Friday the 13th: A Thesis

31 10 2010

Friday the 13th is by far the most prolific of the three big horror franchises of the 80’s, the other two being A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. While Nightmare On Elm Street evolved over time, with Freddy becoming less silent and more of a wisecracking villain, and Halloween essentially imploded in upon its own timeline, Friday the 13th just kept pumping out movies at the rate of about one a year, with the same formula, the same silent killer, and the same goal: a scary movie where teenagers have sex, and then die, or drink, and then die, or do drugs, and then die. In the end, Jason is stopped, but never permanently. He’s reliable – he’ll always be back.

I begin my descent into insanity after the jump.

I recently watched the first eight films in the Friday the 13th franchise, and decided to grade them on five categories, because I am incapable of watching a movie just to watch the movie. The five categories are:

Movie Quality

This is just the general quality of the movie, compared to the rest of the series.

Number of kills.

Quite simply, the number of people killed in the movie. It’s a horror movie, so a integral component must be people dying, right?

Number of awesome kills.

Even more important than people dying is that the people die in awesome, awesome ways. These are the deaths that make you go “Holy shit, that guy is dead. A simple machete to the face won’t get you in here. I’m watching the box set “From Crystal Lake to Manhattan” so some kills that don’t make it in here may be amazing in their uncut form – but I didn’t see them.

Amount of nudity.

The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of 80’s slasher films is gore. The second is nudity. While I think this is the least important of the factors (and you’ll see why), it still remains that there are certainly people who went to see these movies with this as their main goal. Is that better or worse than me watching them for a research paper? You decide.

Killer’s death

A big part of any horror movie is the final closure you get with the death of the killer. The final girl (and it is almost always a girl) finally overpowers or outsmarts the killer to defeat them, at least until the sequel. This category rates how unlikely it is that Jason will come back the next movie. Although he always comes back.

Are you ready? Here we go. Spoilers abound…but who cares? Final ratings await at the end!

Friday the 13th


Friday the 13th was the first movie in the series, made simply because Halloween had made so much money two years ago. Some camp counselors are waiting for the children to arrive at the camp, and someone is killing all of them, one by one. Back in 1980, the fact that the killer was Pamela Voorhees, mother of Jason, wasn’t really anything shocking, except maybe that she was a woman. But in our modern age where the phrase “Friday the 13th” brings to mind a hockey masked Jason, the fact that he is not the killer may be a shock to some.

Movie Quality

Friday the 13th started the series, but unlike most franchises, that doesn’t automatically make it the best of them. Although it does have some genuinely scary moments, and the slow realization that Mrs. Voorhees is completely insane is one of my favorite things in any horror movie, it still can’t live up to some of its sequels.

Number of kills

Mrs. Voorhees manages to off nine camp counselors in this installment, and gets her own head chopped off by Alice.

Number of awesome kills

The only memorable kill here occurs while Kevin Bacon lies on his bed smoking weed. He notices that blood is dripping down onto his face, when suddenly a hand reaches from under his bed and grabs him as an arrow is forced through his throat. Intense.

Amount of nudity

Negligible. 5 seconds of a fairly unattractive girl is outweighed by Kevin Bacon’s ass.

Killer’s death

Well, Mrs. Voorhees gets her head hacked off with a machete, and never comes back. So that’s got to count for something.

Friday the 13th Part II


Friday the 13th Part II takes place only two months after the original film. Alice, our head-hunting heroine from the original film, is murdered in her home by yet another unseen assailant. Poor girl can’t catch a break. The plot of this one is that the camp is reopening, five years after Alice’s death, and this time the counselors are at a training session at the camp? Will they fare better this time? No. No they will not.

Movie Quality

Friday the 13th Part 2 manages some impressive things: It manages to be better than the original. It manages to be considerably scarier than the original. It manages to actually have some form of a plot. And it features Jason in a burlap sack instead of a hockey mask. Way creepier? I think so.

Number of kills

Our boy Jason takes down ten counselors this round, beating out his mother by one. She taught him well.

Number of awesome kills

There’s only one awesome kill in this movie, but it kills two people, so it’s technically two. Two very unattractive people, Jeff and Sandra, are having sex. Jason decides to save the audience and plunge a spear through both of them and the bed. Thanks, Jason.

Amount of nudity

A girl skinny dips in the distance. But it’s a vapid, thoughtless girl who you want to die, so you don’t really care. At least Sandra doesn’t show anything.

Sandra, clothed, thank god.

Killer’s death

Jason has a machete dug into his shoulder and neck. This should be enough to kill him, but compared to the rest of the series, this is nothing.

Friday the 13th Part III

Friday the 13th Part III (IN 3-D) takes place with a girl named Chris returning to a summer home with her friends at Crystal Lake, where she was attacked by a mysterious deformed stranger two years before (hmm…). They all get stabbed and die THE END.

Movie Quality

This marks the beginning of an occasional trend in these movies where the plot is somewhere in the movie, and the actors are killed somewhere near it, but nothing really…happens. The high points are Chris’s remembrance of her attack, which is actually rather scary, and seeing how Jason getting his trademark hockey mask is treated as nothing particularly special.

Number of kills

Jason rips through twelve people during this movie, and I felt sad about none of them.

Number of awesome kills

This movie steps it up with the awesome kills. Jason the marksman takes out a girl’s eye with a harpoon gun, cuts a guy walking on his hands in half, and crushes one guy’s head with his hands, causing his eye to shoot out at the screen IN 3-D.

Amount of nudity

Again, it’s there, but you could miss it without trying too hard. She dies, of course. An interesting study might be to see who lives the longest after getting naked, other than Ginny from Part 2, who lives, breaking the rules somehow.

Killer’s death

Jason is hung, somehow lives through it, pulls himself up his own noose and frees himself, but is then axed in the side of the head and “killed.” Rather impressive, for both parties involved.

Friday the 13th Part IV – The Final Chapter

This one starts the day after the end of Part III. Jason gets taken to a morgue, but of course is not dead. He gets out of the hospital, and goes back to Crystal Lake, where some more kids are partying, even though yesterday a bunch of kids were killed, and the day before that a bunch of other kids were killed. This is a failure of law enforcement in my eyes. This movie is the start of a 3 movie plot involving a boy named Tommy Jarvis, a whiny and annoying kid. I hate him the most in this movie. Also Crispin Glover dances. Badly. And dies. Like everyone else.

Movie Quality

The Tommy Jarvis movies are odd in their placement in the quality rankings. This one is just…adequate. That’s honestly all I can say about it. It does nothing that the first three movies haven’t done, except have Crispin Glover dancing like an idiot. Also, the subtitle blatantly lies to you, so yeah.

Number of kills

Jason destroys thirteen people this time around, and I was cheering for him during every one.

Number of awesome kills

Only one awesome kill here, breaking the upward trend of the series. The morgue doctor gets his head sawed halfway off and then twisted all the way around. It’s quite good, because Tom Savini is a wonderful man.

Amount of nudity

The first of the series to actually have some nudity for an extended period of time! However, it’s a creepy ass reel-to-reel porn video that a guy watches. It’s honestly one of the more disturbing things in the movie. Actual people nudity? Same as the last three.

Killer’s death

Just look at this picture. Could you come back from that? No. You couldn’t. Jason could. But anyone else? No.

Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning

Friday the 13th Part V is again focused on Tommy Jarvis, now slightly disturbed from his experiences with Jason and at a house for troubled teens. People are killed and Tommy stops it, of course. The difference? IT WASN’T JASON. Surprise! It was a paramedic angry that his son was killed earlier in the movie? Get it? Because it’s a New Beginning! Jason is gone! …wait, where are you all going? Oh, you watched these movies FOR Jason. Sorry.

Movie Quality

I hated this movie. A lot. Jason is not the killer. At all. So there’s that. Also, I abhorred almost every character in here. The fat idiot who gets chopped up with an axe, the hillbilly family…everyone. If you have to choose one to not watch, make it this one.

Number of kills

Jason Voorhees kills – oh sorry, Roy Burns kills seventeen people during this failed abortion of a movie.

Number of awesome kills

There is a single awesome kill. But it made me happy. The whiny, annoying, stupid son of the hillbilly woman is riding around on his motorcycle screaming “MOMMEEE HE HURT ME MOMMEE” for absolutely no reason. He does this for around 30 seconds before he drives into a machete and his head is cut off, and he shuts up.

Amount of nudity

Perhaps with Jason gone, the teenagers felt safer, because there are 3-4 minutes of this movie devoted solely to one girl without clothes. This is really the only movie of the series to actually focus on nudity. Maybe they knew it was horrible and tried to save it?

Killer’s death

Roy gets thrown onto spikes. Who cares, he’s not Jason, let’s move on.

Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives

The third and last of the Tommy Jarvis saga. Tommy Jarvis goes with a friend to dig up Jason and burn him. Unfortunately, he accidentally raises Jason from the dead. Jason goes on his usual killing spree, and many people die.

Movie Quality

I’ll give it to you straight: this is the best one. Yes, the sixth movie in the series is by far the best. Why? Many reasons.It actually takes place at Camp Crystal Lake, now called Camp Forest Green to cover up the connection to Jason. It’s camp counselors being killed for the first time since Part II. There’s kids at the camp this time, adding to the suspense.

The best part? It’s funny. My favorite line of the entire series comes when a graveyard caretaker, upon seeing that Jason had been dug up, looks directly at the camera and says “Why’d they have to go and dig up Jason? Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment.” Also, the movie makes fun of Jason’s near-invincibility when a cop shoots him, and he falls to the ground. Time passes…he springs up! A scare chord plays! The cop shoots again. Jason falls, and immediately springs up! A scare chord plays! This happens two more times, and I burst out laughing each time.

Number of kills

Jason kills eighteen hapless victims during this wonderful movie. Still didn’t feel bad about it, though.

Number of awesome kills

Jason gets in 4 amazing kills this time. One of them is the freaking triple decapatation of a paintball team, and another girl who’s face is forced through a trailer. Ouch.

Amount of nudity

None. Still the best in the series. See the unimportance?

Killer’s death

Jason is chained to a rock at the bottom of Crystal Lake, then his neck is broken with a spinning outboard motor. Try and come back from that one.

Oh, he does. Okay then.

Friday the 13th – The New Blood

Jason has a worthy enemy in Part 7: A young girl named Carrie…I mean Tina. Sorry. Tina, who cannot control her telekinetic powers, accidentally frees Jason from his underwater prison. By proxy, the deaths of the people are her own fault. Good job, Tina.

Movie Quality

After Part VI, nothing can really compare. Part VII is better than others in the series, and worse than others as well. Like Part IV, it’s really just there, an average movie in the series. The psychic powers are poorly shown, and could be used more. Also features one of my least favorite bitchy girls in movie history.

Number of kills

Jason, slacking this movie, only racks up fifteen kills. What a disappointment. Failure. Maybe all his deaths are affecting his killing abilities.

Number of awesome kills

Maybe the best kill of the entire series. Jason picks up a girl in her sleeping bag and swings her around, slamming her into a tree. Shuts up her screaming like that.

Amount of nudity

Again, we’ve got some nudity, but barely any. After the dichotomy of Part V’s nudity overload and Part VI’s lack of any at all, we go back to the law of averages.

Killer’s death

Tina lights Jason on fire, blows up the house he’s in, and then summons her dead father to drag him down to the bottom of Crystal Lake. That will usually do the job. Except it won’t.

Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan

Jason, brought back to life by electricity again, gets on a senior cruise to New York and wreaks havoc on all of them. Its title is…questionable. Barely has a main character.

Movie Quality

First of all, an accurate title for this movie is “Jason takes a cruise, then spends 20 minutes in Vancouver.” Second of all, this movie is bad. Bad bad bad. Not as bad as the fifth one, but bad. You don’t remember the names of characters, you just wait for them to die. And the ending is…oh god, the ending is just horrible.

Number of kills

Jason kills seventeen people. Tellingly, only six are killed in New York.

Number of awesome kills

Again, only one. A boxer punches Jason in the face about twenty times in an achingly long scene. He tires and tells Jason to take his best shot. Jason complies, and punches off his head.

Amount of nudity

As always, it’s there, but it might as well not be. So much for slasher movies equaling nudity.

Killer’s death

So apparently the sewers of New York flood with toxic waste every night at midnight…just go with it. Jason drowns into this toxic waste, which melts him…into little boy Jason from 1957…what? What the…what? You can say it’s a hallucination, and I’m going to, but…what?

The Final Ratings

Movie Quality

1. Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives

2. Friday the 13th Part II

3. Friday the 13th

4. Friday the 13th Part III

5. Friday the 13th Part IV – The Final Chapter

6. Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood

7. Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan

8. Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning

Number of kills

1. Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives

2. Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning TIE

2. Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan TIE

3. Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood

4. Friday the 13th Part IV – The Final Chapter

5. Friday the 13th Part III

6. Friday the 13th Part II

7. Friday the 13th

Number of awesome kills (ties broken by kill awesomeness)

1. Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives

2. Friday the 13th Part III

3. Friday the 13th Part II

4. Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood

5. Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning

6. Friday the 13th Part IV – The Final Chapter

7. Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan

8. Friday the 13th

Amount of nudity (Ties broken by attractiveness of girl)

1. Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning

2. Friday the 13th Part IV – The Final Chapter

3. Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood

4. Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan

5. Friday the 13th Part III

6. Friday the 13th

7. Friday the 13th Part II

8. Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives

Killer’s death (By supposed permanence, so mortal killers get top spots, sadly.)

1. Friday the 13th

2. Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning

3. Friday the 13th Part IV – The Final Chapter

4. Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan

5. Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives

6. Friday the 13th Part III

7. Friday the 13th Part II

8. Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood

THE FINAL GRADES

1. Friday the 13th Part VI – Jason Lives

2. Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning

3. Friday the 13th Part IV – The Final Chapter

4. Friday the 13th Part III

5. Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood TIE

5. Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan TIE

6. Friday the 13th TIE

6. Friday the 13th Part II TIE

Closing thoughts

Part V is not the 2nd best movie. I stand by my quality ratings Also, if I ever watch another Friday the 13th movie, kill me.

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