The Spiders Lair ranks the Freddy vs. Jason franchise. This is part two, the Jason films.
Friday the 13th 2
I wish I could tell you I have some fond memory of discovering this movie as a child and how it shaped who I became, much like the Freddy movies did. No, I didn’t ever watch these movies when I was growing up. I saw part 3 and part 7 when I was a kid, the rest I discovered long after reaching adulthood.
That being said, I was able to go into these with the clarity of a new comer who lived through their first-run, but missed them entirely. That helped reduce the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. That’s why I think I was able to name part 2 as the best of the series. For me, it was the only truly scary movie in the series and the one that really defined the slasher summer movie genre.
The plot was basically just repeating the plot of the first movie but with a new set of kids. The only variation was the killer. It had some good jump scares but the gore was definitely yet to become a staple of the series. This one had the most believable characters, for the most part, and the final girl felt like she really deserved to survive not just because she happened to be cast in the role.
Fun fact: The head of Jason’s dead mother is used as a prop, and plot device in this movie tying it back into the first movie.
Friday the 13th
I ranked this one higher than my personal enjoyment of it. The reason, it’s a classic and it reminds me slightly of The Last House on the Left in tone more than the following films. Since I loved that movie I give this a pass. As far as scares go, it’s not that scary. It’s mostly pacing and jump scares, more atmosphere than anything. Much like Sleepaway Camp to follow, this movie relies heavily on the fake out of not revealing who the killer is. Now, to be fair, the twist at the end of that movie was a real twist and not a tacked on jump scare to justify a sequel.
Fun Fact: Kevin Bacon is one of the victims in this movie.
Friday the 13th 4
The Final Chapter. Right, just like The Final Nightmare was the last time we saw Freddy Krueger. For some reason this one jumps out at me as the most 80’s horror movie I have ever seen. This one has the great hair music, teenagers being actual teenagers, Corey Frigging Feldman, and hockey mask wearing Jason getting some visually stunning kills. Oh and hot twins.
Fun Fact: This was the first movie to feature a story arc that carried over to the following movies more than just the setting and Jason.
Friday the 13th 3
Now in 3D! Freddy waited all the way until his intended demise film to go 3D. Not Jason, they did it in the first movie to have what would become his iconic mask. It was the first one to stray from using an all orchestral soundtrack to a solid 80’s rock soundtrack, but it was for the better. The movie had much better special effects, likable characters and even a sub-plot involving side characters. It even had a flash back that implied Jason might have raped girl.
Fun Fact: The nerdy character in this movie drives around in a totally 80’s retro VW Beetle reminiscent of G1 Bumble Bee.
Friday the 13th 6
Friday the 13th 5
I typically try to avoid ranking movies from best to worst following numerical order. Often times the movies do degrade progressively but sometimes you get an odd instance where a quality sequel will rise above the rest. This is one of those cases where part 5 sort of stands alone as the black sheep of the series. No small feat considering how many films stray from the formula. I have a lot of things I really enjoy about this movie but it’s still not the best. I like the change in setting. I love how different it is in tone and kills. What does trip me up though is the fake out reveal at the end, and the crazy red-neck characters that seem to contribute nothing but a cheap joke. This was one of those I did see as a kid. Not the whole movie but I distinctly remember the kid that I thought was trying to look like Michael Jackson who got killed in the outhouse scene.
Fun Fact: The hot blond doing the break dancing moves in this movie is the daughter of the woman who played the English teacher in the original Nightmare on Elm Street.
Freddy vs. Jason
Yes, this is the breaking point. From here on the movies all go downhill. One of the biggest complaints this movie gets from fans of both franchise is it doesn’t seem to work well as a solid entry in either series. I happen to disagree. I think it works better as a Freddy movie than a Jason flick, considering the Freddy stuff stays very true to the mythology that came before and this movie just makes up its own Jason mythology as it goes along, like they pretty much all do. However, I still enjoy it as a movie more than all the rest of the films on this list.
Fun Fact: The black chick was one of the singers in Destiny’s Child (that defunct band Beyoncé started in.)
Friday the 13th 8
If I was being completely honest, remove Freddy vs. Jason and this movie could go up a notch on the list. Chronologically this is where the franchise hit rock bottom. Everything after this is just garbage.
This movie has few redeeming qualities for me. I enjoy the early boat stuff, the parts most people tend to despise, but I completely hate all the physic dream stuff. This one felt like it was trying to appeal more to the Freddy fans and it didn’t work. At least not for me.
Fun Fact: Jason actually takes his hockey mask off voluntarily for a scare.
I like this movie more than most. I don’t think it’s a bad movie. I do think it is a bad Jason movie so ranking it among the others in the franchise it tends to fall pretty far down the list.
Fun Fact: This was another in a long line of horror movies moving to space for some reason. Others were Leprechaun and Hellraiser.
Friday the 13th 7
I hate this movie. It takes the psychic stuff too far. It has a few decent kills and it expands the mythology, I guess, but it messes up the time line and is just plain boring to watch.
Fun Fact: This was the second time a corpse jumped out at the end to drag someone into the water.
Jason Goes to Hell
This was one of the few I did see when I was a kid. In fact it was the only one I watched when it was a new release. I didn’t like it at all. The body switching stuff was too much. Jason didn’t look like the familiar character at all and since it as the first one I watched all the way through it soured my opinion of the franchise for several years.
Fun Fact: There aren’t any, New Line cinema bought the franchise and it should have ended here. I think they only made Jason X just to hold people over until they could get Freddy vs. Jason off the ground.
And that’s the list. Considering I haven’t even seen the remake yet I can’t rank it. Considering how my views tend to differ from the mainstream I am not sure what I will ultimately think of it. I do own the DVD, I just have never gotten around to actually watching it.