"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Jason X

JASON X is the future of slasher franchises left over from the ’80s, and not just because it’s about Jason Voorhees being frozen and defrosted in outer space 450 years later. No, this is the future because it finally figured out a good approach to keeping these stupid characters going. This isn’t trying to update things by infusing the same old crap with last month’s stale gimmicks. See for example the upcoming Blair Witch/webcast Halloween picture you see advertised before JASON X (although I do like seeing Buster Rhymes say “Trick or treat motherfucker!” – wouldn’t he make a better Dolemite than LL Cool J?)

No, this one works because it works as a genuine dumb slasher movie, as a parody of one, and as some weird pop culture accident where a familiar series got thrown into the wrong genre unexpectedly. It’s a more consistent attempt at the BRIDE OF CHUCKY approach to modern slasher sequels. Take the character and cliches from the earlier sequels, put them in a way more ludicrous situation (and it really is WAY more ludicrous in this case) and have fun.

Jason XOf course the look of JASON X is much cheesier than BRIDE OF CHUCKY because it doesn’t have oscar winning cinematographer Peter Pau. But it does have a few good digital effects (mostly in the opening credits sequence which takes place inside Jason). I heard a rumor that it was shot on the same digital cameras used for VIDOCQ 1 and STAR TREK 2 and EL MARIACHI 3, but if it was you couldn’t tell by looking at it. All you could tell was that it was shot in Canada.

In the earlier Jason pictures, I think the filmatists were taking things more seriously than the audience. I know there are a couple of nutballs out there who enjoy these movies straight up but clearly the vast majority of people who go to see them go in and laugh at the fancy new tools Jason manages to find laying around somewhere and use for mutilation. The filmatists may or may not have been aware of this fact but if they were they never let on, treating the situations like the audience might actually be scared by them.

Well now what you have is a situation where the filmatists KNOW what they’re doing is a load of horseshit, and they take full advantage of that. Some of the audience though is now taking it more serious than the filmatists. For example I know a group of film geeks who passed around a bootleg vcd of this months ago, and they all said it was a piece of shit, an aliens ripoff, etc.

The beauty of it though is that it IS an Aliens ripoff, where instead of hunting an alien the space troopers are hunting good old Jason, and evil scientists are curious about his “regenerative powers” because he always comes back to life at the end of each sequel, and during one of the ol’ gratuitous tit shots, the nipples fall off because the girl is a robot. I mean how could you not get a kick out of that type of shit? I’m glad I waited to see it as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen, with digital sound, in a nearly empty theater. And I have to wonder what in fuck’s name those knucklehead friends of mine were hoping to get out of a movie about Jason being cryogenically frozen and reanimated in outer space.

Well let me tell you what you do get. You get all the cliches of the series, but updated for the future. So instead of him stalking a teen summer camp, he’s stalking a spaceship of teen science students. (At least I assume they’re supposed to be teens, since they don’t look like teens, and neither did the ones in the previous movies.) For his trademark Creative Kills he takes full advantage of modern technology, freezing a woman’s face and shattering it, mutilating people in virtual reality, even spinning somebody around a giant drill bit. (I guess that’s not modern technology, but it is on a spaceship.)

The screen scripters musta Wrote a list of all the cool things you could do with Jason in the future that you couldn’t do in the present day. So he gets to fight a robot, and punch off her head. He manages to chop a kid’s arm off even while he’s frozen, and the kid gets it reattached. He goes into virtual reality, he gets turned into a cyborg (called Uber-Jason on the credits), he punches through airlocks, gets sucked out and flies through space. They mention that he has a body count of over 200, but he must at least triple that when he effortlessly destroys a city-sized space colony.

He still has a weird thing about sex, and there are alot of jokes about that. When his body is being dissected by futuristic science students, two of them start making out right next to him, and you fucking KNOW that’s gonna be trouble. They eventually leave to have sex somewhere else but it’s their orgasmic sounds that magically bring the big guy back to life.

The filmatists also have a good time with the backstory, the references to what happened between this movie and the last one. You find out that Jason was somehow caught, and repeatedly executed, to no avail. Man that will be great to show in one of the many upcoming sequels or prequels. You know what New Line Cinema, why don’t you hire me to Write a prequel called THE TRIAL OF JASON VOORHEES? Now that would be a great fuckin movie. “Mr. Voorhees, one more mutilation like that and I’m holding you in contempt of court!” I would NOT want to be in that jury. I can’t really see Jason working with a team of lawyers, either. And obviously he didn’t have Johnnie Cochran or he would’ve gone free. I wonder what would happen if he represented himself?

There’s alot of funny shit in here in my opinion, and the two howlers in front of me definitely agreed. The real crowdpleaser is a brief sequence near the end that parodies previous Jason pictures. I won’t give it away but I liked it even better than the opening of JASON VS. THE MUPPETS OF HELL where the naked chick in a towel that Jason tries to kill turns out to be part of a sting operation setting him up to get blown to shit by a SWAT team.

Anyone who ever enjoys this kinda crap, please go see it. You will not be disappointed. Definitely my favorite in the series although I also enjoyed the 3-D one.


This entry was posted on Saturday, April 27th, 2002 at 7:07 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

33 Responses to “Jason X”

  1. It’s a shame they didn’t make any more movies with Uber-Jason. I love the cyborg look (have the action figure on my shelf) and the space setting is way more fun and interesting than the reboot path they decided to take instead. Also, if I remember correctly, after his transformation there’s only three minutes left in the movie and he never actually kills anyone as Uber-Jason (nobody real in any case). Such a waste of a cool design.

  2. Oh, this made me laugh.”I’m glad I waited to see it as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen, with digital sound, in a nearly empty theater.”

    So true, and I also enjoyed the best scene that will not be spoiled by me. It summed up the entire series in a few lines. Priceless.

  3. I didn’t even know this movie existed until you guys started talking about it the other day. It’s on Netflix here so I watched it last night and it was pretty damned entertaining. The only disappointing thing is that I was expecting the long haired kid to keep losing his arm and/or other limbs repeatedly through the whole movie which unfortunately didn’t happen.

    I followed this up with The Final Girls which is pretty great too.

  4. Yeah, this is top-tier Jason entertainment, and anybody who says otherwise has mud all over their stick. Some of the best kills (“He’s screwed.”), some of the best lines (“He’s screwed.”), some of the best humor (“It’s ok! He just wanted his machete back!”). There’s a guy in love with his robot, and Jason gets to at least triple his body count by destroying a space station. Jebus y Crisco, there’s even a Cronenberg cameo right up top! Name another Jason movie where he murders a legendary Canadian horror director in the first ten minutes. And yeah, I love that Jason mutilates a dude while he’s still frozen. Such is the power of the Voorhees.

    And since I seem to have all of eternity on my hands, here’s my latest ranking of one of my all time favorite franchises:

    FRIDAY THE 13th
    JASON TAKES MANHATTAN FOR 15 FUCKIN MINUTES (tho the teaser trailer is a fuckin all-timer)

    FREDDY V JASON is fine, I guess. It’s got an early 2000’s tv look to it, some terrible dialogue and some VERY stock characters, but the final fight is fun, I appreciate that Jason gets almost all the kills and the cornfield rave scene really is an all-timer for him. And he cuts fake-Jay in half, doing the whole world a favor. Thanks, Jason!

  5. A man after my own heart. That’s about as close to my own ranking as I’ve seen, though for me PART 3 leapfrogs to a virtual tie with PART 2. Everyone hates Shelly, but for me he is more of a love-to-hate character, which makes his dispatching all the more satisfying. I also like all the 3D kills. I’ve never seen the film in real 3D, but I can almost taste how fun those kills would have been theatrically. Now, having said all that, it’s probably been 15 years since I’ve watched it.

    JASON X is one I’ve seen several times over the years, and I think it vindicates the beauty and timelessness of the franchise (and Kane Hodder). It works as a solidly watchable and creative film, and it works as a weird-ass Jason film. It’s kind of a fun little stand-alone alternate branch in the timeline, and in that respect it sort of foreshadows some of the boldness that would become more mainstream in terms of reboots and stuff. I mean, strictly speaking, you can probably fit X into the canonical original series timeline (after FVJ), but it really exists in its own weird space, and I love that. That’s the beauty of these franchises and of the reboot era, which is that they could do anything. You could do a very lean Kane Hodder-ish Jason, you could a weird mash-up, you could do a one-off higher-concept thing (Jason in/goes-to … [wherever]). If the formula is well-executed, then it’s very robust.

  6. To clarify, when I talk about the “boldness” of the reboot era, I don’t mean “creative daring and expanse of vision” so much as I mean “brazen fuck-it-we’re-doing-this-ness” as far as the pace of sequel output and willingness to do little min-reboots or zag in weird directions (HALLOWEEN 3, NEW BEGINNING, JASON LIVES, NEW NIGHTMARE, CHAINSAW 2 and 3, etc.)

  7. On a recent episode of the podcast Best Movies Never Made they talk to David Bruckner about an unmade FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot he wrote. This was when they were trying to make a found footage FRIDAY, which he signed on for but apparently talked them out of eventually and it became a 3D movie instead. Anyway, most of what’s discussed sounds like the kind of thing I would want from a new FRIDAY – following in the tradition but with some “wouldn’t it be fun if Jason did this?” kind of stuff. Not trying to reinvent the wheel.

    This is the guy who’s supposedly doing HELLRAISER now. We shall see.

  8. Cool. Yeah, I understand now that their are rights issues, but it’s a shame. These films are cheap to make and can be spun out quickly (with development time not always obviously related to eventual quality/enjoyment), and it’s not like making the GODFATHER IV or something where there is the weight of expectation. They could do a shitty one for cheap, hit the reset button again, etc. These things have always been uneven, with an element of throwing stuff at the wall. Although I liked FVJ a good bit at the time, it was a classic example of over-thinking things. Take some swings!

  9. I’m sort of torn on the rights issue. On the one hand, Victor Miller deserves more money. Cunningham came to him with nothing except a title and a vague directive to rip off HALLOWEEN, and Miller handed him the blueprint for a cottage industry that made Cunningham rich. On the other hand, if Miller is claiming that he invented the character of Jason as he has come to be known, he’s dreaming. Jason didn’t even appear in the script he wrote at all. He wasn’t a character; he was character motivation. He was Rosebud the Sled. So while I don’t think he can take sole credit for the character, he should definitely get a cut. He brought the summer camp setting and the mythology that has stuck with the franchise to this day (give or take a few detours to space/Springwood). And he seems like a cool guy. I say pay the man.

    If you guys are jonesing for some hot Jason action like I am, you might want to delve into some of the better fan films, which are able to get away with fairly major productions at the moment because the rights are in limbo. I know, I know, I have talked shit about fanfic before, but the Platinum Dunes remake or even JASON GOES TO HELL were no more legit in terms of the auteur theory than these scrappy independent productions, and unlike those they seem to be made with genuine love for the franchise. So I give them a pass. I figure Jason has no real author; he belongs to us all.

    The ones I’ve seen are FRIDAY THE 13TH: VENGEANCE, which is the goofy RISE OF THE SKYWALKERS tour through the fractured continuity of the series that you might expect a fan film to be. It’s not exceptionally well made, but the production values are surprisingly high and the body count is enormous. It may actually be TOO high, since Jason tends to just walk into crowds of victims and hack them down like wheat. Which is cool once or twice but gets repetitive after awhile. The extensions to the backstory probably would have had me rolling my eyes in an official release, but in this context they feel like a fun lark. Sure, why not explore what’s up with Jason’s dad? It’d be dead weight in a real movie but feels just right here. Also Darcy the Mail Girl from Joe Bob’s new show is in it, so it’s got that cred.

    If anybody watches it, could you verify my theory that the timeline seems to pick up from JASON LIVES and disregards the other sequels? That’s a weird place to draw the line but I’m cool with it. This is clearly the work of someone who has some very serious ideas about Jason. I respect that.

    That one was fun, but the other one I watched, NEVER HIKE ALONE, is kind of a miracle. It is definitely not the best FRIDAY THE 13TH movie, but it might be the best MOVIE that bears the FRIDAY name. It’s whittled down to its barest bones: an extreme hiker wanders into Jason territory and has an extended cat-and-mouse chase. That’s pretty much it until the last few minutes, which boast a surprise cameo. I loved it. The focus is on suspense, which makes Jason scary for the first time since THE FINAL CHAPTER, and the production boasts some nimble camerawork and stunts and an impressive central location (an abandoned resort) for such a tiny production. It’s only like 50 minutes long, but with a few incidental murders added it’d be a perfect small-scale feature. I truly loved it. It points toward how Jason could be brought up to current 21st century horror standards without sacrificing a bit of his central Jasonness. It’s fun without being a goof, serious without being a slog. The recipe is just right. I hear they just wrapped a prequel (NEVER HIKE IN THE SNOW) and I’m honestly more excited about that than whatever studio that gets the rights ends up doing.

  10. Okay, I have never even thought to do this, just assuming this was all perpetual cringe machine shite, but these both sound pretty awesome. I will check them out.

    Also, I fuckin know (no?) it’s there, not their. I hate doing that.

  11. I’m sure most of them are nonstop cringe. I’ve been perusing YouTube for others that look watchable, and the best I can come up with is RETURN TO CRYSTAL LAKE, which feels way more amateurish than the ones I recommended but at least it doesn’t look like it was shot on a potato. I’m feeling generous so I’ll give it a chance and report back with my findings.

  12. Just the other day I came across a debate between a guy who feels all the Paramount ones are masterpieces and all the New Line ones shit on the deep and rich mythology that had been built up in the ’80s. Nerds of any genre are weird…

    Will have to check out those fan films. I’m normally allergic but if you vouch for them, I will definitely give them a shot.

  13. Geoffrey, I think that’s not altogether wrong, and I suppose you can argue it a couple ways. On the one hand, PART 8 pretty much opens up the door to leaving Crystal Lake and going a little wackier with stuff, which then the New Line films really went wild with. Then again, New Line was coming in at PART 9 in a franchise that was already looking to start playing around with new milieus, and, more importantly, the franchise was showing signs of losing steam, as was the slasher film as a sub-genre: For both Jason and Freddy, 1988 was a very good year, and then 1989 was a very bad year. So, I think New Line’s gambit was to follow Paramount’s own PART 8 instinct to let Jason fly his freak flag and explore the studio space a bit. Hence, they went more for very high-concept publicity stunt type movies. So, where your geek has a point is that PARTS 9 and X and FVJ are very much the “Abbot and Costello meet…” late-period, tripping-on-acid phase of the FRIDAY series. It’s not a Crystal Lake-centric chunk of films like nearly all of the Paramount films were. On the other hand, I count JASON X and FVJ as two very respectable entries in the series, both quite original and entertaining, getting a bit meta with it all to surprisingly effective results. On paper, 2003 seems way too late for a successful Jason vs. Freddy film relative to the previous installments. But they nailed it. I just don’t see why they had to wait like 10 fucking years to do it.

  14. Jeff: VENGEANCE is probably closer to the kind of thing you’re allergic to. If you’ve managed to enjoy any other not-quite-there no-budget horror movies made by enthusiastic amateurs, you’ll know what you’re in for. It doesn’t 100% feel like a real movie. Maybe 85%. I found it more charming than cringey, though. Your mileage may vary.

    NEVER HIKE ALONE, though, I will go to bat for as a legitimately pretty solid little horror movie. You should probably start with that one. Also, there is a surprisingly professional and in-depth making-of documentary on YouTube that was also a good watch. It really made me respect the Striving For Excellence that went into it. Apparently they tried an early version and decided it wasn’t good enough, so they scrapped it and started fresh. That shows a level of commitment beyond what your average weekend warrior fan filmmaker is going to be able to muster. Luckily, they had some talent to back it up.

  15. Fun Fact , the director of We Are Still Here and Mohawk haaaaaates Jason X.

  16. Skani: well put and I agree!

    Mr. M: will do. When you said fan film I figured a short so I was surprised to see that were actually fully formed in the runtime department

    Stern: lol, that’s who I came across the other day bitching about the New Line movies

  17. I will vouch for NEVER HIKE ALONE. It is a shockingly well-made fan film. I’d prolly put it above a couple of the actual films in the series. Dunno about VENGEANCE, guess I’ll put that on when I get back from the beer store.

    Thanks for the kind words, Skani. I’d mos def put PART 3 higher if Shelley weren’t such a irredeemable asshole. Or if they actually would’ve showed his meet-cute with Jason. Either one would have been nice.

    Mr.M, have I mentioned that I respect the hell out of you? And I’m glad you’re out of NYC. That town’s got a death curse…

  18. NEVER HIKE ALONE is legt. Will watch FRIDAY THE 13th WITH A VENGEANCE tomorrow.

  19. Man, I just rewatched Jason X a few days ago and was halfway through typing up my feelings here but then erased them because I didn’t want to be THAT GUY. But now that you guys are all here I take it as a sign I need to just come clean and admit I’m that killjoy that doesn’t like this movie. Even when I saw it in the theaters back in the day (this and FvJ are the only Friday movies I’ve seen all the way through until my still-ongoing binge-watch earlier this year) – I just found this movie tedious and dull, which is odd considering it delivers gore and nudity and has a body count of like 200 during it’s 90 minutes. It’s got way too many uninteresting characters, an underutilized Final Girl, and this might be the first Friday where the low budget feel isn’t charming and actively hurts the final product. Maybe it’s the shot on video-ness of it all, but the sets and props and costumes, etc…feel student-film level this time and it’s an eyesore. (It’s also an earsore, with the series’ worst score by a mile) Yes, there’s a few funny lines and “good kills”, which makes this one infinitely superior to Part VIII. And yes, the part where the robot fights Jason is awesome. But I wish the whole movie had that nutty energy instead of it being kind of a drag.

    Yes, I feel like a bad fan not liking this one or Part VI. It’s not that I don’t like comedy with my horror – I love the “funny” Child’s Play movies, I don’t mind “jokester” Freddy with the Power Glove and shit, I prefer Evil Dead 2 to Evil Dead 1. But these comedic Friday the 13th movies just don’t connect with me on any level and I spend the entire movie kinda waiting for them to be over. (This one notwithstanding, I actually really liked Jason Goes to Hell and think FvJ is the best in the series, so even though I consider the Paramount ones to be the “real” ones, I have to admit I think the New Line ones have a respectable batting average)

  20. Well, I watched NEVER HIKE ALONE at y’all’s insistence, and this was pretty much EXACTLY what I wanted out of Friday the 13th. Across the board filmmaking chops, really solid acting, spooky woods, creepy cabins, cat and mouse chases, clever usage of the iconography. It even makes a virtue of found footage as a technique. Solid, solid, solid.

    You can keep your sci-fi channel Jason. I want more of THIS.

  21. Neal, the look is definitely late 90s syndicated sci-fi show, and since it was shot in Vancouver and includes two cast members from ANDROMEDA, I always assumed that they just worked out some deal where they signed those actors and leased the ANDROMEDA sets, as well. I have not made a deep study of the matter, but seems like too many coincidences there wrt ANDROMEDA.

    The Manfredini score is not his best, either, but it kind of suits the 80s-90s tv show vibe.

    Anyway, even if the production values are more along those lines of an extended episode of a syndicated sci-fi show, I still think it’s a competent film that is pretty interesting to look at, has some great kills, isn’t afraid to really go for broke in the offbeatness department, and I think the characters and performances are mostly pretty quirky and winning, with a bit of an ALIENS type of camraderie (all the way down to the Paul Reiser’s character-esque creep). I don’t think it’s necessarily anything greater than the sum of its dismembered parts, but there’s enough that’s fun and different for me to be a fan.

    I love that this series and mythology is so rich that we can both enjoy it while disagreeing wildly in our rankings.

  22. They actually shot that movie before ANDROMEDA, so it was a pure coincidence that these two actresses would appear together twice in such a short time. Also on the DVD there is a featurette about how they shot the movie on film, but then scanned the whole footage in a then brand new process, to be able to lower post production costs.

  23. Thanks, Skani! I spent (wasted? got thru, I guess) the day reading all of these for all of the major horror franchise films. I even learned a few things. I swear, if it weren’t for the internet and video games I would’ve chainsawed my roomies by now, just for the novelty of the experience (SPOILER: I won’t be chainsawing anybody coz I’m not that type of person, and one of my roommates has a lot of board games and the other roomie’s parents own the house and will prolly give us a break if we run out of money. I also cannot afford a chainsaw right now, as I don’t have a job anymore.)

    But still, you can’t deny that the holodeck sequence in JASON X is perfectly edited. If that callback to the sleeping bag kill doesn’t make you laugh then I don’t think you have the proper mindset to enjoy these films.

  24. 100. I can’t imagine the film without that scene now, it’s one of the little highlights

  25. Jerome: Shit, man, thank you. I don’t know what I did to deserve that but I’ll take it.

    I’m really glad you guys like NEVER HIKE ALONE. I rewatched it the other day to see if it was as good as I remembered it, and it definitely holds up. I love how the framing of the shots keeps you constantly looking for Jason in the background. It gives him a great presence ever before he makes himself known. Then I went and rewatched VENGEANCE, which does not particularly hold up, especially in comparison to the confident filmmaking of NHA. I’d put it more at 70% a real movie now. But it is not without its pleasures, and compared to some other F13 fan films I’ve perused since we started this discussion, it’s a goddamn masterpiece.

    Here are my findings so far. The star ratings are, obviously, on a curve:

    RETURN TO CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE: It turns out there are two fan films with this name, and one of them was the kind of backyard camcorder shit you’d expect, so I didn’t watch that one. I watched the one that starts out with a cute 80s frolicking montage pastiche. It turns our to be your basic just-for-laffs in-joke type thing you might expect, maybe on a slightly bigger scale than normal. It had a dillitantish charm that made it watchable despite the cringey parts. (Seriously? A recreation of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opening dance number using the same song? What are you, 12?) Two and a half stars.

    DEATH CURSE: An immediate improvement, with a professional look and competent editing. Also, I appreciate that everybody in it is clearly South African and they just act like Crystal Lake has always been in South Africa. They even have a returning character from Part II who was also apparently South African the whole time. Not much of a story but it’s one of the few fan films I’ve seen that has an actual climax, with a few stunts, a final battle, and an explosion. Nine out of ten of these end with Jason just murdering everyone and posing all badass, like Demon Dave might do to show you what real evil is or whatever. This one gets that Jason is, like, the bad guy. Four stars.

    J’S NIGHT: If I thought DEATH CURSE had chutzpah for not bothering to hide its South African accents, this one goes a step further by being in French. Very stylish and well-produced, with better acting than normal (though perhaps that is because my French is, how you say, un peu rusty?) and an actual attempt at characterization. It is very much the French new-brutality FRIDAY THE 13TH, with the kind of one-the-nose nihilist ending I described above, but the filmmaking is as good as any lesser horror flick you might watch and forget any given night, and I like that they had the nuts to redesign the Jason mask into something more stylized and alien. Most of these fan films feature either a Halloween mask or a slavish forgery of a particular Jason (the one from Part VI seems to be the most popular) but this one is like, “Fuck it, this is French Jason and so he sleeker and less crude than your vulgar American version.”) Three and a half stars.

    JASON LIVES AGAIN: This one, described as an alternate version of PART VI (but with PART VII makeup on unmasked Jason, a good choice), goes all in on the retro grindhouse trappings: faded, yellowed color correction, fake cracks and pops on the “film,” knowing winks toward 80s horror tropes, the works. And it more or less pulls it off. (Pro tip: I like to download these movies and then put them on disc, because that process fuzzes up the digital photography just enough to melt them feel more like film and thus more “real.”) This is an upper-tier entry in terms of delivering a more or less complete FRIDAY THE 13th experience, with a climax and everything. By this point, I’m taking Tommy Jarvis’ Yorkshire accent in stride. When I said upthread that Jason belongs to the world, I had no idea how right I was. Watch through the credits for some nerd shit. Three stars.

    JASON XMAS: A great idea executed with no particular skill or creativity: Jason accidentally kills Santa and gains his magical Santa powers. Yes, this is the premise of THE SANTA CLAUSE if Tim Allen were an undead serial killer and not just an asshole. The filmmakers have neither the resources nor the talent to realize this concept satisfyingly, and its storytelling (including some clumsy flashbacks to Jason’s childhood) is straight up awful, but I can’t deny I got a kick out of seeing my man JV in the Santa suit. One and a half stars.

    THE CABIN HE CALLS HOME: An effective recreation of the grungy, brown look and feel of the Steve Miner era and the novelty of using the Baghead Jason design gives this one an edge. The lead actor has a believable, natural presence, and while the final jump scare doesn’t really work, I appreciate what its going for. Three and a half stars.

    HERE COMES THE NIGHT: Starts with the grindhouse “Our Feature Presentation” fanfare, letting you know this is at least partially a pastiche, with 80s-sounding library music and that faded, Fuji film look. Acting is adequate, dialogue is better than average for this kind of thing. Has some well done fog-machine atmosphere in the climax and an actual plot twist, though that needed to be set up a lot better than it is to have much impact. A solid effort to be both retro and modern. Three stars.

    FRIDAY THE 13TH: EXTRACTION: A competently directed and produced JASON X prequel, showing Jason being captured by mercenaries and delivered to a secret research facility, where he goes on a rampage. Has the po’faced seriousness of Joseph Kahn’s POWER RANGERS short, and I can’t tell if that’s supposed to be funny or not. Too much talking and marred by an ambitious but abrupt ending. I’d watch a sequel. Two and a half stars.

    HIKE TO HIGGENS HAVEN: More of a vignette than the others. A young woman goes swimming, wanders around calling for her boyfriend (who never appears onscreen), and is beaten to death by Jason with a rock. That’s it. It looks nice and the girl is cute, but Jason’s reveal is botched and it doesn’t go anywhere. At least it’s short. Two stars.

    A NEW WAKE: Stylishly (if derivatively) shot and edited, this one is also French. Full disclosure: I watched it without subtitles but I’m not sure it matters. It seems to be about either Jason survivors (or possibly loved ones of Jason victims) who bring him back from the grave somehow. Yet another one that uses the PART VI Jason design. I think I even spotted the paintball stain on his chest. Do they sell that one in a kit or something? More of a showreel than a story, but it shows some promise on the technical side, with some well-executed, CGI-enabled murders. Three stars.

    I think that’s it for me for now, but if anybody has any recommendations, I’m amenable.

  26. Shit, I meant to downgrade RETURN TO CRYSTAL LAKE to two stars.

  27. “Jason X” seemed just OK at the time, not something I’d keep in my collection, but good to watch once. Now that it’s over 20 years old it might have a little nostalgia value. The cameo by David Cronenberg was nice, and looking up other cast members I notice Lexa Doig and Jonathan Potts (voice-actor from “Beverly Hills Teens” and the original animated series of “The Legend of Zelda”!).

    I’d definitely try watching it again now. It might even be in my VHS collection somewhere, inherited from someone who was getting rid of all their tapes. Although I usually choose the turn of the century as the cut-off point for when movies stopped speaking to me aesthetically, a B-horror-movie from 2001 does have a different look and feel than anything made today.

  28. Oh, and yes, loved that scene at the beginning of “Jason Goes to Hell” (1993) where the woman in the towel turns out to be part of a military operation to trap Jason. That blew me away when I saw it the first time. Did not see it coming at all! If only the rest of the movie had lived up to that hook. Sadly it gets kind of boring after that, at least by comparison. “The Borrower” (1991) is a more-fun version of the body-hopping that happens after that.

    But it was enjoyable to see Steven Williams as a cool bounty hunter, and it was nice that John D. LeMay from “Friday the 13th: The Series” (1987) got to appear in a Jason film too (though as a different character).

  29. NEVER HIKE ALONE 2 hits tomorrow – looks pretty legit (while not being, you know, “legit”. You know what I mean.)


  30. Very cool. I liked the first one a lot. (That one in the snow less so.) It was the first time Jason’s been the slightest bit scary since the early 80s. I was less enamored of the more fan-filmy parts at the end, but I’m curious to see where they go with it.

    Somebody needs to let these guys make a real movie.

  31. NEVER HIKE AGAIN 2 just hit the YouTube a few hours ago – just finished it and you can watch it your own self at the Womp Stomp films channel: https://www.youtube.com/@WompStompFilms

    …so if you are new to these F13 fan films, there’s now THREE of them – NEVER HIKE AGAIN, NEVER HIKE IN THE SNOW and now NEVER HIKE AGAIN 2. If you’re even a little bit of a fan of the series, you should just go ahead and watch ’em in that order and then come back here because here come some SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS for the three flicks, which I had never heard of until seeing Mr Majestyk’s comment yesterday. Thanks Mr M – you are one of the good ones.

    I really dig that this is the closing of the Tommy Jarvis saga started in 4, continued in 5 and 6, and then kinda dropped by the movies after that. In the continuity of these fan films, 7 and 8 actually happened (there are quick shots referring to them in NHA2 on Tommy’s walls) – and then maybe 9 happens right after these? I think that’s what’s indicated by the last few minutes.

    But these are really extremely well made flicks for what they are – definitely filmastics edith head and jack sholders above the norm for the series, and although there’s some humor on display here, Jason himself is not a joke and the kills are really strong. The music is really great in all three, and the performances are solid across the board, with Thom Matthews being a special standout and deserving a big hand because he is 100% committed here and really elevates these fan films into ranking higher than most of the actual films in the franchise, imo.

    I also really dug the playing with timeline between the three flicks, and watching them over the course of a day was a lot of fun. Now I’m in the mood to check out more of those Fan Films on Mr M’s list and see what I can find.

    But overall the NEVER HIKE ALONE series gets a huge big thumbs up from me – I put it on a par with 4 and 6, just above 1 and 2, and streets ahead of the rest. Vern, I’d love to hear what you think of these – I believe you’d get a kick out of ’em.

  32. I loved NEVER HIKE ALONE 2. While the first one made a case for itself by being a different kind of FRIDAY THE 13TH, a sparer, quieter, altogether spookier one more in line with modern horror, this one goes all in on being a continuation of the original series. That could have easily devolved into fan-service wankery, but I think it walks the line well, respecting the history while overall embracing a more contemporary mood and style that justifies its existence far beyond its callbacks to the FRIDAY legacy. I think it’s probably the best of these legacy horror sequels. The short running time allows it to hit the right beats and not clutter itself up with a bunch of studio notes, subplot filler, flop-sweat social commentary, memberberries, and all the other desperate busywork that tends to make these things feel so ponderous. It relies on strong filmmaking (the hospital hallway scene being a clear standout, but there’s confident filmatism throughout) and solid, simple characterizations to carry the day. Jason is not a lofty topic that has Something To Say About These Crazy Times We Live In, and the film doesn’t blow smoke up our ass about it. It tells a fan-friendly story that doesn’t lean too heavily on Easter eggs for effect. Its use of the FRIDAY mythology is efficient and even elegant. Turning Mrs. Voorhees’ head into the MacGuffin was a simple and effective way to show how this man-y-mano showdown with Jason is different than the 12 or 13 other many-y-mano showdowns with Jason this franchise has served up. It even locates a tiny soupcon of sympathy for Jason, something only Ronny Yu and Joseph Zito had managed to conjure up before.

    This is an enormously entertaining movie that unpretentiously satisfied all of my Jason needs. I doubt whatever studio ends up with the rights after the endless court case is finally settled will do it half as well as this fleetfooted little labor of love.

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