Welcome to Dead Meat, the horror channel you always wished for but never had until now.
I'm James A. Janisse and today I'm gonna be ranking the 12 Friday the 13th movies from worst to best.
Couple of caveats before we get started: First off, these are just my opinions,
so try not to comment with death threats towards me or my mother just because I didn't rank your favorite Friday higher, all right?
Secondly, as far as my judgment goes, I'll be looking at 5 criteria:
How well it's made, including the writing, directing, acting, etc.
How much it tries;
How much it succeeds in what it's trying to do;
How fun or entertaining it is to watch;
and of course, those sweet, sweet kills.
Also, to be fair, I'll be sure to name good things about the movies I rank low.
All right, enough with this intro, let's get to the rankings!
It was difficult to pick the WORST Friday the 13th movie, but it had to be one of 'em, and I chose 'A New Beginning'.
First off, the obvious - Jason isn't the killer.
Which isn't automatically a bad thing, but his replacement, Roy Burns the paramedic, sucks.
-"You talkin' to me, Sheriff?"
-Yeah, I am, Roy. Your motive doesn't make any sense - did you even know your son was at that farm?
Did anyone else in that small town know you guys were related?
Switching the setting from Crystal Lake to a halfway house doesn't make it original,
since the general gist of the movie is still too similar to the first 4 Fridays to stand out.
Plus a lot of the kills are in crappy-looking close-ups, and the way the camera lingers on all the topless chicks just feels sleazy.
Good things about the movie?
Well there's Sexy Psycho Tommy, who's suffering from a serious case of kick-assery;
There's Edith, the foul-mouthed redneck;
-Demon and Anita's poopin' duet;
-♪ Hey baby ♪
-♪ Ooh baby ♪
-and the wondrous, sonic scream of Reckless Reggie.
Coming in at number 11 is Part III and I can already hear you typing away your death threats.
Yes, I know you think 'Manhattan' and 'Goes to Hell' are worse, but hear me out.
This is the third movie in the series and there's hardly anything new to it.
It's pretty much a clone of the first two, just a bunch of stupid, sexy teens getting killed at a lakeside setting.
They even copy the ending of the original almost exactly, with the final girl in a boat getting attacked by a hallucination.
It's brought down even further by the over-inclusion of gimmicky 3D shots that are both distracting and gratuitous,
as well as the single worst fake head I've ever seen in cinema.
I know it's the movie where Jason gets his mask, and it has a couple of really good kills
like Andy who got split in half, but those don't make up for its uninventive story, its slow pace,
and what is by far the worst acting in the entire series. You know what it is.
-"Oh my god! Oh my god!"
-Good things about this movie?
Well, like I said, Andy's death; scary smiling Jason at the end when he's booking ass towards the lake;
and the lackadaiscal way Jason walks back to the house after shooting Vera in the eye with a speargun, like he just realized it's only Wednesday during a long week at work.
At number 10 is Part VIII, 'Jason Takes Manhattan'.
First off, huge points get docked -
which IS a boat pun, you're welcome -
for the blatant lie in the movie's title. Jason don't take Manhattan, Jason Takes a Boat!
And then he has a layover-length visit to Manhattan.
It's a huge bummer because early drafts of the movie had such a promising premise, but the execution was seriously botched.
We all know by now that budgetary restraints kept Jason on that damn cruise ship for over an hour, but the movie has a lot more wrong with it than just that.
I'm talking about all the watered down kills and the absurd little boy Jason that haunts Remy around and for some reason has hair.
Plus, when Jason takes off his mask he looks ridiculous, like a muppet left out in the sun too long. I can't believe they made Kane Hodder wear that.
Good things about this movie?
Well, it's something different, at least, than just kills at a summer camp;
It's got that amazing shot of Jason in the middle of Times Square;
the kickass scene with Julius boxing Jason on a rooftop before getting his head knocked off;
and there's a cute pup Toby, who totally survives the movie.
I forgot to mention that in the Kill Count and people freaked out in the comments. Don't worry, guys, he lives and he got so many treats when he got home.
He's such a good boy!
Coming in at number 9 is the 9th Friday itself, 'Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday'.
I was tempted to rank this one lower but a few things kept me from doing it -
first and foremost, the gore.
Whether it's eating a rotten heart or melting to the floor, this movie's got a lot of real nasty bloody stuff
that goes further than most entries in the series, and I give it respect for that.
It also has a couple of the coolest characters and best actors in the form of Steven the Badass Nerd and Creighton the Finger Snapper Duke.
Finally, I can respect that it tried to do something different,
but man did it blow it.
The whole "Jason is a nasty slug that infects people and needs another Voorhees to live forever" thing
is ridiculous and it's jarring to have a bunch of bizarre mythology injected into a series during its 9th movie.
Plus, say what you will about Roy Burns, at least that guy dressed like Jason.
Watching a police officer and a newscaster kill people is just an average Wednesday in America
and the plainclothes Jasons contribute to how boring this movie is between kills.
AND, I forgot to mention it during the Kill Count, but this movie actually has Jason grunting,
It's the only time Jason's ever been that vocal, and it don't sit right with me.
Good things about this movie?
Well, like I said, there's the gore, the funny characters, and the fact that it tried to be different.
Oh and Jason looks pretty cool, as little as we get to actually see him.
I can't believe this isn't ranked lower, but number 8 is 'Freddy vs. Jason'.
No, I'm like really confusing myself here, because I pretty much hated this movie.
With some of the worst and most superficial characters in the series and and the use of some visual effects that really annoy me -
namely the choppy slow motion and the way people take flight whenever they're hit by something -
I was pretty much miserable for most of this movie.
But the thing that brings it back is the solid 20 minutes of screentime we get with Jason and Freddy just beating the crap out of each other.
Some might say the gore is over-the-top here and I wouldn't disagree, but I like how insanely brutal it got.
I mean we're talking two of the most famous icons in horror history - it wouldn't feel right if it were PG-13 levels of gore.
Plus, like I said in the Kill Count, the premise used to pit them against each other is pretty good.
It's just the rest of the movie that sucks. Jason afraid of water, get the hell out of here.
Good things about this movie?
Besides all the times Jason and Freddy fight each other, Will and Mark are pretty cool characters.
There are also at least two great kills, with Jason killing the emotionally-abusive boyfriend Trey with a Chiropractic Crunch
and cutting bottom shelf Jason Mewes in half with a machete. Snoochy boochies, brother.
Now we're moving from the bad to the mediocre, and what's a more mediocre Friday film than Part 2?
Again I hear your keyboard clacking away but calm down just a minute.
I know this is Jason's big premiere but besides that, it's basically just the original done all over again.
Same amount of victims, similar levels of gore, and although Jason's finally arrived,
he's not developed at all so it doesn't feel too much different than the first person killing from the first one.
However, there are some things that elevate this movie.
First and foremost is final girl Ginny, one of the best Final Girls of the whole series,
who fights back at Jason both physically and mentally, using that child psychology she mentioned studying.
-"Use a little of that child psychology you're majoring in."
-A couple of other characters are memorable too, like Mark,
the guy in the wheelchair who has an incredible death sequence falling backwards down the god damn Odessa steps,
and Vicki, who's super cute and endearing in how forward she is with Mark.
-"What do you wanna play for?" -"Position."
Plus, we got Crazy Ralph and Alice returning to provide some nice continuity from the first film.
All-in-all, Part II is a nice middle-of-the-road entry in the Friday franchise.
Another middling entry is 'Part VII: The New Blood'. Again, there's a lot going for this movie, and a lot taking away from it.
In the plus column is Kane Hodder as Jason, which is a big deal for the Friday franchise.
I know he's not EVERYONE'S favorite, but he's probably the actor who cared the most about being the character,
and that passion shines through in all the abuse he takes as the man behind the mask.
Speaking of which, this is by far the coolest looking Jason.
That nasty, gnarly face and the exposed spine show the extent to which he has become a supernatural being and creates for a memorable stand-out looking incarnation.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, these characters are so forgettable that they might not have even had any names.
The only teen to make an impression is Melissa, who excels as the blonde bitch stereotype character.
And of course Tina, who also helps raise this movie to another level.
Yeah, she's basically a Carrie-rip off but it's still awesome watching someone fight back against Jason, especially with something as delightfully silly as telekinetic powers.
I mean she headbutts him with a decapitated head. That's great.
But to bring it back down a notch, these are some of the weakest kills in the series, heavily censored from their original versions,
and I can't even count the number of times the characters run back and forth into the woods. It's exhausting.
Also, don't even get me started on that ending.
Mud-faced dead dad is one of the single stupidest moments in all of Friday the 13th History.
I know I'm gonna get so much shit for placing it at number 5, but up next is the original Friday the 13th.
I'm sorry guys! All right, I know a lot of people think you can't do better than the original, but in the case of Friday the 13th, I disagree.
Look, I can appreciate this movie's impact on the genre and how it became super popular even with a shoestring budget and an unknown cast,
but that doesn't necessarily make it great.
For one, it's an admitted clone of Halloween, so don't get on me about it being anything original.
Also, there's really nothing to these characters other than their potential to get killed,
although I guess Ned is memorable for being such an idiot
and Adrienne King lends Final Girl Alice a strength that really comes out during the final fight.
To be entirely fair, this is a really simple movie that knew it was a really simple movie.
It set out to be a bloody slasher flick and it succeeded, so that gives it points.
Plus, who doesn't love Pamela Voorhees and all those close-ups on her pearly whites?
Ultimately I think the original Friday the 13th is the prototypical slasher film - and I mean that entirely, for better or worse.
At number 4 is the 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th, and at this point I know there's NO stopping all the hateful comments I'm gonna get.
Ranking the reboot higher than the original? Blasphemy, I know, but let me make my case, okay?
While the original Friday the 13th tried to be scary with an unknown killer lurking around the edges of the camp,
the remake terrifies us by showing an agile powerhouse Jason and the torturous ways he can kill people.
It's definitely a matter of taste, but for me, the far more horrifying thing is thinking about being roasted alive over a fire pit,
or being left to scream in agony as some sort of bait for my friends.
I really dig reboot Jason and the way he runs at people and sets traps for them -
it feels more realistic and thus more scary than just a big guy shambling around swinging a machete at people.
I will say the characters prevent this movie from being capital G great,
and I actually think it goes too far with the nudity, which becomes distracting with how frequent and extreme it is,
but on the other side of the coin you got Lawrence and Chewie doing a great job as comic relief,
and the central relationship is one between siblings, which is always great to see.
Love you, Janelle!
All right, at this point I feel like every ranking is just gonna piss you guys off even more, because number 3 for me is 'Jason X'.
Are you still there? All right cool.
Listen, I know a lot of people hate this movie... like, a LOT of people HATE this movie,
but I loved it, man. Because here's the thing: It sets out to be a silly, self-aware sci-fi action Jason movie. And you know what? That's EXACTLY what it is.
Yeah, Jason in Space is absolutely ridiculous, but this is the 10th movie in the franchise!
Did you really just want to watch him kill a bunch of camp counselors all over again?
I love that this movie features a bunch of women kicking ass, especially upgraded Kay Em when she blows Jason to pieces,
and the self-aware, Scream-style humor really worked for me, whether it was Janessa and her quips,
-"Oh, this sucks on so many levels!"
-or the professor being naive.
-"It's okay, he just wanted his machete back!"
-The actors buy into the ridiculousness and their performances perfectly match the almost-satirical tone of the film.
And guys, it's got the best kill of the series. Two words. Liquid. Nitrogen. Hell yeah, son.
Throw in Sgt. Brodski, who I stand by as the most badass character of the series -
after all, Tommy Jarvis didn't intercept Jason on a jetpack in the middle of outer space -
and the virtual Camp Crystal Lake sequence and you've got what I consider a super fun movie,
even if the sets do look a little bit like that Space Cases show from Nickelodeon back in the day.
Number 2, for me, is 'Part VI Jason Lives'.
I know most of you put it as your number one, but number 2 out of 12 is nothing to be ashamed of!
'Jason Lives' wins massive points for being the first in the series to strike a different tone.
It was still Jason killing teens at a summer camp, but this movie made the decision to have fun with it.
They broke the fourth wall, made its characters self aware of horror movies, and did a whole bunch of silly gags, even if they didn't always work.
It brought back Tommy Jarvis and Thom Mathews played him as a likable determined guy, a protagonist we could truly get behind,
and matched him up with Megan Garris, one of the most capable final girls in the series.
Megan's dad, Sheriff Garris, adds an extra layer of awesome to this movie with his gruff, no-bullshit demeanor
-"Either you get some sleep, or I'm gonna come in there and put you out."
-tempered by a real love for his daughter...even if he did, you know, point a shotgun at her that one time.
And although I'm not personally a fan of hair metal, it doesn't detract from cool action sequences like the flaming RV shot.
Sure, the kills aren't the best in the series, but 'Jason Lives' is a fully confident and unique entry to the series that stands out among all the others.
That being said, the number 1 Friday the 13th movie for me is 'The Final Chapter'.
I will admit that this one is very similar to the first 3 Fridays. But for me, it's the perfect distillation of what those movies wanted to be.
Check it - you've got Jason in his hockey mask the entire time. Great.
He's played by Ted White, who I think everyone can agree is a Top 3 Jason actor.
And while there's still a horny group of teenagers, they at least include Crispin Glover, who gives us some amazing dance movies in his memorably awkward performance
- and even better, they're not really the people we're supposed to care about.
Instead we have another awesome sibling relationship in Trish and Tommy Jarvis.
Tommy Jarvis is of course the most popular Friday the 13th character outside of Jason Voorhees himself, and Trish is actually really cool too -
watch the way she defends Tommy by busting this TV over Jason's head,
or taking Jason's machete and hacking right between his fingers, giving him permanent shocker hand.
And with Tom Savini back behind the make-up, the kills are all great - not only do we get gruesome kills like Glover's cleaver to the face,
and yes, it is a cleaver, not a machete like I said in the Kill Count. I got it wrong. You can stop commenting now.
we also get the coolest offscreen kill and the best defenestration courtesy of the Doublemint Twins.
To top it all off we get a nasty looking unmasked Jason who does that wicked face slide down a machete.
This movie may just be Jason killing kids around a lake, but it is a perfect version of Jason killing kids around a lake, and that's why it's the number one Friday the 13th movie for me.
So that's my list. I know you're gonna have major disagreements, so hit me up in those comments. Just try not to be too much of dicks about it, okay?
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Until next time, I'm James A. Janisse. You've been watching Dead Meat.