Released in 1986, Jason Lives is the sixth entry in the long-running Friday the 13th movie franchise. Directed by Tom McLoughlin, the film is considered a fan-favourite chapter in the series and sees the return of Jason Voorhees, following the horror icon’s death in Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984).
If you’re a fan of the movie then you will know it is a more humorous instalment than previous entries, with self-referential gags and a more jovial approach to the material. It is also the movie in which Jason Voorhees becomes somewhat ‘superhuman’ – a trait that would remain with the series moving forward.
But what else do you know about Jason Lives? Well, whether you love Jason Lives, or you are new to the movie, there is always room to expand your knowledge, right? For this reason, I am presenting thirteen facts about the picture, to give you an additional insight into the fiendishly frightening film.
Tommy Jarvis, the main protagonist in Jason Lives, appeared in two previous Friday the 13th movies. Actor Thom Mathews took on the role for this entry, following on from Corey Feldman who originated the character in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, and John Shepherd who played the role in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985).
To date, Jarvis is the longest running, recurring protagonist in the Friday the 13th movie series.
Jason Lives is certainly a movie of its word – it promised a Jason resurrection in the title and that is exactly what the film serves up.
It only takes six-and-a-half minutes before Jason Voorhees is reanimated by a lightning strike, and even by the end of the film, he remains alive.
What’s in a name?
In the movie, Camp Crystal Lake – the setting of the previous Friday the 13th movies – receives a name change to Forest Green. The name change is to try and distance the camp from its bad reputation, following Jason’s frequent killing sprees.
The name change doesn’t work, and Jason continues to murder campers. Perhaps it would have worked if only someone had told Jason he was bad for business.
Lizabeth Mott, the first female victim in Jason Lives, is played by Nancy McLoughlin, the wife of director Tom McLoughlin. In the scene, Lizabeth is killed when Jason impales her with a metal railing.
Actor Tony Goldwyn briefly appears in Jason Lives, playing the role of Darren Robinson. Goldwyn has an extensive acting career, which includes voicing the lead character in Disney’s Tarzan (1999), but is perhaps best known for playing the despicable Carl Bruner in Ghost (1990).
The men behind Jason
In Jason Lives, Jason Voorhees is played by two different people.Stuntman Dan Bradley was initially brought in to play Jason, but shortly into production he was replaced by actor C. J. Graham.
Although the majority of Jason’s scenes in the completed movie are the work of Graham, Bradley does still feature in the picture. His work can be found in the paintball sequence.
Perchance to dream
During one scene in the movie, one of the young camp children, a girl called Nancy, dreams that she is being chased by a monster. The girl’s name is a nod to A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – a film in which the monstrous Freddy Krueger invades the dreams of children, including a girl called Nancy.
The music man
Composer Harry Manfredini provided the score for Jason Lives. Manfredini previously composed the score for the five Friday the 13th films (1980 – 1985) which proceeded Jason Lives. He would later go on to compose the score for three additional entries, Friday the 13th: The New Blood (1988), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), and Jason X (2001), as well as provide music for 2017’s Friday the 13th: The Game.
The soundtrack to Jason Lives includes three Alice Cooper songs. One of these songs – He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) – plays out during the end credits.
Jason Lives wasn’t director Tom McLoughlin’s only brush with Friday the 13th. While McLoughlin only directed one entry in the Friday the 13th movie series, he did direct four episodes of the Friday the 13th television series. The episodes included the Season Two stories Master of Disguise, and The Playhouse, as well as the two-part Season Three story, The Prophecies.
Following the disappointing critical response to the previous entry, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, director Tom McLoughlin attempted to make Jason Lives more appealing to fans by injecting some fun into the movie. This approach not only proved successful back in 1986, the film remains one of the best-loved entries in the series.
Read all about it
When Jason Lives hit cinema screens back in ’86, the film was accompanied by a tie-in novel. The book – written by Simon Hawke – included scenes of Jason’s childhood, as well as an appearance from Jason’s father. This material was not included in the movie.
And finally, director Tom McLoughlin shot three endings for Jason Lives.The first two endings left Jason’s fate ambiguous, but this was something McLoughlin was not comfortable with.
The director ultimately went with the third ending, which made it clear that Jason survived the events of the movie. The character was kept alive to pave the way for another sequel – which arrived in 1987 in the shape of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.
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