To be perfectly honest, if this film was simply a series of scenes that featured leggy English women lounging around in stockings and pantyhose for ninety minutes, I still wouldn't hesitate to declare it to be one of the greatest films of all-time. However, as anyone who has seen Hand of Death, Part 25: Jackson's Back (a.k.a. The Hand of Death or Unmasked Part 25) can attest, there's more to this movie than leggy English women lounging around in stockings and pantyhose. Taking the piss out of every Friday the 13th movie in existence, director Anders Palm and writer Mark Cutforth add a layer of depth to the Jason Voorhees mythos. Now, some might say that Jason doesn't need any depth. As in, part of the appeal of those movies is their lack of depth. Well, speaking as someone who has seen most of the Friday the 13th movies, I can confidently say that they definitely need something. Sure, it might not be depth, or even an original idea, but the sheer pointlessness of those movies will test the patience of even the most brain-dead of viewers.
Re-branding Jason as Jackson (Gregory Cox), for, I'm guessing, legal purposes, the film is not only witty and strange, it serves as a sort of tonic for those who have endured way too many Friday the 13th movies than they care to mention. It wasn't always that way. I initially thought the film was going to be yet another Friday the 13th rip off. The only difference being, this film isn't even bothering to hide the fact that it's a rip off (the killer wears an old-timey hockey goalie mask). Holy crap, was I wrong.
After killing a bunch of young people at a party, Jason... I mean, Jackson, approaches a woman in sunglasses sitting on a chair. It turns out the woman, Shelly (Fiona Evans), is blind. I don't know what Jason's policy is when it comes to murdering the visually impaired, but Jackson is clearly flummoxed by the leggy hottie who can't see shit (what's the point of murdering someone if they can't see you doing it?).
Thinking that Jackson is the guy her now dead friends fixed her up with, Shelly seems enamoured with the quiet stranger in the old-timey goalie mask. Okay, maybe "enamoured" isn't the right word, but she's not exactly kicking the blood-stained psychopath to the curb, now is she? Of course, she doesn't know he's a deformed serial killer who spent the majority of his formative years butchering teenage campers in the U.S.A. No, in her mind, he's a Lord Byron quoting romantic with a skin condition.
Ah, I couldn't help but notice that your eyes lit up when said that Jackson quotes Lord Byron. On top of giving him depth, the makers of this film have given him a voice, an English voice. It turns out that Jackson was born in England, but moved the U.S. as a kid. And, well, we all know how that turned out (murder, mayhem and a lot of sequels).
Holy crap again! There are eight(!) nylon-ensnared legs onscreen at the same time during the party scene. I don't know if I can take much more of this. Think about it. The movie takes place in 1988 (The Second Summer of Love - acid house and baseball hats with the word "Boy" on them written out in capital letters), and it's filled with leggy English chicks wearing the latest in fashion-forward legwear.
In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that the opening party scene is better than every Friday the 13th movie combined. It's true, Jackson ends up murdering Ann (Anna Conrich), Monica (Helen Rochelle) and Patti (Annabel Yuresha), briefly undermining its status as the leggiest movie in existence (Monica's sturdy gams need their own sitcom), but I'm sure there are more leggy babes waiting in the wings.
In meantime, we're treated to the bizarre courtship of Jackson and Shelly. Actually, if you discount the fact that she's a blind dominatrix with legs for days and that he's a deformed psycho-killer in an old-timey goalie mask, their courtship is somewhat conventional. Either way, watching them connect with one another was on the cusp of being moving at times.
Still not convinced that dating is for him, Jackson thinks about stabbing Shelly, but stops himself mid-stab.
Um, put the knife away, Jackson. I'm afraid to say this, but it looks like you have got yourself a girlfriend.
We all know what happened to Jackson's mother (see the original Friday the 13th), but what ever became of his father? Well, this film depicts Jackson's father as a down on his luck serial killer living in a dilapidated house in London, England. In-between the courtship scenes, Jackson visits his father every now and then. While these scenes don't have the off-kilter pep/charm of the one's with Shelly and Jackson, nor do they have the raw sex appeal of English women in hosiery (a total of seven English women appear in the film wearing stockings, pantyhose and tights), they do a semi-competent job of fleshing out Jackson's back-story.
Yep, you read right. I said back-story. What do you think Jackson was doing between all his killing sprees? Wandering the woods in a blood-fueled haze? No, he was reading Byron. "The hand of death is on me—but not yours... Fare thee well—Give me thy hand." I'm no gynecologist, but I think Shelly's English pussy starts to get moist the moment Jackson begins reciting Byron to her.
In order to spice things up a bit, Shelly tries to get Jackson into BDSM. While the results are mixed. Most people will agree that the sight of Shelly in lingerie is a complete and total success. As for Jackson's ensemble, baggy red shorts with the words "bad boy" written on the bum... Uh. Let's just say, it's good thing Shelly is blind. Moving on...
Will Shelly and her delectable legs be able to steer Jackson away from a life of murder and mayhem, and transform him into a semi-productive member of society? Who knows? If they expect another sequel, I'd have to say, no. Nonetheless, for a blind chick, Shelly has a great sense of style (her flat is a new wave paradise). Oh, and I didn't mean to imply that the visually impaired can't be stylish... it's just that... never mind. Recommended to anyone who digs U.K. pop culture circa 1988, people who, like myself, are suffering from Friday the 13th fatigue, hardcore gorehounds will love it (the film, unlike the Friday the 13th movies, is quite ghastly in places) and, of course, hosiery fanatics the world over.