Well, it’s Friday the 13th, and I haven’t been doing anything on this website and realized I never published any Movie reviews, so why not do a quick and dirty ranking of the Friday the 13th movies.
Here it goes…starting with my least favorite:
12. Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
I tried to like this one. I really did. I re-watched it earlier this year in hopes of a Halloween III: Season of the Witch experience, where, upon further viewing, you are able to enjoy it and suddenly allow it to shoot up the ranks. It just didn’t do it for me. There are some cool bits with Jason, and Kane Hodder is the best, but they are on the boat for too damn long, and I feel like that part really drags it all down. And the toxic ending…
11. Friday the 13th (2009)
I need to re-watch this one. I’ve been reading a lot of comments about people really liking this one. When I saw it, it didn’t do anything for me, and I haven’t seen it since that first viewing. I remember it pretty much being a remake of parts 2 – 4, offering nothing new to the story line, what little story line may exist in the franchise. I don’t remember liking any of the “victims.” It seemed like they were just making a “greatest hits” package, and it left me cold.
10. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
I never saw this in 3D. Maybe that’s the problem. Like the remake, I felt like it was more of a “greatest hits” of the first two movies. That said, it did create the iconic Jason look as he first dons the hockey mask in this movie. Nothing else memorable about this one.
9. Jason X (2001)
My wife and I went to see this one in the theater. We had to go tell someone that we were actually in the theater after they never started the film – I guess they didn’t realize two people actually bought tickets. It’s different. I give them credit for putting the same Friday the 13th formula in a new setting. The 1980s Crystal Lake memory scene comes off as really fun. Jason is just unstoppable. There’s a lot of humor in this one, although I’m not always sure how much of it is intentional. It may be ranked low, but I still thought it was a lot of fun. This may be the one I watch tonight.
8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Sure, it’s bad. It lacks a Voorhees. But, it tried to do something different with the story, and I give them some credit for that. It also continues on the Tommy Jarvis story line, showing the aftermath of his run-in with Jason in part 4. The hillbilly mom and son are a hoot.
7. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Well, we all know better now, right? I love Crispin Glover’s character, and Corey Feldman’s Tommy Jarvis is excellent. This film, along with part 5, would probably be the cause of everyone thinking this series of films is nothing but nudity because those two films were. This movie coming in at #7 tells me that I really enjoy these films. Of course, I already knew that. It seemed like it had some of the best and worst that a Friday the 13th film had to offer.
6. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
My friends and I snuck into this film on opening night. It was the first Friday the 13th film I saw in a movie theater. I think I had probably seen them all on home video by the time this film came out. Anyway, I like the continuity from Part 6, starting off with Jason still at the bottom of the lake. It was Jason vs a telekinetic Carrie-like heroine named Tina. It had a lot of the normal Friday the 13th characters and killings, but I enjoyed the Tina element as something a little different. It was also the first time Kane Hodder would star as the hockey masked one.
5. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
From what I’ve read, a lot of Friday fans hate this movie. Again, I enjoyed they did something different with the story. Also, I was a big fan of Shocker. Since that film never received a sequel, this kind of acted as a sequel to that as well. I thought the acting was top-notch. I loved the hand-to-hand battle scenes. Creighton Duke may be my favorite Friday the 13th character. It had good humor. I remember reading about the story line in Fangoria on the way home from a relative’s house and got really excited about this. I didn’t feel like I was let down.
4. Freddy vs Jason (2003)
A lot of eyerolls on this one as well, but I thought it was a lot of fun. You can’t take the films seriously, and this one was a turn off your brain and just enjoy type of movie. Somehow, they were able to get these two horror titans together, and I think the story worked well enough. Putting Ash into a sequel or even Pinhead, I think, would’ve worked and been lots of fun as well. What could’ve been…
3. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Thom Mathews (from the first two Return of the Living Dead movies) portrays the last version we have seen of Tommy Jarvis. The film marks the return of Jason after the Part V story line. Tommy is still dealing with issues from his dealings with real and fake Jason. He needs to make sure Jason really is dead, but, alas… Filled with tons of cheesy mid-1980s humor and tame kills during a time when the MPAA was really cracking down on horror film violence. From what I remember reading Kane Hodder’s book, I believe this film marks the first time he donned the famous hockey mask, doubling Jason actor, C.J. Graham.
2. Friday the 13th (1980)
The original. Betsy Palmer. Adrienne King. Kevin Bacon. The camp is going to re-open after a lot of mis-steps following the drowning of a boy some 20+ years ago. This would be the film, as a horror-loving child, that would end up scaring the shit out of me and causing me to take quite a few years off from watching horror until a friend introduced me to A Nightmare on Elm Street when we snuck into the theater to see Dream Warriors. It has likable characters. Gruesome kills. Officer Dorf and Crazy Ralph. As a fun exercise, I’ve been trying to write a remake of this film, which would also set up the sequels. I don’t know if a true Friday the 13th remake would work these days because everyone would expect to see Jason in his hockey mask. Anyway, I know it got roasted upon its original release, but it’s really a fun film.
- Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
I was re-watching the film this year, and this one put forth a lot of the tropes that would later be made fun of in slasher films, but it all works in this movie. This film was made at a time when they still tried to add characterization. The characters are likable. In my opinion, the actors were really good. Killer Jason is introduced in a burlap bag, like the killer in The Town That Dreaded Sundown. I thought the ending was well-conceived. There were still some gruesome kills. Suspense. Amy Steel was great as the final girl. It’s a toss-up between her and Adrienne King for who is the best final girl in the series. I watched them back-to-back earlier this year and was shocked to discover I liked this one a little more than the original.
Anyway, that’s my list. I decided to figure out the current rankings on imdb and Rotten Tomatoes. I matched 1 with imdb and 3 with RT. Doesn’t mean anything – just curious how closely I ranked with the masses.
12. Goes to Hell (4.2) 11. Jason X (4.4) 10. Manhattan (4.6) 9. New Beginning (4.8) 8. New Blood (5.3) 7. Remake (5.5) 5. (tie) Part 3 / Freddy vs Jason (5.7) 3. (tie) Jason Lives / Part 4 (6) 2. Part 2 (6.1) 1. Original (6.5)
12. Manhattan (8%) 11. Part 3 (11%) 10. New Beginning (18%) 9. Jason X (20%) 8. Goes to Hell (22%) 7. Part 4 (23%) 6. Remake (26%) 5. Part 2 (27%) 4. New Blood (35%) 3. Freddy vs Jason (41%) 2. Jason Lives (50%) 1. Original (64%)