Ranking the Friday the 13th Films
The date was May 9th, 1980. That was the day that Friday the 13th was first unleashed into the world. It would take another couple years for Jason himself to make his presence felt, but the legend of the Voorhees family began on that early-summer day in 1980. For the next 30 years, the Friday the 13th franchise would churn out a variety of sequels, all to various levels of success. Jason Voorhees, as he came to be known, would take his rightful place among the pantheon of horror icons. He is on the same level as Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster. His trademark hockey mask has become iconic and just the simple name ‘Jason’ is enough to evoke a sense of dread for those who hear it. This is our ranking of the Friday the 13th movies.
12) Jason X (2001)
The year is 2455. Somehow Jason has been locked in a cryogenic chamber, along with the last final girl to step to him. Both are unfrozen and Jason is out for revenge. Nobody, and he means nobody, freezes him for 400 years. That’s almost as bad as killing his mom.
11) Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Usually, the films that don’t actually feature Jason a whole lot are not as well-regarded as others. This was true of Jason Goes to Hell, the 9th entry in the franchise. Somehow in this film, Jason has figured out how to possess people? So because of his new super power that we’ve never heard of before, Jason spends most of his time shapeshifting into regular-ass people. The climax is entertaining, but you can’t have a Jason movie without Jason.
Luckily, all was forgiven with the final shot. Jason had been taken to hell and all that remained was his hockey mask. As the film ended, a familiar hand popped up through the ground and reached for Jason’s mask. That hand had knives for fingers, which sounds strangely similar to one Mr. Frederick Krueger. It was the definition of a money shot. Unfortunately, it would take 10 years to get the payoff.
10) Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985)
Remember what we said about not liking Jason movies that don’t actually feature Jason? The same can be said about Part 5. This time, instead of Jason, the real killer of the movie is a guy named Roy, whose son was killed by a guy who never actually gets his comeuppance. Somehow, Roy has all the restorative powers as Jason, and it’s up to Tommy Jarvis to face his demons and defeat Jason, er, Roy once and for all.
9) Friday the 13th (2009)
Out of all the horror remakes, especially those made by Michael Bay, Friday the 13thactually fares pretty well. It stays true to the spirit of the original films, while offering a more modern take. It also features one of the most loathsome yet hilarious characters in the franchise history- a guy by the name of Trent (played by a guy named Travis Van Winkle).
Trent aside, this iteration of Jason was fast, cunning and ruthless. He also held some of his victims captive, which is weird. We were just happy to see the hockey mask back on the big screen again.
8) Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
The whole premise of the movie was supposed to be about Jason causing chaos in New York City. We do end up seeing that, for about a solid ten minutes. Jason spends the rest of his time stalking a bunch of teenagers on a yacht. We guess “Jason Takes Over a Yacht That Can Somehow Take People From Crystal Lake to Manhattan” didn’t read as good on the home video covers.
7) Friday the 13th (1980)
This was the one that started it all, but just because it was the innovator, doesn’t mean it’s one of the better films. First of all, ain’t no way Mrs. Voorhees could battle a bunch of fit teenagers. A. She had to have been in her fifties at least. B, we’re not quite sure whether Jason is alive or dead in this film, which causes confusion for the entirety of the franchise. If Jason is alive, couldn’t he have told his mom? There would have been a lot less bloodshed, we think.
6) Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988)
We don’t hate this film as much as a lot of fans do. Yes, it’s silly that a character has telekinetic powers. But this is a movie about a mute zombie that may or may not be afraid of water. So is it really outside the realm of possibility that other characters might have supernatural abilities too?
Plus, this was Kane Hodder’s first appearance as Jason. And Kane Hodder is our hero. This film also features the iconic sleeping bag kill, which has been and always will be our most favorite.
5) Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
The sequel to the smash hit original, as well as the first film to feature Jason as the antagonist, should have been a lot better. Instead, it basically repeated the same beats as the original, except instead of a geriatric woman committing all these murders, it was Jason. At least Jason was actually formidable.
4) Freddy VS Jason (2003)
At the end of Jason Goes to Hell, Freddy’s glove came up through the ground and took Jason’s mask all the way down to hell with him. Audiences were psyched. Unfortunately, all of the 16 year olds who loved the end of Jason Goes to Hell grew up in the ten years it took to finally make Freddy VS Jason. Now, they didn’t have all night to be going to scary movies. They had, like, jobs and families and stuff. Perhaps this explains why Freddy VS Jason didn’t make as much money as it could have. We’re still a fan though. It was exactly what one would expect from a movie that pits two slasher icons against each other. While there was no real winner, we’ve gotta believe the beheading of Freddy gave the slight nod (heh) to Jason.
3) Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
This was the one in which Jason received his famed hockey mask. It was also in 3D, which was used to hilarious effect.
2) Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)
Following the massive misstep that was Part 5, the filmmakers behind Part 6 got back to the basics. It was a fairly simple formula, really. Jason, at a camp, killing teenagers. There was no need for psychics, 3D gimmicks or body-swapping. It was simply Jason doing what he does best- murdering.
1) Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
Except it wasn’t The Final Chapter. Friday the 13th Part 4 is the ultimate Jason movie. It showcases him as a badass, yes, but not quite the hulking zombie we would see in later films. Part 4 also featured the debut of Jason’s biggest rival- Tommy Jarvis (played by Corey Feldman). Friday the 13th Part 4 hits all the right beats and its success would never be replicated. Part 4 might not have been the final chapter, but it was certainly the best.