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.
And here we are, the final film of the Friday the 13th saga. Jason has been everywhere, in a forest, in a lake, he has been on a boat, to Manhattan, jumped from body to body and even went to hell. So where could Jason Vorhees go after all of this? How about the future and into the final frontier itself, Space. Known lovingly as Jason Goes to Space this is Jason X. (for those of you playing at home, the X means 10, as in this is the tenth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise…so you know it’s gotta be GREAT…right?)
Today’s Key Movie:
Jason is cryogenically frozen only to awaken in the 25th century aboard a spacecraft on his way to Earth 2. Now awakened, Jason begins his murderous rampage through the ship only to become something more….the dreaded Uber Jason. Starring Kane Hodder as Jason Vorhees (with a cameo from famed director David Cronenberg) this time, it is the future itself that is in danger.
Why this movie?
I did not see this is theaters, that I know for certain. In fact, I am not really sure when I first saw it but at some point I did and it has forever been burned into my head as the ultimate ‘worst’ Jason film in the franchise.
You see, by the time this one arrived everyone had pretty much given up on the idea that there would be another ‘good’ Friday the 13th film. (I mean since New Line still couldn’t use the ‘Friday’ title at this point, does this even count as a Friday the 13th film?) While Jason Goes to Hell was a fun ‘so bad it’s good’ sequel, it didn’t do much to reinvigorate the franchise so what did they do? They went to the only frontier left for them…the Ocean! Just kidding, although Jason Goes to the Titanic would have been a blast no, they opted for the final frontier, Space itself. But, how does Jason get into space? Surly some scientist doesn’t strap him into a shuttle in order to blast Jason into the sun? Which probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea come to think of it. I mean, Imagine Jason burning up in the sun only for his soul to take over our own star and then kill the planet…. never mind.
Anyhow, no, they get him into space by cryogenically freezing him and an unlucky ‘Final Girl’ only for them to both be revived nearly 500 years in the future. Earth is a wasteland and, even though the Crystal Lake Research Facility had a mass murder of Government officials that someone has to have investigated, the bodies of Jason and Rowan La Fontaine (Lexa Doig) are still there, frozen, waiting for someone to find them. Who finds them? Why a group of students on a journey to Earth for ‘research’, sex, a little more ‘research’, and of course more sex. This Sex essentially awakens Jason from his slumber, I am not kidding, and he goes on a rampage aboard a space craft all while the teacher learns that Jason is actually valuable and plans to sell him. For real, people still know who Jason Vorhees is some 500 years in the future, talk about a legacy!
What follows is essentially a scifi-original movie ala 2002 that is on par with tv shows such as the tv series Andromeda or Lex (which is ironic because two of the actors in Jason X would immediately go to star in Andromeda) or even the Spy Kids movies. The scientists even ignore everything Rowan warns them about Jason making this nothing but a series of unnecessary deaths that could have been prevented in the first place….then again, isn’t that basically the plot of every Friday the 13th film? It’s bad but is it so bad its good or just so bad it’s Jason Takes Manhattan? well…
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
So, clearly this is a bad movie and one that is absurd in every way, but what are it’s redeeming qualities? Incredibly, there are some and this is why it’s one that I can’t hate. This is a scifi B-movie to the extreme, a melodramatic space adventure that takes every science fiction trope and not only embraces them but revels in them, dances with them and starts a family with them. This is Trope Laden fantasy that somehow works despite itself. Jason X is one of those that you just have to turn your brain off for a couple of hours and enjoy the absurd ride. Basically a bad remake of Alien with a scifi channel budget creating a B-movie for the ages. I won’t steer you wrong, this is a really bad movie but it’s one that is actually kinda fun if you just want something silly to watch.
The special effects are right out of early 2000’s scifi television. They are actually pretty decent blending practical effects and ‘cutting edge’ CGI that, while pretty obvious to todays standards, were actually quite impressive back then. Combined with the cringeworthy lines, recycled plot and laughably generic sound track, it’s hard to watch this with a straight face as it boarders on comedy so much of the time. I almost feel sorry for the actors in this movie but they are clearly having the time of their lives.
That’s the thing about this movie, while the film is B-movie at best, it somehow takes itself seriously with no intention to be a campy addition to the franchise. Although the dialogue can be…lacking at times, the actors clearly are there to give their very best performance in a film they had to have known would be a complete bomb. They dial it in in every moment even when delivering their punny one liners and odd monologues with such devotion its almost sad that their effort resulted in a silly camp fest, but really, that may be why this particular movie has endured as long as it has. In fact, while working on this review I learned that several of my coworkers have a strange fondness for Jason X that confounded me. How could people absolutely love such an absurd film? That’s easy, it’s the absurdity that they love and that’s okay.
Bottom line, Jason X is such a departure from the original franchise that it is almost unrecognizable as a Friday the 13th sequel and frankly, that may have been a better path, just making an original scifi slasher with someone or something being taken out of cryogenic sleep. Alas, this film opted for the Jason route and so now we have this gem. It’s absurd and it’s ridiculous in every way but if it were not for Jason X, we would have never had Uber Jason and frankly, I for one would not want to live in a world without this ridiculous monstrosity.
OK, where do I get this movie?
File this under Not Really for the Friday the 13th fans, Jason X is one to watch if you really have nothing else to do. It’s fun because it’s dumb and for that, you really should pick up a copy. Heck, just go for the double feature of Jason X and Jason Goes to Hell and you are set. Seriously, this is worth the price of entry as it is absurd and sometimes absurd is good.
While this may have been the final Friday film…it was not the last of Jason…in fact….there was yet one more…
Late To The Game 3/18/2021
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.
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