Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Great Unwatched: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Part of: Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan Box Set

Director: Tom McLoughlin

Runtime: 86 minutes

I'll admit, I had fully intended to get some work done while this played. However, I couldn't ever seem to find a decent time to stop watching and pick up my laptop. McLoughlin seems to get the appeal behind Jason Voorhees. Not the appeal behind the Friday the 13th films, mind you, which have a very generic sort of draw in that, up to this point, they'd been fairly rote killfests.

No, McLoughlin gets Jason as an urban mythological figure, a modern antihero. He's the beefy guy that the action hero goes up against in the film's longest fight scene, the one that seems to shrug off all direct physical assaults, often with a look of "oh please stop annoying me with your fists." The kind of guy who's usually only be defeated through ingenuity and sneakiness, except now he's in a movie where those two traits are in short supply and there's no Chuck Norris to send him back where he came from. McLoughlin essentially took what Jason had come to represent within the pop cultural zeitgeist and made it canon -- what was once a seemingly unstoppable killer became an utterly unstoppable killer, thanks to a borrowed plot element from Ghost of Frankenstein and a helpful dose of inexplicable zombiedom. Then he stirred in a winking self-knowledge of both Jason's new icon status (the James Bond pastiche right before the title) and the horror genre in general (the "Karloff's" store).

It's a surprisingly entertaining film -- more entertaining than it has any right to be, given that its the sixth film in a generally mediocre series. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks -- or at least give the old tricks a little more shine and sparkle.

Worth the Purchase: Yup.

Stats: 9/400 movies watched in seven days.
Currently Projected Completion Date: January 1, 2010
Completion Date Goal: February 25, 2010

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