Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #30
Number of Views: Three
Release Dates: July 24, 2001 (Germany), April 26, 2002 (US)
Country of Origin: United States
Box Office: $16,951,798
Running Time: 93 minutes
Director: James Isaac
Screenplay: Todd Farmer
Characters: Victor Miller
Producer: Noel Cunningham, Sean S Cunningham, Geoff Garrett, James Isaac, Marilyn Stonehouse
Cinematography: Derick V. Underschultz
Score: Harry Manfredini
Editor: David Handman
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Special Effects Supervisor: Bob Hall
Stars: Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Jonathan Potts, Peter Mensah, Melyssa Ade, Melody Johnson, Phillip Williams, Derwin Jordon, Todd Farmer, Dov Tiefenbach, Amanda Brugel, Chuck Campbell, Kristi Angus, Yani Gellman, David Cronenberg and Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees/Uber Jason
Suggested Audio Candy
Harry Manfredini “Main Theme”
So the imperishable Jason Voorhees finally went and done it. I guess it was only a matter of time as his wayward travels had already taken him as far afield as Manhattan, so ultimately it could only end in outer space right? When I first caught a dubious whiff of the big man’s current coordinates, I understandably had my concerns. Neither the Cenobites or the Critters could resist the allure of courting a little intergalactic mayhem so what chance did Jason have of being talked out of purchasing his one-way ticket? One and one only. Mother dearest. However, something tells me that he stopped listening to her incessant whining a long time ago. I was justifiably a little perplexed on receipt of this intelligence as any remaining faith in the once proud Friday The 13th franchise had all but diminished after the two weakest entries in its long-running series having the gall to arrive back-to-back. One more dud could potentially spell curtains for a sequence of movies that had nurtured me right through my adolescence. Could this be his true final chapter?
Naturally, there was only one course of action available while I awaited its theatrical release. I paid another visit to the other nine Fridays and soaked up some backwoods slaughter to provide me with closure. You see, this particular hulking juggernaut belongs in the woods chopping scantily clad co-eds and their gormless tag-along boyfriends into firewood. I desire to see Voorhees cracking skulls with his filthy machete and hear the leaves crunch under his size thirteens, not sit around waiting for him to suss out how to release the safety on a Blast-O-Matic 5000 so he can deal with that pesky clean bot. Having secured my fix of forest fracas, I was just about ready to be beamed up into hyperspace. However, as much as my expectations were somewhat lowly, one particular element supplied me with a glimmer of hope. Director James Isaac had already gifted us with one of the most overlooked of all eighties slashers, The Horror Show, therefore I owed him a dash of faith out of professional courtesy if nothing else. Jason X marked his first time in the director’s seat for twelve long years and I lived in hope that he still possessed the old Jenke magic.
Having viewed Jason X three times now, I’m kind of over having mixed feelings about Jason’s space exploits, no matter how many light years he strayed from Camp Crystal. Every film deserves to be taken on its own merits and hindsight affords us a far better vantage as there are no more unpleasant surprises forecast. Yes, it deprived me of the true send-off I had dreamed of, but it also never once failed to entertain me. The X here signified more than simply another numeral as it provided Jason with some swanky new upgrades for his lunar adventure and an augmented suit of armor to boot. Say what you will about Isaac’s solar slasher but the fact will still remain. Warp back to it enough and it’s bound to win you over eventually.
First things first then. How the festering fuck did Jason end up in space at any rate? Well actually it turned out to be a shrewd move on his part, given that the year was now 2455 and Earth was no longer inhabitable. That’s right, the last few dregs of the human race had found a fresh planet to colonize and gradually ruin, and cunningly named it Earth Two. A mass marauder of Voorhees stature was a shoe-in for cryogenic suspension as science waits for no man and we all want to know how pure evil works right? Regrettably for the entire crew of the space liner he thawed out on, and potentially the entire solar system, some bonehead left a machete lying around. Business as usual then? You’re damn right it was. Intergalactic setting aside, it was still Jason Voorhees after all. Moreover, Kane Hodder was once again the man behind the mask.
Speaking of facials, I simply cannot let another moment pass without offering one particular slaying its own personal stanza. This was the moment I sought after more than anything else. I yearned, obsessed and mentally masturbated over one ingenious spark of unique brilliance to settle my nerves and Jason X provided it pretty much straight off the bat. Words almost fail me with regards to the nitrogen face freeze/head smash combo. The very moment the hapless Adrienne’s cranium shattered like a jar of marbles and Voorhees drew back a ghastly cross-section of her obliterated skull-cap, I knew full well that I had found the ultimate Friday kill. For a series that made its name through its inventive kills, this one really took the biscuit. Moreover, it would likely scrape into my all-time top ten death list. Max Jenke may well have been handy with a cleaver, but Voorhees will forever be the king of nitrogen.
There are numerous other flashes of brilliance scattered throughout its duration and here’s another to further tickle your fancy. Two fresh-faced and decidedly supple co-eds appear in a holographic cyber program as a decoy to distract our psycho killer from his rampage only to discover that one thing turns him on more than the naked female form, that being beating said female form to a gory pulp against a nearby tree stump. It was a gloriously knowing tribute to times passed and provided just enough of a flash of foliage to satisfy the hardcore.
A brief cameo from master of the macabre David Cronenberg didn’t harm any either. His brief run-out as Dr. Wimmer may not have quite rivaled the Canadian’s menacing turn as Dr. Decker from Clive Barker’s frivolous dark fairytale Nightbreed but his very presence was still something to be celebrated.
Lexa Doig was splendid as Jason’s very own travel companion Rowan. Having bagged this puppy in the first place, the plucky government scientist possessed the smarts to give him the runaround and made for a fairly magnanimous final girl.
Another winner was resident android and all-round badass Kay Em-14 (Lisa Ryder). Boasting almost as many upgrades as Voorhees, an array of weapons, and fine-tuned combat skills, this saucy cyborg made me want to break out the WD-40 and offer to grease her joints.
And how could we possibly achieve lift off without mentioning the indefatigable Sergeant Brodski (Peter Mensah). A persistent thorn in Jason’s side, Brodski was gifted the best line of the entire film and delivered it to perfection. Moreover, he wasn’t satisfied with bleeding out with the rest of the grunts and returned for one final space waltz, proving just how hard an old dog he was to put down.
I guess I will always feel a dash melancholic over the elaborate switch from campsite origins to the outer reaches of our cosmos. That’s just personal preference, Pinhead and those mischievous furry Critters are very welcome to transfer their shenanigans to space but I would have preferred a more grounded send-off for such a beloved slasher stalwart, particularly one already skating on perilously thin ice. However, while that nagging sense of dismay will always exist on some level, and no amount of flashy dispatches, extravagant kills, humorous highlights, or likeable cast can ever quite compensate for the lack of foliage. Alas, simulated just isn’t quite the same. Having said that, Jason X is still one helluva large step for mankind when compared to the sorry Manhattan debacle. It’s just a shame that, in space, nobody can hear any of the screams.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 7/10
Grue Factor: 3/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: There is more than enough stabbing, pounding and impalement to keep things ticking along nicely, although the tongue-in-cheek approach does takes the edge off a little. On a more positive note, ever wanted to see what a face looks like frozen in nitrogen? So have I but, thanks to Jason X, I can finally strike it off the list.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
© Copyright: Rivers of Grue™ Shadow Spark Publishing™