In 1986, Jason Voorhees, the hockey-masked maniac who terrorized Camp Crystal Lake, found himself squaring off against Tommy Jarvis for a second time – years after a younger Tommy slaughtered him with his own machete. In 1991, Freddy Krueger, the Elm Street slasher who terrorized in dreams, found himself facing off against his daughter for the first time. And in 1995, Michael Myers, the Haddonfield babysitter stalker, saw himself meeting Tommy Wallace for the second time.
So what do these three films have in common? They’re the sixth installments in their respected franchises.
Jason lives. Freddy dies. And Michael Myers is cursed.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the sixth entry trifecta: FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES, FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE and HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS.
JASON LIVES, written and directed by Tom McLoughlin, starts off with Tommy Jarvis, now played by Thom Mathews (Corey Feldman and John Shepherd previously) on his way to the cemetery with a friend where the remains of Jason Voorhees are buried – and he’s on a mission – to destroy Jason once and for all.
The two dig up Jason’s body and Tommy’s bright idea is to stab him a bunch of times with a piece of the nearby rod-iron fence. In an act of pure genius, he leaves the rod in Jason’s chest while he douses the body in gasoline, and just when he pulls out his match book it begins to rain – storm, rather. Tommy can’t get the matches to light. And a thunderous blast of lightning hits the rod. And boom. Zombie Jason is reborn.
The majority of the film takes place at Camp Forest Green, the newly renamed Camp Crystal Lake. And this is the only entry in the franchise to take place while the camp is in season. Yes, there are campers. Granted, we really only get to see the younger kids. Which, in its own way, is a little more threatening than a bunch of fornicating teenagers (but hey, we get plenty of that with the counselors).
What really sets JASON LIVES apart from the rest of the series is how it’s so tongue-in-cheek. Meta in all the ways that made SCREAM so great – but it did it ten years earlier.
At the climax of Jason’s hacking and slashing, Tommy lures his nemesis out into the lake. Equipped with a chain tied to a large rock, Tommy’s new plan is to give Jason a watery grave, for the second time. And at the end of the day, Tommy prevails. Jason is chained to the bottom of the lake. Tommy has won…again.
Next up, in FREDDY’S DEAD, directed by Rachel Talalay, Freddy Krueger found himself squaring off against his past in the form of his daughter, Maggie (played by Lisa Zane).
But that portion of the plot isn’t made clear until the end – instead, we learn Freddy has a child – and we’re lead to believe that it’s the film’s other central character, John Doe (played by Shon Greenblatt).
The sixth installment of the NIGHTMARE series decided to go full-on comedy for the most part, and for that reason, people either love or hate it. Honestly, I’m in the middle. I like it, but it’s nowhere near my favorite Freddy flick.
The film takes place at a youth rehab center…where troubled kids are sent to get ‘get their act together’. One of the kids wakes up on the outskirts of Springwood, with no memory whatsoever. So he’s referred to as John Doe. He keeps getting drawn back to Springwood – Elm Street, to be specific. And that’s when all hell breaks loose.
The film’s climax takes place in the basement of the youth detention center, where Maggie regains full memory of her psychotic father. And she puts and end to Freddy, once and for all. That is, until FREDDY VS. JASON in 2003 (I’ll bypass NEW NIGHTMARE since it takes place in the ‘real world’).
And lastly, in 1995, in THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS, we’re taken back to Smith Grove Sanitarium where the origin of Michael’s evil is finally revealed – and Myers comes face to face with a boy he hasn’t dealt with since 1978, Tommy Doyle (this time played by newcomer Paul Rudd).
The majority of the film takes place in the now-rehabbed Myers house, where Laurie Strode’s uncle and his family are living. The film’s main protagonist is Kara Strode (played by Marianne Hagan) – she discovers that the same evil force that sent Michael down is path of destruction as a child is now after her small son, Danny, as well.
Living across the street from my the Strodes is Tommy Doyle, who lives in a boarding house. He’s been tracking Myers for almost twenty years now. His room is painted with newspaper clipping and his computer is set up to track the ancient druid constellations, in which he believes to be the source of Michael’s evil. More specifically, the curse of Thorn.
The sixth entry in the HALLOWEEN series is also known for having one of the more hated openings in the series as well. Our heroine from HALLOWEEN 4 & 5, Jamie Lloyd (played by Danielle Harris in 4 & 5, J.C. Brandy in CURSE), bites the bullet in the extended opening sequence.
The climax of the film takes place in a lab in the sanitarium, where Paul Rudd’s Tommy Doyle ends up beating Michael into a bloody pulp with a metal pipe. Pretty anti-climactic, really.
So there you have it, a rundown of the sixth installments of FRIDAY THE 13TH, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and HALLOWEEN. Jason and Freddy took themselves pretty light-hearted and Michael Myers was dead-serious.