There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Today we continue our trek through the woods of Crystal Lake and witness the return of an icon. This is Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Lives!
Today’s Key Movie:
Not long after defeating the fake Jason at the Pinehurst Halfway House, Tommy Jarvis is released from an institution. Still having nightmares about Jason, he and a friend travel back to Crystal Lake to ensure that Jason’s body has been destroyed. However, after digging him up, Tommy mistakenly brings the Terror of Teens back to life from beyond the grave. Now, a resurrected Jason is hellbent on killing everyone in the area once again with Tommy powerless to stop him.
Why this movie?
This was the very first Friday the 13th film I saw in theaters. It was around this time that my cousin and his family came to town and boy was he a fan of the franchise. While he was easily scared there was something about Jason that appealed to him so, when this film hit theaters, we, along with his older sister, went to the movies to watch the return of Jason Vorhees.
I will never forget seeing this in the theater. How we got in, I will never know, I mean I was far too young to but, seeing that I had already been devouring horror from a young age, that was not a big deal for me. I am sure we told our respective parents that we were going to see Short Circuit or Howard the Duck but in fact, we were there for the gore fest and man I was stoked after having seen the originals not long before.
This film marks a massive change for the franchise. Before Jason Lives, Jason Vorhees was simply an unstoppable, yet mortal, killing machine. Sure he was tough but it wasn’t anything unnatural causing these abilities, he was just that tough. This one, however changed all of that. The resurrected Jason was now practically invulnerable and immortal meaning this was now a franchise that could go on forever. As a kid who already loved Freddy Krueger, that made Jason a creature I could get behind…and for some strange reason Jason, unlike Freddy, was never made taboo in my family.
Leaving the theater as a kid, I found myself as obsessed as my cousin was. In fact, I loved this film so much it wasn’t long before I had the soundtrack that featured none other than Alice Cooper with the tune ‘He’s Back (the man behind the mask)’. It’s a classic and one that I still dig to this day.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
After raising Jason from the dead the plot pans out much like that of the previous films only that Crystal Lake has been renamed Forest Green and, once again they are reopening the old camp grounds. The locals want nothing to do with the legends and refuse to believe that Jason even existed so, when the killer returned, no one is ready despite Tommy’s warnings.
What follows is a fresh take on the gory brutal films we had seen previously. Instead of relishing in the wholesale slaughter of innocents, this new film goes after everyone but with more of a sense of humor this time around. With Jason no longer being a homicidal maniac and now one of the supernatural variety, he is free to kill freely without any restraint. (not that he ever showed any to start with but, you know what I mean). The other thing that this film establishes is that Jason is no longer afraid of death. In the original films you would see him actively avoiding being hit by cars or getting out of the way of attacks. This new Jason now knows that he is invulnerable and fully owns it.
Now, if you think this means there is a kinder gentler Jason Vorhees then you are mistaken. In fact, with his new found immortality this film takes it to 11 from the get go. It wastes no time getting to the action starting with a heart being ripped from someones chest and everything from impalement to dismemberment. Now, you might say this kind of thing is not new to the films but trust me when I say this film goes full gore and never stops. This movie is certainly not for the squeamish but it is also much tamer in it’s depiction of nudity and sex, choosing to focus more on the kills than the screws without eliminating them all together. In a way it is a much more balanced and energetic entry making in a worthy change and fun addition to the franchise.
Although this film is very well paced and quite fun to watch, I ran into a few plot holes that I have to bring up. First off, in the prior film it was established that Jason’s body was cremated. In fact they make it a point to call that out when someone suggests that Jason had returned…Only his body has now been buried. So…what gives? Also, who actually paid for Jason Vorhees to have a headstone? I mean, even in the mid eighties headstones were not cheap so who cared enough about this killer to give him a proper burial? Strange huh? Makes me wonder if there is a Cult of Jason out there somewhere awaiting his return. hmmmmm that could make for a decent sequel come to think of it.
Overall, this is a really solid and fun entry that holds up to this day. It’s brutal, well paced, well produced and remarkably humorous at times. Honestly even the silly dialogue remains fun and a great example of the dark humor filled horror the mid 80’s had become known for. This is one I highly recommend for anyone who wants to see Jason in his prime, this is the Jason we have come to love and it is a tremendous introduction to him.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This one is still pretty easy to get on home video and I do recommend it. In fact, if this is your only intro to Jason, it wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. However, I can’t recommend the boxed set enough, it’s well worth it.
Late To The Game 2/18/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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