Is Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday something of a stealth remake of cult horror The Hidden? In a series that sent Jason to space or had him brawl with Freddy Krueger, 1993’s The Final Friday still stands as the weirdest entry. The ninth movie revealed that Jason is really some kind of evil, body-hopping demon snake thing, and the story sees him chase after his half-sister and her daughter in an effort to be reborn when his original body is destroyed.
Jason Goes To Hell boasts some of the goriest effects of the entire franchise and gets points for being different – but it’s also one of the most divisive entries. It stacks on endless amounts of brand new mythology and the exposition ties itself in knots when it tries to explain what’s happening. Keeping Jason offscreen for the bulk of the sequel wasn’t the most popular move with the fanbase either. It has grown something of a cult following in recent years, though its critical reputation hasn’t improved much.
New Line produced Jason Goes To Hell, with the studio also being behind the famous A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. At the height of Freddy’s success, they attempted to create a new horror series with The Hidden. This 1987 action/horror gem saw a mysterious FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan) and a dedicated cop (Michael Nouri) investigate a crimewave being committed by seemingly normal citizens. It turns out a body-hopping alien parasite with a taste for fast cars and violence is behind it all, while MacLachlan’s character is another alien attempting to kill it. For those who’ve seen both The Final Friday and The Hidden, the similarities can be a little striking.
Both Jason Goes To Hell and The Hidden are based around the body-swapping conceit, with Jason and the alien’s true form being slimy, snake-like creatures. They both open in a similiar way, with police unleashing a wave of firepower to take down seemingly unstoppable killers before they later claim new bodies in a hospital. The hijacked bodies can withstand a lot of damage too, though eventually Jason or the alien need to swap for a new one. They can also only be destroyed by special weapons; a dagger in the case of Jason or an alien pistol for The Hidden’s creature.
Jason Goes To Hell still follows the slasher formula but also puts a bigger focus on action. The fact both it and The Hidden were produced by New Line also raised eyebrows, though The Final Friday director Adam Marcus has sworn he hadn’t seen The Hidden before making his Friday The 13th movie. While the concepts are certainly quite similiar, the stories largely play out in totally different ways too, with The Hidden being more of an action film with a focus on characters. In the end, Jason Goes To Hell isn’t a remake, though if horror fans must opt for one cult body-swap horror movie, The Hidden is the superior choice.