In middle school, I used to ride my bike to Blockbuster. I went through a whole horror movie phase. The customer sales representative was always calling my mom to see if it was okay if I rented movies like Friday the 13th. My mom always said yes, and eventually told them to note that it’s fine on the account. Those blockbuster days were where my horror movie obsession began.
Before quarantine, I had seen six out of the 11 films in The Friday the 13th franchise. I thought this would be a great time to not only watch the movies that I hadn’t seen but also watch all the films from the first through the last.
I’ll take you through my journey and let you know which ones you must watch and which ones you can skip.
Friday the 13th Part I and Part II
The first two are pure slasher horror classics. You’ve got the old school rules, if you drink, do drugs or have sex, you’re going to die. And better yet, have a glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage while you watch them in the dark. Mine is pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc.
Because these are such classics, it’s always worth the re-watch. The death scenes seem to come out of nowhere in Part I because you can’t see who the killer is. Bonus, it’s Kevin Bacon’s first significant role, starting the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon phenomenon, and he has the best death scene in the movie. What’s not to like?
Also, remember, if you are ever asked the trivia question by a psycho killer: “Who is the killer in Friday the 13th?” It wasn’t Jason. It was his mother, Mrs. Voorhees! Pro Tip: Ensure which movie in the series is in question, so you don’t end up like Drew Barrymore.
One of my favorite things about Part I and II is the ending sequences. The first one in particular because there is one woman left standing that has to battle off the killer. The second also has a woman left, but she’s not alone. She’s still the one kicking ass, though, and the person responsible for this iconic scene:
It’s always a great part to relive, and Part II came with more inventive death scenes than Part I that included using an array of weapons, including an icepick, a wire, a hammer claw, spears, and machetes. Sit back and enjoy.
Friday the 13th Part III
All I can say about Part III is the death scenes are just as inventive as Part II, but you have no interest in any of the characters. I was only here for the death scenes.
Friday the 13th:
The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives
I highly recommend The Final Chapter. Think head crushing, being impaled by a spear, and having your groin stabbed with a spear gun. The death count goes up, sadly, that doesn’t mean all of them are as interesting as the last.
But really, the best part about this one is the ending. It’s got a great twist, which hasn’t happened since Part I. Part II is great because it introduces Jason, but this one gives you something you never see coming. That character’s storyline will continue for the next two films.
A New Beginning has a great twist at the end, too. Which is nice, because at this point, I’m getting tired of these Friday the 13th films, plus even the death scenes are getting tiresome. But I started this, and I must finish.
Jason Lives brings back those great death scenes. While Jason is definitely fond of his machete at this point, there’s still room for a heart being torn out, fence posts, and even a tree being used as weapons.
Friday the 13: The New Blood
For some weird reason, I missed this one while doing my marathon. I went back to it after watching the remake. It’s a pretty stand-alone film. It didn’t matter much that I watched this one out of order.
While this one has a young woman with psychic abilities, the rest of the movie plays to the formula that the first six started. And since I had watched all of them at this point, I was able to predict how this would unfold. There’s always a scene with Jason jumping through a window, and it typically ends with a man and woman left standing for the final sequence, but who survives is not always the same, though.
If you decide to watch them all, let me know if you could see all the formulaic cues at some point in your binge.
Friday the 13th: Jason Takes on Manhattan
Remember how I was saying I was getting bored. Well, I was more than there when I got to Jason Takes on Manhattan. This one was one that I had watched in my middle school blockbuster days. I remember it being good, but that was a long time ago.
It holds up, but it’s when Jason gets to Manhattan halfway through the film that things get excellent. There’s just something about the freshness of the location that brings new life to the franchise. I could not watch another one with young people being killed in the woods.
Jason also does not have his machete on him for much of the movie. He, at one point, uses an electric guitar as his chosen weapon.
Friday the 13th: Jason Goes to Hell
At this point in my marathon, I had low expectations, but I wasn’t going to quit now. Jason Goes to Hell is excellent. It even has a great story. It feels more modern than all the others. You think of Scream, I Know What you Did Last Summer, and they have a storyline. Jason Takes Manhattan does have a little storyline to it, but not as robust as this one. I bet you never expected me to talk about a storyline for any Friday the 13th movies.
If you don’t want to watch them all, you don’t need to. You can dive in here.
I remember seeing the 10th installment in theaters back in 2001 and it being quite absurd. Re-watching this film in a new context made it more enjoyable. They still use a lot of the same methods but in exciting ways. Also, watching from the first one, which was released in 1980, you see the development in film throughout the years. That’s 20 years of filmmaking. It was interesting to watch the advancements through all of the movies.
Friday the 13th (2009)
I love the Friday the 13th remake because it has actors I like in it: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, and Ryan Hansen. And do you remember the “I Wanna Be Bad” singer, Willa Ford from 2001? She’s in it too. And if you are a fan or think she’s hot, you’ll want to check this film out.
There’s a lot of these movies I will never watch again, but in a few years, I’m sure I’ll re-watch this one, as well as the originals that started it all.
While I did watch Jason vs. Freddy back in the day, I chose to wait to re-watch it when I do my Nightmare on Elm street binge-fest. That way, I can pick up on formula cues from that franchise too. After Freddy, I’ll be revisiting the Halloween films, just in time for the holiday.