This is a repost from my old 90s horror blog. I like what I wrote here, so I don’t see a need to rewrite.
In the universe of Jason Goes To Hell, the public and the authorities are aware of the existence of Jason Voorhees as a nearly unstoppable killer, to the point that the opening scene features an FBI task force blowing him to pieces with explosives after having baited him into appearing by sending a lone female agent to a dark cabin to take a shower. Curiously, although this takes place in 1993, Mulder and Scully do not show up for the autopsy, although it is best that they didn’t, because everyone in the lab is killed horribly including a cameoing Kane Hodder as a security guard with an awful mullet.
Jason, it seems, although dismembered, has been able to transfer his blackened essence into another body, and returns to Crystal Lake to continue his spree. Not only that, but it seems that Crystal Lake was his family’s ancestral home, and he still has a sister, niece, and grand niece living there. If he can inhabit one of their bodies, he will be in business as usual. Best of all, we finally get an explanation as to his near-immortality: Mrs. Voorhees brought her poor drowned child back from the dead using the Necronomicon; yes, we have here the same prop, same book with a face, from the Evil Dead movies. In the only crossover we get between those two series, it is up to an Ash type character (the niece’s boyfriend and baby daddy) to stop Jason once and for all (heh) while a bounty hunter assists and a television reporter from a tabloid show mucks about trying to exploit the situation.
Jason Goes To Hell has the double distinction of being the most hated entry in the Friday the 13th series and the only entry to be released in the 90s, facts that I believe are somewhat related. It’s not that all 90s horror is bad, an oft-repeated statement that this entire blog has set out to disprove, it’s just that horror movies made between about 1987 to about 1995 often had a tongue-in-cheek tone which the filmmakers usually forgot to let their audience (fans of the intentionally scary but usually unintentionally funny slashers of the early 80s) in on. I can’t read this over the top film as anything but satire, or maybe even horror comedy along the lines of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive.
What I can be sure of is that the script suffers in that connections are implied between the locals of Crystal Lake, a backstory if you will, which the screenwriters forgot to include, and which could have been handled easily if the death tourists in the “let’s go out to Crystal Lake and smoke weed and fuck now that the FBI has killed Jason” sequence had been omitted for time. But then there wouldn’t have been boobs and butts in the movie. It’s a tradeoff. Several times I felt like I was watching a sequel that was missing information from an earlier installment, which I am sure is not the case. We are simply introduced, clumsily, to Jason’s surviving family and their friends, and expected to make time to catch up on their connections while enjoying some grossouts. You can’t have both, at least with this pacing. Not only that, but no one in the movie is an any way competent other than the bounty hunter character (actual X-Files connection Steven Williams) and the Ash character. And even they are not very appealing. But then, I honestly believe slasher characters are made unlikeable so we’ll enjoy their deaths. And I was definitely cheering for Jason here.
Regardless, this is the unfortunate truth: this movie is no worse than any other Jason movie, because all of them are guilty pleasures at best and schlock at worst. These movies were never well-regarded, a fact that the internet has conveniently forgotten. I’ll go to the mat with you over which Freddy movies are the best, for example, and their order of importance, but when it comes to Jason movies, I don’t give a shit. We were never meant to. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the Friday series; in fact, I observed our international horror nerd holiday last night by watching Jason Goes To Hell and Friday the 13th Part 2. But there is no true horror in these films, only fun in seeing what the special effects team is gonna do next, and boobs. They’re just not good movies. Why this one in particular is so maligned despite some inventive kills and a much-needed explanation for why Jason is the way he is, who knows? Ki ki ki, ma ma ma.