Coming down the homestretch, the next two Fridays feature what could charitably be described as high concept plots.
- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday: After the unsuccessful debacle that was part VIII, Paramount shelved the Friday franchise and eventually sold it to New Line Cinema (known in the industry as “the house that Freddy built”). The filmmakers decided to take the series in a completely different direction, attempting to establish something of a mythology for Jason and devising a bizzare body-hopping scheme that Friday fans seem to either love or hate. So this winds up being the least Friday-like movie in the series. Indeed, while Jason appears in the film, most of his screen time is spent inhabiting the bodies of other characters as he hops from one to the other in an effort to reincarnate himself. It turns out that Jason can only be reborn in the body of another Voorhees. Also, he can only be killed by a Voorhees. As such, there are a few Voorhees women in the movie and… damn, this is a pretty bonkers idea to hinge the movie on. I have to respect the filmmakers’ ambition to do something new and interesting with the series and I actually like the idea here, but in what has become the refrain for the series, there were some problems in the execution. The film starts out promisingly enough, with Jason stalking a scantily clad woman through the woods when suddenly the enter a clearing, giant lights turn on and an FBI swat team unleashes an assault on Jason, eventually dropping a fucking bomb on him and blowing him up. From there, things start to go awry, but I have to admit that I found myself enjoying this film.
Creighton Duke, Dopey Bounty Hunter
The one thing that really elevates this film above some of the others in the character of Creighton Duke, a nutty bounty hunter who has sworn to hunt down and destroy Jason, once and for all. To give you an idea just how dopey this character is, I present this exerpt from a hard-hitting interview with Mr. Duke:
Robert Campbell: I’m going to say a couple of words to you and I want you to say the first thing that comes into your mind.
Creighton Duke: Okay.
Robert Campbell: Jason Voorhees.
Creighton Duke: That makes me think of a little girl in a pink dress sticking a hot dog through a doughnut.
I swear to God, that’s in the movie. He actually says that, and I’m not taking it out of context either. It’s fucking brilliant, isn’t it? By the way, this is probably a good time to mention that this movie actually features a few bona-fide actors and actresses. The aforementioned Creighton Duke was played with campy glee by Steven Williams (of X-Files and 21 Jump Street fame). In the dialogue above, the character of Rober Campbell is played by Steven Culp, who is most famous for Desperate Housewives but has also done some good work in movies (he was a great RFK in Thirteen Days). And, of course, Erin Gray from Buck Rodgers. Anyway, the movie can be fun if you’re in the right frame of mind, but it’s ultimately not that great (shocking, I know). There are a few good kills and the filmmaking is slightly slicker than previous installments. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t make much sense, especially when measured against the rest of the series. Then again, the rest of the series represents something of a retcon nightmare, so it kinda makes sense to completely go off the deep end, right? RIGHT? Also amusing is that this movie is subtitled “The Final Friday” while there are still three more films in the series (well, one more, a crossover, and a reboot, but still). Actually, I respect what the filmmakers were going for here, and there are some interesting elements that they were able to pull together, but this is ultimately lacking and it doesn’t fit too well with the rest of the series… But it has a nice final shot, previewing what will happen in a later movie (alas, it would not happen for another decade or so… but we’ll cover that in the next post). **1/2
- Crazy Ralph Tribute
- Freddy vs. Jason (trailer)
- Friday the 13th (2009 – trailer)
- Jason X: At this point in the series, there really wasn’t anywhere to go. So what the hell, let’s send Jason into space! There’s actually not much to say about this movie. It’s exactly the sort of silly fun you’d expect “Jason in space” to be. It features one truly iconic kill (which will be chronicled in the extended entry) and another that is a reprise of an older iconic kill (with an added twist that really perfects the notion). It also features an odd cameo by director David Cronenberg, who plays a government official who helped capture Jason and freeze him. I’m seriously baffled by the appearance of such a good director in such a bad movie, but then again, perhaps this lends creedence to my uncredited Francis Ford Coppola cameo theory (see bottom of linked post). The movie is also notable for nanobot technology that completely rebuilds Jason, turning him into, no shit, Uber-Jason. I kinda like the new look, but it also seems pretty dated (which is pretty impressive considering that this movie isn’t that old).
This is actually the first Friday movie made after Scream, which probably explains the ridiculous premise and tongue-in-cheek feel to most of the movie. Straightforward slasher movies of the sort the Friday series thrived on aren’t made anymore… So this is a movie I had a lot of fun with, but which is also pretty obviously a bad movie. It also leaves the series nowhere to go, hence the recent reboot (which will be covered in the next post). **1/2
More screenshots and comments in the extended entry below…
This comes from the previously mentioned opening sequence of part IX, where Jason is blown up by the FBI. It’s a great opening that film never actually recovers from…
Oh irony, thy name is Kane Hodder. He’s the one on the right there, and believe it or not, he’s the actor who has portrayed Jason since part VII. The irony here is that he’s also playing one of the swat team guys who took down Jason… and his swat character ends up being killed by Jason later on. Heh.
The aforementioned Steven Culp, striking the hard hitting journalist pose.
This is pretty damn funny. After Jason is blown up, a local diner has a burger sale to celebrate. The burgers look like hockey masks.
Look familiar? That’s right, this is the Necronomicon from the The Evil Dead films. It turns out that Army of Darkness was being filmed in the same area, so they were able to borrow the Necronomicon and use it as decorations at the Voorhees mansion (did I mention the Voorhees mansion? No? You’re probably better off not knowing…)
Yes, the ending of this film implies that there will be a Freddy/Jason crossover. It was apparently done as a lark, but then some people thought it would be a good idea. Ten years later, it became reality (it will be covered in my next post).
Yes, one of the all-time great kills in the series. Jason grabs the teenage scientist who is studying his “dead” body, thrusts her head into liquid nitrogen, pulls it out and slams it on the table, smashing her face into itty, bitty pieces.
So it turns out that the spaceship Jason is on features a robot. Who dresses up in Matrix-like gear and blasts the crap out of Jason. Notice in the second screenshot that approximately half of the bullets she’s shooting are hitting the walls around Jason, and not Jason himself. Of course, all the damage she deals out means nothing since Jason is rebuilt by nanobots, after which his first order of business is to absent-mindedly knock off the robot’s head (her head survives).
The ship Jason is on features a holodeck-like room, so our heroes program a scenario to distract Jason, with hilarious results. In the scenario, two teenage girls appear in a crystal lake setting and tell Jason that they love alcohol, marijuana, and premarital sex before both cliimbing into their sleeping bags. In a reprise of the sleeping bag kill from part VI, Jason beats them to death with each other.
So that wraps up this installment. Stay tuned for the last two films in the series and maybe some more posts, because I know you all love these movies as much as I do, right? RIGHT?