I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love horror films. I’m eager for spooky season, and for all these amazing upcoming horror movies to debut soon. But, to get my hyped up for these awesome films, I’m going to talk about another one of my favorite horror series - Friday the 13th.
While I recently finished ranking all of the Halloween films, I decided to binge another horror series and see exactly where each installment of everyone’s favorite hockey-mask wearing serial killer, Jason Voorhees, ranks. Maybe some of these might even be on the best horror movies list - we just have to wait and see. Now, let’s get into this list of Friday the 13th movies!
12. Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1988)
In this installment of the Friday the 13th franchise, Jason decides to head to one of the most bustling cities in the world - Manhattan - bringing his reign of terror to city folk. And, this film just tanks. My God.
While the premise is interesting, it practically put the nail in the coffin of this franchise when it came out. The movie almost feels like it’s making fun of the previous ones with how ridiculous some of these kills are. If I could, I wouldn’t even include this in my ranking, but sadly, it is a part of the line-up, so I have to.
11. Friday The 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, sees a teenage Tommy Jarvis being haunted by the nightmares he has because of Jason Voorhees, causing him to be institutionalized in a halfway house near Camp Crystal Lake. He must face his fears when another serial killer dons the iconic hockey mask.
I freaking hate this installment.
While I know this is a horror film, there’s too much blood here. They show so much gore, and I feel like most of it is for no reason other than this being a horror movie. It also has almost too many sex scenes - and look, I’m fine with that stuff being in scary films. It’s one of the tropes that someone usually dies naked. But, when there’s so much nudity that it almost becomes comical, you have a problem.
The biggest issue? Jason Voorhees isn’t in this. It’s just a crap sequel overall - and really doesn’t deserve to be counted whatsoever.
10. Friday The 13th (2009)
In this remake of the original film, starring Supernatural's Jared Padalecki, we see his character as he searches for his missing sister, who was captured by Jason Voorhees while camping at Crystal Lake.
Look, I’m all for a good remake. I ranked the Halloween 2018 remake above many of the other films because it was so good, especially including the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis. This remake of Friday the 13th really didn’t distinguish itself enough from previous films for it to be considered a good remake, though. It’s not the absolute worst in the franchise, but it’s certainly not the best.
9. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
In Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, we watch Jason as he possesses various people in real life to continue his killings, despite him being dead - with the ultimate goal of finding someone of his bloodline to resurrect himself.
You know, all critiques aside - I need to give it up to the writers of this film for having the creative balls to do something like this. It’s such a change from the original film, bringing in the paranormal.
That being said, that doesn’t mean it was good - really at all. While I like the idea they came up with, it was not executed well. I feel that with a character like Voorhees, who’s so menacing as a physical human, nerfing him down to just an evil spirit really makes him much less threatening.
8. Jason X (2002)
In Jason X, Jason has been cryogenically frozen for 445 years, and awakens in 2455, once he is found by a group of students. Because of that, he begins to stalk and kill each of them, one by one.
This is another case where I believe that the premise is actually decent. I never thought of a Friday the 13th film stepping into the sci-fiction world, but the idea is pretty cool. A serial killer frozen in time and all of a sudden he's awoken? That’s an interesting scheme that certainly fits the horror/sci-fi genre.
However, the sci-fi aspect is taken too far by taking Jason from serial killer, or undead monster, into a cyborg. I mean, come on, really? We could have given him anything future-wise. Maybe some high-tech killing equipment, a cool upgraded machete, or even a mask that makes bullets impenetrable, but you make him a cyborg? Sorry, that’s why you stay down here.
7. Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
In Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, we follow a young teenage girl who is psychokinetic, and who unknowingly releases Jason from his tomb at the bottom of Crystal Lake, allowing him to go on another killing spree.
I actually like this film for a couple of reasons, compared to some of the previous ones. I enjoy the addition of this character who is psychokinetic, and the monster of Jason Voorhees. I like the two of them facing off. It almost feels like a supernatural vs. supernatural fight and it creates an interesting premise. However, it does fall flat compared to some of the others coming up, and I can only comfortably rate it at seventh.
6. Friday The 13th Part III (1982)
In Friday the 13th, Part III, set right after the previous film, we follow a teenage girl and her friends who go to a house near Crystal Lake, where a wounded Jason Voorhees has resided until he can begin another killing spree.
While this film isn’t creative in really any way within the franchise - it’s the same old stab and repeat without the scares of the first two films - I have to put this up here for the significance of that hockey mask. We see it for the first time in this film, and instantly, it becomes a symbol of not only this franchise, but American cinema and the horror genre in general.
I can almost guarantee you that when you ask anyone, even someone who doesn’t know horror films that well, they can point out this mask in an instant. That’s why Part III is so iconic - it changed the face of this series, even if there wasn’t anything super different about it.
5. Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Spoiler alert: it was not the final chapter.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter follows the events of Part III, with a presumed-dead Jason Voorhees escaping the morgue, returning to Crystal Lake, and continuing his killing spree.
While this film was originally panned by critics, I have to give credit where credit is due - I really enjoy this movie. I liked the introduction of Tommy Jarvis, who would become Voorhees’ archenemy. I liked the gore; it wasn’t too much or too little. I liked the narrative and the idea of finally killing off Jason - even if he does come back later on. Everything in this film works well for what it is.
Do I believe it could have been better? Of course. However, in retrospect, I do think this is one of the better films out there in the franchise.
4. Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
In Freddy Vs. Jason two iconic horror characters, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, meet and fight for dominance when Freddy tricks Jason into helping him come back to life.
If this was based off of my excitement alone, this would be probably my number two choice. I freaking love Freddy Vs. Jason. As someone who has been a fan of both franchises, I never would have imagined these two coming together to fight, but at the same time, it makes sense.
They’re both such interesting supernatural characters with such complex and confusing backstories - it was really only a matter of time. If they decide to do this again years down the road, I’ll be the first one in the theater.
3. Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, we see the return of Jason when Tommy Jarvis accidentally resurrects him while attempting to destroy his body. Jason returns to Crystal Lake to continue his killings, while Tommy tries to face his fears and kill Jason, once and for all.
After the backlash of the previous film, it was only a matter of time before Jason was brought back in full, human-life form for the world to watch once again. And, honestly? They nailed it as best as they could with how much supernatural and paranormal stuff was in the previous one, with Jason becoming an undead, powerful superhuman.
I also enjoyed that the film introduced a lot of new elements into the series, such as shootouts and car chases, and did something different from the normal slice and dice. Really, it’s a great addition to the franchise - and deserves more praise than it’s gotten. Thankfully, no upgraded weapons, like machine guns, were involved.
2. Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)
In Friday the 13th Part 2, we follow a pretty similar premise to the first film, with an unknown stalker who is killing a group of camp counselors near Crystal Lake.
While it does feel the same as the original in many ways, I will put this all the way up here for one reason - this is when we first meet Jason Voorhees. The first movie will always have a special place in my heart, but the sequel is the reason we all know who Jason is today, and why he’s the main antagonist of the franchise. The dude is bloody scary and he knows it.
Have many of his deaths and killings almost become a parody now? Yeah, but no one can deny the creepiness you felt when you first laid eyes on Jason Voorhees in Part 2. I still feel tingles up my spine every time I watch it.
1. Friday The 13th (1980)
I mean, is it any surprise I put this first? In Friday the 13th, we follow a group of teenagers as they are hunted down one by one by a mysterious killer, while attempting to re-open a camp at Crystal Lake.
There is just something about this film, man. From the score to its cinematography, to even the acting performances, it works in every way possible for a slasher film. Even the brutalness of the killings fits the theme. While Jason Voorhees isn’t featured in the first title - with all the credit of the killings going to his mother - the twist is still shocking, and the ending works wonders, with the final girl, Alice, saying that Jason is still there in the water, because of ripples along the lake.
Just talking about it makes me shiver. I can see why, after this film, the franchise exploded. Nothing will quite ever match the eeriness of this first entry in the series, and that’s why it’s ranked number one.
With so many films in the franchise, I’m eager to see if there will be any new ones coming out. Halloween Kills is coming our way, so maybe we’re due for a new and better Friday the 13th reboot. Only time will tell if they give us one.
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!
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