Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (Tom McLoughlin, 1986, USA)

Despite arriving only one year after the weak Friday the 13th Part VFriday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives breathed new life into the franchise. Tom McLoughlin does a great job resurrecting the Jason character after his essential absence from the prior film. Though the Tommy Jarvis storyline is somehow continued in this film (here he is played by yet a different actor), McLoughlin's film is far more polished than any of the prior entries into the franchise. The pacing and editing are top-notch. And while the prior films had humor, this film ups the humor element. Many of the jokes are quite funny - I'm thinking for example one of the kids at the camp reading Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit before going to sleep.

Jason here has become supernatural, and his character in Part VI is largely what his legacy has become. Jason is a brutal and unstoppable killing machine. While the storyline here is not original, and the Tommy Jarvis character is largely forgettable, the film generally does a good job of keeping the tension high. McLoughlin piles on the atmosphere, giving the film at times the feeling of a Universal horror movie from the 1930s. One can feel this in the film's opening scene at the graveyard, where Jason is resurrected by a strike of lightning. This very much resembles the opening of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

There are also lots of unique characters in the film - notably the couple at the beginning of the film, the hyper-aggressive paintball players, and the gravedigger. This variety in the characters lends to the film's overall entertaining quality. Unsurprisingly, the film was a success and ultimately led to the resurrection of the franchise once again. Later films would ultimately drop the Tommy Jarvis story, though keep the focus on Jason.



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