The Camping or going to camp is fun for some people—until they get brutally murdered, as is the case for most campers in the Friday the 13th franchise. I’m a big fan of the slasher genre, so I’ve seen all of the Friday the 13th films. And I sure as hell will be watching Bryan Fuller’s upcoming series. Let’s face it, slashers are generally entertaining, even when they fall flat in every other aspect.
The Friday the 13th franchise isn’t for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with being a hardcore fan of the series, it’s just unfortunate that a lot of the films bleed together and are full of shitty characters or plot lines. And if you’re looking for a break down of the franchise in chronological order, you’re in the right place, reader.
Friday the 13th (1980)
This first entry will forever hold icon status among horror fans (despite how it’s slightly boring until the killer reveal). Betsy Palmer’s unhinged performance is fucking perfection, Alice (Adrienne King) is a final girl to remember, and the subversive reveal of a woman as the killer is still interesting. If you haven’t watched the movie in some time, put it on while it’s raining and maximize the vibes.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Contrary to what Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) thought in Scream, Jason wasn’t the killer in the first film. Still, Jason (Steve Daskewisz) with the sack mask is even scarier than the hockey mask if I’m being honest. Part 2 kicked things up a notch and gave us Ginny (Amy Steel) as a memorable final girl! It’s certainly a fan-favorite and remains one of the best entries in the franchise. Unfortunately, the sequel dispatches with Alice immediately, and that still bugs me. Otherwise? It’s even better than the first film.
Friday the 13th Part III
Sequels sometimes fail horribly and make us wish we had our own personal erase button to press and make them disappear. Friday the 13th Part III isn’t one of those films. It’s certainly a slasher that doesn’t have a lot of depth to it—who gives a damn, though? At the end of the day, this entry is one hell of a ride and is a lot of fun to watch, not to mention it’s got a few surprises sprinkled throughout.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
It may not have been well received upon initial release, but fans tend to hold The Final Chapter in high regard. And it’s not solely because of Crispin Glover’s horrible dancing. There’s a whole lot of nonsense, sex, murders, and memorable scenes throughout this sequel—not to mention the introduction of Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), a character who comes back more than once. What’s not to love about a child duping Jason in the end? Ignore anyone who aggressively hates this entry. It’s certainly not the worst of the bunch.
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
It’s not an exaggeration when I say this is one of the worst Friday the 13th films. Of course it’s good for a laugh and has some memorable kills and characters. Outside of all that? The movie is an epic failure, especially once it’s revealed (spoiler!) that Jason wasn’t even the killer all along. Take me at my word, you only need to watch Part V one time.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1985)
You would seriously be hard pressed to find a horror fan who hates this entry (if they’ve seen it). There’s so much to love about Part VI, including how clever it is. This film was doing meta before Scream was even born, and it introduced so many cool elements to the franchise. This version of Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) is the best one, and Jason’s kills are absolutely bonkers. It’s one of my personal favorites for everything I mentioned above and more.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Sure, this is essentially Carrie White vs. Jason, but is that really a bad thing? Occasionally you need to let yourself have some fun and just embrace the absurdity. Part VII marks the first of Kane Hodder’s many appearances as Jason. One of the main reasons why this film is successful is because of Hodder’s physical performance. And if you take the next entry into consideration, this one is a fucking masterpiece.