Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Flavors of Horror #31: Jason X

Oh, my darlings, it's that day. October 31st. Halloween. The last entry in my interminable daily slog through horror movies, both good (ahem) and bad for the year. For this final entry in the 31 Flavors of Horror (and yes, I'm just as done with the name for the year as you are, faithful reader), I had no choice but to wrap it up with one last call on my machete-totin' main squeeze... 

I first saw this in theaters when it came out in 2001, making this the X anniversary of number X, no less. It was a sparsely attended matinee, but I still found the movie to be a helluva lot of fun. Does it hold up? Let's find out!

31 Flavors of Horror #31:
Jason X

So here we are, with that last trip to the well before that buttinsky Freddy shows up and then you have to go and reboot with that twink from Supernatural (which, yes, I do secretly watch, obsess, and dwell over, why do you ask?). You've been with me now through nine other entries and damn if our relationship hasn't grown. I met your mother, put up with a certain prude (kaff *Part 3* kaff), put up with stand-ins, your Carrie phase, and went on a road trip with you. Now here we are, at the end of our long and lovely courtship... and you have to go and jet off somewhere new... Hell. This excursion to the very dry well opens in a (now seemingly old school) Hell inside the very crust brain of Jason V. He's being shot up wit hchemicals as there's some serious science going on in this flick. Turns out Jason's quite trussed up and held captive at the "Crystal Lake Research Facility" and they're going to freeze him. It's not quite clear what they're researching, or why they'd want to freeze this psycho... or how he got from Hell at the end of the last flick to here. Also, at some point he grew a different head of hair, got a new mask and a smart look in his eye.

Of all the people to show up, the last one you'd expect is film director David Cronenberg. His Dr. Wimmer is here to yank Jason from Dr. Rowan (Lexa Doig), the obligatory hot science chick, in order to study Jason's ability to keep coming back time and again. It's sequelitis, not biology.

(Sci-Fi cliches abound ahead... and, I use the term "nipplemaster")

Mr. V, however has broken loose, and takes out some soldiers and Dr. Wimmer (shortest cameo this side of an appearance in a Police Squad credits sequence? in a quick and nasty manner. The lovely Rowan finds herself playing prey to a downright uninterested-looking Jason. She lures him down into a wet basement and into whatever corner it is where they keep the giant freezer. She thinks she's got him boxed and freezing, but he's still got his machete. He winds up spearing Rowan through the machine, and they both get flash-frozen together.

You should date and label your leftovers. Avoids freezerburn...
Ms. Rowan turns grey-blue, and we move to a team of people in stylish red ponchos and funky goggle-masks, who're checking out the now cobwebby-basement. It's kind of disappointing when they turn out to be a bloody field trip, complete with their own robo-chick, Kay-Em 14 (Doig's fellow Andromeda alum,  Lisa Ryder, who has a dry, witty bearing that absolutely makes this movie for me), and a comic-relief teen named Azrael who you're immediately awaiting to die. They don't know what a hockey mask is, but they do know they can resuscitate Rowan. Comic relief has to go and knock over the Jason-pop, getting his arm lopped off in the process. Thankfully, they're in the future, so his pumpin' hand can be regrown.

It turns out Earth is an uninhabitable wasteland, and in the future Space Marines (will there be any other kind) shepherd around school trips. The flying short bus (complete with jackass pilor) returns to the impractically enormous mothership, the Grendel, and unloads Jason and the Rowan-cicle. There's a whole swarm of characters, and I only caught the name of hot blonde Adrienne and someone named Stonie.

Everyone gets to work with some super-science, and they reattach Azrael's arm and let the leftovers thaw. Rowan gets short-shrift compared to the fascinating relic that is the pea-brained Jason, but she still gets restored with fun, silver, CGI- threads of nano-ants. She sure thaws out purdy, but they don't go out of their way to explore the traumas of waking up in 2455. "You're alive and on our spaceship, so that's nice. Everyone and everything you know is dead and long gone, even if you had an auto-feeder for your cat..."

However, in the future, the Canadian accent survives! The teacher, Professor "Canada" Lowe calls his boss excited about Rowan, but Jason is evidently a much-richer catch. Once you've heard someone killed 200 people and you have him, even frozen, the smart thing to do is throw 'im off your boat immediately. However, just like everyone in all Friday the 13th flicks, he gets sidetracked by "jailbait poonani" and, ergo, lots of people are going to die.

Meanwhile, in the other lab, Adrienne is busy plucking and flash-freezing Jason's eyes and slicing off his mask.She's too busy working (and working her bare midriff) to notice that he's thawing out and, unlike Rowan, fully capable of waking up on his own (which was helpfully established by Cronenberg. Turns out he was just here to deliver some plot exposition... and you thought it was just a glorified cameo).

Bimbo Sno-cone...
Here, we  take a side trip to the best scene in the movie, where one of the students is checking out Kay-Em's breasts... and her magnetic nipples fall off. Made me bray with laughter then, and it still does now. It's counterpointed with two other students hooking up, but as neither have detachable nipples, you really shouldn't give a shit. It's just filler as we get to one of the most glorified kills in recent cinema history. Jason takes Adrienne and dumps her face in a big vat of liquid nitrogen, flash-freezing then smashing her head like a giant blonde  snow-cone. He then grabs a big surgical cleaver and sets out to do what he does best.

Rowan gets a visit from Canada Lowe for an info-dump meet-up. Earth 1 is dead and they're off to Earth 2. Jason killed a lotta people, and she rightfully assumes people would know who he was. She also gets to meet Tsunaron (Kay-Em's nipplemaster) and Janessa, along with Kay-Em (who you'd think she'd recognize from Andromeda). I assume these kids will make it until late in the picture, as they actually get introductions. Another kid comes in with Jason's machete, and all hell breaks lose when they find Adrienne's body... and Jason knocks off one of the time-filling fuckbuddies (the why'd-they-name-him Stonie).

The other runs to Prof. Canada and big, badass Sgt. Brodski, and we run to the "erector-set and neon-tubing room" of the space ship, where Azrael and some bald guy are killing holograms, then get killed by Jason... or did they? It's a virtual reality video game, so Jason re-kills the annoying kid and the bald guy. If you want a job done right...

Prof Canada follows the Sargent down the giant-circuit board corridors of the ship, hoping to bribe him, but the Sarge has the most sense of anyone in this flick, and would rather kill Jason. He sends a couple of his space marines, who immediately find the fresh kills. They also go looking in the "giant sling and terrarium room," where Jason's just about to kill some other guy on the ship (bet he's growing weed in one of those terrariums). Sarge and his squealing commandos shoot up the ship (not that I'd ever advocate firing guns on a spaceship), but aren't used to Jason's magical vanishing acts. He proceeds to snap one marine's neck and skewers another on a giant screw. A third gets her throat slit, which takes an interminable amount of time since really these guys are as much time-fillers as the screwing teens were earlier, and a fourth marine shoots Jason fulla holes and gets bisected for his trouble. There's another marine who gets impaled off-screen, whittling the defense department down to one bad-ass Sarge, and he quickly gets taken down with a couple of spears through the back.

Ok, I'm a sucker for this crap. She's a badass.
So now we're down to defenseless, horny teenagers... just the way it should be! Jason also helpfully takes out the pilot,  so instead of reaching a safe haven, the Grendel rips through a giant space-station, which goes on to explode, meaning their folly has probably now killed thousands of people. We're down Prof. Canada, the Rowancicle, the robot, an old guy, and a handful of remaining teens, who Jason immediately comes for. He quickly retrieves his trusty machete and whets it's whistle on Prof Canada Lowe, and the rest decide to head off for the getaway shuttle. Rowan decides she's going to be a badass with a giant rifle, while Tsunaron uses the power of smoochin' to convince Kay-Em to get them off the ship... wow, this is reheated sc-fi schlock. I'm loving it, too.

Everyone splits up - all the better to kill them off - and Rowan discovers Bronski, still alive after all. Jason catches the Engineer in a moment alone and, after startling him with Lowe's severed head, does him in. Another teen, Kinsa, locks herself in the shuttle, and quickly blows it and herself to kingdom come. Jason shows up, cornering Rowan and two of the teens, and is about to kill them, when the now-badass and leather-clad Kay-Em shows up. She's delightfully bad-ass, chasing after and cornering Jason with a couple of semi-automatic pistols and some super-android kung-fu. She even blows his arm, leg, and head off

The last three kids, Rowan, Bronski, and the robot move on to keeping busy dealing with a crippled spaceship. Rowan, having that 21st century viewpoint, comes up with a third-act game-plan of: get to the other side of the ship and disconnect it from the broke part., but miss what's going on in the other room. Kay-Em killed Jason right in front of the nano-ant machine... so Jason winds up getting rebuilt, bigger and badder than ever. Whoops. Bigger, badder, red-eyed and half metal, Spaceon chases them down for a confrontation. This time, Kay-Em has sadly little effect, and loses her robot head in the effort. Waylander, one of the remaining kids, blows himself up, thinking he'll be taking Jason with him. It's a wasted effort since Jason just winds up punching through the hull, leading to Janessa getting sucked through the hole... and a piece of floor grate. All that's left now are Bronski, Rowan, Tsunaron, and Kay-Em's noggin', who scurry off with Spaceon hot on their heels. The rescue ship arrived and is ready to save them, but they still have to get their door open and out to it before Mr. X reaches them.
Just like old times...

As a stalling tactic, they come up with the other great scene in this flick. Remember that holodeck bit? They set it up as a convincing Camp Crystal Lake, circa Part Two or so. It's the real set-piece of the movie, with a giant moon, cabin, and pair of nubile teenage honeys who "loooove premarital sex." Spaceon can't ignore the temptation and takes a nostalgic moment to take the bimbos out. It bought enough time to get the door open and off the ship, but Rowan has to go back for Jones the cat... I mean, Kay-Em's head, so Bronski gets left behind to chest-bump Spaceon right before the Grendel blows up... then, again, in outer space, where they burn up in re-entry together as they fall to Earth 2... or do they?

This is a fun, unpretentious, and dumb movie. Sci-fi and slasher flick cliches mix up pretty well in a Cuisinart, though, so it's an absolutely painless time. Jason X goes out on a high note!

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