The last time viewers saw Jason Voorhees, he was dead and buried in the ground. Tommy Jarvis went to a halfway house to emotionally recover and everyone moved on. Only one year later, the studio released Friday the 13th: Part 6: Jason Lives. As the title suggests, Jason is far from dead. Moving in a different direction than what the studio initially planned, this film features Tommy (recast and no longer “becoming Jason”) on a warpath, trying to cremate Jason and destroy him for good. When this original plan falls through, Tommy realizes he needs to return Jason to his “home” - the bottom of Crystal Lake - to get rid of him forever. As per usual, things don’t go as planned, and Jason is given another shot to wreak havoc on Camp Crystal Lake. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and it was a nice rebound from part five, which wasn’t too great. This film tweaks the story a bit, but sticks to what it’s good at. And despite a far-fetched resurrection of its villain, this film should appeal to fans of the campy horror genre.
Part six is the first Friday the 13th film to feature actual children at Camp Crystal Lake and it’s the first film since part two featuring counselors. It was incredibly refreshing to have the camp counselors back. After all, campy horror, by definition, originated with the campground. Jason does his best work with the Camp Crystal Lake background, and adding children to the mix upped the ante. As I’ve said in other reviews, children more often than not contribute to the fear. In this film, when the kids are frightened and scared of Jason, the audience feels that fear. It’s much easier to believe something bad is about to happen when a child is worried it will.
The studio finally managed to make Tommy an interesting character, something the audience hadn’t seen since he was a kid in part four. Tommy becomes a Dr. Loomis (see Halloween franchise), spending the entire film telling anyone who’ll listen that Jason is alive and will kill anyone in his path. His relationship with the sheriff's daughter is also entertaining. Megan is feisty and rebellious and her interest in Tommy and his quest is fun to watch. Tommy and Megan are also instrumental in Jason’s demise, and the film uses a new and creative way to orchestrate this. This film also mixes in new death sequences, which is hard to do because it feels like Jason’s killed people in every way possible. Fear not, you haven’t lived until you see Jason rip a heart out or throw a dart at someone’s skull.
The only thing this film suffered from was its far-fetched resurrection of Jason at the beginning. Having painted themselves into a corner by having Tommy hack Jason to death and bury him, the studio had to come up with a way to bring him back. And while I’m aware these films are far from realistic, the start of this one felt a bit far-fetched, even for Jason. The scene required fancy graphics, which are always a struggle in 80s horror films, and are anything but scary.
After a bit of a silly start, Jason gets his footing and comes back with a vengeance in Friday the 13th: Part 6: Jason Lives. Fans of campy horror will love the return of the Camp Crystal Lake counselors and kids. For those who’ve been sticking with Jason since the beginning, this film manages to put a new and fresh spin on his antics.
If you liked Friday the 13th Part 6, you might also like Friday the 13th Part 7, Friday the 13th Part 8 and Jason Goes to Hell.