Friday, November 13, 2015

13 Great Moments from the Friday the 13th Franchise

by Patrick Bromley
Happy Friday the 13th!

I love the Friday the 13th series. I'm under no illusion that they are traditionally "good" movies, but as someone who grew up on them (and '80s slashers like them) they will always hold a special place in my heart. They are infinitely rewatchable -- a warm, comforting blanket of sex and blood.

Here are 13 great moments from one of my favorite horror franchises.

1. Jason pops out of the water (Friday the 13th)
This is the moment that defined the entire series.  There is no Jason in the original Friday the 13th; he's a story told by camp counselors and a memory held by a grieving, murderous Mrs. Voorhees. But by having him appear from the water to grab Alice at the end of the first film (because Carrie had a great jump scare, and Friday the 13th is nothing if not unoriginal), the direction of the entire franchise was hereby changed. Jason returned as the killer of the sequel, leading makeup FX genius Tom Savini -- who had done the memorable and highly influential gore effects on the first movie -- to walk away from the project because, in his words, "There is no Jason. That's stupid." I can remember seeing a theatrical screening of this with a friend who had never seen it a few years ago. She screamed at the jump scare and still insists it is the scariest thing she's ever seen in a movie.

2. Mark is killed (Friday the 13th Part 2)
Friday the 13th Part 2 is a better slasher movie than its predecessor, in part because the characters are better and the cast more appealing. One of my favorites is Mark (Tom McBride), the handsome counselor who lost the use of his legs and requires a wheelchair to get around. When Mark gets a machete to the face on his way to meet up with the super cute Vickie, it becomes clear that Friday Part 2 isn't fucking around. It's one of the most transgressive moments in the entire series -- that is, until the filmmakers killed off pregnant Debbie Klein just one movie later.

Runner up: Terry (Kirsten Baker) goes skinny dipping

3. Little campers accept their fate (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives)

Despite being the sixth entry in the series, Tom McLoughlin's sequel is almost always referred to as the best. It's witty and funny in a franchise not known for wit or humor. The best example of his self-aware screenplay comes when two young campers (yes, actual campers at Camp Crystal Lake) are hiding in their cabin during Jason's rampage and comment to one another "I think we're dead meat," to which the other responds with the movie's best line: "What were you going to be when you grew up?"

Runner up: Sheriff Garris gets bent in half

4. Tommy Jarvis hacks Jason to pieces (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter)
My favorite Friday features my favorite of all Jason's deaths: monster kid Tommy Jarvis shaves his head to look like young Jason and then kills the shit out of him. It takes a horror fan to get the job done. Plus, Tom Savini returned to do the effects and created the brilliant moment in which Jason gets stabbed in the head, then falls on his face and slowly slides down the knife. It's so great.

5. Sleeping bag death (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood)

Well of course it's on here. This is one of the best kills in the entire franchise, partly for it's efficiency and partly for the sick logic of it -- the Friday the 13th equivalent of Indiana Jones shooting the swordsmen. The New Blood is the Friday movie most chopped up by the MPAA (the uncut footage no longer exists as far as anyone knows), and what was once a moment in which Jason smashes the sleeping bag against a tree more than a dozen times was cut down to just once. It works a lot better this way -- one of the few instances in which the mandated edits actually improved the finished film.

6. Jason on the Holodeck (Jason X)
One of the most underrated entries in the Friday series, Jason X mostly avoids the self-aware "meta" jokes that had become so popular in the post-Scream horror landscape. The big exception to this is a scene in which our heroes attempt to distract and disorient Jason by using a hologram to transport him to early '80s Crystal Lake. Two naked co-eds offer him beer and pot before proclaiming "We love premarital sex!" His response is a callback to the most famous kill from The New Blood, but it's the joke about the two girls that gets the movie's biggest laugh. I'm actually glad that the film didn't do too much of this kind of thing; it makes this moment land that much harder.

Runner up: A victim has her face frozen in liquid nitrogen and then smashed into oblivion, Simon Phoenix-style

7. Death in the sex tent (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday)
Most Friday the 13th fans consider Jason Goes to Hell to be the lowest point in the franchise, but it's home to one of the best and most shocking kills in all of the 11 films (Freddy vs. Jason doesn't count). A couple is having graphic sex in a tent when Jason's machete slices through the woman and cuts her in half vertically. It's nuts. In a series that had gradually moved further and further away from sex and violence thanks to pressure from the MPAA (culminating in Jason Takes Manhattan, one movie prior and arguable the most bloodless and chaste entry in the series), this kill in Jason Goes to Hell brings both back to the franchise in spectacular fashion. Be sure you're viewing the unrated cut (only available on DVD, not the Blu-ray box released in 2013) or you won't get the full effect.

Runner up: Freddy's glove appears.

8. Jenna is killed (Friday the 13th (2009))
I had no intention of including anything from the Marcus Nispel-directed 2009 remake of Friday the 13th, which plays like a slicker, more expensive "greatest hits" of the franchise and which also sucks. However, it would be unfair of me to say that the (SPOILER) death of would-be Final Girl Jenna (the always welcome Danielle Panabaker) in the film's final third isn't genuinely surprising. It's the one trick the remake has up its sleeve, but it's a good one.

9. Crispin Glover dances (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter)

Presented without comment.

10. Jason de-masked! (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood)
Mike will be so excited that The New Blood makes two appearances on this list despite being one of my least favorite entries in the series. The first appearance of full-on Zombie Jason deserves mention. Though he had been taking off his mask in pretty much every sequel since Part 2, this one is the most shocking; it acknowledges that he is undead and confirms him as something supernatural. This is what happens when you get makeup effects designer John Carl Buechler to direct your movie.

11. Boxing beheading (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)
Listen. I'm trying to be nice and include at least one moment from each of the movies. There really aren't any good moments in Jason Takes Manhattan, but I'm naming this one because at least it's memorable. And kind of racist.

Runner up: A cruise ship departs from Crystal Lake and arrives in New York

12. 3-D Eyeball! (Friday the 13th Part 3)
I have real affection for Friday the 13th Part 3 because it's one of the goofiest and stupidest entries in the series. Just three movies in, the producers were already throwing in the towel and doing dumb, gimmicky shit like 3-D. In a movie filled with stupid 3-D moments this one is the best/worst. It also happens to a character we half suspect will live to see the end. He ends up seeing not much at all.

Runner up: Shelly.

13. RIP Joey (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning)
Anyone who knows me knows that Joey (Dominick Brascia) is my favorite character in the entire Friday the 13th series. He's presented as...I don't know...slow? You can tell because he has fucking chocolate stains on his fucking face. This is his defining characteristic. He is brutally murdered just for annoying another character, and his death is the catalyst for the entire rest of the film, as his grieving, long lost paramedic father is first on the scene to see his son hacked up and is then inspired to pose as Jason Voorhees and take revenge by killing everyone living at the halfway house at which the movie takes place. This is a lunatic movie made by a lunatic (former porn director Danny Steinmann), and despite being the less-loved stepchild of the series I totally love it.

Goodbye, Joey. I hope they have chocolate bars in heaven.


  1. Great list and great moments all - after some ups and downs I came back around to loving the franchise during SMM2014.

    Rest assured they do have at least one chocolate bar in heaven - the one buddy buries his axe in before he buries it in Joey.

  2. The cut footage of the sleeping bag death from part 7 is available as a special feature on the blu-ray, although it's very poor quality.

    1. And since when do we not count Freddy vs. Jason? Can we at least call it 11 1/2 films?

  3. "He ends up seeing not much at all."
    This is why I love you, Patrick.

  4. Ha! Didn't even realize the date until I read this. Great way to start the day. Feels like I just watched the series again, I liked it better this time. Not meaning to piggy back Doug but "Presented without comment" followed by the video was just the best of the best. I was thinking after SMM 15 I wouldn't watch horror for at least 6 I'm thinking mini marathon this weekend. Thanks Fthismovie!

  5. Crispin Glover's dance was originally filmed to AC/DC's Back in Black but the didn't get the rights to use it in the movie, so they replaced it. If you play Back in Black and time it just right, you can see he does dance to the rhythm of it. Kinda.

    I love Crispin Glover.

    1. Sold! This is officially my new "Dark Side of the Moon". I think Crispin will still be a terrible dancer (or maybe best 80's dancer EVER?) but it certainly adds another layer. Cheers

  6. And I still say "Carrie" stole that jump scare from the end of "Deliverance"...a scene with which Jason popping out of the water has much more in common. ;-)

  7. This is my favorite series and it was awesome to see this list. I would agree that Part 4 is the best of the series. It's also the only one I find actually scary. The acting is also by far the best. I think the best writing in the series is Part 2. It had some genuinely funny lines where the rest of the laughs of the series are unintentional. I love when the camp runner, Paul, tells his assistant not to give the 2 kids that ventured into Crystal Lake seconds of their desert. I think I might the only person that loves Part 8. Like the Happening, I hated it when it came out. Yes, yes they don't get to Manhattan forever and it's mostly on a boat. I don't care. I think it's the funniest of the franchise. It also has the best non-Jason villain, Peter Mark Richman. It's a dark comedy that nobody but me understands and I like it that way.

  8. Brought back some great memories from Smm for me warching them all. Crispin Glovers dance was truely epic. Don't hate me too much but last week I watched both Charlies Angels movies and I love his part as the Thin man with those crazy eye brows
    I knew those Chocolate stains would come up as I was reading the column, and they did, I even mentioned them in SMM

    Friday the 13th A New beginning

    Patrick really like those Fucking Chocolate Stains

  9. Wrote this back in February when I decided to celebrate two straight months containing Friday the 13th:

    "Well, just finished watching the first 8 Friday the 13th movies over the last few weeks. These are the ones considered canon by the types of people who use the words "canon" and "universe" when discussing films. My thoughts:
    a. Why, god, why did I do this?
    b. There isn't a single good move in the lot. There is some entertainment to be found, but a shocking lack of quality.
    c. Definitive ranking, from most enjoyable to least: 4, 5, 3, 2, 6, 1, 7, 8"

    ....I remember liking them more than I did, apparently

    1. Though it pains me a little to put 2 so low, I think I'm in exact agreement with your ranking. Great minds and what not.

    2. I was tempted to put 5 above 4 because boobs...but I couldn't honestly say it was better