Cast your mind back many, many years (months) to when I was still a fledgling horror movie sequel reviewer, writing an amusing little critique on a little movie named Friday the 13th Part 2, which was about a facially disfigured loony wearing dungarees and a bag on his head taking out an obvious oedipal complex on some promiscuous camp counsellors. Now fast forward back to today, and seven sequels later, when my seasoned reviewing brain is taking on a film named Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, which is about an invincible zombie heavily deformed demon man in a corroded metal hockey mask and a torn jumpsuit possessing people. Clearly they've taken what you'd call 'the long way round the houses'.

Jason Voorhees, not exactly a picture of youthful beauty to begin with, is now the ugliest flippin' son of a psycho you ever did see. His facial disfigurement has accelerated rapidly over the seven-odd sequels I haven't seen, to the extent that the flesh of his face now overlaps the edges of his mask. He's been wearing it so long you probably couldn't get it off the guy with a shoe horn. Fortunate, then, that we hardly see him throughout the movie, since he does most of his killin' in the bodies of other people (is the title graphic for this article starting to make more sense?).

The thing that annoys me about this film is that it's largely a self-parody, like Evil Dead 2 but more subtle. And it's no fun taking the piss out of a self-parody when the job's already been done. However, it does make my life a little easier, as I only have to describe what happens and there's the humour right there.

Soulful fella, ain't he?

We open with some chick driving up to a pleasant little summer house in Camp Crystal Lake, and we get to see her potter about changing a lightbulb and do all sorts of riveting stuff like brush her teeth, all to the tune of those little tension-building sound effects the Friday the 13th series is known for (they sound like this: 'Kih-hih-hih, Hoh-hoh-hoh'. Repeat x20 and you have the soundtrack of the opening sequence), until she decides to take all her clothes off and have a bath. Seasoned horror movie veterans like myself will note that this is the equivalent of painting a target on your chest and dangling your goolies over the bad guy's machete. Surprise surprise, Jason turns up and she is chased, towel-clad, through thick undergrowth ...

... whereupon a SWAT team appear from nowhere, pump J.V. full of lead and blow him into millions of tiny bits with a mortar shell. Aha! Finally the police force have actually watched some of the movies and used devious tactics to lure J.V. out with everything that he loves - darkness, nudity and chicks (we learn now that the towel woman is an undercover FBI agent) - and finish him off. 'Course, they could just leave the poor bugger alone and make sure no-one ever goes back into Crystal Lake, but that'd be taking the loser's way out, now wouldn't it. From the undergrowth, a mysterious black man watches their celebration and shakes his head. He knows something they don't.

Next, another black man, not mysterious this time, is shown wheeling what little remains of the V-man into an autopsy room, as the credits roll and stirring music warns us of the times to come. The coroner starts talking into his dictaphone in true Quincy fashion, talking about how dead Jason looks in his expert opinion, what with the body being in fifteen pieces and the heart sitting in a little dish by the side. Speaking of which, when the coroner pokes the heart with a pencil it starts beating, which catches him off guard a little, then he gives it a cheeky little sidelong glance, picks it up and starts eating it.

Don't ask me. Maybe he skipped lunch. Or maybe he's a recovering chocoholic and the thing might have looked, from a certain angle and if you squint properly, like a great big easter egg. Anyway, he eats it, little orange fireballs come out of Jason and zip into the coroner's chest, some very strange noises are heard, and we cut away. Some other coroner turns up, talks cheerily to his partner, apparently not noticing his silence and the look on his face not unlike the look on the face of a tiger when faced with a lamb turning up and giving him a hearty slap on the back and an inquiry into how his kids are doing. Jason, possessing the coroner, finally kills someone, and we notice that his reflection in a metal cabinet portrays his true hockey-mask-wearing visage. Just call him Jason Voorhees, the Sam Beckett of the serial killing world!

Speed plot mode. Jason kills some more people and we're introduced to this little cafe having a rather premature 'Jason is Dead 2 for 1 burger sale'. The mysterious black man turns up and warns one of the waitresses that J.V. is after her for a reason known only to themselves, and gets thrown out by some sheriff guy. We're also introduced to a geeky bespectacled fellow who's a friend of the waitress chick, and incidentally father of her daughter's baby, whom she asks to see later on at her house (the geek fella, not the baby). On the way, Mr. Geek picks up some attractive young hitch-hikers who vocally express a desire to go skinny-dipping and have promiscuous sex up at Camp Crystal Lake. He drops them off, declines their offer for him to join them, and drives off. See if you can guess their fate. Go on, guess. I'll give you a clue. It involves a machete.

Jason (still wearing the coroner) decides its time to test-drive a new body, and decides on some policeman friend of waitress chick. He kills his wife (Jason don't want to possess no sissy girl!), takes the cop to the old Voorhees house, and gives him a great big slobbery kiss, which is apparently how one possesses people. Note that - Voorhees house? Why weren't we introduced to this place in other sequels? JV was living in a little shack in the forest in Part 2, where'd this house spring from? Is this a response to some kind of clause wherein every big serial killer in the 1980s had to have their own house for people to get scared of? Think about it. Michael Myers had a house and so did Freddy. Once you rule out lazy writers it's got to be legislation.

Anyway. Geek arrives at waitress's house just in time to see her being attacked by Jason in the cop body. JV is stabbed and thrown out of the window (yeah, like that'll work), but the waitress is fatally wounded, and dies in Geek's arms just as the cops conveniently arrive. He gets arrested, o'course, but the police are ever so nice about it. He finds himself in the cell next to mysterious black man, who offers to tell him the secrets of Voorhees, for a price. This price turns out to be broken fingers. For the following information, mysterious black man breaks two of Mr. Geek's fingers. I dunno why. Maybe he just liked the sound they made.

Anyway, he divulges this - Jason can possess other people (duh) but only for a short while, as then they get too full of Jason-lurgy to go on. To be reborn, he needs to possess a living relative. "In a Voorhees was he born, only through a Voorhees can he be reborn, and only by the hands of a Voorhees can he die". So, why the waitress chick? Well, apparently she's his sister. Again, why do they never tell us these things in other sequels? Do they not trust us or something? With the waitress dead that only leaves two relatives - her daughter (geek's ex) and her daughter's baby (geek's baby too). Conveniently, they arrive in town the same day with her new boyfriend in tow, which just about makes this the most awkward day of Mr. Geek's life.

Well, this is kind of arse-backwards.

More speed plot. Armed with his new knowledge of Jason, Mr. Geek escapes the police station and goes to the old Voorhees house to check around, where he finds what is blatantly the Necronomicon from Evil Dead 2 (I love in-jokes, don't you?), and hides in a cupboard when Jason's niece's new boyfriend arrives on the phone to his agent ('cos the boyfriend's a TV reporter, see). He divulges that he put waitress' body under the floorboards of the house for a giggle, then Jason arrives and sticks his tongue down his throat. The cop's body, infected with Jason lurgy, now melts, and Jason in his new body stomps off. A lot of complicated things happen which I won't go into 'cos I've written too much, and in the end Mr. Geek, Jason niece, baby and mysterious black man end up together in the Voorhees house, where niece realises what she has to do - kill the bastard. Jason turns up, now possessing another cop bloke, but Mr. Geek decapitates him and a little lizard thingy crawls out of the neck stump. Stick with me on this.

Lizard thingy (Jason, apparently) legs it down to the cellar, where it finds the body of waitress chick. And apparently the Voorhees relative doesn't need to be alive to allow Jason to be reborn. Scarcely believing his luck, Jason in his original form returns (complete with outfit and hockey mask, bizarrely), erupts through the floorboards and seeks to polish off everyone else. There's a bit of a fight, mysterious black man is killed, niece stabs JV in the heart, weird stuff happens with coloured lights and fireballs and fake-looking rubbery gargoyle hands coming up from below the ground to drag Jason under, and that's about it, save another horror movie in-joke at the end. Mr. Geek and niece walk off together arm in arm. I think they forgot to take the baby with them. It's hard to tell, but it'd be funnier if they had.

Phew, I wrote an awful lot today. Ratings time!

Fingers in ears rating - 8/10
Hmm... yeah, couple of jumpy scary moments. Get those cushions ready, children.

Blood and guts rating - 10/10
C'mon, it's a Jason film, no end of the stuff. The bit where one of J.V.'s old bodies gets the Jason lurgy and melts is particularly nasty.

Get nekkid and DIE! rating - 9/10
Sometimes I wonder if the makers of the Jason films know about my scoring system and do this just to appease me. The three attractive hitch hikers were introduced solely so they could, indeed, get nekkid and die. But they lose a point 'cos the FBI woman at the beginning got nekkid but didn't die. Losers!

Hateful heroes rating - 4/10
I didn't think much of Jason's relatives and some of the other good guys, but I respected the mysterious black man, and the main hero - the geeky fellow - earned no rancour from me. Dare I say it ... I actually kind of liked him. And not just because he wore glasses.

Overall horror movie sequel rating - 8/10
Some very fine keeping to horror sequel cliches, the score dragged down a little by the very poor turnout of hateful heroes. Must try harder!

Quality Rating: 81%

One-Word Summary: "Melty"

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