Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives comedically embraces the absurdity of the franchise, beginning with an opening in the style of James Bond. The original Friday the 13th film is now somewhat of an outlier in its namesake franchise. While its success served to really open the floodgates for the slasher sub-genre in the 1980s, the first Friday the 13th basically functions as a murder mystery that just happens to features lots of gore and nudity. As the films went on though, and Jason Voorhees became a horror icon, Friday the 13th sequels became less about scares and more about the thrill of seeing Jason claim victims in wonderfully brutal ways.
Despite that, it wasn't until 1986's Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives that the franchise finally stopped fighting this tide, and decided to fully explore its potential for comedy. Jason was basically a mascot for the horror genre by 1986, second only to Freddy Krueger in name recognition. It was no secret that he was the series' draw, as evidenced by Friday the 13th Part 5, which attempted to move on with a Jason copycat, and proceeded to bomb at the box office.
However, with Jason killed by Tommy Jarvis at the end of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Jason Lives presented writer/director Tom McLoughlin with the challenge of resurrecting the character in a way that didn't annoy fans. He accomplished this by having electricity zap Jason back to life, Frankenstein-style, and followed that with the funniest Friday the 13th movie to date.
Jason Lives' James Bond Opening Embraces the Absurdity of Friday the 13th
Long before Scream found success throwing in winking self-referential humor as part of its slasher recipe, Jason Lives expertly blended slasher and comedy into one exquisite dish. Nowhere is this better represented than the film's opening, which sees Jason get resurrected, rip a man's heart out of his chest, then quickly turn to face the camera. The camera then zooms in on Jason's eyes, and inside his eyeball, we see Jason walk to the left, stop in the center of the frame, and slash downward with his machete. The slash creates a splash of blood down the screen, in what's clearly meant to be a Jason version of James Bond's iconic "gunbarrel opening" sequence.
This James Bond spoof sets the stage for a Friday the 13th film that's completely unafraid to get silly, naming a camper who can't sleep Nancy in a nod to A Nightmare on Elm Street, referencing the then-popular American Express "don't leave home without it commercials," and having zombie Jason not know his own strength, leading the killer to rip a victim's arm off by accident. Jason Lives also stops to directly address the audience via a character that points out "some folks sure got a strange idea of entertainment". While Friday the 13th Part 7 would try to take things back in a serious direction, Friday the 13th Part 6 remains a fan favorite, partly because it's so clever and fun.