Retro Review: Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986)

The beginning of the second version of Jason.  From Friday the 13th part 2 to the Final Chapter it was Jason who was a crazy momma’s boy mongoloid.  With Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning, not to spoil anything, but Jason is dead and not a part of the movie, with the exception of figments of Tommy Jarvis’ imagination.  Fast forward to part VI, Jason Lives.

How could you not love the opening to Jason Lives, very James Bond.

To me, this is the best made Friday the 13th movie.  The story was a little different and it called back to a lot of different horror movies.  Names of characters and locations, we can tell that the director, Tom McLoughlin was heavily influenced by classic horror.   The film is dark, it has comedy and it stays true to the Friday the 13th legend and adds to it as well.

 

The movie begins with an adult Tommy Jarvis played by Thom Mathews, driving with his friend in a truck.  They are driving to a cemetery to make sure Jason Voorhees stays dead.  The dig up the grave and open to find Jason dead and maggots and worms allover his face.  His body is dusty and just based on that, Jason is in fact dead.  Tommy decides to take out his anger on Jason’s corpse by grabbing a metal fence post and jamming it into the corpse.  With a storm approaching Tommy douses Jason’s body in gasoline to incinerate the remains.  Well, before he can light the match and set Jason ablaze, lightening strikes the fence post and sends a bolt of lightening through Jason, thus resurrecting him, like Frankenstein’s monster.

 

Tommy Jarvis, the kid who killed Jason, he is responsible for killing the unstoppable force…brings Jason back to life.  Tommy has been haunted by Jason since he was a kid and tried to put an end to it all, but he brought Jason back.  I blame Tommy Jarvis for every single death from this point on.  The blood is on Tommy’s hands.  Unknowingly, he puts all of these kids who are going to Camp Forest Green at risk.  Yeah, that was another cool thing, the town voted to change the name to Forest Green to put Jason Voorhees and Crystal Lake behind them.

Other things I never talk about, Megan is pretty awesome and totally underrated, probably over shadowed by the Tommy Jarvis story.  Megan added to the story, she was probably the most competent of all of the final girls in the series, even more so that Tina from The New Blood or part VII.  Sure she her attraction to Tommy is what led her to help him, but she did, she helped him a ton.  I also love Sheriff Garris, he is a good cop, we see so many shitty cops in these movies, he does what he can.  He is convinced Jason is dead and Tommy is responsible for the killings.  Why not, why wouldn’t Tommy be the suspect, Jason is dead.  They even take Tommy back to Jason’s grave and it looks to be undisturbed.  In some ways, it is the most realistic movie of the franchise.

I love this one and can’t say enough.  It is the best shot, the score is wonderful and it has a great cast.  I do love the Final Chapter, but it feels stale, something about it, it is not the best in my opinion.  Jason Lives is the most balanced movie of the series.  It is also the most “80s” of the series and I love it.  I think it was the “MTV” Friday the 13th, Alice Cooper had a couple of songs in the movie, including He’s back, the Man behind the mask.

For me, it is the first of the Friday the 13th films I have ever seen.  It has remained my favorite since I was  kid.  I tried to believe the hype that Final Chapter is the best, but no, Jason Lives.  The cheese is way down, I know there was disappointment from A New Beginning, but this was the right way to bring Jason back.  I just love this movie, of all the horror films that have multiple movies, Jason Lives is my go to Friday the 13th movies.  Of course A New Beginning I have seen in a different light over the past few years, but when watching the series, or marathoning the series for the first time Jason Lives brought us back to a good Jason movie.

On a final note, I cannot say enough about C.J. Graham.  He is the man behind the mask, replacing Dan Bradley as Jason after he was deemed, not menacing enough.  Graham, to me played Jason to perfection.  Others will say Ted White or Kane Hodder, most will say Hodder, but Graham was the first “zombie” Jason and Kane Hodder only added a few things to what Graham started.  I really wish C.J. Graham would have had the chance to play Jason again.  Hell, C.J. Graham is going to be 60 this year, I bet he could still be Jason.  You can follow C.J. on Facebook here.

IMDB.com has a rating of 5.9

I rate Jason Lives 7.6, my personal favorite of the series.

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About Ray Marek III 252 Articles
I am a lifelong horror fan. I have written for a few web sites, Kung-Fu Comrades, Nightfall Unlimited and Rage of Rayzor. Freddy's Revenge was the first Horror Film I watched, I was 5. When my mom found out I liked horror films, she began challenging me. Soon to follow were the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. Horror is in my blood, I want to share that with you...my blood...horror. I write unpublished comics. Lifelong dream is to write comics for a major comic book publisher or build my own comic book company.