Horror: Ranking the entire Friday the 13th Franchise

6 – Friday the 13th Part: III

Friday the 13th Part III 3-D | Quad Cinema

This may be one of the more famous installments of the Friday franchise as it is the movie where Jason finds and dons his signature hockey mask. It may also be infamous because this is the first time the studio decided to add 3-D into the movie. Around this time a lot of other studios were heading down the 3-D path so why not Friday the 13th?

The Jason look in this movie is the best of the series. The image of Jason in the hockey mask is possibly one of the most iconic images in all of movie history. It is an image that has transcended the horror genre and has now become a pop-culture staple.

The story of the movie is another pretty standard affair. Teens are heading up to a cabin to drink and do drugs for the weekend. It is your typical Friday the 13th story but it was one of the first movies in the series so it had not gone stale yet. The actors also did a good job of making their characters likable so even the downtime in between kills didn’t drag on as other movies had in the past.

The only other story part I will mention was the acting job done by Rachel Howard. Go back and watch the 5 minutes before her death in the movie and you will see the worst acting stint of the entire franchise. It is terrible.

Our opening kill takes place at a mom and pop shop only a day after the events of part II. The husband and wife kills were not bad but there were too many false scares and that took away from the eventual kills of both shop owners.

The rest of the movie’s kills were pretty good as a whole. Andy getting chopped in half and Fox getting speared off the rope swing with a pitchfork are particularly entertaining.

Of course, we can’t mention this movie’s kills without bringing up Paul getting his head crushed at the end of the movie. It was a fairly creative kill but the effects used to show it was just awful. You can see the wire on which they send Paul’s fake eye sliding towards the camera. It was something else.

For the third movie in a row, at least for this list, we have another very strong final girl. Chris is a very resourceful woman who takes the fight to Jason at the end. She manages to escape him at every turn and she is the one responsible for giving Jason’s hockey mask its signature ax mark. That alone puts her at the top of the final girls’ list.

5 – Friday the 13th (2009)

Here's why Paramount never made a sequel to Friday the 13th (2009)

No matter how much we think a movie franchise may be dead there is always a chance that it will be revived. For years no one thought that Friday the 13th was going to be revived but New Line Cinema thought why not and put together a reboot. For the most part, it held up quite well and did a lot to help revitalize the franchise.

A big change that this reboot did make was with Jason himself. For starters, a mountain of a man was chosen to play Mr. Voorhees which just helped make the viewers terrified of the man. Another change made was the intelligence and speed exhibited by Jason. In most of the past movies, Jason was a lumbering, dimwitted man who slashed his way through teenagers. In this movie, he laid traps and was lightning fast as he hunted down the teenagers in the woods. It was a different look for Jason and it was a great one at that.

The story was another standard Friday the 13th plot. Teenagers going up to a cabin to drink and have a good time. The only real difference with this one is that the characters are all very unlikable. It was hard to have any sympathy for anyone who Jason killed.

The opening sequence, for me at least, might be the best of all 11 movies. The kills are downright terrifying and nearly uncomfortable to watch. It establishes a different Jason than we had come to expect.

All of the other kills of the movie follow the same path as the opening kills. Jason is shown to be a very crafty and ingenious man who will stop at nothing to slay anyone in his path. A particularly great scene is when Jason hurts one of the group but does not kill him. He leaves him to toil in agony in the hopes that the screams will draw out the others.  This type of trap is nothing we have seen from Jason in the past and shows how intelligent this version is.

There was not much in the way of a final girl in this movie.  Once Whitney is kidnapped by Jason, for resembling his mother, she is pretty much out of commission for the movie. Even when she is rescued by her brother she does not do much to combat Jason, leaving her brother to do most of the heavy lifting.

4 – Jason X

Review: Jason X - Slant Magazine

It may be controversial to rank this movie so high on this list but it was a great movie and should be considered one of the best. After 8 years of Jason lying dormant, we were given Jason X or Jason in space as some have come to call it. Freddy v Jason was just around the corner so New Line Cinema decided to release a new Jason film to increase some interest in the upcoming mashup.

The Jason look for this movie was, for the first half anyway, your standard Jason appearance. What sets it apart from the rest is nearing the end of the film when Jason gets blown apart but then is reassembled using nanotechnology. The result was what some have come to refer to as UberJason. It is an amazing look to see Jason in a futuristic getup.

From an entertainment standpoint the plot/story of the movie for sure ranks up near the top of the list. It was a very tongue in cheek movie that didn’t take itself too seriously and that helped to put it over the top. The characters were well written and the actors portraying them were genuinely funny.

For an opening kill, we were transported back to present-day Crystal Lake where Jason was being held in a prison awaiting transportation, because you know that is a great idea and has never gone wrong before. While they were in the process of getting Jason ready he naturally escapes and slaughters everyone, except for our final girl. It is a fairly entertaining segment and it helped to set the tone for the rest of the movie.

The other kills for the rest of the movie were just gory and campy as the opening sequence. They were all well done but there was still an air of comedy about them that was great. A special shoutout has to go to the number one kill in the history of the franchise. That being when Jason dunks the lab tech’s head in liquid nitrogen and then proceeds to smash her frozen face off a table.

The final girl was meh from me. She was helpful and was able to go up against Jason in the beginning but as the movie went on Jason seemed to have more trouble with other characters other than with Rowan. So she gets a down from this guy.

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