Why ‘Jason Goes to Hell’ is better than you remember
In the 80s, Horror ruled the world. Every weekend a new horror movie was being released to audiences who came out in droves to see it. Slashers in particular were extremely popular with horror fans, as people were cheering for the villains and how they dispatched of their prey. Freddy Krueger, Chucky and Michael Myers thrilled audiences throughout the decade. One franchise in particular and it’s main antagonist were one of the most popular with fans. FRIDAY THE 13TH and Jason Voorhees were such pop culture icons, that even non horror fans knew about the films and Jason. Seeing a bunch of pot smoking, horny teens getting dispatched by everyone’s favorite Mama’s Boy made the series one of the highest grossing horror franchise of all time.
It’s no secret that Paramount was ashamed of putting these films out. So after Jason’s 60 minute boat trip to hang out in the Big Apple for 20 minutes, Paramount sold the rights to Jason Voorhees (but not the name of FRIDAY THE 13TH) to New Line Cinema.New Line Cinema was known as “The House That Freddy Built,” and it only seemed logical that Jason and Freddy would finally go toe to toe. For years fans were drooling over the idea of watching the 2 Horror Heavyweights duke it out on the silver screen.
Instead, we got JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY. To say that the film was met with a negative backlash from fans is a severe understatement. The film has been called the worst entry in the series with no redeeming qualities. It is one of the most hated films in the genre and horror fans really love to shit on this movie, and to be fair, some of the arguments are valid. Not so fast Morbidly Beautiful readers, I’m going to give you some examples as to why you should maybe give this movie another shot.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I present to you evidence IN DEFENSE OF JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY.
Exhibit A-The Gore/Special Makeup Effects
This is by far the goriest entry in the franchise. For gore hounds, this a buffet of grisly goodness. From the heart munching scene to the way Jason jumps from body to body to the way people are killed. With KNB in charge, it’s not a big surprise that this movie has killer special practical effects.
Exhibit B-The Opening Scene
The opening scene is excellent. It covered most of the tropes associated with the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise. A young, busty, nubile girl takes a shower at a cabin in Crystal Lake and it’s not too long after that, the J Guy shows up to dispatch of this intruder on his turf. Unbeknownst to everyone (including Jason), the young lady is actually an FBI agent on a sting operation to capture and destroy Jason. Surprisingly it works and Jason is blown to pieces…of course this is only a minor setback before The Big J is slicing and dicing again.
Exhibit C-Horror Prop Cameos
While most horror movies feature a cameo from the director (this one is no exception as Adam Marcus plays a cop), this movie went the extra mile and added 3 really specific props that are well known to fear fans. The 1st prop is the Jungle Jim in the front yard of the Voorhees house. This is the same Jungle Jim that was Alfred Hitchcock’s classic chiller THE BIRDS. The 2nd prop is the Necronomicon from THE EVIL DEAD franchise. For some reason this on top of a table inside the Voorhees house (and would be a major plot point in the comic book series FREDDY VS JASON VS ASH). The 3rd and final prop is The Crate that serves as Fluffy’s sanctuary in CREEPSHOW. It makes one wonder what other horror treasures are buried in that house?
Exhibit D-The Diner Scene
If nothing else, JASON GOES TO HELL is action packed…there is not a dull moment in this movie. This is one of the coolest scenes in the entire film! If this was not a Jason Voorhees film, this would’ve been a great action movie. Guns are firing, there’s slow motion, gory death scenes and plenty of blood. Seriously, this is one of the best scenes in the entire franchise!
Exhibit E-Creighton Duke
The FRIDAY THE 13TH universe is peppered with a lot of characters that you either love or hate. Over the years, we’ve got our favorites from Alice, Ginny, Demon and Tommy Jarvis to some definite misses like Joey, Tina, Rennie, and Star Mummy. JASON GOES TO HELL boasts a character that is one of the best in the entire franchise…Creighton Duke. Duke is a bounty hunter obsessed with the destruction of Jason Voorhees (while it is never mentioned in the film as to what Duke’s motives truly are, in the comic adaptation from Topps, it is revealed that Jason killed his girlfriend during one of his massacres).
Duke studies his nemesis and knows everything about him…including the only way to end his reign of terror once and for all. Duke is cocky, brash, and has swagger dripping out his pores. He’s fearless when confronted with Jason face to face and even sacrifices himself for the greater good of killing Voorhees. He has some of the best lines in the film and is only propelled higher by the performance of Steven Williams.
Exhibit F-The Fight Scene
In all the years Jason has been doing his thing, never once has he truly gone mano e mano with one of his nemesis up to this point. Sure he knocked the boxer’s head clean off with one punch when he was in Manhattan, but he never had a true fight scene in any of the previous entries before this one. That all changed with this film, as Jason has a pretty epic fight with Steven. Normally Jason would’ve just dispatched of this guy with some type of sharp instrument of destruction, but the filmmakers wisely chose to have the hero be able to handle himself against the villain.
Sure Tommy Jarvis will always be “The Boy That Killed Jason”, but Steven should be held in the same high regards as Tommy. Steven is arguably one of the smartest and bravest characters in the entire franchise. He doesn’t make stupid mistakes and is pretty quick on his feet when he needs to be. Steven never has to go through a personal traumatic experience in order to become the hero, he immediately steps up in the face danger…only this danger is a body jumping, psychopathic Mama’s Boy in a hockey mask. Steven never worries about his own personal well being, as long as his daughter and baby’s mom are safe and sound. More horror heroes should be written more like this character and John D. LeMay definitely deserves a lot of credit for how he plays Steven.
Exhibit H-Kane Hodder Cameo
There have been many men to don the mask of Jason, but none are as beloved or have played him more than Kane Hodder. Kane gave a new take on Jason, that is considered simply the best take on the character. So with this being Jason’s (second) swan song (or so we thought), Kane Hodder makes a humorous cameo out of makeup. He even makes a funny comment about Jason, that doesn’t end to well for him.
The Final Exhibit-The Ending
If nothing else, this movie has the best ending in the franchise, hands down! Sure the jump scare was cool from the original and the ambiguous open endings of the other films, can’t hold a candle to this one. The film does indeed deliver on the title’s promise, where Jason does indeed go to Hell. The monster is finally vanquished…good triumphs over evil…and we have an honest to goodness ending. Hold up, you all do realize that you’re watching a FRIDAY THE 13TH movie right?
And with the premise that this is the last one, the ending needed to be something right? I don’t think it gets anymore epic than Freddy’s glove reaching through the dirt to grab Jason’s mask, FINALLY setting up the mother of all versus movies…FREDDY VS JASON. It was almost a given New Line Cinema would immediately greenlight the most anticipated Monster Mash since King Kong locked horns with Godzilla. There would be no way, they would make us wait 10 years for this to happen right? Well as we all know, that’s exactly what happened. Regardless of the decade long hell that film was stuck in, there is no denying that every single one of you got goosebumps and was cheered for that ending.
In Conclusion, yes people are pissed about the whole possession angle in the film. Yes people are pissed that all of a sudden Jason has a sister, a niece, and great-niece. Yes people were pissed about the magic dagger that only his niece could use to kill him. And most importantly people were pissed that Jason is blown up in the beginning and only comes back at the end. You have valid reason for your hate towards this movie. I’ve just given you a few key examples as to why this movie is a lot better than you remember and it should be seen again with fresh eyes and an open mind.
THE DEFENSE RESTS…
HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH!!!