After visiting New York, the next logical place for Jason to go to were either space or Hell, so New Line chose the latter for its first foray into Friday the 13th territory, and, at the same time, decided to have a bit of fun with the franchise. Ultimately, purists were put off by the company's retooling of the Voorhees mythos, resulting in rather poor box office and the usual critical lashings. Personally, I think "..Goes to Hell" is one of the best of the sequels and I'll endeavor to explain after the obligatory plot summary that begins.......
A woman ventures to a cabin just outside of Crystal Lake, where she immediately gets naked and hops into a shower. Before she can even get to the shampoo, Jason is on her, and she runs screaming through the woods while the lumbering killing machine stumbles after her. When he finally materializes by her side in a clearing, a bunch of flood lights illuminate the scene as S.W.A.T. guys jump out of trees and blast Jason with a few hundred rounds and then blow him up with a grenade, finally doing what I've been saying to do since Friday the 13th part 2 ("No! He's not dead!! Cut off his fucking head you idiots!! Light him on fire, cut off his head, and bury it in Antarctica!!"). However, it seems after all these years I've been wrong. You can blow him up, cut him up, and burn him up, but it still won't stop the evil inside, because in Jason Goes to Hell, that evil is actually a parasitic worm creature that invades new bodies when it's current host is destroyed!!!
Okay, now for a collective sigh.....
After Jason-worm takes up residence in the medical examiner who was performing an autopsy on what remained of Jason-man, his rampage begins anew, as he seeks out his kin!! You see, Jason needs the body of another Voorhees to be reborn (with his Hockey Mask attached, apparently!) and luckily his sister, Diana (Buck Roger's Erin Grey) still lives in town, as any person related to an immortal regional serial killer would.
Okay, now for yet another collective sigh.....
Jason-worm jumps bodies again, and while attempting to jump into the body of Diana he is thwarted by Steve (LeMay), the ex-boyfriend of Diana's daughter, who also has a son, who also is a Voorhees, and I think you see where this is going.
Now, as stupid as I just made this film sound, it really is much more...er...stupid. However, it's also fun, funny, and self-aware (before self-aware horror was "cool") and for these reasons I enjoyed this film. Sure, Jason as a body hopping demon ala' The Hidden is silly, but the folks who made this film KNOW it's silly. There's not a scene in this flick that was made with a "straight face". There are great death scenes, fantastic special effects, and a bevy of funny characters and situations that pay homage to not only horror films (Evil Dead's Necronomicon, Freddy, etc) but other genres as well, including a really well executed slow-mo John Woo gunfight that kicks ass!
So while this may not be your big brother's Jason, it was really never meant to be anyway, and, taken for what it is; a well crafted horror/comedy, Jason Goes to Hell is a blast, and this Unrated Director's Cut is super gory and over-the-top.
The DVD from New Line FINALLY delivers us some extras to brag about, now that the Great Satan of DVD, Paramount, is no longer involved. In addition to the UNRATED (gotta say that again!) version of the film, we get the theatrical release so you can see just how much gore (and nudity) was cut to achieve the coveted R rating. We also get over 10 minutes of alternate scenes from the television version of the film that basically made it possible to show the film on T.V. and have it last longer than an hour. The commentary by director Adam Marcus is very funny and shows that he really loved the material (which is expected since he virtually grew up on the set of the franchise!). In addition to all of the above, we get a cool "Jump to a Death" feature and theatrical trailers.
Ultimately, if you enjoy the F13 series, you will find much to love here, but also much to hate if you take it too seriously. Taken as a lovingly crafted and well-intentioned spoof on a tired formula, Jason Goes to Hell is a rousing success.