It's Friday the 13th, which seems like a particularly good time to ask the burning question that's been on my mind for quite a while now: Remember that time they made Friday the 13th, but in space?
There are a lot of really bad horror movie sequels that seem to totally miss every possible aspect of whatever it was that made the original great, like Jaws II, which features an inane premise about a different shark seeking revenge over the death of the first shark from Jaws. There are also some surprisingly great horror sequels, like Wes Craven's New Nightmare, which sees a "real" Freddy Kreuger terrorizing the actors from the original Nightmare on Elm Street in what ultimately functions as a meta-commentary on the genre. But then there's Jason X, and I honestly have no idea what to make of it.
The original Friday the 13th came out in 1980 and featured an incredibly simple premise: A masked killer murders teen counselors at a summer camp. That's pretty much it. There was a twist––the killer is alleged to be the vengeful zombie(?) of a deformed boy named Jason who drowned in the camp lake over 20 years ago, but it's really his mom!––but overall, Friday the 13th was a grounded slasher film. The weapons were mainly crap from around camp, like arrows and axes. The kills were mostly realistic.
That said, ten sequels change a franchise. In the second movie, Friday the 13th Part 2, the grown up Jason (he never really died!) took over his mom's role as the killer. In the sixth movie, Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives, Jason actually becomes an invincible zombie. In the eighth movie, Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason...takes Manhattan. So naturally, in the tenth movie, Jason X, Jason needs to go to space. Except, wait. What?
New Line Cinema
Like, I get Jason going to Manhattan. Camp Crystal Lake is in New Jersey, so that's basically a bus ride. Heck, I even understand Jason going to hell in the 9th movie, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (which it clearly was not, by the way). By that point, the franchise had already established supernatural zombie powers for Jason, so him being dragged to hell wasn't TOO far out. But f*cking outer space?
Jason X doesn't really have a plot. It's more like a circus of convoluted stupidity that results in Jason getting cryogenically frozen, launched into space 445 years later, then unfrozen and turned into a cyborg. While the first movie sported deaths like, "guy gets shot with arrows," Jason X has ones like "girl gets her face frozen with liquid nitrogen and then shattered." Also, this is a direct quote from Wikipedia: "Jason easily defeats KM-14 by punching her head off." KM-14 is an android, by the way.
Liquid nitrogen death scene - Jason X www.youtube.com
It's also pertinent to mention that the original Friday the 13th had ten character deaths total, which included the two kids in the "22 years ago" background portion and Jason's mom at the end of the movie. Jason X had a metric sh*t ton. A character literally got killed roughly once every 3.64 minutes. That is to say, space Jason is less a slasher and more a one-man genocide.
Part of me wants to believe that Jason X is actually a clever, self-aware commentary on the nature of horror sequels, and how for a series to continue past a certain point it needs to become absurd. If that were the case, Jason X would succeed with flying colors, stretching the absurdity of slasher films to such an extreme that it ends up feeling more like an action movie than horror. Maybe Jason X is even offering insight into the movie industry as a whole, almost like an anti-sequel PSA.
Similarly, when Jason kind of lifts up his attractive female victim's shirt in the nitrogen death scene, maybe that was a directorial choice to expose the male gaze through which the vast majority of horror films view their female characters, even during moments of trauma. After all, the scene was so blatantly sexualized, in such stark contrast from the gruesome nature of the attack, that it couldn't actually have been intended as "hot," right?Or maybe I'm giving this way too much thought, and the only reason this movie exists is that they needed to make a new sequel and some dude thought, "Know what would be cool? Friday the 13th, but in space!"