Anyone that knows me, knows that the Friday the 13th film franchise is my all-time favorite series in horror and has been ever since a young age. Jason Voorhees fascinated me as a kid, I always saw him as the most ruthless killer in horror. To celebrate this Friday the 13th, I thought I would rank all the films in a list from worst to best.
NOTE: I love all the Friday the 13th films, so I use the word “worst” loosely. To me, each one of them is great in their own way, but if I truly had to rank them, this is how I would do it.
12. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Jason Goes to Hell will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first Jason movie I saw in the theaters (I was 8, thanks mom!) However, it does have its flaws. Although I enjoy it, I was bummed with the whole “body hopping” concept. We want to see Jason and the hockey mask, it’s that simple. The gore in the unrated cut of the film help make up for it though.
My Favorite Kill: Deborah getting impaled with a rail spike and torn in half vertically.
11. Jason X (2001)
Jason X, or what some call “Jason in Space,” is a weird movie. To be honest, out of all the “in space” gimmick movies in horror, Jason X is possibly the most tolerable. It has some pretty decent gore and a high body count to make up for its non-camp setting. Jason X is fun to watch if you don’t take it too seriously, but compared to others in the franchise, it's pretty lackluster.
My Favorite Kill: Adrienne getting her face frozen in liquid nitrogen, then smashed and shattered on the counter.
10. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
The last film in the original series from Paramount, and the last one to be released in the 80's, Jason Takes Manhattan went in a different direction from the previous films. Removing Jason from the iconic Camp Crystal Lake and sending him to New York City. Although most of the scenes take place on a ship and the ending leaves you scratching your head, the movie is a fun ride.
My Favorite Kill: Eva getting strangled. The sounds she makes when landing on the dance floor after Jason let’s go of her. Brutal.
9. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
Jason Voorhees is not technically in this film; instead the killings are carried out by an Imposter Jason, indicated by the blue markings on his hockey mask. Despite this, A New Beginning isn’t all that bad. It still holds that 80's horror movie charm, and has some iconic scenes/kills. (Damn enchiladas!) The ending was a little out there though; glad they didn’t follow through with it in the sequel.
My Favorite Kill: Eddie having his skull crushed after a leather strap is placed around his head and twisted tightly against a tree.
8. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
The New Blood pits Jason against a teenager named Tina with telekinetic powers. It sounds goofy when you read it, but it gives Jason a match; that up to this point, he has never faced. We were introduced to Kane Hodder with this installment, the first actor to portray Jason more than once, going on to play him in three more sequels after this film. (I must say that Jason’s costume in this film is probably my all-time favorite.)
My Favorite Kill: Melissa taking an axe to the face. I love how Jason throws her across the room afterwards. Seeing her lifeless body with the axe planted in her face fly over the television just adds to it.
7. Friday the 13th (1980)
The original film that started it all. This 1980 classic is not like the others in the series. With the exception of Part V, you always know who the killer is, blatantly showing Jason dispatching his victims in glorious fashion. In the original however, you are left guessing who might be carrying out the killings, showing only close-ups of gore and the murderer's hands. This gives the movie a slightly different tone than all the others. Pamela Voorhees as we all know is the killer in the original, and the rest is history.
My Favorite Kill: Marcie getting an axe to the face. Two thumbs up!
6. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Even though we caught a glimpse of Jason Voorhees at the very end in the original, it’s Part 2 where we are formally introduced to the crazed murderer. In this first outing, he dons a burlap sack as a mask. Although I think the sack mask from the 2009 Reboot is much scarier, the mask in Part 2 is still a little unsettling. Anyway, our good old sack head Jason roams the surrounding areas of Crystal Lake, picking off unsuspecting teenagers in the process. Although a grown up Jason might seem illogical since he drowned as a boy, Part 2 is still a classic in shaping what Friday the 13th is today.
My Favorite Kill: Mark taking a machete to the face and falling down stairs while in his wheelchair.
5. Friday the 13th (2009)
The consensus I see online is you either love or hate the 2009 Remake/Reboot. Well, I for one loved it, a lot. Some did not like the fact that they made Jason run again, but I felt it made Jason appear more ruthless and vicious in this film. Actor Derek Mears knocked it out of the park with his portrayal of the hockey masked killer.
My Favorite Kill: Chewie slowly being stabbed with a screwdriver in his throat.
4. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Freddy vs. Jason is a huge blast that every horror movie fan can enjoy. Who doesn’t want to see these two legends battle it out? For a movie that was in Development Hell for over ten years, I think they pulled it off pretty well in the end. Fans of either film series each get a little of something they like. (I still think Jason won the fight, I mean, he is holding Freddy’s head at the end.)
My Favorite Kill: Trey being stabbed repeatedly in the back with a machete while lying on a bed. And if that wasn’t enough, he gets broken backwards as Jason folds the bed up with him on it.
3. Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Part 3 is probably the best 3D movie of all time. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but it’s awesome nonetheless. Part 3 took everything that was great about Part 2, and improved upon it. Molding it into what the series will become known for. The stars aligned and Jason discovers his favorite accessory since the machete, the hockey mask. Which has become a staple of the series ever since.
My Favorite Kill: Rick having his head squeezed until his eyeball shoots out at the screen. (in 3D!)
2. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Ahhh, the fourth and final installment in the series. Ha, yeah right. After much thinking, I have come to the conclusion that Jason in The Final Chapter is the first time we really see Jason pissed off. Yeah, he killed a lot of people up to this point, but in this movie he is really mad, and it shows on screen. (Actor Ted White did an excellent job.) Every iteration of Jason that followed continued this trend; and in some cases, even upped the intensity. Perhaps this is why you can’t really keep the character dead?
My Favorite Kill: Jimmy getting a corkscrew stabbed into his hand and followed up with a meat cleaver firmly planted into his face.
1. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
In Jason Lives, Jason is brought back from the dead with a bolt of lightning. It seems as though he gains more strength and power as a result. Remember that upping the intensity I was talking about? To me, Jason Lives is the best Friday the 13th film. I think it has the perfect blend of horror, suspense, and thrills, with just the right amount of comedy to not ruin its overall horror movie tone.
My Favorite Kill: Sheriff Garris being completely bent backwards and broken in half.
I hope you all enjoyed this list as much as I did making it.
Disagree with my list? Feel free to post your list in the comments below.
Now time to get back to writing.
P.S. Hurry up and release another Friday the 13th already!