Sunday, October 16, 2005

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

(1986) ***1/2

This has long been my favorite of the series, but I think it just got bumped by number four. Final Chapter has a more vicious underpinning to it, and while Jason Lives delivers in a number of special ways, I found the "wink to the audience" sense of humor got in the way of what could have been an enjoyably dark tone.

Jason enters a new encouraging phase here, as he is now a murderous resurrected corpse. His head behind the hockey mask is a satisfying, cadaverous grey. He's even stronger now, and bullets don't slow him down. We're back in, as Summerisle put it, the meat of the Friday the 13th series. The killings here are creative and brutal, and they manage to whip up some good new victims. My favorite group is the Executives Playing Paintball, with their adorable "dead" headbands. This is also the first movie in the series to feature a car crash, giving us the primal image of Jason standing triumphant on top of a flaming RV. Go get 'em, lad.

The skeptical sheriff brings a whole new energy to his role, refusing to acknowledge Jason's presence until he finally lands face-first in a deputy's body. It's kind of amazing to watch: he rides Tommy out of town because he's stirring things up with his dire warnings, and is then convinced that Tommy killed to make the warnings true (which doesn't reflect too well on your decision to kick him out, does it sheriff?). Any coroner worth his diploma would point out that the first deaths Tommy is blamed for happened when he was in jail, but no. Even when the sheriff mentions the camp's phones are out, Tommy screams "doesn't that tell you something?" "Yeah, they should've paid their bill!" Bravo, officer, bravo!

This is the first Friday the 13th flick to be completely devoid of nudity, and features one of the most unsexy sex scenes I've ever seen. Nevertheless, I consider this one of the good ones.


JPX said...

I like this installment a lot. If you've never seen a Friday the 13th before, and I'm talking to you Jordan, this is a good place to start. It really captures the essence of this silly franchise. Also, it has that great Alice Cooper song, "He's back" during the end credits.

Octopunk said...

That song is great! "You're deep in love, but you're deeper in the woods." Love it.