Starring: Kane Hodder, Kari Keegan, John D LeMay, Steven Williams
STEVEN – “Duke! The part about being reborn through a Voorhees woman, does it have to be a living woman?”
DUKE – “No.”
STEVEN – “Duke, that thing is in the basement with Jessica’s dead mother.”
DUKE – “Mother of God.”
Here’s the story. After Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan died on its arse and drew the lowest ever box office in the series’ history, Paramount was done with it.
Step forward New Line Cinema, who owned A Nightmare On Elm Street. New Line had been itching to make a film pitting their own Freddy Krueger against Jason for a while, but the fact that they owned Freddy while Paramount owned Jason meant it was a logistical nightmare.
New Line’s solution was impeccable: buy Jason from Paramount at a low price while his name is mud at the studio, make him popular again then make the Freddy vs Jason film everyone wants to see.
And so the deal was done. Paramount, done with their masked murderer, sold the rights to Jason to New Line. But not, crucially, the rights to the Friday The 13th name, which is why this ninth film in the series has the convention-breaking title Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday.
If you thought the previous Friday The 13th films were a bit odd, this one completely annihilates all eight combined for balls-out mental. It’s easily one of the most bizarre slasher film plots ever: allow me to fill you in.
The first five minutes are deceptively normal. Jason is back, he’s chasing a woman through the woods in Camp Crystal Lake, and all is right in the horror world.
It soon emerges though that said ‘victim’ is actually an undercover FBI agent, and she’s led Jason into a large clearing where a massive crowd of police officers are waiting with all manner of guns and explosives.
Jason is blown into tiny pieces, and everyone celebrates the fact that he’s finally dead. Naturally though, this film still has 80 minutes to go at this point and New Line clearly didn’t think it would get away with just filling this with footage of a party at the police station.
Jason’s remains are taken to the local morgue, where it’s discovered that his heart, which is lying separately from the rest of his body, is still beating. As the stunned coroner studies the heart, he becomes hypnotised by it and decides to eat it. And that isn’t even the maddest bit.
By eating his heart, the coroner becomes possessed by the soul of Jason. He still looks like the coroner, but when he walks past a mirror it’s Jason we see as the reflection. But Jason’s soul can’t stay in this poor chap’s body for long: as soon as it entered the body began to die and its skin began to decay.
The solution? When the coroner finds a new host to possess, a creature containing Jason’s soul escapes through his mouth and crawls inside the new victim. Remember when these films just used to be about a guy with a mask and a machete?
Jason can’t keep transferring his spirit between hosts like this, but there’s an endgame to his plan: once he possesses the body of someone who’s part of Jason’s bloodline, he will completely take over them and be properly ‘reborn’ as the real Jason, hockey mask and all.
As luck would have it, the only living members of Jason’s bloodline are a single mother called Diana (Jason’s half-sister) and her daughters Jessica (a teen) and Stephanie (an infant).
Sounds like a fairly easy switch… except there’s also a bounty hunter called Creighton Duke who’s trying to kill Jason’s spirit once and for all.
You see (yes, there’s more mental to come), Duke owns a special knife. When a member of Jason’s bloodline holds the knife it magically transforms into a ceremonial dagger which can be used to kill Jason once and for all, sending his body to Hell. Yes, I wish all of this was a bad joke but it’s all true.
Cue a final battle at Diana’s house where she’s promptly killed, leaving her teenage daughter Jessica (with the help of Duke) to both protect her little sister from Jason and prevent the odd creature living inside him from crawling inside her dead mother and becoming reborn.
And you thought Sherlock was a bit far-fetched at times.
Part of me thinks Jason Goes To Hell was just New Line being spiteful, that it finally had the keys to its rival slasher franchise and felt like driving it directly into a wall, sort of like when WWE bought WCW and reduced it to nothing.
But then I see its final scene, where Jason’s mask is lying on the dirt when, all of a sudden, Freddy’s glove comes out and pulls it down to Hell, and I realise New Line were serious: they really did expect this to be a decent set-up for Freddy vs Jason.
If that’s the case they are fucking maniacs. Jason Goes To Hell makes absolutely no sense and completely demolishes the story that had been built up over the previous eight films. And when you consider that story was about a mask-wearing zombie who kills horny teens, that takes some doing.
Sure, it’s gory, but Friday The 13th should be about more than that. A Jason film that barely has Jason in it has to go down as a failure and sadly, much as I love the series, I have to say this is the worst of the bunch by a considerable margin.
Sadly, Jason Goes To Hell’s low rating earns it a place in the notorious TWABM Hall Of Shame. Click here to see what other pishfests made the grade (or, indeed, failed to).
HOW CAN I SEE IT?
Until recently Jason Goes To Hell was only available on DVD. Here’s the UK version and here’s the US version. However, if you want the definite Jason experience there’s only really one option: the recently released Friday The 13th: The Complete Collection Blu-ray box set. This is only available in America but I can confirm it’s region-free (I bought it myself). It’s also currently the only way you can get Jason Goes To Hell on Blu-ray.
SHOW ME THE TRAILER: