12 Days of Friday, Day 6: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Editor Alex Vo watches a Friday the 13th movie daily until the reboot.

by | February 8, 2009 | Comments

Day Six:
Friday the 13th
Part VI: Jason Lives

Tommy Jarvis, recast as a vaguely bland hunk, wants to
cremate Jason’s corpse. But when lightning strikes his open casket, Jason comes
back to life, setting in motion another rampage as Jason stalks back to Crystal
Lake. The sheriff doesn’t believe Tommy, while the sheriff’s daughter and her
friends are in danger: they’re counselors at a newly re-opened camp on Crystal
Lake (like, is the rent cheap there, or what?).

I know this is a fan favorite (it hit 50% on the Tomatometer!) but I can’t say I was engaged
by a lot of Jason Lives. The movie is noted for its comedic bent but I was
baffled by a lot of the jokes, things like a nerd doing goofy calisthenics during a
paintball match or a child asleep in his bed with a copy of Sartre on his
blanket. They set a tone that doesn’t really gel with the rest of Jason Lives.[rtimage]MapID=1007901&MapTypeID=2&photo=1&legacy=1[/rtimage]But I’m glad they got a new actor to play Tommy Jarvis (he
was pathetic and irritating in A New Beginning).  As a character he still
doesn’t have much use, though. Besides resurrecting Jason in the beginning and
tying him to a rock at the end, he simply spends the movie in various states of

The only Friday to be written and directed by the
same person, showrunner Tom McLoughlin refuses to be comply with certain slasher
tropes (this is the only Friday movie with zero drugs or nudity) and
gives his movie the self-referential treatment, stopping short of Wes Craven
territory. One character balks incredulously that his car stalls in the face of
impending doom. Another states she’s seen enough horror movies to know hockey
mask-wearing dudes are probably bad news. And at one point, this crazy guy looks
into the camera and says, “Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment.”[rtimage]MapID=1007901&MapTypeID=2&photo=3&legacy=1[/rtimage]This is the first incarnation of Jason the super-zombie and McLoughlin does fashion some interesting character quirks. Whereas Jason usually
teleports from place to place, in Jason Lives we have a few eerie shots of Jason
traveling alone back to Crystal Lake. Here, he looks like Robert Frost
contemplating the woods on an overcast day:[rtimage]MapID=1007901&MapTypeID=2&photo=4&legacy=1[/rtimage]We’re also re-introduced to the contemplative Jason head tilt (last seen at the
end of Part 2 and The Final Chapter), which comes out whenever he
encounters something new, whether it be 80s butt rock:


Or, his new found strength:[rtimage]MapID=1007901&MapTypeID=2&photo=6&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Or, little girls:


There’s a childish curiosity that emanates from zombie
Jason, endearing in its own twisted way, that I think audiences really respond
to. That’s probably one of the reasons he endures, even if his movies aren’t
great: there’s just enough little imperfections in his backstory that opens the
character up to interpretation. He’s a maniac. He’s a zombie. He’s a mama’s boy.
He’s a stupid child, lashing out at the world, as he tries to find home again.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Vital Stats:

  • Body Count: 18.
  • Survivors: 2. Plus a bunch of little kids.
  • Number of
    stalled cars:
  • Average amount of time it takes for characters to get over a
    friend’s death:
    2 minutes
  • Number of Jason-approved weapons: 5. Alcohol bottle, spear,
    machete, knife, dart.

Memories of Crystal Lake:

  • Luke Y. Thompson of LYTrules:
    “Part six was the first one I saw, which is perhaps why I have more
    affection for ‘Zombie Jason’ as the definitive incarnation than ‘Deformed
    Jason.’ The Alice Cooper music video was my first exposure to the franchise,
    period; and the movie was the first sequel to really embrace the over-the-top
    nature of the story, with lightning bringing Jason back to life, and the classic
    “don’t come until the song ends” sex scene. The NECA action figures of this
    Jason are my favorite Jason toys, by a long shot.”
  • Steve Barton of Dread Central:
    “Paramount learned really quickly that you couldn’t have a Jason film without
    Jason so as a mea culpa to fans, they brought back the man behind the mask for
    real. Jason Lives plays like a rock and roll horror comic book with nods
    to some of the great Universal monster movies of Hollywood’s golden age (i.e.,
    raising Jason with electricity a la Frankenstein’s monster). Plus we have Arnold
    Horshack. They should have billed this movie as Jason vs. The Sweathog to
    attract the Seventies crowd, too!”

Tomorrow: the series gets a little freaky with

The New Blood

Schedule of Fridays: