If you love horror you always find some time for Friday the 13th even if your not one of the tens of thousands (possibly million fans) who could be called die hards. Though the movies are utterly predictable and mostly give us the same plots there's just something unique about the central character Jason Voorhees and his quest to kill anyone who steps into his path.
Perhaps it's the fact that Jason is just plain and simple a bad ass. The mask hides any type of emotion there may be, and he just kills people and walks on to the other, it's a day job and Jason sure does take it seriously. With 12 movies to the franchise's name, ol' Jason has certainly been working overtime.
In the 1980s we witnessed an incredible 8 movies that took us from Crystal Lake to Manhattan. In the 1990s the series reflected horror in that decade in general with a lack of sequels. Indeed just one was made and it was the first time that the main title was not used. That was Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday in 1993. Though fans had already witnessed what was supposed to be the last Jason movie with The Final Chapter some 9 years previously. Nobody really believed that Jason Goes to Hell would really be Jason's last calling.
However it took nine years (the longest gap ever in a Friday sequel) to get Part 10, which was aptly named Jason X. The 2000s actually saw 3 Friday movies in the aforementioned, Freddy v Jason and then the Friday remake/reboot in 2009.
As for the 2010s, we still wait with baited breath for an historic 13th movie. Rumors circulate that it is coming and with Paramount buying the rights back for a few years all looks good. A new movie is set for 2016 and we may still get a TV series of the show, unlike the 80s TV show that was related in name only this show will actually be based on Jason's youth. Interesting stuff. Well Friday the 13th remains highly popular and 2015 marks the series' 35th anniversary, so to celebrate and keeping in mind everyone's choices are different here are the best 12 Friday movies in descending order. What would be your choice? Please feel free to comment below.
This article is dedicated to Betsy Palmer.
Please note there are many spoilers in this piece.
12. FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)
From the rushed beginning that would have left non fans confused and die hards angered to a poor script and poor casting, the makers just got this remake wrong, wrong, wrong. Littered with unlikable characters, even the good ones you want killed in the end, the movie plods from one scene to the next trying to force the 'magic' of the older movies upon us and failing time and again. So yes it was nice to see the wheelchair in the background, supposedly Jason had kept from his infamous kill in Part 2, and the camper van from Part 6 makes a welcome cameo. But with a story so poor and weak who cares? The one highlight was Derek Mears as Jason, who gave us a menacing performance not seen in some time. But the biggest flaw was trying to humanize the beast. Jason doesn't build tunnels, Jason doesn't think, he's a machine and nothing else, and Mr Bay and co missed the key element. What did they care? The movie made an astounding $90m worldwide and yet no sequel as of yet has followed.....
11. FREDDY V JASON (2003)
It's like the super fight in Las Vegas that you know should have happened 10 years prior and both fighters are way past their best. And yet still when you witness a car crash you just keep on looking, knowing that you shouldn't. The problem is that director Ronny Yu had no idea what to do with these iconic screen characters once they were paired together. Universal had the same problem with their end of the line monster movies, House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, featuring their iconic monsters in one movie but at least for the most part those were fun films. The dumbed down stereotype teenagers mean that Freddy v Jason can't distinguish itself from any other Friday or Elm Street that preceded it, and we are left with an empty feeling inside.
Indeed there is a segment of the movie where the kids side with Jason over evil Freddy and even have him knocked out in the back of their van, Scooby Doo anyone? In the right hands this could have been a huge homage and a great standalone movie but New Line and Yu ruined this one for most fans of both series'. A controversial choice was Jason himself who was played by the built as a house Ken Kirzinger. New Line and Yu overlooked the popular Kane Hodder who had played Jason in the previous four movies. Little did anyone care, with aggressive marketing and horror making a comeback after the 90s lull, Freddy v Jason made over $100m and became the most successful Friday or Nightmare movie ever, and money talks I guess.
10. JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY (1993)
In all fairness this isn't such a bad movie, though fans have remained split upon it. The good points are that we get more Jason backstory, his family are involved in this one. Also instead of a movie chockablock full of teenagers, this 9th film concentrates more on an adult cast. Kane Hodder returns as Jason though Jason is hardly in the movie and this, of course, is The Final Friday's downfall.
In this one Jason gets blown up in a surprise beginning, that would belong at the end of any of its sequels. However Jason doesn't die that easy, and is able to transform into different bodies of his choice. A clear rip off of the excellent movie The Hidden. There are some interesting characters thrown in for sure but the movie never really takes off. Fans were super surprised by the climax, which saw Freddy's glove drag down Jason's mask presumely to hell to wait 10 years and do battle in Freddy v Jason perhaps?
9. JASON X (2002)
Most fans ran for cover at Jason X and still do. However let's look at the plus points. There are many creative deaths, we get a virtual reality Camp Crystal Lake from the 1980s, Uber Jason, possibly one of the best death scenes ever in a Friday movie (see above pic) and a cameo by none other than David Cronenberg himself.
The downside is having Jason Voorhees hurtling through space, despathcing his next host of victims in a space ship- 500 years in the future. Yes not only had the series jumped the shark, it had jumped the Pacific inbetween. But it is a lot of fun, plenty of sleazy characters, a few heroes and an android make this a definite poor mans Alien. However Jason X has its own sort of bizarre space hopping charm that should see you laughing hard at some scenes, of course understandibly not every Jason fan wants that in a movie.
8. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989)
Jason takes a boat would be more apt, as this 8th movie spends just one third in 'New York City'. This was the central problem for this outing. Especially given that most of these scenes were actually filmed in Vancouver. However Kane Hodder returns as Jason and with the scorching soundtrack is as menacing as ever.
The characters though are mostly cut out and not likable and this is what sinks this one. Even our two heroes are quite despicable. There are some interesting death scenes though the MPAA put paid to most of them. Part 8 despite not being one of the better Friday's still has it's own type of 80s nostaligia New York style to it, and anyone growing up around this time wil most probably have some love for it.
7. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING (1985)
Fans felt cheated when Part V was announced given that Part 4 was really supposed to be the last ever movie. But hey ho, Part 4 did such good box office that it was inevitable that Paramount would keep rolling along the franchise. Once fans got over that they then had to get over two more obsticles. Tommy Jarvis was returing, but would be played by an entirely different character, though Corey Feldman does appear in a small cameo. But the big one was that the killer wasn't Jason at all, just an imposter.
To keep fans at bay the killings are not only ramped up violence wise but there are plenty of them. Indeed Part V held the record for a while back there. Character wise all is good, and at least the story isn't exactly at Crystal Lake itself, so some plot has been required. Part V may be the poor cousin but there's enough in here to keep any genuine Friday fan more than happy.
6. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1987)
A real fan favorite and for obvious reasons though it does have some major flaws. But onto the good stuff. First up John Carl Bleacher as director, this guy loves horror and loves effects even more and the movie feels like a fan got the chance to get behind the lens and create the Jason look. Secondly, this is Kane Hodder's first appearance as Jason and he absolutely nails it. The movement like an animal is simply spell binding. The kills are the goriest yet though fans had to wait almost 20 years to see the full uncut death scenes as the MPAA was on hyperdrive over horror movies by the late 80s.
We even have a variation on the plot with our central character having telekinesis powers Carrie style, so someone with a genuine chance of taking on Mr Voorhees when the bad stuff hits the fan. And yes her devious slimeball doctor is played by Terry Kiser the corpse from Weekend at Bernies- (psst he becomes a corpse in this one too!). All in all pretty good fun in its uncut form.
5. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III (1982)
Friday the 13th Part 3 was huge due to the fact that this was originally shot in 3D, hugging onto the 3D craze at the time which had peaked with Jaws 3. The much missed Richard Brooker played Jason who wasn't afraid to run by the way, and there are many death and gore scenes here. It's the little things though that make Part 3 memorable. The death scene whilst a character is clutching Fangoria issue 1. The body chop, the biker gang, Shelley's hair. But of course the most memorable is Jason's hockey mask making its debut. Who could have forseen that the mask would be entwined into horror for all times much like the smirk of Boris Karloff's Frankenstein or the hairstyle of Bela Lugosi's Dracula?
The movie is filled with pot smoking likable characters and Dana Kimmel our hero in this one is one feisty woman. The climax is amongst the best that the series ever thought up, though the original ending which would have saw an all out victory for Jason was dropped, such a shame. This movie goes well together in one sitting with its sequel The Final Chapter.
4. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981)
Jason makes his first proper adult appearance as complete with sack which for some made the serial killer more menacing he hunts down his prey for killing mommy in the first movie. This is quite an effective chiller and Friday still at this point had its bit between the teeth, where the series wasn't seen as goofy but quite genuinely scary. It certainly has an ending up there with the first movie to make you jump higher than Michael Jordan.
There are some terrific kills here too, the above being the creme de la creme. Again likable characters make this one easy to watch. It is a surprise to see Alice bumped off from the first movie but then again that simply lays down how serious and evil Jason is, though how he found her is certainly a faux pas.
All in all a very solid entry and one that is loved by fans.
3. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES (1986)
The only Friday the 13th film that was cheekily able to poke fun not just at itself but slasher movies in general and get away with it. A good script and characters only helps this movie along as it moves at quite a fast pace. Director Tom Mcloughlin gives the franchise new life with its many nods to older classic horror films. Everything seems referenced here, from Boris Karloff to John Carpenter and beyond. It would take several viewings all worthwhile to catch them all.
Thom Mathews plays another take on Tommy Jarvis but he's a lovable character and horror fans were happy to get him on board after his appearance in The Return of the Living Dead a year prior to this movie.
There are plenty of kills including the fastest 3 deaths ever in the franchise, with a triple beheading during paint ball. And a fun soundtrack courtesy of Alice Cooper who also appears in the music video alongside Jason. If Jason ever went through his MTV period it was with this movie, a fun ride and enjoyable fifth sequel.
2. FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER
Filled with great characters, some fun lots of gore The Final Chapter is fondly remembered. Jason is played by the awesome Ted White who gave Jason a terrific presence as Jason once again goes out on the look out for the campers.
Continues immediately from the events of Part 3, and therefore really feels like a back to back movie but it wasn't. We are introduced to Tommy Jarvis who would go on in character mode at least to appear in another 3 Friday's. The great Tom Savini is back with his incredible make up and effects, and the whole film is easily rewatchable. Contains as seen above the best ever Jason death scene, machete through eye and then Feldman battering Jason about a zillion times, and though Jason would take a break he still after this came back for another 7 films. Just proves that a machete through the eye socket into brain doesn't always do the trick. Stand out moment, Crispin Glover doing 'that dance'.
1. FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
They say originals are usually the best and in the case of Friday the 13th this seems so. A genuinely very good slasher film. True it built on the success of Halloween and was heavily influeneced by Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood, but it still came a year before the slasher boom of 1981 and inspired films of its own.
Whilst we may have seen films like Friday the 13th before, its eerie plot line is still enough to stick this one on late at night and draw the curtains and enjoy some old retro horror like it used to be.
Someone is knocking off the local councilers and helpers who are reopening Crystal Lake 20 odd years after a little boy drowned there. But who could it be? Some genuine jumps and gore follow as the night draws in and our killer sets out to wipe the whole field of teens.
Famous for an early role by Kevin Bacon, who gets a memorable death scene, the movie builds up to its fantastic climax that had people all over jumping from their seats. It is at the end of the day an old school classic, and the movie that started the legacy off.