Directed By: Tom McLoughlin
Starring: Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen
Tag line: "Evil Lives Forever"
Trivia: The first film in the series which did not place first at the United States box office during its opening weekend
Following the debacle that was Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, the Friday the 13th series returns to form with Part VI: Jason Lives, bringing two fan favorites back into the fold: Jason Voorhees, and Camp Crystal Lake.
Tommy Jarvis (Thom Matthews), still haunted by his run-in with Jason Voorhees (see The Final Chapter), drags his buddy Allen (Ron Palillo, aka Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter) to the cemetery where Jason is buried. To ensure he's really dead, the two dig up the grave, at which point Tommy, remembering the hell Jason put him through, grabs a metal post from a nearby fence and stabs Jason's rotted remains. Unfortunately, he does so in the middle of a thunderstorm! Sure enough, a bolt of lightning strikes the post stuck in Jason’s body, bringing the infamous serial killer back to life. Hoping to stop Jason before he kills again, Tommy heads to the local sheriff’s department to tell them what’s happened. Naturally, Sheriff Garris (David Kagen) doesn’t believe a word he says, and, to prevent a panic from breaking out, tells Tommy, in no uncertain terms, to leave town as quickly as possible. To make matters worse, Jason’s resurrection coincides with the re-opening of Camp Crystal Lake (now known as Camp Forest Green), which is set to play host to a gang of kids, arriving shortly for a weekend getaway. Because she thinks he’s cute, Megan (Jennifer Cooke), the sheriff’s daughter and one of the camp’s new counselors, agrees to help Tommy search for Jason, but how many will die before the notorious killer is found?
By the time Jason Lives hit the scene in 1986, the MPAA was cracking down on extreme gore, threatening to issue an “X” rating to any movie depicting graphic violence. As a result, the kills in Jason Lives aren’t nearly as explicit as they were in Parts 1 through 4, but that doesn’t make them any less effective. One scene in particular, where Jason meets up with camp counselor Cort (Tom Fridley) and his girlfriend Nikki (Darcy DeMoss), who moments earlier were having sex in an RV, features not one, but two of the movie’s best kills. In addition to the bloodletting, Jason Lives ups the ante by taking us back to where it all started: Camp Crystal Lake, which this time around is also populated by a few dozen young campers, none of whom realize the danger they’re in. The final portion of Jason Lives is set almost entirely at the summer camp, and the fact that Jason is running loose around a bunch of kids is enough to kick the tension up a notch.
Jason Lives does have its share of comedy, some of which is downright silly (the sequence where Jason encounters weekend warriors on a paintball excursion goes absolutely nowhere). But by re-introducing those elements that made Friday the 13th so popular in the first place, Jason Lives was, for the series’ die-hard fans, a sight for sore eyes.