Why 'Jason Goes To Hell' Is AWESOME

In the spring of 1993, Jason Goes To Hell was more than just a slasher flick; it was the return of a horror icon. It was everywhere. I'm talking comic book tie-in's, trading cards, and more behind-the-scenes information than you could shake a bloody machete at. I don't know about you, but I ate it up. A franchise that most fans accepted as dead and buried, now suddenly resurrected in a dramatic fashion..the irony wasn't lost on me. It was the most the Voorhees name had been in the limelight since it became the subject of a certain Alice Cooper song(you know the one). The excitement was back. JASON was BACK! It was a magical few months. That is, at least, until August when the film released.
He's Back! Well..sort of.
I don't need to go on about what kind of critical and commercial response the film received. If you are here on this website, reading this editorial, I think it is safe to say that you've seen it. Chances are that you don't like it, too, and that's totally fair. However, I will look you straight in the face and offer this: Jason Goes To Hell is AWESOME. In fact, it's more than awesome. It is, in this writer's humble opinion, one of the best entries into our beloved franchise. Now, let me tell you why.

Firstly, the movie has it all. Literally. Any horror movie trope you can think of as being relevant in the last 20+ years is present. A prolific, iconic antagonist? Check. Possession? Check. Demons? Check. Incredible practical effects? Check. Homoerotic shaving? Um...well, you get the idea. For crying out loud, a guy vomits a demon into another guy's mouth before violently melting into a puddle of mush over the span of about 26 seconds. That's intense. Not to mention that it has highest body count out of any Friday film at 23 on screen deaths(24 if you count Big-J himself). If you do the math, it averages to about 1 death every 4 minutes. Good ones, too, each and every one of them! What more could you want?

A good cast, you say? One with actual adult characters making actual adult decisions? Well, wouldn't you know it, JGTH has that as well. John D. Lemay shines as Steven, playing an in-over-his-head 20-something who's having to grapple with some real life issues. See, he's not some privileged college boy vacationing over summer break with a couple friends and a sack of drugs. He's coming off a tough break-up, and just trying to put the pieces back together. Hell, he even has baby-mama-drama. That's heavy. Adding salt to his wounds is Steven Williams of X-Files fame, playing the enigmatic Creighton Duke..probably the coolest franchise character since Tommy Jarvis. Sure, he doesn't make a lot of sense most of the time, but he wears a cowboy hat and is really great at one-liners. That's a win-win in my book. These two are but highlights in a very well-rounded and wonderfully written team of characters. But, what good would these great characters be without a plot? Well, I thought you'd never ask.
This guy was even in The A-Team. How awesome is that?
Imagine you're New Line Cinema in 1991. You've just acquired the Friday the 13th franchise, for better or worse, from a studio that had quite literally bled it to death over the span of eight movies. What do you do with a character who has already died, been impersonated, then resurrected, then sort of died again, then fought a psychic? Also, they went to New York City for a few minutes, but it didn't work out so well. The correct answer is, you embrace the shit out of it. And that's what JGTH does. It pulls no punches, and completely throws everything you would expect from a Friday movie out the window with the grace of a gymnast. The opening credits don't even roll until Jason gets blown to high heaven in one of the most 'WTF' moments of the whole series. That takes balls, man. From that point on, its just one sucker punch after another, unrelenting all the way until that last frame that set the path for the ultimate horror showdown we all know and love.

Wait. What?
Lastly, one final exercise to prove my point; I want you to just think about JGTH if it wasn't associated with the Friday the 13th franchise. Imagine that it is just its own stand alone horror film, without the familiarity of Jason and Crystal Lake. It would be the first slasher movie that broke all the rules and cliches, with clever acting and directing, superb characters, and pure dynamite for practical effects. It would have changed how the modern audience looked at slasher films, something that didn't happen until 3 years later with Scream. We would still be talking about it. Hell, we would probably even have a blu-ray of the Unrated Cut(looking at you, Paramount).

Jason Goes To Hell is so much more than just a Friday the 13th movie. Its plot is so meta, so self-aware, that it was way ahead of its time. It was the horror movie we needed, but weren't quite ready for yet. So do yourself a favor and whip out your copy of the film. Wipe the dust off, and enjoy it. There is a great film in there, and it's been waiting 23 years to be appreciated. More importantly, it deserves it.
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