Few slashers are more iconic than Jason Vorhees. Many know that while Jason isn’t the killer in the original film, his subsequent appearances have made him a horror icon. Jason’s broken hockey mask continues to instill fear in the hearts of all horny teenagers.
The Friday the 13th series has become a mainstay of horror cinema, and we are ranking every film in the series from best to worst. From humble beginnings at Camp Blood, Jason has made his way to space, Elm Street, and everywhere in between.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter: The Best Film In The Franchise
The Final Chapter was meant to be an end to the classic series. But the movie was so damn good that they kept the franchise running. By the time The Final Chapter rolled around, the series had taken a massive hit in quality. The original was viewed as a classic, but the subsequent films featuring Jason as the killer couldn’t make the same impact. Enter Corey Fieldman and Crispin Glover to give us the best Friday the 13th film to date.
Corey Feldman steals the movie as a young kid with a talent for making horror masks. Crispin Glover plays a goofy teenager who wants to get laid. It’s not just their performances that solidify The Final Chapter as our favorite Friday the 13th. The perfect line between camp and horror the film straddles gives it the top spot.
Friday The 13th Part 7 New Blood: Jason Meets His Match
New Blood stars Lar Park Lincoln as Tina Shephard, a young woman with telekinetic powers. After a particularly traumatic experience with her father, Tina struggles with her mental stability and her psychic powers. Her struggles continue when she accidentally resurrects Jason from his watery grave.
New Blood became one of our favorites for two reasons. First, the film truly leaned into the paranormal element and gave Jason a worthy adversary. Second, the film features Jason’s best kill, where he ragdolls a poor teen girl into a tree while still in her sleeping bag.
Friday The 13th 1980: The Classic That Started It All
Friday the 13th began its long history as a simple advertisement in Variety magazine. Director Sean Cunningham took out a full-page ad that showed nothing more than the title and a tagline stating Friday the 13th was “The most terrifying film ever made.”
The original film was one of Kevin Bacon’s first film roles and famously subverted the audience’s expectations by making Jason’s mother the killer. Friday the 13th is a campy, bloody, and fun reminder of low-budget filmmaking in the 80’s. It’s one of our favorite films in the franchise.
Friday The 13th 2009: A Worthy Reboot
The 2009 reboot of the Friday the 13th series didn’t spawn any sequels, but it is still a worthy addition to the franchise. The film takes the slasher elements of the original three movies and gives them a modern twist that is bloody and delightful.
Friday the 13th works surprisingly well as a modern-day retelling of Jason’s origins. The film was a box office success, so it’s surprising that we didn’t see more movies after the reboot. Even so, the 2009 reboot is a great excuse to revisit Camp Blood and see Jason terrorize horny teenagers.
Freddy Vs. Jason: A Battle For The Ages
A Freddy vs Jason movie had been rumored for years before the two finally did battle in 2003. The film is a crossover between the two franchises, with Jason being resurrected by a hellbound Freddy.
Freddy vs Jason is the franchise’s highest-grossing film and, overall, a good entry in the series. Adding a foul-mouthed protagonist raises the stakes, and the narrative allows the film to act as a continuation of both classic horror series.
Friday The 14th Part 2: Jason’s First Killing Spree
After the first film’s events, Jason takes up his machete to enact revenge on the counselors of a nearby camp. The film opens with the final girl from the first movie meeting her demise at the hands of a then-unknown Jason.
Part 2 could never fill the shoes left by the original, but it is still a great entry in the franchise. Bringing Jason in as the killer proved a great move and would cement his legacy as a slasher icon.
Friday The 13th Part 3: Jason Finally Gets His Mask
It’s crazy that it took three films before Jason finally puts on his iconic mask. Our biggest complaint with Part 3 is the familiar lake waters it continues to tread.
Part 3 was shot in a 3D format, which makes the film cheesier than the rest on subsequent viewings. Many shots and framing devices are purposely meant for the format, and since 3D TVs are so rare, a lot has been lost in the years since its original release.
Friday The 13th Part 6 Jason Lives: The End Of The Tommy Jarvis Trilogy
The Friday the 13th series can easily be separated into trilogies. The first three films act as Jason’s origins, Parts 7 through 9 are a supernatural trilogy, and the middle three movies show the struggle between Jason and Tommy Jarvis.
Part 6 isn’t the worst film in this trilogy, but it is definitely a mediocre entry. Tommy is recast for a third time, and Thom Matthews may be the worst fit for the character. He splits his time between trying to warn the town about Jason and flirting with the sheriff’s daughter. The result is a Friday the 13th film that is easily skipped on series revisits.
Jason X: Jason Goes To Space
Jason X is the last film in the series, canonically. The Movie takes place in the year 2455 and has Jason being revived once again. But this time, his resurrection is for science.
After The Final Friday, it took eight years for a new Jason movie, and the team didn’t exactly knock it out of the park. Jason X isn’t the worst movie in the franchise, but it suffers greatly from its high concept and poor acting.
Friday The 13th Part 8 Jason Takes Manhattan: Jason Goes To The Big Apple
Part 8 begins with Jason being resurrected once again, but this time, he sneaks aboard a small cruise ship heading for New York. Taking Jason out of the woods and into the city seemed like a smart move for the franchise. But Jason Takes Manhattan trades in the scares for gore, ultimately making the film a much weaker entry.
Our main complaint with Part 8 is how little the filmmakers did with Jason in New York. They had the opportunity to go crazy with Jason in the big city, honestly, but instead, most of the film is spent on a boat.
Jason Goes To Hell The Final Friday: Before Jason Goes To Space, He Must Go To Hell
Jason Goes To Hell has one redeeming quality. It teases the much-anticipated battle between Freddy and Jason. Besides that, this film has little going for it and is an all-around mess of a movie.
Jason Goes To Hell starts with Jason being resurrected and doesn’t even try to explain why. Jason is again killed, but a coroner at the morgue decides to eat Jason’s heart. This causes the coroner to become possessed by Jason and go on a killing spree. Jason also inexplicably possesses other teenagers after killing them.
The biggest flaw of Jason Goes To Hell is its lack of real characters. Part 7 leaned into the supernatural by giving us a compelling heroine to fight Jason. Jason Goes To Hell is short on plot, characters, and slasher movie charm.
Friday The 13th A New Beginning: The Worst Friday The 13th Film
A New Beginning is one of the worst Friday the 13th movies, mainly because the film makes no damn sense. Jason is revived at the beginning of the film. Maybe. Or it could all be a hallucination of the PTSD-suffering Tommy Jarvis.
A New Beginning ends with the reveal that Jason wasn’t the killer. It was actually a random character seen briefly at the beginning of the film. It then tries to set up Tommy as the new Jason, but the movie was received so poorly that this plan falls apart. We are left with a film that leans too hard on the gore and sex and does little to keep us entertained.