All of the Friday the 13th Films Ranked from Worst to Best
Today, you may have noticed, is Friday the 13th. I have decided to use this as an excuse to rank all of the movies in the Friday the 13th franchise from worst to best. Although this does not directly relate to metal, i) a bunch of these movies have had metal on their soundtracks, ii) someone once said that horror is the most metal genre, iii) I am positive that a lot of you enjoy these movies, too, and iv) fuck you it’s my website and I’ll do what I like.
Plus now you’ll have more shit to be pissy about in the comments section. So.
One quick note: I didn’t include Freddy vs. Jason. Not because I dislike that movie — I probably like it more than most people — but because it’s basically a Nightmare on Elm Street movie with Jason in it (which kinda makes sense, given that it was produced by New Line, “The House That Freddy Built,” and Friday‘s original home studio, Paramount, “The Studio That Forgot They Owned Jason”).
Here we go…
11. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
You know what really grinds my gears? HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE BEST CONCEPT FOR A FRIDAY THE 13TH SEQUEL EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER. Yes. Please. Let Jason Voorhees, unstoppable killing machine, loose in Manhattan. That should be so awesome.
The key word there is “should.” For one thing, most of the movie does not take place in Manhattan, it takes place on a cruise ship a bunch of high school seniors are taking to Manhattan. For another thing, most of the Manhattan stuff was shot in Vancouver and it’s very apparent, especially if you grew up in Manhattan. And even once they get to “Manhattan,” they completely squander the setting. I mean, there’s a scene where Jason is on the subway chasing the last two survivors from the original group, and… he walks past everyone else on the train without killing any of them. How in the fuck does Jason walk through an enclosed, inescapable steel tube and not just go to town on some motherfuckers? That is some bullshit right there.
By the time you get the lamest conclusion in the franchise’s history (Toxic sludge turns Jason back into a little boy why?), you don’t even care how awful it is, you just want it to be over.
And on top of ALL of that, the MPAA fucked with it to within an inch of its life, so none of the kills are even that cool. No wonder Paramount gave up the rights to New Line after this.
10. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
A.K.A. “The one where Jason fights a psychic.” To the filmmakers’ credit, they were trying to figure out a way to give the franchise a fresh twist, and coming after series high Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, they were doubly fucked. Mostly what I remember about this is that the guy who played Bernie in Weekend at Bernie‘s has a leading role where he’s not forced to play a corpse until near the end.
9. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
This was the first movie in the series once it was obtained by New Line (which is why Friday the 13th isn’t actually in the title — they didn’t own the copyright to that name). Having recently had some success with Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, they ostensibly decided to apply the same formula to Jason: It’s the last one (for real this time we swear)! Learn the secret origin of the villain’s supernatural abilities! Did we mention it’s REALLY we pinky promise the last one?!?!
And truth be told, this is not a horrible movie. I love the idea that Jason has become famous beyond his home turf of Crystal Lake and is the focus of an America’s Most Wanted-esque series, I love the whole opening fake out (below), I love that for once they spent just a LITTLE bit of money on the cast so as to get people who could convincingly play something approximation homo sapiens, I love the Jason design (the flesh on his face has grown over the mask — so gnarly), there are some great kills, and a couple of jokes that land pretty well. You can tell that the people who made this have their shit a little more together than most of the Friday filmmakers.
But the movie has one small problem and one big problem: the new aspects introduced to the mythology don’t make a lot of sense (small problem), and Jason is barely in the fucking movie (huge, massive, Godzilla-sized problem). So that sucks.
But remember how awesome that last shot was when this came out? I remember the audience I saw this with going fucking APESHIT when Freddy’s glove popped out of the sand. And, hey, it was only another decade before they finally made that movie!
8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
A.K.A. (spoiler alert) “The one with a fake Jason.” For that reason alone, a lot of fans dismiss this movie — I know I did when I was a kid — which is too bad, because it’s actually pretty good, even if the big plot twist makes about as much sense as a salmon marrying a cat. But it’s still a neat idea in concept, if not quite in execution.
7. Jason X
The second entry in the New Line era of the franchise (again, note the absence of the series title). A lot of fans hate this movie, as far as I can tell, because it’s basically a comedy. That’s actually why I love it. Yeah, it seems pretty clear they’ve run out of ideas. Yeah, putting Jason in outer space (in the future, no less) is schlocky as fuck, as is Uber Jason. But, again: this series was never high art, and the jokes, for the most part, land pretty well (if the bit with the virtual reality camping girls at the end doesn’t make you laugh, you’re dead inside), and it has one of the franchise’s best kills.
It’s also the last time Kane Hodder, the guy who played Jason more times than anyone else, would appear in one of these movies — he was basically fired from Freddy vs. Jason for reasons that were never all that clear (I assume he just wanted too much money and someone at New Line was like, “Fuck you, you’re not Robert Englund, any asshole can stalk around in a hockey mask,” but that’s pure conjecture).
6. Friday the 13th Part III
“A.K.A. The One in 3D.” And not the decent 3D we enjoy in a post-Avatar world. Silly old blue n’ red 3D with stuff constantly “popping out” at you. You wanna talk about schlock? THIS is schlock at its finest.
5. Friday the 13th (1980)
Ah, the one that started it all.It is what it is: a cheap Halloween knock off. But as far as cheap Halloween knockoffs go, it’s pretty goddamn entertaining — and there’s something be said for being the first! Bonus points for its legit creepy ending and a young Kevin Bacon.
4. Friday the 13th Part 2
This is the first movie in the franchise where Jason is actually the killer, and it really did create the basic formula to which most of its sequels would adhere. Also has some excellent kills… most notably the post-coital double impalement, which is an all timer.
3. Friday the 13th (2009)
Yeah, I said it: the 2009 rebootquel is great. I don’t really understand why the haters hate this one (other than that it was produced by Michael Bay, but c’mon, it’s not like he directed it). It’s basically the best possible version of a movie more or less adhering to the original Friday the 13th formula, and Christ knows the acting is like a million times better than in most of these movies. The kills could be better (although the one with Willa Ford under the dock is pretty rad). How it could possibly be that this movie made so much money and still hasn’t spawned a sequel seven years later is beyond me.
2. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
This is generally considered the crème de la crème of the earliest Friday the 13th films, and with good reason. Tommy Jarvis (a young Corey Feldman) remains the best hero or heroine of any movie in the series; the idea to use psychology to try and manipulate Jason wasn’t new at the time (see Friday 2) and has been re-done several times since, but this is the only time it really worked. The kills are great. The supporting cast, which includes a pre-Back to the Future Crispin Glover, is excellent. The ending is epic. I mean, what’s not to love?
1. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
I mean, it’s not even close. People who argue that Jason Lives (originally titled, hilariously, Jason Has Risen) isn’t the franchise’s high point either a) have a sentimental attachment to a differ F13 movie, or b) are stupid idiots. Writer/director Tom McLoughlin’s execution is a head above the rest; all of his kills are great; he got Alice Cooper on the soundtrack; stylistically, he directed the shit out of this movie; and the sense of humor is A++++ WDBWA. While the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise spawned a number of relatively big name directors (Wes Craven, Chuck Russell, Renny Harlin, Stephen Hopkins, etc.), most of the Friday directors didn’t go on to do very much of note; McLoughlin isn’t exactly famous, but he DID have a very nice career following this movie, and there’s a clear reason for that. This is THE Friday the 13th movie, and it’s basically impossible to argue otherwise.
Agree? Disagree? You know what the comments section is for…