Tagline: Nothing this evil ever dies.
Director: Tom McLoughlin
Writer: Tom McLoughlin
Starring: C.J. Graham, Thom Matthews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Kerry Noonan, Renée Jones, Tom Fridley, Darcy DeMoss, Vincent Guastaferro, Tony Goldwyn, Nancy McLoughlin, Ron Palillo, Alan Blumenfeld, Matthew Faison, Ann Ryerson, Whitney Rydbeck, Courtney Vickery, Bob Larkin
18 | 86 min | Horror
Budget: $3,000,000 (estimated)
The last time we saw Jason Voorhees his head was sliding along the edge of a machete.
That particular instalment was advertised as The Final Chapter, and although Part V stayed true to the studio’s promise by introducing a copycat killer, you never really believed it was the end for the madman in the hockey mask. There was simply too much money at stake.
Friday VI is a tongue-in-cheek experience which throws the logic rule book down a bottomless well. Here Jason has been transformed from your everyday homicidal maniac into an omnipotent supernatural force who simply cannot be stopped. It is because of this that the film is something of a landmark for the series, a turning point which takes an ironic, self-referential approach that would become the hallmark of later sequels.
Not satisfied that Jason has been dead and buried for years, Tommy Jarvis (Matthews) persuades a friend to accompany him to the killer’s resting place, where he plans to dig him up and make sure he stays dead by setting him alight with a can of gasoline. Upon seeing his nemesis his carefully laid plan succumbs to a frenzy of stabbing however, and in an incredible bout of misfortune lightning strikes the impaling spike and resuscitates the long-dormant psycho. In another stroke of luck for our maggot-infested killer, Tommy also decided to bring along Jason’s hockey mask, and without detracting from the marketability of the franchise our irrepressible monster is back from the dead and fitter than ever.
With his friend taking Jason’s place in the coffin, Tommy flees the scene and immediately tries to warn the sheriff of the notorious killer’s impending return, but unwilling to learn anything from his ill-fated predecessors the local lawman slings the ex-mental patient straight in the slammer. Folk in Forest Green – formerly Crystal Lake – are trying to put the stigma of four consecutive massacres behind them, and believe that the best way to do so is to bury the truth. Having never heard of a library or a television or any of the other multiple outlets that are likely to recall the murderous misdeeds of the world’s most relentless serial killer, the kids are happy to accept that stories of Jason are mere legend, and the inevitability of their fate is spelled out in blood and guts.
Meanwhile, Jason indulges in his first ironic murder spree to date, ripping off arms and painting smiley faces with his victims’ splattered kissers, while one unlucky customer is stuck in the crotch with a spear and pole-vaulted ten feet into the air. If you would care for an analogy of how Jason Lives! differs from previous instalments, a no-nonsense Sean Connery has here been replaced by a safari suit wearing Roger Moore, Jason’s innuendos a physical manifestation of Bond’s eyebrow raising quips. In one particular scene Jason pulls the power cord to a generator, stopping a couple of teeny boppers mid-coitus, and after the lights go out the horny girl becomes upset when her beau’s sexual spark promptly follows suite.
Inevitably, Deputy Rick (Guastaferro) soon stumbles upon a heap of mutilated councillors, and the cops point the finger straight at screwy old Tommy Jarvis. The only person who believes Tommy’s innocence is the sheriff’s daughter Megan, who in an incredible leap of blind faith offers to help the stranger, busting him out of prison at the expense of our gullible Deputy. Meanwhile, the sheriff comes face-to-face with Jason, who mocks the horror staple of ‘one last scare’ by eating a barrage of bullets with absolute indifference, and in the end it is down to Tommy and his new squeeze to lure Jason to Camp Crystal Lake for one final showdown.
Well, until the next time.
After helping to awaken Jason’s sleeping corpse, Tommy’s former nuthouse roomie Allen (Palillo) has his still beating heart pulled out of his chest by a fuming Jason. Thanks for that one, Tommy!
Most Absurd Moment
After returning from beyond the grave and reclaiming his iconic mask, Jason faces the camera for a close up. In a hokey nod to the famous James Bond opening, a miniature Jason strolls into the frame, slashing at the screen with a giant machete as blood spells out the movie’s title.
Most Absurd Dialogue
After dismissing Tommy’s claims of a returning Jason in every way imaginable, the Sheriff tries to call the camp’s councillors, only to find that the telephone line is as dead as his latest batch of victims. Instead of contemplating the fact that the kid may be telling the truth after all, he decides to take his ignorance to a whole new level.
Tommy: ‘The phones are dead. Doesn’t that tell you something?’
Sheriff Garris: ‘Yeah! They should have paid their bill!’
This is meta-humour at its most gruesome, a bloody comic caper which never takes itself seriously enough to provide any scares – and that is exactly the point. After the backlash which followed the notoriously brutal Slasher flicks of the early 80s, the genre would need something of a makeover if it was expected to survive the decade, and with their newly invincible anti-hero the studio had found just the right recipe to keep the lolly rolling in.