Once Paramount Pictures resurrected Jason Voorhees with lightning in Jason Lives, the franchise was running out of options for subsequent sequels. But increasingly ridiculous sequel setups weren’t the biggest problem for Friday the 13th. Audiences were losing interest and, as a result, Jason Takes Manhattan saw declining box office receipts. By 1993, New Line Cinema – The House That Freddy Built – owned the distribution rights to Jason Voorhees. The big plan was a Freddy vs Jason matchup on the big screen. Before that happened, Jason Goes to Hell promised a ‘Final Friday’ for slasher fans in 1993. Unfortunately, no one much liked the supernatural re-imagining of the iconic character and a series low at the box office delayed the crossover plans for a decade.
Several years after Jason Voorhees apparently died in Manhattan, a SWAT team seemingly destroys the relentless killer at Camp Crystal Lake. At the morgue, however, the coroner eats Jason’s still-beating heart, allowing the indestructible madman to possess him. Now only a living relative can end Jason Voorhees’ killing spree.
Jason Goes to Hell is a Stupid Movie … Even The Ninth Entry in a Tired Franchise
Just writing out the above synopsis felt painful. Now imagine watching the movie based on that ridiculous premise. Yes, Friday the 13th veered into the supernatural with Jason Lives and continued the trend when Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood ripped off Carrie. Still writers Jay Huguely and Dean Lorey did their best to put the ‘Final’ in the sequel’s ‘The Final Friday’ title. Somehow the writers managed to concoct a way to continue the slashing that was more asinine than the ending to Jason Takes Manhattan. And it’s not just a singularly dumb idea. This is a premise that fails on multiple levels.
Somehow the writers managed to concoct a way to continue the slashing that was more asinine than the ending to Jason Takes Manhattan.
By and large, slasher sequels ask us to suspend a lot of disbelief. We just have to accept that killers can get up from fatal wounds to continue the death count. If The New Blood and Jason Takes Manhattan were lazy in their set-up, Jason Goes to Hell feels a bit insulting. Why a coroner would consume a killer’s heart stretches the franchise to cartoonish levels. Moreover, the sequel commits the same mistake made in A New Beginning – we don’t really get Jason Voorhees. Instead, we get characters possessed by Jason’s spirit committing atrocities alongside some sort of demonic slug. Last but not least, Jason Goes To Hell lazily cribs off of Freddy’s Dead, retconning what we know and giving us the extended Voorhees family.
Jason Goes to Hell Lacks Defining Death Count and Fun – Intentional or Otherwise
In addition to being one of – if not the – dumbest of the franchise sequels, Jason Goes To Hell disappoints on even the basic slasher requirements. Yes, Friday the 13th sequels stopped being scary long before this 1993 entry. In fact, some horror fans may point out that scares and suspense never defined the series. Nevertheless, director Adam Marcus can’t even cobble together basic jumps or simple thrills. What hurts even more is the lack of well-staged kills that most certainly defined the franchise. No sleeping bag kill. No machete to the crotch. Even Jason Takes Manhattan had a couple of decent over-the-top death scenes. There’s also no humor in Jason Goes to Hell – intentional or otherwise.
What hurts even more is the lack of well-staged kills that most certainly defined the franchise.
Maybe Friday the 13th still offered value to character actors looking for credits because a couple of familiar faces turn up. Buck Rogers alum Erin Gray can say she’s related to Jason Voorhees courtesy of retconning. And Richard Gant (Rocky V), Steven Williams (21 Jump Street, The X-Files), and the late Leslie Jordan (American Horror Story) all turn in small supporting performances. In fact, Williams continues a tradition of Friday the 13th sequels faking out audiences with characters teased as ‘heroes’ who end up dying unceremoniously. Perhaps the only thing that makes Jason Goes to Hell noteworthy is that it marks Kane Hodder’s (Death House, Victor Crowley) last appearance as Jason.
Jason Goes To Hell May Be The Worst of the Long-Running Series
Debate whether Jason X is a guilty pleasure or just poorly conceived movie, but there’s little good to say about Jason Goes To Hell. Bottom line, this is a bad movie on any objective measure of quality. On one hand, it’s a thoroughly stupid sequel that unnecessarily retcons and overburdens the original movie’s simple slasher formula. While it’s a braindead movie, Jason Goes To Hell is also a boring effort that lacks imagination, scares, and suspense. What’s worse, the sequel makes the same mistake the franchise already committed with Friday the 13th: A New Beginning – it sidelines Jason for most of the movie. If you can’t fit all the movies into a Friday the 13th marathon, this would be the sequel to skip.