March 07, 2014
Growing up in the 80's and finally getting into horror films at around the age of 15, there was no escaping the Friday the 13th series. By that point however, in the UK the films were destined to come straight out on video, skipping a theatrical release of any kind. So, the chance that I would ever see one on the big screen seemed like a dream and nothing more. That was until James Isaac's Jason X came about in 2001. Receiving a limited release, I still remember the feeling of excitement when I sat down to the watch the film for the first time. After the lights came up, I knew I had thoroughly enjoyed the film, despite its shortcomings. Sure, it was cheesey, more comedic than I would have liked, but I genuinely liked it. To tell the truth that hasn't really changed over the years. It's a guilty pleasure of a movie, and is far from the worst in the series in my eyes.
However, there's no denying that a fanedit could do this film the world of good. Some of the comedy, particularly the one-liners is cringe worthy at best, so when I found out that Reaper was carrying out his first fanedit on this film, I was genuinely intrigued. Retitling the film "Friday the 13th Part X - Jason In Space" may sound a bit of a mouthful, but Reaper has tried where possible to make this feel more like a old-school Friday film, so it does feel right.
Immediately you begin watching Jason in Space there's more of a feeling that you are watching a Friday the 13th film which just happens to be set in the future, in space. I really liked the way Reaper gets rid of the horrible CGI "inside" Jason's brain opening credits, replacing them with an admittedly hokey looking Friday the 13th style font in red, inter-cut nicely with footage from the scenes where the Professor and his students from the year 2455 uncover the Crystal Lake Research Station and take the frozen bodies of Jason Voorhees and soul surviving scientist, Rowan, aboard their spaceship. The use of music works well here too, although admittedly I would have changed the way the score ends as we get into the movie proper, as it feels at odds with what music immediately follows it.
After this, Reaper effortlessly trims various scenes to improve the pace, narrative and most importantly gets rid of nearly every goofy one-liner. This actually works wonders for the film. Sure, it's still a cheesey slasher film at the end of the day, but reining in the ill-fitting humour (an 80's Arnie film this is not) gives Jason in Space more tension and gravatis. Special mention needs to go to the scene of Jason's resurrection (that's the initial time he wakes up and not the uber Jason scene), as this is vastly improved. Simpler, to the point and just works far better for it.
I was lucky enough to see a few workprints of this, and I have to take my hat off to Reaper for having the determination and focus to go back and fix technical problems, make certain edits even better and the final result is a very impressive first edit which should be seen by any fans of the Friday the 13th series. No hard cuts, be it visually or audio wise, this is more or less the Jason X I wanted to see in cinemas back in 2001. Faster, leaner, meaner and just more entertaining.
So, whereas the original would get a 7/10 from me, this puts the film up to a 8/10.
Definitely my "go to" version of Jason X for now. Congrats Reaper, I look forward to seeing what yo might come up with next :)