Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
friday the 13th part vi: jason lives | tom mcloughlin | thom mathews | jennifer cooke | david kagen | jason voorhees | sequel | thriller | united states | friday the 13th | kerry noonan | renee jones | c.j. graham | tom fridley | darcy demoss | slasher | supernatural
Film: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Director: Tom McLoughlin
Writer: Tom McLoughlin
Starring: Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke and David Kagen
This was one of the Friday the 13th films that I actually only think that I’ve seen twice now. It never seemed to be on the movie channels and it wasn’t until I got it on DVD that I believe I checked it out. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really care for it as this one does incorporate more comedy that the ones prior. I gave it another viewing as part of a horror movie challenge I’m doing though. The synopsis is Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) goes to the graveyard to get rid of Jason Voorhees’ (C.J. Graham) body once and for all, but inadvertently brings him back to life instead. The newly revived killer once again seeks revenge and Tommy may be the only one who can defeat him.
As the synopsis states, we see Tommy in a pick-up truck with another guy from the hospital that he’s been living. Tommy is on a mission to ensure that Jason is actually dead. On top of that, he wants to completely destroy the body. His vendetta against him has taken over his life and he’s not able to move on. Tommy digs up the casket and a storm rolls in. Tommy goes crazy, stabbing the corpse with a metal pole, which he leaves in the body. It is then struck by lightening, bringing the killer back from the dead. The problem now, he is supernatural.
Tommy seeks out the local sheriff, Garris (David Kagen), who thinks he’s crazy. When Tommy won’t give it up, he’s tossed in a cell.
The next two victims are Darren (Tony Goldwyn) and Lizbeth (Nancy McLoughlin) who are on their way to the camp that’s now reopened. They’re the older counselors and supposed to be running it. They come to Jason blocking their way. Lizbeth wants to flee while Darren thinks it is someone messing with them. They soon realize this is the real deal. With them not returning to camp, this brings Megan (Jennifer Cooke), the sheriff’s daughter, into the station along with Paula (Kerry Noonan), Sissy (Renée Jones) and Cort (Tom Fridley). They are concerned about the two senior counselors, but while there Megan is attracted to Tommy. Sheriff Garris tells them to leave and that the other two will show up.
No one believes Tommy and while this is happening, Jason is running wild in the woods. He kills a group of executives on a team building exercise as well as anyone else that gets his in way back to camp. Tommy is trying to find a way to prove what he’s saying is real, but will it be too late?
Now watching it this time around with a more critical eye, I can say this isn’t as bad as I thought it was the last time I saw it. I like that this does keep some continuity. This film seems to somewhat ignore the previous one, which is fine. Tommy was in that one as well, but it really doesn’t have any effect here. The only thing can be said is that having killed Jason and then dealing with the fake ‘Jason’, that can help explain his obsession. I do like the psychological effect that this killer had on him. The issue I have though is that I feel like what brings Tommy there is a bit unreal, but I do like the Frankenstein angle of lightening bringing Jason back to life. It is also interesting with a song that Alice Cooper has on the soundtrack call ‘Teenage Frankenstein’.
I do have to give credit here that the franchise in order to continue on had to keep raising the stakes. By making Jason become supernatural, I can get on board with that. It really does ramp up the kills now that he has super strength. The issue here then becomes Tommy and Jason grapple with Tommy being able to hold his own. It is a movie, so I get why, it is just a bit uneven there.
The last thing to cover here is the relationship between Megan and Tommy is bit off for me. I don’t know if I buy that she would fall for him and go to the lengths that she does when she just met him. I do think she has a bit of a mischievous side and I dig it to be honest. It is intriguing though as slashers are known for their final girl, where this one kind of bucks that trend.
If there’s one thing I can say about this movie is that it is fun. This comes in at 86 minutes, which I think is a solid length for a slasher like this. It doesn’t waste any time getting into Jason being revived and then the killers are right after. We get them at a good pace and this actually has a pretty high body count. I do think that some of the kills don’t really have a bearing on the story and just have some groups here just so they can kill them off. I’m actually fine with this, as this one really we start to root for Jason and to see how he can kill these people next. I also think the ending is a bit weak, but not really enough to ruin it. It is a bit more brutal than I remember if I’m honest.
I want to take this to the acting next. Mathews I think is good at taking over the role of Tommy. I could see Corey Feldman’s version growing into this one and the actor in the previous film really didn’t do it for me. I like his obsession here for sure and I think he’s a decent actor overall. Cooke really intrigues me, because I love her personality. I don’t buy she would fall for Tommy as fast as she does, but I’ll let it slide. She’s also quite attractive. I also like Kagen and how no matter what, he doesn’t believe Tommy, especially since the evidence really isn’t there. I thought Graham was fine as Jason. It is interesting here since he’s the first who actually gets to play him supernatural. It worked for what they were going for. I would say the rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.
That takes me to the effects, which I thought were good. They all seemed to be done practically, which was in line for the era. Much like how Graham played the role of Jason, this film had a lot more to work with that they could go more outrageous with the kills. With that is the issue that can be a bit uneven at times. The blood and gore we got looked good, I have no issues there. I do think they used the wrong mask, but it has been a long time since I’ve seen the previous film, so I would need to revisit to confirm there. This one though is shot very well.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. I was excited to see that this one still had Harry Manfredini. This isn’t his best in the series, but I really like what he did with the theme here and there was some good musical cues throughout that worked. I also have to give a shout out to Alice Cooper, who did some songs for the movie. It is interesting though, as I believe this is the first with actual ambient music in it. I will say that I really like ‘He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)’ and ‘Teenage Frankenstein’.
Now with that said, my thoughts on this really have come up after hearing podcasts and giving this a rewatch. I can see the arguments made and it did help me to appreciate this one more. I think that the series was at a point that the only thing they could do was go supernatural. I do think the reason behind it is a bit off, but I’m down for the Frankenstein angle. This does give them more creativity with the kills, which I liked. I don’t really care for the comedy aspects of it, as it really doesn’t land, but it also doesn’t hurt the film as much as it did last time. The ending is a bit weak if I’m honest. It is more brutal than I remembered though. There are some inconsistencies with Jason’s strengths as well. I do think that the acting is solid and the score is really good though. This is actually one of the more fun movies in the series for sure. I would say that this one is above average for me ad I would recommend to fans of the series for sure or if you like slasher films.
My Rating: 7 out of 10