Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives - Deluxe Edition
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (20th July 2009).
The Film

After a disappointing fifth installment, I was a little lost in my love affair with Jason. Even though he was never in “Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning” (1985), as the face of the franchise he is responsible for it’s successes and failures no matter how well he performs individually in his single-minded mission to exterminate horny/drug using/camping teenagers from the face of the planet (or at least the greater Crystal Lake area). However the followup is a huge and successful return to Jason’s real personality and life. Even though it was the lowest grossing of the “Friday the 13th” films so far, “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” (1986) resurrects Jason and the franchise far better than the poor fifth film that seemed lost and confused after Tom Savini decided to put his machete to rest. On face there are a lot of points for hesitation: “VI” is the first “13th” movie without drugs or nudity, it’s less gory due to the MPAA deciding to go harsher on the franchise and none of the previous film's actors decided to return to the film (but this is probably a good thing). Despite the lack of buckets of blood, signature nudity and people too high to realize they’re being murdered by Jason, “Jason Lives” is a return to form in terms of sheer ridiculousness of the plot and violence that makes for a hugely fun experience, so far second only to “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” (1984) in its enjoyability.

Picking up years after “Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning” Tommy Jarvis (Thom Matthews) is still a little unstable and has escaped his latest mental institution to try and make sure that Jason (C.J. Graham) is dead once and for all. Returning to the grave that haunted his dreams, Tommy digs up Jason and has the sudden urge to stab him with one of the graveyard railings before attempting to light the body on fire. Unfortunately he hesitates and two bolts of lightning resurrect Jason as a superhuman monster who returns to Crystal Lake, expanding his repertoire of murder to adults as well as teens, throwing in many more decapitations along the way. Tommy escapes Jason’s reanimation to Crystal Lake, now called Forest Green, to try and warn the sheriff about the resurrection and return of Jason. Of course he isn’t believed and a new set of campers and counselors have just moved in to Camp Crystal Lake as fresh prey for Jason’s return. Tommy manages to get away from Police suspicion long enough to team up with the sheriff’s daughter Megan (Jennifer Cooke) to try and take Jason down.

Lacking the freedom to really show off the kills in the movie, Tom McLoughlin shows a great sense of creativity and humor in putting together a film that’s incredibly tame relative to some of the other installments and current standards of horror. From triple decapitations to bare handed neck twist pulls, the gore isn’t super visual, but it’s got a lot of effective and comical uses. McLoughlin’s script and directing play around with the idea of the reanimated Jason’s strength being so much more than he was ready for. In one scene, Jason rips a man’s arm off as he throws him against a tree (to reveal a bloody smiley face) only to stare down at the dismembered arm in about as much shock as you could expect out of Jason. McLoughlin understands the need for the absurd within the “Friday the 13th” movies, leaving comedy to humorous deaths and weird lines rather than trying to thrown in comedic relief characters that just get annoying.

In terms of actors, the cast lacks any big names to really propel the acting over the top, but each actor fits their character well and executes their roles effectively. No one is overly complicated or tries to carve out a dramatic role in a horror/comedy film. Matthews’ Jarvis is no Corey Feldman, but who can be? He still gets the sense of crazy that needs to be there for what Tommy has become, totally dropping the idea of Tommy the psycho killer and almost ignoring the events of “A New Beginning” other than the idea that Tommy has been driven insane by the memories of Jason. Each actor understands that their role in the film is to just live carefree right up until the moment of the kill, and Graham’s interpretation of Jason under McLaughlin’s directing brings a good addition to the film in creating a sort of curious Jason.

From the beginning of the film, “Jason Lives” sets out to bring the fun back to the “Friday the 13th” series. From the lightning resurrection to the opening credits that has Jason doing the James Bond walk... but with a machete, and title card that comes on screen with blood, “Jason Lives” is an enjoyable movie that pulls the comedy into the series. Sure there are no high, naked teenagers, but the kills are still fun, absurd and creative to keep Jason interesting and the film moving. Plus with the shortest runtime in the franchise, coming in at an hour and twenty-seven minutes, there’s no time to waste and it’s much more worthwhile to check out.

Video

The more recent the films get, the better their film quality seems to improve, possibly because they’re better preserved, but “Jason Lives’” 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer brings a clarity to the visuals that hasn’t been seen in this most recent bundle of 'Deluxe Editions'. The shadows, lighting and colors all come through nicely on DVD and look surprisingly good, lacking a little bit of crispness, but I’ve come to expect that with the format. For a movie that’s filmed mostly in the dark, the shadows don’t get muddy or blend together in the transfer and it comes across as one of the best transfers yet.

Audio

In this English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the audio still brings out Harry Manfredini’s score well, but the addition of a few Alice Cooper songs brings more fun to the movie. The audio quality is good and the sound mix moves well considering the source material, but the upgraded and remastered quality also makes the problems in the original sound mix a bit clearer. There are scenes where different bits of adr become comically visible, but otherwise the sound mix works well with the film and even these sort of mistakes add to the fun of the experience. There are also audio tracks in English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround, French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono as well as subtitles in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Extras

The final in this second set of three 'Deluxe Editions' of the franchise, this edition contains the usual special features including an audio commentary, deleted scenes, three featurettes, a short film, a theatrical trailer and bonus trailer.

First up is the audio commentary with writer/director Tom McLoughlin, editor Bruce Green and actor Vincent Guastaferro. With only a few pauses between scenes, the trio do a good job of talking through the entire film and mixing in stories about the set and actual production notes with jokes and banter to keep the commentary moving. There’s some interesting talk of MPAA restrictions on head bouncing and rolling for the “Friday the 13th” films, along with talk of "The Feldman", comedy in the film and the different choices for kills in the film.

“Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 6” short film runs for 7 minutes and 16 seconds. Finally bringing the sensless set of clips to a close, at least for this round of “Friday the 13th” re-releases, by having the nameless killer stalk the nameless person through a short plot that doesn’t show much creativity in any sense of the genre. I’m sure the next round of re-releases are already pressed and ready to ship, but honestly I don’t understand why they keep giving room to create this series of shorts since it doesn’t even homage the franchise well.

“The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part III” featurette runs for 9 minutes and 35 seconds and finishes up the mockumentary that has spanned the past 2 “Friday the 13th” re-releases. Finally wrapping up the talk of Tommy Jarvis, this featurette edition of the mockumentary tries to bridge the gap between parts V and VI, talking about the events of the movie and even more in-jokes to the franchise.

“Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” runs for 12 minutes and 56 seconds. This making-of featurette brings together director Tom McLoughlin with other cast and crew members. Again they do a great job of digging back up some of the castmembers who I wouldn’t expect to still be around and amicable to the franchise, but it’s really neat to see everyone a bit older in contrast to the film itself. There’s also some conversations with the special effects coordinators and other crew involved in the film that are always great additions to me, even some behind-the-scenes photos from the filming which are a nice touch.

“Meeting Mr. Voorhees” runs for 2 minutes and 46 seconds. This featurette is set up by an interview with Tom McLoughlin, where he talks about how he envisioned the end of the film with Jason’s father and thanks to some storyboard art it brings out the original intended ending.

The “Slashed Scenes” are the deleted scenes for the film, all lumped together and running 6 minutes, in VHS quality. These show some great moents like prolonging the kills and some extra gore effects, like showing the beating heart that Jason punches out, a bit more drowning in the VW killing, each scene adding in those few extra seconds of blood or gore that the MPAA loves to cut out.

Finally is the original theatrical trailer that runs for 1 minute and 42 seconds.

The bonus trailer on the disc is:

- “The Unborn” which runs for 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

Packaging

Packaged in an amaray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: B- Video: B+ Audio: B- Extras: B+ Overall: B

 


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