I know a lot of Friday the 13th fans especially like part 6, but it’s how we got to this point which reveals some key aspects. First, let’s backtrack a little a bit, (no I’m not going to a full timeline) I believe we can all agree The Final Chapter (part 4) was the preverbal end to the animalistic-human side of Jason. However, when Paramount Pictures studio saw the box office returns, and the fans demand wanted to continue and had their Halloween III  moment, we horror fans, know that movie had no Michael Myers, which was a letdown for viewers. It was originally intended for both the producers and studio to crank out a Halloween movie each year to tell of a scary thing happening each time on that holiday; but with poor box office returns and fans dissatisfaction ended that experiment. Hence, back to Paramount, and Friday the 13th, Part V: A New Beginning  which basically inserted a random storyline of teens, a few cool kill scenes and an imposter conjuring the old Voorhees legend. It basically forgot to listen to a warning once mentioned – ‘Reopening Camp Crystal Lake, no good can come from this…’ Anyhow, we come to Friday the 13th, Part 6: Jason Lives , and the first issue is how to resurrect him, simply by reaching back to the classic horror era, namely Frankenstein  and the usage of electricity, but this seems to raise a disagreement with some seriously enthusiastic fans of the franchise of how to categorize him. Some consider him a zombie, well that’s not exactly correct, there’re 3 types of this species, in grouping one is voodoo zombies i.e., White Zombie  and The Plague of the Zombies , then zombies rising from the dead to devour the living and lastly biochemically enhance 28 Days Later . Jason is undead, was peacefully rotting in his grave, a well-timed bolt of lightning and a resurrection and later on achieve supernatural qualities in other sequels.
Director Tom McLoughlin (One Dark Night ), who also served as a writer knew he had some aspects working against and had to deliver a quality film for the fans of franchise, especially for Jason; hence he ignored many of the previous plot threads of the previous movie, incorporated clichés, and subtle references to horror films/characters. While some of the more youthful fans might consider the film past its prime, comical in some portions, though it’s not all cheesy, and once again, remember it wasn’t made in 2021, rather 35-years earlier, so the industry and viewers were all of a different mindset; hence with a budget of $3 million it garnished $19.4 million. McLoughlin delivered a solid slasher in rebirth with slick style, memorable scenes, and confidently giving Jason serious swagger-dominance. In an original version of the screenplay there was reference to Jason’s father however it was obviously deleted this still remains a mystery for the fans.
It’s very unlikely that one doesn’t know either storyline or plot of the film, however, lets touch on the overall aspects, while noting I’m not going to nitpick any of the potholes or continuity issues for the most part, the movie exists as sheer entertainment, just turn to the analytic mind. We have Tommy (Thom Mathews (The Return of the Living Dead )) who has overcome a majority of his mental issues from the previous movie and visits Eternal Peace Cemetery to find the mad slashers grave, along with his unhappy friend Allen (Ron Palillo (Hellgate )). It’s Tommy’s reasoning that Jason is still alive merely dormant, and burning him, it shall send him to hell, this echoes the theology basis that often overlooks that essence which holds the belief that a soul goes to hell or heaven, not the body. However, things don’t go according to his plan, do they ever, upon digging up the corpse and revealing his maggot ridden body his madness causes him to grab the infamous iron fence post, to thrust it repeatedly with anger losing his mama. A convenient and freakish bolt of lightning zaps into the pole and we have our Frankenstein monster moment. Soon enough, a rainstorm occurs and Jason gives Allen his version of a chest-bursting Alien  scene and gets to the heart of the matter quickly then dons his legendary hockey mask. Tommy’s first meeting with the local sheriff Michael Garris (David Kagen) doesn’t go well, especially when trying to grab a shotgun on the wall – what the hell was he thinking? Also, it’s a really nice office for police station, marble on the walls, that’s a hefty budget for them. It’s a funny sequence with Tommy trying to explain his grave digging excursion and how Jason is back, but the officer doesn’t believe him and throws him into the cell.
Meanwhile, Jason makes beeline, trekking through woods for his summer camp, now known as Forest Green, when we have a great encounter between him and two lost camp supervisors Darren (Tony Goldwyn) and Lizbeth (Nancy McLoughlin). Lizbeth notes she’s seen enough horror movies the weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly, and later comments on how Jason will kill Darren as he tries to confront him. Here’s a nod to Halloween  where Michael reflected on a kill in the kitchen by titling his head, Jason does the similar aspect his self-realization of who and what he does.
By the next morning Camp Forest Green’s inept and inexperienced counselors arrive at the police station, Megan (Jennifer Cooke) the sheriff’s daughter wanted to report missing supervisors, accompanying her is Paula, Sissy and Cort; but dear Dad hurries them out as it’s time to escort Tommy out of town. Also get some foreshadowing of romance between Megan and Tommy which as we know, we should root for them versus Jason (but you can decide). However, Tommy races to the cemetery to try to prove he’s not a mental wacko, but unfortunately for him things still don’t go his way, besides having a run-in with idiot deputy, Rick (Vincent Guastaferro (Shocker )) we see what the groundskeeper Martin (Bob Larkin) did to cover the body, his drinking problem and not taking responsibility. Tommy gets a personal escort to the interstate – what will he do next? The body count continues upward as Jason meets a group business folks having team building paintball first encounter Burt who’s in rage and uttering sexist comments, we have another scene of self-realization from Jason as tears off Burt’s arm and retrieves his machete. The look is priceless, as to say ‘huh, I couldn’t do that before.’ He suddenly kills three more people from the group, Stan, Katie, Larry in a triple decapitation, before hunting down Roy the final team player. Oh, there’s that fun bloody smiling face from Burt left on a tree.
Once more the script focuses on the counselors a bit, but the true intention is on Jason, as that night he eliminates Martin with one of his broken whiskey bottles, and then impales two lovers at once; these 3 individuals were killed nearly at the same time. Then while the children are asleep, Cort (Tom Fridley (Summer Camp Nightmare )) hooks up with a local gal Nikki (Darcy DeMoss (Return to Horror High )) in her stepfather’s RV, while they are engaging with each other, there’s no nudity, and the song “Animal” by Felony plays in the background. When Jason walks upon the scene he again makes the head tilt, and it appears more inquisitive.
There’s another terrific and iconic scene as after the RV crashes (and a dangerous stunt, but one chance to pull it off) we see Jason standing on top of RV as lays on its side burning, his dominance on full display and no hesitation, as knowing he’s immortal.
As the night continues the murdered and dismembered bodies of the victims so far start showing up, and Deputy Rick reminds the Sherriff its Friday the 13th, as they both agree it’s Tommy behind the killing, I mean seriously would you believe an undead killer doing all of this. However, Tommy’s been researching rituals of how to stop the evil force in Jason, by purchasing some books on strange topics, decides to phone the police station – who knows why, but amazingly reaches Megan, and tells he’s at the Karloff store. Great reference! A car chase and sexual suggested scene, breaks up the killing, now some critics and fans think that Jason (C.J. Graham (Vengeance )) sneaks into the camp, he does no such thing, walks sternly into the camp, his domain, he’s a stealthily killer. A point of discontent most believe that the reason Jason doesn’t harm the children is because of his remembrance as a child and how he died; interesting inspecting, but then why does he tried kill Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) from Part IV, he was a child too and he bursts through the cabin door just to scare the children or was another intention. Aside, from that Jason kills Sissy (Renee Jones (The Terror Within II )), yanking her from an open window and twisting her head often, once more pausing for moment as if trying to understand his increase strength. The slaughtered of Paula (Kerry Noonan (Nightmare on the 13th Floor )), majority occurs off-screen and has always been a wonderment of how the death actually occurs as it’s the ultimate ‘paint-it-red’ room, not in the style of A Nightmare on Elm Street  Glenn’s death, but still worthy. In nearing the end of the film, three officers arrive including the Sherriff, he learns quickly that Jason is really back, and quite energetic about his slaughterfest, none stand a chance, Megan’s Dad does bend over backwards in trying to protect her. Needless to say, Tommy succeeds aided by Megan and in confining the evil until Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood .
The movie perhaps has one of the coolest openings which occurs right after Jason dons his mask, and the camera zooms in on Jason’s eye, with him appearing just like James Bond’s iconic gun barrel, a swift turn to the camera but uses his machete to slash to pour out blood. This film was one of the last to feature straight unrelenting killing, in multiple manners, a majority other sequels would include unnecessary adventures in ability to body jump (transfers) in Jason Goes to Hell  or Outer Space i.e., Jason X .
Some critics find displeasure that three different individuals played the character Tommy Jarvis, unsure what’s the significance of this, they portray the character in different ages and while they are not similar multiple actors have played Jason; for example, in this movie stuntman Dan Bradley portrayed the character Jason for a little while, but he looks a tad too bulky for the role and was replaced by Graham. One important aspect concerning Graham’s portrayal of the lead character, his past experience namely military service, clearly presents itself on the screen, in the mannerism of his walk, and his exactness in understanding instructions work incredibly well, for example when he uses the iron post as a spear at Lizbeth in the car, his aim is a tracking shot after his target and not one specific location; which should have been the driver’s seat headrest. In addition, some might not be aware that this movie heavily inspired screenwriter Kevin Williamson (Scream ), do to all its film references to other horror films, as well as character and name recognition. For example, at one point Megan refers to Cunningham Road, clearly a nod to Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th ), and previously mentioned a grocery store called Karloff’s, alluding to the famed actor, Boris Karloff. While Sheriff Garris makes mention of a nearby town called Carpenter, everyone can guess that one. The film is so far the only one in the series not to have obligatory T&A moment and contains some better well-defined characters namely the dynamics between the father and daughter Garris’ which plays-out as subplot.
McLoughlin delivers a massacre-like film with a total 18-deaths, with some humor amongst the cast but none of it directed at Jason, delivered a strong showing for the fans, complete with a sound score from Harry Manfredini, also music from Alice Cooper, his song ‘Teenage Frankenstein’ played as Cort drove the RV and then the theme song for the Motion Picture ‘He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) . The storyline made to incorporate two primary targets during the film Jason and his lengthy list of victims, while trying not to offend the MPAA too much (they severely cut-down the triple beheading), some complain that its not dark enough and lacks scares, sorry after all it’s part six in the franchise both of those long since passed, the core audience you enjoyed these slasher creations and lovers of the merchandise are more content with the spree killing and reinstatement to sheer enjoyment these films brought with them. Therefore, it’s fun to return to a simpler time and watch one of mainstays in the horror genre, one can wonder when another chapter may arrive.
- Evil Lives Forever (Deluxe Edition DVD)
- If you think it’s hard to keep a good man down…Try keeping down a BAD one.
- Kill or be killed!
- Nothing this evil ever dies.
- Evil always rises again.
- The Nightmare Returns. This Summer.
IMDb Rating: 6.0/10
Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10
Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Jason X (2001)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)