Non Canon Review: Jason Goes To Hell

FRIDAY THE 13th, APRIL 2007

GENRE: POSSESSION, SLASHER
SOURCE: DVD (OWN COLLECTION)

To be honest, Jason Goes To Hell is not a qualifying movie at all (so it will be a called a "Non Canon Review"). In fact, I watched the hell out of it as a kid (it was the first, and technically last, Friday movie I saw in theaters, since I do not count Freddy vs Jason). But since I had not seen it in about 10 years, and the DVD is an ‘unrated’ version, I decided to give it a go for the "holiday". However, I didn’t notice anything different in plot, so it must have been gore snippets. Say what you will about the film, at least it was gory, unlike the 99% bloodless last two entries.

The most hilarious (or sad) aspect of the New Line era Jason films (and for this I’ll count FvJ) is how little concern they had for any sort of continuity with the previous entries. JGTH does not follow from VIII, Jason X does not follow from JGTH, and FvJ does not follow from Jason X. At least in the Paramount films Jason would always be where he “died” at the end of the previous film, and his resurrection would be explained (lightning, electricity, telekinesis, etc). But at the beginning of this movie, Jason is not a naked child at the bottom of a sewer that has been flooded with toxic waste. Indeed, he’s just regular Jason, prowling around Crystal Lake. And then neither Jason X nor Freddy vs Jason ever acknowledge his whole “going to Hell” deal. The only way to even approach continuity is to assume that the boat/NY parts of VIII never happened, and instead after Jim and Suzie resurrected him, he stuck around and fought Freddy. Afterwards, Freddy went off to die on his own and Jason either went to hell or space, and the other one never happened. Sort of like a choose your own adventure, only more confusing and less educational (Don’t forget: Spies can be found inside every national monument across the globe).

But really, does it matter? No. Anyone who cares this much about horror film continuity would have committed suicide after watching H20, which features characters watching Scream, a film in which characters watch Halloween. It’s like a moebius strip made out of Fangoria fold out posters.

Anyway, this film is the best of the New Line entries, but that is saying exactly nothing at all. It’s somewhat admirable that they tried to do something different with the series (though why they’d bother for the supposedly final entry is beyond me), but they could have at least done so in a manner that actually put Jason onscreen for more than 10 minutes of the film. This film came out 4 years after VIII (the longest gap in releasing a Friday film ever at that point), which means they had at least 3 years of people bitching “he’s only in New York for the last 20 minutes!”. Fans clearly take their titles seriously. And yes, Jason did indeed go to hell (which is located a few feet below ground), but he didn’t do much else. They even had to go back after test screenings and add a scene of some kids in the woods getting killed during sex (note: this sequence features a magic condom that finds its way out of a sealed tent and into the woods) so people would recognize it as a Friday movie!

Not that it’s a total mess. There are some great kills, and some nice homages to both the series (note the manner in which Jessica grabs Jason at the end) and other, better, horror films (The Thing, Creepshow, The Birds). There’s also a shot during the climactic battle that looks like it is copying the HBO Feature Presentation thing from the 80s. So there’s something. There’s even some light homoeroticism: the possessed morgue doctor strips, ties up, and then shaves a cop he’s about to pass the Jason demon thing onto (this scene ranks as the most baffling in the film and possibly the entire series).

It’s ironic that Kane Hodder is known as Jason and yet starred in the 4 worst entries of the entire series (I’m once again ignoring FvJ). He’s an OK Jason, but the films he’s stuck in range from bad at best to terrible at worst. Sort of like Pierce Brosnan: Great Bond, bad Bond films. But I’m guessing Kane won’t be starring in Matador 2.

Harry Manfredini’s score for the earlier films was solid, if repetitive, but at this point he should have just been replaced. The score in this film is god awful, consisting entirely of stings and random piano slamming. At one point the score just goes “duhm!” everytime our lame ass hero (the guy from the unrelated TV series) gets slammed into a wall or floorboard.

Like the other New Line entries, the DVD at least tops Paramount’s DVDs by actually including extras and not putting two movies on the same side of the same disc. However, it is wrapped in Annoyo-Package™ (where there are three adhesive seals, one on each edge of the case, all without the little non-sticky ‘pull’ tab. Yeah, because clearly Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday is on top of every thieves’ wish-list, you gotta protect that shit!), so it will take you longer to open the goddamn thing than it will to go through the disc.

What say you?

(Note - I’ll be watching another movie later, but I felt I had to honor the “holiday” by watching the only film in the series I hadn’t bothered re-watching since I was old enough to drive).

8 comments:

  1. the continuity with the new line jason movies isn't as muddled as you make it seem, however the link between the real friday the 13th movies and the Jason series isn't as strong.

    Jason goes to hell is the first and in the end he goes to hell, then Freddy vs Jason picks up after with freddy bringing jason back from hell, since jason is alive at the end of that movie we then go onto Jason X, the movies are out of order but there actually is some continunity

    what i would argue and AGREE with tho is that there is no link between Friday the 13th part 8 and jason goes to hell, that was never explained, too bad they will never make a real friday the 13th part 9.......

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    Replies
    1. Well said. It has been confirmed that Jason Goes to Hell is NOT a direct sequel to the first eight films. It is only loosely connected to parts 1 through 8, which is for the best. All in all I have to ask, "What the fuck were they thinking when they made Jason Goes to Hell?" When I first read about, it looked like it was going to be so awesome. Thanks for getting our hopes up and taking a giant shit on them

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  2. Well said, "Anonymous". True, the films technically happen to be "out of order"...but, the continuity is possible just as you pointed out ("JGTH", then "FVJ", then "Jason X").

    I think some people get confused about the continuity the same way some people got confused while watching "Pulp Fiction"; "Wait...how is Travolta still alive? Didn't he get shot by Die-Hard?" Same sort of thing; just think outside the box.

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  3. Yeah, I rewatched FvJ today and realized Freddy says something about getting him out of hell. So the continuity sorta works, except from 8 to 9.

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  4. I admit that I am a die-hard fan for the entire Friday series and have gone to great lengths in my own mind to try to connect all of storylines together during and immediately after subsequent viewings of each movie. I do this mainly so that I can defend my own, somewhat pitiful, fanboy love of the series against people who are not quite so fond of all of the movies.

    Any way, good job to the two anonymous posters before me in explaining the order of the 3 most recent "Jason" movies. In response to the lack of connection between 8 and 9 I think I have a somewhat passable explanation of how we go from the little boy Jason at the end of 8 to a full-grown, dead and bloated Jason at the start of 9. If you remember that in "Manhatten" our obvious "last girl" Rennie has a flashback of Jason trying to hold her under the water after her douche uncle threw her into Crystal Lake to force her to learn how to swim. Well since we know from part 2 that Jason never drowned, we can only conclude that Rennie, panicking and thinking she would drown, imagined that Jason was trying to pull her down. This especially makes sense when we consider that her uncle told her the story of Jason drowning right before he threw her into the drink. Now this vision of Jason, for dramatic purposes, happened to look somewhat similar to the mongoloid little boy we all know and love from the original Friday the 13th.

    Now throughout part 8 Rennie has several visions of the Jason she "saw" pulling her under the water when she was little. Since it's been a little while since I've seen this entry I don't remember how many visions she has, but the most noticeable one is in the bathroom mirror while on the boat to NY, and I think it is right before the real Jason tries to pull her through the port-hole. Any way these visions help to connect the audience to her fear and makes it seem that much more horrible when Rennie sees and has to fight/run away from Jason. Another thing to note is that Rennie's would be rapists (the muggers) inject her with an unidentified drug (possibly heroine, funny our heroine is given heroine) which may also alter her grips on reality. (On a positive note, Jason saves Rennie from the rapists, and though it's debateable, shows a bit more about Jason's "morals about sex" and the additude that you mentioned BC).

    So to sum this up Rennie was already seeing visions of Jason as a kid, saw the real Jason kill off family members, friends, and random strangers (while she didn't see him kill all of them she found out he was responsible), was injected with some drug, and was then chased all over Manhatten by Jason. In the ending she sees Jason washed away by the toxic waste, then when the waste subsides she sees the vision of Jason as a boy laying there in the sewer. The only thing that really makes sense is that it's a vision, because: A.) toxic waste wouldn't turn a 6' something zombie killer into an 8 year-old version of himself and B.) the flow of toxic waste and water through the pipe (if my memory serves correct) was such that Jason would have been washed a long way down the pipe with the flow. Plus the stream was so intense that I doubt even super-powered zombie Jason could hold onto a pipe or ladder or anything else in the sewer that would allow him to stay within view of Rennie and Sean.

    From there you have to make a lot of assumptions as to how Jason survives the flash flood of toxic waste and returns from NY to Crystal Lake for the start of part 9. For this to happen he probably survived becuase the series set the rule that when actually dead Jason must be brought back by electricity (parts 6 and 8) or by supernatural forces (part 7). Any way lets just assume he survived (the fewer assumptions the better), though his body was ravaged by the waste (thus the cool bloated, puffy head look of Jason in part 9) and he crawls out of the sewer and either walks back to Crystal Lake pissed off, or somehow manages to hitch a ride on a boat back there. And somehow along the way to part 9 the FBI finds out that he is indeed alive and back in Crystal Lake and there we are. All caught up to the start of Jason Goes to Hell.

    Sorry for the long, convoluted response, but that's how it makes sense to me. I know it's stretching it a bit but it's not like there haven't been some stretches in the storyline already. I also checked out the trivia for Jason Goes to Hell on imdb and it says there was a comic book that bridged the gap between parts 8 and 9 and details his killing spree on the way back to Crystal Lake and explains the FBI's Jason Task Force. Though I've honestly never read it or known of it's existence.

    I hope this helps, and I know it doesn't make up for lazy storytelling/filmmaking

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  5. Excellent post Cainam

    It makes perfect sense that the little boy Jason at the end of part VII was another hallucination from Rennie and that the real Jason had been washed out to sea with the toxic waste. You even see a scarred up version of his mask floating in the toxic waste, which is similar to how it looks in Jason Goes To Hell, and you saw his face melting at the end which would explain how his mask is embedded in his flesh in JGTH. He is washed out to sea, finds his mask there and literally sticks it back to his face and swims (does jason swim?) back home. There's even some lightning at the end which may hold some significance to the process as electricity is known to reanimate him when he has died.

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  6. ok..
    so this was one of the ONLY friday movies i watched in the theaters..and since i was more familiar with it. i followed this like it was the whole story line. boy was i wrong.
    I had watched the 1st 10 movies so far this month to get it in my head.

    This movie is way off. I wasnt a huge fan of all the supernatural stuff going on (hands pulling him into the ground, changing bodies, etc).

    BUT..what floored me..was the graphic kills in this movies..
    WHY WAS IT DONE BY THE LAME STOLEN BODIES.

    the split in half chick, was done by the coroner. I was upset by that. They would have been great to see Jason actually do that.

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  7. Jason Goes To Hell IS canon the child version at the end of the manhattan episode was just another hallucination

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