Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is truly when the franchise becomes what we know it to be today. It’s shockingly ahead of its time, with meta commentary on the franchise and slasher tropes long before movies like New Nightmare and Scream would make meta a common slasher element.
Here, we meet the first unevovically supernatural iteration of Jason. Through a wacky set of circumstances, our returning hero Tommy Jarvis accidently revives Jason Frankenstein’s experiment style. In the process of trying to ensure Jason’s really dead, Tommy gets angry, digs up his grave, and jams a metal rod through his heart that gets struck by lightning.
Meanwhile, we find that a group of camp counselors is once again trying to reopen the summer camp, only this time the children finally make it to the camp. This is the only movie in the franchise where we get to see the camp counselors actually counsel some campers.
Seeing the children raises the stakes when Jason decides to revisit his old stomping grounds, but he’s a big softy so he doesn’t actually go after the children.
Crystal Lake has gone to great lengths to distance itself from its murderous past. In this movie they’ve renamed the town Forest Green, and try in vain to ignore Tommy Jarvis’s warnings that Jason is alive.
This is more comedic than prior entries, including a spoof of a James Bond intro at the beginning, and finally two characters who see Jason and say, “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know masked weirdos are never friendly.”
Despite the clear streak of humor, there’s also a bit of pathos in this one. It has one of my favorite final girl twists, with the girl would totally peg as the final girl getting a particularly disturbing death. It doesn’t even happen on screen, but the aftermath speaks for itself.
This is a great sequel that is overdue for a reappraisal, and a great one to enjoy on a summer night with friends.