Our Crystal Lake adventures continue with Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives, one of my favorites in the series. For me it’s one of the first in the series that has a bit of intentional sense of humor about it, it introduces Jason as a superhuman entity, and features some of the slickest machete kills you’re going to see from Mr. Voorhees. When it’s all said and done, Jason Lives is the last good film of the franchise, with things markedly dipping down in quality from this point on.
Jason Lives skips over Part V and acts as a bit of a direct sequel to Part IV. It sees the protagonist from the fourth film, Tommy Jarvis, as an adult who is still having bad dreams and visions of his run in with Jason. He hopes that by digging up Jason’s corpse and cremating it that he will relieve his mental torment, but we all know that this is quite possibly the worst possible idea. Why? Because when he digs up the body it’s going to get struck by lightning and reanimate, of course! This creates a superhuman version of Jason that will be par for the course until the 2009 reboot that humanizes the character again.
The kills in Jason Lives are positively brutal, with triple decapitations, hearts getting torn out, arms getting ripped off, heads being crushed, and so on. The film was actually so violent that it was given the dreaded X rating and had to be toned down. While the film has action elements to it and isn’t really all that scary, the body count and how it’s created sets this film into a realm that won’t be topped by the subsequent films. I mean, come on! The taglines for this film include lines like: “Jason Is Going To Kill You!” and “Jason Lives. You Die.” Savage!
While we still have a bit of a stinker ahead of us, we’re about to start getting into the real meat and potatoes of the Friday the 13th franchise. Jason Lives definitely stands out as one of the better films and is entertaining in a bit of a tongue and cheek way. It’s full of cheap thrills and fun kills, just like an 80’s slasher of the mid-80’s is supposed to be.