Paramount // 1986 // 87 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 16th, 2009
Evil lives forever.
You thought Jason was dead, but you were wrong. Dead wrong. Really, really, really dead wrong.
The story so far: Jason Voorhees was an ugly kid who drowned in Crystal Lake, his mom went crazy and killed Kevin Bacon. Later, he went crazy and killed some stupid kids, then put on a hockey mask and killed some more stupid kids, until Corey Feldman hacked him to death with a machete. When Corey Feldman grew up, he looked different, lost his mind, and moved to a camp full of other crazy kids. Jason started killing people again, but maybe it wasn't Jason and it was the Key Grip behind all the murders. Or not.
Now: Tommy Jarvis is determined to send Jason back to Hell; for real this time. So he has Horshak from Welcome Back, Kotter drive to the cemetery, exhume the corpse, and kill it again...or something. Unfortunately, there's a lightning storm, and after Tommy stabs Jason's body with a metal fencepost, lightning strikes and, as science dictates, Jason's corpse is reanimated, going back to his stabbing ways once more.
Following the disappointment of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, Jason Lives delivers what everyone wanted to see: a nonsensical plot contrivance to resurrect the real Jason Voorhees. But he came back and that's all that's important because despite maggots, rigor mortis, or decomposition, homeboy knows how to swing a machete like a champ.
The thing about Jason Lives is it can almost be qualified as dark humor. There's a hefty dose of camp (hah!) woven into the standard-issue slasher fabric. Forget that lightning-rod-resurrection gag; besides, how Jason comes back to life in the next film is even more ludicrous). You know you're in for a tongue-in-cheek take on the Jason mythology during the opening credits, when Jason walks across the screen and throws a machete at the camera, like James Bond. Oof.
After that, the story becomes a clichéd romp, with Tommy Jarvis running around screaming about Jason's resurgence, the local law enforcement ignoring his dire warnings -- to their own peril, of course -- and folks feeling the sting of Jason's blade, in a largely bloodless killing spree.
While some of the kills are creative (like that girl's face smashed through the RV bathroom door), most are unimpressive. Lots of mayhem happens off screen and, when the camera does rest its lens on the bloodletting, it's typically muted stuff, like a dart to the forehead. In fact, the best kill comes at the beginning, when Jason rips Horshak's heart out of his chest. All downhill after that.
The final showdown isn't bad; a typically convoluted set-piece involving Tommy and Jason, a boat with a motor, fire, and an anchor. However, the question has to be asked: Tommy, you know the dude is just drifting underwater, why not throw on a scuba mask and a snorkel and go finish the job?!
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives: Deluxe Edition provides an effective 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and an okay 5.1 surround mix. Extras include a commentary by director Tom McLoughlin alongside cast and crew; the sixth chapter in the "Lost Tales of Camp Blood" microseries; "The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited: Part III"; a corny fictional newscast set in the Friday the 13th world; and a fun retrospective.
The murders are largely blood-free and the T&A quotient is zero, but Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is semi-amusing. Not scary. At all.
Not guilty, but mainly because I know the dreck that awaits in the next film.
Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Rated R