Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)

September 29, 2011 - 9:18pm | Johnny D
  Tags: 80's Slashers, Alan Blumenfeld, Ann Ryerson, C.J. Graham, camping, Darcy DeMoss, David Kagen, female killer, friday the 13th, horror icon, jason, jason voorhees, Jennifer Cooke, Kerry Noonan, masked killer, Matthew Faison, Nancy McLoughlin, Renée Jones, Ron Palillo, sequel, slasher, teens, Thom Mathews, Tom Fridley, Tom McLoughlin, Tony Goldwyn, Vincent Guastaferro

Your rating: None Average: 7.7 (18 votes)
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Tom McLoughlin
Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Kerry Noonan, Renée Jones, Tom Fridley, C.J. Graham, Darcy DeMoss, Vincent Guastaferro, Tony Goldwyn, Nancy McLoughlin, Ron Palillo, Alan Blumenfeld, Matthew Faison, Ann Ryerson

Were you disappointed by the fifth installment in the Friday the 13th series? Were you pissed off that it was, with the exception of a few well staged scenes, amateurishly directed from a mediocre script? Did you want to punch your fist through a plate glass window when the end revealed that the killer was not Mr. Vorhees, but some random paramedic out for revenge? Okay, maybe I'm over exaggerating the extent of the fifth films failures (I know it wasn't THAT bad), but it did leave a lot to be desired. In steps writer/director Tom McLoughlin of One Dark Night fame to introduce us to the truly unstoppable Zombie Jason with a well needed tongue firmly planted in cheek.

We open up with uber crazy Tommy Jarvis (now played Return of the Living Dead fav Thom Matthews) rushing to Crystal Lake...or should I say Forest Green...with his buddy Horshack to incinerate Big J's body. They dig up the body and in a complete stroke of coincidence, a bolt of lightning strikes and brings back homeboy Jason a la Frankenstein. We quickly cut to a James Bond inspired opening and know right away that this isn't our typical Friday the 13th sequel. Our "plot" involves a group of teens running a weekend camp event for some children. Yes, this is the first Friday the 13th movie to feature actual children at the camp. Jason shows up and kills off the counselors one by one per his usualness. One of the counselors is the total spluge worthy hottie Megan, played by the "why the hell did she drop off the face of the earth" Jennifer Cooke. Not only does she want to smash out Jarvis, but she's also the sheriff's daughter.

Alright, now I know a lot of you think I'm crazy for giving this movie such a high rating, but here me out. Where the movie lacks in originality it makes up for technically. With a budget of 3 million dollars, Part 6 manages to be the most professional and slick movie of the series. The colors are vibrant and the pacing is top notch. McLoughlin knows his shit and it's a shame that his talent has been wasted this past decade on Lifetime Original Movies. One of my favorite shots of the movie is when Jason is on the outside of the cabin and we see him following the person on the inside through the window. It's just a very tense and unnerving shot. I also love the shot of Jason climbing out of the smashed up RV as he's silhouetted...such badassery. I know a lot of people aren't fans of the humor in the movie, but at this point you either have to acknowledge the fact that your movie franchise is turning into a joke, or continue to play it seriously and not be in on the fact that your franchise is turning into a joke. It was something different in the franchise and I dug it.

The acting is mediocre as expected from the supporting characters. Nothing special there. But Matthews and Cooke as the leads are pure standouts. And Cooke is one of the sexiest final girls to ever grace the series...especially when she whips about in her little red car...I love how she smoothly handles the gear shift. I'd let her shift my gear any time she wanted to. And do my eyes deceive me or is that a camel toe I see? Jason obtains a handy dandy utility belt from some paint ballers which allows for a good amount of diversity among the kills. Some nice practical effects work there one gets off easy in this movie. And while Kane Hodder didn't own the part until the next installment, C.J. Graham gives an admirable performance as Big J. Jason Lives is one of my favorite movies out of the series, and while I almost gave it a 7, there's something inside of me that can't help but love watching this movie. That and watching it after Part 5 has made me appreciate it even more.

Jason Lives is a tricky film to examine because while it doesn't stray too far away from the tired but true slasher formula, it excels behind the camera with a tight script, beyond competent directing, and phenomenal production value. Featuring two great lead performances and the introduction of Zombie Jason, we're left with one helluva fun slasher movie that washed out the bitter taste in my mouth left by Part 5.

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