Halloween Endurance Test: Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday (1993)

I’ve gone on board before defending the artistic merits of Jason X (a/k/a Jason in Space, a/k/a Jason Versus the Cast of Battlestar Galactica). And I still stand behind it. Watching its predecessor, Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday, convinces me again that Jason X got a raw deal.

Sure seeing Jason on a spaceship was weird. But here he’s literally blown to pieces by a paramilitary black-ops team! Before the credits roll!

First, look at the title. When Sean Cunningham bought and saved the Friday the 13th franchise, he changed the name. Out was the rather nonsensical Friday the 13th (Friday the 13th, Part III, after all, occurs one day after the events in Friday the 13th, Part 2. Which makes Part III the less fearsome Saturday the 14th.) In was a renewed focus on the franchise’s star and its basic conventions.

When Cunningham bought the franchise, he brought it back to basics: sex and violence. People come to these movies to see inventive deaths. They also come for titillation. Instead of beating around the bush, he decided to give the fans what they wanted. Less Jason walking around Manhattan, more Jason tying up co-eds in sleeping bags, then beating them to death against a tree.

If Jason X was derided and mocked for moving the massacre from Camp Crystal Lake, then how does one explain Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday? Jason barely has an appearance in it! His disembodied, still beating, heart has as much screen time as he, in his entirety, does! Jason becoming more than Ms. Vorhees’ otherworldly son, and taking on a possessive embodiment. We learn you can kill Jason all you want, mainly because you’ll eventually end up transforming back into him.

An anti-vampire, this spiritual form of Jason is the only aspect of oneself that’ll show up in mirrors and reflective surfaces. The spirit also, quite humorously, turns out to think very highly of itself. Savagely brutalizing two security guards it overhears mocking his corpse as he leaves the morgue wearing a new identity. Apparently the pharaohs weren’t completely wrong, you can take some things (i.e. your ego) with you!

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