New Line Cinema takes over the reins of the Voorhees series for the next three films, and for their first film, the creator of the original film, Sean Cunningham insisted on something different. Adam Marcus, who served as the film’s director, and one of the film’s writers definitely did that, and delivered one of the most divisive films of the series.
The film introduces some curious elements, like the idea that Jason (occasionally played by Kane Hodder through the film) has a sister, played by Erin Gray (!), and that the supernatural elements introduced earlier in the series was only the tip of the iceberg as bounty hunter, Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) details the true nature of Jason, which is meant to serve as an explanation for the changes in Jason’s form, appearance and abilities over the course of the series. We also learn that the series exists in the same universe as the Evil Dead franchise, and A Nightmare on Elm Street (and possibly John Carpenter’s The Thing).
When Jason is led into a trap at the beginning of the film, and literally blown apart, Duke lets everyone know that this is just the beginning. Apparently Jason’s return from the grave delivered Voorhees back to the world of the living with the addition of a demonic body-jumping presence, that is kind of slug-like.
Creighton warns Steven (John D. LeMay – who played Ryan in the Friday the 13th television series) that Jason can be completely reborn through a Voorhees woman (why he didn’t use Erin Gray right away is beyond me), instead he decides to go after Diana’s (Grey) daughter, Jessica (Kari Keegan) and her newborn daughter, which Steven fathered.
Throw in an investigative journalist with questionable morals, played by Steven Culp, and you’ve got an interesting mix. Unfortunately, the story is a little uneven, and the supernatural elements may have gone a little too far, though that ending feature an appearance by Freddy’s glove certainly whetted fans appetites for the future of the franchise.
Kane Hodder is under-used throughout, though he does make an appearance as a security guard. The kills are pretty solid, including a graphic slashing of a young camper, the gore has actually been upped a bit in the series and it shows, but it’s the tease of Freddy that really drives the series from this point on.
Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to break the story for it for a number of years, which would give New Line time to deliver another entry in the interim. Next time we have a look at Jason X – which sees Jason in the far flung future, in space. Yeah, I’m not looking forward to that one…