31 Days of Guilty Pleasures – ‘Jason Goes to Hell’

Jason McDonald

A few years ago I did a daily countdown to Halloween that featured some of my favorite scares from 31 different horror movies. This year I’m bringing back the feature, but this time we’re taking a look at some of my favorite guilty pleasures.

There’s no rhyme or reason to how these movies are being listed, so the placement on the countdown doesn’t denote any sort of ranking. Also, my definition of guilty pleasure is a movie that ranges from either being not very good to outright bad, but there’s something about it that still makes it endearing to watch.

It’s not quite Friday the 13th, but it’s close enough to finally dip my toe into the “Friday the 13th” genre. There are plenty of so bad they’re good movies to pick from this franchise, but I’m gonna go with my favorite: “Jason Goes to Hell.”

Billed as “The Final Friday”, this was marked as the end of the “Friday the 13th” franchise.  So after eight films why did they suddenly decide to “end” the series? Well, for the same reason there were eight sequels to begin with: money.  At this point in the franchise the Friday films were making less and less money so by announcing this as the final entry they had hoped to drive up interest in the latest outing.  And the strategy worked, sort of, the film made a million more than the last entry.

“Jason Goes to Hell” has probably one of the best openings in the franchise.  The FBI decides that they’ve had enough of Jason’s shit so they set up a trap where they have one of their female agents pretend to be an oblivious victim.  Of course Jason can’t resist such delicious bait, so he springs the trap and the FBI unleash all kind of hell on him.

It’s so ridiculous! Agents are flying out of the trees while shooting. Why?! What advantage do they have other than cool points?

After this Jason goes away from the movie until the very end.  You see apparently Jason also has the ability to possess people and transfer himself around.  So the rest of the movie is just average looking people killing each other in horrible ways.  A lot of people have a huge problem with it, but I personally think it’s fine.  There’s something really troubling to think about Jason forcing people to do such savage things.  Like that scene where the coroner weirdly shaves the deputy.

I don’t think I ever quite understood why he had to be shaved.

Another unique feature of this film is that it features two protagonists: an insanely badass hero and a giant nerd. Creighton Duke is the crazy bounty hunter that is out for revenge against Jason.  Every thing he does in the movie is just absurd and ranges from attempting to sound cool all the way up to psycho behavior. Take these two scenes for instance:

On the other side of the coin is Steven Freeman who couldn’t possibly look geekier.  Really it’s just the huge glasses they gave him.  Actor John D. LeMay, who played Steven, also starred in the Friday the 13th series and there he looked much cooler. Sadly, LeMay’s characters have no connection to each other.  It’d be really awesome if they were twin brothers on separate “Friday the 13th” adventures.

Despite being a dorky looking guy, Steven actually has some badass moves.  Check out how he gets out of his cuffs, disarms a cop, and unloads on this guy.

And in a later scene Steven willing lets Duke break his fingers so he can get some information.  Despite his goofy facade, Steven actually comes off being one of the bigger heroes in the “Friday the 13th” series.

“Jason Goes to Hell” is far from the best entry in the series, but I really enjoy what it tries to do.  It attempts to flesh off the lore of Jason Voorhees and it gives him a pretty cool send off that actually lasts for a decent length.  It would actually be eight years before Jason’s triumphant return in “Jason X’ and 10 years before the image of Freddy’s glove grabbing Jason’s mask would finally pay off in “Freddy vs Jason.”

1 Comment

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      1. Caffeinated Joe October 14, 2018 at 8:01 pm

        It is weird, very weird at points. But, the opening is shocking, as you said. And I remember being SO very excited for this when it was coming out. It had been a few years since Jason had been on screen, LeMay was in it and I loved Friday the 13th: The Series and his Ryan character. And it was 13 years since the original film had been in theaters – it was a milestone of sorts. Have to watch with your brain in low gear, but that is part of the fun of it all, right?