There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
After going to Manhattan, Jason decided to take some time off from his every day slayings and recuperate. I mean, at the end of that last film he did dissolve into a child in a sewer so I would need some time off too if that were me. However, before he could get a rest his rights were sold from Paramount to New Line Cinema (the home of Freddy Krueger) and so he was brought back once again, but where would they take him this time? Vegas? Chicago? no…Jason Goes To Hell.
Today’s Key Movie:
Returning to his roots at Camp Crystal Lake Jason is caught by the FBI and killed…only finds a way back so that he can hunt down his half-sister and her family. Why? Because it seems the only way to kill Jason is for one of his own bloodline to take him down.
Why this movie?
Honestly, after that terrible Manhattan story, I don’t know. We are in it for the long haul though and surly nothing can be as bad as the previous film right?
When this one hit theaters, I had long moved on from the Friday the 13th franchise. By this time there was a lot better offerings such as Jurassic Park, Batman Mask of the Phantasm, A Nightmare Before Christmas, and even Mrs Doubtfire so Jason and his murderous antics were not worth the price of admission as far as I was concerned. Sure, the trailers on TV looked interesting, promising something new and something darker, but this Serial Slasher was just not fun anymore and so I moved on. It would be years before I finally watched it. Likely on VHS, probably one of those night that there was nothing else to watch. My only real memory of it was the ending and the promise that ‘someone’ else was going to meet up with Jason Vorhees in the future…maybe even the next film. So, that was enough to make me want to see more. Sadly, the next film was not at ALL what was promised but we will get to that later.
It has been so long since I have seen this one that, much like Jason Takes Manhattan, I will have to treat this as more of a new movie review than my usual fair. With that in mind, I will warn you, there will be LOTS of spoilers because even watching this for this review it made little sense, so in order to review it for you, I have to kinda give you some of the key beats. I promise not to spoil how he is finally killed but I have to say, it is one of the single most original deaths in the franchise, hands down.
The film starts off like any other, Jason is back and stalking his next victim off of the banks of Crystal Lake. Alone and an Easy Target, the seemingly helpless young woman is chased down only for us to discover that this was all a setup by the FBI to take down Jason once and for all. When I say Once and For all, I mean it. These Feds fill Mr Vorhees up with LEAD. I mean, we have people jumping out of trees, popping up from cover on the ground and even dropping a bomb on him. Overkill, sure, but why not.
So, after a job well done, Jason’s body is taken to the morgue where his still beating heart is eaten by a mortician. Yes, you read that right. His. Still. Beating. Heart. Is eaten. By a Mortician. Not kidding. It happens. The guy eats it. Why? Because apparently it calls to him somehow? Don’t try to understand it, this is an early 90’s horror film. Such thing So, what happens when Jason’s heart is consumed, why he possesses the mortician of course! Thus Jason is reborn in a new body, because his was literally obliterated, and he begins killing again.
What follows is a strange meta story where apparently everyone in the US has known about Jason and his murderous rampage at Crystal Lake for the past twenty years. In fact there is even a Geraldo-like talk show that airs a special about the killing of Jason! Soon, with the multiple murders at the morgue and Jason on a killing spree leading back to Crystal Lake, a Bounty Hunter by the name of Creighton Duke believes that Jason is essentially a body hopping spirit and vows (with sufficient pay of course) to take down Jason by using Jason’s own bloodline against him.
So, this sounds bat-shit crazy right? But is it any good? Well….
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
You have to keep in mind that this was essentially an attempted reboot of the Friday the 13th franchise. With New Line at the reign and the Elmstreet Franchise pretty much dead in the water, they wanted to establish Jason on the mantle as their new go to killer. So what do they do? They go ALL OUT. Even going as far as dropping the Friday title and focusing on Jason himself. Kinda like what Universal did with Child’s Play….
From this perspective, this film serves as a serviceable movie bringing back Jason from his really strange demise in the previous film. In fact, it actually does a decent job creating a new mythos divorcing itself with the Pamela Vorhees revenge story replacing it with a new body swapping evil creature insuring that Jason can live on no matter how many times he is taken down. The only caveat, apparently he can be seen as his true nature via a mirror, mask and all. Because his soul or essence is all rotting and whatnot. Sure, why not, these films have always required a certain suspension of disbelief and this one really tests that ability to it’s max. I mean, if you can accept that a kid essentially grew up in the woods and started killing people only to be resurrected by lightning and then travels to NYC to be melted back into a kid again, then body swapping is really not that hard to accept. In fact, it’s probably the best explanation of how Jason has managed to stick around so long.
To best enjoy this movie, accept it for what it is, early 90’s big budget B-movie schlock. If you go in with this in mind, it is actually a pretty fun film. It is absurd, it is insane and it makes no sense at all but do any of these films actually make any sense? If you go to a Jason flick for a plot, you are probably looking in the wrong place. That being said, this movie was made at the height of special effects experimentation. This is the year that Jurassic Park came out and we could actually believe that Dinosaurs were on the screen. So, the filmmakers spared no expense in the production of Jason Goes To Hell and it shows. Now I am not saying the effects are Spielberg level but every single kill, every single creature effect, every single moment of gore is done to near perfection. The makeup effects are pretty stellar through and through and, while you don’t really get to see much of the classic mask wearing Jason Vorhees (because of the whole body swapping thing), his presence is know throughout.
Bottom line, This is not your typical Friday the 13th film and that is really okay. This was an attempt to do something different and frankly, I can’t fault them for that. That aside, if you want a proper Friday the 13th movie I would recommend Parts 4, 5 or 6. This is one for those who just want an early 90’s B-horror movie night. In fact, this would be a prime candidate for USA Up All Night if that was ever brought back from the grave. Had this movie had a better plot, a better script, a better director and a better cast, well it would have been something pretty special! As it is, it is just good old fashion mind numbing B-horror so bad that it is actually pretty good. Heck, Leslie Jordan even shows up and anything with him in it can’t be all that bad, right?!
OK, where do I get this movie?
File this one under, Only watch it if you are hosting a bad movie night, otherwise, just skip it. Better yet, watch this segment here and you wont have to watch the film as this is really the only reason to watch it. Trust me. If you HAVE TO watch the whole thing, just rent it for a few bucks and grab a drink, you’ll need it.
So, Jason has gone to Manhattan, to Hell, where to next? How about Space? Yeah, next week we talk about the infamous Jason X. Until then…
Late To The Game 3/11/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
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No Gif this time but… There is a really fantastic reference to one of my favorite films in this movie. Check it out….any guesses as to what this is from?