Horror Sequels We Love: “Friday the 13th Part IV: Jason Lives”

Here is another first for, shortly after seeing Nightmare 4, I had heard about Jason, mainly through the name Friday the 13th, since by 1988 it had turned into a TV Series. I was flipping through the channels and saw this on TV, forget the channel, but I remember noticing Thom Matthews from Return of the Living Dead and than a reanimated corpse named Jason. I have loved the franchise since, from its gory nature to the attempts it makes at telling a story in a couple films.

The other reason I note this film over the others(which I may get too later)is that this begins a new era in the franchise, its a misconception that Jason is an immortal killer since the beginning, when he didn’t actually drown, the killer from part 2-4 was in fact a living psychopath, this film introduces him as a being with supernatural elements, such as rising from the grave and not easily defeated. Also we get Tom McCloughlin’s blend of comedy and horror, which is always fun, if done right (see Seed of Chucky to know what NOT to do).

Like Nightmare 4, this was when the franchise became a parody of itself, once again showcasing an amazing soundtrack, led by Freddy’s stepfather himself Alice Cooper with “He’s Back(The Man Behind the Mask)” a cool ass video with it(which I’m still pissed hasn’t been released on DVD, but hey its on my Ipod)and an opening title scene references another great franchise, Voorhees, Jason Voorhees.

The characters in this film are what you expect, they are mainly just here to die, however, we do get a bit of a twist, the crazy and wild child is a survivor and the caring and good teen is not one(if you haven’t seen it, you’ll see). Tommy Jarvis and Megan are a great combo, having not seen any other films the first time I saw this, I had no prior knowledge of Feldman or the Jarvis character, but Thom Matthews does a great job with playing the hero role.

The effects are cool too, I really miss the practical effects the 80’s and before gave us, the CGI really doesn’t add anything to it, except maybe a bigger budget. CJ Graham isn’t a bad Jason either, I know the thing people don’t realize is that, while a stunt man playing a role mainly consisting of walking and killing isn’t that hard, giving the character a personality is, Kane Hodder has done the best, with Ted White (Part 4)and Derek Mears(Remake)coming behind him, CJ is definitely part of the top 5 and while this isn’t the best sequel, its still part of the top 3.

—Eric Curto



“Dig him up? Does he think I’m a fart-head?”

First of all, I want to apologize to my dear horror readers out there, all three of them. I started reviewing the Friday the 13th series last month and for some reason I just randomly stopped at Part 5. “Where’s the love for the rest of the series?” you may ask. Well the love is starting once again tonight with my review of the sixth installment of the series that just won’t die, Jason Lives. Gone is the pseudo-Jason from New Beginning and in is a different kind of Jason. Jason as a zombie? Does it work or should Jason have been left dying in his grave?

Tommy is back, out of the institution and a quest. His quest is to finally put an end to the Camp Crystal Lake murders once and for all. He is back to finally kill off Jason. Oh yeah…like that worked so well in Parts 4 and 5…Tommy decides to return to the grave to make sure Jason is dead and, wouldn’t you know it, accidentally brings him back to life. Now it’s up to Tommy to stop Jason’s mindless killing and put him back where he belongs.

“Jason Lives” is a very strange entry into the Friday the 13th saga. There is hardly any blood, no nudity (Friday the 13th first?) and the film plays the deaths more for laughs than it does for scares. The film works because it realizes that Jason is no longer scary, so why not just make fun of the whole situation? It is the first Friday movie to even get a little “meta”. Example, before the caretaker is about to die he has a heart to heart with his liquor bottle, “Darling, you’re going to be the death of me. But what a lovely way to go, huh?” Of course, he tosses the bottle behind him and Jason catches it and stabs him with it. The humor doesn’t always work (the paintball scene is painful to watch) but effort is appreciated. As it stands, it’s definitely one of the better entries in the series.