Movie Review: JASON X

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jason xNew Line Cinema
2001
R

“Jason Voorhees. He killed nearly two-hundred people and simply disappeared without a trace. Under the right buyer, he could be worth a fortune.”

 

It’s been said that one of the sure signs of a movie franchise jumping the proverbial shark is when one of the sequels is set in space. Or, is that an indication that the series is running out of ideas? It’s too early in the morning as I write this, and I haven’t had my coffee yet. Also, it’s a Tuesday. I have no idea what bearing this has on the review, here. Let’s move on before I devolve into a raving lunatic…

At this point in the game, any prospect of the Friday The 13th series going back to its roots was met with a very audible snicker. Almost ten years since the abysmal Jason Goes To Hell, and now we’re going to shoot Jason Voorhees into deep SPAAAAAAACE! to wreak gleeful mayhem. Let’s get to the rundown, shall we?

In the near future of…2010, Jason Voorhees is finally captured by the US gov’ment (I guess this is an alternative timeline where they didn’t blow him up in an airstrike) and being held at a research facility. Since Jason proves to be rather hard to kill, a scientist decides that, if they can’t kill Jason, the next best thing to do is to permanently contain him by way of cryogenic deep freeze. Another scientist accompanied by soldiers has alternate plans to research the hockey masked slasher’s rapid regeneration and seemingly immortal qualities, but they suddenly find themselves having to deal with an escaped Jason. The body count begins, until he’s finally lured into the cryogenic pod by the scientist that wanted him frozen in the first place. But, right as she activates the freeze, Jason manages to get in one final blow, killing the scientist, while everything in the room freezes due to a breach caused by Jason’s machete. Fast forward a few hundred years, and Earth is now a wasteland with all of the humans moved out to the creatively named Earth Two. Now, the old Earth is being explored by students on a field trip, where they stumble upon the popsicle’d remains of Jason and the scientist. They take ’em back to their ship to revive the scientist and study the body of Jason, while they fly back to Earth Two. Inevitably, a couple have sex, and if you know the rules of this game, that revives Jason to begin his delightful slaughter of whoever gets in his way. The revived 21st Century scientist rallies the survivors, explaining who and what Jason Voorhees is while trying to avoid getting kebabed. This goes about as well as to be expected, when they finally take him out with an android with really big guns. But, of course this is IN SPACE!, so Jason gets an upgrade thanks to a bunch of nano-tech to Uber Jason. Time to cue up the obligatory “Bodies” by Drowning Pool, sit back and watch the wackiness unfold before your eyes.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I absolutely love Jason X. It’s like the filmmakers went “screw it,” and decided to have fun with the story in a way that didn’t insult our collective intelligence like with Jason Goes To Hell. It doesn’t take itself that seriously. I would argue that Jason X knows it’s a bad movie, and invites you to come along and revel in the cheesy goodness. Okay, sure, the effects haven’t aged very well, and there’s maybe one too many former Andromeda co-stars in the cast, but really, this is a perfect way to spend a bitterly cold and rainy Saturday afternoon in April.

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Movie Review: JASON GOES TO HELL

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jason goes to hellDimension
1993
R

“We’re going to Camp Crystal Lake.”
“Oh, yeah? Planning on smoking a little dope, having a little premarital sex and getting slaughtered?”

Quick, what do you get when you make a Friday The 13th movie without Jason? If you said, “Part V: A New Beginning,” well…you’d be right. And also, not paying attention to the title of the review, here.

Jason Goes To Hell was not a real good entry in the overall Friday The 13th franchise. It’s remembered as a major trip-up, probably the most infamous of them all, and yes I’m including Jason X in with this. See, after Part VIII (the one where Jason takes a boat ride) in 1989, Paramount sold its property to Dimension, home of contemporaries Nightmare On Elm Street and Hellraiser series. Even though Paramount still held onto the rights to the title Friday The 13th (hence titling this merely Jason Goes To Hell), things looked promising — not only did Jason find a home with Freddy and Pinhead, but also a new movie was immediately put into production, one that was going to be helmed by guys who were a couple of fans who grew up on the iconic slasher series. Things were looking up from the perspective of us horror geeks.

And then the movie finally came out, leaving fanboys everywhere scratching their heads as to what the heck happened to our beloved series.

We begin with Jason Voorhees doing what he does best: chasing a neekid young lady around Camp Crystal Lake. It’s soon revealed that the neekid young lady was merely bait to lure the infamous slasher into a trap set by FBI, which takes him out by blowing him to bits by way of air strike. After effectively getting the only good part of the movie out of the way immediately, what’s left of Jason is sent to a morgue, where his still-beating heart is consumed by the coroner, because he was possessed by it. You heard me. Coroner-Jason goes off to do some more killin’, while a bounty hunter is trying to find members of Jason’s family bloodline, because apparently only member’s of Jason’s family can kill him, and also if Jason possesses a family member, he can become reborn back into the nigh-invincible killer zombie and continue his ongoing death spree. The bounty hunter finds Jason’s half-sister Diana, his niece Jessica, and Jessica’s infant daughter Stephanie, which makes Jason a Great-Uncle, I guess? Anyway, Jason shows up, kills Diana, but is fought off by Jessica’s ex-boyfriend / father of Stephanie, Steven. Steven is blamed for the murder, Jessica’s current television reporter boyfriend is trying to exploit the situation for ratings purposes, Jason is possessing people left and right, Jessica doesn’t believe Steven, but then does when Jason kills off everyone is the police station, other stuff happens, and then the final showdown happens at the old Voorhees house where a “mystical dagger” that’s totally from Evil Dead 2 is used to off Jason, but not until he’s finally reborn as he wanted, in a very, very disturbing and literal way. Then souls are released from Jason’s torso, and demon hands pull Jason to hell. Then Freddy’s glove takes down his hockey mask. The end.

Jason Goes To Hell is just a confusing mess. To be fair, this isn’t the first time the series hasn’t made sense — least we forget the telekinetic angle in Part VII — and one could argue that the Friday The 13th series jumped the shark long before this one — I maintain it did so twice, with Part V and Part VIII — but here, they really messed with the recipe to the point where I began to wonder if they just greenlit a 13-year-old’s fan fic and went with it.

I get wanting to go in bold new story directions, but Jason Goes To Hell lost sight of the core of the series, and Jason in general. Body possession by wormy homunculus-like critters from Jason’s still-beating heart to be reborn from another Voorhees? I…can’t even. Add to this the incredibly dull 3/4 after the admittedly cooler opening where they blow Jason up with an air strike, the pointless inclusion of the Kandarian Dagger from the Evil Dead franchise, by the time the famous stinger of Freddy’s glove pulling Jason’s mask down into the ground at the end, I was groaning in sadness and anger. Also, Jason doesn’t really go to hell during any part of the movie.

If you, like myself and my long-suffering heterosexual lifemate Nex did all those years ago, you want to watch all of the Friday The 13th movies in order, take my advice: You can skip Jason Goes To Hell. There’s no need to do so. Do yourself a favor and pass this up.

Yeah, you’re probably not going to be following my advice, are you? Eh, whatever. The pain killers are in the cabinet.

HALLOWEEN’ING Day 13: Friday The 13th Marathon!

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halloween'ing 2017
friday the 13th
Now, this is a special day, indeed. It’s not every year that we have a Friday the 13th in the month of October. Superstitious or not, having one during the Halloween season is a special kind of frosting on this proverbial cake. And what better way to celebrate than to have a marathon of the classic Friday The 13th movies? Okay, maybe a little too on-the-nose, but this doesn’t happen too often, either.

I would recommend going with the first movie from 1981, then Part 4 (“The Final Chapter”…yeah, right), and then Part 6 (“Jason Lives”). Why these, instead of going the sequential route? Well, for one, I did watch all of the movies back-to-back once. Keep in mind I’m a well-seasoned horror fan; I don’t recommend doing this for your standard novice. These three I consider the best of the classic era: The first one setting things up, where you don’t even see Jason until the very end (but you do see a young Kevin Bacon get offed rather nicely); Part 4 has Jason go up against perhaps his greatest nemesis, Corey Feldman; and Part 6 is where we finally get the classic Jason we all know and love, Unstoppable Zombie Jason!

FRIDAY The 13th
FRIDAY The 13th: The Final Chapter
FRIDAY The 13th: Jason Lives

::END TRANSMISSION::

Movie Review: FREDDY Vs. JASON

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freddy vs jason

New Line
2003
R

“What’s wrong, Lori?  Miss your wake-up call?”

It’s been nearly ten years since Freddy Krueger terrorized people in their dreams, and the towns folk want to keep him erased from their memory.  Freddy still has one more plan on getting back on Elm Street.  He resurrects Jason Voorhees and sends him off to kill.  The more bodies which fall to the ground, the stronger in which Freddy becomes.  That is, until Freddy realizes that Jason isn’t going to step aside easy, and must be taken down himself.

Yes, I watched this movie when it came out in theaters.  Opening day, as a matter of fact.  Yes, I anticipated this thing since the rumors began at the end of Jason Goes To Hell.  Yes, I followed the production of this long-anticipated fanboy dream closely.  And when I finally sat down and took in this finally-realized throwdown between two of horrordom’s beloved icons, by the time the end credits rolled I was one happy and contented fiend.

Yes, I enjoyed Freddy Vs. Jason immensely.  And I don’t understand why there’s been so much bellyaching about this movie to begin with.  I mean, what’s there to be complaining about?  What’s the problem?  Why does it seem that, every time I read or hear someone talk about this movie, it’s never good, always disparaging?  What were they expecting, exactly?  I don’t know.

All I know is that Freddy Vs. Jason wasn’t just a means to a quick buck on two sadly stagnated classic franchises.  There’s a decent plot here, having the Stalker of All Your Nightmares recruit the help of the Unstoppable Menace of Crystal Lake to bring fear back to the people of Elm Street, because they’re not afraid of Freddy anymore, and thus he’s weak.  But, Jason’s power doesn’t depend on anyone being afraid of him – he’s more a force of nature than a legendary boogie-man.  So, when he starts encroaching too much on Freddy’s territory, he decides to take Jason out, resulting in a knock-down, drag-out fight that takes place not only in the real world, but also in Jason’s dream realm, which is a rather dark and scary place in and of itself.

Really, this movie is just fun to watch.  I went in merely expecting an entertaining mash-up of two of my favorite modern Horror Icons, and that’s exactly what I got.  Robert Englund is in top form as Freddy, as he brings his tasty blend of menacing merriment to the role that he made iconic.  And Jason…okay, this time around he wasn’t played by fan favorite Kane Hodder (and reports that the director was trying to find an actor that would give Jason “sad poetic eyes”, which has been a long-time running joke in my pantheon of quotes, didn’t help much in that respect), but really, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t take much to make Jason what he is.  And here, Jason is definitely Jason, to a “t”.  As far as the kill-fodder cast goes, they filled the roles nicely and were a bit more engaging than the usual spate of slasher horror actors.  Everyone’s having fun here, and the final stand-off between Freddy and Jason did NOT disappoint.  The ending was actually rather satisfying, if not a bit pandering.

Overall, I would view Freddy Vs. Jason as a satisfying capper to two classic franchise runs.  Go forth, rent this one, and enjoy the ride.  And no, that isn’t Jason Mews, so stop asking.

Movie Review: FRIDAY THE 13th Pt. 4

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Friday_the_13th_part_4

Paramount Pictures
1984
R

“He thinks that’s funny.  He thinks that’s a funny thing he’s doing.”

It’s Jason Voorhees versus his arch nemesis, a prepubescent Corey Fieldman! Yes, here it is, in the fourth and increasingly mislabeled “The Final Chapter” in the Friday The 13th series, where we witness the final death of Jason, and also the final movie in the First Era of the Friday The 13th franchise.  Confused?  Let your Uncle NecRo explain, my tender dumplings…

After three films, Paramount decided to make the fourth one the last one in the popular slasher series.  As such, they pulled out the stops, and brought us the for-realsies death of the living Jason Voorhees, once and for all.  Why did they decide to do this?  Beats me.  The result, though, was an entry that many fans consider the best one of the entire franchise.

Also notable is the appearance of not only the aforementioned Corey Fieldman as the young, adorable horror enthusiast, but also a not-yet-too-weird Crispen Glover as part of the cast.  Of course, this is a Friday The 13th movie, so there’s kills aplenty, all culminating in a showdown that’s interesting but rather satisfying.

Had they stopped here, like they intended to do so, I’m sure no one would have complained too much.  Of course, everyone bearing the power of hindsight, we all know what had happened after this movie.  But, that’s for a bunch of fanboy whining in other blog posts.  As it stands, Friday The 13th Part IV might not really be the “final chapter”, but it is a rather fun watch in a series that has definitely seen much worse days.  Recommended.