Tuesday, June 23, 2009

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES - DELUXE EDITION

A year later, in ’86, the studio bowed to the fans and returned Jason Vorhees to his rightful place at the center of the franchise, with the triumphantly-titled JASON LIVES! It’s also with this installment that the series finally committed itself to outright fantasy, as the previously nigh invulnerable-yet-still-mortal Jason officially became an undead, supernatural monster.

Part 6 begins with a scene deliberately echoing the classic Universal FRANKENSTEIN films as a handsomer and more likable Tommy Jarvis (now played by THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD’s Thom Matthews) and a pal of his from the institution (Ron Palillo, Horshack from WELCOME BACK KOTTER) sneak into a cemetery to dig up Jason’s corpse so Tommy can cremate it and get some closure! Unfortunately, Jason is resurrected by a convenient lightning bolt, and is soon back to his old tricks, only stronger and completely unkillable.

Directed by Tom McLoughlin with a sense of humor and some genuine style, Part 6 is by far the slickest, most mainstream entry in the series to date. Beautifully shot and edited, the movie just plain looks great. The "kills" are all creative and over-the-top, as befits a supernatural killer, and the movie is loaded with self-referential humor and horror in-jokes. My only complaint is that nobody takes their tops off in this one, but then, I’m a perv.

Again, Paramount has stepped up with a Crystal Lake clear 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and 5.1 Surround sound. There’s a great, entertaining commentary track by director McLoughlin and select cast and crew, some "slashed scenes," a retrospective featurette, addition chapters of the genuinely amusing CRYSTAL LAKE MASSACRE mockumentary and the tedious LOST TALES OF CAMP BLOOD, and the original theatrical trailer.

JASON LIVES is a smart, fast, funny and suspenseful stalk & slay flick, and a high point in the long-running FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise. If you’re a fan, an upgrade is essential, and for everyone else, I suggest a rental. It holds up very well, and, well, it’s just plain fun.

BUY: Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives (Deluxe Edition)