Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Weekly Alibi

DIRECTED BY: Adam Marcus

REVIEWED: 12-22-97

New Line Cinema bought the rights to F13 (at the time, they also owned the Nightmare on Elm Street and Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises), and they managed to produce the only entry in the series that feels like a real movie rather than a cinematic hoodwinking. Ignoring the ludicrous ending of Pt. VIII, this one opens as a sassy young lady pays a nocturnal visit to Camp Crystal Lake. The groceries are soon delivered as she shucks her clothes, compelling Jason to attack. The towel-clad chippie leads Jason on a wild chase into the woods, where SWAT guys start dropping from the trees, un-leashing a hail of bullets on the slash-meister. Within seconds, Jason is blown apart in a shower of meaty chunks, and the smoldering leftovers are taken to the morgue.In a wild scene, the Medical Ex-aminer, overcome by some twisted desire, eats Jason's still-beating heart and is possessed by the slasher's evil spirit! Pausing only to kill and kill again, this pseudo-Jason makes a beeline for Crystal Lake, where we witness the first instance of actual plot in an F13: In order to be reborn, Jason needs another Voorhees, and at a diner near Crystal Lake, there's a waitress (Erin Gray from "Buck Rogers") with a dark secret. ... OK, it ain't exactly Marathon Man, but it's still pretty cool. At any rate, we soon meet our nerdy hero (John D. LeMay from the F13 TV series), who has fathered a kid by Erin's daughter. With the help of a jive-ass bounty hunter (Steven Williams from "The X-Files"), LeMay sets out to put Jason in his grave for good. Although the flick's major plot device is lifted from The Hidden (Jason's turd-like "essence" is puked from body to body), F13 Pt IX is my favorite of the series. We get a surprisingly graphic sex scene (interrupted by a surprisingly graphic death scene); the "Book of the Dead" from Evil Dead II on a shelf in the old Voorhees house; a shotgun-wielding bad-ass waitress; tons of gore, and best of all, this time around, only some of the characters are loathsome scumbags! (New Line)

So let's wrap it up with the old Greased Ape Scale (keeping in mind that in this case, the scale is relative to the subject matter--four Apes for an F13 doesn't exactly carry the same weight as four Apes for The Exorcist).

F13: 2 (mostly for the arrow through Kevin Bacon's neck)
F13 PT II: 2 (the second Ape is for gratuitous buttcheeks)
F13 PT III: 1 1/2 (first hockey mask)
F13 PT IV--THE FINAL CHAPTER: 3 1/2 (good solid cheese)
F13 PT V--A NEW BEGINNING: 1 (for nudity & the New Wave Girl's dance)
F13 PT VI--JASON LIVES: 0 (the worst)
F13 PT VII--THE NEW BLOOD: 2 1/2 (telekinetic cheese)
F13 PT VIII--JASON TAKES MANHATTAN: 1/2
JASON GOES TO HELL--THE FINAL FRIDAY: 4

And don't sweat that "Final Friday" stuff--thanks to the success of Scream, the oft-threatened "Jason vs. Freddy" movie is back on track once again!

videodrome@alibi.com

--Scott Phillips

Film Vault Suggested Links
Theatre of Blood
Friday the 13th, Part 3
Lord of Illusions

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