Ranking the Friday the 13th franchise from worst to first
#9 Jason X (2001)
People HATE this movie, and I really don’t get it. I mean, it’s not all that good, but it’s by no means the worst in the series. It’s a pretty well known adage in horror that when you go to space, you’re done. Well, over at New Line, even though they had the rights to both characters, Freddy vs Jason was going fucking nowhere. So in order to keep people giving a shit about our boy Jason, Sean S. Cunningham said he wanted to make a new movie. Todd Farmer brought him this story, and I have to imagine Cunningham just went, “Yeah sure, fuck it.” Because this was apparently the only idea that Farmer brought to the table.
In the distant future world of 2010, Jason is finally captured by the US Government and is being prepped for cryogenic stasis until they can figure out how to actually kill the son of a bitch. Thanks to the missteps and overall arrogance of the military, something goes wrong with the cryo and while Jason gets turned into a killerscicle, he takes his… caretaker (?) Rowan with him. Over the next four and half centuries, Jason and Rowan sit frozen (because who would think to maybe get her out?), the human race destroys the planet and jumps ship for for a new planet, the cleverly named “Earth Two.” Then a high school class takes some kind of field trip to Earth “One,” I guess, finds Jason and Rowan and takes them back to the ship as some kind of souvenirs. Then of course, Jason thaws out and comes back to life and does what he does best, slaughtering idiot teens. In the future. In space. Then Jason gets a cybernetic upgrade (TECHNOLOGY!) and starts killing people… basically the same way he was before.
Like I said before, it’s not all that good, but it’s not all that bad either. It’s a pretty standard F13 movie with only a slightly more ridiculous premise than usual. Points for the reappearance of the classic sleeping bag death, the frozen face crushing, and for the David Cronenberg cameo as the guy that wants to use Jason for experiments rather than freezing him. It was the last appearance, possibly ever, of Kane Hodder as the big man and was the first time he’d played him in damn near 10 years, and he didn’t miss a beat. All in all, it was mostly enjoyable.
Although, this was the last film in the original canon… so maybe I’m wrong.
#8 Friday the 13th (1980)
Here it is, the one that started it all. Old timers will tell you this is the best in the series. How it was so original (it wasn’t) and how the ending is such a surprise (it isn’t). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike this one. I just get a little salty when other sucka MC’s try to tell me that this is not only the best one, but the ONLY good one. I guess my question is, what makes this one so great? I mean, the kills are kinda meh, the characters are mostly uninteresting, and Jesus Christ, what in the name of fuck is with the camp owner, Steve Christy? I mean, look at this fuckin’ clown…
Jorts and a neckerchief. Seriously? I know it was the 80’s but dear god, man. The minute this guy comes on screen, you’re basically praying he dies soon. Now, this film did give us the “Summer Camp Slasher” sub genre and the foundation to the best slasher series ever (that’s right, Halloween fans), but this one ranks okay at best in the overall franchise. It did have plenty of BACON, though. Kevin Bacon, that is.
The premise, not that it differs too much from the other early ones in the series, is that Camp Crystal Lake, dubbed “Camp Blood” by the locals, is reopening after 20-some-odd years of being closed because of a couple of unsolved murders. Despite this notorious stigma, the hopeful staff is renovating the run down camp and preparing it for a new slew of campers, a mystery killer inexplicably starts killing off the counselors one by one. Bare bones plot, it is what it is.
But, it did open the door for…
#7 Friday the 13th Part II (1981)
Now this is the one where the F13 really gathered steam. It removed the mystery killer aspect and got right to the point: the indiscriminate killing of hormonal teens/20-somethings. I mean, that’s what we really want, isn’t it? Just sheer fucking brutality? Of course it is!
After only being briefly mentioned in the first movie (with an even more brief appearance), it’s revealed that Jason didn’t drown all those years ago, and has grown up in the woods as some kind of redneck feral man-child. When he finds out that his mother, Pamela, got decaffeinated (sorry guys, spoilers), he’s naturally a little irate and takes an ice pick to the evil bitch that killed his mommy. Back at Crystal Lake, at another site (you’ll find during the course of the franchise that Crystal Lake apparently has endless amounts of lakeside real estate) a group of camp counselor trainees are gathering for… well, training. Aware of what occurred during the events of the first film, the counselors are naturally a little on edge. And then Jason decides that he really fucking hates these people and starts mercilessly slaughtering them. And by mercilessly, I mean that even the wheelchair guy GETS A FUCKING MACHETE IN THE FACE.
IN. THE. FACE. OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH.
Is it some of Jason’s best work? In general, no. But give him some credit, he’s new to this whole serial killer thing. And damn it if this didn’t introduce us to our modern slasher killer and set the theme for the rest of the series. Thank god for studio greed and the ambition of director Steve Miner, and their ability to ignore Sean Cunningham basically shitting on the idea of any sequels (although I’m sure he’s enjoying the royalty paychecks now).