10. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Two movies didn’t make this list: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985) and Jason Goes To Hell (1993). You can really consider slot #10 a three-way tie. These are all just bad movies that are barely watchable, even for a Friday the 13th fan.
9. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
This is a huge improvement over #10. Jason’s kind of lame in this one, what with his long, flowing locks, but he does have some great kills (the cornfield kills are pretty awesome). At least the filmmakers knew there was just no way Jason loses to Freddy, even if the ending was a let-down.
8. Jason X (2001)
I know a lot of Friday the 13th fans really hate this one, but I sort of like it. Yes, it’s absurd. Jason in space sounds fucking terrible, I grant you. But it has David Cronenberg, Cyber-Jason, and some decent special effects. It’s not the scariest movie on the list, but it is one of the more solidly entertaining entries.
7. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
This was, until fairly recently, my standby answer to the question, “What’s your favorite Friday the 13th flick?” But I’ve come to appreciate other chapters more, while becoming more critical of this lighter-in-tone installment. C.J. Graham is my all-time favorite Jason, though.
6. Friday the 13th Part II (1981)
Good ol’ Sackhead. Yep. Part II is the one before Jason’s gets his infamous mask. Don’t let that deter you, though. It’s still an effective entry, with by far the most human incarnation of Jason. And Amy Steel is perhaps the most memorable final girl.
5. Friday the 13th (2009)
The remake takes the center spot on the list. There are many reasons it doesn’t rank higher (see my review), but it is really a nice addition to the Friday the 13th canon and hopefully a great starting point for a rebirth of the franchise.
4. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
I really thought this one was stupid for a LONG time. I still do, but Kane Hodder’s first appearance as Jason just makes up for a lot of the stupidity inherent in a Jason vs. Carrie story. There are a lot of great, memorable kills in this one, too. The sleeping bag kill, the weed wacker, and the party horn are just a few. Fans are STILL waiting for an uncut version of this to be released on DVD (fucking Paramount).
3. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
It’s not only because it’s in 3-D that this one ranks so highlly. Jason gets his mask, there are some great kills, and yeah, it’s in 3-D.
2. Friday the 13th (1980)
The movie that started it all. We only see Jason as a boy, but we get to know his mom a little in this suspenseful mystery that’s part Agatha Christie and part Halloween rip-off. It’s still an effective thriller, even knowing who the killer is.
1. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
I’ve really gained a new appreciation for this entry. There are scares, suspense, laughs, gore, and Corey Feldman. It’s very atmospheric, with a nice twist on the ending to Part II. But did anyone really believe that Jason was really gone for good? Here we are, 25 years later, and Jason is, to quote Tommy Jarvis, stronger than ever.