Jason X – FRIDAY THE 13th X (2002)
Cast: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Jonathan Potts, Peter Mensah, Melyssa Ade
Director: James Isaac
Nutshell: Jason makes history as the first masked psycho to slice and dice in space
It’s been an age since the last time we saw Jason in his familiar hockey goalie’s mask slicing, hacking, spearing his way to a body count of well over 80 in his eight appearances in the 9 Friday the 13th films to date. Jason you no doubt remember was the reason for all the trouble at Camp Crystal Lake back in the 60’s when some amorous teenagers neglected him and allowed him to drown in the famous Camp Blood Lake. He made only a fleeting appearance in the first Friday the 13th film in which his insane mother played so brilliantly by Betsy Palmer was the marauder. However ever since Friday the 13th 2 and parts 3,4,5,6,6,8,9 and now 10, Jason Voorhees, son of Betsy Palmer AKA Mrs. Voorhees is the monster that cannot be killed – well, at least as long as the money keeps dribbling in.
Many moons and indeed many Friday the 13th’s have passed between the last episode Jason Goes to Hell was released way back in 1993. The diminishing Box Office returns of the franchise and the downward spiral in quality (impossible though it seems) continued unabated and by the time Jason Goes to Hell went almost directly to video it looked as though it was time for Jason to hang up his mask and machete. Now Jason had become from a figure of dread to an object of ridicule – an increasingly farcical parody of himself with each further installment of the series. However, that said, there are still die hard Jason and Friday the 13th fans out there which you only have to pick up an issue of Fangoria to find out. The Friday the 13th movies, however monumentally awful do enjoy a fairly broad fan-base within hardened horror circles and Jason has become an internationally recognized (and idolized?) face along with Madonna and Michael Jackson who incidentally is far more terrifying than Jason could ever hope to be.
The latest sequel in the franchise arrives years after it had been speculated upon and indeed announced and there have been tens of delays and various script alterations along the way with frequent reports that the film has been shelved altogether. Then when it was due to appear we had the Columbine killings and later we had 9/11 which further pushed the release back due to its violent content.
Proceedings begin with some space medicals performing some experiments on Jason’s corpse, jabbing him in the eyes with hypodermic needles which is bound not to go down too well with the masked marauder. Indeed it doesn’t take him more than a couple of minutes to spring back into action, recover his machete and slice and dice the entire station. One feisty and much undressed bimbette takes him on and then suddenly the place goes up in an explosion and a mysterious futuristic gas encompasses the beauty and the beastly Jason, freezing them for a long, long time. We move to the future….the year is 2455 and we are upon a space ship which is inhabited by the same stereotypical retards that featured in all previous Friday the 13th films – fodder for Jason’s swishing machete. Jason and the scantily clad bimbo are found cryogenically frozen a la Austin Powers and then they are thawed. Its not long before the beauty is restored to stunning glory while its taken for granted that Jason will lurch back to life sooner rather than later.
So we are treated to the usual creative killings including a man being skewered by a giant screw, a woman having her head frozen to a brittle ice like state and then having it smashed to bits, various hackings, impalings…the usual stuff though done on a very cheap budget using rather dated special effects gimmickry. In a slight departure from the norm, our teen space crew discovers the deaths around them very early on in proceedings and then the film becomes like a teen version of Aliens with elements of Star Trek, Lost in Space and even the Matrix thrown in! Jason even reappears like a cross between RoboCop and Terminator with a futuristic aerodynamic new mask and costume.
To give some credit to the film makers, at least they have at no time taken themselves seriously and the script provides a groan a minute which was surely intended rather than not? The dialogues are painfully awful and some of the situations beyond ridiculous even for the genre in question. In one scene we have two amorous student nurses (?) being told to go and take a sex break as they can’t concentrate on their work otherwise. Events on screen are so utterly infantile and ludicrous that one has to imagine that this was intended as a piss take, if not, one is left speechless! Anyway, there is the usual slice and dice mayhem, some painful yet amusing scenes involving the robotic Matrix style beauty who does her thing to good effect, but in the end the show is dominated by Jason who takes his body count past the three figure mark and also makes history as the first masked serial killer who has done his thing in space.
Amazing to think that this franchise has entered a 23rd year and still continues and also funny thing is that these kind of films are clearly aimed at the 11 – 16 age group yet precisely the group that the censors shall attempt to keep from watching the film. Fear not, this turkey shouldn’t take long in arriving on video…if it ever gets released that is. Has some cult potential due to its embarrassingly atrocious script and horrid acting.