Paramount // 1986 // 87 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // September 25th, 2001
The nightmare returns on the most unlucky day of the week.
By the time the makers of the Friday The 13th series hit part six they were getting to the end of their ropes. Although they continued to stick to the same basic storyline, new blood (pun intended) needed to be pumped into the series to keep moviegoing fans happy. After the abysmal Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning, it was nice to see director Tom McLoughlin trying out a few new techniques with Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. The biggest difference in this entry was the fact that there was a bit more humor injected into the story while keeping the gore lighter than usual. The makers must have done something right because Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives ended up being one of the best films in the series. Release simultaneously with part five, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is resurrected on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment!
In Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning, the murderous Jason Voorhees was discovered to be an imposter. I'm happy to report that in Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Mr. Voorhees is alive and well and stalking the campgrounds of Camp Crystal Lake! After being brought back from the dead by series holdover Tommy Jarvis (Thom Matthews, The Return Of The Living Dead), Jason takes up his old hobbies of hunting down innocent teens and making them look like a Swiss cheese. Since Tommy's warnings to local law enforcement officials fall on deaf ears, Jason is free to continue killing without any major interruptions. Tommy realizes that he's the only person who can stop Jason's rampage of terror once and for all (* snicker *). With no time to lose, Tommy once again faces the mighty masked one in a showdown that will either leave Tommy standing...or lying six feet underground.
Talk about a 180 degree turn from the previous effort! Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives turns out to be a lot more fun than its predecessor, including a beefed up, decaying Jason that is lean, mean, and a killing machine. Director Tom McLoughlin peppers Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives with a dose of witty humor and fun performances to makes this film rise above the rest. If I remember correctly Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives was the first Jason movie that I saw in the theaters (sadly, I was forced to go with my big sister and her date). Maybe I have clouded memories, but I remember this movie being a lot of fun and pretty darn scary!
Although McLoughlin deviates a bit from the norm, the plotline is generally still the same: someone stoopid digs up Jason, accidentally brings him back to life, all hell breaks loose. While the performances aren't anything out of Sense And Sensibility, most of the actors do pretty well with the roles they're given. Thom Matthews works well as Tommy Jarvis, a mentally unbalanced man who must once again face Jason in a fight to the death. Matthews was also in one of my other favorite '80s horror movies, Dan O'Bannon's raunchy spoof The Return Of The Living Dead. These days Matthews hasn't been showing up in much to speak of, but I guess doing a Friday The 13th movie will do that to your career. Jennifer Cooke is effectively spunky and cute as Tommy's love interest Megan, and even Ron Palillo, Horshak from Welcome Back Kotter, makes an appearance as Tommy's doomed friend.
Of course, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives still includes the gratuitous violence and T&A these movies are known for, though this time out it tends to be toned down. Sadly there were no nipples galore on screen, and although Jason makes long-fong-tofu out of some of the camp counselors, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is relatively tame by the standards set in Friday The 13th Part V. Yes, I am just as upset about this fact as you are. As my favorite critic Joe Bob Briggs says, "I'm totally against excessive sex and violence unless it's necessary to the plot." Come on folks, it's a Friday The 13th movie...of COURSE it's necessary to the plot!
As a bonus fans of Alice Cooper get to hear the aging rocker croon the title theme "The Man Behind The Mask" with the legendary "chhh-chhh-ahhh-ahhh" sound effects in the background. Can you GET any better than that? I would argue that the answer to that is an unqualified no.
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and is the best looking Friday The 13th to date. Colors (predominant blues and reds) were very bright and clear with the black levels being spot on. I was very impressed with the way this film looked on DVD, and Paramount should pat themselves on the back for their efforts. Although there were a few instances of grain and dirt, overall this is a very nice looking print which should please fans.
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is the first in the series to be presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. I must admit that this was a really delightful surprise! The first five films were all very drab and flat with their Dolby Mono soundtracks, so it was a real treat to hear Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives presented with some well placed directional effects. Dialogue, music and effects were all evenly mixed and free of distortion or hiss. While this may not be the most aggressive mix in your DVD collection, it does compliment the film nicely. Also included are English subtitles.
Staying well on par with the other releases, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives's only extra feature is an anamorphic theatrical teaser that is actually very well done and entertaining. I'd go on and on about the lack of materials, but I've done it before with the prior releases to no avail...
If you are not a horror fan or find the idea of a guy getting a knife stuck in his head repulsive, you're gonna want to skip Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and move right on along to The Care Bears Movie. While YOU may be able to come up with all kinds of complaints about this movie, I just want to enjoy it for what it is: mindless entertainment (with very heavy emphasis on mindless).
Finally, what's this about no Corey Feldman in this sequel? Apparently they're right...you can't have your cake and eat it too.
One of the best in the series, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is worth the purchase for fans of the series and fanatical hockey players worldwide. With a very nice transfer and a well mixed 2.0 track, I can easily recommend this disc to horror buffs everywhere.
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is absolutely free to go! Case dismissed!
Review content copyright © 2001 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Teaser Trailer