Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
|Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is a 1986 slasher film, the sixth film in the Friday the 13th film series. The film was written and directed by Tom McLoughlin. Although the original concept called for Tommy Jarvis, the protagonist of parts IV and V, to become the new villain, the poor fan reception of Friday the 13th: A New Beginning prompted the producers to bring back Jason Voorhees as the series’ antagonist. In resurrecting Jason, McLoughlin made Jason an explicitly supernatural force for the first time in the series, depicting him as being raised from the dead via electricity; this version of Jason—a zombie serial killer rather than a mortal superhuman—would become the standard depiction for the rest of the franchise, until 2009’s reboot. The film likewise broke with many other series conventions, introducing metahumor and action film elements including shootouts and car chases.
Despite being the second-lowest grossing film in the franchise to that point, it was the first film in the series since the original to receive positive critical reviews. In the years since its release, its self-referential humor and numerous instances of breaking the fourth wall have been praised for prefiguring Wes Craven’s Scream series and other similar 1990s horror films. As of 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason, Jason Lives was a fan favorite of the series, in addition to receiving positive notice from horror film historians.
Superhuman serial killer Jason Voorhees has been dead and buried for years. However, Tommy Jarvis, who killed Jason in self-defense when he was 12 years old, is still haunted by his encounter, resulting in his having been institutionalized for an extended period of time. Intent on cremating Jason’s body to rid himself of his demons, Tommy escapes the mental hospital with his friend, Hawes, and breaks into the cemetery containing Jason’s grave. He and Hawes exhume Jason’s casket, but before they can cremate the body, an infuriated Tommy begins stabbing it with a steel fence post. Unfortunately, the fence post acts as a lightning rod for an incoming storm, and a bolt of lightning brings Jason back to life. Jason rips Hawes’ heart out and throws his body into the exhumed coffin while Tommy escapes.
Tommy returns to the town of Crystal Lake, the site of Jason’s killings, which has now been renamed Forest Green to distance itself from negative publicity. Tommy attempts to warn the town sheriff, Mike Garris, of Jason’s return, but Garris, aware of Tommy’s institutionalization, writes him off as disturbed and has him locked in a holding cell.
Meanwhile, Jason begins a trek back to the lake that was the site of his drowning as a child. En route, he encounters Lizabeth and Darren, a pair of summer camp supervisors, who are themselves headed to the lake to supervise the re-opening of the summer camp. Jason attacks and kills them, leaving their bodies in the woods.
The next morning, Sheriff Garris’s daughter, Megan, who is slated to be one of the camp counselors, arrives with her fellow counselors Cort, Sissy, and Paula to report Lizabeth and Darren missing. Tommy cites their disappearance as evidence of Jason’s return, but is met with hostility from everyone but Megan, who takes a liking to him. Sheriff Garris sends the counselors off to the campsite and then escorts Tommy out of town; en route, Tommy flees to the cemetery to try to show Garris the open grave, only to discover that the groundskeeper, fearful of being implicated for digging up the grave due to his alcoholism, has covered the grave (and, consequently, Hawes’s body) with dirt. Garris handcuffs Tommy and takes him to the city limits, warning him not to return.
Meanwhile, a quintet of business people playing paintball in the woods are set upon by Jason, who kills them and steals their supplies. That night, Jason continues making his way back to Crystal Lake, in the process killing the grave digger and a nearby couple having a picnic. Cort meets up with a local girl, Nikki, and leaves the camp to have sex with her in the woods; they end up in Jason’s path and are both subsequently killed by him. Sheriff Garris’s Deputy finds the bodies including the corporate executives that were playing paintball, and believes that Tommy has killed them, living out a delusion of Jason’s return. Tommy, meanwhile, has contacted Megan, having figured out a way to defeat Jason after having read books on monsters and folklore: He can be incapacitated by being trapped beneath the surface of the lake where he drowned. Megan attempts to bring Tommy back to the camp, but they are intercepted by one of Garris’s roadblocks; Tommy is arrested and Megan is escorted back to the police station to await her father’s return from the field. The police’s attention on Tommy permits Jason to slip into the summer camp, where he kills Paula and Sissy, but refrains from harming any of the children.
Megan and Tommy escape the police station and make it to the lake, where the pursuing police are forced to acknowledge Jason’s return when he attacks them. Garris and his deputies briefly incapacitate Jason by shooting him with high caliber weapons, but Jason ultimately recovers and kills them all including Sheriff Garris by bending him in two. He then attempts to kill Megan, but is distracted by Tommy, who beckons to him from the lake. Seemingly remembering Tommy, Jason abandons Megan and wades out to the lake, where Tommy ambushes him with a chain attached to a large boulder. A fight ensues, during which both Tommy and Jason are knocked into the water; as Tommy attempts to swim to the surface, Jason pulls him underwater and apparently drowns him. Megan swims out to save Tommy and is likewise attacked by Jason, but finally incapacitates him by ramming a motor boat propeller into his neck and jaw eventually breaking his neck.
Back on land, Megan revives Tommy with CPR and the children celebrate. At the bottom of the lake, Jason floats, attached to the boulder, still alive but powerless to escape.