Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday broke with franchise canon in a big way, with one major sequence showing the slasher is a great actor.
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday deviated from canon in some major ways, but its biggest break showed the title slasher himself is a great actor. The critical and financial disappointment of Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan in 1989 proved the series franchise had burned itself out. Franchise creator Sean S. Cunningham wanted to get Freddy Vs Jason off the ground back in the early 1990s, and managed to secure the rights to Jason, but not the Friday The 13th title. Cunningham thus developed Jason Goes To Hell as an entry that would lead into that proposed crossover.
Director Adam Marcus wanted to make something very different from the traditional Friday The 13th formula with The Final Friday, which opens with Jason being blown to pieces. A convoluted new mythology reveals that Voorhees’ evil spirit – via some kind of demon snake – can possess other bodies, but he can only truly be reborn in the body of a blood relative. For fans of the series, Jason Goes To Hell is either a gory, demented delight or a complete mess that is the worst in the franchise.
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The body-hopping plot device had already been tried – to much better effect – in New Line’s own The Hidden in 1987. Despite possessing several different shells throughout Jason Goes To Hell, the titular slasher remains mute throughout the story. That is, until the finale, which sees Jason’s niece Jessica trying to shield her baby from two potential Jason suspects; one is the local sheriff Landis while the other is Deputy Randy. While it should be easy to pinpoint who Jason is possessing, the trouble is, they both talk to Jessica during the scene.
In fact, Landis is the most suspicious of the two when he tries to grab Jessica, leading to Randy pointing his gun at the sheriff and ordering him to back off. Landis tries again and Jessica stabs him to death, but it’s soon revealed Randy is actually Jason in disguise. Jason Goes To Hell played fast and loose with the established Friday The 13th canon already, but having Jason not only capable of speech but suddenly giving a very convincing performance as a concerned cop, is really stretching the movie’s logic.
The adult Jason was only seen talking onscreen once before in Friday The 13th Part VIII, and that’s in a child’s voice as he flashes back to his drowning as a boy. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday’s director Marcus and screenwriter Dean Lorey admit in the movie’s commentary track that they knew this moment was very out of character for Jason, but they couldn’t think of another way to do the scene. Jason talking isn’t even the most ridiculous moment of this later entry, so it’s not commonly highlighted as an issue.
Next: Jason Goes To Hell: What Jason Looks Like Without The Mask
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