Ranking the ‘Friday the 13th’ Movies
Happy Friday the 13th! For those who want to keep it creepy with a fitting Friday the 13th marathon (all of them are available now on Amazon, 8 of which are free with Amazon Prime), check out this ranking of the movies that brought a man in a hockey mask into our collective nightmares.
12) Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Let’s get this abomination out of the way, shall we? Jason Goes to Hell is the ninth installment in this series and aside from going to space (see #11), the franchise had really run its course. The worst part of this film isn’t the fact that a sudden mysterious prophecy/incantation comes out of the woodwork or that the Necronomicon gets a throw away shot, it’s the fact that we don’t get Jason! We are forced to follow one nobody to the next as Jason’s spirit jumps from body to body and we get nothing more than his reflection in the mirror.
11) Jason X
You’d think that Jason in space would be the worst, wouldn’t you? It’s not. That’s not to say it is good either. It’s just one of those movies that is so ridiculous that it kind of works. Don’t ask too many questions here. Just shut your brain off, pop some popcorn, and watch Jason destroy some people while floating around the galaxy hundreds of years into the future. I mean, space Jason. It’s SPASON!
10) Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
The biggest conceit here isn’t the fact that Jason is alive yet again, it’s the fact that Crystal Lake suddenly somehow has a way into open water. The kids this time around go from Jason’s backyard to Manhattan and we have to just accept it. None of the characters here are particularly likable, but it’s fun to see Jason walk the mean streets of New York for a bit, so enjoy it!
9) Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Here’s another one you’ll have to just accept if you’re going to appreciate it. The entire plot of this Jason flick is based around telekinesis. Yes, an unintentionally focused discharge of telepathic energy is what brings Jason back into our lives this go around. Trust me though, the ending is so bad-good that you have to watch.
8) Freddy vs. Jason
Not part of the original series, but it gets a place on the list for the sheer novelty of having two baddies go head to head. Once New Line Cinema brought Jason into their creepy family fold, it was only a matter of time before these two monsters met, and the film really doesn’t disappoint. It has everything you want from Freddy – quippy lines and a bad case of pockmarks – and all that is expected from Jason – silent and brutal stab, stab, stabbing.
7) Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
We first meet Tommy in the form of a young Corey Feldman (see #2) and follow him through a few films. He’s the only character to survive a story arc more than two movies other than Jason himself, so that’s saying something. This particular Tommy, played by Thom Matthews, is a much more likable character than his second incarnation, and is no longer practically mute due to trauma, so he makes for a much better protagonist. Also, as a bonus, campers actually make it to Crystal Lake for the first (and last) time in the entire series!
6) Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
This is the second film that the character Tommy appears in, this time played by John Shepherd. We follow him to Pinehurst, a halfway house for troubled teens, which is evidently where you go when you’ve tangled with a psychokiller. This one captures a bit of the spirit of the first film in that the killer is actually a bit of a question mark. You also get some pretty likable characters—little “Reckless” Reggie, the girl who is clearly a big fan of The Cure, and poor old chocolate-covered Joey all make this a fun one to watch.
5) Friday the 13th Part III
A lot of people who aren’t familiar with the series would probably assume Jason had that iconic hockey mask from the jump, but this is actually the film when he gets to don it for the first time. This one is filled with some solid death scenes that make up for its comparatively weak story line. You wouldn’t think you’d ever be rooting for Jason, but there is one character in particular that may change your mind in this one.
4) Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
This movie has arguably the best death scenes for people who are into that kind of thing, and one could probably assume that most Friday the 13th fans are. It does a great job of incorporating the past films, including tapping into what makes Jason tick. A young Corey Feldman steals the show here as he was apt to do back in the day, and you’ll love him even more for it. Oh, and as an added bonus, you get to see Crispin Glover do what can only be described as seizure-krumping in an amazing dance scene.
3) Friday the 13th (2009 Reboot)
This one is a reboot and therefore not part of the original run of movies, however, it did garner the highest-earning opening day for the franchise and the highest-earning opening weekend for any horror film, so not too shabby! It’s a nice, modern interpretation and has some really gnarly kills, one of which (the sleeping bag scene) was a fun echo of a scene Kane Hodder (the longest running Jason portrayer) has cited as his favorite kill in the past. That being said, for Hodder purists, please note that this is not the Jason you’re looking for.
2) Friday the 13th Part 2
This one has to rest near the top of the list for the sole reason that it is the first time we get to see an adult Jason. He doesn’t have his mask yet, which makes him all the more mysterious to us. This is the foothold for the Friday the 13th franchise when it really could have just been a one-off horror film with a rad twist ending.
1) Friday the 13th
How could it not be number one? This film brought the myth of Jason, Crystal lake, and “Friday the 13th” into our lexicon and helped shape horror. It brought comics, a television series, a video game, etc. to life. The surprise ending still holds up today and feels real for anyone who has seen a loved one hurt at the hands of another. You have to watch this one in order to truly appreciate the rest!
Happy Friday the 13th and happy binge-watching. Just remember, if someone suggests you split your group up to cover more ground, you’re screwed.
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