When it comes to horror movies, there are plenty of classic horror icons that people tend to think of first. For some, it's Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise. For others, it’s Ghostface from the Scream series. For someone like me, who has watched plenty of the best horror movies of all time, I think of several icons, including the two that were already mentioned, but one other always comes to mind as well, and that’s Jason from the Friday the 13th movies.
While the character as we know of today with the hockey mask has only been around since the third movie, the legend of Jason has existed since the first film and continued to become even bigger as time went on and more members of the horror community began to watch the franchise. Now, more than forty years later, there are several films in this big horror series that I’m sure fans are wondering how to watch.
If you’re looking for the movies that follow the legendary Jason Voorhees, here is how you can watch the Friday the 13th movies in order, starting at the very beginning.
Friday The 13th (1980)
In this legendary slasher film from 1980, a group of summer camp counselors are hunted down one by one by a killer who is unknown, as they try to reopen a camp that experienced a death long ago. The movie stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, and more, and is directed by Sean S. Cunningham.
You have to start the Friday the 13th binge right and begin with the first film out of all of them. Unfortunately, the original Friday the 13th isn’t available to stream anywhere, like many of the other picks on this list, but it is available to rent or buy on Amazon, so you can either get this classic horror film for a few days or own it for life.
Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)
Next up on our countdown, we have Friday the 13th Part 2, which came out only a year after the first film. The story is the same as the first movie, where an unknown killer is walking around murdering counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, taking them out in the most gruesome ways possible.
The second film is memorable because this is where we first meet Jason Voorhees. While he doesn’t have the classic hockey mask at this point, he’s still very visible in the film, with a sack over his head, and does lots of killing. Arguably, it’s one of the better films in the franchise.
Friday The 13th Part III (1982)
The third film in the franchise, Friday the 13th Part III, came out a year after the previous one and is set a little away from the camp this time around. Jason, who has been residing in an old house to heal himself after the events of the last film, stalks a teenage girl and her friends when they arrive at the house, beginning another killing spree.
The film is significant for the fact that the hockey mask that we all know Jason for now makes its first appearance in the franchise, and it’s a look that never leaves the famous killer. It has become a symbol of the horror genre ever since.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
The fourth film in the Friday the 13th franchise released in 1984, and was directed by Joseph Zito. The film, titled Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, starred Kimberly Beck, Peter Barton, Corey Feldman, and more. It follows the events of the last film, where Jason was thought to be dead, but he escapes where he was being held and goes back to Camp Crystal Lake.
Obviously, this was most certainly not the final chapter, but it has a lot of great kills and a nice archenemy introduction for Jason in the form of Tommy Jarvis, someone who is able to survive often in these films.
Friday The 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Remember the final chapter? That isn’t a thing anymore. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning was directed by Danny Steinmann and starred John Shepherd, Melanie Kinnaman, Shaver Ross, and more. The film mainly follows Tommy Jarvis as he is haunted by his past with Jason, but now has to survive again when a new killer takes on the hockey mask.
The film was meant to be a reboot in the series and usher in a new era of Friday the 13th films. It’s not my favorite, but it's necessary in a rewatch of the franchise.
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Now, we move onto Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. We now see Tommy try to face Jason again. It’s time we go back to Camp Crystal Lake.
The film is directed by Tom McLoughlin and stars Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, and others, featuring a Jason that has truly turned into a paranormal being after being brought back from the dead; and he's more powerful than ever.
Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
The seventh film in the Friday the 13th franchise is Part VII: The New Blood, where we take a break from Tommy and instead follow a teenage girl who has strange powers and is psychokinetic. Due to this, she unknowingly releases Jason, and you know what that means - more killing.
The movie is directed by John Carl Beuchler and stars Lar Park Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Blue, and Terry Kiser. The film almost reminds me of a “Jason vs Carrie” sort of battle, which is interesting, considering the paranormal elements already introduced in the previous films.
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
The Big Apple (a.k.a. New York City) wasn't ready for a killer like Jason. In Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason escapes from Camp Crystal Lake and ends up going to one of the busiest cities in the world, bringing his killing spree to city folk.
The film is directed by Rob Hedden and stars several people, including Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, Martin Cummins. The film is only available to rent or buy on Amazon (But, if we’re being honest, just skip this one. It’s arguably the worst out of the bunch. Definitely not one of the best movies set in NYC – here are some that are good).
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Is this the end of Jason? That’s what Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday was originally intended to be. This film, released in 1993, thirteen years after the original film, follows the story of Jason now using his powers to possess people to kill others, and trying to use this so he can bring himself back to life through someone of his bloodline.
The film is as wacky as it sounds, and has plenty of ridiculous moments for horror fans to enjoy. It’s direct by Adam Marcus, and stars John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Allison Smith, and more. It’s the first film on this list that is currently available to stream, on HBO Max, as of October 2022, and available to rent/buy on Amazon.
Jason X (2002)
It took nearly ten years for another Jason film to come out, and when it did, it was something, that’s for sure. Jason X, directed by Jim Isaac, takes Jason where you would never expect him to be – the future, as he'd been frozen for centuries until he was woken up, and then goes on another killing spree.
The premise is decently interesting and features Jason as a cyborg, so there’s that. Do with it what you will. The film stars Kane Hodder as Jason as well as other names like Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, and more. This one is available to stream on Tubi as of October 2022, and you can rent/buy on Amazon.
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
Did you ever wonder what would happen if you combined two of the most legendary horror figures into one movie and put them in a fight? That’s what Freddy vs. Jason did, taking Jason and Freddy Kreuger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and having Freddy trick Jason into helping him live again.
It’s a great crossover film, and is certainly one of the better ones in the franchise as a whole. The movies is directed by Ronny Yu and stars Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Robert Englund, Jason Ritter, and others. It is available to stream on HBO Max as of October 2022 and is available to rent/buy on Amazon.
Friday The 13th (2009)
Last but not least, we have the intended reboot of the series in 2009, Friday the 13th, directed by Marcus Nispel, who also brought back the Texas Chainsaw Massacre film franchise in 2003. The film follows a man as he travels to Camp Crystal Lake to search for his missing sister, who was taken by Jason.
This one stars Supernatural lead Jared Padalecki, and is about as bloody as you would expect from a modern reboot of a classic slasher film. It’s currently available to stream on HBO Max as of October 2022, and is available to rent/buy on Amazon.
It’s unknown if there’s going to be another possible reboot of the Friday the 13th franchise after the successful sequels of both Halloween and Scream in the late 2010s/early 2020s, but I feel it won’t be long before we see Jason again. Until then, you have all these films to watch, so get to it.
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Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!