Saturday, October 11, 2014

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

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (USA, 1986) - Color, Director(s): Tom McLoughlin
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 15]
Approx. 86 min.

Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5

Just when I thought this franchise couldn't possibly sink any lower, they come out with this movie... and totally redeem themselves! Hell yeah, this is the definitive Friday the 13th movie. Starting with some shots of the woods and Crystal Lake with the fog rolling, it perfectly sets the creepy mood for the rest of the film. On the eve of Friday the 13th, Tommy Jarvis and Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter is hauling ass up to the cemetery where they plan to exhume Jason's body and cremate it. Looks like Tommy Jarvis is still haunted by the man he "killed" as a child. They dig up his grave and find a maggot-infested, worm-covered corpse rotting in the coffin. Jarvis rips off a piece of the fence and repeated stabs the corpse with it in a fit blind rage, leaving it sticking out of the grave as he retrieves the gasoline. In a Frankenstein-esque resurrection sequence, lightning strikes Jason twice in a row and revives him as a bad ass, undead, super zombie killer that punches holes through Horshack like he was made of Styrofoam and paper mache. Jarvis tries desperately to douse him with gasoline and light him on fire but the weather is on Jason's side as it starts to rain. Now, that's how you start a movie!

The end of Part V sets Tommy Jarvis up to be the new killer of the franchise but because that movie sucked ass through a straw, they ignored the ending completely and brought back Jason instead. Tom McLoughlin, who previously directed One Dark Night, decided to make Jason more like Frankenstein's Monster. There are small references to Frankenstein all through the film: Jason's revival by lightning, Alice Cooper's "Teenage Frankenstein" plays on the radio when two of the counselors are killed in an RV, and Tommy Jarvis says he's at Karloff's General something when he gives his location to the Sheriff's daughter. This is a subtle nod to Boris Karloff who played The Monster in the Universal's Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and Son of Frankenstein.

Jason was hard to kill before but he was supposedly still human (apparently he just survived at the bottom of the lake as a child for some 20 years or so because that makes total sense) but now he's a supernatural being with immense strength that cannot be killed. Jason can't be hurt, he can't be drowned, not even bullets slow him down anymore. I remember Jason getting knocked down by a shovel in a previous film, someone breaks a shovel over his head at the beginning of this film and it doesn't even faze him. Jason shows how strong he is when he grabs a guy by the wrist, hurls him 100 feet away into a tree, and accidentally ripping his arm off in the process with little to no effort. This version of Jason is how all future installments will portray him.

"Oh HELL no."

So now Crystal Lake has changed their name to Forest Green in hopes that people can forget about all the killing. Thanks to Tommy Jarvis, Jason is awake again and running amok. The only way to stop him is to return him to his original resting place, to Crystal Lake where he drowned as a child. Jarvis tries to get help from the police station after resurrecting Jason but the sheriff doesn't believe him about Jason. The sheriff's daughter, Megan, does and tries her best to help him put an end to Jason once and for all.

Nudity: Surprisingly, none. Although nudity and gore go hand-in-hand in slasher films, this one is successful even without the nudity. We do get a couple shots of Megan's crotch (the sheriff's daughter) as she's helping Tommy Jarvis escape.

What I would've give for those to be yoga pants...

Gore: Also surprisingly, not much. There are violent and brutal killings but not a lot of graphic on-screen deaths. A cabin is seen drenched in blood to imply that a brutal murder had taken place but nothing is explicitly shown. There's also a triple decapitation that's obscured by blood splattering onto the screen but, sadly, doesn't show any heads rolling.

Yeah, not THAT much blood...

Awesome: They really made up for the lack of gore and nudity by providing a super bad ass Jason and a bit of humor. You wouldn't expect a slasher franchise like Friday the 13th to be so successful without gore and nudity but this is considered a fan-favorite in the series. My favorite kill is the drunk gravedigger who throws an empty bottle over his shoulder, expecting to hear it shatter on the ground behind him. Jason caught the bottle, breaks it with his bare hands, and stabs the gravedigger in the throat with the broken bottle. This all happens so fast and Jason squeezes the bottle so nonchalantly, you can't help but love it.