Slash Gordon

Jason comes back to the future continuing his crusade against lustful teens.

Remember back in 1984 when America was gripped with a mournful sorrow? Remember? That's when Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was released, and we realized we'd never again see hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhees enforce his own brand of safe sex. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth and anti-Soviet propaganda followed.

Then, as if by a miracle, the next year saw Jason Lives, another chapter in the Friday the 13th saga. (Or is it the Friday the 13th epic? I'm not sure.) Once again our woods and campgrounds were safe from libidinous teens in tiny bikinis.

All went well until we foolishly elected a Democrat to the Oval Office. That was when tragedy struck and the release of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday brought to a close the Friday the 13th story cycle. Clearly, that marked the end of our long national love affair with teen slaying. I mean, there's no way Jason could escape from hell, n'est-ce pas? Well, in fact, pas. It turns out that the horrible Jason-less period from 1993 to 2001 is finally over.

My theory is that Jason, whose basic message is "have sex, get hacked with a machete, it's that simple," is the kind of guy who does better with a Republican in the White House. Sure, that last randy Democrat may have brought us eight years of peace and prosperity, but where was the guilt and the pandering to the hydrocephalic Christian right?

So, with the country back where it should be, in the hands of a Republican who lost the popular vote, it's time for Jason to return and start slashing up teenagers who are foolish enough to go against God's law by acting on their natural sexual urges.

Of course, it's the future now, so Jason has to be upgraded for the new millennium. A lot of younger readers out there probably don't recall that before the 21st century the average American didn't have a flying car or a jetpack. As such, this new generation of potential Jason victims wouldn't be able to relate to a killer who lacked robotic enhancements.

So, for the latest installment in the Jason kill-fest, Jason is deep frozen in the year 2010 and thawed out in the 25th century, a strange, futuristic time when teenage girls wear slutty outfits and get it on with hot young boys.

They do this on a space ship, which is the perfect place for dark alleys and the hunting and killing of the sexually active. Since we all know Jason's m.o. so well now, the makers of Jason X toss in the kind of self-referential humor that has made the Scream series so tedious. However, they do it without the didacticism of that highbrow set of films, and it's generally more effective here than it was in the most recent Scream outings.

On the whole, Jason X works quite well on its own terms. I wouldn't go expecting Wild Strawberries, but I'm sure that if Bergman had made a Friday the 13th sequel, it would have been much like Jason X, in that it would have been a movie.

Kane Hodder plays Jason for the fourth time. Hodder is really the quintessential Jason, in that he's played Jason more times than anyone else. Of course, Hodder is not without his range: you probably remember him from Project Metalbeast, wherein he played Metalbeast. And, he was in House II and House IV. I think he played the house.

Here, he sticks to the basics, which involve hacking people up in a variety of creative ways, and then getting shot, and then hacking more people up, because bullets alone are not enough to stop his Christian crusade against cuteness.

This may sound trite, but there is something particularly ingenious about taking the tired slasher film concept, and mixing it with the tired monster-on-a-spaceship concept, and adding in the tired self-referential humor concept. Somehow this mix of sleepy strategies combines to create 90 minutes of the kind of entertainment that you won't remember later, but which won't bore you while you're watching it.

Other than a brief appearance by David Cronenberg, the cast is largely unknowns, unless you're a big fan of TV's Andromeda. If you are, you'll be thrilled by the appearance of Lexa Doig and Lisa Ryder. Sadly, the odds on this are slim, since there are no big fans of TV's Andromeda, but still, they're both attractive young women, and they deserve this one shot at celluloid before sinking below the level of entertainment footnotes.

Every other aspect of the film is competent. The story isn't particularly poorly paced, the dialogue is amusing enough in small doses, and the special effects are well within the film's budget. I can only hope that in another nine years, when the next Jason film is ready for release, such workmanlike attention to the bare necessities of filmmaking is still an important part of the producer's agenda.

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