Return To Camp Crystal Lake
Oh, so you survived the first part? You didn’t throw your hands in the air and consider the previous 7 rankings a disgrace? You want more? Well, here you go! Here are what I consider the Top 5 films from the Friday the 13th franchise.
(Remember 12 was least favorite and 1 is the favorite. Not sure how or why I’m ranking them? Go back to part 1 of this list and find out!)
5) Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988): As I noted in the previous post, I loved Tina and her powers. Though the special effects show the timeframe this movie was made, the idea that there is someone out there that can go toe-to-toe with Jason was awesome! Tina Shepard has lived a hard life. After witnessing her father abusing her mother, Tina (at age 7) runs out onto a dock. When her father follows her to try and talk to her, she is able to harness her telekinetic powers and collapse the dock on him, drowning him. Her mother has done a lot to try to help her since then. Unfortunately that means hooking up (No, not that way!) with a very shady Dr. Crews (Hey, it’s Bernie!). Crews suggests bringing Tina back to Crystal Lake, and while there, she thinks she senses her father. Nope, it’s Jason, and Tina is able to resurrect him. The shot of Jason’s back as he emerges from the lake… GNARLY! Nice spine, my man. Nice spine. Anyway, the kills here aren’t particularly gruesome, and we get some of the standard stuff. Dan was a nice touch – Jason’s hand through his back. And it was certainly nice to see Dr. Crews get weed-whacked to death. But all of this was just a lead-up for Tina to bring the pain. We knew a showdown was coming, and while it was a tad slow, it was nice to see Jason get what he had coming to him.
4) Jason X (Part 10) (2001): Yes, Jason’s in space, but if you take this movie for what it is (Camp!) and don’t have many expectations, it’s awesome! Basically, some crappy soldiers try to put Jason in frozen stasis with the hopes of studying his rapid cellular regeneration. Nope, Jason isn’t having that, and all hell breaks loose. One brave woman (of course!) is able to lure him into an ice pod and activate it, but not before he damages it and stabs her. About 450 years later, Earth sucks and cannot support human life, and though most people have moved on, apparently people still scavenge for things on Earth 1. And this is where four lucky people find Jason and Rowan (the brave gal from before) frozen. They decide to bring them aboard their spaceship and are able to revive Rowan. Jason is pronounced dead. (Yeah right!) The head dummy-in-charge recognizes who Jason is, and goes off to see if he can sell the body, while his intern is ordered to dissect him. BIG mistake! HUGE! And this is where we get my favorite kill of the entire series: Intern revives Jason somehow (or perhaps he just thaws out), he grabs her, shoves her face in liquid nitrogen, and then smashes her head to pieces on the counter. Inventive and gruesome! It was fun to see the android (or play thing?) duke it out with Jason. We are introduced to Uber Jason (Just watch the movie!), and for posterity we get a few sleeping bag kills. And who can forget the guy that Jason just throws on a large corkscrew (sort of), and we get a great scene of his body just sliding down, as it goes around and around… Campy fun!
3) Friday the 13th (Reboot; Part 12) (2009): I wouldn’t call this a remake, more of an extension. We get a bit more backstory. Apparently Jason saw his mother beheaded, and well, who wouldn’t that damage?! Ok, so now we know why he hates nubile teens. But we also see a more… sentimental Jason? Four kids are out camping when they stumble upon… (You guessed it!) Camp Crystal Lake and a HUGE plot of weed. Anyway, needless to say, a now adult Jason doesn’t appreciate the intrusion, but this is where I start to see a bit more of what I want. Jason usually goes after the guys first, and rather than do nothing, they try and put up a fight. More importantly, they try to warn their significant others. (See, ladies. Not all men are clueless twits.) We get another, painfully hot, sleeping bag kill, but we also see Jason spare one of the young women. We assume because she looks like his mother. Who knew Jason was such a softie?! Jared Padalecki (of TV’s Supernatural) arrives, looking just as constipated as he does on the small screen, but at least there is a bit more of a story here. He’s looking for his sister. Yep, the girl Jason spared. There are plenty of pretty young people, including the always awesome Danielle Panabaker, and though the stereotypes are all here (asshole, jock, nerd, pretty prude, slut, etc.), we at least get to see something along the lines of forward motion and storytelling. There are upgrades to the special effects – though contrary to what everyone raved about, I don’t think Jason runs. He just walks really fast! The kills, as I have said in numerous other entries, are pretty standard, but things are ramped up a bit – the sleeping bag death is particularly ramped up. And I was sad to see Panabaker’s Jenna not make it out. The ending is suitably open, for what I hope is an upcoming sequel, reboot, remake… whatever!
2) Freddy vs. Jason (Part 11) (2003): While I realize this disappointed many, I never expect much when it comes to movies like this – no expectations, means no disappointments. But come on, folks! Freddy and Jason in the same movie? Yes! Yes! Yes! Once again, I appreciate the hint of a plot. For the most part, Freddy has been forgotten. If people don’t fear him, he’s powerless, so he’s largely… well… powerless when it comes to haunting/killing the teens of Springwood. However, Freddy is able to resurrect… Jason. And when Jason starts killing, the people of Springwood start the rumors that maybe, just maybe, Krueger is back. So, while this gives Freddy some of his power back, he starts to get pissed that Jason is having all the fun. The kids here aren’t all clueless assholes, and this makes for some entertaining scenes and dialogue. I mean who can forget Kelly Rowland taunting Freddy – hilarious! And let’s not forget the poor young man that was literally stabbed and then folded in half on the sofa bed. The kids come up with a good plan – fall asleep and then bring Freddy into the real world, offering him up to Jason. And for the most part, it works. The showdown is epic, and I always stick up for my machete-wielding guy. Jason won! Yeah, I said it!
And so we’re down to number one. The only installment left. Drum roll please!
1) Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Part 4) (1984): Perhaps some of this pick is nostalgia. This was the first F13 film I ever saw. But this installment had all the right elements: Jason, as badass as ever; the young, promiscuous kids; the older guy that just wants to help; and of course Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis. We have our usual kills (machetes, cleavers, thrown through windows, etc.), but it’s the ending that always catches me. Trish has lost her mother, she sees that all the teens are dead, and she wants desperately to protect Tommy (her little brother). She lures Jason away from the house, with the expectation that Tommy would leave and get help – NOT happening. Tommy comes up with a plan. He is going to make himself look like a young Jason and distract him, thereby giving Trish time to kill the monster that has invaded their home. It works, kind of, though Trish fails miserably, and Tommy is the one to “kill” Jason. At the end, Trish demands to see her now committed little brother, and we get a shot of Tommy staring at the camera. Back in the day, I believe there were some rumors of Jason taking over Tommy’s body, and Tommy being the new killer – hence the name of this installment. Luckily, things did NOT go down that way. Yes, there was some question about whether or not Tommy was a killer in A New Beginning, but the producers veered away from that, and instead made Tommy just another kid victimized by Jason – meaning we get more Jason! Feldman plays camp with the best of them, and even at his young age you got the feeling that he was in on the joke. (Feldman was about 13 at the time the movie came out.) Sure, there was some over-acting, some needless angst, but overall the movie hit all the right notes for this gal. I think I was 12 or 13 at the time I saw this (after a LOT of begging and pleading with my mom), and it’s stuck with me ever since.
And there you have it! My reasons for putting The Final Chapter at number one don’t go much deeper than it being my introduction to the franchise and giving me all that is Jason. But to this day, it’s still my favorite. The Friday the 13th movies are campy, but as I mentioned before, I never expect anything beyond Jason getting things bloody, so I am rarely disappointed. The Big Guy (also my nickname for Tyreese on the Walking Dead, so maybe I need to come up with something else for Jason) has a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait for Number 13! Lucky Number 13!