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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)




The second Slasher in this summer’s marathon is another of the Friday franchise, though I skipped ahead from Part III to Part VI. Mostly because I was in the mood for this one. Lots of kills and the movie references the classic Universal Monster flicks. Plus, Horseshack is in it!

A grown-up Tommy Jarvis, played by Return of the Living Dead’s Thom Matthews, returns to get closure against the now dead Jason Voorhees. He feels the need to dig up the body and burn it to ashes. When faced with the corpse he flips out and starts stabbing it with a metal pole, only for lightning to strike and bring back Jason as a zombie! The body count starts with Tommy Jarvis’ friend and continues after he flees from the undead killer. He goes right to the sheriff’s office and they are of course not too sympathetic to the maniac running thru the doors screaming that Jason is back.

The sheriff’s daughter Megan is a member of the summer camp that has reopened on the lake. Jason heads there, killing as he goes, until most of Megan’s friends are dead. Well actually all of Megan’s friends are dead! Lucky for her Tommy has a plan. Lucky for Tommy she has a crush on him! He sets off to trap Jason under the waters of Crystal Lake forever and seemingly succeeds in doing so. But of course, there are four more sequels, a vs. Freddy, and a remake so he didn’t do that great of a job!

I’ve always felt that part VI is the perfect example of the Slasher movie formula being executed. The kills are spread evenly throughout the duration and while we don’t have any nudity there is plenty of scantily clad pretty girls to look at. The kills are inventive and while not overly bloody I’ve always found them fun. You get a head off, an arm hits the ground, a couple gets skewered (a reoccurring gag that has a fun twist here), a neat bit with the side of a Winnebago, and a sheriff that gets folded in half! I give them an “A” for effort as they squeeze an impressive eighteen kills in! Considering how much the censors were neutering horror flicks by eighty-six this was an accomplishment.

I mentioned that we get a “classic” Universal monster movie feel with Part VI. Most of the best stuff happens at night. There always seems to be that “spooky” storm with thunder and lightning happening. Hell, lightning brings Jason’s dead body back to life! That should sound familiar. We also get a neat bit at the end with our hero and the monster doing battle surrounded by fire. There is also a prominent sign advertising Karloff’s General Store as one of the set pieces.

Jason sucks at paintball!
If this isn’t enough for you the movie is clearly winking at the audience. One of the campers is a little girl named Nancy that is having nightmares about a man chasing her. They mention a nearby town called Carpenter, there is a Cunningham road, and the sheriff’s name is Garris. Someone was having fun with the references to other horror icons related and unrelated to the Friday the 13th franchise. There is even a great line where one of the characters breaks the fourth wall and looks right at the camera to say, “Some people got a funny idea about entertainment”.

There is a little bit of something for everyone in this installment of the franchise. You get a good Slasher movie with references that horror nerds will get a kick out of and some funny jokes both for and at the expense of the audience. I’ve always felt that this was the best written of the series with the exception of the original. I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, things started to go downhill after this one.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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