Director – Tom McLoughlin
Cast – Thom Matthews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Kerry Noonan, Renee Jones, Tom Fridley, C.J. Graham, Darcy DeMoss, Vincent Guastaferro
Release Year – 1986
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I am very glad that after the F13 franchise came out with the unfavorable Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, they did not leave themselves down in the gutter and quickly rebounded with their most brutal and entertaining installment at that time…Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Director Tom McLoughlin, who also wrote the film, did a superb job with this sixth installment of the infamous franchise that completely dominated the 80s slasher scene with eight, yes EIGHT films debuting during that “Oh so infamous“ decade. Pretty surprising for a guy who had only one directing job before this film.
This film once again focuses on the iconic F13 character Tommy Jarvis(for the 3rd time), who must make certain that Jason is REALLY dead, and rotting in hell. Him and a friend of his escape from their mental institution and drive to Jason’s grave. Once they open his coffin, they find a very rotting, and very dead Jason Vorhees. However and unfortunate turn of events (involving lightning) happens to rejuvenate Jason’s body as if acting as a defibrillator and ONCE AGAIN Jason is on the loose! Yes! It is now up to Tommy to head to Camp Crystal Lake, which has since been renamed Camp Forest Green, and convince the local law enforcement that Jason is coming back home. With the law enforcement and townsfolk wanted to forget about Jason and move on already, as well as the fact that Tommy is listed as a mental patient, no one believes him, and he is forced to take matters into his own hands…again! Haha!
This film was a vast improvement over F13 Part 5, and fixed some of the issues I had with parts 3 and 4. The biggest improvement was the pacing of the film. This film never dragged, and that is what I thoroughly enjoyed. Another improvement was a much greater amount of on-screen Jason kills, something we were not given very much of in parts 4 and 5. Lastly, this film was the beginning to the more “comical” Jason films, with classic one-liners, funny kills, and even more gore than the previous films. How can you not love that change??? I do love the first four installments, but they were the more…”serious” films. Part 5 was trash. This sixth installment got the ball rolling again, and brought us the slightly sillier, yet more entertaining installments that followed.
I was really impressed with the camerawork in this film, and credit Tom McLoughlin and Dir. Of Cinematography Jon Kranhouse for the improvement. The camera angles brought out the best in the kill scenes, and I loved the Sam Raimi/Scott Spiegel references where you see Jason throwing a knife in someone’s face and then the film cuts scene to darts on a dartboard. I love that imaginative, fun sense of direction/cinematography.
There is not too much I did not like from this film. Aside from the somewhat annoying acting of the sheriff’s right hand man, the film fared pretty well on acting and dialogue. Finally an 80s film that doesn’t suck as much as it’s supposed to!
Overall, this is a fun F13 film that should please horror fans and make for a perfect “beer and pizza” movie night.