Thursday, December 24

Some quick thoughts on Jason X (2001)

Awww yes, the much maligned Jason X. I can remember the pre-judgment many made over the very concept of Mr. Voorhees in outer space. Back on the now defunct Diabolical Dominion forum, a loud majority seemed dead set against the idea regardless of the outcome. Some were more optimistic, but those entrenched on the opposing side often resorted to casting the "you aren't a "real" fan..." charge on those willing to wait. Shades of all the pre-release hubris surrounding Avatar just like with most major releases or franchise with a longstanding following on the Interwebs. Of course, the release date delays and rumors of a troubled production didn't help the reception of this tenth kill-a-ton celebration headed up by everyone's favorite deformed momma's boy.

This textual tug of war colored my reaction when I finally saw the intergalactic misadventures of the macheted-one. James Issac's sequel is just so different and no one really expected (nor particularly wished to see) the beastly character shot off into the stars. The space angle seemed like a ploy at the then fledgling rebirth of episodic space operas on the boob tube. Finding the Pioneer/GAGA Communications Japanese DVD peaked my interest in seeing it again after years. And despite not watching that particular disc (factory sealed, 'natch), popping in the stateside New Line Platinum edition last night led to a surprising reevaluation.

Jason X isn't nearly the embarrassment than remembered. Sure, the flick has some obvious issues; the production has that ramshackle television look, the nearly one-dimensional CG spacecraft effects, the Alien/Aliens-themed riff raff, the science being firmly armchair, and (sorry to say) Manfredini's last Friday score often sounding noticeably cheap. We horror fans love to guard our properties like our own children, though to his credit, Isaac seems to "get" yet not piss away the series being essentially popcorn slasher fun. This is exactly what this flick embodies when stripped of all the motherly protection and unreachable expectation that we too often saddle our beloved horror icons with. After revisiting this, you can't tell me this is a bad way at all for the F13 series proper to conclude compared to the fates of the "original" Freddy, Michael, Pinhead, or Chucky lineages. Those demanding more gloss and sheen have their rather innocuous, ultra slick Bay-fueled re-imagining.

Kane Hodder's performance just might be his best behind the Jarvis-slashed hockey mask. The character is ridiculously menacing from picture start like a fucking brickwall of interstellar teenage doom. A vastly better showing than the fifteen-or-so minutes of screen time the real Jason received going to Hell. The makers of Freddy vs. Jason and Friday the 13th (2009) may have wanted a taller Voorhees, but the barrel-chested Hodder proves the only one with the exacting brutish mannerisms to make the Crystal Lake Corpse truly terrifying. Shit, Kane as Jason could be a full foot shorter and still make your legs itch from piss-soaked jeans as you bolt through the woods screaming for your life. Issac wisely makes Hodder the clear star; once Jason smashes the crystallized face of that future space babe, the sex ends as the slaughter begins. Also Uber-Jason is certainly more agreeable than the dumb body jumpin' in Jason Goes to Hell.

Hell, I didn't even mind all the cheeky quips from the human cattle and sexy leather-clad android. This humor makes one care more for the admittedly single-serve victims. I can't remember who said '95's Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight was the last of the old guard before the Scream revolution, but Jason X could be considered its final death rattle before Saw and all these remakes cluttered the landscape. This is one of those unabashed horror flicks for horror fans. That should make sense to those dyed-in-the-wool.


Steve Miller said...

I enjoy this film. Aside from the first "Friday the 13th," it's the only one I rate highly enough to have the DVD as part of my collection.

DrunkethWizerd said...

Jason X rules. When that blonde chick gets her face frozen and then smashed to bits, that has to be my favorite kill in the series. It's hot... despite being so, you know.

venoms5 said...

This is my favorite of the sequels and I had such a great time watching it the first time in the theater, I went back two more times. The score is probably the lousiest thing about the film. There's so many cool moments packed into the movie including that hilarious homage to the Crystal Lake bound entries towards the end. How could anyone not enjoy RoboJason? There could be a great little sub franchise on that character alone.

J. Astro said...

I consider this a lesser entry and not a true "FRIDAY..." franchise entry, since I cannot stand the idea of the stupid android woman or the awful, painfully obvious one-liners the film insists on cluttering itself with. But I DO like it better than JASON GOES TO HELL, anyway, and that's something, I guess.

Hope you had a kick-ass holiday, Jayson. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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