Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Flavors of Horror #27: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

 Number Nine? Nine of these things? You have got to be kidding me...

Well, here we are again. One more (exceedingly long-winded) trip to the well, and this time New Line's payin' for dinner. Since you got melted to childhood by toxic waste last time, I didn't think you'd come sniffing around again, but it's another Friday and you're back to wine and dine me.

Even worse, in this one, there's only slightly more Jason than there was in the first Friday the 13th. Like Charlton Heston in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, or Pinhead in any latter Hellraiser flick, he's more framing device than character.

Shall we?

31 Flavors of Horror #27:
Jason Goes To Hell

New Line opens this flick with some warbly music that leads into the signature musical cues as a sleek convertible drives through the sunset up to a cabin that's supposed to be near a certain lake, but has a decided lack of forest and a mountain behind it. This is not your Paramount Pictures Crystal Lake. The driver is a lone pretty lady, all alone and solo-like, arriving at a well-kept cabin in the woods. I think it's safe to assume where this is heading even if her only defining characteristics are her bee-stung lips and baseball cap. She leaves doors open behind her, ducks out of the mirror frame, and lets us watch her strip down to her thong and beyond as she gets ready to shower. Short of putting a "Come and get it, Jason" neon sign in the window, I don't know what she's hoping to accomplish. When the lights go out, our gal pal puts on a towel and heads out to investigate and, sho' nuff, Jason shows up, swinging his machete and showing off some very stringy hair. Towel-girl evades him and runs off into the woods, somehow acquiring shoes in the long shots, and... lures Jason into a grove filled with armed SWAT team members. Turns out she wasn't just a stereotype, she was a decoy.

Overkill be damned they proceed to shoot up and then blow Jason up to a pile of itty bitty pieces, including his still-beating heart. The job might be well done, but the Captain from 21 Jump Street (Stephen Williams) is lurking in the woods, trying to be his best badass in a duster and chewing a stogie, and says "I don't think so." Being that Jason's heart still seems to be beating I'd think that's a fair assessment.

(After the jump, I pick this puppy apart, and mangle the English language to create the phrase "Mer-Gremlin lookin' Ghoolie")

We then follow J-boy to the Youngstown, Ohio morgue (if you ever wondered where Crystal Lake was, guess it's somewhere near there) where they're taking in the pile of meat to autopsy. The pathologist (Richard Gant, who's one of my favorite "Hey, it's that guy!" types), surprisingly working while not eating a sandwich, unlike 90% of his movie autopsy-performing brethren, helpfully drops big chunks of burned, glazed ribcage and other parts in front of us, making the credits an occasion that might just have you thinking barbeque for dinner.
Seriously, what is it with Movie coroners and no face protection?

Of course, he does balance out our disappointment by swigging some soda while handling the corpse of a zombie killer, which surely must qualify as a bio-hazard. His "professional opinion is this guy is deader'n shit," which is none too professional, but neither is his next move, which is poking at body parts while not wearing any sort of face-protection. It's no surprise when the tell-tale beating of Jason's heart compels him take a big ol' bite out of it. How can you resist when it's just sitting there, pulsing, and you don't even have a mask?

Sure enough, eating the heart doesn't set well, as cartoon mini-comets fly out of Jason's remains and into him. Seems being a Voorhees is a communicable disease. His coworker comes in (with a pizza, natch) and starts talking smack about Jason's remains, so our Jason-ified coroner kills him. He then does in a couple security guards for being lippy (one played by Kane Hodder), though we get the pay off when the movie cuts to an America's Most Wanted-like TV sequence, which must have great producers as they can get shots of bloody dead bodies into the intro and score outtakes from this very movie to illustrate their reporting on the coroners. "American Case File" fills us in on any back-story new viewers might be unfamiliar with. They even helpfully pin his birthday to 1946 (making him an older leading man as this came out in 1993) and name-check his daddy as Elias. Seems they've confirmed 83 kills as his and suspect him of more. Evidently they've seen my last 8 reviews...

We also get Steven Williams properly introduced as bounty hunter Creighton Duke,  a loon who's read the script and delivers the exposition that the "evil" of "Jason" is now loose, and that his body was just a meat-suit. It's oddly new-age for a guy who comes off like a scary impression of Fred Williamson and wants half-a-million to kill the guy for good. The show also says 5 more people have been killed between Youngstown and Crystal Lake. These movies really have a low opinion of law enforcement. The idea they'd let him get away with 83 murders, if not more, and only then blow his ass sky-high I personally find rather annoying. Seriously, they'd at least do a good job of making sure people didn't keep reopening that damned camp if they couldn't find him.

What, I coulda just read the book?
Anyhow, watching this TV show is Diana (Erin Grey) as a checker-cloth-clad waitress who works in what is evidently a Jason-themed diner that sells hockey-mask burgers. Creighton shows up to proposition Diana and out her in public as an important plot point. He also makes a bad impression on Diana's boyfriend, the Police Chief. We also meet John D. LeMay, taking time off from the Antiques store in Friday the 13th: The Series, to be dashing lead Steven. Diana invites him over to her house to discuss her daughter Diana, who he's evidently been dating and is now estranged from. Convenient that the whole cast eats at the same diner...

Steven picks up some fresh-faced hitch-hikers who're planning on "smoking a little dope, having some pre-marital sex, and getting slaughtered." Collectively, they're the "Second-Act-Padding Bunch." The third-wheel chick wants him to come (die) with them, but he demurs, knowing full well not to distract from their scenes as he fears, based on tradition, will probably be the only credit they're ever have in their film careers. (Michelle Clunie and Michael Silver beat those odds as both have long TV resumes to their credit. The blonde, Kathryn Atwood, and Keri Keenan, who played Jessica, both seem to have bailed from Hollywood with short resumes.)

We stick with the campers while they return from the lake to flash their breasts and split up. Our trusty, lusty rusty gets slashed by the murderous coroner, so we join the lovebirds in the tent. The girl steps out for a tension-building pee that's murder free, then returns to the tent, where they banter about an (admittedly pointless considering what's about to happen) condom. They don't use it and then the girl gets gored.
It is here that I'm saddened to discover I'm definitely watching the chopped-up cut of this movie because it doesn't have the split-torso shot I know was in this last time I watched it.

Meanwhile, back at the Diner's unlit parking lot, Diana meets a "spring-loaded cat" and a "spring-loaded" Deputy. His chick shows up to whisk him away, but gets her neck caught in the car door when Coroner Cutter shows up to do them in. Our scalpel-wielding wonder takes the time to take the Deputy to a house, strap him to a table, and shave his face before... well, he either leaned in for a kiss or slipped him "the Jason."

Diana returns to her surprisingly-spacious-house-for-a-waitress and gets a call from daughter Jessica. Seems Steven his actually her Grand-baby-daddy, but her daughter's now dating the "American Case File" host now. They squeeze in this plot-building point before the Jason-possessed Deputy shows up to attack her. Luckily, she must keep a gun in every drawer or she's very lucky, because she gets to blow his brains out. This doesn't stop him though and he tries to slip her the turd-snake-tongue looking thing and is "The Jason." Steven breaks it up but Deputy Doodie-Mouth stabs Diana, so Steven runs a fireplace poker through him. This will not go over well with local law enforcement. Diana tells him to save Jessica, then Chief boyfriend shows up, thinking he's caught Steven red-handed.

Jessica returns home, probably devastated to think her baby daddy killed her mother, to find Vicki (an all grown former "Annie" Allison Smith, best remembered from Kate & Allie) scrubbing up blood from the carpet. Just what you wanna walk in on. While she takes care of those necessary visits to the rest of the cast at the police station, Steven gets a pep-talk from Creighton Duke, a freakin' loon who makes Steve submit to broken fingers in exchange for information. The plot, rather painfully, seems to require that Jessica has to kill Jason. As the rest of us had figured out long before now, Diana and Jason were siblings, meaning "The Jason" wants into either Jessica or his grand-niece. Duke and Steven start themselves a break-out.

Officer Doodie-Mouth Sticky-Pulp, reporting for duty.
Meanwhile, Vicki arrives at the comedy-relief diner to see manager Rusty Schwimmer (in my movie-addled mind her character has to be related to Henrietta Bazoom from Showgirls) and Leslie Jordan, and Steven heads off to the decaying Voorhees mansion. I always find it fascinating to see perfectly lovely lakeside real estate implied to be allowed to rot. Not even in this depressed market would that have to happen. For being enough of a badass to suffer broken fingers to find out how to help his baby-mama, Steven sure squeals with fear when confronted with a frickin' ironing board. He also discovers... The Necronomicon from the Evil Dead movies. Uh, guys, that was a TOTALLY different cabin in the woods, mmmkay? His search is interrupted by the arrival of the douchebag TV host boyfriend, who helpfully gets on his cellphone to show he's not there for Jessica, but for the ratings. Seems he also stole and stashed Diana's body, which proves that relationship will never work, but he's interrupted by the Deputy, who slips him some Jason-tongue, then helpfully melts to sticky-pulp. One must assume they had some effects budget left over from all the good gore shots they're not including.

At home, Jessica has pre-steamed the bathroom so she can then turn the show (back?) on and have a good cry, but plumbing and electric is all run together in Crystal Lake homes, so her lights go out, just like at the start of the movie. She's less than appreciative when Steven just barely saves her from her now-possessed boyfriend, running him over twice with the car in the process. She proceeds to kick his ass, then go gather cops to pick him up "out past the Meyers place."All '80's series flicks evidently take place in the same world. Unfortunately, they send Officer Randy, who only can bring him in by telling him Jessica's at the station.  TV boyfriend beats them there and kills some police officers and tries to pass her "the Jason." Steven-ex-machina arrives in time to save her.

They head to the Comedy Relief Diner, where TV-Jason shows to start killing the surprisingly well-armed staff, even stuffing TV's loveable Leslie Jordan into the Fry Daddy. Vicki proves to be pretty warrior-iffic, but gets some rebar thru the cleavage for her troubles. Jessica again proves herself to be a hard girlfriend to keep by taking off without Steven, because she found the note saying Duke had the baby.

Jessica shows up at the Voorhees home just in time for the Third Act. Duke is happy to hand her the baby but would prefer she stick around so they can send the Jason-slug to hell and even hands her a cheap-ass, glowing, Ginsu-Excalibur to kill it with. Duke falls though a trap door and gets speared, taking him out of a cop standoff that leads to Jessica stabbing the Police chief. Jason, however, is cozy in Officer Randy and tries to get into the baby. Steven-ex-machina again arrives just in the nick of it to nick Randy in the throat with a machete, which lets the Jason-puppet-of-greased-up-evil out to run around like the Zuni Fetish Doll. This Mer-Gremlin lookin' Ghoolie finds Diana's body and climbs right into her netherparts.

Duke helpfully explained it needed a female Voorhees to be reborn in so it evidently turns her body to the same ragge-haired lumpy Jason we saw int he beginning of the flick. Duke stupidly cuffs himself to Jason because his goal in life was to be a last-five-minutes-of-a-movie suicide, and Steven bodslams Jason through a window. He also hits him with a rake but gets beat with the blunt end of it for his troubles.

Sing it with me: "Here's where the story ends..."
So there's fighting in the garden, but since they're the leads Jason decides to play with Steven (literally, on a jungle gym) instead of just killing him, leaving Jessica free to deliver the sort of slow motion stabbing all Friday flicks should end in. This lets those cartoon mini-comets out through the magic of special effects and they've now supposedly killed him double-plus good, as big floppy Muppet hands poop up to pull Jason, and very nearly Steven down to a white-light hell, with the coup-de-grace of the mask getting yanked down by Freddy Kruger's glove (the series I'll probably beat like a dead horse in reviews for you next Halloween season).

I guess one should be glad New Line tried something different, but.... well, they kinda screwed it up. Great TV-centric cast, though, with LeMay, Williams, Gray, Gant, Smith, Stephen Culp and Leslie Jordan showing up in bit parts, but taking Jason out of the equation kinda defeats the spirit established at this point of the proceedings. This moves quick, and stays entertaining, but as always, Joe Bob said it best when he complained about all the plot getting in the way of the story.

"Final Friday," my ass. We've still got Jason goes to Space to contend with.

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