What could be said about the Friday the 13th franchise? Besides all the blood, gore, sex, 80’s tropes, and predictably short lived characters that clue us in that we’re watching a classic slasher movie, but what else could be said, what is it that gets us sickos so thrilled to watch a Friday the 13th? Why? Because their awesome, plain and simple, and sure, we know what we’re walking into when we sit down to watch a 80’s slasher, but that also doesn’t mean the movies have to be horrible either. If you’re going to do a Friday the 13th film, you need to do it right. For starters, the story has to be good and it has to surround the man himself, Jason. The other players need to be believable as well, and last but not least, the movie must include the classic elements that make Friday the 13th special: outlandish kills, woods, folks walking off alone to investigate some strange noise they heard, and the sole and simple motive for Jason to take revenge on any and all camp counselors or anyone else dumb enough to be caught in the Camp Crystal Lake area. Friday the 13th part 6, in my opinion, does everything right, and here are the top ten reasons why.
1. The Storm- the return of Jason ought to be proceeded by a storm, if you plan on sticking with the classic motif, that is.
2. Lightening Pole Resurrection- nothing says science like a bit of galvanism to bring back the dead!
3. 007 Opening- cool directorial nod to a growing legacy.
4. Believable Characters- from spooked Tommy Jarvis, the overprotective town sheriff, the danger seeking daughter, Megan, and even the friendly camp staff, each and every one makes sense and fits perfectly into the story arch.
5. Damn Good Script- sure, we’re talking about an 80’s slasher here, not Stand by Me; however, you can easily tell that the writers took care with the plot development and pace. The story is smart and carried plenty of momentum.
6. American Express- nothing says “please don’t kill me” like pulling out your american express card.
7. Death- the controlled story does not disappoint for death. Each and every kill, all 11 of them, were done in gory horror fashion only Jason could pull off. My favorite has to be the triple decapitation with the machete.
8. Working Camp- oddly, in all of the other films, the camp is never up and running before Jason arrives. Typically, Jason has already killed off everyone before the camp opens, but not with part 6. Jason walks in like a kid at a candy store, leaving the kiddos with years of expensive therapy to come.
9. Gore- Paula’s death was the goriest, even though we never actually see much of Jason ripping her apart. What we do see is when the sheriff opens her cabin door and the mess that’s left behind tells the tale for us. Sometimes what we don’t see works better than what we do see. The over the top blood reminded me a little of Evil Dead 2 when Billie Bob (?) got pulled through the cellar door.
10. Jason Lives- as true to the title as it is to any classic slasher film. Spoilers — at the end, Jason is still alive, eyes wide, waiting for something or someone to free him from his watery grave.
The others Friday the 13’s are great in their own ways, but for me, part 6 is unquestionably one of the best in the series.