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13 Things You May Not Know About Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Posted on the 07 March 2014 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

Since Paramount plans on releasing a 13th Friday the 13th film next year we’ve been looking back at prior Friday films in search of trivia and answers to long simmering questions. We previously covered Friday the 13thPart 2, Part 3, The Final Chapter, and A New Beginning.  Now, it’s time for what is honestly our personal favorite of the entire franchise: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), aka, the one where Jason first becomes a straight up zombie.

[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


Let’s just all agree that this never happened, mmmkay

Paramount saw the weak, though still profitable business for A New Beginning, and decided the whole “Tommy Jarvis is the new Jason” nonsense was done.  They instructed Friday the 13th Executive Producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. to get the series back on track by resurrecting Jason.  Mancuso hired Tom McLoughlin (One Dark Knight) to write and direct, offering him only one directive, “You have to bring Jason back from the dead-however you want to do it.”  McLoughlin, due to his love for gothic horror and the old Universal monsters, went full-on Frankenstein with it, having Jason revived by lightning.

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).

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Pam and Reggie, never seen again

Paramount was contractually obligated to offer Part VI to Shepherd, but he declined, thinking himself better than the material and his work in Part V unappreciated (he ultimately became a preacher and producer of faith-based films).  That kind of screwed over Kinnaman, whose contract was canceled since her character had been connected to the Shepherd version of Tommy Jarvis, a role they recast with Thom Matthews.  Contrary to popular belief, Kinnaman was told her character would return and pull Tommy from the brink of insanity rather than get killed right away.  Shavar Ross claims Reggie was meant to return just to get killed, which is why his father declined on his behalf, although others claim Reggie was never going to come back mostly because, “Are you crazy?  No one wants to see child-slaying in a Friday the 13th!”  Speaking of which…

3. First Friday the 13th to have actual children at the camp

friday 13th 6 kids

Other than prologues/flashbacks, this is the first time the summer camp setting of Friday the 13th actually had little kids around

McLoughlin had the children around to up the tension – would Jason really kill little kids?

4. It was originally only supposed to have 13 kills

McLoughlin thought it would be fun if there were only 13 kills in the film, but his finished film was far too tame for Paramount and Mancuso’s liking.  So, he was forced to do 2 days of re-shoots to add more kills – Martin the gravedigger, and the recently engaged couple on a nighttime picnic.  Plus, Sissy’s previously hinted at demise was now depicted with Jason memorably twisting her neck around and lifting her head straight off her body

5. Where did the James Bond parody opening credits come from?

friday 13th 6 james bond 1

According to McLoughin, “I wanted everyone to know upfront from the opening credits that this was a sort of parody of another well-established series of movies, James Bond.  So, we came up with the opening shot where we go right into Jason’s eye like it’s the gun barrel sequence in a Bond film.  I also thought it would get me off the sights of a myriad of critics who were ready with shotguns to blow my head off.”

friday 13th 6 james bond 2

6. There are horror movie references galore throughout

  • Megan Garris (Jennifer Cooke) is named after horror film director Mick Garris (Critters 2The Stand), who wasn’t very well known at the time but was friends with McLoughlin
  • Cunninghman Road is referenced at one point as an homage to Sean Cunninghman, director/producer of the first Friday the 13th
  • Similarly, the town of Carpenter is referenced by the Sheriff  (David Kagen) as an homage to John Carpenter (Halloweeen)
  • A grocery store, Karloff’s, referenced by Tommy is an homage to Boris Karloff, aka, Universal’s Frankenstein
  • Naming one of the characters Sissy was an homage to Carrie star Sissy Spacek

However, that little girl, Nancy, who has the nightmares is NOT named after Heather Lankemcamp’s lead character from the first Nightmare on Elm Street.  McLoughlin simply thought of the girl as a little angel, and the little angel in his life was his wife, Nancy McLoughlin.  Awwwwwwwwww.  Although, that seems less sweet after you read…

7. The director’s wife was almost killed for real during her death scene


Nancy McLoughlin as she looks today, explaining how much shit she’s given her husband ever since for almost killing her

Among Jason’s many victims is a young couple who have the audacity to drive their car through his neck of the woods (he’s a tad bit territorial).  A young Tony Goldwyn dies first as the boyfriend, and the girlfriend, played by Nancy McLoughlin, is chased from her car, ultimately dying with her face submerged beneath a pool of muddy water.  During this process, Jason lunges at the girl with a very real, very sharp spear through a car windshield.  The stuntman was supposed to aim for the driver’s side of the front seat, and McLoughlin was simply supposed to move out of the way.  However, 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 on the passenger side.  She barely dodged a very real impalement.

8. The first/only Friday the 13th film which features absolutely no nudity

This is the best you get, from the only sex scene:


Darcy DeMoss – Ooh la la

9. The one sex scene stars a girl who was fired for refusing to do nudity in Part V

Under pressure from the producers, while filming the sex scene director Tom McLoughlin casually asked if maybe Darcy DeMoss would do it topless.  This triggered uncomfortable flashbacks for her.  You see, DeMoss had been the original choice for the role Tina in Part 5.  Then, during casting director Danny Steinmann asked her to remove her top to verify her breasts met his, um, criteria, but she declined since that hadn’t been cleared with her agent.  The very next day her agent received a notice that DeMoss had lost the part because she wasn’t voluptuous enough, though few are compared to who got the part – DebiSue Voorhees.  DeMoss again stood her ground with Part VI since that kind of thing needed to be cleared beforehand and included in her contract in the film so that she could be compensated for doing any kind of nudity.  She said no, and McLoughlin was happy to film the scene sans nudity.  Plus, she got one of the film’s best deaths:


Jason forcing Darcy to look in the mirror and tell her what she sees, “Um, a woman about to die?”

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:


Of course, that’s in no way a fat man, but it is a bigger caboose than usual for Jason

So, they recast the part with C.J. Graham, a restaurant manager with no stunt experience but a military background as an Army soldier (making 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

First, 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:


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


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.  The explanation: Jason’s unnamed father secretly paid 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.  However, the sequence made it into the film’s novelization, and the 2009 Deluxe Edition DVD uses storyboard art and voice-over work to complete the scene

13. Part VI was very influantial on Scream

Part VI is an intentionally funny movie chock-full of sight gags, like:



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Their headbands read “Dead” because they’ve been killed in the paintball game, but it’s really comedic foreshadowing


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 for Jason Lives?

  • 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 been so thoroughly burned by A New Beginning many would simply never return.  So, it only made $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 atop the domestic  weekend box office top 10.  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.

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

Alice Cooper’s Song fro the Soundtrack:

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