DOLO FLICKS: Ranking The Friday The 13th Franchise From Worst to Best (#8–5)
In the second part of this three-part series ranking the Friday The 13th franchise, we take a look at a majority of the first few films.
Many of the films in this portion can be interchanged with one another as this group of movies has many similarities. Some of the films could go down in my rankings in the future should I re-watch the series again in the near future.
It’s possible that a majority of Friday The 13th enthusiasts may find issues with this part of the list as these films were not ones that I watched growing up. There is no nostalgia for these movies, and these rankings are based on how I feel about the movies in the present day.
Let’s Start Part Two!
8. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3
RELEASED: AUGUST 13, 1982
DIRECTOR: STEVE MINER
APPROXIMATELY 12 KILLS
The third Friday The 13th film stands alone as the only movie in the franchise made to be specifically seen in 3D. There are many shots that are intended to be seen in 3D throughout the film, and watching them today; it feels outdated.
This is also the first Friday The 13th to have the same director as the previous film in Steve Miner. The film takes place just a day after the events of the second film as it shows some news footage describing the murders from the previous movie.
The plot doesn’t feature your typical camp counselors, but instead follows a group of friends heading to a friend’s cabin for the weekend.
This third entry into the franchise is best known for being the movie where Jason finally gets his infamous hockey mask.
As far as kills, the movie has two that stand out with one character getting his head squeezed to death ending in a 3D eyeball effect in a kill that is so bad that it turns out to be good. The best kill in the movie is when Jason takes his machete and splits a character in half who is doing a handstand.
Unfortunately, while this Friday The 13th does have some memorable kills, it also has some of the worst acting in the entire franchise.
When the character Chilli finds Shelly dead, she runs away yelling in what can only be described as a comical attempt at being scared.
“Oh, God, No. Shelly’s Dead. He’s Dead. Oh my god. Oh my god.”
Much like the beginning of the movie using footage from the second film, the ending of part three is similar to the original Friday The 13th with the corpse of Ms. Voorhees taking in the final girl Chris, played by Dana Kimmell, into the water in what turns out to be just a dream.
The third Friday The 13th feels like a film that can only be loved by those who grew up with movies.
7. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING
RELEASED: MARCH 22, 1985
DIRECTOR: DANNY STEINMANN
APPROXIMATELY 22 KILLS
The controversy continues as this entry is usually placed as one of the worst entries in the series.
The fifth installment of the franchise suffers from fan expectation of having Jason as the main antagonist in the film. 1982s Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which was derided for not having Michael Myers at the time, now has a cult following.
A New Beginning doesn’t have the following of Halloween III, but the movie has its moments that make up for not having the real Jason.
The film follows an adult or teenage Tommy Jarvis, played by John Shepard, who is at a camp for troubled youth. Jarvis has issues dealing with his past encounters with Jason and has sporadic fits throughout the movie.
Danny Steinmann directed A New Beginning, and with his background in pornography, there are many scenes with extended nudity. Taking Jason’s place (spoiler alert) is paramedic Roy Burns in one of the most obvious turns in history.
In the first third of the film, a character is killed at the youth camp with an ax, and it turns out that kid was Burns’. Burns then decides to dawn the hockey mask with a blue design and become a copycat killer of Jason.
Many of the kills in the film are unique, including one using a belt and a stick that is wrapped around a character’s head until he dies. Some of the characters in the movie are put in just to add to the kill count.
While Friday The 13th: A New Beginning doesn’t have Jason, the movie still feels like the standard Friday The 13th, including the kills and characters.
6. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2
RELEASED: APRIL 30, 1981
DIRECTOR: STEVE MINER
APPROXIMATELY 9 KILLS
The second installment in the Friday The 13th franchise is a fan favorite that features the bag-head version of Jason. The bag-head version of Jason is a unique entry in the series and stands out for being different.
The film itself features Jason venturing outside of the Crystal Lake campgrounds to get revenge on Friday The 13th’s original final girl, Alice Hardy. We spend a few minutes with Alice before she meets her fate after finding Mrs. Voorhees’ severed head in her refrigerator and is then killed by Jason.
In this installment, we follow a group of camp counselors that are going through counselor training. Jason takes his time taking down each would-be victim, including a memorable machete to the face kill to the character Mark who is in a wheelchair.
After getting hit by the machete, Mark is shown going backward down a large staircase in the wheelchair, adding something unique to the kill.
Friday The 13th part 2 arguably features one of the best final girls in the entire franchise in Ginny, played by Amy Steel. During the climax, Ginny finds Jason’s shed and shrine to his mother in the woods.
Ginny impersonates Jason’s mother by putting on her sweater and calling his name, allowing him to be distracted enough to be seemingly killed with a machete to the shoulder.
The ending of the film shows a deformed hillbilly version of Jason blasting through a window, grabbing Ginny.
The second film hits many of the same beats as the original, but it does enough on its own that many prefer its predecessor.
5. FRIDAY THE 13TH
RELEASED: MAY 9, 1980
DIRECTOR: SEAN S. CUNNINGHAM
APPROXIMATELY 10 KILLS
The original Friday The 13th is a monumental film in horror movie history as it helped spark the slasher movie craze that was prominent throughout the 1980s.
It was initially meant to be a rip-off of 1978s Halloween, which would then feature an anthology series telling different horror stories with the Friday The 13th title. However, the success of the film allowed for a continuation of the Voorhees storyline throughout the series.
Many of the kills in Friday The 13th are tame for today’s standards, as many are left below screen for the audience.
However, famed special make-up effects artist Tom Savini adds his touch to the movie with some kills that still hold up today. The under-the-bed kill featuring Kevin Bacon’s character is still one of the best kills in the franchise.
The preferred version of the movie is the unrated version that has extended kills.
What makes the original stand out to this day is the final act with the battle between Alice, our final girl, and Pamela Voorhees. You see your standard final girl template with her running into dead bodies and fighting off Mrs. Voorhees.
Eventually, this leads to Alice grabbing a machete and cutting off Mrs. Voorhees’ head.
Some of the mythology here is confusing with Friday The 13th as Mrs. Voorhees is taking revenge on camp counselors for allowing her son to drown due to their negligence; however, Jason takes his revenge for the death of his mother.
Did Jason actually drown?
One of the final scenes in the movie shows Alice out in the middle of the lake in a canoe, and a moment of peace seems to pass through the film.
Then Jason pops out of the lake dragging Alice with him.
The sequence turns out to only be a dream, but its effectiveness caused many future installments to duplicate it.
Friday The 13th, with its over-the-top characters and memorable final act, the film still holds up as one of the best in the franchise.