So yesterday was interesting, right? I'm not goin to lie, my head is still reeling from that little cinematic acid trip. For today's movie, I wanted to go with something fun and familiar to me. I'm a big fan of slashers, with the Halloween, Scream, and Friday the 13th franchises being among my all-time favorites. But over the past few years I've covered Michael (twice), Ghostface, Chucky (twice), Pinhead, and even Freddy Krueger (sorta?), so that leaves just one of the big horror juggernauts...
Jason motherfuckin' Voorhees.
But where to begin? Do we start at the beginning, the original Friday where Jason hardly even appears? The stellar (fight me, nerd) 2009 remake? Nah, if you have to choose just one iconic Jason film to represent them all, there's only one logical choice, and that's his campy, over-the-top return from the grave in 1986's Friday the 13th Part VI - Jason Lives!
As the movie opens, we find Tommy Jarvis, the hero of previous installments The Final Chapter and A New Beginning determined to dig up Jason's body and burn it, sending the bastard to Hell forever. The plan goes awry, however, when a bolt of lightning resurrects Jason and supercharges him like Frankenstein's monster. After a bloody title card spoofing James Bond, we realize Tommy's worst fears have come true... Jason lives!
Unable to defeat Jason in the cemetery, Tommy retreats and seeks help from the Sheriff, but the locals are unwilling to listen to him because they believe the nightmare of Jason Voorhees is behind them, even renaming the town and camp. Legends of "Camp Blood" persist, however, and a new crop of campers arrive at the camp just in time for Jason's bloody return.
Jason Lives has to be the most batshit bonkers installment in the original eight Paramount films, and that's clearly by design. But who can blame them? The series had already gone to 3-D, seen Jason put down (seemingly) for good and a copycat killer rise up to replace him. Where else could the series go from there? Make Jason a super-powered zombie, of course! This movie brings the Tommy Jarvis trilogy to a close, and I'm thankful for that. The series needed some New Blood. See what I did there? But who knows, maybe we'll get another sequel someday that will bring back Corey Feldman, the original Tommy Jarvis. Hey... I can dream.
Jason Lives rocks, literally. Shock rocker Alice Cooper provided two songs for the film's sountrack, Teenage Frankenstein and "He's Back" (The Man Behind the Mask). Teenage Frankenstein plays over my favorite kill in the movie, which I think most fans would agree was the most annoying character in the movie. Cooper's music is the perfect accompaniment for Jason's triumphant return. "He's Back" has been covered numerous times, but nobody else can compare to Alice Cooper.
My verdict shouldn't come as a surprise. I give Jason Lives a big severed thumbs up. As much as I recommend this movie, however, you really must start with the original to get the full story. If you love slashers, you won't regret it. Before I started doing these reviews, I used to marathon this entire series every October, that's how much I love them.