Friday the 13th is one of my favourite horror franchises of all time and I have wanted to discuss the films for a while but could never decide how I wanted to go about it, the films are all quite similar in premise and each have different qualities that are better in some than others, I figure that the best way to celebrate such a great franchise is with my official ranking of the 10 main series movies from worst to best.
Of course this is only my opinion and you may rank these film differently, my opinions on these films is likely to be unexpected but I am basing this list on how much I enjoyed them rather than the overall quality.
So without further lets talk about Friday the 13th.
10. Jason goes to Hell: Final Friday
This movie was a train wreck and not only is it the worst in the entire series but it may be the worst slasher movie in any major franchise.
Jason looks really awesome in this movie and is by far my favourite version of him but unfortunately the writers decided to kill him off in the first 15 minutes, leaving his spirit possessing normal characters and committing his murders within their bodies.
This is by far the most controversial decision in the film and honestly I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea, when you watch a Friday the 13th movie you want to see Jason not some stranger you’ve never seen in the franchise before.
To be honest the casting choices in the movie are just awful and I cant think of a single performance that stuck with me, the acting was genuinely stale and uninspired.
The visual effects are very good and are some of the best in the series, like the title at end of the movie Jason does go to Hell and the demons that come and take his soul are generally really cool and scary, this scene also leads to a great final moment which revels Freddy Krueger’s knifes dragging Jason’s mask into the ground hinting at a crossover in the future.
This was a really odd way on ending the original Friday the 13th franchise, at this point the series was getting a little stale and needed a conclusive end. I couldn’t understand some of the writers creative choices in this one and I think the “lack of Jason” really ruined this one for me, Like I said the reveal of the crossover was great but now that you know about it I can honestly say avoid this one because it is really not worth your time.
9. Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988)
Friday the 13th Part 7 is one of the worst in series in my opinion, it definitely delves into new territory having Jason taking on a girl with telekinetic and psychic powers but it really does not hold up as a good entry in the series.
The films lead is a girl named Tina who accidently releases Jason from his prison beneath the lake ultimately putting herself and everyone else at the camp in serious danger.
The casting was nothing special but they at least enjoyable characters, I liked that there was a good mix of likeable and unlikable councillors this time so some of the deaths felt a lot more satisfying than others since those characters were so horrid, the death of councillor Melissa felt especially good since she was the bully character with some serious Egotistical problems and a manipulative personality.
Considering the movie has an interesting premise with Jason taking on a psychic, it is extremely boring for a slasher film and doesn’t have many memorable moments, even the deaths are a bit lame, the only parts I really enjoyed were near the end when Tina was using her powers to get one up on Jason but apart from that this is one movie I will be skipping next Halloween.
8. Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Part 8 was the first movie to take place outside of the usual setting, in the movie Jason boards a boat of graduating high school students and after a few murders the final chase takes place throughout New York City.
Before arriving in New York the majority of the film takes place on the boat, with such little room to escape the deaths are plentiful and quite memorable, the movie is quite silly with some comedic deaths including one woman who is beaten with her electric guitar and boy who has his head punched off.
The part of the film in New York was my favourite, it was nice to see such a change of scenery in one of these films and the way that the city was portrayed definitely made the film still feel intense and dark, there was one one scene where a female got kidnapped and the alleyway she was taken too was so dark and comic book like that I half expected Batman to come and recue her.
There is one moment near the end of the film that I just cant seem to get out of my head, a particularly unlikeable character meets his end in quite an ironic sense after it is revealed that he almost drowned one of the other characters years prior to the events of the film.
A fairly stupid movie but nothing too crazy and it is a lot of fun, the parts in New York are way better than what takes place on the boat, and I only wish that the entire movie had a New York setting, Part 8 can be over the top at times but not as much as some other entries in the franchise, I wouldn’t say you need to watch this one but I wouldn’t say skip it either.
7. Jason X (2001)
What do you do when you run of ideas for a franchise? If you guessed send them into space you would be correct and that is exactly what happened with Jason X.
In the film a group of scientists find a cryogenically frozen Jason Voorhees in the year 2455, the move takes primarily place in a space vessel similar to film Alien which I where I think they got the concept from.
From a story perspective this is probably the weakest one and the cast while funny were not great I couldn’t even remember their names after the film, infact the only person I really enjoyed was the captain of the group but holy cow is this movie a ton of fun.
The deaths were pretty standard but one really stood out and that was the frozen face smash, the rest of the deaths were forgettable but matched with funny lines and silly dialogue, the silliness works in this better than other franchise entries because I think this was meant to be a parody compared to another film that will be mentioned in this list.
Towards the end of the movie is a very funny scene that pokes fun at the cliche nature of the franchise and is my favourite part do the film
So is this slasher in space worth your time? I’m going to say no because while it was fun it’s not that memorable and feels more like a cheesy action comedy than a horror but if you want a good laugh and a stupid movie to watch with friends then this is a good option.
6. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
The Final Chapter was definitely a stretch as a title bearing in mind that this was only the fourth film and in the original series there was actually ten.
For me this film was a major disappointment for such a beloved entry in the Friday the 13th franchise, the story is fine and is what is to be expected in a slasher movie, Jason escapes from the morgue and is back on a killing spree there isn’t much else to this apart from there is now a child played by Corey Feldman in danger as well as young adults.
The main cast is forgettable and none of the victims really stand out apart from a small handful, of course Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis the main protagonist is great and does a good job portraying a very intelligent but also fragile young boy who has managed to get himself wrapped up in the mess of Jason Voorhees.
At the end of the movie Jason is ultimately defeated when Tommy Jarvis recreates Jason’s childhood image and distracts the killer long enough for him to be taken down by his sister before finally being “killed” by Tommy which triggers a later rivalry between the two them.
The biggest issue I have with this film is that compared to what came before it this one really struggled to keep my attention, I found it boring, uninspired and generally forgetful, there was only one death that really stuck with me and that was Crispin Glovers character and I think that because he was only victim I actually liked.
One thing I can say this film does well is it connects the lore of previous movies with this one, the brother of Sandra Dier (Victim in Part 2) is seeking revenge on Jason after his sisters murder but unfortunately he meets the same untimely fate and is unable to beat Jason.
So as I have stated there are things I like about this movie but its just not enough for me to want go back and watch this every Halloween, honestly I think this movie is quite weak for genre of slasher movie, it doesn’t need a great plot but I don’t think I could argue that this is movie is even fun to watch and that’s why I dislike it.
5. Friday the 13th part 2 (1981)
Friday the 13th part 2 is a mixed bag in my opinion, I feel the movies first and last thirds are overall very good but it definitely falls short in comparison to the first film in the franchise.
The movie opens to Alice the lone survivor of the last film trying to cope with PTSD 2 months after her traumatising ordeal with Mrs Voorhees, in a similar manner to the first film she is placed as if she is to be the protagonist but is killed off to try and catch the audience off guard, I would argue that because of her previous work in the franchise her death was a bigger shock than how this was pulled off in the original.
The film moves onto five years later and we are introduced to our new campers who are setting up a summer camp in a new campsite and not Crystal Lake, the characters were really forgettable in my opinion, they all seemed quite cliche and none of them were really that interesting, I feel that this was done so that the film could have more focus on Jason who was the new threat but you still want to remember the people you are supposed to be rooting for.
Ultimately after the big showdown with Jason the film has two survivors, Ginny barely makes it and practically defeats Jason on her own but its a guy called Ted that has the ironic survival that I feel needs mentioning, the reason this character stands out amongst the rest is because the only reason he survives is because after too many drinks he is too drunk to drive back to the campsite leaving him staying at a motel and ultimately avoiding all of the unfortunate ends his campmates met with.
This was officially the first appearance of Jason as the main antagonist of the franchise so he didn’t quite have his signature look and before his deformed reveal near the end his face was covered with a flour sack and to be honest it comes across as very hills have eyes more than its own thing, I can at least say that the various kills are fun in this movie, the double spearing was particularly memorable as well as slitting the throat of a hanging upside down camper.
Friday the 13th: Part 2 had a lot to live up too especially when compared to the first film, but unfortunately I just don’t think is that great, it had a good start and the ending was really well done with a very intense battle between Jason and Ginny but the middle of the film is just a little boring especially with such bland characters who I found difficult to really connect with, not a bad film just quite disappointing and no where near the quality of that first film.
4 .Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)
Friday the 13th Part 6 may as well be a parody because it is so stupid that I cant believe it was actually signed off, with that in mind I will say that this is one of the most fun films in the franchise.
The movie opens with a grown up Tommy Jarvis digging up Jason’s corpse to cremate him with intentions to make sure he can never return, unfortunately thanks to a lightning strike the deceased killer is brought back to life and is now on a killing spree with his new undead and immortal form.
They redesigned Tommy’s character for this movie, in part 5 he was quiet and secluded which worked well for his character but I enjoyed his more confident side in this, Tommy has no fear of Jason and just wants to keep the killer at bay but the issue he has is no one believes him about Jasons return leaving him to mostly trying to defeat the killer himself.
The movie is well casted and is full of memorable moments, the issue I have though is that the movie is a bit too silly for my liking, this is mainly seen in the deaths, one guy gets his head bashed into a tree trunk leaving a bloody imprint of a smiley face, another death has a camp counsellor strangled to death in a RV toilet while her boyfriend thinks she’s jut being thrown around by his crazy driving, its all played for laughs but it doesn’t suit the franchise too well considering that other movies could be a little silly but Part 6 was way too comedic to feel like a Friday the 13th film and at times seemed more like a Scary Movie wannabe.
While this was not the first movie to use children as potential victims it was the first time I felt that Jason may actually be evil enough to kill a child, he comes very close in this but thankfully none of the children at the camp were harmed, children being murdered in films doesn’t often sit well with audiences so I think this was for the best.
I really enjoyed this movie from an easy entertainment standpoint but the comedic one liners and seriously over the top deaths just didn’t sit right with me for a Friday the 13th movie, I like a few cliché characters, cheesy dialogue and silly deaths in a slasher movie but this was just a bit too much.
3. Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985)
Friday the 13th part 5 was never intended to exist, in fact part 4 was originally considered the end of the franchise, this left me some what concerned before watching this, however I was left pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it regardless of how ridiculous it can be.
The movie follows a now older Tommy Jarvis who is living in a halfway house full of misfits after his childhood ordeal with serial killer Jason Voorhees.
In the movie one of the misfits named joey is murdered by another household member triggering Joey’s father to become a Jason copy Cat Killer to get revenge for his sons death.
The movie does not take it self seriously as it often is very over top, this is reflected in the casting choice and the films characters, members of the halfway house are exaggerated versions of stereotypes which may be frowned upon today but I would be lying if I said they were not entertaining.
There is a secondary plot in the movie revolving around a hill billy and her very stupid son, these are way overperformed and it added a lot of laughs to an already silly film but again I think this worked in the movies favor.
The deaths in this film are more creative than what I got previously and I really appreciate that as it helped mix up the violence instead of the usual regular stabbings. Although it must be pointed out that while these deaths are silly they were written as comedic like the deaths in part 6
An unnecessary sequel but a really fun one that is full of memorable moments, great over the top kills and ridiculous but hilarious characters, if you like movies that are so stupid they are good then this is a movie for you.
2. Friday the 13th (1980)
The one that started it all, the first film in the franchise didn’t actually use Jason Voorhees as the villain and went for a more mysterious killer who left few clues for viewers to try and figure out who can be trusted.
The casting was very good here with believable characters and well written dialogue, I like that the film doesn’t take long to get to the first kill but it also doesn’t feel rushed and is overall well paced and uses a good mix of well executed cinematography and good work from director Sean . S. Cunningham which helps the film work so well with a fairly limited budget.
The film is full of memorable moments but for me the most surprising was the death of Annie, Annie was shown at the beginning of the film and viewers would expect her to be protagonist of the movie so when she became the first victim of the 1980 crystal lake murders it really caught viewers off guard and went to show that the film would not be a cliche murder flick but more of homicide mystery.
By the end of the film the mystery killer is revealed to be the mother of Jason Voorhees, Jason drowned in 1957 at Camp Crystal Lake when the councellers were not paying attention, the killer is portrayed by Betsy Palmer and she gives a very creepy and overall pychotic performance of a woman tormented by the loss of her son and now wants to murder all the councellers at Crystal Lake after its grand re-opening in 1980.
Overall a great film which is a lot of fun and full of memorable moments and characters, definitely a great annual tradition for a Halloween watch.
1. Friday the 13th: Part 3 (1982)
Friday the 13th Part 3 is where the franchise first started to stop taking itself so seriously and focused more primarily on memorable characters and great on screen deaths than it did story. I would argue that this worked in the franchises favor for many reasons.
By letting the franchise take a less serious route we were given a cast of characters who were are extremely memorable, funny and a little over the top at times, this may seem like a negative thing as these characters are not realistic and come across more as cartoons than actual people but in my opinion this just made them more likeable.
The film can be silly at times for example there is a secondary plot in the movie where two of the new campers upset a biker gang and a rivalry soon ensues, this is completely un-needed in a movie like this but it is actually one of the best parts of the film because the gang are again really over top versions of what a biker gang is ultimately making them very enjoyable to watch.
The movie doesnt take place in a campsite this time but in a log cabin which was a nice change of scenery, this movie was also much brighter in colour allowing certain elements to stand out more, I found that these previous two movies used very dark colour schemes and night skies to match the darker tone and more serious intention of those movies but since this film is more relaxed in that sense, the more cheerful lighting and colour choices works well with the high energy of the film.
Jason is first wearing the Hockey Mask in part 3 starting the trend of his signature outfit, this movie also had him more in frame and on show much more than the previous two films, again I found this much more fun, I appreciate that having him off camera is more scary but this movie only goes to show that he works much better as a slasher villain taken much less seriously, I would also argue that seeing him looking for his victims is much more creepy and menacing that what we cant see.
The movie was originally made in 3D so there is a lot obvious 3D moments in the film that don’t really look right in 2D as these moments come across as a little forced but that is honestly the only thing I don’t like about this film, I think its one of the best slasher films to watch around the Halloween season and if you have never seen a Friday the 13th film before this probably wouldn’t be bad a place to start, of course the original adds a lot to the lore and the Betsy Palmer moments are outstating but overall I would say that this is a better Friday the 13th movie.
And there you have it the 10 mains seires Friday the 13th movies ranked by yours truly, what were yoour favourite movies in the franchise?
Happy Halloween 2020, I hope this years spooky content, Im going to be taking a short break now until the Christmas Season to give myself some much needed chill out time so I will see you then.
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