Get away if you can
Just keep on running
Run as fast as you can
He's a dangerous, strangerous man
- Alice Cooper
Okay, I feel like knocking these out of the park and I'm on a roll, so here I am continuing the F13 marathon review with Part 6: Jason Lives. Jason lives . HA! Like there was ever any doubt. Anyways, you really don't see much love or hate for this film and the reason why is there's really nothing wrong with it, but it's not that great either. It's just a Jason movie. And that's all it's really trying to be.
The movie begins with Tommy Jarvis (now played by Thom Mathews) and Horshack (RIP Horshack!) inexplicably deciding to dig up Jason to get some closure. Or something. Of course, it all goes terribly wrong, lightning strikes the body of Jason, and he comes to life. Horshack dies, Tommy escapes and then we cut to a new group of camp counselors awaiting their inevitable doom, including the sweet and pretty Paula, the nice girl Sissy, slutty boy Cort and the Sheriff's rebellious 30 year-old teenage daughter Megan who sees Tommy in jail and decides he looks doable enough to rescue.
Now which of these characters is "final" material? I bet you're guessing the wrong ones....
This one isn't really the most memorable of all the F13's but it's not that bad either. Director Tom McLoughlin at least tries to inject some humor into the series. One of the kids (yes there are actually kids in the camp!) has a copy of Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit on his chest as he quietly sleeps. A caretaker looks at the audience at one point and sneers "Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment." And one little kid asks another after seeing Jason, "So what DID you want to be when you grew up?" It's not all guffaw worthy but it helps the movie along and adds a little fun along the way.
So what makes it kind of forgettable? Well, if you thought Tommy was bland in the last installment, get a load of Thom. Now I loved the actor in Return of the Living Dead but here he's just lost as he mumbles, stumbles and bores. You know the character just isn't working when Corey Feldman was the better actor of all the three that played him. And then there's the "final" girl Megan. Ask any F13 fan and they will tell you, the wrong girl lived. All the character does is "tee hee" and show how "naughty" she is, giggling, screaming and flirting with Tommy. In fact, even after learning people are dead, the actress just squeals and giggles some more. You really just wanna slap the crap out of her and tell her to listen to her Sheriff father, who I guess is supposed to be a dick, but is actually quite reasonable.
The final girl should have been Paula, a pretty, nice sweet counselor (and a much more believable actress) who sadly gets the most BRUTAL death in all the F13 movies. What makes it so brutal you ask? Well for one, everyone loved her character and didn't want to see her die. But also it's one of those deaths where what you imagine is far worse than what is shown. We HEAR Jason brutalizing her in a cabin, we see her body flung through a window and then Jason viciously pulling her back for more. When we see the aftermath, the cabin all covered in gore and blood, we can only imagine what happened. And it's bad.
The death scenes are pretty good, some of the characters work (like Paula and the Sheriff), some don't (Megan and Tommy) and some are just there to be killed. Jason looks pretty good this time around and we see a lot of him, unlike the previous two entries where he doesn't appear until the end. And C.J. Graham does a good job of making Jason look and act scary.
So what we have here is a typical Friday the 13th movie. It ain't the greatest, it's not trying to be, but it's far from the worst. And perhaps, that's for the best.
Favorite Moments (may contain spoilers):
- Jason's worm-ridden body coming to life with a lightning bolt because...well, why not?
- The little girl waking up at the cabin and talking about the "scary monster" she saw. Spoiler: The monster was real. : )
- Poor Paula and the most brutal death scene we never see.
- The Alice Cooper song "Man Behind the Mask" over the end credits which I loved as a teenager and had to download immediately after seeing this movie again. Memories.
- Jason's underwater "death" scene was shot in the swimming pool of Tom McLoughlin's parents.
- The role of Tommy Jarvis was given to Thom Mathews after John Shepherd from Part 5 turned it down.
- C.J. Graham got a last-minute call to play Jason on a Saturday and started filming the following Monday when the original stuntman wasn't deemed scary enough.
- Even though there is a "sex" scene, this is the only Friday the 13th that contained no nudity whatsoever.
Agree? Disagree? Or just have a random string of curse words you'd like to share? Comment!