Maybe you're just a fresh nubile child, that has yet to be exposed to the Friday the 13th phenomenon. Maybe you've grown too old to remember which of these films grew into cult classics, and which left something to be desired. I am going to rank all of the films from worst to first.
12. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Apart from blowing up our favorite villain, only to make an entire movie without an actual Jason, this movie lacked all of the elements that make Friday the 13th great. Over acting, dull characters, and a dreadful script combine to make this the least of my Friday favorites. The movie is a slow grind, building towards a climax in which a previously absent Jason, is sucked into the ground by some puppets.
11. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Considering this is my favorite horror franchise, I am not going to sit here and "hate" on all of these movies. However, this does come in at number eleven for a reason. Jason is taken out of his element (Camp Crystal Lake), and thrust into a new world of New York's finest young flesh buffet. Jason scampers around a yacht, and picks off a few rich snobs one by one. There were a few scenes in this movie that brought the comical spirit out of sewer, a dreary New York sewer that Jason is returned to by this movie's spirited heroine.
10. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
This is where it starts to get tricky, and my countdown will surely have some controversy. I ranked Jason Lives number ten, primarily because I like the rest of the franchise better. Jason is resurrected by lightning in this movie, which signifies a new myth for our favorite masked maniac. This film is the beginning of supernatural Jason, a killer with uber type power. Tommy goes to jail and it is entertaining to watch the sheriff's daughter play the role of the small town rebel, infatuated with the mystery of Tommy Jarvis. Other than the setting of children's cabins, beaten around by some nicely timed wind gusts, this movie just wasn't quite scary enough for my taste. Jason took on a Frankenstein persona, and had not quite developed into his new form yet.
9. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
It was really hard for me to put this film on the bottom half of the franchise. There are a few scenes in this movie that directly link horror nostalgia to a horror classic. The scene when Reggie and Pam lean over the edge of the barn to see if they have disposed of the relentless maniac that has been after them, is one of the most memorable scenes of the franchise. Also, there is an actual Voorhees in the cast, who leaves an unforgettable impression in the minds of movie goers. (Skin is something that adds to the fun of the franchise.) However, Jason isn't even really Jason? This did not sit well with many fans, and was kind of a bummer. I do like the idea of having a home for juvenile delinquents, picked off by the slash master, but censorship did play a role in this film, and that really doesn't sit well with me. Maybe this film moves up the list if the Cyndi Lauper wannabe gets slashed the way "God intended."
8. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
We are formally introduced to Kane Hodder, as the man behind the mask. Kane portrays Jason in his later, more precise days, as a relentless, supernatural hunter, that won't stop until you're dead. Jason's spinal cord is exposed as he hunts down another group of indigent teenagers, in the wake of a surprise birthday party gone wrong. The plot takes a twist as Jason is introduced to his nemesis, or possibly the girl from Firestarter all grown up. Lar Park Lincoln, (Tina) shows Drew Barrymore that she is not the only girl who can move things with her mind. Extreme violence is also reestablished in this sequel.
7. Jason X
There are many fans of the franchise that would place this film at the bottom. For some, the concept of "Jason goes to space," is ludicrous. I think this movie is a riot, and I constantly pick it out when choosing which Friday the 13th movie to watch around Halloween, or any other time. Blending a futuristic cast, with the same shortcomings as earlier misguided youth, makes this movie an instant classic for me. This movie did poorly at the box office, but what does the misguided youth know any way? In one scene, Jason chooses to dunk somebody's face in liquid nitrogen, and then smash it into a thousand pieces. I can't imagine the effort that went into filming that scene. Plus we get to see a Jason upgrade, as if he needs one, take on a female cyborg. You don't get that any where else in the franchise. This film sees the end of Kane Hodder playing the role of Jason. Thank you Kane, for your years of service.
6. Freddie vs. Jason
People were waiting for this to happen for years. It is horror's equivalent to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but unlike that fight, did this film live up to the hype? A few die hard Friday the 13th friends of mine, helped me sneak some liquor into the cinema for this match up. Cinemas weren't always recliners and bar service. This movie did very well at the box office, so I'm glad that neither franchise can be accused of selling out after the making of this film. It had all of the comedy, all the lewdness, and all of the guts you would expect from a film of this magnitude. It truly was the best of both worlds. The editor missed a homophobic slur late in the movie, but other than that this film gets an A rating. Jason's role suffers mildly, due to the loss of Kane Hodder. This character was portrayed with less subtle, psychopathic mannerisms in my opinion. How cool was it to see classically trained actor Robert Englund, back and in the flesh? He is probably my favorite actor in the horror genre.
5. Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter
O.k. folks, we made it to the top five. I hope I have not offended too many fans of the genre, because I love you all! This film contains a great cast of targets, and Jason once again gets almost all of them. That pesky Corey Feldman seems to toughen up after he shaves his head, and Jason finally meets his maker, in one of the most horrifying, graphic scenes I have ever seen on film. The nostalgia from this film makes me want to Google the film location and go investigating, along with the other films in the top five. Why is this movie sitting outside the top three Friday the 13th films? I will give you three reasons. First of all, what was with that dog jumping out of the window? Secondly, it never sat well with me that Tommy Jarvis's mom did not have an official death scene. Lastly, the franchise lied to us. Clearly this was not the final chapter.
4. Friday the 13th (2009)
This Michael Bay produced film sneaks all the way up to number four. The combination of a great cast, great cinematography, and some killer death scenes, bring this franchise into uncharted territory. What I mean by that is, this film was so good, that it could be taken seriously by critics and fans alike. Even if you were new to Friday the 13th, this would be an excellent place to start, as the film provides a back drop for the entire mythology of the franchise.
3. Friday the 13th Part 2
Steve Miner's directorial debut in the franchise. You should go ahead and check out this guy's hit sheet. The man is a legend in the film industry, and thanks to the introduction of Jason Voorhees, a true pioneer of horror. The hero of the story is a true heroine, a young female played by Amy Steele, (Ginny) as she is returning to a her summer post as a camp counselor. Ginny is back after getting educated in the field of psychology, which makes her a great lead when it comes to fighting an Oedipus complex of historic proportions. Jason has yet to reach his potential of an American icon, but he is well on his way. The decaying, decapitated head of his mother makes for some nice scenery down the stretch.
2. Friday the 13th (1980)
What, what, what! The original is not number one? Well, not in this writer's book. I am giving my number one spot to the movie that gave me the most nightmares. Friday the 13th was the beginning of an era. People are still setting out for New Jersey, in an attempt to be a part of the folklore. I'm told that Camp Nobebosco does hold tours in the off season. It sounds like a great way to spend a week to me, as the mystique surrounding this camp will be permanently sketched in some of my most nightmarish memories. But this still leaves us with spot left.
1. Friday the 13th Part III
The number one spot goes to Friday the 13th Part III. This film has the best heroine in the franchise, Dana Kimmell as Chris Higgins. I feel that way because she was a great actress, and I believed her terror. This movie had the scariest scene in the franchise. After Chris hangs Jason over the edge of the hay barn, she has the misfortune of having to open the barn door, and pass a lifeless Jason Vorhees in order to get out of the barn. Perhaps it is the second crack at Steve Miner's directorial vision in the franchise, but the subtle quiet of this scene, pushes the limits of suspense. This movie premieres Jason's hockey mask, which becomes a cultural icon. I think horror sequels should be better than their predecessors, because when you make something new, you have the advantage of knowing what works. Unfortunately this is very seldom true, and I'm sure that there are those that disagree with my list. Why don't you watch these movies again? I dare you to watch this third installment by yourself, on a dark stormy night.