JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY
Director: Adam Marcus
Year of release: 1993
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 87 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only though I think there might be a German blu ray
Tagline: "Evil has finally found a home" and "Horror has many faces, death wears many masks but pure evil wears only one, and this is your final chance to see it".
Also known as: Friday the 13th part 9 and The Final Friday
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: As the Friday franchise passed from Paramount to Newline we see something quite different here with no effort being made for continuity going forward from part 8. Ignoring Jason melting in the Manhattan sewers this one starts off with an undercover female cop being used as bait to draw Jason out from where he initially pops up in an old house to a woodland clearing where he is blown apart by a firing squad. Jason's remains are then flown to Ohio (no idea why they had to go to Ohio) where the body parts are examined. During the examination of his curiously oversized and still beating heart the coroner is seized by the compulsion to eat the heart which results in Jason's essence of evil (represented first as a black fluid which later evolves into a wormlike creature) infecting the man. So essentially we now have Jason in another body. Jason can't survive for long in any particular host however so after making his way back to Camp Crystal Lake he begins killing and switching hosts. It transpires that Jason has a long lost sister and niece residing within the town and if he can make either of them his host he will be reborn permanently as Jason without the need to switch again. Trying to put a stop to this is a mysterious bounty hunter who seems to know all about Jason and his plans and the ex boyfriend of the niece who although wimpy looking ends up being tougher than he appears.
Good points: Though controversial as Jason only appears properly in the film briefly to bookend things I quite appreciated how they went in a different direction with the body swapping gimmick. A few of the Friday films feel a bit samey to me and seen it all before so this one being such a radical departure can feel like a breath of fresh air at times. There are negatives to the body swapping deal though overall it was a bold move that did reinvigorate things a bit for me.
I liked how we saw more than ever before of the town of Camp Crystal Lake and although it was restricted to a few locations like the police station and diner it still made for a good setting. It was also cool to see the Vorhees house. I'd always assumed that he either lived on the lakeside like the girl at the start of part 7. Or I thought that he was on holiday/vacation when he drowned as it would seem odd that he would go to a summer camp on his own doorstep but we learn here that neither of these is the case. So perhaps it doesn't make 100% sense that Jason's family would own such a big house in town but it was a nice nod to say the Myers house in Halloween and a good backdrop for some of the action. As silly as it was I enjoyed it as a one off thing.
The opening few minutes with Jason stalking the undercover cop are exciting. Though done many times before this kind of thing is still fun when done well as it was here. Was a bit funny how the lady went to step into the bath so soon after turning the taps on as you would think she would wait for it to fill up a bit first!
I felt the Stephen character was likeable, kind of a wimpy nerdy looking guy who initially came across as mild mannered and inoffensive. When those he cared about were at risk though he transformed into a brave hero as things progressed. The Duke character was also intriguing and fun to watch but he needed more of a backstory to explain how he knew so much about Jason and the significance of the dagger etc.
The very end of the film with Freddy was good and of course set up the potential for a cross over film down the road which eventually happened though much further into the future than most would have thought.
There were some good deaths in here like the morgue attendant having his face smashed into the grate, the girl who got killed having sex, the impaling of Vicki in the cafe and the body melting into the floor looked good in terms of special effects.
Bad Points: There were a couple of bad aspects to the body swapping thing. Firstly the bizarre scene where one man is tied down, stripped and shaved before being infected which is just weird and completely out of left field. I thought the black goo was fine but I wasn't too keen on how it changed into a funny looking worm or devil type creature as I think it was too similar to things scene in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (parts 4 and 5 maybe). I didn't like the orange bursts of light either at the end which again were too similar to Freddy's Dead.
As I said I did quite like the change of direction with this film even taking into account the above niggles but It does give it a very unfamiliar vibe with it not seeming like a Friday film at all a lot of the time which I can understand would be off putting to many fans. I'd say it is very much an acquired taste and not something the purists will enjoy so it isn't going to cater to everyone.
At the end it is silly that Jason fights with Stephen for so long as in the past we've seen Jason kill people with one shot yet here he gets many licks in but strangely doesn't seem to do much damage with any of the offense.
I didn't like the lack of continuity with the previous films which had previously been a strong point of the series. It just seemed to pretend that part 8 didn't happen.
There were also a number of things that weren't explained very well like the aforementioned bounty hunter and how he knew so much about Jason. If they had crossed paths before it should have been made clear and the same with the origins of the dagger he was carrying not to mention the mysterious book that Stephen came across in the Vorhees house. It was also far fetched that Jason suddenly has a sister and one still living in town to boot.
Verdict: This is certainly the most interesting Friday film and though often regarded as the black sheep I do admire it to an extent though it is a shame it is let down by little things either not being believable or not properly explained in enough detail. The lack of continuity goes against it as well as does it's similarities with what in my view are some of the worst aspects of the ANOES franchise. I do still get a kick out of it though and it freshens things up by daring to be so different.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Coroner: Stabbed with prong in back of head/neck and face bashed into autopsy table grate. 2) Guard #1: killed off camera. 3) Guard #2: Killed off camera. 4) Alexis: Attacked with a straight razor. 5) Deborah: Impaled through the back with a pole from the tent. Is ripped apart as it is pulled out. 6) Luke: Killed off camera. 7) Edna: Head slammed into car door. 8) Infected coroner: Dies when Jason's spirit leaves his body. 9) Diana: Stabbed in the back. 10) Josh: Melts into the floor as Jason's spirit leaves his body. 11) Officer Ryan: Head bashed into locker. 12) Officer Mark: Head bashed into that of Brian. 13) Officer Brian: Head bashed into Mark's. 14) Ward: Arm broken in half. 15) Diner customer #1: Crushed against the counter. 16) Diner customer #2: Hit by accidental shotgun fire. 17) Shelby: Burned on fryer. 18) Joey: Blunt trauma to the face. 19) Vicki: Impaled on a long skewer and then head crushed. 20) Robert: Dies when Jason's spirit jumps to another body. 21) Sheriff Landis: Accidentally impaled on the mysterious dagger. 22) Randy: Damage done to neck from machete blow. 23) Duke: Crushed to death in a type of bearhug.