Just in time for Halloween 2010, Top10Films delves into the murky waters of the Friday The 13th franchise. As slasher killers go they don’t come more famous than renowned murderer Jason Voorhees and his many helpless victims. But how many times can we stomach the same film played over and over again (and I’m not just talking about the remake!). We’ve trawled through the entire series to rank them in order – which ones to watch and which ones to avoid. Hopefully, therefore, Jason (and his mother) won’t spoil your Halloween movie marathon!
Tied – 10th. Friday The 13th – A New Beginning (Part V) (Danny Steinmann, 1985, USA)
The best sequel is followed by the worst. A plotless mess and the worst Jason Voorhees film in the franchise. The fifth film tries to reignite the series after Jason is seemingly killed for good, but it fails to do a good job, simply stringing together bloody deaths for the sake of showing off the latest prosthetic and make-up effects. Waste of time.
Tied – 10th. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (Adam Marcus, 1993, USA)
Jason gets killed at the beginning which is about the only decent bit of the movie. The film is also victim of false advertising – this isn’t the ‘Final Friday’ movie…sadly.
Tied – 10th. Friday The 13th (Marcus Nispel, 2009, USA)
The inevitable remake of the original film. Glossy, over-produced rubbish.
9. Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (Rob Heddon, 1989, USA)
A terrible mess that lacks any sort of plot but at least Jason gets to leave Camp Crystal Lake for a nightly excursion to the big city. There’s some nice special-effects towards the end but you’d have fallen asleep by the time they arrive.
8. Freddy Versus Jason (Ronny Yu, 2003, USA)
A gimmicky piece of rubbish seeing Freddy Krueger battling Jason Voorhees. On paper it seems like a crowd-pleaser but it’s bad filmmaking 101, and isn’t as fun as Jason X.
7. Friday The 13th – Part III (Steve Miner, 1982, USA)
It’s exactly the same film as Parts 1 and 2 but with added 3D. But, back in 1982 3D wasn’t big or clever!
6. Jason X (James Isaac, 2001, USA)
Futuristic science-fiction addition to the series. Yes, you read that right. Jason goes up in a spaceship and starts hacking off more limbs. Silly idea but a lot of fun! Read my full review here
5. Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (John Buechler, 1988, USA)
A nice premise that sees a sort of Carrie V Jason battle is sadly under-developed. However, it makes for some fun sequences and a little inventiveness to what had, by this time, become a rather dull retread of the same plot line.
4. Friday The 13th – Part II (Steve Miner, 1981, USA)
The second film is the first where Jason actually is the killer. It’s more enjoyable than the original film but far too similar.
3. Jason Lives: Friday The 13th Part VI (Tom McLoughlin, 1986, USA)
A coherent plot helps Part VI be one of the better sequels.
2. Friday The 13th – The Final Chapter (Part IV) (Joseph Zito, 1984, USA)
Part 4 or The Final Chapter stars a young Corey Feldman who has to come to his older sister’s aid when Jason takes a fancy to her. This is silly fun and follows a very similar path to the films that preceded it. However, it’s a better film than Part III and the most enjoyable of the sequels.
1. Friday The 13th (Sean S. Cunningham, 1980, USA)
The raw and bloody original was a lot less influential than people think. It was massively inspired by John Carpenter’s Halloween and not nearly as good. But Friday the 13th remains one of the best slasher films because it utilised the conventions of the genre to great effect. It’s all there – final girl, sex and promiscuity, violence, gore, inventive deaths, running around in the dark alone screaming “I’ll be right back”. It also has a great ending.