I love the Friday the 13th films. A lot. F13 is easily my favourite horror franchise. I can’t quite explain why, but it just is. So, I have decided, Fiends, to rank the series in order of quality, from worst to best. Read on to find out which I think are good, and which are, well, not so good….
(Please note, this list excludes the 2009 remake. I’m only covering the “classic” entries here)
11: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhatten.
Sure, for the last 3rd of the film. The rest of the time, we are on a cruise ship (which in and of itself could have been a cool hook to hang the entry on). And when we do get to “Manhattan”, apart from one shot in Times Square, we could literally be in any north American city (Vancouver was used as the stand in). Sure there are a couple of creative kills (such as the “boxing match”), but the ending is muddled, and the heroines plot arc feels like a thin retread of part VII.
Where to begin? Probably wit the elephant in the room: “Fake Jason”. The film tries to convince its own characters that Jason is back, but gives the game away to anyone who has seen the previous entries by giving the fake Jason a differently decorated mask (blue markings instead of red). It also has a darker, rougher edge which sits at odds with the entire rest of the franchise. And it just lacks that “spark” most of the others have. The sense of fun is gone. Dead. Just like the real Jason in this film.
This is the prime example of two Hollywood problems: Firstly, making a film then sitting it on the shelf for over a year is just asking for it to be bootlegged into the stratosphere. By the time it was released, pretty much everyone who wanted to watch it already had. Secondly, it is rarely a good idea to pitch a film, and the add “… in SPACE!” to the end of it. \sure, it sounds like a good concept, but it ultimately lacks the budget (much like Part 8) to be wholly convincing. Uber Jason is cool, but the film is just so very, very “meh”. Which is harsh from me because I still like it. Weird, huh?
8: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.
Initially pitched as “Jason vs Carrie”, this is a pretty decent entry into the franchise. The main problem for me is outside of Jason and the Final Girl, Tina, every other character is either totally disposable, or deeply unlikeable (Dr Crews, I’m looking at you). The film is redeemed by the epic final confrontation however, which really showcases Kane Hodders stunt skills (just check out the sheer length of his full body burn. It really is epic), the effects tams handiwork (the Jason suit is a thing of horrific beauty), and John Beuchlers skills as a horror director.
7: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday.
The series took another turn into leftfield here, with a lot of mystical mumbo jumbo, yet still produced a decent, and enjoyably gruesome entry. Again, most of the characters are pure disposeable fluff, but the film is carried by its bravura effects work, and interesting additions (since ignored) to the Jason mythos. And Jason himself only features properly in the first 10 minutes, and the last 10, despite the high body count.