Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Director: Tom McLoughlin

Writer: Tom McLoughlin

Starring: Thom Matthews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Kerry Noonan, Renée Jones, C.J. Graham

Rating: ★★★½

After the negative fan reception to Part V, which was intended to be the start of a new trilogy, the decision was made to bring back Jason for Part VI. Writer and director Tom McLoughlin also wanted to bring some humour into the series, and was given permission to do this, as long as Jason wasn’t mocked. It’s a massive improvement on the previous entries to the series, with a really light-hearted and fun tone that’s actually entertaining.

Tommy (Thom Matthews, who replaces John Shepherd from A New Beginning), travels to Jason’s grave in order to destroy his body and send him to hell. In the process, he accidentally resurrects Jason as lightning hits his body. Jason then sets forth to hunt down Tommy and kill him, without letting anyone else get in his way.

In no way does Part Six take itself seriously, while Jason is still a sinister force to be reckoned with, the rest of the film is really silly, in the best way possible. Even the way that Jason comes back is ridiculous, and at the same time makes more sense than Freddy’s return in most Elm Street sequels. This isn’t a scary film, but a really good time to watch. It’s funny, silly and has some great moments of violence and very memorable deaths. Jason folds people up, impales people, and squishes people’s head. There is no holding back when it comes to violence and gore in this film. It’s a lot more extreme than in previous films, but in a more ridiculous way. 

After appearing in the previous two films Tommy is back again. It is a shame that his obvious character arc of becoming the series villain is completely left by the wayside, but it’s still good to see him back. Jason is played by two actors in this film, and both do a good job. Dan Bradley was originally cast, and still appears in the film (although he’s uncredited) in the paintball scene. Bradley was replaced by C. J. Graham as he didn’t have the right look on screen. The change is seamless and not noticeable. C. J. Graham is absolutely great in the role, and Jason looks the best here in the series.

One of the really great things about the film is the amount of horror references and meta jokes. Jason is brought back to life with lighting, harking back to Frankenstein, and then in a following scene the name Karloff is written on a store front, Boris Karloff famously played Frankenstein’s monster in the classic Universal Monster Movies. There is a street named after the first part’s director Sean S. Cunningham as well as a town named after John Carpenter who co-wrote and directed Halloween, a film that the entire Friday the 13th series owes a massive debt to. One of the children who goes to the camp is called Nancy, sharing the same name with the main character of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and has nightmares.

There are also some great jokes throughout. The best of the best is the James Bond reference as the title appears on screen at the beginning. There’s a close-up on the recently resurrected Jason’s eye where Jason walks into his eye like Bond and turns to the camera to slice his machete, in replacement of Bond shooting his gun at the screen at the start of every Bond film. Jason is also given his own theme song in this one, ‘He’s Back (The Man behind the Mask)’ by Alice Cooper, which is a great song in its own right. There are also a few other Cooper songs that appear throughout the film.

Jason Lives is a massive improvement for the series, and definitely the best entry up to that point. Despite its pacing issue, it’s still over-the-top fun that really works.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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