One of the most hated film in the Friday the 13th series is “Jason Goes To Hell”. Though I can agree with some of the arguments, I think it’s a bit hyperbolic to say that this is a terrible film. Is it different? Sure, but whether or not you agree with the outcome, you should commend the filmmakers for trying to do something different with the franchise.
Even though “Jason Goes To Hell” begins with your standard Jason stalking a hot naked chick in a cabin, it quickly changes course to something much different. We’re now entering “Body Snatchers” territory. Though Jason’s body has been completely dismembered, his evil lives on in a host of different bodies. While some of the set pieces that made the series what it is today are still prevalent, for the most part, this is a completely different type of film than the rest. Some people may groan at that concept, but for me, I felt it gave fans of the series what they wanted, while taking us into uncharted territory. We are still witness to several scenes of the stalking and killing of sexy women, running naked through the woods for no reason. The problem is, instead of a big, decayed, masked Jason wielding a machete, we’re following a portly black doctor, covered in the black blood of Jason’s heart that he consumed previously. Yes, consumed. I’m assuming we’re to believe that Jason’s still beating heart had somehow enticed the doctor to take a bite, but this was always an odd scene. I thought maybe, since his lab partner came in with a pizza shortly after, that he was just starving, and couldn’t resist that juicy black heart, but who knows.
Much like Jason X, “Jason Goes To Hell” has one of the highest body counts in the series. Sitting at a massive 24 kills, just 1 kill shy of Jason’s romp through space, we’re treated to some of the bloodiest, creative kills of all of the films combined. One kill in particular that stands out is during a fairly graphic sex scene, a woman is impaled by the pole from a street sign, and then split in half with a swift flick of the wrist. To top that off, most, if not all of the carnage is carried out at the hands of KNB, so you know you’re in for some beautiful practical FX any time they are involved. Several scenes, for one reason or another were shown off-screen in the R rated cut of this film, but you can see them in all their gruesome glory on the unrated disc. Well worth the price if you ask me.
One of the main things that divided audiences on this one is the weird “Halloween’esque” subplot, where Jason is hunting the last descendant of the Voorhees family in order to be reborn. I’ll admit, we could have done without this lazy bit of story telling, but it didn’t ruin the film for me, though it is a bit silly. Jason travels from body to body through some form of worm that he passes to people through their mouth. The concept is, since his host body is dead, it begins to decay, making him weak. It also serves the purpose of creating the element of surprise. If you’ve ever seen a body snatchers style flick, you know the drill.
One of the most interesting characters of “Jason Goes To Hell” is bounty hunter Creighton Duke, played by Steven Williams. Williams adds a much needed dose of bad assery to his role, even though he spends the majority of the runtime behind the bars of a local jail cell. Creighton has spent the better part of his life, learning about, and hunting the infamous Jason Voorhees, so when everyone is celebrating his death, he’s the first and only to call bullshit. How Creighton knows some of the things he knows is never fully revealed, especially the supernatural elements, but it serves it’s purpose well as a device to drive the plot forward, and introduces us to a classic character that fanboys like myself will remember forever.
The ending of Jason Goes To Hell is a bit infamous. As you will remember, after our survivor girl stabs the life out of Jason, and the weirdo explosion of life takes him to wherever it is something like that goes, Freddy Kruger’s hand reaches up from beneath the ground, and drags Jason’s remaining mask back down to hell, or wherever with him. Fanboy drooling and speculation and begging for years, ultimately led to the creating of a creature of a new breed. Freddy vs. Jason. A film that pits both iconic killers against each other in a piece of cinema that caused nerdgasms across the globe. Hopefully, with enough whining, we’ll see future entries into this type of film, pitting the badass Jason up against other horror Icons. If that happens, even if you aren’t a fan, you have “Jason Goes To Hell” at least partially to thank.