Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jason Goes To Hell – The Final Friday (1993)

Jason Goes To Hell – The Final Friday is the ninth movie in the Friday The 13th series. If the title seems to promise an end, just keep in mind that the fourth movie was called The Final Chapter. Anyway, when we last saw Jason Voorhees, he had taken a nice trip to New York City with some teenagers, and ended up in that city’s sewer, where some magic toxic waste miraculously turned him into a little boy again. Oh, it also killed him. (Read my review of Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.)

When the ninth film opens, we are back at Crystal Lake. A woman arrives at a two-story cabin which must have been built while Jason was busy fucking around in the Big Apple. She has a New York cap on, so it seems we’re supposed to believe Jason saw her in the city and then somehow followed her back to camp (after coming back to life and turning back into an adult).

The woman changes a light bulb and then gets undressed. And sure enough, Jason is there, back to his adult self, and he soon chases the woman through the woods. The woman, by the way, has a towel wrapped around her, and manages to keep it on while running. The towel is the first magical item in this ridiculous film. But it is far from the last.

She leads Jason to a clearing, where suddenly several large lights are turned on and aimed at Jason. A SWAT team is there to destroy the unstoppable killer, and the woman was just bait, leading him from New York back to the woods of Crystal Lake. Anyway, the team blows Jason up, his head landing near his heart, which still beats. Some guy hiding in the woods says, “I don’t think so,” which hints that perhaps the movie is not over.

Jason’s body is taken to the federal morgue in Youngstown, Ohio, and an autopsy is performed. The heart begins beating again, which surprises the coroner. It would be impossible for him to explain this, so he does the only logical thing – he eats the heart. Then fireflies or pixies enter his body and he begins acting strangely. For example, he kills his co-workers.

The film then switches to one of those investigative crime television programs. The show’s star, Robert Campbell, says, “For over twenty years, the mere mention of the name Jason Voorhees has been enough to send a shudder of fear through the hearts of an entire nation.” He then recounts a bit of Jason’s history, mentioning that he was born in 1946 and believed to have drowned. “Sadly, he did not.” Right, as established in Part 2.

This is probably a good time to mention the timeline (which I detailed in my review of Part VII). When Jason’s mother killed all those counselors, it was 1979. When Jason went to Manhattan, it was – at the earliest – 2016. There’s no way of knowing exactly how much time has passed since the sewer adventure. Maybe only a few weeks. Who knows? So it could still be 2016 in Jason Goes To Hell. Now if what Robert Campbell said is true – that the name Jason has been scaring folks for two decades – that means that people became aware of Jason around the time of the events in Part VI. That actually makes a bit of sense, as that’s when Jason really rose from the dead with the help of some lightning. It also means that Jason is at least seventy years old in the eighth and ninth parts.

Anyway, on the television show, Robert interviews Creighton Duke, a bounty hunter who goes after serial killers. And hey, he was the guy hiding in the woods when Jason’s body exploded. Duke informs us that Jason “wears other people’s bodies like folks wear a suit.” He’ll kill Jason for $500,000. And with a nod at Jaws, he says, “And for that, you’ll get the mask, the machete, the whole damn thing.”

Duke can’t do it alone, however. He needs the help of a waitress named Diana. He tells her that Jason is coming to get her and her daughter, Jessica. Jessica, by the way, has a daughter of her own, and that baby’s father is Steven.  Steven picks up a few hitchhikers who are going to Camp Crystal Lake. He tells them that the cabins were torn down a couple of years ago. However, the cabins have been gone for at least two decades. So were other cabins built on the site, just to then be torn down? Or is Steven retarded when it comes to math? Either way, the hitchhikers are soon killed by the coroner.

The coroner then captures a cop named Josh and shaves his face. He then leans over him to transfer the Jason bit inside him to this new body. Sure, in previous movies Jason had been a mindless killer. But now he’s into some sort of weird voodoo. Why he hadn’t switched bodies before is anybody’s guess. Anyway, Josh shows up at Diana’s house to kill her. For a moment, Diana is fooled, but she then sees Josh in a magic mirror, which shows his true Jason self. So she shoots him.

But guess what? He’s not dead. He gets on top of her, and some sort of worm thing comes out of his mouth. It looks like he’s trying to take another body, one that he doesn’t have to shave first. Unfortunately for him, Steven arrives right then, interrupting him. But Josh manages to kill Diana. Before she dies, she tells Steven to save Jessica. However, Steven is arrested for Diana’s murder.

Creighton Duke is in the cell next to his, and he breaks Steven’s fingers for some reason. Or, more likely, for no reason at all. Then Creighton tells him that the only way to kill Jason is to destroy his heart. And the only one who can do that is Jessica now that Diana is dead. Why? Well, Jason had a sister, Diana, and only another Voorhees can kill him. Wait, aren’t we in Halloween territory at this point? And why add all this information in the ninth film? Halloween only waited until the second film to give us this stupid plot point.

Let’s go back to the timeline for a moment. Jason was born in 1946. He’s at least seventy years old. Diana is his sister. She appears to be approximately forty years old. So she was born in 1976, long after the incident in which Jason supposedly drowned. And only three years before their mother would be killed. So where was Diana while her mom was off slaughtering teenagers in 1979? Mrs. Voorhees left a three-year-old alone while avenging the believed death of her son? Or did she hire a babysitter? Also, in 1976 Mrs. Voorhees was not a young woman. Diana’s birth likely had complications, given Mrs. Voorhees’ age. It’s amazing she was able to conceive and carry Diana to term at all. It certainly couldn’t have been an easy birth, so it’s surprising that she’d then neglect her daughter at so young an age.

Anyway, Duke also tells Steven that through a Voorhees, Jason could also be reborn. He needs to be reborn because the bodies he’s using are weak. He then tells Steven to go to the Voorhees house. The Voorhees house? Again, we’re in Halloween land. There’s never been any mention of a Voorhees house. But Steven breaks out of jail and goes there. Apparently the house has been left untouched since 1979, although someone has been paying the electric bill, because the lights work. Inside the house, Steven finds the book from Evil Dead. Seriously. The same prop. Why is it there? Its presence is not explained, and no reference is made to it again in the film.

Robert arrives and tells someone on his phone that he stole Diana’s body and hid it in the closet. But before he can boost his show’s ratings with this hidden body trick, Josh comes out and trades that body for Robert’s (without shaving him). Josh’s body then melts. Why? Why not.

Robert goes to kill Jessica, who is taking a shower (after leaving her infant at a diner that morning and not bothering to pick her up). Steven rescues her, but she steals his car. Soon they’re together again. Steven is able to get the handcuffs off between scenes, and Jessica finally decides to retrieve her baby. But for some reason the diner owner won’t give up the infant. However, it doesn’t matter, because somehow Duke got out of jail (by the way, what was he arrested for in the first place?), got to the diner before them, stole the baby, and left a note for Jessica to come to the Voorhees house.

Remember, earlier Duke said that Jason has to keep switching bodies because the bodies are weak. But Robert is run over with a car and shot dozens of times and seems fine. Anyway, Jessica goes to the Voorhees house and Duke tells her the story. He tosses her a dagger, and when she catches it, it magically lights up. The screenwriters had long since given up on anything approaching believability. They had probably given up mere seconds after signing onto the project.

Duke tells her she has to kill Jason with the magic dagger, warning her that Jason won’t stop coming after her until he gets her. Or until he decides to take another vacation to New York, or perhaps Detroit this time. When did Jason learn about his sister, and why was he uninterested in her for so many movies? I mean, we’re talking about decades of indifference.

When Steven hacks at Jason’s newest body, some demonic creature crawls out of its neck. What the hell is this creature supposed to be? Anyway, whatever it is, it enters Diana’s dead body because only through a Voorhees can Jason be reborn. And then he is reborn, as Jason again, in his old, screwed up body with the mask and everything. No, it makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Not much of a rebirth. I mean, even the New York sewage did a better job. And why does only Jason have the ability to come back to life? Why can’t his sister Diana?

Jessica uses the magic dagger, and the lights or pixies or whatever fly out of Jason’s body and into the sky. And then several hands reach out of the ground and grab Jason. They also grab Steven too, for good measure or because demonic hands aren’t all that picky. After a slight hesitation, Jessica saves him. And Jason disappears into the ground.

Apparently, as the title suggests, he goes to hell. And later he goes to space (in Jason X). At the very end of the film, Freddy Kruger’s arm comes out of the dirt and grabs Jason’s mask (later they’d fight in Freddy Vs. Jason, another awful film).