In honor of this coming week’s Friday the 13th I am giving you my ranking of the franchise’s films including the reboot from worst to best!
12. Jason Goes to Hell : The Final Friday is in my opinion not only the worst sequel in this franchise but in my estimation the worst sequel in the three big horror icon franchises. Yes! I am saying this beats any of the Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street sequels. Hell can barely be called a Friday film. The killer? Not Jason. The location? Not a campground. The only time you see a campground is the best moment of the film which is when Deborah is murdered while riding her boyfriend. I don’t know what this movie was trying to be but it never became much of anything. If you are into possession films, just watch Fallen. Do yourself a favor and forget this one because that is what you will do right after watching it.
11. Jason X. Why? Friday films are at heart good old fashioned slasher films. A remote location, some teens, and Jason. Very simple formula. Unfortunately for the 9th film in this franchise, studio executives decided to complicate things. Jason went to space where there are no trees, lakes, or kids (Editor’s Note: Only there were kids). I have never understood horror icons being sent to space in a sequel. It is nothing more than a gimmick that doesn’t work. Thankfully, Michael Myers has so far avoided getting the space treatment. If the franchise doesn’t start in space it should never go there.
10. Jason Takes Manhattan. I guess Jason taking New Jersey campgrounds for the previous six films was not enough. In this mess (despite of being drowned in the previous film and banished to the lake) Jason learns how to hold his breath and swim. He puts these skills to use and climbs onto a boat full of high school graduates cruising to Manhattan to celebrate.
I hate this movie. The location was wasted and therefore pointless. I think only one or two Manhattanites were actually murdered just because they got in the way. You suffer through this disaster only to have insult added to injury when Jason is de-aged back to a child in the NYC sewer system for your grand finale of an ending.
9. Friday the 13th 5: A New Beginning. Not so much. I’d characterize this movie as a wrong turn in a successful franchise. Although this sequel has teens and kills, the bizarre location and lack of Jason (except in flashbacks) makes this film a loser
while still loosely fitting in the with the previous films. I did not notice the lack of Jason during my first viewing back in the 80s and maybe that’s for the best since it delayed my annoyance and disappointment when the reveal finally came at the end. Overall, this has never felt like a Friday movie to me.
8. Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood. For many years this movie was one of my favorite Friday sequels. After viewing it and the other sequels with a more critical eye in the last few years, it has dropped several spots. There were definitely decent kills and we were still in the woods for this one. I also enjoyed Terry Kiser as Tina’s deranged Doctor. I didn’t care for Tina’s Carrie like abilities or the who cares story of her dad’s death. Unfortunately, this film suffered from cuts to obtain an R rating in which we lost explicit gore in several of the deaths. Although this movie has problems, it is the last sequel that fits the franchise and does its job as an enjoyable 80s sequel.
7. Friday the 13th 3D. In some ways, this movie is the perfect middle of the road slasher film. I do not like or dislike 3D. In the 80s, it was bad and the blue/red glasses gave you a headache. We do have kids, a cabin , Jason, and the catchiest theme song I’ve ever heard in a horror movie. This was another backstory I really didn’t give a shit about and I found it gross that it was hinted that Jason may have molested or raped Chris. This film was and still is entertaining and Chris’s story doesn’t ruin the movie for me.
6. Friday the 13th Part 2. This is another of the Friday sequels that fits in perfectly with the franchise. It is not amazing but it is our introduction to Jason, which has saved us from another crappy back story we don’t care about for a character we will never see again. The opening scene where Jason travels to Alice’s apartment to kill her is pretty ludicrous. How does he get there? Does he go by plane, train, or bus? Perhaps he owns a car and drove? Where does he get the money to travel? Whatever the explanation, it will probably make zero sense so I have just accepted the scene. He can’t let his mother’s killer live now can he?
This film out of all the sequels feels the most like the original.
5. Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives was my favorite sequel at one time. I still think it is a near outstanding entry. Tommy is back (albeit a cuter version) and he sure has made a huge mess of things by resurrecting Jason. Now that damn Jason is killing a new batch of counselors at Forest Green (a renamed Crystal Lake)! Everyone thinks Tommy is the murdering freak because he kind of got the reputation of a psycho in the last two movies. I have always enjoyed this installment in the franchise with its hot cast, humor, cool kills, continuity and of course the REAL Jason.
The absence of bare breasts doesn’t matter because it is a genuinely good film. Kudos to the studio for leaving the piece of trash that was part V behind and coming back strong.
4. Friday the 13th (2009). I was very pleased with the reboot and surprised it wasn’t a pile of garbage. It was not a remake. Instead, it incorporated plot points from several of the films including parts two, four and the original. I particularly liked the opening sequence which sets up the rest of the film and gives a few of the characters valid reasons for being at the camp. The casting was spot on in my opinion for a slasher film. Someone in casting even managed to choose a young lady, Julianna Guill, whose boobs are mentioned by every man I have ever heard talk about this film. My favorite kill is the sleeping bag kill which is a nod to the sleeping bag kill from Part VII except this time Jason roasts the victim like a marshmallow!
3. Freddy Vs. Jason. This is what The New Blood was intended to be. I’m glad it waited. I think we got a much better film than we would have back then. I really kind of love this fever dream of a film. It is like a very scary but fun acid trip. The cinematography is amazing. We have Robert Englund for the last time as Freddy, and we have the Elm street and Crystal Lake kids together! There are moments when this group of kids take on a Scooby Gang vibe when they have Jason in the back of their van and they are on their way to Crystal Lake to pit the two killers against one another in an effort to get them to stop murdering everyone else. This movie had everything but the kitchen sink and I loved it. It was also a great last dance with Freddy.
2. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter. This didn’t used to be my favorite sequel. However, I rewatched it about two years ago with a more critical eye and changed my mind. This sequel has the strongest and most cohesive story of all except Part Two. Although we do not know Tommy and his family prior to this movie, they fit into the Friday world well. We are also introduced to Rob, the sibling of a murdered counselor from part two. It is Tommy, his sister and Rob that drive this story. We still get the sex obsessed teens who do drugs, fuck, and get murdered but of all of the sequels this one has the most heart. While we have a final girl here, the real hero and defeater of Jason is a child.
1. Friday the 13th. I love this film. It’s really nothing special when you get right down to it but it’s a simple slasher flick with a cast of unknowns (at the time) for the most part. Except that it’s not. The story is quite clever because while the trend at the time was crazy dudes killing hot girls this movie was not at all what it appeared to be. Friday the 13th is a mystery through and through. Unfortunately, the cat has since been let out of the bag but it was still in when I saw it for the first time. Much like Scream we didn’t know who the killer was and although it wasn’t as fancy as Scream, the mystery still gave it something extra.
There you have it! My ranking of the Friday films. Feel free to tell us yours in the comments.
Happy Friday the 13th!