JASON GOES TO HELL ... AT LAST
Fangoria #125 (August 1993)
by Marc Shapiro
Excerpts from interviews on the set with cast members John LeMay and Kane Hodder,
and director Adam Marcus, pp. 38-46
... Jason Goes To Hell, written by Dean Lorey and Jay Huguely and produced by Friday godfather Sean Cunningham, works from the premise that there really is a Jason Vorhees, and that the previous Friday films had been based on his real acts. The movie opens with Jason as America's Most Wanted, with hundreds of murders to his credit and the combined efforts of the police, FBI and CIA unable to find him. Early on, however, the masked marauder is tracked down by the FBI and killed. Of course, we all know Jason can't die, and nobody is surprised when he comes back to life.
"But this time, Jason returns with a specific agenda," explains writer Lorey. "He's trying to find a certain member of his family and do a certain thing to that person in order to survive. Then out of nowhere comes Creighton Duke, a bounty hunter of serial killers, who knows that Jason isn't really dead and knows how to kill him."
The cast is so adult it's--well--scary. Toplining is John D. LeMay, a veteran of Friday the 13th's television incarnation as an anthology series, and theatre and independent film veteran Kari Keegan. Steven Williams plays the mysterious Creighton Duke, with Erin (Buck Rogers) Gray, Allison Smith and Billy (Critters) Green Bush in support. And while the casting approach is different, there is the expected Friday the 13th-style mayhem (a mixture of tried-and-true gore with FX bordering on the supernatural), courtesy of those workaholics at KNB. New Line opens the film September 3 (delayed from August 13).
... One thing [Director Adam] Marcus didn't find was a simple shoot. Just off a good portion of the 40-day production schedule at various outdoor Los Angeles locations, the director claims that there really haven't been any simple scenes to shoot.
"The main reason is that we haven't looked for any easy outs," ... "The diner massacre is straight out of a Sam Peckinpah movie, with a lot of it being shot in slow motion and a good deal of double lighting and overexposing of the film. We had a lot of people in a very tight space, with plenty of stuff blowing up and Jason bashing through the place. We even had a POV shot of a bullet as it travels in a light box and causes an explosion. Of course, it makes things a whole lot easier when your killer is also your stunt coordinator," he laughs.
..."There are some new opportunities and a number of firsts," says [Kane] Hodder, who steadfastly refuses to spill most of the beans. "One thing I can tell you is that you will see me without makeup as another character is this movie. I play an FBI agent who appears, talks some sh** about Jason and ends up dead ..."
What he also insures is an astonishing climactic mano-a-mano with LeMay. "It will quite literally tear the roof off the house," Hodder says. "I knew this was going to be the last Friday film, and I wanted to go out with the best fight sequence we've ever had in one of these films ... this end fight ... and I can't talk about it ..."
LeMay plays Steven Freeman, whose child with Jessica Kimble (Keegan) is Jason's final target. Though it's a solid lead, the actor's two year stint as Ryan Dallion on Friday the 13th: The Series had him thinking twice about doing Jason Goes To Hell.
"When I did the show, I spent a good part of my time trying to disassociate myself from the movies," LeMay says. "I always felt the films were short on story, short on the mythology of Jason and just basically a bunch of boring scenes wrapped around gratuitous violence.
What changed my mind about this film was that they've created a real story that attempts to make Jason part of an overall mythology," he continues. "I also liked the idea that they were trying to keep things logical and not have people do stupid things just to further the plot. Logic in a movie like this, especially when you're dealing with elements of the supernatural, is a rough thing to come by. But everybody's been a watchdog about keeping things real and believable."
This plausibility also extends to LeMay's character. "Steven is this ordinary guy who gets caught up in an extraordinary situation," he notes. "What happens in this film is a real growth experience for him. He goes from being an immature, irresponsible kid to a man fighting for his family."
In addition, the actor endures a highly physical and bloody workout. "I start bleeding at about page 3 of this script and have blood on me through the entire movie," LeMay says. "I get my fingers broken. Jason beats the crap out of me. I take a licking and keep on ticking."
... Fun and games over, the actor and artists are summoned back into the morgue room for a continuation of the heart-munching sequence, during which a spiritual transference of sorts takes place between Jason and the coroner. Marcus, animated within the close confines of cameramen, crew and equipment, is directing the tail end of the scene, in which Jason walks out through the morgue door. Hodder makes his exit a few times for the camera at various speeds.
"Just let me know if it's scary," implores the director to his AD and DP. The shot is repeated a few more times amid the chrome and glaring light, and the scene is ultimately captured for posterity ...