FRIDAY THE 13th 6: JASON LIVES
Director: Tom McLoughlin
Year of release: 1986
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 86 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both though I think only in a double pack for the blu ray.
Tagline: "Evil lives forever", "Kill or be killed" and "Nothing this evil ever dies".
Also known as: Jason Lives: Friday the 13th part 6
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Following on from the events of the two previous instalments part 6 once again picks up the story of Tommy Jarvis who we first see here on the way to the cemetery where Jason is said to be buried. Tommy is concerned and paranoid that Jason may not be truly dead so plans to exhume the body and burn it to a cinder. Upon digging up and opening the casket the sight of the body throws Tommy into a state of rage and he attempts to skewer the corpse with a large metal shaft. As luck would have it for Jason lightning strikes at this moment hitting the pole which reanimates the mass murderer. Now in an almost zombie like state Jason sets out on a fresh rampage. Tommy rushes off to warn the town folk but due to his history of mental health problems he is not believed though the Sheriff’s daughter takes a shine to Tommy and seems the only one prepared to hear him out. Jason meanwhile is making his way back to his old stomping ground. The camp now under a new name has been reopened with a group of young kids currently in residence.
Good points: I liked how this picked up the Tommy Jarvis storyline once again and although it ignored the end of part 5 where it looked as if Tommy was turning into a killer himself it was good to see him again albeit with a different actor in the role. He is the closest this franchise has to a final girl/boy in the vein of Laurie Strode from Halloween or Sydney from Scream so his inclusion is a positive for me as I think a recognisable protagonist is perhaps one thing this franchise lacks other than these few Tommy outings. I didn’t feel as if his character this time around is as interesting as it was in number 5 (the trouble was there that we just didn’t see enough of him) but it was nice to have some continuity in any case.
I also enjoyed the return to the roots of the franchise in returning in the latter stages to the more traditional setting of the summer camp. Up to this point I think this was something we hadn’t seen since the second film. Don’t get me wrong I actually really enjoy some of the latter films where the setting once again moves away from the campsite theme but after the absence of one for a few films it was nice to return to the more familiar at this point in the series.
They actually mention in the film that it is Friday the 13th (as in that is the date) which I believe may be one of the few if not the only film in the franchise besides the original to include this detail.
The highlight of this film would probably have to be the deaths as we get some very good ones at times. Among the more memorable are the heart punch type kill to Tommy’s friend near the beginning, the paintball kill involving the tree and the death of the young woman inside the motor home.
Bad Points: It ignores the fact that it was referenced in part 5 that Jason was cremated. I think it’s kind of unrealistic in slasher films when a notorious killer actually has a gravestone and burial plot on land accessible to the public as obviously it would attract unwanted attention. This is by no means a problem exclusive to this film of course as we see it in a number of others such as Last Girl Standing and Blood Night. This is more of a fussy nit-pick on my part more than anything else though as to be fair the opening sequence in the cemetery is very fun.
Although not as bad in this area as part 5 was I think this still suffers from having too many characters that were only around for a very short time and not properly developed. More just cannon fodder types for Jason to kill very quickly. The paintball crowd would be examples of this and the couple on the bike. Instead of the five or six deaths we get with them I think it would have been better to have just say two deaths but have those killed off given as bit more screen time to establish them beforehand. Or they could have just devoted the time to the counsellor characters who also were too underdeveloped. I think the whole business with them and the kids in their charge was a bit of a missed opportunity as although it was great to actually see young kids at the camp for once none of them had time to make much of an impression. I think there was a lot more mileage to be gotten out of them and potential moments of drama and suspense.
As I said before the opening segment is fun but one thing about it to mention is that initially when we first see Jason’s corpse inside the casket it looks very heavily decayed. So much so that it almost looks as if it is no longer solid. When he is reanimated though he no longer looked anywhere near as decayed to me as he had appeared to be just moments before.
Verdict: This is a film that is generally very popular among horror fans and seems to be a particular favourite for those who would consider themselves hardcore Friday the 13th fans. For me however though it has its moments and most definitely some good things going on I for whatever reason didn’t enjoy it all that much and for me it kind of felt like the series was beginning to flag and run out of steam at this point. I liked the deaths and how at times Jason was at his menacing best but other than that it didn’t really do it for me. The younger kids at camp I initially thought were going to be a very strong addition and a bit of a new idea but ultimately their involvement didn’t turn out to be as interesting as I had hoped. I don’t think this is bad by any means, indeed I find it to be pretty decent but for me personally I started to enjoy some of the latter films a bit more than this one when they started to inject new ideas such as the space setting etc.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Alan: Jason punches him which results in the fist going through his body and his heart being ripped out.
2)Darren: Impaled on a railing.
3)Lisbeth: Falls over in a puddle of mud and is then decapitated by Jason or at least hit in the throat as he looms over here with railing/shovel type weapon.
4)Paintball guy #1: Arm ripped off and head smashed into a tree.
5)Paintball guy #2: Killed quickly by Jason.
6)Paintball guy #3: Killed quickly by Jason.
7)Paintball female: Killed quickly by Jason (Think she was killed anyway though perhaps we didn’t actually see her die).
8)Caretaker: Stabbed in the throat with broken spirit bottle.
9)Man: Impaled on motorbike as he tried to escape with partner.
10)Woman: Also impaled at the same time as number 9.
11)Nikki: Face smashed into the wall of motorhome.
12)Cort: Stabbed in the head with knife while driving.
13)Sissy: Pulled out of window and neck broken. Head possibly found later in car.
14)Paula: Killed in cabin off camera, briefly thrown through door.
15)Deputy #1: Some sort of dart or arrow is thrown into his forehead.
16)Deputy #2: Head crushed by Jason.
17)Sheriff Garris: Spine crushed as he is bent over backwards to the point of being pretty much ripped in two.
At one point some severed body parts are discovered perhaps implying another victim but I didn’t count these as the remains looked to be wearing similar clothes to the paintballers so it could just have been their bodies.