This week's slasher flick is one of my favorites...it was only the second or third R-rated film I had seen in theatres(the first two were Fright Night and Revenge of the Nerds, both of which would probably get a PG-13 these days), and I had just read the novelization of the film, so I was psyched to see it onscreen. Sadly, my favorite segments of the book were nowhere to be seen(a prologue and an epilogue introducing a new Voorhees psychopath, Jason's father, Elias), but the film itself was a pretty fun adventure-y slasher. There was lots of humor, some familiar faces, and another cute Final Girl. Anyway, let's start watching, and remember, SPOILERS are all over the place...so watch where you step!
The movie opens with a now-adult Tommy Jarvis travelling with his buddy Hawes. Hawes is played by Ron Palillo(Horshack from "Welcome Back, Kotter") and Tommy this time around is played by Thom Mathews(an actor from a few '80's horror flicks, including the first 2 Return of the Living Dead movies....a fun, likable guy). They both basically grew up in a mental hospital together, where Tommy has been since leaving the halfway house in Part 5. This movie largely ignores the last sequel, so Jason hasn't been cremated, and Tommy hasn't been possessed. Still with me?
Okay, so they arrive at the cemetery and quickly locate Jason's grave. They dig him up, which Hawes hesitates to do, and discover that Jason's body is covered in maggots, cobwebs and mold. Tommy has a brief flashback to when he used to look and sound like Corey Feldman, and tosses a hockey mask down into the grave. Then, in a fit of rage, he pries a spike off of the fence surrounding the grave and stabs the corpse with it several times. Tommy drives the stake through the corpse one last time, and walks away to grab a can of gasoline, so that he can reduce the body to ashes.
In a scene out of Frankenstein, a few bolts of lightning hit the spear, and the electricity re-awakens Jason. Tommy doesn't realize what has happened, so he dons a pair of insulated gloves and removes the metal pole from Jason's midsection. Before he can douse the body with gasoline and get a match lit, Jason tries to pull Tommy into the grave with him.
Luckily, Tommy manages to kick until his leg is free from the killer's grasp, and he makes a dash for the gasoline, while Hawes is screaming off to the side. When Tommy tries to light Jason on fire, the match sputters out due to the storm that just brought Jason to life, so Hawes tries to help out. He swings the shovel at the back of Jason's head, and Jason slams his hand through the man's torso, and throws his disemboweled body into the empty coffin, which slams shut. Bye, Horshack.
Tommy runs to the truck and drives away as fast as he can, while Jason retrieves the mask and puts it on. Then, as we get an extreme closeup of his eye, the film-makers do a James Bond spoof, and have Jason step into the center of the screen, turn to face the camera, and throw a machete. Pretty funny. Then the blood that covers the screen shows the titles and the credits start up. Besides Thom Matthews and Horshack, the opening credits don't display any real "famous" co-stars, but there are a few recognizable faces as the movie goes on. Besides Ron Palillo, there's a minor character played by Tony Goldwyn, a guy best-remembered(in his acting, at least) as the villain in Ghost.
Anyway, Tommy doesn't stop until he gets to the Forest Green Sheriff's Department. Okay, see, the location is still Crystal Lake, but the townsfolk voted to change the town's name because of all of the negative attention Jason has brought to their community. So Tommy goes running in to report that Jason's alive again, and Sheriff Garris arrests him, assuming that Tommy is a kook.
At this point, the action shifts to a married couple, Darren and Lisbeth. The husband(played by Tony Goldwyn) is arguing with the wife about how lost they are. She's driving, and he's got a map spread out on his lap. Oh, and they mention that they're the new head counselors of the summer camp in Crystal La--uh, I mean, FOREST GREEN.
Lisbeth suddenly slams on the brakes, and points out to her husband that Jason is blocking their car, still holding his "spear". She starts driving in reverse, but gets the car stuck in some mud. This leads Darren to suggest speeding forward, in the hopes that Jason will dodge out of the way, and they can continue to the camp.
Nope. Jason stays rooted to his spot, so Darren honks the horn at him out of frustration. To silence the horn, Jason plunges his weapon through the car's front end. Instead of listening to his wife and getting away in reverse, Darren grabs a teeny-weeny pistol out of the glove compartment and gets out of the car. The gun looks like it MIGHT swat flies, but not much else. As Darren tries to line up a shot, Jason smashes one of the car's headlights, then sticks Darren with the spear, before flinging his corpse through the air.
Lisbeth screams, and Jason tries to finish her off by shoving the spear through her side of the windshield. Lucky for her, Lisbeth manages to duck, and crawls out of the car on the passenger side. She sees Jason towering over her, and tearfully(and hilariously) asks him to give her a minute, which he inexplicably does. She grabs some money out of her purse, but he's gone when she looks up again. Lisbeth looks around in amazement, and that's when Jason leaps behind her and plants the spear in her head. The scene ends with a closeup of an American Express card, which seems kind of like counter-intuitive marketing, if you think about it.
Back at the jail, Tommy wakes up just in time to meet the sheriff's daughter, Megan, and her friends. Megan finds him cute, and that just pisses of Sheriff Garris even more. After the kids leave, Garris tells Tommy that he and the deputy will escort him to the edge of town, on the condition that he not try to come back.
In the next scene, we meet the cemetery caretaker Martin, a grizzled old man who looks like he was born to star in Westerns and cackle about gold mines and use phrases like "Darn, tootin'!" way too much. He finds Jason's grave dug up, and mistakenly thinks that Hawes' leg is Jason's. As he's grumbling about being a high school graduate(???), Martin looks right at the camera and complains that some people have a strange idea about what's entertainment. Very meta, movie. Touche.
Jason power-walks his way through the forest, making his way to Camp Forest Green. At the same time, the counselors are unpacking supplies and acting not-very-worried that their bosses haven't properly trained them yet for the kids who are going to be there soon. Anyway, after they tease Megan a bit over her crush on Tommy, she retaliates by spooking them with the legend of Jason. As Megan wraps up the tale, the busloads of campers start arriving.
And, in yet another jarring scene transition, we meet a trio of idiots dressed in fatigues and armed with paintball guns. Hell, give them British accents, and you have the cast of Severance, which was another surprisingly good slasher flick. These guys are Roy, Larry and Stan. Apparently they all work in the same insurance office, and do war games to "relax". Oh, and did I mention that Jason was standing close enough to Stan and Larry to easily pick them off?
Before he gets the chance, a female executive shows up and "kills" them both. She also "killed" Roy, who is now trudging around whacking at tree branches with a machete. While he's whacking off(branches), Jason gets behind Roy and slams his face into a tree. Oddly enough, the tree has a happy face where he hit it, so I guess Roy must've died happy. Good for you, Roy! After killing Roy, Jason lifts up the dead man's machete, and stares dumbly at the arm still attached to it. Maybe Jason should be the new Carrot Top?
We get a brief scene of the sheriff and his deputy following Tommy's pick-up truck to the town line, then we go back to the doofusy insurance-survivalist guys. One is tripping around the trees destroying everything in his path, and doing enough damage to make an Indian shed a single tear in a commercial in the 1970's. Specific enough?
Anyway, Jason VERY quickly kills the three survivalists wandering the woods together, and then turns to the nerdy guy. Nerd Boy takes off through the forest like the Road Runner(Meep! Meep!), and Jason follows at the pace of half a snail. *yawn*
Tommy, meanwhile, takes a detour before leaving Forest Green, and heads for the graveyard. He dodges around from grave to grave, until Sheriff Garris tackles him to the ground. Tommy insists that he can prove Jason's alive by showing them the open grave, which the sheriff points out is, in fact, completely covered in. Rather than verify that Tommy dug up the grave, Martin takes a huge swig of alcohol and asks the audience if they believe him to be "a farthead"?
Resoundingly, a group of children at summer camp scream, "YESSSSSSSSS!" I feel as though the movie is somehow reading my mind. Spooky. Cort, a male counselor who looks a little bit like Patrick Dempsey, is teaching the boy campers some bullshit about using rocks as landmark points. The girls are merely screaming and shouting, so this may be the worst summer camp in history. Playing with large rocks and screaming. Next time you pay through the nose to send your kid to camp, remember this scene.
Jason is still power-walking through the woods. If he's not at the camp yet, he might want to consider Driver's Ed. Oh, and something else I just noticed about this scene: While his head is all rotting and decomposed, the hand holding the machete is completely and utterly healthy and normal-looking. So apparently, only certain parts of Jason ever decompose. Uh-huh.
Tommy is dropped off at the edge of town, and he scowls as the sheriff drives away. We then see Martin staggering home through the woods, singing and drinking. Before he gets to do anything of any importance, the movie switches AGAIN, this time to a couple nearby, Steven and Whatsherface.. He's just proposed, and she said yes. Hey, Jason, think you could kill an old gravedigger for the happy couple? Yeah? 'kay, thanks man!
After Jason shoves Martin's broken bottle of booze into his throat, he goes after Steven and Whatsherface. They quickly run and hop onto Steven's motorcycle, but Jason catches up before they get away. He impales them both like a shishkebob, bringing the sad love story of Steven and Whatsherface to an abrupt end. Damn, this hurts even more than when "Joanie Loves Chachi" was cancelled.
Meanwhile all the little rugrats at Camp Forest Green are fast asleep. Paula and Sissy, two cute-ish female counselors are playing card games when they hear screaming from a nearby cabin. The discover that one of the little girls, Nancy, has seen a monster, and that he is EVERYWHERE. Wait a minute, did they switch franchises on me? Is Freddy the villain now? Or am I supposed to believe that a killer in the dream of a girl named Nancy is just one huge coincidence?
They finally calm the kids down, and we see that Cort is having sex in a camper with Nikki, a chick who dresses like she's auditioning for Flashdance 2: Electric Boogaloo. She tells him not to orgasm until her favorite song ends...which isn't for another 10 minutes! The expression on Cort's face when she tells him that is priceless. Jason actually comes to the rescue, though: he pulls apart the power cord, making everything in the camper go dark.
Nikki forces Cort to get dressed and go outside to check the cord. She claims it's too cold out for her to go. So Cort circles round the camper, finds the torn cord, then is frightened when Nikki sneaks up behind him...so much for the cold, huh?
They decide to leave, so that Nikki can return the camper to her stepfather. Cort steps on the gas, and sends her flying, and it's revealed that, during their brief time outside, Jason climbed into the camper and hid in the bathroom. While Cort is putting the pedal to the metal and cranking the volume on the radio, Nikki gets yanked into the bathroom and Jason pushes her head into the wall with such force that it makes an imprint in the wall.
Cort is much easier to kill. Jason merely walks up to him, stands directly behind him, then plunges a knife into Cort's ear. Short 'n' sweet. His death causes the camper to careen wildly, eventually crashing onto its' side. Jason pops a dor open, and stands on top of the wreckage as it starts to burn.
Back at the sheriff's office, Garris and his daughter are having a pretty heated discussion about how her feelings for Tommy Jarvis are interfering with police work. A phone call comes in, and Megan and her father both discover that the local camp counselors were murdered. Sheriff Garris is more adamant than ever that it's the work of Tommy, while Megan is beginning to question whether or not Jason truly died.
Tommy leaves a local bookstore, armed to the teeth with tomes on zombies, the occult, and how to put down restless spirits. Hey Tommy, I know this cute chick in California named Willow Rosenberg, she might be able to help you with those subjects....We see Jason roaming aimlessly, and Megan just being her cute self in the sheriff's office. She amuses herself by seeing how far back she can recline her father's office chair without tipping over, and a sudden phone call sends her crashing to the floor.
It's Tommy. He's out getting supplies to try to take down Jason, and wants to make one last attempt at getting the sheriff to help him. Megan takes a leap of faith, and tells Tommy that she'll pick him up and help him with his plan. Hilariously, she agrees to pick him up at Karloff's General Store. For anyone keeping score, so far we've had a sheriff named after frequent Stephen King-adapter Mick Garris; a general store named or the most famous Frankenstein portrayer; and earlier, there was a mention of a place called Carpenter, which was probably an allusion to horror director John Carpenter.
Jason finally arrives at Camp Forest Green, at roughly the same time that Sheriff Garris gets to the crime scene. He orders his deputy to call for a roadblock, in the hopes of catching Tommy as quickly as possible. Another deputy calls him over to a clearing, and shows him body parts belonging to one of the insurance guys.
Jason hacks a phone line with his machete, and starts to approach the house where the counselors are staying. Sissy hears a noise, and goes over to a window to see if anyone's nearby. Paula wakes up and assures her that it's just Cort pulling a prank. Sissy grabs an open can of soda, crouches under an open window, then pours the soda onto what she assumes is Cort's head. It's not. Jason pulls her outside so fast that her slippers fly off when she leaves the ground. He then twists her head completely around.
Megan pulls up to Karloff's, and Tommy tries to persuade her to leave her car with him. She refuses, and tells him that she can get him the supplies he needs. After weighing his options, Tommy agrees. She waits behind the wheel while he leaves to go conceal his truck.
Jason passes by the girls' cabin, and Nancy sees him carrying Sissy's headless corpse. She starts having a freak-out, but he passes the window without any reaction. Phew!
Megan and Tommy, meanwhile, nearly drive into one of the police barricades. She shoves Tommy under the dashboard, where he comes face-to-vagina with her crotch. Say what you will about Tommy, but one thing's for sure: He's not only clever with his vocabulary, he's also an adequately cunning linguist. (I almost went with a reference to SNL's "Colonel Angus" skit instead, but this was easier to form a sentence around)
She starts speeding up--in reverse! The 2 police cars call in to the sheriff, and he recognizes the description of the car they're pursuing. He tells them to be cautious, still unsure as to whether or not Tommy is with her. Tommy, who is suddenly on his best date ever, tells her to be careful as well.
She tells him that she'll lose them on Cunningham Road, another thinly-veiled reference to the movie franchise's history. When Tommy starts to sit up, she shoves his face back down between her legs, and tells him to stay there. Wow, why can't I meet a lady like this? She heads toward the campground, tells Tommy that the turn will be "hairy" (this gets better-sounding by the second!), and nearly runs into her father. Sheriff Garris calmly lifts up a rifle, and tells her to step out.
Jason, bloody machete in hand, approaches the front door of the counselor's cabin. Inside, Paula is sleeping pretty soundly. As the dripping blade looms over her body, Paula wakes up. It's Nancy, not Jason! She got out of her bed after seeing Jason, and found the weapon on the ground outside her window. Paula convinces Nancy that the blood is fake, and that Cissy and Cort are just playing pranks on the campers. She gets Nancy to leave with her, on the pretense that they can out-prank the other counselors. Jason watches from a short distance as they tiptoe outside.
Back at the police barracks, Tommy is being interrogated by Garris and Rick, one of his deputies. Megan is still trying to convince her father of Tommy's innocence, when a call comes in: two more bodies were just discovered, Cort and Nikki. When Megan asks what the estimated time of death was, she points out that the estimate goes against Tommy being the murderer, because she was picking him up at that time. Garris doesn't quite believe her yet, and orders Rick to lock Tommy back up in a cell.
At the camp, Nancy and Paula enter a room full of sleeping children. Paula tells Nancy that if she gets cared again, all she needs to do is close her eyes, say a little prayer, and the scary moment will pass when her eyes open again. Yeah, I'm sure a prayer will EASILY defeat a machete. She kisses the girl, stands up, and fails to notice Jason at the window, directly in front of her. Geez. In one of the more suspenseful moments of the film, Paula slowly walks the length of the cabin, and Jason keeps pace with her from outside, peering in through each window as they pass them.
Outside, Paula starts to get the willies. An owl makes some noise, and Paula starts to call Cort's name. She runs back to her own bed, and sees several drops of blood on the floor, as well as the front door still hanging open. Paula approaches the door to shut it, smiles with relief, then dies as Jason pushes it open again and kills her. Damn. I liked her. Jason doesn't just kill her, either: he kills her, then throws her through a window, THEN drags her body back inside for more abuse! Geez, what the heck did she do to piss him off?
Back at the jail, Megan is pretending to sketch. She holds up the sketchpad for Tommy to read a message on it, but doesn't feel like letting the audience know what it said. I think one of the words might've been "COVER". Anyway, she goes back to pretending to sketch, and Tommy asks what she's drawing. She holds it up, and he tells her the picture stinks. When Megan throws the pad at him, Tommy snatches it, prompting her to pretend to be outraged, so she can demand that Deputy Rick get it back.
When Rick ignores the conversation, Megan gets up and marches toward the cell herself. Tommy grabs her and kisses her through the bars. Man, I never wanted to be Tommy Jarvis so bad before this! She kisses him back, and Deputy Rick finally notices the sheriff's daughter making out with a murder suspect. While he pries the lovebirds apart, Megan grabs his gun, which has a laser sight on it big enough to fit over a cannon. At gunpoint, she forces the deputy to let Tommy out of the cage. Then she locks Rick in the cell, before the couple make a mad dash for her car.
Outside, Tommy tries to convince Megan to let him fight Jason alone, but she refuses. As they drive toward the camp, Tommy explains his plan to her: Jason keeps returning to Crystal Lake because it was where he drowned(which is stupid, because up until Part 4, he was still alive). Anyway, Tommy believes that if he can lure Jason into the lake, he can either destroy him, or at least immobilize him in the lake so that he can't do any more harm.
Back at the camp, Jason enters the girls' cabin. He marches down the middle of the room, watching each girl sleep, until he gets to Nancy's cot. She stares at him with her blanket pulled up to her nose, and Jason takes a step toward the frightened girl. Remembering the advice she was given, Nancy closes her eyes and prays. Jason hears 2 police vehicles pull up, and quickly leaves, giving Nancy the impression that her prayer made Jason vanish. Boy, wait until she becomes a teenager and meets Freddy!
Garris orders his 2 deputies to secure the camp, while he goes to the main house to gather any surviving counselors. He gets an eyeful of the bloody mess beyond the front door, and changes his mind. Gee, I hope the deputies are still alive...
One deputy takes a stroll by the lake, and begins flashing his light into each rowboat, looking for possible hiding places. Jason watches from the trees. He waits until the deputy's flashlight finds him, then tosses his machete right into the poor guy's forehead. The deputy lands in one of the rowboats he was just looking at.
Sheriff Garris finds a cabin full of sleeping boys, and moves on to the next one. He spots Nancy's empty bed, and freaks out. The second deputy, Burt Reynolds, hears some noises in the woods, and draws his gun. He demands that Jason come out of hiding, but it turns out to be Nancy. He urges the little girl to return to her bed and sleep, and Nancy runs away after spotting Jason.
Burt fires several rounds at the killer, to no avail. Jason keeps on coming. When he gets within arms' reach, Jason puts his hands on either side of the deputy's head, and squeezes until he makes the poor guy bleed. After crushing the skull, Jason admres his own craftmanship.
Sheriff Garris runs back to his car to grab a shotgun and some shells. He runs into Nancy, and sees that all the commotion has woken up several other children as well. He gathers all of the kids into one cabin, then instructs them all to hide under the bunks until he gives the all-clear. Garris then pumps the shotgun a few times, and tries to draw Jason out into the open.
Sheriff Garris trips over the body of one of his deputies, then nearly collides with Jason. He lines up a shot, and the force of the shotgun blast knocks Jason off his feet. Garris approaches the body and shoots Jason again when he gets up. He then shoots him a third time, before running out of shotgun shells.
Sheriff Garris unholsters his pistol, and fires several rounds into Jason. A bullet to the face is the only one that stops him for a moment, and Garris takes off running into the woods. Tommy and Megan arrive by this time, and when Megan sees all of the bloodshed in the counselor's house, she screams for her father. He's still being chased through the woods, of course.
Megan gathers all of the children together, while Tommy heads to the lake, hoping to draw Jason to his location. While Megan encourages the kids to resume hiding, Tommy gathers some heavy rocks to try to weigh Jason down.(Why he thinks he can get close enough to the killer to weigh him down with several rocks baffles me.) While the children are all hiding under their beds, we get one of the greatest lines of dialogue in the entire franchise, when one kid asks another, "So...what were you going to be when you grew up?" Awesome.
Both Garris and Jason hear Megan calling for her father, and when Jason decides to chase the girl, Sheriff Garris goes ballistic. He lunges at the killer, knocking him off of his feet, before kicking him and beating him with a large hunk of wood. Jason lets him get several whacks in, before they resume running through the woods.
Tommy grabs a motorboat and drifts out to the middle of the lake, while Megan finds the police cars and tries to radio for help. Opening a car door, however, reveals Sissy's severed head, which rolls out and lands at Megan's feet. When she screams, Jason starts to head in her direction, prompting her dad to make a lunge at Jason. Jason responds by twisting Sheriff Garris up like a pretzel, then twisting his arms behind his body, and breaking the man's spine.
Tommy padlocks a heavy chain around the largest rock he could find, then takes his boat out to the center of Crystal Lake. Jason obviously didn't get the memo, because he explodes through the door of the cabin where the kids are hiding. The screaming children make Megan start jogging towards their cabin, and Jason crashes through a window to try to grab her. Hasn't this guy mastered nthe fine art of doorknob-turning? Even if he hasn't, why couldn't he just exit through the massive, gaping hole where the front door used to be?
Anyway, Jason grabs Megan by the head, planning to crush her skull, but Tommy manages to distract him at the last moment. Apparently, there is no greater insult in the zombie community than to call someone a "maggot head". Tommy does this twice, which really gets Jason's goat. As Jason wades out into the lake, the water gradually gets deeper and deeper. Eventually, Jason vanishes completely underwater. Uh oh, didn't really think your plan through very well, Tommy!
Rather than wait for Jason to reappear, Tommy goes to Phase 2 of his plan. He pulls out a large can of gasoline and starts pouring it out in the lake, around the boat. He lights the ring of fuel on fire, then simply waits for Jason to pop out of the water. When Jason does burst up beside the boat, Tommy tries to wrap the chain around Jason's neck. A struggle ensues.
As Megan and the kids tearfully watch the boat catch fire, Jason ducks back under the water. Tommy leans over the side of the boat to look for the killer, and Jason uses his stupidity to pop up again and pull Tommy back into the lake with him. The boulder sinks to the bottom of Crystal Lake, landing right on top of an old sign someone had defaced, changing the name to "Camp Blood". Luckily for Tommy, the chain around Jason's neck tightens, and he struggles with it, briefly forgetting about his latest victim.
When Tommy starts to swim for the surface, Jason forgets about the chain and snatches Tommy's leg instead. They struggle a bit, until Jason gets the upper hand and chokes the life out of Tommy. He lets the body float to the surface, and turns back to his other dilemma with the chain and rock.
Megan starts sobbing at the sight of Tommy's body rising to the surface, and she decides to attempt to save him. She plunges into the water(fully dressed, dammit! This sequel had the least nudity of any of them, it seemed...) and rolls Tommy over, then starts dragging his body back to shore. Jason makes a grab for her pretty ankle, and pulls her underwater. Desperate to escape his grasp, Megan clutches the side of the busted motorboat, and gets the engine started after a few failed attempts. She manipulates the rudder so that the propeller blades dig right into Jason's head and neck. There's even a great "Holy shit!" look in his eyes when he sees the propeller coming at him.
Jason's body convulses and jitters while the blades cut him up, and Megan uses the distraction to get back to Tommy. The lake starts filling up with meaty chunks of gore. As Jason finally stops moving, Megan pulls Tommy onto dy land and starts giving him CPR. As some of the kids get on the verge of crying again, Tommy coughs up about 3 gallons of lake water, and Megan hugs him while the kids all cheer. Tommy declares that Jason's reign of terror is finally over, and everyone watches the last bits of the boat burn up. The last scene of the movie shows the lake in the morning, looking calm, peaceful and kind of muddy...yuk! The camera shows Jason just hanging out in the water, followed by an extreme closeup of his eye, glaring at the camera. THE END?
Nope. We got at least, what, four or five movies after this one? Still, I think this one's a little more fun than the others. The humor was well-placed, the pace was more action-adventure, and the Tommy Jarvis saga finally paid off with a conclusion. Had this been the last movie, I don't think anyone would have felt cheated, really. A solid 5 killer trees out of 5 for this one.( Oh, that reminds me, I did some research to see if I could also re-watch The Guardian, the movie that inspired the rating system in the first place...and it's never been put on DVD! Can you believe that, with all of the crap that gets released, and even re-released to DVD and Blu-Ray? Man.)
So, what did I learn after watching Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives?
-Thom Mathews needed a bigger career in movies. He rocked!
-You could have an entire Friday the 13th film, and no scene at the end where his face gets unmasked! (I don't really count the face at the start of the movie...it was so dark, and the face was so covered in cobwebs and dirt, you couldn't really see much.)
-A little girl who survived Jason's rampage later met up with ANOTHER killer in her nightmares! What are the odds???
Up next: Hopefully, either the 7th film in this franchise or the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Happy Thanksgiving!