Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this excellent Blu-ray release
As a child, Tommy Jarvis killed mass-murderer Jason Voorhees. Years later, he is tormented by the fear that Jason may not be dead. Determined to finish off the infamous killer once and for all, Tommy and a friend dig up Jason's corpse in order to cremate him. Unfortunately, things go seriously awry, and Jason is instead resurrected, sparking a new chain of ruthlessly brutal murders.
For more about Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and the Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Blu-ray release, see Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Blu-ray Review published by Michael Reuben on September 12, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives is being released as part of Friday the 13th: The Complete
Writer/director Tom McLoughlin leapt at the opportunity to direct a Friday the 13th, because,
among other things, he loved Hammer horror films and hoped he could bring some of that
sensibility to the series. His one stipulation to former executive producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. was
that he be allowed to introduce more humor into the series. Mancuso's stipulation in return was
that McLoughlin couldn't make fun of Jason.
Throughout the extensive extras included with this Blu-ray disc, McLoughlin acknowledges
numerous cinematic influences, including other films in the Friday the 13th series. His homages
to those films can be subtle. One notable example occurred when McLoughlin proudly presented
an initial cut to a preview audience with precisely thirteen fatalities, just like Sean Cunningham's
original. He was crestfallen when Mancuso directed him to go back and add more.
Surprisingly, though, McLoughlin never mentions what, to any viewer of the series, is the most
obvious debt to the predecessors of Jason Lives, which is that the plot was obviously inspired by
the opening sequence of A New
Beginning. There, a traumatized Tommy Jarvis dreamed of Jason
Voorhees rising from the grave. McLoughlin simply shifted that notion into the real world. In so
doing, he completed the transition to the supernatural with which director Danny Steinman had
flirted in A New Beginning. McLoughlin even picked up the hints in Steinman's film that Tommy
might be seduced into becoming the creature he feared, although, like Steinman, he ultimately
declined to take Tommy down that path. But McLoughlin did deliver on the promised humor.
Jason Lives has some of the best visual gags in the series.
Tommy Jarvis is now played by The Return of
the Living Dead's Thom Mathews. (John
Shepherd from A New Beginning declined to return). Perhaps inspired by his nightmares, he has
decided to dig up the remains of Jason Voorhees and incinerate them. Notwithstanding the
claims of the mayor in the previous film that Jason was cremated, a grave does exist in a
cemetery tended by a grumpy groundskeeper named Martin (Bob Larkin), who delivers to the
camera what should be the film's most famous line: "Some folks have a strange idea of
Perhaps as a tip to the audience that the film will be comical, Tommy is accompanied by his
friend, Hawes (Ron Palillo), whose face would still have been recognizable in 1986 as that of
Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter. But Tommy has apparently overlooked the part of his
dream where those who dig up Jason don't survive the experience. In an accidental (or is it?)
recreation of Dr. Frankenstein's experiment, bolts of lightning reawaken and supercharge the
homicidal maniac, who rises from the grave, just as Tommy always feared, and dispatches Hawes
while Tommy flees the scene. It's not for nothing that the grocery store in this town is named
A running joke in Jason Lives is that the town of Crystal Lake has tried to "rebrand" itself by
changing its name to "Forest Green". For obvious reasons, including the reappearance of the
town's most infamous citizen, the rebranding doesn't take, which is no doubt how screenwriters
of subsequent entries explained their reversion to the town's original moniker. But if your town
were the scene of multiple notorious slaughters, wouldn't you want to say you were from
The newly rechristened Forest Green even has a camp, but it's for little kids even younger than
Tommy Jarvis when we first met him. A busload is about to be delivered into the care of the
teenage counselors, who are concerned that the head counselors haven't arrived yet. They never
will. Driving along a dark country road, they encounter a familiar figure in a hockey mask who
won't get out of their way. The head counselors are played by Tony Goldwyn, in his first film
appearance, and the director's wife, Nancy McLoughlin, whose character may be the only victim
in a Friday the 13th film ever to offer Jason cash and a credit card as an incentive not to kill her.
Jason doesn't accept, and the card drops from the dying victim's hand, floating into view on
screen: It's American Express. (As McLoughlin notes, someone in the audience always shouts:
"Don't leave home without it!")
In vain does Tommy try to alert Sheriff Garris (David Kagen) to the threat bearing down on
Crystal Lake, er, Forest Green. The sheriff and his weapons-obsessed deputy, Rick Cologne
(Vincent Guastaferro), assume that Tommy is crazy, and for a long time they attribute the
mounting reports of disturbances and mayhem to Tommy's desire to prove that his nightmares
are real. The sheriff's daughter, Megan (Jennifer Cooke), who is also one of the camp counselors,
feels differently about Tommy, though whether that's a credit to Tommy or a product of teenage
rebellion is impossible to say. But it's Megan who springs Tommy from jail and helps him battle
the resurrected Jason.
In addition to counselors, cops and a few stray campers, Jason's victims include a troupe of
weekend warriors armed with paintball guns and, in one instance, an entire arsenal of weapons
that Jason appropriates. Their interactions are some of the most comical, especially when one of
them tries to "tag" Jason with a paint bullet. Some of the kids at camp are unusually advanced in
their understanding of life. One falls asleep reading Jean-Paul Sartre's play, No Exit. Another,
after hearing Megan's desperate screams outside, turns to his companion and asks: "So, what
were you gonna be when you grew up?"
The cinematographer for Jason Lives was Jon Kranhouse, who would go on to specialize in
aerial photography for such films as Star Trek
IV and Broken Arrow. Like McLoughlin,
Kranhouse was at the beginning of his career. As McLoughlin says at one point in his
commentary, the relative youth of everyone involved was essential to their enthusiasm for the
The image on Warner/Paramount's 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray for Jason Lives represents an
uptick in quality, compared to The
Final Chapter and A New
Beginning. I attribute this to the
source rather than any improvement in the transfer or mastering. The basic aesthetic of the series
did not change with Jason Lives, but from all appearances either the quality of lighting or the
film stock (or both) improved to the point that the filmed image gained some measure of polish
and fineness of grain. On Blu-ray, this translates into superior detail, slightly richer color and a
look that's closer to "studio" than "exploitation". Black levels and contrast levels are well set, the
source material is in pristine condition, and there are no signs of untoward digital manipulation.
Jason Lives shares a BD-50 with A New Beginning, but like its roommate it has a healthy average
bitrate, in this case of 22.52 Mbps. I kept watching for compression artifacts, but none presented
As best as I have been able to determine, Jason Lives was the first film in the series to be
released in Ultra Stereo, the generic version of Dolby Stereo. That track has been remixed as 5.1
and presented as lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1, and it's the first soundtrack in the series to provide
an enveloping surround environment. Supervising sound editor Dane Davis has since become a
major figure in film audio, winning an Oscar for The Matrix
and designing sound for such films
as The Cabin in the Woods and the
upcoming Enders Game. Davis' layered stereo mix has
provided the remix team with worthy material for a 5.1 experience.
The wind, thunder and lighting accompanying Jason's resurrection register with solid impact, and
the forest environments are alive with insects and rustling leaves. You can feel the movement of
cars racing down the road, and the sound of kids at camp yelling (or screaming) reaches out to
envelop the viewer. Especially impressive is the final battle between Tommy and Jason, a
complex blend of fire, water, body blows and clanking chains, all of which has to be
appropriately modulated as the edits shift the viewer's perspective.
Harry Manfredini's score plays with increased authority as it expands to fill the entire speaker
array. Adding to the soundtrack's impact are three songs by Alice Cooper, including "He's Back
(The Man Behind the Mask)", which plays over the closing credits. The entire track has wide
dynamic range and the deepest bass extension of any entry in the series to date.
With Writer/Director Tom McLoughlin: McLoughlin's solo commentary is an
amiable and informative affair, mixing production details with entertaining trivia
about the subsequent careers of the film's cast and crew and a wide range of film
references. A child of Hollywood, McLoughlin grew up steeped in film culture
and routinely quotes advice from Frank Capra. He met his wife (who appears in
Jason Lives) working on a film for John Frankenheimer and cites influences from
John Ford and David Lean to Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter.
With Tom McLoughlin and Cast and Crew: The "cast" consists of actor Vincent
Guastaferro and the "crew" of editor Bruce Green. McLoughlin sets the tone at the
beginning when he asks: "Anybody have anything brilliant to say about this
sequence?" He ends up doing much of the talking, with some degree of overlap
with his solo commentary. Guastaferro contributes tales from the set, but Green
says relatively little. He does note at the outset that working on the previous film,
A New Beginning, was not a good experience, whereas he enjoyed working on
The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VI (480i; 1.78:1; 14:42): McLoughlin describes
getting the assignment, shooting the underwater sequences, location shooting in
Covington, Ga., various in-jokes and reshoots to add more deaths. C.J. Graham describes
his surprise last-minute casting as Jason.
Lost Tales from Camp Blood—Part 6 (1080p; 2.35:1; 7:17): The sixth entry in the
2009 series about an axe-wielding killer.
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited, Part III (1080p; 1.78:1; 9:36): The conclusion
of the mock TV documentary from
The Final Chapter
and A New Beginningextras.
Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th, Part VI (1080p; 1.78:1; 12:57): A
retrospective documentary featuring interviews with McLoughlin, actors Bob Larkin,
Nancy McLoughlin and David Kagen, and makeup effects artists Gabe Bartalos and Chris
Meeting Mr. Voorhees (1080p; 1.78:1; 2.46): McLoughlin's original ending to the film
was never shot and, after the reshoots mandated by producer Frank Mancuso, Jr., it would
no longer fit with the film. But McLoughlin created a version of it for home video fans
Slashed Scenes (1080p; 1.33:1; 6:06): Most of these were trims to tone down the
violence, not all of which were mandated by the MPAA. For example, on the
commentary, McLoughlin says that he trimmed the multiple decapitation scene, because
he didn't like the effect. Though mastered at 1080p, these are from a poor quality source.
Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer (480i; 1.78:1, enhanced; 1:43).
Although it was in the very nature of the Friday the 13th franchise that Jason Voorhees would
eventually become its hero, Jason Lives is arguably the film where that status was officially
cemented. The very title suggests it, with its triumphant outcry, almost begging for an
exclamation point, and Mancuso's instruction to McLoughlin never to make jokes at Jason's
expense was an implicit acknowledgment that Jason was the headliner. McLoughlin, who could
take a hint, went Mancuso one better, by turning Jason into James Bond in the opening titles (see
screenshot 6). Jason Lives has been faulted for being insufficiently gory, which was partly a
function of MPAA struggles but also a result of McLoughlin's approach to the film, which
favored atmosphere over blood and guts. McLoughlin compensated with a wicked sense of
humor that quickly disappeared from the series with his departure. The Blu-ray treatment is
superior and highly recommended.
Blu-ray bundles with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1 bundle)
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