Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives

Written & Directed by Tom McLoughlin

Tommy Jarvis...Thom Matthews
Megan...Jennifer Cooke
Sheriff Garriss...David Kagen
Renee Jones...Sissy Baker

As a child, Tommy Jarvis laid Jason Voorhees to rest with his own machete. It's years later and a grown Tommy, fresh out of the mental institution, digs up Jason's grave to prove to himself that the nightmare is really over. The maggot-gnawed corpse in the coffin would seem to assure us it is so, but Tommy inadvertently pulls a Victor Frankenstein and reanimates the killer with a bolt of lightning. He narrowly escapes and runs to tell the police, but they just think he's a madman.

Jason meanwhile makes his way back to camp, leaving a bloody trail behind him.

I think you can piece together the rest.

The sheriff's daughter Megan and a handful of her friends just so happen to be counselors at the newly-opened summer camp, and Tommy tries to warn them. But nobody listens until the bodies start piling up, and even then the police think that Tommy is the guilty party. Megan, who has a thing for mentally ill fugitives, helps Tommy evade the police and put a (yet another) stop to Jason.

I'm happy that they brought Tommy Jarvis back for a third round, although he is played by yet another actor this time around. If they had continued to bring the character back, Tommy could easily have become a Loomis-come-Lately. As it is, this is his final appearance on film and he becomes the Crystal Lake equivalent of Elm Street's Nancy Thompson, or Haddonfield's Tommy Doyle. Which, as far as horror tropes go, isn't all that bad of a thing to be.

This is the first Friday the 13th entry where a summer camp has successfully taken off enough to actually have children attending. This should have been an element that brought new levels of suspense to the proceedings, but sadly it is entirely underused and adds very little to the story. In fact, aside from Jason finally achieving undead status (and donning a utility belt), there's very little of anything new here.

This isn't the best in the franchise, and it is peppered with horrible 1980s stereotypes, unbelievable characters, and ill-fitting humor. Again, too many murders appear just out of frame and we're treated to merely the faces of death. It's also certainly not the worst.

Still, I enjoy the hell out of this movie. It is one of two films in the franchise that is gleefully tainted for me by nostalgia. This was my first introduction to Jason Voorhees when I was a youngster, sitting on a couch with the lights off, surrounded by my sister and cousins, scared out of our wits and trying not to show it--Hey, I was 8 years old, give me a break! I thought this was a great horror flick back then, and although I no longer believe that, I still have a lot of fun with it.

Sometimes I watch certain movies through rose colored (blood stained) glasses. And you know what? I'm okay with that.

Rated R
86 minutes
United States

"Some folks sure got a strange idea of entertainment."

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