Cory Angen
Fridays the 13th
With the Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street series all wrapped up, it's time to move onto the last of the "Big 3" in Friday the 13th.

Similar to those other franchises, I'll be watching, commentating and ranking these based on my liking. Also like the Elm Street movies, this is my first time watching almost all of these, so my reactions and rankings may be a little harsh. Enjoy!
*as of October 2023

Friday the 13th

Just like Elm Street, this is my first time watching almost all of these movies (other than Freddy vs Jason and the 2000s reboot), so I'm going in pretty fresh eyes. I do know the twist in this one, but it's still pretty fun seeing how they conceal the identity of the killer until they're ready for the reveal. I do think that could've been more climactic, though. Knowing it's Mrs Voorhees and then seeing her actually fighting the last young counselor girl was sillier than imagining her killing everyone else. The ending is pretty stupid, but I can kind of understand how they plan to transition to Jason as the killer from here on out.

  • The girl who did survive was the most annoying person in the camp. I wouldn't have been mad if it was a total loss.
  • Even though some happen off screen and most are pretty tame, this is still the highest body count for a slasher debut with 9 (by the killer, 10 if you count her own beheading). 
  • Did not know Kevin Bacon was in this and then he got the most interesting kill with an arrow through the throat from behind. There are two kills using arrows and neither involve the girl who had multiple scenes on the archery range.
  • Honestly surprised the whole movie takes place in one night and before there are even kids at the camp. I was fully expecting an active summer camp for at least a little bit.
  • So interesting that there are such little imagery that everyone is used to thinking of when it comes to this series. From the opening credits to the method of kills and the look of the killer themselves. Going to be interesting to see how that all evolves.

  • Ranking: 1/1

    Friday the 13th Part 2

    Considering it was only a year after the first one, they did a good job of tying in the events of the first one while also explaining how we jump from Mrs Voorhees to Jason as the killer. There are definitely some plot holes in this retcon of a story, but it mostly works and sets up clear motive moving forward. That said, Jason is not very formidable in this one. Most of his kills are catching people off-guard and when he is confronted, he's mostly bested and looks pretty week doing it. It will be interesting to see how his character and presence evolve throughout the series.

  • Our first looks at masked Jason in a pillow case and unmasked Jason in all his deformed glory. Again, it's interesting that we haven't even seen a hockey mask yet.
  • Half of the counselors go into town for the night and we never see how they react to coming back to camp and finding everyone dead. Seems like a big loose end. Why even include them to begin with?
  • There's a tiny dog that seems to die early on, yet somehow reappears just fine at the very end. That's the most surprising survival of them all.
  • The ending is similar to the first, with a Jason jump-scare from behind that somehow doesn't result in the person's death. I'm guessing this is the vehicle they use to keep the story going. I wonder how long that formula lasts. 

  • Ranking: 3/12

    Friday the 13th Part III

    Already knowing going into this one that we finally get the debut of iconic hockey mask, I actually had some decently high hopes for this one but that was not to be the case. I should've known from the changing of regular numbers to Roman numerals in the title that the attention to detail just wasn't there, but I was hopeful anyway. It being made for the early-80s 3D craze made for some cheesy shots, but also some creative kills. That said, the ending is pretty dumb and this one feels most like a blatant attempt of a (bad) Halloween rip-off out of the three so far.  

  • It opens with the final battle of Part 2 but then half of those details are just never talked about even though it was right down the road and took place a day before this one is supposed to. I know it was the 80s, but news still got around.
  • The hockey mask gets introduced by a character we would probably label an incel today, so that's a little disappointing.
  • The lengths they go to have all vehicles completely unreliable is actually getting pretty impressive.
  • A harpoon flying through the air and an eyeball being shot out of a head being squeezed are by far the best 3D shots. The random tool handles in the dead center of the screen are not.

  • Ranking: 6/12

    Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

    Picking up right where we left off after Part III, this one does a good job of getting right to the action pretty quick. Like most of them, there are some notable Halloween vibes throughout with the end being quite similar to Halloween 4 with you thinking the new kid in the story might become evil. And that's actually very fitting because we know Jason is back in the next movie just like Michael was in Halloween 5. All that said and despite some questionable plot/character choices, I do think this is my favorite of the sequels so far.

  • They never mention how Jason got his mask back. I can't imagine the cops/EMTs would've left that on after strapping up his body to bring to the morgue.
  • For how remote the area seemed in the first 3, people keep running into awfully attractive young people on the roads in this one.
  • Our final hero (and maybe future villain) is a very young Corey Feldman. And that's a pretty fun development (even if I know it goes nowhere).
  • One of the kids yelling, "He's killing me!" as Jason is stabbing him to death has to be some of the worst dialogue in any major slasher movie ever. Just terrible.
  • They didn't even use a number in this one and considering there are 6 (or 7, depending on if FvJ counts) more movies in this timeline, it's definitely far from being any kind of "final chapter" but we'll see how they figure that out next time.

  • Ranking: 2/12

    Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

    Definitely the worst acting out of any we've seen so far. I'm not sure if it's solely on the actors or if it was just a product of its time, but it was really bad. Then we get into the actual plot of the movie and things don't really get much better. Nobody in this one garners any real sympathy and the whole thing kind of feels like it's just going through the motions. We end up with a fairly interesting twist at the end, but after the initial surprise, it ends up feeling kind of lame at the same time.

  • Considering this one came out less than 12 months after the last one, they clearly walked back the idea of it being "The Final Chapter" pretty quick.
  • We start off with a Corey Feldman cameo, but it quickly jumps ahead a few years to him as a teenager played by an actor who looks nothing like him.
  • "Crap my ass!"
  • Every single vehicle in this series breaks down at some very inopportune time. It's actually one of the few consistencies so far.
  • Some of the kills were actually pretty creative, I will give this one that.
  • It's the second movie in a row that sets up Tommy as somehow taking up the mantle as the villain in the next one, but seeing how much of a mess this one was, I wouldn't be surprised if that's not what we get in Part VI. We'll see!

  • Ranking: 10/12

    Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

    Honestly, this one was pretty straightforward even if there's not a whole lot of substance to the story. Jason comes back, he starts killing people pretty quick, he gets defeated and then is teased that he's still alive. Some of the acting isn't great, but for the most part things got better there, too. Totally serviceable and definitely a return to form after the stinker that was Part V. 

  • Tommy is back for his third movie (albeit with the the different actor playing the roll) but it seems like the backtracked on the idea of him being the killer and he is just used to facilitate brining Jason back and trying to defeat him.
  • The Frankenstein-esque lightning rod to revive Jason is easy and dumb, but it's better than the dog pissing fire to bring back Freddy in the Nightmare movies.
  • We also finally get the iconic title fonts in the opening credits instead of the heavy, 3D sans-serif type from the first few.
  • First movie where there are actually campers at the camp (though none of them get killed by Jason).
  • Half of the kills were about what you'd expect from a giant man with a machete, but there were still some more interesting ones in this one, too.

  • Ranking: 5/12

    Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

    As the title states, Tommy's story has finally ended and we're getting some new blood in this one. For the first half or more, the vibes of this one feel very on par with the vibes of the last one. It starts with a bit of supernatural stuff that doesn't seem really out of place considering some of the other ways they've kept this story going, but it quickly goes off the rails in the latter stages of the film. It gets going quickly with some classic tropes and fun kills, but there aren't many characters that are worth rooting for and it doesn't even seem like many of them care to find their friends and loved ones brutally murdered. And then it just ends. Feels like some wasted potential.

  • Why was Jason’s body still down there after all this time? Why wouldn’t they have recovered it at some point for evidence or something? 
  • Between the girl being slammed into a tree while in a sleeping bag and another getting stabbed in the face with a clown horn, this one definitely takes the cake on most creative kills so far.
  • I think every one of these franchises was contractually required to have a character named Tina in at least one installment.
  • This has to be the worst ending out of any of them so far. Cheesy telekinesis, a weird resurrection of sorts and no cliffhanger to set up the next installment.

  • Ranking: 9/12

    Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

    Another sequel that had a bunch of potential that just never really went anywhere. Only the last 20-30 minutes are actually in New York, which would be fine if the title wasn't Jason Takes Manhattan. So that was a little disappointing. Overall, this was a decent slasher movie, but without some real loose connections to Crystal Lake, it very easily could've been just some other throwaway movie instead of part of this franchise. I highly doubt much of this one will be used in the last two installments of the original run, but we'll have to see!

  • Why doesn't anyone ever go get Jason's body from the bottom of that damn lake?
  • Girl getting whacked with her Flying V guitar and the kid getting a sauna stone shoved into his abdomen were the highlight kills here.
  • Only two kills happened at/near the camp and there were no cars that broke down in this one. Those are some pretty big departures from the core plot.
  • There's a dog named Toby whose presence is kind of confusing. He runs off and hides on the boat for most of the first two acts and then runs away right when they get to NYC only to show up at the very end. I love a good movie dog, but it seemed unnecessary in the long run.
  • They should stop trying to show us Jason's face without the mask. He looked like the monster on the Frankenberry cereal boxes in this one.

  • Ranking: 8/12

    Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

    Easily the worst one so far. It's the first installment to skip 'Friday the 13th' altogether and goes straight to putting Jason in the title, which is a pretty weird strategy for him to only have like 15 minutes of actual screen time. There are a bunch of elements in this movie that remind me of the mid-late Halloween sequels, and not in a good way. The familial ties, the mysterious man in the black hat, the elaborate backstory that nobody really asked for. It starts off as pretty standard slasher, but then it kind of delves into body horror. It's all very strange and just about none of it feels like it should be a part of this franchise. Where the last few had potential that fell through, this one was pretty doomed from the beginning.

  • As I suspected, absolutely nothing from Jason Takes Manhattan is brought over into this installment. Though I honestly don't think it would've really hurt it.
  • We don't even get to see what kind of elaborate electrocution is used to bring Jason back this time, he's just there and then not and then somehow possessing people as a little demon gremlin thing.
  • Using other people to do the killing is something I would've expected much earlier in the franchise from a storytelling perspective, but I think they waited too long and everything got very messy in the process. It's also something that happened earlier in the Nightmare series, which leads me to…
  • The big twist ending is that Freddy's clawed hand comes up out of the sand and takes Jason's mask with it. This would've been fun, but we didn't actually get Freddy vs Jason until a full decade later.

  • Ranking: 12/12

    Jason X

    Jason in Space seems like it should've been a good idea for 2001, but in the end this could've been any monster-on-a-spaceship movie and it just happened to be Jason Voorhees this time. The utter disregard for pretty much all of the previous installments was probably smart but also didn't do much to help. His body blew up and someone ate his heart in the last one. I don't fully understand how to come back from that, even with the brief mention of his "regenerative properties." Overall, this one definitely felt more like a slasher movie than the last one and I do think there was potential in some ideas, but it still doesn't really fit within the universe that the original ones set up.

  • The liquid nitrogen head dunk and face smash felt very reminiscent of the hot tub kill from the original Halloween II. I liked that.
  • If the government was studying him, why does he still have a hockey mask on?
  • I love what the early 2000s thought the future would look like. It's like a mix of The Matrix and The Fifth Element. Between the costumes and the sets, everything just looks very bad.
  • There are multiple times these people could've made it off of their ship had it not been for someone or something being incredibly stupid. By the end, I was kind of just hoping they'd all blow up and it would be over.
  • Jason getting the Super Shredder makeover is easily my favorite part.
  • A very disappointing end to the standalone franchise.

  • Ranking: 11/12

    Freddy Vs. Jason

    This was the first of these that I had ever seen randomly in high school, so it  and it's soundtrack definitely holds a special place for me. It's a little hard to get past that nostalgia, but I do think this is in the better half of the whole series after finally getting through both franchises individually. The story at it's core feels like a Nightmare movie, but Jason gets most of the kills and it's hard to not root for him a little bit towards the end. Some decent callbacks to earlier installments of both, but a little lacking on the creative Freddy kills, which is a bummer. Pretty fun and does well to pay homage to both original franchises in a modern way that doesn't totally jump the shark.

  • They never really said where Crystal Lake was, but we got clues it was in New Jersey (or at least the NE) and we definitely saw that Springwood was in Ohio. They kind of just ignore that detail and make them close enough to be drivable (or walkable in Jason's case).
  • Our main girl's name is Lori, which is a nice nod to the third big slasher franchise.
  • Accurate to the original Nightmare series with the adults being manipulative and trying to hide all of their bad deeds from the kids.
  • Some solid boiler room scenes. Also accurate to the original Nightmare movies.
  • Like the last entry in the Halloween series, we get a musician to come in and add some diversity and this time we get Kelly Rowland. Lots of familiar faces in this one, but she's always the fun one to note.

  • Ranking: 4/12

    Friday the 13th

    There are quite a few references to the middle sequels but it's hard to tell if this is truly a remake or some kind of sequel that just ignores Jason Goes to Hell (and Jason X by default because it's set 450 years in the future) and it truly does fit into the series much better than those two did. If this was what was made instead of Jason Takes Manhattan, I think it would make a lot of sense. That said, there are some gaping plot holes and just silly inconsistencies that can make it easy to get away from the interesting world they did build around Jason being out there on his own for over 30 years. Totally serviceable yet entirely forgettable.

  • Opening credits showing the finale of the original movie and Jason's motivations, which was a nice throwback to the original run.
  • Switching from the burlap to finding the hockey mask was done pretty nicely. 
  • I liked how they handled showing him unmasked but mostly hidden in shadows so you only see just enough to know that something is off. Again, nicely done.
  • Lots of recognizable faces in this one, just the like the 2010 Nightmare remake, but not many redeemable characters.
  • I was wrong about the final girl not once, but twice throughout watching, so I guess they did a decent job on that aspect of the storytelling.
  • Nothing really that creative in terms of kills, but not overly gruesome as I would've expected for the state of horror movies in the late 2000s.

  • Ranking: 7/12

    Nightmares on Elm Street
    The Exorcists