You can see our other Friday the 13th lists hereToday, it’s time for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives  (1986), aka, the one where Jason becomes a straight up zombie

Once you sever the trust you’ve built up with an audience it’s hard to ever win them back.  Paramount found that out not only when they went back on their promise that Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter would in fact be the final chapter but also when Part V: A New Beginning was a Jason-less creative disaster.  Some fans were simply done with the whole stupid franchise after that one-two punch to the gut, but from Paramount’s perspective New Beginning still grossed 10 times over its budget.  Of course there’d be another one.

[My sources from this point forward are: Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th documentary & the companion coffee table book of the same name]

1. Bringing Jason back was a directive delivered down to the producers from Paramount
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Let’s just all agree this never happened, mmmkay

After A New Beginning, Paramount decided the whole “Tommy Jarvis is the new Jason” nonsense was done, sending marching orders to Friday the 13th Executive Producer Frank Mancuso, Jr.: Get the dang series back on track by resurrecting Jason.  He passed this on to Tom McLoughlin (One Dark Knight), hiring him to write and direct, letting him bring Jason back however he saw fit.  McLoughlin went full-on Frankstein with it, using lightning to resurrect ole hockey mask Voorhees.

friday 13th 6 jason lives

To be clear, Jason wasn’t actually buried with his hockey mask. Tommy brings it with him to the grave

2. Part 5‘s survivors were originally supposed to come back

New Beginning left 3 characters standing – Tommy (John Shepherd), Pam (Melanie Kinnaman), and high-pitched scream expert, but mostly lovable little kid Reggie (Shavar Ross).  Both Shepherd and Kinnaman had signed up for two films, and Kinnaman was told her character would return in Part VI to pull Tommy back from the brink of insanity. Ross assumed Reggie would be brought back to be killed off, but others claim his return was never in the cards (kind of like “Kill off a kid?  We’re not monsters!”).

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Pam and Reggie, never seen again

But then Shepherd, who actually liked Tom McLoughlin’s script, decided not to return, thinking himself better than the material and his work in Part V unappreciated.  He later became a preacher and producer of faith-based films, but his walking away from Part VI totally screwed over Kinnaman, whose contract was canceled.  Her presence would only draw attention to how different Tommy Jarvis looked, the part having been re-cast with Thom Matthews.

3. It’s the first/only Friday the 13th to have actual children at the camp
friday 13th 6 kids

Would Jason really kill little kids?

Other than prologues/flashbacks, no Friday the 13th film had ever reached the point where actual little kids showed up to the summer camp.  The counselors were always killed before it ever got that far.

4. It was originally only supposed to have 13 kills

The finished film was far too tame for Paramount and Mancuso’s liking.  So, McLoughlin’s fun idea to only have 13 kills was put to rest after 2 days of forced re-shoots to add more kills (Martin the gravedigger, the engaged couple on a nighttime picnic) and gore (Jason twisting Sissy’s neck around and lifting her head straight off her body).

5. The original title was rejected for sounding too religious

McLoughlin wrote the script across the Christmas holiday of 1985, coming up with horrific kills and watching all the prior Fridays for research purposes while sitting in his living room next to his Christmas tree.  Perhaps it was this atmosphere or his Catholic upbringing that inspired it, but when he turned in his script it was titled Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Has Risen.  Paramount found that to be in bad taste, forcing a new subtitle: Jason Lives.

6. The little girl named Nancy was not a Nightmare on Elm Street homage

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There are horror movie easter eggs throughout Jason Lives, characters named after horror director Mick Garris (Critters 2The Stand), a town named after Halloween‘s John Carpenter, and a random grocery store taking its name from Boris Karloff, aka, Universal’s Frankenstein.  However, the cute, nightmare-stricken little girl named Nancy was NOT named after Heather Langemkamp’s Nightmare on Elm Street Nancy.  When writing the script, McLoughlin simply thought of the girl as a little angel, and the little angel in his own life was his wife, Nancy McLoughlin.  Awwwww.  Then he almost killed her.

7. The director’s wife was almost killed for real during her on-camera death
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Nancy McLoughlin as she looks today, explaining how much shit she’s given her husband ever since for almost killing her

A young couple have the audacity to drive their car through Jason’s neck of the woods.  So, he murders them, as is his way.  The first to go is a young Tony Goldwyn as the boyfriend, and the girlfriend, played by Nancy McLoughlin, is forced out of the car and dies with her face submerged in a puddle of muddy water.  During this process, Jason lunges at her with a very real, very sharp spear through the car’s windshield.  The stuntman was supposed to aim at the opposite side of McLoughlin in the car’s front seat, but either due to the impact from the windshield or the stuntman’s military training causing him to stay on target the spear changed trajectory, re-directing toward McLoughlin, who narrowly avoided a very real impalement.

8. Darcy DeMoss had been fired from Part V for not doing nudity, and then they turned around and asked her to go topless in Part VI 
part6DeMoss

Darcy DeMoss does have one of Jason Lives’ best death scenes

Not only had Darcy DeMoss been cast in Friday the 13th Part V but so had her boyfriend at the time, the two actually cast to play boyfriend and girlfriend in the film.  He ended up in the film while DeMoss did not because, well, I’ll let her explain it:

I was originally cast for a role in Part V, the part that DebiSue Voorhees eventually played.  During my audition, Danny Steinmann asked me to lift up my top and show him my breasts.  I said, “Excuse me, no, I cannot do that.  It’s incredibly unprofessional, and my agents didn’t tell me about it.  You can call my agent, and if he OK’s it, I’m fine with that.”  Then at my wardrobe fitting, Danny propositioned me.  He wanted me to have dinner with him-I hadn’t even read the script yet.  And the next day, I didn’t have a job, let’s just put it that way.  But I got paid for it, so it’s fine.

The casting directors made it up to her by bringing her back for Jason Lives, and she was not going to be required to do any nudity.  But sure enough on the day they filmed her sex scene the producers forced Tom McLoughlin to ask her to go topless.

Nik

Darcy DeMoss – Ooh la la

She’d done nudity before, baring her breasts in her first ever movie (Hardbodies), but you don’t spring that kind of thing on an actress without first clearing it with her agent, especially not after the casting couch crap Part V‘s director had pulled with her.  So, she said no, but this time it didn’t cost her her job.

9. David Kagen was actually his on-screen daughter’s real life acting coach
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Jennifer Cooke and David Kagen in Jason Lives

Only 16 years separate David Kagen and Jennifer Cooke meaning he wasn’t quite old enough to really play her father, but that’s exactly what happened, Kagen playing Sheriff Garris to Cooke’s Megan Garris in Jason Lives.  Kagen explained how that came about:

I hadn’t done much in feature film when I auditioned for Tom McLoughlin, but as it turned out Jennifer Cooke had been an acting student of mine […] And I remember on Jason Lives they asked her, ‘Which actor do you want to work with for the part of your father?’ Jennifer said, ‘David.’  So it worked out.”

10. They shot part of the motorboat scene in the director’s father’s pool

The climactic scene in which Megan kills Jason with the outboard motor was actually filmed in 3 different locations: the underwater shots were filmed in a temperature-controlled tank in Los Angeles, the above water shots were filmed in a murky Georgia lake, and the shots of the motor actually cutting Jason’s mask/neck were filmed in Tom McLaughlin’s father’s swimming pool, actually ruining the pool filter in the process.

11. Jason was re-cast for being too fat

Stunt coordinator Dan Bradley played Jason on the first day of shooting, which was all the paintball stuff.  However, when Frank Mancuso saw the dailies he thought Bradley looked too fat:

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Jason has far too much junk in his trunk

They recast the part with C.J. Graham, a restaurant manager with no stunt experience but a military background as an Army soldier.  That made him the perfect soldier-type to take orders and execute stunts with military precision. Bradley’s paintball stuff was not re-shot meaning he does play Jason for a very brief part of the film.  Otherwise, it’s all C.J. Graham.

12. The alternate endings included the introduction of Jason’s dad

The shooting script included a coda back at the police station where Deputy Rick would still be locked in the jail cell.  A door opens, and Rick begins yelling, “Megan, Megan, let me out!” either meaning Jason is there to kill him, or it’s just a quick joke about how Tommy and Megan probably totally forgot they’d left Rick in that jail cell. Second, in the script after Jason is defeated we were supposed to see the following:

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Jason’s dad – towering man with no lines of dialogue

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Standing over Jason and Pamela Voorhees’ headstones.

Papa Voorhees giving the money to Martin

Handing money to Martin the gravedigger before walking away – a line from Martin would have ID’ed the man as Jason’s dad

This would have been the first ever depiction of the father, and the money exchange would have explained  a continuity error – Part V says Jason was cremated while Part VI opens on him rotting in a grave.  Jason’s unnamed father clearly paid, in secret, for his son to be buried.  The producers vetoed the idea before it was ever filmed because they didn’t really want to have to deal with the ramifications of this ending in the sequel.

13. Part VI was very influential on Scream

Part VI is an intentionally funny movie chock-full of sight gags, like: friday-the-13th-part-6_2 And: images (5) And:

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Future victims with headbands which literally label them as “Dead”

And:

American Express - Don't leave home without it

American Express – Don’t leave home without it

Plus, characters say things like, “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know not to trust the scary guy in the middle of the road,” or a group of kids fearful they might soon die ask each other, “So, what were you going to be when you grew up?”  There was even some overt meta-humor with the gravedigger asking, “Why’d they have to go and dig up Jason?” before breaking the fourth wall and addressing the camera, “Some folks sure got a strange idea of entertainment.”

On top of that, McLoughlin also tried to establish a set of franchise rules (e.g., Jason can only be defeated by returning him to the place of his death/birth – Crystal Lake) while also thumbing his nose at slasher morality tales rules where people sin and are then slashed.  Instead, in his film almost all of the victims die for no good reason other than they were in Jason’s way. For all of these reasons and more, McLoughlin was actually offered the chance to direct Scream in the mid-90s, the gig Wes Craven eventually accepted.  He declined, but during that process he met Kevin Williamson, who admitted that the fantastically self-aware Part VI was an influential film for him on his path to eventually writing Scream.

The final damage:

  • Body Count: 18
  • Box Office: Paramount promoted the heck out of Jason Lives once they saw it and realized it was possibly their first ever genuinely great Friday the 13th film.  However, audiences had not forgotten A New Beginning, causing Jason Lives to only make $19.4 million domestic (like $43.8 million at 2014 ticket prices) on a $3 million budget.  It was the first Friday the 13th film to not debut at #1 at the domestic box office.  It continued a trend of diminishing box office returns for every Friday sequel after The Final Chapter.

Next Friday, we’ll tell you why they made Part 7 Jason Vs. Carrie.

You can also use the following links to check out all of our other “13 Things…” lists: Friday the 13thPart 2Part 3The Final ChapterA New BeginningJason LivesNew BloodJason Takes ManhattanJason Goes to HellJason X, Freddy Vs. Jason, and Friday the 13th (2009).

The Making of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives:

Alice Cooper’s “The Man Behind the Mask”:

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

24 Comments

  1. […] We previously covered Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, and Jason Lives.  Now, it’s time for: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), aka, Jason Vs. […]

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  2. […] long simmering questions: Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood.  Now, it’s time for Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes […]

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  4. […] long simmering questions: Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, and Jason Goes to Hell (to browse the prior lists head […]

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  5. […] lists: Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason […]

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  8. […] Friday, we’ll tell you how Part 6 turned out to be an awesome damn movie (no, seriously, it’s a cult classic of the slasher […]

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  9. […] Things…” lists: Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason […]

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  12. […] childhood with his single mother in the past.  The film series never discussed Jason’s dad, although Part 6 was originally supposed to, and didn’t get into the rest of Jason’s family until the truly atrocious Jason Goes to […]

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  13. […] 3: Dream Warriors, Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason […]

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  14. […] 4: The Dream Master, Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason […]

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  15. […] 5: The Dream Child, Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason […]

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  16. […] The Final Nightmare, Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason […]

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  17. […] New Nightmare, Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason […]

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  18. […] New Nightmare, Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X, and Freddy Vs. […]

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  19. Why does the 16 year age difference mean he is to young to play her dad a lot of 16 year olds have kids

    Reply

    1. That’s a fair point. I feel like I might have reached a little with the comment about him being 16 years older than her spilling over into “Is he actually old enough to play her dad?” territory. The age thing doesn’t really matter, to be honest, considering how rarely actors play to their actual age. The more interesting bit of trivia to me is how he had actually been her acting coach and then ended up playing her dad. That must have made for an interesting dynamic on set together.

      Reply

  20. It was also released on the same year as Star Trek IV-The Voyage Home. I thought up of a theory to link Jason Lives and A New Beginning to Star trek IV via time travel and the ripple effect, as in altering future history,

    Reply

    1. Well, don’t stop there. What was your theory? Any kind of Star Trek/Friday the 13th mash-up is instantly intriguing to me.

      Reply

      1. My theory is this:

        After the whale probe began to screw things up in the 23rd Century, the Enterprise crew, onboard a captured Klingon Bird of Prey, go back in time via the slingshot effect. My guess that the slingshot effect around the sun created some sort of ripple effect, altering certain events via said effect. This included the murders in Pinehurst. maybe that slingshot effect (and that trippy sequence involving melting heads and a body diving down water) somewhat prevented Timmy Jarvis from murdering Pam. I believe that body that dived into water in the sequence could be that of Tommy Jarvis.

  21. “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know not to trust the scary guy in the middle of the road,”

    The comment was actually about him wearing a mask, not about him standing in the middle of the road.

    After seeing a few people playing the new game, I decided to watch the movies all over again. When I got to part 2 and had a bunch of questions about Jason’s age and how he came back to life, a little Google search brought me here. Now I read these articles after I watch each movie. I also found some mistakes in the wiki for part 2, made an account and fixed them. As I read this and that immediately after watching the movies, the mistakes were more apparent to me. I’m enjoying the articles, thank you for writing them.

    Reply

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