t have been causing a “shudder of fear” until he was proven to have survived the whole drowning thing during his five-day, three-movie, thirty-three-person killing spree five years later.
Campbell also discloses that Jason was born in 1946, making him eleven when he “drowned”, thirty-eight when he “died”, and roughly two years shy of his sixtieth birthday here in Part 9. Confused yet?
It really do be like this.
Credit: Wrong Side of the Art; Clipart Library
What I want you to take away from all this is that even though we don’t have exact dates for most of what happens in these movies, they still form a linear sequence, a left-to-right arrow, except for Part 8. This might be one reason why Sean Cunningham instructed Adam Marcus to ignore it completely while writing his script.
There’s also the conundrum of the ending where Jason turns back into a boy, though I’ve always personally viewed that as another hallucination/metaphor for Jason’s good side trying to escape his evil side, because… what else would it be? Ugh, that whole movie’s a mess. Fun, but a mess. In short, there’s no point in updating the timeline I made for my last review.
In contrast, it’s clear to me that a fair amount of research and respect went into this entry. It’s mentioned here, for example, that Jason has 83 confirmed murders. I wasn’t about to go back and re-watch the whole series to verify this, but sifting through bodycount tallies online brought me to a total of 84. So 83 is very, very close, if not correct. When doing your own calculations, keep in mind that Jason doesn’t kill in Parts 1 or 5, and that Wayne and Rennie are responsible for an accidental death a piece in Part 8.
Sigh. Marcus tried. He really did. That’s why I don’t understand all the hate.
Jason goes to crap.
-IMDb user review, 2001
Piece of shit ruins the series.
-IMDb user review, 2002
Absolutely dreadufl. Awful. Awful. Awful.
-forum comment, 2013
Over twenty-six years after its release, Jason Goes to Hell remains one of the two most divisive entries in the series, the other being Part 5. It always appears at either the top or bottom (usually bottom) of fans’ best-to-worst lists. As of this moment, it’s the lowest-ranked entry on Imdb. To quote Swedish pop group Icona Pop, “I don’t care. I love it.”
I love how it starts off adhering to the tried-and-true Friday formula, then pulls a 180, subverting audience expectation by having Jason explode pre-opening credits.
I love its characters. They’re one of the movie’s biggest strengths in my view. They actually have depth and emotion for once. They don’t feel like they exist solely to die. The obvious standout for me is Creighton Duke. Guy’s a total badass. A comic book character come to life. I’ve seen it said that he’s useless because he spends the majority of the runtime in jail, then dies, but he’s literally the most important character of them all. He supplies the heroes with the knowledge they need to end their evil uncle forever. It isn’t mentioned how he gathered all his info, but his line “You son of a bitch, you remember me?” leads me to believe that he crossed paths with Jason at least once before. Duke is all about the money at first. By film’s end, he’s changed, selflessly sacrificing himself for the others. RIP to a legend.
Steven is also a really good character. He’s not a pretty boy or a jock, just an average Joe Sixpack. When offered sweet poontang from a camper, he passes it up in the hopes of repairing his relationship with his ex and her mom. He even goes so far as to risk his life for them many times over when he could just as easily wash his hands of the situation and skip town. What a guy!
Jessica isn’t as likable in my eyes because it takes her too long to grasp what’s unfolding in front of her, she makes lots of mistakes that end up costing the characters, and she sleeps with a scumbag. Although, in her defense, she doesn’t know he’s a scumbag. I guess she’s alright.
I’m also a big fan of Jason’s updated look. His skin is bubbly and orange. His mask is burned and corroded. Its edges are gouging into his head meat, giving the impression that it’s fused to his face. He’s bloated. His clothes are tattered… Even though we know Marcus was told not to acknowledge Part 8, Jason’s skin is consistent — I assume — with having been boiled in toxic waste. This gives us the choice of ignoring Part 8 or believing that Jason got washed out the sewers and found his way home to Camp Crystal Lake.
Nowadays, he just takes an Uber.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD
People complain about Jason’s lack of screen time in this one, but his absence in the second act of the film only makes his return in the final act all the more cool and effective for me.
As mentioned already, the practical effects in this movie (courtesy KNB EFX Group) are amazing. State of the art. The best of the series. Even better than Tom Savini’s, in my opinion. The scene where Josh melts is particularly jaw-dropping — check it out and you’ll see that I’ve made a bad pun!
The so-called “hellbaby” (Jason’s inner demon) is suitably gross, but mostly just funny. One thing I never really noticed before typing this up is that it looks nothing like the creature from the posters and covers. Its two biggest differences are its front legs and overall facial structure. Seriously, what?
I tried to lighten this up for comparison.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD
In the workprint, portions of which are available on YouTube, it transforms into a human-size demon before turning back into Jason. Another big difference to watch for comes at the end. Jason gets pulled down by three grinning tree-demons made out of roots, as well as the big crusty hands. The workprint has all kinds of goodies like this, including the introduction and death of a whole new character.
Writer/director Adam Marcus is currently working on a documentary about the production of Jason Goes to Hell called Hearts of Darkness. It was originally announced with the title The Dark Heart of Jason Voorhees. I have to admit, I like that one better. As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s already an award-winning, critically-acclaimed documentary called Hearts of Darkness which this one could never top.
Hopefully, Marcus’ retrospective coincides with a remastered release of the workprint, or “director’s cut” of the film. We’ve seen extended/alternate versions of Nightbreed and Halloween 6 come out in recent years, so anything’s possible. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Until then, extras for the New Line Home Video DVD include audio commentary with Marcus and Lorey, nine extended TV versions of scenes, a pointless “jump to a death” feature, the trailer posted above, and a cool menu. Inclusion of the unrated version alone makes this disc a must-have.
22 + Jason + 5 alluded to but not shown.
3 pairs of boobs.
1 pair of female butt cheeks.
1 pair of male butt cheeks.
5 Jason burgers out of 5.
I Got My Copy From
Jason Goes to Hell is one of several movies that came out in a short span of time about evil and/or parasitic lifeforms hijacking people’s bodies by squirming out of one person’s mouth into another’s. Other examples of this weird trend include: The Hidden (1987), The Kiss (1988), and the season 5 X-Files episode “Travelers” (1998).
I’m sure a psychiatrist somewhere has pointed out that movies like these stem from an unconscious fear of sex, or STDs, or something. All I know is the mere thought of a creature forcing its way down my throat makes my skin crawl!
1. Midnight’s Edge. “Friday the 13th: Jason Goes to Hell 25th Anniversary Interview with Writer and Director Adam Marcus.” Online video clip. YouTube. August 25th, 2018. Web. April 6th, 2020.