Friday the 13th and Jason Voorhees are synonymous with the slasher genre that horrified the '80s generation and continues to hold its place as one of the longest running horror franchise's to date. With 12 films, a new movie being developed, and a new Kickstarter campaign working to make a true Friday the 13th video game experience, its no wonder Jason in his iconic hockey mask continue to be a fan favorite in the genre. With multiple "final" chapters, trips to space, and imposter copycats, this series has some of the best and worst of the genre, all within it's 35-year lifespan. Here is a list of the best to the worst from the Friday the 13th series.
1. 'Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives'
Friday the 13th Part VI officially saw the return of Jason after his unfortunate demise at the hands of Corey Feldman. With a new look behind the mask, what I refer to as "Zombie Jason" makes his way into the cabins of counselors and kids alike. With a fantastic opening, wonderful deaths, and a direct lead in to the next film, this movie represents everything gone right with this franchise.
2. 'Friday the 13th' (2009)
Normally this movie tops my list, but today, however, I had a soft spot for the slasher as represented in the time of the slasher. This movie melds the first three films together, giving a fresh, and modern take on the franchise. A clear depiction that slashers can still work, this movie took the formula used sequel after sequel and really upped the ante in every way possible. Sex, drugs, and death galore, this remake is an entry to look out for.
3. 'Freddy vs. Jason'
I remember counting down the days in eighth grade, waiting for this movie to come out! The acting is suspicious, the plot mediocre, and the gore way over the top, but seeing these two battle it out in the final minutes of this film bumped it up to number three on the list!
4. 'Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning'
Friday 5 tried to pull a fast one on us. While trying to do something new with a franchise that was supposed to be over, we were offered a copy-cat killer who, in my opinion, was far more brutal than Jason had ever been. I guess that's what happens when you kill someone's seemingly slow son while he's eating a candy bar.
5. 'Friday The 13th Part II'
This entry introduced us to the true star: JASON. It also kept true to the original in style and really seems like a sequel in terms of how well it was done. Even though Mrs. Voorhees was killed, I couldn't help but wonder, upon first watch of course, who was doing the killing in this one. The death of our hero from the original really seemed out of place though, and for that reason it ranks number 5.
6. 'Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter'
The first of two final chapters, Part IV gave us a true and rather great ending to what could have been a four part series. Jason had finally come face-to-face with a small group that could finally take him down. In the end as he fell face first, slamming the machete wedged in his head farther back, it was clear this was the perfect ending. Unfortunately it was completely undone rendering what happens to Jason in this film pointless.
7. 'Friday the 13th Part VII: New Blood'
Telekinesis. Need I say more? By this time Jason had been chopped, hung, stabbed, killed, resurrected, and drown. What else could he possibly come up against now? Oh, that's right Telekinetic Tina. The best part of this film was the superb design of Jason.
8. 'Friday The 13th' (1980)
Ki ki ki, ma ma ma. This slow burner, murder mystery set the foundation for everything to come. It has good effects, a young Kevin Bacon, and a cool idea. Unfortunately, it's a tad too slow for my taste, but at least it doesn't happen in space.
9. 'Friday the 13th 3D'
I know what you are probably thinking. "How can this be so low? It gave us the hockey mask!" Well, you see, the sad fact of the matter is that's all it gave us. The emphasis on the 3D really drowns out any real fun to be had with this since the effects are now horribly dated (even worse than 1 and 2). So thanks for the hockey mask, but I'm going to keep on moving.
10. 'Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan'
Originally the ratio of boat to city was going to be reversed. The movie would be 1/3 about the trip to New York, while the rest would be in the city. Sadly, budgetary constraints prevented this and only the scene pictured above was actually shot in Times Square. What could have been a great idea turned into a movie who's title would be irrelevant if the final 30 minutes were cut out completely.
11. 'Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday'
"It reminds me of a little girl in pink dress, shoving a hot dog through a doughnut."
Lines like this aren't the only problem with this movie. Where Part V at least tricked us into believing it was Jason doing the killing, we are now forced to believe that Jason can commandeer bodies and must use the body of a family member to rebuild his body. So all in all this movie has about 15 minutes of Jason, and the rest is left to some worm-like creature traveling in and out of bodies. No thanks.
12. 'Jason X'
Now onto the worst of the worst. Many franchises take the space route in an attempt to reinvigorate interest in the franchise. While I was a fan of the Jason redesign, the rest of the movie is so terribly done, a sequel of this film should never be thought of. EVER.