Film Review of Friday the 13th. Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Updated: Nov 15, 2019


Image: IMDb

Underrated Classical Horror Film of 1980s


Dir. Tom McLoughlin as a comedy director actually added the humorous essence to this best Jason film. It includes dialogues and actions even in the most intensified scenes. No laziness and rough construction of all fields of filmmaking in the 6th. installation of the Friday the 13th. franchise series (1980-2009; created by Victor Miller). It's the first time let Jason became a ''undead'' serial killer. It is more persuasive than any other pseudo plot setting in this series as a fictional horror film.


It's quite slick in every fields and not depended on James Wan like jump scares and cheep hybrid of the past successful monsters. Unlike the original film (1980), this film is not about audiences waiting for the mysterious killer to appear at the end. The original film's structure is not twisted, it's straight forward that audiences seeing the serial murder of victims at Camp CrystalLake without a detective role. Waiting until it turns to the protagonist Alice (Adrienne King) to face the killer.





On the contrary, Friday the 13th. Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)'s story telling is more sophisticated than any other Jason films ever. It follows Classical Universal Monster movies and Hammer Horror Film traditions. It's very moody and creepy but it's also very beautifully created.


Act 1 is the protagonist Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) confronts Sheriff Mike Garris (David Kagen) who doubts Tommy's testimony of Jason's resurrection. How Tommy persuading the authority is the real drama in this part. Inciting Incident is not Jason's resurrection. It's this conflict between human beings. It adds action movie elements to this film as car chase, physical fight and gun shooting. Sheriff Mike Garris's role creates dramatical diversification and inner tensions.

It ends when Sheriff Mike Carris escorts him to the end of his jurisdiction.





Act2 is a massacre at Camp Forest Green. After Sheriff Mike Carris finds victims' dead bodies, he indicates Tommy as the suspect behind the serial murder. Tommy gets help from Sheriff Mike Garris's daughter Megan Garris (Jennifer Cooke) to stop Jason. Act 2 is about the uprising conflict and tension between Tommy and Sheriff Garris. This is the dramatic conflict of this film. Jason is emotionless, it is just a killing machine, a story device like zombies. Tommy's arrest after the failure to get back to Cristal Lake Camp is depicted through a car chase sequence.


The mid point is Tommy and Megan's escape from the jail by developing the ruse. This time with gasolines and a chain to drag Jason into the lake. Tommy's decision and preparation on how to get rid of Jason is the nature of the mid point. After that, tension among Jason, Sheriff Garris and Tommy, Megan only intensifies at Camp Forest Green.


Act 2 ends when all major characters arrive at the camp, Jason hears Megan's calling her dad, then Garris tries stopping Jason but gets killed brutally. The death of Garris and the highest danger of Megan mark the end of Act2.




ACT 3 is Tommy and Jason's direct confrontation in the lake. Trapping Jason as Tommy planned at the mid point. Megan is in grave danger, then Tommy calls him to after him instead of Megan. The ending is quite dialectical that it is not only a happy ending for both Tommy and Megan but also it is an open ending that Jason is still alive. It can say that a happy ending for both protagonists and antagonist.


The Scariest Scenes


The two scenes, murder of Sissy (Renée Jones) and Paula (Kerry Noonan) which perfectly follow the Christopher Lee's principle of horror filmmaking. Christopher Lee (1922-2015) refereed his favourite horror film Rosemary's Baby (1968) as a good example of creating a scary scene. It does not depend on splatter movie's gore expressions and digital era's jump scares, just an opened door, no CGIs, just an opened door which scarers audiences. Creating scary mood can not be done by showing monsters too easily and frequently.


Thus, Dir. Tom McLoughlin only shows us an opened window for Sissy's murder, and an opened door for Paula. When steadicam creeping toward the window from the back side of Sissy, it scares audiences.Paula's walking toward the opened door is also created in the same way. These long take shots are quite moody and effective for creating real horror scenes. It makes this film a classic.


This is not a slasher film. It is rather than a classical horror film made in 1980s. I recommend this film for all horror film fans and filmmakers who want to know what true horror film is.


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Image Source:

www.imdb.com


Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to the professional film writer Ryota Nakanishi as author and a link to www.ryotanakanishi.com is provided.



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