Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Kill or be killed.
Year of Release: 1986
Running Time: 86 minutes (1:26)
Director: Tom McLoughlin
Thom Mathews ... Tommy
Jennifer Cooke ... Megan
David Kagen ... Sheriff Garris
Kerry Noonan ... Paula
Renee Jones ... Sissy
Tom Fridley ... Cort
Darcy DeMoss ... Nikki
Vincent Guastaferro ... Deputy Rick Cologne
C.J. Graham ... Jason
As a child, Tommy Jarvis did what many others died trying to do. He killed Jason Voorhees, the mass murderer who terrorized the residents of Crystal Lake. But now, years later, Tommy is tormented by the fear that maybe Jason isn't really dead.
So Tommy and a friend go to the cemetery to dig up Jason's grave. Unfortunately for Tommy (and very unfortunately for his friend), instead of finding a rotting corpse, they discover a well rested Jason who comes back from the dead for another bloody rampage in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
Friday the 13th Part VI, remindin' us that even in these days of government corruption an widespread poverty there're still some things money can't buy, an pretty high on that list is tryin' to bribe your way outta gettin' speared through the piehole by Jason Voorhees. That's what I really like about Jason. You can pay 'im to come back for sequel after sequel until you're so strapped for ideas that you eventually hafta shoot 'im into space an turn 'im into the Terminator, but he knows where to draw the line when his personal integrity is at stake. I especially liked how all that broad was offerin' was a coupla twenties in exchange for riplomatic immunity, like that kinda scratch really means somethin' to Jason after rakin' a percentage offa the gross take from four sequels already. Talk about death without dignity. An speakin' of cranky guys with no sense of humor, Saul Schwartzberg's got an APB out on Shankles claimin' he went for a swim in his koi pond an ate three or four of those fancy imported carp he's got swimmin' around in that stupid wildlife sanctuary he calls a yard. You ever feel like somebody up there's just pickin' on you to pass the time? I mean seriously, Mark Skidman's '68 International's been sittin' dead on the side of road an leakin' transmission fluid into the irrigation ditch for two weeks, but does it get impounded? No way. Silas Tankersley's goats come down outta the hills an completely take over the children's playground on the south side of town, but does anybody care? Oh hells no. An I can't remember a day that I haven't had to swerve to avoid at least one of Skunky Hernandez' skanky cows that parked its ass in the middle of the road an refused to move on the way to work. But apparently, because Shankles grabbed a little sushi takeout one afternoon, I'm public enemy number one an Shanghai Muttley (our alleged animal control officer) has apparently vowed to keep a 24 hour watch outside the house here until he can capture Shankles an force 'im to stand trial. I got news for that guy; if he thinks he can haul Shankles in without backup, he's gonna end up gettin' egg rolled an prolly wake up in the E.R. to a doctor tellin' 'im that they managed to reattach his wingding, but that he'll prolly never reacquire full use of it. I'm gettin' to the point where I'm beginnin' to take this run of bad luck a little personally. Seems like God's testin' me like He did Moses, cept instead of airliftin' in manna to help me out, He's droppin' in subpoenas an blown head gaskets just to make things more interesting.
I'll be alright though, I'm feelin' better already havin' gotten that offa my chest. Well, mostly it was lettin' the air outta Shanghai's tires while he was doin' out on patrol a few minutes ago that helped, but the important thing is I feel like I can focus again. An focus we must, cause Paramount started gettin' egged so bad after the endin' of Part V that they hadda install Teflon coating on the outside of their corporate office just to keep the rotten egg yolk from seepin' into their wood siding an permanently absorbin' that middle aged woman fart smell. I haven't seen people that P.O.'d since they showed Steel Magnolias at the huntin' lodge, an for that reason Paramount had to dig up Jason an promise to build 'im a mansion on the shores of Crystal Lake an throw in free machete sharpenins for life just to save their sorry hides. But really, the important thing is Jason's back. In fact, it was such a momentous occasion that Paramount actually paid Alice Cooper to write an perform "He's Back" just so there'd be no misunderstanding, so lets put down the torches a minute an give Paramount the benefit of the doubt while I run down a few tidbits I learned watchin' Jason try to shake off the rust. First, if you're ever locked up in a looney bin an manage to escape only to be caught an arrested a short time later, all you've gotta do is get the sheriff P.O.'d enough that he can't stand the sight of you anymore an he'll eventually just dump your ass off at the county line. Apparently, all county sheriffs are certified by the U.S. Immigration Department on how to effectively keep people offa your turf. Second, women in small towns are so desperate for excitement that they'll latch onto the first unpredictable or "spontaneous" guy they can get their clams on. Even if that guy once bludgeoned Jason Voorhees to death with his own machete an just escaped from the nut hut. Seriously ladies, if you're this hard up for a little danger in your lives, maybe just show up at church with a guy of a different skin tone or somethin', lets not go full Highway to the Danger Zone for a cheap thrill, okay? An third, even if you're an unstoppable super human zombie maniac with more confirmed kills than Chris Kyle, there's no reason to take any unnecessary risks. So if you plan to make like Johnny Cash an fall into a burnin' ring of fire, do the sensible thing an stop to put on some protective gloves. Safety first, ya know?
But the part I really liked about this movie was what hasta be one of the greatest acts of teenage rebellion ever put to film. This particular scene makes The Wild One look like that episode of Full House where one of the kids lies to Bob Saget an sneaks out to work at a soup kitchen past curfew. In this flick... no, scratch that. In a single SCENE in this flick, we've got a teenage girl fleein' from the cops in 'er cherried out '75 Camero, with the escaped mental patient her father (who's also the sheriff) absolutely loathes an forbids 'er to see along for the ride, an to keep the guy hidden from view until there's no place left to run, she stuffs his face into 'er crotch. Now if that ain't the greatest attempt to cause a father's head to explode, I dunno what is. She completely eliminates any ability Dad has to rationalize that the incident is the result of the guy's influence over his daughter, an permanently jacks Dad's blood pressure up by a full 10 points. Now I'm not sayin' that all the kids out there readin' this aughta go make their parents' lives a livin' Hell just to see how fast it'll make their hair fall out, cause that'd be irresponsible. Let me be perfectly clear on this; under no circumstances should children and/or teenagers engage in petty rebellion against their parents, unless it's damn funny an you can find a way to do it publicly.
The movie begins with Tommy Jarvis an Arnold Horshack havin' escaped the quack shack a la Will Sampson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, en route to Crystal Lake so they can dig up Jason's corpse an turn it into a flame broiled manburger patty so Tommy'll quit goin' into anaphylactic shock anytime he walks down the hockey aisle of the Sports Authority. So once they hit the cemetery an dig up the J-man, Tommy starts hearin' audio from Part IV when he was still Corey Feldman an rips this big ole iron harpoon outta the fence an go all Captain Ahab on the corpse. This makes Tommy feel a whole lot better, only when he wanders off to grab his gas can a lightnin' bolt strikes the fence post an Jason's pacemaker battery finally gets the charge it needs to get 'im back in the game. Then Jason does a little quick aerobicise to work out some of the rigor mortis an Tommy starts throwin' gas on 'im like a redneck barbecue pit, only it seems he accidentally picked up some of those novelty friction resistant matches by mistake an can't ever manage to light up Jason's life. Then Arnold hasta waffle Jason in the back of the head with a shovel an by this point Jason's pretty P.O.'d about havin' his best shirt ruined an smellin' like the Cuyahoga River, an he hasta put his fist through Arnold's gut bucket an show 'im what all that saturated fat he's been suckin' down in the James Buchanan High School cafeteria's done to his arteries. So about this time Tommy realizes he's screwed up about as spectacularly as possible without invadin' Russia in the winter, an hauls butt back to town to explain to the sheriff that his well intentioned archeological dig in the local cemetery didn't go exactly as planned. Course, the sheriff (Garris) ain't in the market for any shares in Bullstuff Holdings an throws Tommy in the crossbar hotel til he can figure out who he belongs to an whether or not he aughta club 'im to death for bargin' into his office in the middle of Miami Vice. Meanwhile, the two new head counselors are drivin' out to "Camp Forest Green" til they run into Jason, who's just noticed that some jagoff's gone an renamed the place in an attempt to cover up the notoriety he worked so long an hard to maintain, an even more infuriatin', they took down the Jason Crossing sign on his primary trailhead, strippin' 'im of the right of way. Jason is not at all amused by this turn of events, an rams his fence post clean through the wheel-well on their VW Bug an then shish-kabobs the idiot who jumps outta the passenger side, before launchin' 'im like a scud missile into a spotted owl nest. Then the driver spills outta the car like Marsha Jordan out of a sports bra an tries bribin' Jason before learnin' that like most of the first world, Jason doesn't accept the American Express card.
The next mornin', Garris' daughter (Megan) an the rest of the camp's glorified babysitters (Sissy, Paula, an Cort) show up at Garris' office an tell 'im their head counselors never showed up an that they'd really like 'im to find 'em cause they dunno how to run a weed eater, let alone a summer camp. Unfortunately, Garris is completely swamped with his one prisoner an a jurisdiction that encompasses upwards of 300 residents an tells 'em to go find their own truant entrepreneurs, at which point Tommy tells 'em not to bother cause they're prolly already roadkill by now an Garris gets this look on his face like he's about to earn his merit badge for police brutality. Elsewhere, these dorks who prolly work for an accounting firm're out playin' paintball as part of one of those team buildin' exercises that CFOs like to force people who hate each other into until they get so sick of bein' around other people on their day off that they eventually climb a water tower an start pickin' off extraverts. Fortunately, Jason's just a short distance away shakin' his head at how quick the dweebs take over your yard if you aren't around to pick 'em regularly, an he grabs ahold of the first one he runs into right in the middle of the guy's big Archie Bunker-esque speech about how a woman's place is in the home (seems he got "killed" by one of the broads playin' an now he's got shrinkage so bad his wee-wee's actually retreated into his body) an rams a tree branch through his face before confiscatin' the guy's machete. Then the broad picks off a couple more weenies who're pissy cause they hadda miss their Dungeons & Dragons game to be there, until Jason mercifully drops from a tree an lays out all three of 'em with one fell swing. This leaves just one weaselly little twerp that looks like a poor man's Eddie Deezen, who flees for what passes for his life after paintin' Jason's shirt while Jason just kinda stands there dumbfounded an fumin' tryin' to understand why anybody would go outta their way to enrage their executioner in such a manner. While that's goin' on, Garris an the deputy (Rick) are escortin' Tommy to the county line in his truck, when he decides to try one last time to convince the cops that Jason's alive an that the local life insurance company's about to start postin' record losses if they don't get with the program. So Tommy peels off the main road an into the cemetery where he gets cross checked by Garris an happens to land close enough to Jason's grave to see that it's been covered up by the groundskeeper just in time to make 'im look like a jackass. Meanwhile, all the little preteen terrors've arrived over at the camp, leavin' those counselors who're still alive to try bluffin' their way through a series of outdoor activities they couldn't know less about if their last names were all "Hilton." Suddenly gettin' pitchforked doesn't seem so bad.
It ain't until about dusk that the cops finally dump Tommy off at the county line, at which point they rough 'im up a little before makin' like Tom Petty an tellin' him that whatever he's lookin' for, he'd best not come around here no more. Elsewhere, the groundskeeper's walkin' through the woods, only he depends on his Jim Beam bottle to show 'im the way to go home an finds 'imself in the wrong neighborhood when Jason shows up an shivs 'im to death with his own booze bottle. Kind of a touchin' scene, really. I hope that when I go, it'll be doin' what I love too. Then this couple who're out on a date a short distance away hear the gush of the lush an go to check out the noise, an once they see Jason they realize there ain't gonna be no tush in the bush in their future an try escapin' on their motorcycle, only to be skewered like the guests of honor at Vlad Tepes' dinner theater. Back over to somebody that might possibly be considered a central character, we find Cort samplin' the local delicacy (Nikki) over at the RV park til the J-man cuts off the juice to both the RV an Nikki's hoo-ha, an when they go out to see what happened they find the extension cord's been hacked up like a foreskin at a bris. So they take off abruptly an in no particular direction like a North Korean missile test, only while Cort's drivin' like a menace to chipmunk society, Nikki finds out too late that Jason's stowed away in the can, an after he gets tired of 'er repeatedly kickin' 'im right in the hockey pucks, he mashes 'er face into the wall til it pokes out the other side an starts lookin' like the promo poster from The Frighteners. Then he jams his Buck knife into Cort's temple an quickly puts on his seat belt before the RV rolls like an old tractor tire fulla rubes down an embankment, an once the immobile home comes to a stop Jason punches his way out an stands triumphantly upon his latest conquest like King Kong on toppa the Chrysler building. But about that time, the deputy calls up Garris an tells 'im he's found the headless counselors an that he's gonna need a shop vac just to get somethin' for the coroner to examine, at which point Garris leaves Megan alone to answer the phones an read old Cosmo magazines til he gets back. Then Tommy calls the station an tells Megan he's got a plan to whack Jason, but he's gonna need 'er Discover card to build some weapons of mask destruction an she promises to come pick 'im up right after she finishes filin' the latest reports of missin' environmentalists. Back at camp, Sissy spots somebody screwin' around outside 'er cabin an figures it's prolly Cort cause he's got that defective Travolta blood flowin' through his veins which causes 'im to think it's real sexy to try seducin' people with that horrifyin' pelvis swivel, only when she goes out to look around Jason grabs ahold of 'er an twists 'er head around like a barn owl so she won't hafta worry about people sneakin' up on 'er anymore.
Meanwhile Megan finally gets around to pickin' Tommy up, unfortunately they come to a roadblock within about 30 seconds an Megan hasta stuff Tommy's face into 'er beef curtains to conceal 'im from the cops before takin' off in reverse. This arouses both Megan an the suspicion of the cops, who give chase until she ends up runnin' into a second roadblock manned by 'er father. Awkward. Elsewhere, a little girl with insomnia brings Paula a bloody machete to ask where the lost an found is an whether or not she can keep it if nobody claims it within 30 days, an Paula also assumes she's bein' messed with an decides to overlook the leftovers danglin' from the machete. However, once she puts the kid in bed an heads back to 'er cabin to try usin' the phone, she discovers that not unlike the feasibility of the plot, there's been a minor disconnect, at which point there's an even bigger connectivity issue involvin' 'er head an the rest of 'er. Back at the station house, Garris is P.O.'d. He wants to know what Megan sees in this nut, why she'd risk damage to a classic car to save 'im, an how come Tommy's chin smells like the gynecologist's office. Unsurprisingly, Megan's explanations prove ineffective, even though Garris has just gotten another call about the overturned RV an Megan tells 'im that Tommy can't possibly be the one out there killin' everybody cause he's been with her destroyin' 'er womanly urges. So once Garris leaves to inspect the overturned procreational vehicle, Megan an Tommy work out a plan to get the deputy next to Tommy's cell, at which point she steals his gun an locks 'im up so he hasta sit on the prison pot for a coupla hours an see what it's like to poop without the privacy of a stall. Fortunately, Tommy's had a lot of time to think between felonies, an he figures the only way to really kill Jason, aside from reinaimatin' 'im in the first place, is to take 'im for a little stroll down memory lane an drown his ass in the lake. Cause that worked real good the first time. Anyway, by now Jason's whacked what a real desperate sadomasochist might consider the authority figures, an heads into one of the kids' cabins to autograph their Friday the 13th NES cartridges until Garris pulls up an he hasta get back on the clock. So while Garris is securin' the kids' cabins, the J-man's sneakin' around the camp doin' things like flutterin' his butterfly knife into the foreheads of Garris' backup units an puttin' the Kona Crusher on 'em til they crack like a deadeyed babysitter bein' subjected to the same Smurfs VHS tape for the 498th time. Gonna cut off the synopsis here, cause after all, too much of a good thing can be a serious problem.
Alrighty, well, I think Part VI rebounds nicely after the moderate decline in quality of Part V. Frankly, there's still too many irrelevant characters being introduced and wiped out just as quickly to pad the body count, but I think this one's got better production values in general, and it just feels more shored up than Part V did. I think the two biggest differences are in the direction and the cinematography. Everything comes together better and looks more professional than Part V did. That said, they also chose to take a more obvious tongue in cheek approach to the writing, which I'm not entirely sure I like. I think the problem isn't necessarily with the self awareness on display so much as the delivery. The children for instance, discussing the likelihood that they're about to be turned into baby back ribs, and their utter indifference toward it, pretty much blew chunks. But there're a couple other examples of the same thing that have some semblance of subtlety, like the "I've seen enough horror movies to know that any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly" line, for instance. That works, and I kinda like it. Same deal with the groundskeeper staring into the camera and saying "some folks got a strange idea of entertainment", that also works. The kids though, I hate every exchange those two boys have in the entire movie. Another area where they improved over Part V is atmosphere. Even with that tongue in cheek humor in place, the movie is still significantly less goofy than Part V was, and is probably the second best in the series in terms of mood up to this point. Part IV is easily the most atmospheric of the entire series. But realistically, for a lot of people, this entry was always going to be better than Part V because of the reveal at the end of Part V, and the fact that they brought Jason back. The conclusion of Part V didn't bother me the way it did a lot of people, but even I'm much happier having Jason back, and more importantly than that, I particularly liked the *way* they brought Jason back. Technically speaking, the end of Part IV is really the only point in the entire series where you can definitively say that Jason was dead. So with that in mind, implausible and derivative of Frankenstein as it may be, the lightning bolt that resurrects Jason here has essentially returned him to "life" in an undead capacity. He's no longer just a tough as nails S.O.B. at this point. Now he's essentially an unstoppable zombie mutant who you can only conceivably destroy by grindin' into hamburger or burning until there's nothin' but ashes left. I like this new development, as it not only changes things up a little bit, but it also (strangely) brings a little more sanity to the character. I mean, obviously having your corpse struck by lightning probably isn't going to bring you back to life, but that aside, it makes a little more sense that Jason can be shot, stabbed, hung, and thrown from great heights and still survive, if he's not actually human.
Okay then, lets dig the maggots outta this thing and see how much red meat's still on the bone. The plot is possibly the best of the series, and I realize that a declaration like that is essentially suggesting it's the hottest contestant in a 60-years-and-up beauty pageant, but it's still the case. I mean, this is the only entry in the series where you've not only got a returning character, but one that actually has a theory about how to permanently kill Jason, even if it doesn't make a lick of sense. I guess you could also argue that Jason Goes to Hell has the best plot, in the sense that it basically has the same plot as a movie called The Hidden, but as far as Paramount Friday the 13th movies go, this one seems the most ambitious from a storyline perspective. The acting is decent for the most part, although as I mentioned earlier, those nonchalant male children are pretty terrible with the delivery on their (admittedly terrible) dialog. The best performance, in my opinion, is easily that of David Kagen as the P.O.'d father of Jennifer Cooke who doesn't seem to notice his daughter's in her mid 20s and that there's really not too much he can do to control her. Seriously though, that guy conveys some pretty raw emotion, and is one of the better characters in the entire series. Jennifer Cooke is also pretty good as Megan, and even though most horror fans are going to be looking closely at Thom Matthews after the great performance he gave in Return of the Living Dead, Thom is just okay in this. But then, what'd you really expect? He's the third goddamned Tommy Jarvis in as many movies. Better than John Shepherd, but not as good as Corey Feldman.
Here's who matters and why: Thom Matthews (Sorcerers, Nemesis, Alien from L.A., Return of the Living Dead 1 & 2), David Kagen (Hologram Man), Kerry Noonan (Nightmare on the 13th Floor), Renee Jones (The Terror Within II), Tom Fridley (Phenomenon, Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge), C.J. Graham (Highway to Hell), Darcy DeMoss (666: Kreepy Kerry, 666: Devilish Charm, Alien Abduction: Intimate Secrets, A Bucket of Blood 1995, Pale Blood, Night Life, Return to Horror High), Vincent Guastaferro (Shocker), Tony Goldwyn (The Last House on the Left 2009, The 6th Day), Nancy McLoughlin (Sometimes They Come Back), Ron Palillo (Hellgate, Trees 2), Alan Blumenfeld (The Ring, WarGames, The Dark Side of the Moon, Night Life), Matthew Faison (Freddy's Dead, Roswell, Puppet Master III), Ann Ryerson (Constantine), Whitney Rydback (Battle Beyond the Stars, Love at First Bite), Michael Swan (LizardMan: The Terror of the Swamp, Piranhaconda, Camel Spiders, Dinocroc vs. Super Gator, Midnight Movie, V), Mike Nomad (Cocoon 2, April Fool's Day), Wallace Merck (Robocop 2, Mothman, Flesh Wounds, Children of the Corn II, King Kong Lives, Voyage of the Rock Aliens, Brainstorm), Roger Rose (Jekyll), Thomas Nowell (The Offspring), Justin Nowell (Sleepaway Camp 2, The Offspring). Unfortunately, not only do we have a hefty dose of mainstream bullstuff in these peoples' resumes, there's a disproportionate amount of the lowest, most disgusting form of acting work known to man outside of reality TV. I'm just gonna rip the bandage off as quickly as possible here; we're talkin' soap operas. Renee Jones would be best known as Lexie Carver on no less than 1200 gut-wrenching episodes of Days of Our Lives, Darcy DeMoss was Patty in Can't Buy Me Love, Vincent Guastaferro played Sgt Vincent Agostini on NYPD Blue, and that turncoat Michael Swan was both Adam Alexander on The Bold and the Beautiful AND Duncan McKechnie on As the World Turns. Mike's been trying to regain our respect as much as a soap star can, namely with a buncha bad Syfy channel movies, but I for one am not ready to forgive him just yet. Additionally, Tony Goldwyn also sold out on us big time and went on to play Carl Bruner in Ghost, Colonel Bagley in The Last Samurai, President Fitzgerald Grant in the TV series Scandal, Fletcher Coal in The Pelican Brief, and was also the voice of Tarzan in the Disney movie of the same name. And of course, last but certainly not least, Ron Palillo will always be remembered as everyone's favorite Sweat Hog from Welcome Back, Kotter; Arnold Horshack.
The special effects, when you actually get to see anything, aren't too bad. Seriously though, I think the MPAA hamstrung this one even worse than they did Part V, cause we've got a whole lotta off-screen deaths again, and if we're bein' completely honest with ourselves, not too many original kills. The one where the guy gets speared and then heaved over Jason's shoulder while still attached to the spear not withstanding (cause that's one of the best in the entire series) what else is there, really? The face shoved into the tree branch isn't bad I suppose, the 360 degree head swiveling action on Renee Jones is okay, and Darcy DeMoss's head bein' mashed into that memory foam wall of the RV is pretty nifty, the rest though? Meh. I did like the method used to kill Jason in this one, even if he's wearing yellow gloves for no apparent reason. I suspect this was to hide the fact that C.J. Graham probably didn't have his hands made up in rotting Jason makeup. Can't be sure of that, but when you consider the water was probably going to screw up the appearance of the makeup or possibly even cause it to slough off entirely, there may have been no other choice. Unfortunately, we've got a lot of the typical stabbing deaths, and we don't even get to see much of those so it's a bit disappointing. I realize it probably wasn't the director's fault, but it still sucks. The shooting locations are probably the best in the series since Part 2, which I'm inclined to attribute to the fact that it's the first time since Part 2 that we had an actual summer camp setting. The forest in some of these shots is a little thin for my liking, but in general, I like these locations. The police station isn't too bad, the interiors of the cabins are especially authentic, and the lake looks very nice as well. It's good to see the lake again, we didn't even have one in Part V and the one in Part 3 was man-made and it showed. So pretty good on the locations. The soundtrack is also an improvement over Part V, with what sound like a few rehashes of some of the better tracks from previous movies, as well as some distinctly different ones that maintain the general manic theme that the series is known for. There's even a slower track that's particularly atmospheric, which doesn't blow your ear drums with violins bein' played fast enough to break the sound barrier. And that's not even counting the classic Alice Cooper tracks which are all great, particularly "He's Back" which was written specifically for the movie and plays two or three different times including during the end credits. Overall, I'm gonna say this one's probably in a tie for second best of the series up to this point, with Part IV being the best, and Parts 2 & VI being pretty evenly matched as the 2nd and 3rd best of the series. You know what you're in for by now, so I don't think any kind of recommendations are really needed here.