In honor of producer Brad Fuller getting his head out of his behind and agreeing that the next Friday will NOT be a found footage crapfest, I thought I would rank the Friday movies in order of my love for them.
I thought this would be a good way for me to ease back into reviewing after a (too long!) absence. I fell down a flight of brick stairs in late February and I’m still getting over that. (Would love to know why a jammed finger and bruised/cracked ribs take so damn long to heal!) And then in April, The Husband and I experienced what I can only describe as true terror when Son #5 was bitten in the throat by a large dog. I’ve never known that kind of fear, and if Son #3 hadn’t been there… well, let’s just say something finally keeps me up at night soaked in cold sweat. But our youngest is on the mend, as am I.
So enough of that. There are currently 12 Friday movies, and no, I am NOT including the ones with Ice Cube – we’re talking Friday the 13th here. Let’s be clear up front… I realize my ranking and even the reasoning behind my order might be controversial, but horror is subjective. I also realize I am horribly biased, as in my book Jason rarely does wrong. I’ve ranked these based on the shock factor (those OMG/WTF moments), how crazy the kills get, how invested I am in the characters, maybe a little bit on how badass Jason came across, and how much the film still grabs me after years and years of watching it repeatedly. So, from bottom to the top, here we go:
(12 being least favorite; 1 being favorite)
12) Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989): Or as I like to call it, Jason Takes a Pleasure Cruise. This movie stunk, and yes that pains me deeply to say. However, even at his suckiest, Jason still amuses me. Once again, our favorite slasher (well mine anyway) is brought back by electrocution. And he hitches a ride on a ship full of nubile, young high school seniors to… you guessed it… Manhattan. There are some decent kills. The guy in the sauna is painfully killed with a hot rock to the chest, and Jason decides to take the annoying wannabe rocker out with a guitar. While those were good, my favorite has to be the young man, Julius, who no doubt envisioned himself an erstwhile Apollo Creed, with Jason as his foe. All across the rooftop, he tried his best, and even got in a few shots. And Jason took it. (I like to imagine an indulgent smile under his mask.) Finally, Jason said enough is enough, and smacked him once, taking the young man’s head clear off! I give props to anyone that goes toe-to-toe with the Big Guy.
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11) Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (Part 9) (1993): Jason does not go to Hell, or at least we don’t see much of it. And while this movie wasn’t horrible (decent actors and ok storyline), we don’t see a whole lot of the Big Guy. The issue here is that the supernatural element isn’t really explained – eating Jason’s heart apparently allows him to enter your body, and from there he can move from one person to the next. Sure, you can figure it out, but who wants to think too much during a movie like this? The beginning was cool – a pretty young girl out in the middle of nowhere, easy pickings right? WRONG! What’s this? She can flip and do back handsprings? Oh wait, she’s FBI and is leading Jason into an ambush. WHAT? Jason gets shot about 2000 times and blown up. (Wouldn’t it be cool if the Robocop doctors came and fixed him up too?) Well, anyway, that doesn’t stop the coroner from eating Jason’s heart – WHY? GROSS! Nom nom nom. The coroner then becomes possessed by Jason. This begins a series of decent kills and more possessions. The coroner’s assistant gets a face full of metal grating, but perhaps the best is poor Deborah – impaled through the back with a tent pole and then ripped in two. R.I.P. Deborah.
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10) Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981): Nothing particularly wrong with this installment. I like that the idea of Jason as a vengeful killer is quickly established. R.I.P. Alice. (Alice being the heroine from the original.) I think my issue with part two is it’s your standard slice and dice. None of the kills are that imaginative, and the movie really looks dated. (I watched it a few weeks ago.) I think the one image that has stayed with me is Mark. Mark was the counselor that was in a wheelchair. He got a machete to the face, but then fell down a seemingly endless flight of stairs! A decent introduction to my favorite slasher, but Jason never really finds his footing in this movie.
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9) Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Part 5) (1985): This one is tough, basically because it isn’t even Jason, rather a grief-stricken father uses the myth of Jason to enact revenge for the murder of his son. I was also distracted by the actor that plays Reggie (Shavar Ross) as he was in Different Strokes, and who didn’t love that show? Basically, a young man, Joey, was killed, and his father cannot handle the callous way people seem to treat his death. Using the legend of Jason, the father goes on a killing spree. Though this is just a man, who presumably does NOT have Jason’s supernatural strength, there are some fairly decent kills: a pair of garden shears to the eyes for one promiscuous young lady, and then her boyfriend gets a belt through the face (you have to see it!). The road flare to the mouth is decent, but Demon (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) in the porta-potty takes the cake for me – if only because he rocks that girl earring as he dies in the crapper.
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8) Friday the 13th (1980): Yes, the original is pretty far down on the list, and here’s why – I didn’t see the original until I was about 18. I’d seen parts 2-8, but the original just wasn’t on my radar because of who the killer was – NOT Jason. When I finally did see it, all I could think was, “YOU are a 20 year old dude! And you are letting an old woman kick your ass!” Even the girls were disappointing wimps in my book. Sure, Mommy had insanity on her side, but come on! On the other hand, we do get a young Kevin Bacon (Jack) with an arrow through the neck. By the time I saw this, it was already fairly dated compared to the installments I’d seen up until that point. Yes, it’s the original, and yes, it’s a classic, but aside from that, it just doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Aside from Jack and Mrs. Voorhees’ demise, there isn’t a whole lot going on here.
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7) Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986): HE LIVES! LIVES! Way to go, Tommy! Tommy Jarvis, our hero from part four, is having a tough time. And really, who can blame him? He gets the idea to cremate Jason’s body, but in trying to do the right thing, he inadvertently brings Jason back to life. Duh! Jason immediately kills Tommy’s friend, and then proceeds to go on a killing spree. On a side note, I was a HUGE fan of V (the original miniseries, The Final Battle miniseries, and the silly TV show). The young woman that plays Megan in Jason Lives played Elizabeth Maxwell in the TV show, and she had psychic abilities. So, I constantly yell at the TV for her to do something – to use those powers she should have! (Of course, Tina gives me what I’m looking for in part 7 – but we’re not there yet!) Nonetheless, this installment has some good kills! Nikki who gets her face shoved into the side of the RV – and we get to see it protrude through the other side! A triple decapitation! Poor Sissy gets her head literally ripped off! And who can forget the poor sheriff being bent in half – literally bent in half while trying to protect his daughter, Megan. At the end, Jason is returned to the lake (where he belongs) until part 7 that is.
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6) Friday the 13th Part III (1982): To be honest, the only reason this is higher than part 6 is because of a few of the kills. That’s it. It does pick up right where part 2 leaves off, but aside from that, this is pretty standard 80’s slasher fare. Right from the get-go, things are interesting. A knitting needle to the back of the head, pinned to the rafter with a pitchfork, and who can forget Vera admonishing Jason for pointing a spear gun at her. Of course, she gets one through the eye for daring to put Jason in his place! And poor Rick’s head is squeezed so hard his eyeball pops out – VERY cheesy, but it’s fun. BUT, the really memorable one here is Andy, who is excited after getting some. So excited that he decides to show off and walk on his hands, but Jason isn’t impressed, and he cuts him in half. CRAZY!
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And… what’s next?!
Well, The Husband (who helps me edit and makes those awesome GIFs for me) just wandered out and said it looked like I was writing another book. Since I’m a little over halfway done, I’m going to cut this up (HAHAHAHA!) into two separate posts. The top 5 is still to come!
UPDATE: The remaining rankings can be found here.
Think one of these should be ranked higher/lower? Tell me why!