Craptastic Cinema

Celebrating The Best Of The Worst Movies

Jason Goes To Hell

Year : 1993 Director : Adam Marcus Running Time : 91 minutes Genre :
Movie review score

As we have covered up to this point, the Friday the 13th franchise has gone through several changes over the course of the first eight films.  First we had a story of a mother, obsessed over the “death” of her son, murdering anyone who came near Camp Crystal Lake to prevent it from happening again.  Then we have the story of said son, back from the grave, avenging the death of his mother.  After that, we had a copy cat killer using the image of Jason Voorhees to kill off those he blamed for the death of his son.  Around that same time we had a sub story of Tommy Jarvis and his interactions with Jason.  Around the time of the sixth film, Jason had become a reanimated zombie with only one desire, protect his home and kill everyone who comes near it.  Jason then faced a girl with telekinetic powers, and even wreaked havoc in New York.  Some of those stories worked very well, and others were simply jokes.  Through it all though, the character of Jason Voorhees created a legion of fans who worshiped everything that he did.  Critics never got it, and financially they were making less and less money for Paramount Studios with every release.  It was probably because of those last two elements that caused Paramount to hand over the franchise to New Line Cinema.  This turned out to be a great deal for New Line, and fans of the franchise.  New Line knew how to make horror films.  They had the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and many other films of the genre under their belt.  Now that they took over Friday the 13th, they had more or less cornered the market for horror.  Their first Jason film showed that they were not afraid to explore where they could go with it either.  The decided that for their first film, they would take Jason where he had never gone before.  This time “Jason Goes to Hell“.

As “Jason Goes to Hell” began, we see that we are once again at Camp Crystal Lake.  A young woman is staying in a cabin there, and decided it was time to take a bath.  The power went out, and this caused her to investigate what happened (never a smart thing to do in a Friday the 13th film).  As she walked through the shadows of the cabin, Jason (Kane Hodder) appeared and slashed his machete at her.  She fell over the railing of the staircase to the lower level, which very much reminded me of a scene in the first Halloween film.  She survived the fall, and made her way outside, Jason in hot pursuit.  She then ran into the woods.  Again, another thing that is never a smart idea in a Friday the 13th film.   Jason caught her, and just as he is about to kill her, spotlights were turned on, and a swat team appeared from out of nowhere.  Turned out, the girl was bait for a trap.  The swat team opened fire on Jason, in a scene that reminded me of “Halloween 4“.  As Jason was being shot up, the swat team dropped a bomb on him.  He was blown to pieces, though his head and heart were still left fully intact in the explosion.  In fact, Jason’s heart continued to beat after the explosion.  As the team celebrates what they considered the death of Jason Voorhees, we are introduced to Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) who watched the whole ordeal while standing at a distance in the woods.  We are not told who he is at this point, but we see that he does not believe that this is the end of Jason.  A viewpoint he solidified by saying “I don’t think so” just before it cut to the film’s title screen.

After the title screen, the remains of Jason were taken to a federal morgue in Ohio.  Why Ohio, I have no clue.  If Crystal Lake is in Ohio, then a lot of the continuity of the previous films just went up in flames.  While there, the coroner (Richard Grant) talked a lot of trash to the remains of Jason.  He then noticed the heart was still beating.  Under a hypnotic trance, he ate the heart, and the spirit of Jason Voorhees transferred into him.  That was the first time we learn about Jason being a demon spirit that can be transferred from one body to another.  Inside the body of Phil the coroner, Jason made his escape from the morgue and killed several people along the way.  One of which was a security guard played by Kane Hodder himself.

On a television newscast, a reporter interviewed Creighton Duke who we now learn is a bounty hunter, and expert on all things Voorhees.  Creighton believed that Jason would keep regenerating until he was killed by someone in his own bloodline.  In another nod to the Halloween franchise, it turned out that Jason had a half sister Diana Kimble (Erin Gray).  The other point to make is that though Jason could only die by the hands of a Voorhees, he could also be reborn though inhabiting the body of a Voorhees.  Diana happens to have a daughter named Jessica (Kari Keegan), who herself has an infant daughter named Stephanie.  So now the spirit of Jason is off to kill his own bloodline so that he may once again live again.  Sounds a lot like Halloween, if I do say so myself.

As he tries to inhabit the body of one of his family members, Jason transferred himself into several different bodies.  Each one got him closer to his target.     Jason managed to kill Diana, but was unable to transfer his spirit into her at that time.  Jessica’s ex husband, and father of Stephanie, Steven (John LeMay) is one of the first to believe Creighton’s theory.  He set out to protect his daughter, and Jessica.  It turned out that Jessica’s current boyfriend, a reporter who would do anything for the story, stole Diana’s corpse in hopes to get more of the story.  That didn’t work out too well because in time soon enough Jason did transfer his spirit into Diana, thus being reborn (hockey mask and all) into Jason Voorhees.  It did still seem that Jason wanted to transfer into Stephanie, and kill Jessica so that he could live on forever.  This lead to a final battle between Jason, Creighton, Jessica and Steven.  In one of the better endings of the franchise, giant hands from Hell reached up from the ground and drug Jason down into the ground after Jessica finally got the better of him.  The next morning, a dog was digging in the area, and finds the hockey mask laying there.  The dog ran away, and the audience got to see the clawed hand of Freddy Krueger (here portrayed by Kane Hodder for his 3rd role in the film) reach up from the ground, and pull the mask below.  Thus planting the seed of a battle between Freddy and Jason, like they originally intended for the seventh part of the franchise.

“Jason Goes to Hell” is a very well made film.  The horror elements are solid, the camera work was fantastic, and almost everything in this movie seemed to work.  That being said though, the film only earned a 3 out of 5 on the Craptastic Scale.  Here are the elements that work against it.  First off, the idea of Jason being a demon spirit just didn’t work as well as I think they hoped it would.  It was a cool concept, and later worked perfectly in the movie “Fallen” staring Denzel Washington.  However, in this film, it just prevented the overall vibe from feeling like a Friday the 13th film.  At one point you see that this spirit took the shape of a worm-like creature to move around outside of bodies, or to transfer between them.   To me, it was cool, but again took away from the Friday the 13th feel.  This spirit transfer idea also kept Jason off the screen for most of the film.  A majority of the time, we are looking at someone moving and acting like Jason, but looking like “Joe Nobody”.  If you are going to have someone act like Jason, just put Jason in the movie.

The other element that did not work for me was the fact that this movie tried to borrow concepts from other horror movies.  As I pointed out a couple times in this induction, several scenes and concepts felt like they were lifted directly from the Halloween franchise.  Friday the 13th never had to do that before, with the exception of the James Bond style intro in Part VI, so why start now on what should have been a new first chapter to the series.  I think the producers felt this same way.  After this movie, Jason went back to his old ways.  Nothing in the future felt like it was lifted from another series.  Also, never again is the worm demon spirit brought up or shown.  So those elements are isolated, for the most part, to this movie alone.

Outside of what I consider it’s faults, I would fully recommend watching this movie.  It is very enjoyable, and will keep your interest from beginning to end.   A fan of the franchise would for sure want to own this for their collection, as general horror fans will as well.  Never released on BluRay, “Jason Goes to Hell” is available on DVD.  The DVD contains both the theatrical cut, and the unedited director’s cut on the same disc.  The director’s cut adds about three minutes back into the movie, mainly expanding the death scenes.  The picture looks fantastic on the DVD, and it even has DTS sound as an option.  There is really no need for a BluRay release of it.  This is the first of the four films released by New Line so far, and therefore not available in a box set with the first eight Friday the 13th films.  This is also available through Netflix, though not part of their instant service.

“Jason Goes to Hell” is one of the few films of the franchise that can stand alone without needing to see any of the other films.  It may have it’s faults to a die hard Jason Voorhees fan, but not enough to make it one to avoid.  All in all, it is a very good horror film that I recommend to anyone to see.

How did “Jason Goes to Hell” rank against the other films in the Friday the 13th series?  Click here to find out

-Matt Camarco

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