A Friday Full Of Fridays : Jason Lives - Friday the 13th Part VI

Welcome to a Friday Full Of Fridays! In celebration of Friday April 13th, 2012, here at DreadWorld we are going to take a look at each film from the franchises initial run (meaning we are going to ignore Freddy v. Jason and the Remake). I'll be posting a short review, a reviewette if you will, every hour on this momentous day. The posts will be in reverse order of awesomeness, meaning we will be counting backwards from, what I believe to be the worst film in the series, to the film I believe to be the best. Welcome and enjoy the ride!

Number One!

Jason Lives - Friday the 13 Part VI

We've finally reached to top of the mountain, the tip of the iceberg, the pinnacle if you will when it comes to the Friday the 13th Films. After the excellent Friday the 13th part IV, which set up Tommy Jarvis as Jason torch bearer or rival. We were subjected to the worst film in the franchise, Part V in which Tommy is present, although a mute wimp, but no Jason. Instead Roy the ambulance driver hacks his way through an entire mental asylum and anyone else who gets in his way. So how would part six turn out after part five left such a bad taste in everyone's mouths? Two Words - Totally awesome.

Part Six essentially ignores Part V as a whole, except for some small mentions of Tommy being in an institution. Tommy and his friend Allen (Ron Pallilo "Horshack - Welcome Back Kotter") dig up Jason just to make sure he's dead. Which he is. Tommy just to blow off some steam stabs Jason with an iron fence post. Of course the post gets struck by lightning and we have the birth of the most famous Jason - Zombie Jason. From this point on in the series there are no illusions that Jason was a human or could be killed through normal means.

Jason kills Horshack (yes, I just typed that) and Tommy runs off to tell the authorities about what he did and that Jason is alive. Needless to say, the authorities are not buying into Tommys story. Locked up by the sheriff Tommy aquaints himself with the sheriffs daughter, Megan much to the chagrin of Sheriff Garris. Meanwhile Jason begins slaughtering his way back to Crystal Lake, or Forest Green as it's now known. Tommy escapes jail, hooks up with Megan and eventually has his final battle with Jason, sinking him to the bottom of Crystal Lake where he will sit forever, or until a girl with telepathic abilities levitates him out, or a passing cruise ships anchor hooks him and drags him back to the surface.

It's pretty standard fare as far as killing and body count go here, but it's everything else that make this film the best in the series. Writer/Director Tom Mcloughlin infused Jason Lives with a sense of humor that hadn't been seen anywhere in any of the of the other films. Sure, characters had bee funny and there had been funny moments (Crispin Glovers dance in Part IV is laugh out loud hilarious) but the overall tone of part VI is a lot lighter than any of its predecessors. There is a sense of self referential humor, the type "Scream" would perfect and would dominate later half of the 90's that is present through the film. Essentially this film is 10 years ahead of it's time. McLoughlin understands that by Part VI in a series it's o.k. to poke a little fun at yourself.

The other main reason Jason Lives succeeds is the downright awesome Thom Mathews. Recognizable form his other great performances in The Return of the Living Dead series, Mathews is perfect as mid-twenties Tommy Jarvis. There is something about Mathews in this role and his other roles that makes him perfect for these types of characters. There is sort of an aw shucks about him that is unmistakable. It's exactly what a film of this sensibility needs, someone who can argue and fight back but not come off as a whiny "emo" pansy.

Throw in and awesome soundtrack courtesy of Alice Cooper, solid performances by the rest of the cast, and copious amounts of blood (when the Sheriff walks into Sissys cabin - that place is coated in the red stuff) and you have all the ingredients needed for the best film in the franchise. It's a shame they would change the vibe for the next film because this film really blew new life into a franchise that was, until this film hit, on life support.

There you go. A full day of Fridays. Thoughts? Ideas? Let me hear 'em....
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