Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

         Tommy Jarvis and his friend Hawes have escaped from the mental institute to head on over to the Crystal Lake cemetery to make sure that Jason Voorhees is still dead. Actually, more so to torch the body so that Jason will never come back to life.  The two guys dig up Jason to discover that Jason is definitely dead since he is a rotting corpse. Tommy, who apparently has never seen Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, decides to unleash his anger by breaking off a rod from the fence and begins to stab Jason's corpse with it. Since this is a horror film and these events just so happen to be occurring during a thunder storm, lightning strikes down, hitting the fence rod that's still sticking into Jason and lights him up like a Christmas tree. Surprisingly, Jason pops out of the casket, kills Tommy's buddy Hawes, and puts on his iconic hockey mask as Tommy runs away.  Tommy hurries to the local Police Station and tells Sheriff Garris what happened. Naturally, the Sheriff thinks that Tommy is nuts and locks him up. Meanwhile, Sheriff Garris' sexy daughter Megan and her friends Cort, Sissy, Paula, Darren, and Elizabeth are camp counselors at Camp Forest Green (used to be Camp Crystal Lake) where Jason plans to make a return and kill them all.  Tommy and Megan must find a way to defeat Jason one last time.

          In 1985, Paramount Pictures released its fifth installment in the popular horror/slasher franchise, Friday The 13th: A New Beginning. Unfortunately, the film backfired and pissed off a lot of Jason fans.  Paramount had originally wanted Tommy to take up the mantle for Jason since Jason was now dead, but the failure of A New Beginning changed the future of the franchise.  So, Paramount Pictures decided to do the daring move of bringing Jason back from the dead and make him stronger than he had ever been before.  They hired old school horror fan Tom McLoughlin to write the screenplay and direct this sixth installment. McLoughlin wanted to do something that had never been done before in the previous Friday The 13th films, which was to not make the films creepy but to give the victims a sense of humor. Now, this could really backfire massively in a horror film.   Just look at Return To Horror High!  There have been good horror films though that used humor with the victims that worked such as Hatchet, Shaun of the Dead, Zombie Land, and Return of the Living Dead.  Does McLoughlin's more comical approach work for Friday The 13th: Jason Lives? Yes, indeed it does. Not only did McLoughlin create a really needed improvement of A New Beginning (the worst of the franchise), but he just so happened to make in my opinion the best installment of the franchise with Jason Lives.

            I fucking love McLoughlin's screenplay for Jason Lives.  You can tell that he is a horror fan because he pays homage to classic horror and really knows how to make horror fun.  The way Jason is brought back is obviously taken right from the classic story of Frankenstein.  I was also digging the little name references such as Cunningham Road ( Sean S. Cunningham who directed the original Friday The 13th), Carpenter (John Carpenter, director of the original classic Halloween), and Karloff's General Store (Boris Karloff who played the original Frankenstein).  Also, I really like that they changed the name of Crystal Lake to Forrest Green to try to get people to forget Jason and that it comes back to haunt them. Man, I so wish that something like this had happened in the Halloween franchise. They should like ban trick or treating in Haddonfield to try to repress the memory of Michael and then he comes back to wreck havoc. You can change the title of something, but that isn't going to change where it is and what happened there.   The characters were a delight to watch.  Tommy is fucking awesome in this film and definitely my personal favorite portrayal of that character. He's like the Laurie Strode or Nancy Thompson of the Friday The 13th franchise. I do love that they had a guy be the hero for a change instead of the usual final girl.  Megan is hot and the hero's love interest. And she's a smartass! My kinda girl!  Cort is pretty funny and I just love his wardrobe with holes in his jeans. Gotta love the '80s style!  Sheriff Garris is the typical Police Officer who doesn't believe the kid's story until it is too late type and also an over protective father.  Nikki is Cort's girlfriend and likes to have sex during 10 minute songs and won't allow him to "finish" until the song is done. Plus, she's pretty hot.  Paula, Sissy, Darren, and Elizabeth are basically the cannon fodder to be killed.  The grave yard caretaker was probably my favorite character of the cannon fodder. That guy was hysterical.

        I have to talk about the comedy. I dug it a lot. That whole paintball scene was hilarious.   Also, I really liked the homage to the American Express card commercial.  The best part of this film aside from obviously the kills was the characters' dialogue. We get lines such as...

                " So, what were you going to be when you grew up?"
             "  Why did they have to go dig up Jason? Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment."
            "  I've seen enough horror movies to know that any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly."
               " Wherever the red dot goes, ya BANG!"

         And now for the best part of the Friday The 13th franchise: the kills! I was really loving the kills in this installment. This was the beginning of zombie Jason, so now he can do more with his bare hands than just stabbing people. We get a head being TWISTED off the body. A girl gets her face rammed through the wall of an RV bathroom and you can see the imprint on the other side.  There's a triple decapitation. I also love it when Jason rips this dude's arm off with his bare hands and then throws him into a tree with the branch going through the dude's head, his body falls sideways to reveal a smiley face carved into the tree now smeared in blood. Then, Jason looks at the arm like, "Wow, did I just do that?"  My favorite kill would have to be the back cracking of the Sheriff, where Jason totally bends the guy backwards and you hear his back crack. Very cringe-worthy kill. All in all, loving the kills. I think that these are probably my favorites of the franchise.

            The soundtrack to this movie is all kinds of '80s fucking awesome rock music. My favorite is Alice Cooper's Teenage Frankenstein, which is played in the RV while Jason is killing Nikki in the bathroom, while Cort is driving and rocking out.  I also loved the usual Friday The 13th music by Harry Manfredini too. Great soundtrack to a great Friday The 13th movie!

          The direction by Tom McLoughlin was fucking great. I loved his homage to classic horror as well as his new take on Jason.  That 007 like opening title sequence was really great.  McLoughlin delivers an awesome Jason movie that I have watched again and again. It holds up pretty well, even today. Great direction.

            The acting is fantastic too. Thom Matthews is absolutely great as an adult Tommy Jarvis. Matthews is my favorite actor to play Tommy.  Jennifer Cooke is equally fantastic and very sexy as Megan. Definitely the type of girl that I would date.  Plus, she lets Tommy go down on her while she drives. I wouldn't have any complaints hehehe.  David Kagen played the sheriff and overly protective father really well.  Tom Fridley was awesome as Cort. Darcy DeMoss was hot as Nikki. Gotta love '80s chicks!  Bob Larkin was absolutely hilarious as Martin, the caretaker. All of the other actors were alright, but these are the ones who really stuck out. And C.J. Graham was awesome as Jason. This is the first time we see zombie Jason and Graham definitely made Jason more vicious. I guess being undead gives you super abilities. What was up with the yellow gloves though? I guess Jason wants to keep his hands clean while mutilating these care free trespassers. Although, I still prefer Kane Hodder's version of zombie Jason in the rest of the franchise, but Graham was also fantastic.  All in all, pretty great cast.

        Overall, Friday The 13th: Jason Lives is a great and much needed addition to this iconic slasher saga.  It got rid of that dumb fake Jason plot and brought the REAL hockey masked killer back to Crystal Lake.  I do have one question though that I forgot to mention in the last review. What the hell happened to Tommy's sister Trish after The Final Chapter? They don't ever mention her again. Weird. Anyways, Jason Lives is a great Friday The 13th film and should definitely get the credibility that it truly deserves!


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