Friday The 13th At The Home Drive-In: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Poster for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) by #TomMcLoughlin w/ #ThomMathews #JenniferCookeJenniferCooke

While Jason returns to Crystal Lake for another killing spree, Tommy must overcome his fear of the masked killer that has haunted him for years, and find a way to stop him.

Kill Or Be Killed

#Horror #Slasher #Jason #FridayThe13th

As I may have mentioned a while back, I was annoyed when Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) came out. I had thought that Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) had been a fitting ending for the series, as I may have mentioned in another previous blog post.

And then when A New Beginning began with a couple of assholes digging up Jason Voorhees’ grave, and he was lying inside, looking fairly intact, I started to get angry. He had been chopped up into a million pieces at the end of Part 4, hadn’t he?

When Jason woke up and started killing the two assholes, I completely lost it.

I know, I’ve said all of this before. The punchline of that story was – and is – that it turned out to be a dream. Jason was not fully intact inside his grave, and he did not sit up and start killing people. So, I was greatly relieved.

But guess what happens at the beginning of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)… It’s practically the same thing all over again – only this time it’s no dream. Jason IS in one piece inside of his grave, and he DOES sit up and start killing people again.

It’s no secret that most fans HATED A New Beginning, and I was no different (although over the years I have come to love it). It only stands to reason that the powers that be must have insisted on bringing Jason back to life so they could appease the fans and keep cashing in on sequel after sequel.

I must have been one of the only fans who did not like this idea. I was pleased that they had made the bold move of killing Jason off at the end of Part 4 and, although I hated it at first, I respected the fact that they had tried to do something new with A New Beginning. I did not want them to bring Jason back to life.

As such, I refused to watch Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives for the longest time. Finally, I stumbled onto it late one night on Pay TV. It was probably about halfway through, so I didn’t know for sure what I was seeing at first. I found myself pleasantly surprised by how entertaining a couple of the moments were, but I was still holding onto the idea that I didn’t want this movie to exist, so I ultimately changed the channel and ignored it.

Years later, I finally sat down to watch it from the beginning. And you know what? I found it to be one the most entertaining films in the series. It had a sense of humour. It was almost poking fun at itself at times. In some ways, it was one of the earliest precursors to Scream (1996) and the other post-modern slashers.

Okay, that might be overstating it a little – but it was a surprisingly funny movie. And it was precisely that sense of humour; that atmosphere of not taking itself too seriously, that made it okay to resurrect Jason with a bolt of lightning like he was Frankenstein’s monster. The teenage me might have hated it, but thirty-something me enjoyed the hell out of it.

I’ve watched it several times since then, and it’s become one of my favourite Friday the 13th movies. Thom Matthews as a grown up Tommy (and a much more sane one than the Tommy in A New Beginning) is extremely likeable. His relationship with Jennifer Cooke’s Megan feels like a throwback to 1940s screwball comedies, and helps to give the movie some heart. I’d like to have seen even more onscreen action involving the two, but I guess I’ll settle for what’s there.

Director Tom McLoughlin is to be commended for breathing new life (literally) into a nearly dead series. He is also the guy who made One Dark Night (1982), so that makes him pretty cool to any fan of cult horror cinema (or at least it should in my opinion). 

It probably goes without saying that Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) is a perfect movie for any  #FridayThe13thAtTheHomeDriveIn. It’s easily one of the greatest fifth sequels – or sixth parts in a movie series – in the entire history of endless horror sequels and unapologetic #NotQuiteClassicCinema.