Sunday, October 13, 2013


Every horrorhound's favorite month is upon us, and to celebrate, I'll be dishing out a personal pick from the genre for every day in October. Some will be obvious and rather unoriginal (sorry that I like movies other people like), while some will be a little more oddball and off-the-wall. Some may even challenge your idea of what constitutes a "horror" movie. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the month with some good movies, even if they aren't ones I recommend!

Today's Pick: Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)

Even though it's not a Friday, I felt compelled to dedicate the 13th day of 31 Days of Drew to the man who made hockey masks synonymous with slaughtered teenagers: Jason Voorhees. For a while, I debated using this space to make my argument for Friday the 13 Part V: A New Beginning (ignore the fake Jason aspect and it's a great sequel and a good entry in the franchise!), but then I realized that if you're going to watch only one Jason movie this month, Part VI is the only contender.

Tommy Jarvis (The Return of the Living Dead's Thom Matthews) is all grown up and ignoring the last film's ending, determined to prove once and for all that Jason Voorhees is deader than disco. How to prove that? By digging up his corpse, of course! Well, as luck would have it, lightning strikes Jason just when he gets exhumed, causing him to be revived and more badass than ever! He uses his new found zombie powers to hack and slash his way through anyone with more than two minutes of screen time. If you've seen one Friday the 13th film, you know what you're getting into with this one...mostly.

The reason Jason Lives is the prime pick of the series is because it's the first one to step out of its tonal comfort zone and play things for straight up laughs, but never at the expense of Jason. The opening scene not only sets this up perfectly (Jason punches a guy's beating heart out of his chest!), but so do the opening credits. They directly parody the iconic James Bond opening and it works amazingly. It's both cool and funny, and solidifies who the real hero in these films are, or at least the character we pay to see. This film upgrades Jason from psycho killer to full-on monster, and that's not only visually exciting but also creatively stimulating.

And we get a whole lot of on-screen Jason in this outing. While he participates in some hilarious moments (the triple decapitation being one of the highlights), he retains his aura of menace and never becomes hokey. This film really established Jason as a force of nature, an unstoppable bullet train of mass murder, and that depiction would become the standard for the remaining films in the regular franchise. It doesn't hurt that this film not only has a serious boost in production value, but also gets a writer/director (Tom McLoughlin, who made the pretty fun One Dark Night) who actually gives a damn about his characters. You can tell he's a fan of horror movies just by his audacious opening that feels straight out of a classic Universal monster movie from the 40's. It's the kind of craftsmanship that helped maintain Jason as one of horror's biggest icons.

I could do an entire series on the Friday the 13th films (maybe one day, when I have an entire weekend to kill), but I know that Jason Lives would undoubtedly come out on top. It's campy, but not self-deprecating and proves that any character can live on when you have genuinely invested parties behind the camera. I don't know what else to say other than get yourself a copy and treat yourself right this Sunday the 13th!

For tomorrow's pick, we'll visit the Land of the Rising Sun and watch one of the craziest movies ever made. Hint: It's actually not something by Takashi Miike!

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