Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
|Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday|
|Directed by||Adam Marcus|
by Victor Miller
|Edited by||David Handman|
|Music by||Harry Manfredini|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|88 minutes |
90 minutes (unrated cut)
|Box office||$15.9 million|
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is a 1993 American supernatural slasher film directed by Adam Marcus, written by Jay Huguely and Dean Lorey, and produced by Sean S. Cunningham. It is the ninth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise, and stars John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Steven Williams, and Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees; the latter reprising his role from the previous two films. It is the first film in the series to be distributed by New Line Cinema. Set after the events of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, the film follows Jason's spirit as it possesses various people to continue his killings after his death. In order to resurrect himself, Jason must find and possess a member of his bloodline, but he can also be permanently killed by one of his surviving relatives using a magical dagger.
The film was conceived by co-writer and director Marcus under Cunningham, producer and director of the first film. After the low box-office returns of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Paramount Pictures sold the character rights of Jason Voorhees to New Line. Jason Goes to Hell was theatrically released on August 13, 1993, and grossed $15.9 million at the box office on a budget of $3 million, becoming the second-worst performing film in the series, after Jason Takes Manhattan. The film was panned by critics and fans alike, criticizing its supernatural elements and elimination of Jason Voorhees as a physical character.
A few years after his demise in Manhattan, Jason Voorhees has been resurrected (although it's never explained how) and returns to Camp Crystal Lake, where he stalks a lone woman. The woman, actually an undercover FBI agent, lures Jason into an ambush, where he is obliterated by heavily armed FBI and SWAT agents. Jason's remains are sent to a morgue, where his still-beating heart entices the coroner to eat it, allowing the killer's soul to possess him. Jason, in the coroner's body, escapes the morgue, killing another coroner and two FBI guards in the process.
At Crystal Lake, Jason finds three partying teens and kills them. When two police officers are called to investigate the murders, Jason kills one of them and possesses the other. Meanwhile, bounty hunter Creighton Duke discovers that only members of Jason's bloodline can truly kill him, and he will return to his original, near-invincible state if he possesses a family member. The only living relatives of Jason are his half-sister Diana Kimble, her daughter Jessica, and Stephanie, the infant daughter of Jessica and Steven Freeman.
Jason makes his way to Diana's house, where Steven bursts in and attacks him. In the chaos, Diana is killed and Jason escapes. Steven is blamed for Diana's murder and arrested, before meeting Duke, who reveals Jessica's relation to Jason. Determined to get to Jessica before Jason does, Steven escapes from jail. Meanwhile, Jessica is dating tabloid TV reporter Robert Campbell. Steven goes to the Voorhees house to find evidence to convince Jessica but falls through rotten boards. Robert enters the upstairs room and receives a phone call which reveals that he is attempting to "spice up" his show's ratings by putting emphasis on Jason's return from death, having stolen Diana's body from the morgue for this reason. Jason bursts in and transfers his heart into Robert, while the body he left melts. Jason leaves with Steven in pursuit, and attempts to possess Jessica in order to be reborn, but is disrupted by Steven, who hits him and takes Jessica into his car. Steven temporarily stalls Jason by running him over. When he tries to explain the situation to Jessica, she disbelieves him and throws him out of the car, before going to the police station.
Jason arrives at the police station and kills all officers in his path to Jessica, whom he almost possesses before Steven stops him again; the chaos allows Duke to escape from his cell. Now believing Steven, Jessica goes with him to the diner to retrieve Stephanie before Jason does. When Jason arrives, he is attacked by the shop's owners, whom he kills, along with waitress Vicki Sanders, who managed to shoot him with a shotgun and impale him with an iron rod. Jessica and Steven discover a note from Duke, telling them that he has Stephanie and demanding that Jessica meet him at the Voorhees house alone.
Jessica meets Duke and is given a mystical dagger which she can use to permanently kill Jason. A police officer enters the diner where Robert, possessed, transfers his heart into him. Duke falls through the floor, and Jessica is confronted by Landis and Randy. Landis is accidentally killed with the dagger, which Jessica then drops. Jason, possessing Randy, attempts to be reborn through Stephanie, but Steven arrives and severs his neck with a machete. Jason's heart, which has grown into a demonic infant, crawls out of Randy's neck. Steven and Jessica pull Duke out of the basement as Jason's heart discovers Diana's body and slithers into her vaginal orifice, allowing him to be reborn.
While Steven and Jessica attempt to retrieve the dagger, Duke distracts Jason and is killed with a bear hug. Jason turns his attention to Jessica before Steven tackles him. The two battle while Jessica retrieves the dagger and stabs Jason in the chest just as he was about to kill Steven. As the souls Jason accumulated over time are released, demonic hands burst out of the ground and pull Jason into Hell. Steven and Jessica then reconcile and walk off into the sunrise with their baby. Later, a dog unearths Jason's mask while digging in the dirt. Freddy Krueger's gloved hand bursts out of the dirt and pulls Jason's mask into Hell.
- John D. LeMay as Steven Freeman
- Kari Keegan as Jessica Kimble
- Steven Williams as Creighton Duke
- Allison Smith as Vicki Sanders
- Erin Gray as Diana Kimble
- Steven Culp as Robert Campbell
- Rusty Schwimmer as Joey B.
- Leslie Jordan as Shelby B.
- Billy "Green" Bush as Sheriff Landis
- Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees, an FBI Guard, and Fred "Freddy" Krueger
- Andrew Bloch as Deputy Josh
- Kipp Marcus as Randy Parker
- Richard Gant as Phil the Coroner
- Adam Cranner as Ward
- Julie Michaels as Elizabeth Marcus
- James Gleason as Agent Abernathy
- Dean Lorey as Eric Pope
- Adam Marcus as Officer Bish
- Mark Thompson as Officer Mark
- Brian Phelps as Officer Brian
- Blake Conway as Officer Andell
- Madelon Curtis as Officer Ryan
- Paul Devine as Paul
- Michelle Clunie as Deborah
- Michael B. Silver as Luke
- Kathryn Atwood as Alexis
- Jonathan Penner as David
- Brooke Scher as Stephanie Kimble
Development and writing
Producer Sean S. Cunningham originally conceived an action-horror film in which Jason Voorhees would battle Freddy Krueger of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. Paramount Pictures, who had released the previous eight Friday the 13th films, negotiated with New Line Cinema over the rights to the series, and ultimately granted New Line rights to the Jason Voorhees character, but retained control of the Friday the 13th title. New Line placed Cunningham's idea for a Freddy-versus-Jason film on hold, prompting him to generate a different script to precede that plot line. Cunningham's original idea would later manifest as Freddy vs. Jason in 2003. Scriptwriter Jay Huguely wrote an initial draft for Friday Part IX based on ideas by Adam Marcus, in which Elias Voorhees would have been written to be Jason's brother and dug up his body at the beginning of the film, eating his heart, taking on his supernatural powers and embarking on a similar killing spree. According to Marcus, he had originally written the character of Steven Freeman to be Tommy Jarvis from part 4-6, but New Line Cinema only owned the rights to Jason and not Tommy and so could not legally use that character at the time. Marcus also explains that New Line Cinema did not own the Friday the 13th title, explaining why the film titles after Jason Takes Manhattan did not include the franchise name up until the 2009 remake. Unsatisfied with the final draft, Cunningham hired Dean Lorey to scrap Huguely’s work and write a completely new script within four days, removing Elias Voorhees from the story as Lorey felt that Jason must be the central character. Leslie Bohem was brought in over a weekend to polish the script, while Lewis Abernathy wrote the opening scene.
Tony Todd auditioned for the role of Creighton Duke, which went to Steven Williams. Laurie Holden was Adam Marcus' and Dean Lorey's choice for the role of Jessica Kimble, but Sean Cunningham overruled them and pushed for Kari Keegan instead. The film marked Adam Marcus' debut feature; having just graduated from film school, Marcus was originally attached to direct My Boyfriend's Back (1993) for Touchstone Pictures, but the studio's parent company, Walt Disney Studios, did not want to hire a first-time director, and Marcus was dropped from the project. Marcus, who was a lifelong fan of the Friday the 13th series, developed a story in which Voorhees is destroyed at the beginning of the narrative, only to manifest in the bodies of other people and continue his rampage. Marcus would later acknowledge the concept's similarity to that of The Hidden (1987), though he stated he had not seen the film at that time, and that the similarity was coincidental. Marcus decided that he wanted to create the most deliberately stereotypical and cliché-ridden opening of the film as possible to toy with the audience's expectations, only for the story to take an unprecedented turn with Jason's unexpected "death" by the hands of the SWAT team. Cunningham has denied ever telling Marcus to "find a way to get rid of that f**king mask", but while on the horror podcast Cinema Toast Crunchcast, Marcus finally broke his silence on the matter, revealing the truth.
The special effects were provided by Al Magliochetti and effects studio KNB, the former having signed on to the film after friends of his from KNB notified him of its development. The colors of the visual effects were chosen by Adam Marcus.
In November 2017, Adam Marcus revealed that an overlooked plot-point of the movie is that Jason Voorhees is actually connected to the Evil Dead franchise. The filmmaker stated, “Pamela Voorhees makes a deal with the devil by reading from the Necronomicon to bring back her son. This is why Jason isn’t Jason. He’s Jason plus The Evil Dead, and now I can believe that he can go from a little boy that lives in a lake, to a full grown man in a couple of months, to Zombie Jason, to never being able to kill this guy. That, to me, is way more interesting as a mashup, and [Evil Dead creator Sam] Raimi loved it! It’s not like I could tell New Line my plan to include The Evil Dead, because they don’t own The Evil Dead. So it had to be an Easter egg, and I did focus on it…there’s a whole scene that includes the book, and I hoped people would get it and could figure out that’s what I’m up to. So yes, in my opinion, Jason Voorhees is a Deadite. He’s one of The Evil Dead.”
In December 2017 on the podcast Cinema Toast Crunchcast, Marcus revealed Creighton Duke's intended backstory, "A teenage Creighton was out on Crystal Lake with his girlfriend. Jason capsized their small boat and pulled the girl down into the lake. Creighton tried to save her but could not. She was never seen again. Creighton vowed revenge and from that moment on he spent his life in the study and pursuit of Jason. He became a bounty hunter just to fund his work in taking down his nemesis."
The film was released on DVD in North America by New Line Home Video in 2002, and includes two cuts: the theatrical cut, created to receive an R rating from the MPAA, and the unrated (or director's) cut, which runs three minutes longer than the theatrical version and contains material beyond what is allowed under the R rating. In certain regions of the world, including Australia, the DVD was only released with the R-rated version of the film available to view.
On September 13, 2013, Paramount and Warner Bros. co-released Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection in a Blu-ray box set, featuring each of the twelve films in the franchise; this marked the first Blu-ray release of Jason Goes to Hell. This collection is currently out of print, but the film has been released separately in the higher definition format with its successor, Jason X.
Both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film were added to the Friday the 13th Ultimate Collection Blu-ray set that Scream Factory released in October 2020.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday debuted in U.S. theaters on Friday, August 13, 1993, to a weekend box office total of $7.6 million across 1,355 screens. The film would go on to gross a final domestic total of $15.9 million, making it the second-worst performing film in the franchise, after Jason Takes Manhattan which made $14.3 million. It placed at number 86 on the list of the year's Top 100 earners.
The Los Angeles Times's Michael Wilmington praised the performance of Gant as well as Harry Manfredini's score, but noted "ludicrous characters", "garbled nonstop gore", and poor lighting as notable faults. Richard Harrington of The Washington Post wrote of the film: "The scriptwriters try to conjure some history/mythology to validate the plot's twists and turns, but the whole thing ends up more confusing than Days of Our Lives on fast-forward." Terry Kelleher of Newsday similarly criticized the plot, referring to it as a "confusing mess," though he conceded the film "offers a little humor."
Stephen Holden of The New York Times noted: "The ninth episode in the phenomenally successful series, which began in 1980, The Final Friday is a largely incoherent movie that generates little suspense and relies for the majority of its thrills on close-up gore...Such gratuitous sadism gives The Final Friday an edge of sourness that is unusual for a horror movie. It doesn't help that Jason's intended victims (and the actors who play them) are pallid sitting ducks." The Boston Globe's Betsy Sherman wrote: "First time director Adam Marcus plays around nicely with the F13 cliches, but doesn't have much original to add. The movie has a crowdpleasing final shot that suggests that the real joy ride to hell will be next time around. Maybe."
Writing for Variety, Greg Evans criticized the screenplay as well as Marcus's direction: "With one or two exceptions, freshman director Adam Marcus forgoes the camp humor and inside jokes that marked the tail end of the slasher craze, opting instead for a straightforward Saturday night drive-in approach...Blame Marcus for the film’s complete lack of tension and style, but also point a machete or two at a bland, occasionally inept cast and scripters unable to contribute a single innovation to the genre."
Robert Cauthorn of the Arizona Daily Star wrote: "Yeah, there's a lot of shower taking and slaughter here. And a plot about evil bloodlines, tabloid TV, soul shifting, and God knows what else. It doesn't make a lick of sense, but it's a definite improvement over the other non-movies in the series." The Statesman Journal's Ron Cowan wrote: "The ninth version of this fitful series is easily the clumsiest, worst acted, most gory and worst written of the bunch, as ready to indulge in sexual titillation as sadism and oozing bodies." Kory Wilcoxson of The Courier-Journal also criticized the film's gratuitous violence, adding that "the plot is ridiculous, the dialogue wooden and the acting a laugh. But you know that going in. The question is: Is it scary? Not really. It's more disgusting than frightening."
A three-issue comic adaptation of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday written by Andy Mangels was published by Topps Comics. As the comics are based upon the original shooting script of the film, elements that were left out of the film are used in them.
The FBI sting that occurs at the beginning of the film is foreshadowed in the novel Friday the 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat, which takes place between the events of the seventh and eighth films. The epilogue of the book states that the FBI, upon discovering Jason Voorhees actually exists, have begun making plans to trap him and "send him straight to Hell."
- Freddy Krueger's clawed hand coming out of the ground and taking Jason's mask was a reference to the future crossover Freddy vs. Jason between the two, which had been in development hell since 1987. It was finally finished in 2003, a year after this film's sequel.
- The film features the appearances of the Kandarian dagger and Necronomicon Ex Mortis from Evil Dead II. Jason, Freddy, and Ash Williams would later meet in the comic book series Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash (a story adapted by writer Jeff Katz from a Freddy vs. Jason 2 screenplay treatment he had written in 2004) and again in Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors.
The Jason Goes to Hell depiction of Jason Voorhees is featured in 2017's Friday the 13th: The Game. Because of a continuity error in the film regarding Jason's damaged eye, his in-game character model is mirrored from his movie counterpart. As the Gun Media developers explained, "In [Jason Goes to Hell], everyone kind of knows there was a mistake made with Jason's undermask. It's Jason's left eye that’s supposed to be damaged, 'cause in Part 4 he takes the machete to the head. But in [Jason Goes to Hell], it was reversed on accident. So we decided to fix it." The game officially reveals Jason's facial appearance from underneath the mask, which was not seen in the film.
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