After Friday the 13th, Part 5: A New Beginning (Widescreen) , this once-proud franchise was in dire need of an even newer beginning, and writer/director Tom McLoughlin really came through, basically, as far as I'm concerned, saving the series. Not only do we get the real Jason back, he's bigger and badder than ever. We also return to Camp Crystal Lake (now renamed Forest Green in a rather transparent attempt to excise the whole Jason "legend" from the area), where we not only have camp counselors but - for the first and only time in the series - actual campers. Naturally, there's no way to resurrect Jason without resorting to some kind of hokey miracle - after all, the dude's been rotting in his grave for several years now. Apart from that, though, the script is surprisingly good, and the kills are very good indeed (even though the best parts of many of them were once again toned down and edited in order to secure the film an R rating). On top of all that, McLoughlin was able to sprinkle in some scattered bits of humor in ways that actually worked - which is no small feat in and of itself.
It's best just to pretend that Friday the 13th Part V - A New Beginning never happened - and the fact that Tommy Jarvis is now played by Thom Matthews (the third Tommy in as many movies) makes that a little easier to do. It seems that our boy Tommy has been released from whatever mental hospital he had been living in over the last few years - but he still has nightmares about Jason (quite understandable). Well, he's sick of all that and returns to the scene of Jason's crimes to dig the monster up and make sure he's thoroughly destroyed. Unfortunately, his little plan backfires and he accidentally brings Jason back to life. Not surprisingly, no one - least of all Sheriff Garris (David Kagen) - believes his "Jason's coming" song and dance. No one, that is, except the Sheriff's daughter Megan (Jennifer Cooke) - and that's only because she thinks Tommy's cute. Well, people start dying in gruesome ways as Jason makes his way back "home," and Tommy takes it upon himself to stop Jason once and for all, a feat which requires a little something extra since Jason is now super-strong and sort of dead and alive at the same time.
Boy, psycho killer-murdering guys fresh out of mental institutions really get the chicks. Who knew? Megan may well be the best-looking girl in the whole series, and she's willing to disobey her sheriff father (and who knows how many laws) just to go Jason-hunting alongside Tommy; heck, she even risks her life for the guy. Looking at the larger picture, though, you can't help wondering why Green Forest (nee Crystal Lake) keeps reopening its camp sites. How many dozens of innocent lives must be snuffed out in that area before people start thinking it might not be safe to send little Johnny to camp there?
On a final note, I have to say that this film features some of the best moments in the entire series. I love the James Bond-inspired opening credits, which come after a surprise appearance by Welcome Back, Kotter's very own Horshack (Ron "Don't Call Me Ronald" Palillo). Then there's the manner in which Jason rearms himself with a machete - that's probably my favorite part of the entire movie. Of course, there are more subtle moments, as well, such as the sight of one little girl camper sitting up in bed reading Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit. And who could forget the great deadpan line delivered by one of the two "dead meat" boys as they wait to see if anyone can stop Jason from coming in and slaughtering them and everyone else in the room. It's pretty easy to see why many a Jason fan considers this the best Friday the 13th film of them all.
Okay, let's just jump into the deep end of the pool right away with this one. I have always wondered why so many people attacked "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 1988 when "Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives" was sitting on the shelf of their local video store (or, more accurately, was not sitting there because teenagers were sitting in dark rooms watching it). The Martin Scorsese film based on the provocative novel by Nikos Kazantzakis offended many Christians because of the sequences in which Satan tempts Jesus with a vision of the normal human life he could have if he got down off the cross and walked away from his divine mission. However, at the beginning of "Jason Lives," when Jason is dead, his corpse is dug up by Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews), the boy who killed him in the previous film. Tommy sticks a pole in Jason's rotting corpse and when lightning strikes it, Jason rises from his grave, gets his hockey mask, and sets off for Camp Forrest Green a.k.a. Camp Crystal Lake a.k.a Camp Blood. There is also a urinating dog involved in the resurrection as well, but the fact that a film would suggest that some power other than the divine could bring back somebody from the dead to slaughter brainless teenagers strikes me as being much more offensive than reaffirming that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing by sacrificing his life for humanity.
Anyhow, the opening sequences is not only the best one in the series it is also the best part of this 1986 installment in the series. Remember, this is a world in which Bobby Ewing shows up in a shower in "Dallas" a year after he died, so it is hard to fault the producers of this film for resurrecting Jason for another festival of slicing and dicing. Besides, you can see Tommy's insane need to make sure Jason is dead as an acceptable enough rationale to justify the mistake of digging up the corpse and a nameless evil being responsible for his reanimation is as good of an explanation for what motivates our killer zombie as anything else (Okay, so the best explanation is that Paramount wanted to make more money on this franchise since clearly they have the formula down pat by this point).
But after the sizzling opening to get Jason back in the ballgame we are back to the standard routine of see the obnoxious teenager, kill the obnoxious teenager, until the final credits role and Alice Cooper belts out "The Man Behind the Mask." None of the killings stand out and the same can be said for the actors and actresses making up Jason's buffet. I do not ascribe to the insult being added to injury in "Jason Lives" because you have Arnold Horshack from "Welcome Back Kotter" but no gratuitous nudity for the simple reason that splatter flicks have to be judged by the creativity and/or gore of the deaths ("Final Destination" was the last movie that impressed me in that regard). By episode six in the "Friday the 13th" series you just do not get beyond the feeling you have seen it all before. I swear that you could mix and match the murders in these movies and most viewers would not be able to tell the difference. The bottom line is that "Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives" is an average entry in the series at best and the value of that assessment is totally dependent on how much you like the series overall.
on June 3, 2004
I thought this was one of the best sequels in the series.The plot is that Tommy Jarvis wants to make sure Jason's dead so he escapes and goes to the cemetary to dig up Jason's body.When he digs his grave up Jason is revived and starts out again on a killing spree.I enjoyed the old feeling of the first one.The dialogue was good too.I was hooked the entire movie.Alot of the characters were memorable unlike some characters from the other sequels.The only thing I thought was stupid was the paint ball fight in the beginning.The ending was predictible but I liked it. Make sure to check this one out.Tommy Jarvis (Thom Matthews), the boy who killed Crystal Lake murderer Jason Vorhees, is now grown. Jason is still dead, but Tommy, recently released from a mental health facility, needs to see proof. When he exhumes Jasons body to get a closer look, a series of events causes the masked killer to be reanimated, only to go on the rampage again! (7/10)
on May 30, 2009
int this 6th installment of the series,Jason once again stalks,
campers,counselors and any one else foolish enough to get in his
way.there is not much new in this installment,although there are some
exciting moments,particularly the climatic ending.and there is a clue(a
small clue,but a clue)about why he is so unstoppable and never seems to
stay dead,and why he kills.unlike a lot of people,i don't hate these
Friday the 13th movies.sure they are redundant for the most part,but i
still get a kick out of seeing Jason in the mask dispatching his
victims.i think it's because the character is so iconic,like
Freddy,from the Nightmare on Elm Street series,or Michael Myers from
the Halloween franchise.i thought this movie was as good as part 5:A
new Beginning,but then what do i know.for me,Friday the 13th Part
VI:Jason Lives is a 3/5
on May 28, 2004
I'm guessing that you all know, or have met, someone like me before. I'm your classic film snob, if a movie doesn't cost under a million dollars or have subtitles, I'm probably not interested. That being said, though, we all have our guilty pleasures, and mine is the slasher film. I know, I know, there's nothing you can tell me that I haven't already heard, and I know that you're right about everything. But the simple fact of the matter is this, I don't care. These are the movies of my youth. More than cartoons, more than wrestling, more even than Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's these movies that make me the most nostalgic, and just hearing that "cha-cha-cha, ha-ha-ha" sends chills down my spine. And if I had to pick a favorite from this era, "Jason Lives" would probably be it.
That's not to say that this is the scariest film to come out of the 1980's, see the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" for that, or even the best of it's genre, "Fright Night" holds that distinction, it's just that this is the most entertaining (along with "Return of the Living Dead"). And, like that movie,
it's also laugh-out-loud funny. I mean, this is a better comedy than "Scary Movie" or either of it's two sequels, and actually predates those films by about fifteen years. What makes it so hysterical is that it never tips it hat or winks at the camera. Oh, sure there's a moment here or there, like when the gravedigger looks into the camera, breaking the forth wall of filmmaking, and says, "Some people have a funny idea of entertainment." But aside from that it's comedy is very subtle and restrained. In fact, some people might not even pick up on it, which is what makes it so great.
In a way it reminds me of "Cobra" in that way. You remember "Cobra," don't you? That Sylvester Stallone dud from the mid-80's that seems to be running on a constant loop on cable channels. It's another great example of a movie that's hugely funny, but has no right to be. Sure, there are some distinctions, the largest of which being that I sometimes wonder if the makers of "Cobra" were in on the joke, but here there's no mistaking director Tom McLoughlin's intentions. This is an out-and-out spoof, but one with a reverence for the genre it's spoofing (something that can't be said for movies like "Scream").
Another great thing "Part VI" has going for it is it's soundtrack, thanks in large part to Alice Cooper. It's very upbeat and period, but I wouldn't want it any other way.
Also, I'm becoming a fast fan of Thom Matthews who, if Jamie Lee Curtis was horror's "scream queen," could easily be considered her king. He has a natural charm that few actors of his generation can match and a pretty good nose for material, having starred in the aforementioned "Return of the Living Dead" and it's first sequel. Aside from him, though, you're never likely to hear from any of these actors again, and that's part of the fun. Bad acting is a hallmark of these movies, something that modern filmmaker's seem reluctant to embrace. They don't understand that the audience rooting for the villain in these movies and that's why they can never be scary, because we don't want the protagonists to survive, just to die in an unusual and entertaining way.
Today, though, too often audiences allow movies to dictate to them how they're supposed to be feeling. For example, these Kevin Williamson pictures that became so popular for a couple years. They weren't scary, they just shamed their audiences into pretending to care for their character's. And if you didn't care, then there was something wrong with you. To those people, I suggest going back to check out this movie and be reminded of what slasher films are supposed to be all about.
on March 17, 2004
They say a sequell is never better then the original? Well, i gotta disagree there, If most peoples visual of Jason is the guy in the hockey mask? then remember that the mask wasnt introduced till part 3! to mention he wasnt even in part 1!
well, IMO this is the best of them all!
Tommy Jarvis is a kid whos just gotten out of a mental home because he was a survivor to one of Jasons (the guy in the hockey mask) slaughterings and traumatised him! So he goes nuts and wants to cremeate Jasons body in the cemetery to be sure he's dead and stop giving him nightmares!
Unfortunalty Tommy goes a little skitso and starts stabbing Jasons dead body with a long metal rod! probably not the best thing to do in a lightning storm? because as he goes to burn him.... the rod is struck by lightning and Jasons back! bigger and more powerfull then ever!!!!! What happens from there on youll have to see for youself?
Alice Cooper even provides a couple of great songs for the movie! to bad the video clip to "he's Back (the Man behind the mask) isnt included with the DVD :( IT would be nice if Paramount would present these movies with some bonus features, wether Paramount like or dislike these films, they should pay more respect to 8 movies that brought them alot of money!
on March 4, 2004
"So, what were you going to be when you grew up?", asks one young camper to another, just before Jason scares the bejesus out of both of them, in "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives".
The sixth installment to the "Friday " series is still one of the best. Tommy still isn't convinced that Jason is dead so, in the middle of a lightning storm & with the help of his friend, Allen Hawes (Horseshack, from "Welcome Back Kotter"!), he decides to dig up Jason's grave & cremate him. But, when Tommy pierces Jason's corpse with an iron fence post, causing lightning to strike (twice!), old hockeypuck rises up to kill again. Crystal Lake changes its name to Camp Forrest Green but, Jason knows there is no place like home and heads there killing anything in his path. Its up to Tommy to take him down. For me, there wasn't any scare factor or suspense to this film (if you've sat thru the first five "Friday"'s, your senses to this type of violence are dulled and immune by now). What makes the film tick, much like "Freddy vs. Jason", is the amount of humor tossed in (hottie Renee Jones, thinking its a another camp counselor playing a prank on her, pours soda onto Jason's face as he hides underneath a windowsill waiting to strike. When I heard Jason's muffled reaction, I couldn't stop laughing!).
The cast of this installment went on to bigger and better things. The beautiful actress, Renee Jones, who played Sissy, joined the cast of the popular daytime drama "Days of our Lives", in February of 1993, as Dr. Lexie Carver (a surreal twist is in the current storyline to "Days" there is a serial killer loose in the town of Salem, complete with dark robes, a hunting knife, and... a hockey mask). Hottie, Jennifer Cooke, who played Megan in "Jason Lives", started the popular "Celestial Seasonings" tea company with her husband and in 1995 wrote her own book "Cooking with Tea". Thom Mathews, who played Tommy, has earned a black belt in martial arts, owns his own construction company, and continues to be a good friend of George Clooney. Actor Tony Goldwyn, who had a brief role as Darren, would go on and co-star in the blockbuster "Ghost" and also star in "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise, "The 6th Day", "The Pelican Brief", and be the voice of Tarzan in the Walt Disney animated film of the same name .
on February 20, 2004
This impressive entry in the popular horror series brings back the relentless killer Jason Voorhees, this time as a supernatural zombie. Tommy Jarvis, now played by Thom Matthews, accidentally resurrects Jason when he impales the killer's corpse with a metal pole during a lightning-storm. Numerous murders follow, beginning with Tommy's friend (Ron Palillo) having his heart torn out of his chest by the zombie killer. Implicated in the crimes by a mean-spirited sheriff (David Kagen), Tommy is freed from jail by the sheriff's daughter, spunky Megan (Jennifer Cooke). The cast converges on Camp Crystal Lake, which has been renamed "Camp Forest Green" by superstitious locals, in time for Tommy to send Jason back to the bottom of the lake, if only temporarily. Harry Manfredini's score is among his best, and the makeup by Martin Becker, Gabe Bartalos, R. Chris Biggs and others is outstanding. Cooke makes an appealing heroine as Megan, although Mathews' Tommy has lost the interesting mental disturbances of previous entries and becomes just another bland hero. Tom McLoughlin's direction is effective, and the film has a memorably funny supporting turn by Bob Larkin as a grumpy drunken caretaker. Alice Cooper sings the title song, "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)". Although no classic, this is a solid horror film with a witty script and engaging characters.
on January 30, 2004
Part VI is the best (or the less mean) Friday The 13th. Somehow, the director managed to give some "honesty" to the movie, some good photography at least, I don't know to explain. It's a short movie (86 minutes) and Jason kills exactly 18 people in this one...
There are also tha fmaous absurds of this series. Talk about the ending, for example. Yes, Tommy JArvis manages to "drown" Jason in Crystal Lake. But in the end, when we get the usual hint that Jason is not dead, we see him underwater in a clear day, trapped by the chains Tommy put around him. Guess what? Is it possible that after such a maniac had killed almost one and a half people (including three policeme) tha authorities would not have digged the murderer body out of water?! Of course this is not possible! But no, Jason is left underwater, undisturbed, nobody apparently cares!!
Also funny is the fact that the girl's father had died the most brutal dead in the hands of Jason, only minutes ago, and all the girl (Megan) cares about is to support and comfort young Tommy after he finally killed Jason...
All in all, a good terro flick, if you can still consider Jason a terror flick and not a commedy.
on January 16, 2004
The first thing you have to do when watching a "Friday the 13th" film is to jettison all expectations of artistic integrity or profound social commentary. This is the series, after all, that defined mindless shock-value entertainment for the better part of twenty years.
"Jason Lives" at least attempts to give fans some genuine scares and some old school action as it's repetitive storyline unfolds. Yes, I said repetitive. Let's not kid ourselves, people-whether he's sporting a burlap sack ala' the Elephant man or terrorizing a collection of 23rd century hormonally driven twentysomethings, each and every one of Jason's horror outings have the exact same plot. A group of six to twelve people show up. Jason also shows up. Said people are systematically slaughtered. Jason does the slaughtering. One person, usually female, ends up putting a stop to the carnage by dispatching the hockey masked zombie ("for now..."). The difference this time is that "Jason Lives" - with it's dark foreboding forests, thick with fog and shadows - looks and feels like a classic monster movie. There is no attempt whatsoever to mask the identity of the killer here ( a plot device that was wearying when they used it as late in the series as part five...why bother with shots of the killer that avoid showing his face? Like we don't know its Jason?). Director Tom Mcloughlin knows that we know who the villian is and what he's going to do to these people, so he simply opens the film with a bravura ressurection sequence ( set in a masterfully designed cemetary ) and never lets up. Along the way there are a few humorous nods (the best being an opening sequence that parodies the famous "gun barrel" walk that opens every James Bond film), as well as some of the better visual effects that have graced this series (the RV sequence is a doozy). Ultimately, you get what you pay for, and in terms of what the fans of these films expect, this one has a lot of style and is better than average. Besides, you've got to love any movie that treats us to the sight of "Horseshack" from "Welcome Back Kotter" having his heart torn out. For that alone, the filmmakers deserve our appreciation.