by Josh Krubner
*Freddy vs. Jason counts as only one half.
*We are including the 2009 remake, even though it takes place in an alternate universe.
I’m sure my list is going to be VERY different from Jim’s (already knowing what his top 3 will be) and the reason for that is I like my Jason “classic." The hockey mask is ok, but the super-powered insano zombie thing…ehhhh.
11 1/2. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING
Here’s this piece of shit that DOES take place in the original universe. The original movie’s twist works because it establishes a familiarity and definitive cause for Jason to take revenge. Nothing in this movie works, makes sense, or does anything. It’s an insulting cash-grab, and a bad movie.
A paramedic named Roy’s son living at a halfway house for “troubled teens” is killed by a psychotic youth. Somehow the paramedic’s partner doesn’t recognize his partner’s dead son, and mouths off about the corpse. This causes the paramedic to kill everyone at the halfway house (including innocent children), while dressed as Jason Vorhees not just wearing a hockey mask, but a “Jason skin mask” underneath. They do bring back the character of Tommy Jarvis (he lives at the Halfway House, naturally) and absolutely waste him here, having him face off with “non Jason." At the end, they drop Roy on a spiked fence, thankfully ensuring this was not in fact a new “Beginning."
This is a remake of Friday the 13th parts I-IV. It offers some clever continuity changes to those flicks that keen-eyed die hard fans will appreciate…that 99.9% of the movie audience in 2009 were completely oblivious to.
It starts off recapping Friday the 13th, and giving us an opening confrontation based on Friday the 13th part II (several years later…I’m guessing/hoping). We don’t see the last “kill” in this flashback as we jump into the opening titles and several months later to the timeline of Movie IV re-imagined without the Jarvises.
Jason is more a mountain-man hillbilly Leatherface than he is “Jason Vorhees." It’s incredibly brutal, not very imaginative, and features possibly the most ridiculously attractive cast in real-budget horror movie history. If you want to see people get sliced up, and girls take their tops off, you’ll love it. The ending is stupid and just leaves the door open for an inevitable sequel that thankfully never came about. It’s not good, it’s not great, but most importantly, it’s NOT classic Jason, and for that major reason it’s so far down on the list.
Jason Goes to Hell featured one of the best “get hyped” trailers of all time, showcasing a newer, stronger, faster, more lethal looking Jason. He’s getting shot, he’s looking scary in mirrors. There’s a fire motif. It was AWESOME! Thankfully, it taught me a VERY important lesson- to carefully read film titles and put them in the context of a trailer. It was for this reason. I didn’t expect “Attack of the Clones” to end any other way than by saying “the clone wars just began” (and by extension for the next installment to open with “The Wars are coming to an end”). Yes, this movie is SO fucking bad, it warrants mentioning the Prequels.
Jason Goes to Hell had climbed to the top of the horror ladder in the years before Scream and H20, which thankfully added another rung. Until this point however, it went as such: Movie 1- original; Movie 2- revenge plot/son/daughter; Movie 3- throwback to original, with an equally as powerful cast; Movie 4-6 – IN SPACCCEEEEE; Movie 5-8 – add in some weird fucking mystical crap and a family bloodline voodoo bullshit.
And that’s exactly what they did, effectively ruining the memory and magic of Jason. We find out he’s more or less a “curse” and if he is killed, he has to body jump as a demon baby snake penis monster thing. He wants to possess his neice’s daughter to be reborn in a new body (where he looks EXACTLY like he did at the start of this movie, right down to the ripped shirt, and hockey mask).
He is killed in the opening scene, spends the rest of the movie possessing actors and appearing only in reflections…and he gets dragged down to hell in the final frame, teasing the setup for a movie horror fans were shitting their pants over.
I have no idea what the hell the “new blood” is…and I never will. This was originally supposed to be “Freddy vs Jason." Due to licensing issues, contract negotiations, and other backstage rabbling, it didn’t happen. So at the last possible minute, they subbed out Freddy for Tina, a telekinetic teenager who can emulate Carrie when the plot calls for it. It has awful pacing and features invincible zombie Jason squaring off with invincible discount Jean Grey. YAWN. They try to give Tina a backstory we’d care about and make her a sympathetic character with development, but it never works, and it’s painfully obvious to everyone but Tina that she’s being set up from the first frame on.
The last of the Paramount films. They decided to go all out on the wacky crap, having Jason party crash a booze cruise going from Crystal Lake..ish to early 90s Manhattan (where the streets are filled with toxic waste garbage cans, and you will get raped for setting foot in South Street Seaport after midnight). The majority of the film doesn’t deliver on its titular promise, posters, and trailer shots, featuring instead “Jason on a boring and implausible cruise.” The director had this “Genius idea” of gearing the audience up for having Jason turn back into a child at the end of the film, cause he “Drowned as a child…sorta”.
This is HORRIBLY executed by having the main character (who is afraid of water…yet on a boat) relive a flashback in which she imagined child Jason trying to grab her leg in Crystal Lake to drown her when she was a child. She keeps imagining ghost child Jason and he bounces around from looking “perfectly normal” to “looking like Jason would as a child.” When she finally confronts Jason in the NYC sewers, he loses his mask, talks like an eight yr old boy, and violently throws up water.
The sewers also flood with lethal toxic waste every night at midnight, effectively killing any ninja turtles, and halting any Ghostbusters explorations for Ghost Trains. This is the ONLY Friday movie to feature characters doing coke, and to feature Jason in Times Square…for about 28 seconds.
Jason X is not a good movie. It’s not an enjoyable movie. It is thankfully, a VERY short movie. Jason X is pretty much a horror comedy parody and it only ended up with a R-rating for language and deliberate over the top nudity. Otherwise, it’s one of the most family friendly horror movies I’ve ever seen. Sure people “die,” but it’s Jason in SPACE in the year 2455 featuring lines like “Guys, it’s ok! He just wanted his machete back!” and of course my favorite “It’s gonna take more than that to put down an old dog like me… <second spike impales Brodski> yup that oughta do it…”
This is a movie where Jason is effortlessly killed by an Android and then turned into a combination Robocop/Terminator/Lawnmower Man complete with hockey mask (that makes him look like Super Shredder).
I put this as a half point because it’s a shared/vs movie (that follows the format set up in every vs movie ever, "let’s follow a bs human cast, and then have our guys fight it out in the last 12 minutes").
It’s not a good movie. It’s not a particulary clever movie. It’s some of the worst Freddy performances I’ve ever seen, but he’s not on this list. This one is about Jason. FVJ perfectly recaps the respective Friday and Nightmare series and presents a “plausible” explanation for the how and why the pair begin working together. There’s no handshake and twirling of mustaches, just Freddy blatantly tricking Jason and emotionally manipulating him into doing his bidding. The flick features some of the most graphic and uninspired Jason kills (and one amazing one in the beginning) and a 15 minute long segment that begins with…Jason afraid of water… other than that, it’s “ok” and absolutely ridiculous.
Jason died in part four, and if you are wondering both why we skipped “part five” and why part SIX is called “Jason Lives,” the answer is “part five sucks balls." Now I think this one is Jim’s favorite, and while it’s the best of the “Zombie Jason” flicks, it falls much lower on my list for several reasons.
Jason is invulnerable. Michael Myers and his sheer determination to lurch forward after getting shot in the eyes in Halloween II is terrifying…for the entire thirty seconds he continues to do so while being on fire. There’s NOTHING scary about a truly unkillable opponent. Remember how I said “I like my classic Jason” where he can be stabbed in the leg and will then walk with a limp? Or better yet, ANYONE has the potential to be the one to deal him a deathblow, even…Corey Feldman? With Zombie Jason, you pretty much know EXACTLY what you’re in for. Only the “chosen one” character of the given movie will be able to kill (or indirectly cause some truly ridiculous horseshit that does it for them) Jason via some temporary, stupid, and altogether ridiculous thing.
The James Bond parody opening shows that this Jason is quickly falling into Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck territory…
The supporting cast sucks. The story is simple, a much older Tommy (Feldman’s Part IV character) has escaped the nut house to destroy Jason’s body, which inadvertently brings him back to life via a Frankenstein lightning bolt. Despite Jason having killed about 50 people at this point, Crystal Lake having been plagued by murders and odd occurrences for 40 yrs, and the fact that a COPYCAT JASON was active LESS THAN ONE YEAR PRIOR, no one believes that Jason is back/someone looking like him is walking around killing people. It leads to some frustrating yawn worthy moments on the level of the entire city of New York having forgotten about the Ghostbusters. The final showdown doesn’t fit the tone of any Friday until this point and it sets up a repeatedly drawn upon “trap” to end the remaining Paramount movies. You can see some UNPOPULAR opinions coming up above, as it was this point in the series they STOPPED making “good” movies, and just went for “as ridiculous as possible." So I might be putting some MUCH-HATED movies, higher than someone else would because they are that ridiculous.
The original Friday the 13th is neat little slasher set at an NJ campground (Camp Crystal Lake). It has some great moments and a twist for the ages – that helps set up the entirety of the franchise that follows. Once you know the twist however, rewatching certain scenes (namely the kills, or the killer POV shots of things like “hands”) lead you to create theories (Jason was helping, cause those were man hands in that shot) or realize that most of it wasn’t possible/could easily have been avoided by the counselors. It’s one of those movies you watch just to see it, but it’s not as powerful as any other first installment in a treasured franchise that I can think of.
Part II is fairly self-explanatory. After “the events” of the first movie, Jason is our killer. He’s PISSED off the entire movie, and seeking some serious revenge. We return to Crystal Lake, and Jason keeps a serious watch on his territory. This is our first movie set in the present that has a serious “time jump” (five years) and really positions Jason as a credible and scary threat. Is he man? Monster? Zombie? Hillbilly? The final showdown is fairly clever, and definitely the opposite of what happens at the end of Part IV. Why isn’t it higher on the list? The characters SUCK. It’s like “commercial level acting”. There’s zero depth or substance to anyone, including Jason. It’s not particularly scary or creative, but it’s a nice little thriller in the woods just the same.
Corey Feldman wins.
I REALLY enjoy the Final Chapter, as most everyone does... but it's a disjointed movie soldered together by lazy script writing and last minute changes that make you go, "huh?"
Unlike the Fridays of past (not the Ice Cube ones, those don't start til 1995, believe it or not), Part IV doesn't "feel" right. Gone are the tropes of campers and lakes. Instead, Jason just kinda goes on a killing spree that for the first time, is unexplained. He also breaks character in some glaring and unforgivable ways. The film opens up immediately following the end of the third one. Jason is taken to the hospital/morgue, and when a nurse and cop begin to... have sex literally next to his corpse, this "naughty" activity brings our killer back to life. Jason is of course, the second best form of birth control (IT Follows currently takes the top spot) in the known universe. Then, it gets "stupid." Jason walks back to... camp? The lake? Higgins Haven (from movie three)? We don't know exactly.
See, in movie two, he is tracking down the person who "ended movie one." He finds this person in a nearby area, and having to convalesce after the beating he gets during the second movie, he just begins movie 3 "on the run," stealing clothing and pillowcases off clotheslines and feeling a familiarity about Higgins Haven... for "some reason."
Movie IV sees him just walking around in the daylight, killing a hitchhiking chubby girl eating a banana and then steamrolling his path of destruction to two VERY permanent summer cabins/full time homes, nowhere near the camp. Let’s talk about those homes, and other elements of Part IV that don’t seem to “fit."
Your classic group of horny coeds complete with virgins, jocks, and twins, rents a cabin. That’s all well and good, but the cabin is located next to the Jarvis [possible summer rental, but I think not] home. We now have another 17 yr old horny coed…and her 10-12yr old (depending on which director/script/fan you consult) little brother…and of course his overprotective mother and their family dog. If you immediately think “A 12yr old doesn’t belong next door to sex-crazed twins and stoners” you’d be right. As Tommy watches one of the girls undress to get ready to screw her boyfriend, his mom comes in and nonchalantly closes the blinds. It’s ridiculous. They then further stuff it by having a guy seeking his sister (an actual counselor/victim from the 2nd movie) pair up with Trish or Tommy, I dunno some bullshit.
Tommy is into making factory grade latex monster masks and in the most insane rationale since Nightmare on Elm Street Part IV, he tricks Jason into remembering what he looked like in 1957 which gets Jason to lower his guard and be hacked up by a machete (wielded by Corey Feldman… not even Corey Haim), officially “killing” the monster… permanently. ☹ And yet, despite all those things that don’t quite mesh, Friday part IV offers some of the most enjoyable moments, attractive casts, and some serious Jason hijinks.
In the early days, Jason could be “hurt” and these injuries would actually damage him/hinder his movements. He also had the “potential” to be killed essentially by ANY of the characters, and this made for a compelling cat and mouse game in which “No one was safe." Friday “the 3rd” has some of the most stereotypical, yet still oddly compelling characters out of any flick in the franchise. We’ve moved away from the whole “camp counselor” thing entirely, in favor of a girl with a… “key event” in her past, and her finally coming to terms with what happened/putting those demons to rest. The dialog can be cringe-worthy as best, but even some of the most painful lines spoken by one of the worst characters (Shelley) lead directly to the iconic Jason we all know and love (I mean if not, why else would you be here?).
Jason vs Chris is the quintessential “100lb brunette defeats big scary monster man” out of ANY of the flicks, on the level of “Freddy vs Nancy” from another little “nightmare” of a franchise. Jason also takes the most damage in this movie – getting stabbed in the leg, hung, hung…again, and finally my all-time favorite shot in the franchise- an ax to the head which prompts him to lurch forward with his arms out out of desperation (resulting in pure unadulterated comedy). Perhaps the second best moment of the film however, immediately follows the clichéd “seen it/done it” jump scare/”sequel setup” of “the Lady in the Lake” where we rejoin Chris in the real world. She’s beaten, she’s broken, and all of her friends are dead. She’s put into a cop car in pure hysterics showing that when you go toe to toe with Jason Vorhees…nobody “wins."