Friday the 13th has the stigma of being a day when spooky and supernatural things happen. In honor of this special day, we recently sat down and watched the first ten movies in the Friday the 13th franchise. We present to you our reactions and reviews from our ridiculously daunting and ultimately pointless task in hopes you will be a more informed film connoisseur when you make your next scary video rental selection. Enjoy.
Friday the 13th (1980): This is where it all started. A group of young and very aroused camp counselors head up to Crystal Lake to fix up the camp before reopening it. Years before, a young boy drowned while the camp’s counselors were not paying attention – a tragedy that still haunts the camp.
High points: Tom Savini’s makeup effects (especially a certain axe injury), Kevin Bacon, campy fun (literally).
Low point: Hardly justifies amount of sequels.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981): The second installment for all practical purposes is really just a remake of the original except with a few more teenagers, a western bar and, oh yeah, Jason is actually in this one. Besides that, it’s the same old same old; kids get naked, kids get killed.
High points: An equal opportunity Jason (sorry wheelchair guy), some pretty sweet chases through the woods.
Low point: Everything, but still not the worst in series.
Friday the 13th Part III (1982): Part III begins where Part 2 left off. Basically it is more of the same again, but it was originally released in 3-D, a gimmick that makes this one of the most enjoyable in the series.
High points: Absurdity of 3-D moments, Shelly, brief appearance of overly hostile biker gang, the handstand kill, donning of the legendary mask.
Low point: Lack of excitement between 3-D moments.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984): What could be better than a Jason movie starring Corey Feldman as well as Crispin Glover? I’ll tell you what: an absolutely amazing horror film. Part IV is by far the best in the series, with pretty solid acting, great directing, and inspired murders.
High points: Crispin Glover dancing like a maniac, skinny dipping twins (they’re both hot, too).
Low point: Maybe a little more plot, please?
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985): Tommy Jarvis can’t get over his nightmares of Jason, so Part V finds older Tommy in a sort of mental institution out in the country.
High points: A brief appearance by Corey Feldman, gratuitous nudity, random trip to a trailer park, redneck mother and son.
Low points: Lack of Jason, slow pacing, cringe-inducing writing, brooding Tommy Jarvis, loss of campy fun.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986): The sixth film in the series had serious potential; all it’s tongue-in-cheeky glory sets you up for a great film. Tommy can’t rest until Jason is in hell, and he does his best to get him there (as long as you consider his best is waking up Jason, leading him to a camp full of children and pretty much overall being a horrible person).
High points: Sheriff Mustache, a caretaker’s whisky love.
Low points: the acting, the pacing, the writing.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988): A girl with telekinetic powers accidentally releases Jason from his underwater residence that Tommy had relocated him to. Mayhem ensues.
High points: Kane Hodder as Jason, girl who dresses like Hillary Clinton.
Low points: The premise, the worst psychologist ever, disappointing ending.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989): This movie is awful. Jason is awakened once again, this time by a boat anchor, and he’s still pissed about whatever. His level of anger doesn’t come close to matching mine since this movie does not take place in Manhattan; most of the film is set on a ship on it’s way to New York.
High points: Jason punching a dude’s head off. That’s it.
Low points: the remaining 99 minutes of this hack-fest.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993): In New Line’s first installment to the Jason series, a special task force kills Jason once and for all (whatever), but Jason’s black heart has the power to possess people.
High points: Decent production values, solid acting, gruesome and inventive violence.
Low points: No real Jason, strong start but loses momentum. Cheesy ending, but could be a lot worse.
Jason X (2001): There are way too many things wrong with this movie to fit in this article. You would think with a 14 million dollar budget they could make it look a little better. This movie is so terrible I can’t even be eloquent in the description.
High points: A David Cronenberg cameo, and an android getting it’s head punched off.
Low points: special effects, acting, writing, killing, story, humor, idea, accuracy, science, math, life, death, everything.