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“Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” (1993)
The worst entry in the franchise. Honestly, you could probably stop playing this movie after the first eight minutes, because that’s when it stops even being a “Friday the 13th” movie. An attractive woman, played by stuntwoman Julie Michaels, rents a cabin near Crystal Lake. Sure, almost all slasher flicks have hot chicks in them, but when the only noteworthy aspect of a movie is a naked lady with an incredible body, then your film is lacking. Jason Voorhees has returned from the sewers of Manhattan. He chases her into the woods, but it turns out that she is an FBI agent. A trap has been set for Jason and he is executed. Well, it makes sense that there would be a manhunt for the notorious serial killer, but the rest of the movie is garbage. The coroner eats Jason’s heart and this leads to the spirit of Jason body swapping for the majority of the movie. Huh? The hero of the movie is played by John D. LeMay, who had previously starred in “Friday the 13th: The Series” (1987- 1990) which had absolutely nothing to do with this film franchise. The series focused on haunted antiques. Steven Williams played Creighton Duke, a bounty hunter searching for Jason. You’ll remember him as Mr. X from “The X-Files” (1993 – 2002). When I reviewed “Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter” (1984), I stated that Jason Voorhees needed a Professor Van Helsing type, a Dr. Sam Loomis, an arch-nemesis. But, I think that ship had sailed by this ninth film. Jason is looking for a baby to possess. The baby is a blood relative, his grandniece. I’m sorry, I just don’t find this plot to be attuned with the rest of the franchise. Sean S. Cunningham, the director of the original film, returned as a producer and he made the decision to alter the storyline so drastically. With all due respect, I strongly disagree with the creative choices made in this film. The score also sounded pretty cheap. Like something out of a spooky Saturday morning cartoon series. Kane Hodder portrayed Jason for the third time, but had little screentime because of the silly nature of the story. After turning into some sort of weird worm demon monster, the real hockey mask wearing Jason Voorhees finally returns and kills Creighton Duke with a bear-hug. Jason is then stabbed with a mystical dagger and gets pulled down into hell by rubber monster hands. The end. No, not really because in addition to The Necronomicon from “The Evil Dead” (1981) making a cameo, this bad movie did have an epically awesome cliffhanger. Freddy Krueger’s glove pulls Jason’s hockey mask down into ground. Nice. So, I would recommend that you watch the first eight minutes for stuntwoman Julie Michaels and last two minutes for Freddy Krueger and skip the rest of this movie. Ten minutes is all you need.
“Jason X” (2002)
Man, what a rip-off of “Leprechaun 4: In Space” (1997). Besides, I thought that Jason Voorhees was burning in hell? I suppose that this movie takes place after the events of “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003). Jason is incarcerated at the Crystal Lake Research Facility. I defy you to read that sentence aloud and not roll your eyes. It’s hard to believe that this film received a theatrical release. He will soon be cryogenically frozen, but the military wants to transfer him, so they can study his ability to regenerate. It’s really like a stoned teenager wrote the screenplay. Jason escapes, kills everyone, then is frozen by Rowan LaFontaine, played by Lexa Doig. She must have been the winner of 2002 Jessica Alba look-alike contest. Rowan is also cryogenically preserved and they are discovered in the year 2455 by medical students on a field trip. Nanotechnology is used to bring Rowan back to life. Jason wakes up all by himself and picks up right where he left off. His first futuristic kill was pretty cool, freezing a hot blonde’s face. Other than that, he basically just stabs people. Jason should have been more creative. He kills one guy in front of his girlfriend. He should have ripped the guy’s heart out and tossed it to the girlfriend. Of course, any horror movie set in outer space wouldn’t be complete without stealing from “Aliens” (1986), so Jason kills a squad of soldiers. Jason also kills the pilots, causing the spaceship to crash into a space station. Their ship causes more than damage to the station than the station does to the ship. You’d think it would be the other way around. So, the responsibility of defeating Jason falls to the female pleasure android (sex-bot), who was also programmed to be a real badass. Kay-Em 14, played by Lisa Ryder. Her showdown with Jason was the highlight of the movie. And guess what? She kills him. She totally kicks his ass and blows his head off. Jason Voorhees is finally dead. Seeing how women in slasher movies are always being victimized, it was appropriate for a super-woman to ultimately vanquish him. But, the nanotechnology medical facility must have been left on automatic, resurrecting Jason Voorhees as Uber-Jason. Maybe some people like the look of Uber-Jason. Myself, I have mixed feelings. I still can’t decide if he was awesome or dorky. He knocks Kay-Em 14’s head off with a single punch, reminiscent of “Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” (1989). Virtual reality returns Uber-Jason to Camp Crystal Lake and the sleeping bag bashed into a tree trunk scene from “Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood” (1988) was recreated. Despite of this being a dumb movie, cool scenes like that make it much better than “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” (1993). The two scantily clad girls in the virtual reality scene parody most of the female characters from the 1980s slasher flicks. The movie ends with Uber-Jason being jettisoned into space. He crashes in a lake on Earth II. A pair of teenagers witness this, so it looks like the cycle will begin again. A whole new planet full of teenagers for him to slay. This was also Kane Hodder’s swansong. He was replaced for the next film.
“Freddy vs. Jason” (2003)
To be reviewed by me at…
“Friday the 13th” (2009)
When I saw some footage of this film at New York Comic Con 2009, I was pleasantly surprised. It actually looked decent, but when I finally watched the entire movie, I was not impressed. Considering that it was produced by Michael Bay, why did I ever get my hopes up? Michael Bay also produced “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010). There’s just something so sterile about these remakes of low budget slasher flicks from the 1970s and 1980s. I don’t have a visceral reaction to anything that occurs. The characters are all bland and the carnage seems subdued. This remake had a spoiled rich jerk, a promiscuous blonde, and a stoner. Yep, all uninspired stock slasher movie characters. This film did nothing to new with the genre the way “A Cabin in the Woods” (2012) did. Though, to be fair, I did appreciate how the screenplay was structured in a way that it was really an amalgam of the first four films in the series. The movie opens on June 13, 1980, recreating the climax of the original film with Mrs. Voorhees being decapitated with a machete. Then, her son Jason, who was said to have drowned, grows up and kills teenagers while wearing a burlap sack on his head. So, that was basically “Friday the 13th, Part II” (1981). He eventually replaces his old sack with a hockey mask, just like in “Friday the 13th, Part III” (1982). The hero of this movie, Clay Miller, played by Jared Padalecki from “Supernatural” (2005 – 2014), is searching for his missing sister Whitney, played by Amanda Righetti. I found him to be akin to a character from “Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter” (1984), who was hunting Jason Voorhees so to avenge the death of his sister. Other than that, I guess I was a bit surprised that the character Jenna, played by Danielle Panabaker, was killed. I assumed that she was going to be the “final girl.” This reboot doesn’t have a sequel, but I’m sure that we have not seen the last of Jason Voorhees. You can’t keep a good slasher down, especially since the next “Friday the 13th” film will be the thirteenth installment in the franchise.
My seventh consecutive NY Comic Con experience…
*Bummed because 60 years of Godzilla filled up and I missed the Archer Q&A again!!!
“There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who believe in flying saucers and those who don’t.” The pilot of this short lived, very underrated, TV series began with narration from a bounty hunter from Brooklyn, New York, who looks and sounds a lot like a cowboy. This show is so 1980s and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
A killer is on the loose. Someone, or something, stalks potential victims in a nightclub while “Silent Running” by Mike & The Mechanics plays. On his palm is a pentagram, which bleeds. In “The Wolf Man” (1941), a pentagram marked the next victim of the werewolf, here it serves as a warning to the werewolf that the transformation will soon occur. The show is vague as to whether or not the full moon has any effect. Eric Cord (John J. York) has everything going for him. He’s in love with his best friend’s sister, Kelly (Michelle Johnson), but she’s reluctant to tell her father about their relationship.
Eric, he cruises while listening to “The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)” by Timbuk 3, so you know that he’s loving life at the moment. What could possibly go wrong? Eric is roommates with said best friend, Ted (Raphael Sbarge). Ted has been disappearing every weekend, claiming to be job hunting. Eric returns home and finds his that his dog, Heathcliff, is on edge. Eric also finds Ted in the dark, acting peculiar. Ted confesses to being the serial killer, but Eric dismisses him. Ted explains that while as a dock worker in Baja, California, he was what attacked by a werewolf. He knows that he must die because he is losing his humanity and the beast within is taking over. Eric is worried, not that his friend is werewolf, but that Ted has lost his mind. Eric humors Ted and ties him up. This was also reminiscent of “The Wolf Man” and even “Monster Squad” (1987). Tying up werewolves never really works out. Eric watches over him, armed with a pistol. Ted loaded the gun with silver bullets, forged from a silver crucifix he had melted down.
After midnight, Ted transforms and breaks free from his constraints. He attacks Eric before being shot. Death frees Ted from his curse, but Eric was bitten, so now he will become a werewolf. While recovering in the hospital, Eric is tormented by nightmares, just like David Naughton in “An American Werewolf in London” (1981). He is facing murder charges. He doesn’t tell anyone that Ted was a werewolf, but does protest that he acted in self-defense. Only Kelly is willing to believe him because Ted left her a cassette tape, explaining the situation. Remember cassette tapes? Anyone? Heathcliff the dog snaps at his former master. It seems that animals can always spot a werewolf. Kelly is not wholly convinced until she locks Eric up in a self storage unit and she hears him transform. He spends the night in the unit, but the murders continue, so he deduces that the werewolf who attacked Ted must be in the area. If this alleged werewolf is the first in the bloodline, then Eric can break this curse by killing it. Every incarnation of the werewolf legend has its own variation of the rules, but I like that this series provided some hope for the protagonist. An ongoing TV series couldn’t be as bleak as most werewolf movies.
Since Eric skipped out on his court date, his bail bondsman hires a bounty hunter, Alamo Joe Rogan (Lance LeGault). Meanwhile, Eric tracks down the werewolf that attacked Ted, Captain Janos Skorzeny (Chuck Connors). A werewolf who wears an eye-patch? How freaking badass is that? Skorzeny can sense that Eric is of his bloodline and promises that tonight they will make the transformation. Skorzeny instincts are strong enough that he doesn’t need to wait for the sign of the pentagram. Eric has Kelly tie him up in a motel bathroom, which probably wouldn’t have done much good, then she is abducted by Skorzeny. Alamo Joe also arrives and takes Eric into custody. Eric’s only concern is saving Kelly. He transforms in the back of Alamo Joe’s truck and escapes. Alamo Joe shoots him several times, but not with silver bullets, so the beast isn’t even stunned. Alamo Joe will never be the same after being exposed to the supernatural.
Eric’s love for Kelly carries over into werewolf form. Skorzeny brings her to a shack in the woods, filled with rotted skulls, so this is likely where he feeds on a regular basis. Skorzeny seems to able to control his transformation and waits for Eric to arrive before he goes full-on werewolf. A fires breaks out and the two werewolves battle savagely in the flames while Kelly flees to safety. I wonder if this scene inspired the similar scene in the “The Wolfman” (2010) remake? Skorzeny throws Eric out of the burning shack and disappears. Eric wakes up the next morning and finds Kelly watching over him. He must now say goodbye to her and his life, leaving to hunt Skorzeny. Little does Eric know, but Alamo Joe is also hunting him and the bounty hunter knows to arm himself with silver bullets this time. We last see Eric hitchhiking, which calls to mind Bill Bixby on “The Incredible Hulk” (1978 – 1982). The pilot episode of “Werewolf” was a masterful way of launching a series. Heck, it could’ve have worked as a stand alone movie. “Nothing is worse than a nightmare, accept for one you can’t wake up from.”
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